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HENNEPIN: In his state of the county address today with hosted by the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat will lay out a theme of being hunkered down during the economic recovery. He will tout “flat” budgets and property tax levies in his first State of the County speech since 2009. EXCERPTS: “The County is a $1.6 billion-dollar enterprise, without including the $760 million Medical Center…Our Transportation team maintains more than 2,000 lane-miles of roads and 145 bridges…The bonding bill this year left Southwest behind—not because it isn’t needed or isn’t deserving, but because politics won out over policy at the Capitol. To that end, we will again need your help on Southwest next session. Transit should no longer be a partisan issue… Each year, 1.4 million tons of municipal solid waste is generated within our borders. We recycle 570,000 tons each year—roughly 42 percent of the total. Another 365,000 tons are processed at the HERC, the downtown garbage burner, which then generates more than 200,000 megawatt hours of free energy—enough to power 25,000 homes for a year…. Food assistance cases have grown from 120,000 in 2007 to 179,000 last year—a 50 percent jump…Our AAA bond rating is affirmed every time we issue debt for capital projects. Richard Johnson, our administrator, is an outstanding leader and has been a constant calm in the recent storm…And like your businesses, the state of Hennepin County is….ever-changing. We’re innovating, and implementing best practices wherever possible. We’ve ended some operations and transformed others…We’re working so that our residents, businesses and visitors enjoy, invest and are prosperous here in Hennepin County”
GOPCONVENTION: The MN State GOP convention starts tomorrow in St. Cloud. The main items of business are the election of RNC members, a presentation of the financial state of the party, and the endorsement of a US Senate candidate to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar. NUMBERS: According to numerous sources, Rep. Kurt Bills has a lead in delegates going into the convention. The surprise is that most people predict that fmr. state Rep. Dan Severson is in second, and war veteran Pete Hegseth is in third. The estimated percentages compiled from GOP insiders are 35-38 Bills, 30- 32 Severson, 15-20 Hegseth and 15 uncommitted. ENDORSEMENT: One possibility like 2002, is a long drawn out endorsement fight. The difference is that unlike 2002 when fmr. Gov. Tim Pawlenty battled businessman Brian Sullivan, is that most GOPers don’t think they can defeat Klobuchar. The Governor’s seat was open in 2002. WATCH: If Hegseth is knocked out early, he is more likely to consider a primary run, if he hangs on for a few hours of balloting, he may try to block an endorsement so that he can go to a primary. Establishment GOPers of 2012, sound a lot like those of 1994 when Allen Quist was endorsed over sitting Gov. Arne Carlson when talking about the Ron Paul supporter insurgence.. TWITTER: The best place to follow the convention is likely to be Twitter. The Star Tribune’s Rachel Stassen-Berger has compiled a list of those tweeting from the convention. HERE: http://bit.ly/LVQLsz
RADIO: Every morning at 6:20 Blois Olson previews the morning take on WCCO 830 AM with Dave Lee (@radiodavelee).
PRIESTS: via news advisory, TODAY: “A group of 80 former Catholic priests who collectively devoted more than 1,000 years of service to the Catholic Church is speaking out against the proposed marriage amendment in Minnesota. As we are now free to express our opinions openly, we are calling on all people of good will to exercise their fundamental right to follow their consciences and resist excluding any of God’s children from marrying the person he or she loves…A number of former Catholic priests, all of whom are well respected within the religious community, will speak out as to why they are opposing the amendment and discuss efforts to organize others within the Catholic faith.” WHEN: 10 AM at the Lake Harriet Shelter (adjacent to the Bandshell)
NATIONAL: Rep. Chip Cravaack yesterday was the quote of the day on airport security in multiple national media outlets. Via Politico, VERBATIM: “The next 9/11-like attack involving a plane will come from the ground — not through airport security — a Republican congressman and former airline pilot told a top TSA official…Rep. Chip Cravaack, a commercial airline pilot for 17 years, said at a Wednesday hearing that he’s gotten several calls telling him that security around airplanes on the ground “is a joke… “I’m going to tell you right now: The next incident will come from the ground; it’s going to come from the shadow of the aircraft. It’s not going to go through the passenger terminal,” Cravaack told John Sammon, assistant administrator of TSA’s Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement… Cravaack said because of his aviation background, people have called him to express worries about ground-side security. “Would it surprise you, sir, if I told you that several people — both pilots and ground personnel — have told me the security around the aircraft, coming from outside sources, is a joke?” he asked Sammon.” READ: http://politi.co/KSCP35
DAYTON: Gov. Mark Dayton will convene a regular meeting of his cabinet commissioners. Tonight, Dayton, joined by Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and Minnesota National Guard Major General David Elicerio, will recognize the City of Saint Paul as it officially becomes a “Beyond the Yellow Ribbon” Community at the Saint Paul Saints home opener. Later, Governor Dayton will speak at the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Awards Dinner and present his proclamation declaring May 17, 2012 as ‘Hobey Baker Memorial Award Day’ to the 2012 Hobey Baker award recipient, Jack Connelly, of University of Minnesota-Duluth.
RADIO: For the first time since 1976, MPR will not be covering the state political conventions live.
STADIUM: via a trusted source, PATCHTHRU: In Minneapolis last night a “patch-through” call on the stadium offering anyone opposed the stadium an opportunity to be connected with their council member. SPECULATION: Calls were being generated by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.
SPOOF: In a series of three videos posted on YouTube, a user named MN Voter has created animated videos that mock the positions of the three GOP candidates for US Senate. These are clearly partisan, but worth a watch if you need to laugh. HEGSETH: http://bit.ly/JlAuJY BILLS: http://bit.ly/JynxTr SEVERSON: http://bit.ly/Ko8AyV
1200+: Since yesterday morning the Facebook group to save the dolphins at the MN Zoo has grown to more than 1200 supporters. The group was featured on Fox 9 news last night. WATCH: http://bit.ly/Jym27L
BIRTHDAYS: Star Tribune’s Lori Sturdevant, new mom and AP reporter Martiga Lohn, GOP operative Andy Post
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