Bluestem imagined that the 2015 session had jumped the shark when Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) began to tout the virtues of urban ag and metro members on his ag committee, after two years spent damning metro-centric Minneapolis colleagues.
But that experience pales as the rhetorical winds escalated to snarknado-force gales. Let's take a look at two developments today.
Spoonbridge and Cherry: Republicans dig in
In Strange bedfellows, St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter David Montgomery--lately of the Sioux Argus--reports:
Legislative Republicans don’t know what they’re going to do about Gov. Mark Dayton withholding funds from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, but they know they don’t like it.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate (for Dayton) to do that, but we’ll see what he’s doing,” said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.
Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, took a similar position. . . .
The Minneapolis Park Board is filled almost entirely with DFLers, and while many MnSCU colleges are located in or near GOP-held districts, university professors and students are infamously liberal, on average.
How else to explain a potential GOP fight to secure more money for the Minneapolis Park Board, at least, than an illustration of the principle, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?
Since the talented Montgomery was working in the South Dakota wilderness, it's no surprise he missed an added irony: the fact that $8.5 million for renovations to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Cowles Conservancy for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in the 2014 bonding bill was one of those things the Republicans condemned in their march to retake the House.
MinnPost's Briana Bierschbach reported in Billion-dollar Senate DFL construction bill is Spoonbridge and lots of statewide cherries:
Still, a group of GOP rank-and-filers said Monday that Democrats still have the wrong priorities. While they liked that the Senate fully funded the Capitol restoration project and stayed under the $850 million bonding limit, they criticized projects like improvements to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
They said Democrats should be focusing money on roads, bridges and infastructure.
“Is this bonding bill bill going to be about fixing roads and bridges, or is it going to be about cherries on a spoon or snowmaking equipment?” Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, asked.
The tracker game
The Draz shows up in our second moment of swirling irony todaay. At the Star Tribune Hot Dish blog, Ricardo Lopez reports in Political tracker asked to leave Burnsville legislative meeting on property taxes:
Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a progressive political organization, said its political tracker was improperly kicked out of a public legislative meeting in Burnsville on property taxes organized by Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican from Mazeppa.
Drazkowski, chair of the House Committee on Property Tax and Local Government Finance Division, however said the reason the tracker was kicked out was because there was not enough space at the Burnsville restaurant where the meeting was hosted.
"These events are always open to the public, but unfortunately space was tight at the Burnsville gathering," he said in a statement. "In the future, we will look to hold these listening sessions at venues that are able to accommodate much larger crowds.”
Emily Bisek, spokeswoman for the progressive group, said that the tracker, who was carrying video recording equipment, was not told the problem was a lack of space. She said Drazkowski told the group's tracker that the event was not public. . . .
As Bluestem first reported last week in After House floor transparency tussle, Draz's tax listening sessions now official meetings:
Although listening sessions in Stewartville and Albert Lea are now described on the Minnesota House Property Tax & Local Government Finance Division Committee's schedule as "**This will be an official hearing where public testimony will be provided to the committee,**" during Tuesday's floor session they were described as "informal" by committee chair Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa).
The description came during a tense exchange about the nature of the listening session between Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis), Minority Leader Paul Thissen (DFL-Minneapolis) and The Draz.
But there's more! During the campaign, Watchdog Minnesota noted attempts to stop the tracker for the MN Jobs Coalition--the right's answer to ABM--from videotaping debates.
The element that raises this ironic episode to sharknado epic level, however, is the fact that the MN Job Coalition tracker now serves as the assistant legislative aide for the Minnesota House Ethics Committee.
Perhaps ABM and The Drazkowski can ask the committee aide for an opinion.
Photo: Cherry-picking the Spoonbridge and Cherry, which House Republicans hated last year as symbol of the misguided DFL impulse to fund froufrou metrocentric projects rather than hardworking roads and bridges in rural Minnesota. Today, Daudt is spurning the goat trails in favor of the elitist 20th Century sculpture in a park.
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