“Whenever someone worries about the fate of Minnesota if the Vikings were to leave, I like to point to NFL-free places such as Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, with their vibrant cultures for young adults and growing populations.”—In today’s commentary, Jim Foti says the debate over a new football stadium and a massive public investment makes no sense
Young and underwater, homeowners face tough decisions
Call it the underwater generation.
People in their 30s tend to be more mobile than older Americans, but many who bought homes in 2006 — at the height of the real-estate market — feel stuck. Falling home prices mean many of these young homeowners now owe tens of thousands more than what their houses are worth.
As they ponder career choices or start families, they are sinking under the weight of so-called negative equity.
A recent Pew Research study found that Generation X is more likely than older generations to feel the pinch of underwater mortgages, meaning they owe more than their houses could sell for. Gen Xers are now in their 30s and 40s.
Unlike homebuyers who signed subprime mortgages or purchased more house than they could afford, many of them simply bought at the wrong time.
"Everyone seemed they were buying houses," said Kristi McKinney, of Minneapolis, who became a homebuyer in 2006. "When we told our families, they were like, ‘Yeah you should definitely do that. It’s only going to go up. It’s going to be great!’"
McKinney and her husband, Zeke, were in their mid-20s when they snatched up a modest home in northeast Minneapolis for $209,000. They couldn’t have known they were sitting on the peak of the housing bubble.
Six years later, they figure their home value has dropped by about $50,000. If they wanted to move today, they would have to write a huge check just to cover the loss.
“Third-graders, on average, are 9 years old. And 9-year-olds, on average, are not entirely competent in a lot of ways. I live with one, so I spend lots of time with 9-year-olds. I don’t want them hiring contractors to build bridges, I don’t want them ruling on stadium referendums, and I don’t want them determining how much money our school districts should receive. These are people who can’t even determine their own bedtime.”—In today’s commentary, writer and parent Sarah Lemanczyk thinks there must be a way to test a teacher’s ability to reach a student without relying on the joint performance of 30 third-graders on a standardized test.
Landlord files eviction notice against state Republican Party
From reporter Tom Scheck:
The Minnesota Republican Party has been served eviction papers for its St. Paul office.
Boston-based Hub Properties filed an eviction notice in Ramsey County District Court last week because the party is $96,000 behind in rent.
"Landlord seeks to have Tenant evicted," the court notice said. “Because Tenant is still in possession of the Leased Premises and has failed to pay rent. Landlord further seeks to terminate any right of possession Tenant may claim.”
Mark Cangemi, 9/11 investigator, adopts immigrant teen's cause
This is the story of a boy who came to the United States illegally and the man — a former immigration agent who spent three decades apprehending immigration law violators — who’s trying to help him stay in the U.S.
Minnesota House and Senate pass two abortion-related bills
From reporter Elizabeth Dunbar:
When the Minnesota House and Senate both held floor votes this week on two separate abortion-related bills, they did so as other work — including a healthcare spending bill and a tax bill — remained unfinished.
That prompted criticism from opponents of the abortion measures, who say the Republican-controlled Legislature is too focused on abortion at the expense of the state’s priorities.
The House passed a measure that would require a doctor to be present when a woman receives the abortion pill RU-486. Eight other states have passed similar laws.
The Senate passed legislation that would require clinics that provide abortions to be licensed with the state and be subject to random inspections. About half of states have similar regulations that specifically target abortion clinics.
Last year, the Republican-controlled Legislature sent several bills to Gov. Mark Dayton, including one that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. Dayton, a Democrat, vetoed each bill.
“But for all our citizens - audiences, artists, donors, volunteers, tax-payers, students - this is mainstream arts telling us that the voices and stories and perspective of women and people of color are not important, not relevant, not worth telling, sharing or knowing. The Guthrie has a tremendous amount of talent, resource, and community support with which its artists could be broadening our experience, inspiring us to greater empathy and deeper understanding of ALL the people in our world. And like any theater, they depend on growing and diversifying their audience to thrive. So the continued bias against women and people of color in leadership and authorship is either embarrassingly myopic or willfully negligent.”—
“We’ve done everything we’ve been asked. We negotiated in good faith. We’ve been patient. We put a package together that met the parameters that we were asked. A bill that doesn’t raise taxes, that doesn’t use general fund dollars. A bill that has the Vikings in for half of the costs. I guess I would ask the state, ‘What else would you expect us to do?’”—Vikings vice president Lester Bagley reacts after a key state House committee rejected their proposal for a nearly $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium.
“These helicopters are stirring up that air and hoping to hold at about 27-28 degrees, which is right around that magic number which is where the blossoms will or won’t survive.”—Michael Fleming of Afton Apple Orchard, where they’re using helicopters to counteract a potentially crop-killing frost.
The Minneapolis Target Center and the St. Paul Xcel Energy Center have roughly the same number of seats. They’re located just 10 miles apart. And they’re both in the business of bidding for big-name bands that want to play in Minnesota. Is that competition a good thing?
The stadium bill currently being debated at the state Capitol would do more than build a new home for the Vikings. It would also let Minneapolis use some of its existing local sales taxes to renovate Target Center. That worries St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
"They say, ‘We need to invest $150 million into Target to make it competitive,’" Coleman said. "And the question is ‘competitive against who?’ And the answer is the Xcel."