NewsNight Minnesota; 4147; NewsNight Minnesota Episode from 05/14/1997; SD-Base
NEWSNIGHT Minnesota is a production of Katy CA with the stations of Minnesota Public Television.
Tonight on NEWSNIGHT. A.B. and Wisconsin Energy. Sounds great together but it's not music to the kids ears. Toxic clouds of chemicals wafting over Minneapolis the final report on health effects.
Four year they've resisted a publicly funded new ballpark. Now the citizens form says Yeah you betcha we need it. And historic homes should your Rambler be hanging in a museum somewhere. It's NEWSNIGHT for Wednesday May 14. Tonight's broadcast of NEWSNIGHT Minnesota's presented in part by Norwest banks contributing to the growth of the Twin Cities to support and community service.
Good evening and welcome to NEWSNIGHT. I'm Kathy words are from historic homes to new ballparks. Just ahead. But first we go right to Ken Stone with a roundup of the day's headlines.
Thanks Kathleen it's a win for the St. Paul Lawson software has signed a letter of intent to move from Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul and build a new high rise for their headquarters. St. Paul companies would also expand into the new office building to be completed by 1909. About 1000 people would work there. A setback for NSP is attempt to merge with Wisconsin Energy the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington will not allow the merger to go ahead Not yet. It says the union as presently planned would give too much market control to the combined company known as primary. But the two utilities have three months to come up with a way to make sure that there is enough competition in the upper Midwest and if a federal administrative law judge approves that plan the merger would get the nod from the feds. Meanwhile another important ruling for A.P. the State Court of Appeals says that it will not have to keep searching for an alternative site for this nuclear waste. However the Prairie Island Indian community is thinking of appealing to the state Supreme Court. Their land is less than a mile from the storage cask at the Prairie Island nuclear plant. More than 16 million dollars that's how much in loans grants and other assistance has been given out so far to victims of the floods in 1907. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency no total yet on how many hundreds of millions of dollars in damage was done. Meanwhile the problem in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks is how to get rid of all the garbage. Officials say the water is still too high to do much about it. They want to dig a new landfill that would hold much of it. Also today Fire officials say they think they know what caused the downtown Grand Forks fire they believe it was started it started rather between the lower and first floor of the security building when water hit electrical equipment. But there may have been other factors also. The investigation continues and the independent team of scientists says secret biological warfare test conducted in Minnesota during the 1950s did not cause any long term health problems during the Cold War the Army sprayed zinc cadmium sulfide in civilian areas without telling anyone. One place that was sprayed was the Clinton School in Minneapolis. Several people who attended that school believe their exposure caused birth defects in their children and other health problems. But today after two years of study a committee of scientists determined even in the worst case scenario the amount of exposure to the chemical was well within safe levels.
The results do not indicate that any adverse health effect should have resulted from that. And they can seek other explanations for the health problem.
The study was ordered by Congress after a Newsnight investigation uncovered details of that secret test program. University of Minnesota basketball player Courtney James is going to go to trial July 28 but maybe not here in the Twin Cities. James was in court today for pretrial motions he's accused of domestic assault by his former girlfriend. He has pleaded not guilty. A lawyer for the basketball standout says that he wants the trial moved out of the Twin Cities and kept those are the headlines from around the state.
All right thank you Ken. Well just four days left in the legislative session supposedly But even with adjournment approaching there was a strange a lull in the action at the Capitol today. Our political reporter is standing by. Well Mike earlier this week a couple of the major conference committees were bogged down in thinking of taxes in K-12 funding. Any movement.
Not really Cathy. The K-12 funding conference committee is the real problem because the governor says he won't sign any of the major bills until he gets his tax credits one hundred fifty million dollars worth for education. And at least for now that those tax credits are not in the K-12 bill and that's what's holding things up with the tax conference committee as well. And you know you mentioned there's sort of a lull that's because these conference committees are working and there's not a whole lot of business left to be done on the floor of the House or the Senate. But there was one thing that happened today. You know Mayor Norm Coleman of St. Paul has been pushing for a new hockey arena to lure an NHL team back to Minnesota and he's looking this year for a six point five million dollar downpayment on about a 60 million dollar payment for the arena next year. That was supposed to come up in the Senate today on a bonding bill but it didn't. Instead that hockey arena money has been linked to money for a convention center in Minneapolis maybe as much as 35 million dollars. The Minneapolis legislator saw the money going to St. Paul and said wait a minute we want some of that too. And now there's word that some more rural Minnesota lawmakers may be seeing the money going to the Twin Cities and they may want some of that money too so that's kind of how things get linked up here. The whole thing led Republican Dick day of overtime to to renew his call for slot machines at Canterbury Park.
I have a vehicle and I think it was Sen. Pappas and senator Anderson. I stated that I had six and a half million dollars to build an arena for the city of St. Paul I just made the presentation and it wouldn't cost anybody in the state any tax dollars. And both of those people voted against. I'm sure we could even come up with a few extra bucks to do something for Minneapolis and their convention center also if we could finally get the majority leader and I don't know where he's at but if we could get him on board on this thing. I don't think we'd have a problem around here.
And so the train cars are hooking up there in the Senate I guess the question is whether that twin stadium bill will get hooked into that package and maybe there will be some new life for those Canterbury downs slot machines.
It looks good in the Senate or it could pass the Senate though my correct. But the house is another matter for slots at Canterbury.
That's that's for sure there are definitely more votes for it in the Senate than in the house.
Let's talk about minimum wage.
We hear that the bill is on its way to the governor right the House passed it today it's the same bill that was passed by the Senate yesterday. Basically it would be about the federal minimum wage that passed last year. It just does that for the state too for big businesses but it would also give a raise to waiters and waitresses and employees at small companies that's not addressed in the federal legislation. It's unclear now whether the governor will sign this bill or not in the past he's vetoed the minimum wage twice. But that was when the minimum wage went higher than the rest of the country in Minnesota.
And so it's an open question now the governor is looking at the bill and he'll make a decision in a few days probably chatted a little bit about this yesterday about the potential for a special session but you know there isn't there always a threat of a special session at the end of each session.
It sure seems like it and I was talking to somebody about that today it always seems like there's this headline special session looms right within the past few last few days of the session. There's still a lot of time to get something worked out. But I think everybody is saying that this education issue is kind of tough because it's hard to compromise there's really not the support in the House or Senate for the kind of tax policy the governor is calling for.
And a final question about the Defense of Marriage Act. You mentioned that the minimum wage will be going to the governor. Well this as well this bill.
Yes it is it will be part of the Health and Human Services bill that goes to the governor. And this again would basically ban Minnesota from recognizing same sex marriages that took place in other states. You know even opponents of this in the gay community say that it doesn't really change Minnesota law. They feel it's just sort of a slap in the face and they don't like it. Supporters of it say that it's designed to protect marriage and make the state very clear that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
All right. Good job. Thank you. OK. Let's send it back over to Ken Stone for more on that stadium debate.
Yeah after months of debate about that new baseball stadium one point is clear the majority of Minnesotans hate the idea of taxpayers footing the bill.
Something we discovered first hand back in January at a meeting of the Minnesota citizens forum citizens forum is a joint venture of the Star Tribune and Newsnight that brings together average folks from around the state to talk about the issues of the day and the overwhelming sentiment then was no tax money for a stadium. We brought the same group together this weekend. We heard the same message but then we heard something new.
On the very same day that lawmakers were shooting down various financing plans for a new stadium. Our citizens seem to be doing the same thing downstairs in the state Capitol cafeteria.
The ticket tax the player income tax the memorabilia tax and the stadium sales tax.
It's going to drive up the cost of going to a game. Which is something I think we none of us want to see we want to keep that down.
The game my average wage earners who don't have the might of a traditional tax anyhow citizen said no to virtually every tax option including an increase in the cigarette tax but will take the role. But while lawmakers up stairs were also voting down gambling as a way to pay for a new stadium our citizens downstairs came to a dramatically different conclusion.
Video slots at Canterbury Park how many would be in favor of finding a stadium with those funds.
Nine out of the 12 citizens supported video slots at Canterbury Park take a tax payer income tax.
Memorabilia tax it's all just another tax. What we came up with originally was let's get away from where it's not a taxable income that pays for it. But it's something different. In this video slot idea. Does that. Set it up so we can afford the stadium and not use tax dollars.
As long as we can get the money from video slots to pay for it. I say go ahead.
But citizens were nervous about expanding gambling too much. They were also asked if instead of video slots they would support a state run casino in the Twin Cities.
And building a casino in the metropolitan area. How many would be in favor of that as an option.
Not. Slots at Canterbury were a bit easier to swallow in part because citizens feel that Canterbury Park slots would mostly take business away from mystically Casino which is located just a few miles down the road.
Putting in a Canterbury Park you are actually not tapping that much into. A new. Population of game to gamblers.
You're going to be taking away from the existing casinos in that area probably a little bit more because the shock of the mid-market and tribe is so small with less than three hundred unrolled members Mystic Lake reportedly pays each tribal member more than a half a million dollars a year in casino profits.
Well if they have to go down from 60000 a month 20000 a month that'll be a tough break but.
Not everyone supported the idea of video shots at Canterbury.
My viewpoint hasn't changed from. January where I felt that the state shouldn't get involved with. The. Entertainment business. And then I consider the twins to be a business and if they. Aren't able to handle their business and because they're paying too high of salaries. Then they need to look at. And. Figure out a way to make it a viable business. And. I just don't feel that we as taxpayers.
Whether we're doing it with our taxes or gambling receipts or whatever should be helping the business of entertainment.
Period. Lawmakers up stairs might want to take note. In January the citizens hated the idea of bailing out a billionaire owner and millionaire players. Consider this exchange between one citizen and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities commissions Bill Lester.
Isn't the public then responsible for all these off wages salaries as time goes on. And you know they're not going to drop the salaries are going to drop and they're going to keep increasing. So when that come right out of the revenue we're going to be generating for the public.
You know the salaries that they pay those players that's indefensible I will not even try to try and defend that because you're right. Now you say I was going to answer your question is a good one. Yes the money will go towards paying all salaries and their their argument the team's argument is that's the only way they're going to get to be competitive.
That was in January. We asked our citizens what had changed. Well I don't like bailing out millionaires and billionaires they like the idea of losing the Twins even less.
I forgot that I once had this mindset. That said the salaries are ridiculous. This industry is gone wacky and we should not. Hate to perpetuate it across the country even if it started here somebody should stop it. But when the alternative came up or. Entertainment dollars were simply going to shift. From going to. Entity A2 and to keep B that would then pay for the stadium so that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area could still have. A major sports team here. I think that justifies it in my mind.
There's nothing we can do about the fact that baseball is broke. That's not something that can be dealt with on the state level. We've come up with a way to deal with our immediate problem.
I just feel that we are. Not taxing people. It is something that they're going to be doing on their own. The money that's coming from that is going to be able to facilitate. It. I think that's the big difference there.
I think our consensus originally was not to use tax dollars in this video slot idea. Does. Sets it up so we can afford the stadium and not use tax dollars.
Now there was a one tax that our citizens did approve of a surcharge on player's income tax but that would raise less than 2 million bucks a year price tag for the stadium now somewhere around 400 million dollars. Now after our partner in the Citizens forum of the Star Tribune ran their piece in the paper this morning we got a call from the shack up and Shakopee Sioux headquarters. They want to respond to what some of the citizens had to say.
William Hardaker is a tribal attorney for the mid walk in Sioux which owns the Mystic Lake Casino and shocked me. Thanks for coming. One of the things I know that you objected to off the bat was the presumption that all the casino profits are going to individual members and that nothing is being done as far as infrastructure as far as the community such as what's happening up in LAX.
Ken there's generally a major misconception about Indian tribes and. About tribal government and one of the most important things that people need to understand is that these are governments and that the gaming revenues are government revenues and they are used for government purposes and it Shaka be the tribe since 1990 has spent over 100 million dollars on government infrastructure. These this infrastructure is taken care of before there is any individual payments made to members the tribe has a state of the art daycare facility called Play works. It provides a quality low cost daycare facility. The tribe also has a state of the art recreation facility that has a hockey rink. That is the home ice to the prior Lake High School hockey team and youth hockey. So it's it's a misconception that Indian tribes are always working against. And clearly there is a great deal of money spent on government infrastructure.
Now that tribal government has always said how much money that we paid individual tribal members is no one's business it's our own private income it's their private income. But it is a lot of money there's no dispute about that. And that does work against you in the public perception people are sitting there saying you know they've got more money than they know what to do with. What's your argument to those citizens who is like well we don't like Carl Pohlad that much but they got a lot of money too.
Ken it's truly a private matter for the tribe you know to to to have that information the tribe has a policy that it will not confirm or deny any published amounts of money that individuals may or may not get. I don't think we know what the Polaroids wealth is. And certainly it's a matter of private information and it's really nobody's business and it's irrelevant to the argument.
But you do have a PR battle here and I would find it interesting that the citizen said we do not want a state run casino in the metro area that would create new gambling. But it's not that bad to put a place just a few miles away from Mystic Lake where it would basically just shift some money around. I mean what's your argument against that.
Well can the tribes have taken a pretty strong position that this is an expansion of gaming the state of Minnesota presently doesn't operate. A casino doesn't operate a casino with slot machines or blackjack and that is clearly clearly an expansion of gaming.
If the show got you the argument is that it's only going to hurt one tribe probably not that much. And it's not going to hurt the other Indian casinos elsewhere around the state which are not doing clearly as well because they're so small a population base.
And if the issue is that successful individuals should pay for the stadium then people should be looking to Carl Pohlad to build the stadium. And again this is an expansion of gaming. If the tribe had purchased Canterbury downs and wanted to put fifteen hundred slot machines there people would be screaming this is an expansion of gaming and I think that it's pretty clear that this opens the floodgates. In the event that the state legislature authorizes slot machines at Canterbury Park within two or three years how is the legislature going to say no to the Vikings say no to the NHL hockey team. Say no to resort owners up in northern Minnesota. We're saying no to the bar owners on Main Street Minnesota within two or three years we will likely have neighborhood gambling.
All right thanks a lot. Thank you. And Kathy That's it for me. Over to you.
All right thank you. Pop quiz time. What do the Stillwater lift bridge a shipwreck near Duluth and the Albert Lea State Bank have in common according to the preservation alliance of Minnesota. Each is on the group's top 10 endangered historic properties list for 1997. The list was released today conjunction with historic preservation Week activities. Each of the sites are in danger of demolition or destruction fetes many old buildings face across the state.
Obviously the House has been neglected. It's caving in on itself. It's been boarded up in vacant since I believe 1986 so it's been over 10 years and nobody is if you have even been in the house either lived in or worked on it.
It's a tragedy. Just off of busy West seventh Street in St. Paul's stands this decaying old house one of Minnesota's top ten endangered historic properties. The Mannheim are good kind of mansion dating back to 1974.
It was owned by two prominent businessmen. MANHEIMER and good kind on a very prominent dry goods store that eventually was bought out by Dayton's and 1960. So they were very primitive businessmen but also I think this house has another side to it it was also a boarding house for the common people actually I think lived here so it was. Wint with a very prominent businessman as well as the common people in town.
The old house is one of only a few Second Empire style buildings left standing in St. Paul.
But for us this property represents many properties statewide that have been neglected by their owners and basically left to rot on their sites. At some point. You just can't bring a property back in your state where it's going to have to be demolished and we're hoping this isn't the case for this house. We hope someone will take this challenge and it will be a big challenge.
There are huge challenges. The structure itself is going out right from the middle.
The sagging might not be surprising this little Greek Revival style house is thought to be one of the oldest in St. Paul dating back to 1850.
And this is the arrival of of of St. Paul's boom town development where houses were being constructed literally hundreds a week as emigrants reporting into the city. And there really aren't very many houses like this that represent that era left in the in the Twin Cities. But aside from a couple of Minneapolis.
Sure of the time. The fact that it was the most common structure of its day and the fact that there are so few left.
Also support our idea that serving time Schroeder in Andrea marble are members of the upper town preservation early acclaim an all volunteer group dedicated to saving and restoring this 140 year old home.
Let's go into the front of the house this is the original circa 1850s portion of the house.
The group bought the home for a buck but figures it'll cost at least $100000 to renovate. Money that's tough to come by.
It's been hard to raise money to preserve a piece of our history which is very typical of the kind of houses that were all over this area and this we think is probably one of the very first ones in this whole neighborhood. And so we find it very fascinating and very telling of our background and the families that came here before we did. But to someone who doesn't value that it's hard to make the case.
The hope is to fix up this little piece of history then sell it to a qualified buyer. So Ford has already been done like peeling away layers of old siding but the home's future remains unclear.
I've worried about it since I first laid eyes on it in 1992. It's a real time capsule and I think there's not a single member of the upper town preservation league that hasn't felt a tremendous amount of frustration sometimes even anger. A tremendous amount of guilt. But overall a lot of responsibility because we all know and really believe that when this Howitzer if this house is lost a real vestige of our past is gone and we feel a responsibility to preserve it for future generations.
Joining us now to talk about this issue Dick Mo a Minnesota native who is now the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Welcome back Dick. Thank you nice to be here Jack Well you had day you saw a little bit of history there with the MANHEIMER mansion on West 7th Street it's a poet you know you saw today. I did. So should all historic old buildings stand. Are there instances where a building's time has come and gone.
Not all old buildings deserve to be saved. We start from that premise but there are many old buildings that that should be saved. And I was very touched by that story of that group in upper town trying to save that old house that has to be one of the oldest houses in St. Paul. That is definitely we're saving it's not just part of the state's history. It's part of that neighborhood and these people. One hundred fifty years later what I can relate to it and that's really preservation of its best so that definitely deserves to be preserved.
But it's a tough sell. It's a time to raise money and they're having a tough time doing it.
Absolutely. But they will do it. And we're going to get in touch with them and see if we can help.
What about preservationists you've heard about you've heard this criticism before preservationists are inflexible. You've heard people who maybe have a historic property say Well look I like to fix it up but you get these preservations in there and they mock the whole thing up.
That's true. I'm not sure that that may have been true at one time and sometimes preservations deserve that kind of image. But the longer we're flexible we're trying to get results we're practical. We try to bring common sense to these issues. Not every old building should be saved we try to use modern economic tools to to save them. Working with that with all kinds of different groups so preservation has changed a lot. Preservation may not be what you think it is. It's not just saving marvelous old single buildings but it's trying to use preservation as a tool to revitalize older neighborhoods like frogged out here and they bluff and other other older neighborhoods which can be brought back and and brought to life by by realizing the potential of the historic structures in those neighborhoods.
Harking back to this community group in the Upper Town neighborhood of St. Paul is an all volunteer group trying to raise money for this little house but I'm curious the role of government in preservation. Should there be tax incentives to help folks rehab their old house.
Definitely one of the things we're working on right now is to try to get a federal historic rehabilitation tax credit for historic homeowners. It would parallel the existing tax credit for income producing properties and there's very strong bipartisan support for this. It could help neighborhoods all over Minnesota. There's something something like seven national seventy National Register districts in Minnesota that could benefit from this. So sometimes that kind of credit is helpful. The state legislature is now considering tax increment financing for historic districts that would be helpful. Takes different forms but yeah we need that.
Final question for you. I know you have a personal passion for preservation. Why.
I love history. And I come from Minnesota and I love Minnesota history and that's why I came came back here during preservation week to try to celebrate some of this history. We can we can read history but we can't really understand history until we see it and feel it walk through it and learn from it. The built environment is our collective memory and it relates us to our past and it tells us where we came from and therefore where we're going. So it's it's important that we preserve the best of our past.
All right Dick not always a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you Cathy. All right. Well you have some comments on tonight's show or sand or call or e-mail them our way. Finally tonight the weather forecast and while we're not supposed to give our own personal take on the news. I called this news pretty bad. Cloudy in the eastern half of Minnesota with highs in the north east only reaching the mid 40s. Partly sunny in the West highs only getting into the mid 50s in what is usually the warmest part of the state it will be the southwest that brings NEWSNIGHT to a close tonight.
Thank you very much for tuning in.
Minnesota is made possible by the contributors to the Palmer of two campaigns program front with major grants from the London Foundation and the mid-night foundation.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- NewsNight Minnesota
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- This episode features a report on exposure to toxic chemicals in Minneapolis, a report about K-12 funding from the state capitol, a segment on funding for the Minnesota Twins new stadium, an interview with ?tribal attorney? representing the Mystic Lake Casino, a segment on historic preservation is also included that looks at architecturally-significant, but abandoned structures in St. Paul. Then an in-studio interview is included with Richard Moe from the National Trust about historic preservation issues.
- Minnesota's statewide news program which aired from 1994 to 2001. Hosted by Lou Harvin, Ken Stone, Mary Lahammer and Jim Neumann.
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Guest: Moe, Richard
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- APA: NewsNight Minnesota; 4147; NewsNight Minnesota Episode from 05/14/1997; SD-Base. Boston, MA: Twin Cities Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_77-322bwssq