BWCA BETRAYAL: Local enviros were outraged but not surprised Monday to learn that the U.S. SenateEnvironment and Natural Resources Committee had canceled a Twin Cities hearing on expanding motorized access to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. A metro hearing, accessible to Minnesota's environmentalist base, had been promised by committee chair Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) after Minnesota's Rod Grams unilaterally called a hearing this summer in International Falls, where development advocates are more numerous. Senate Republicans said the cancellation was done to save taxpayer money, but one Paul Wellstone aide says, "all that amounts to is plane fare for two or three Senate staffers to fly out." The real reason? Politics--Grams didn't want to be dragged to a hostile hometown Senate committee hearing, especially during the same weekend that draconian budget cuts would be settled in congressional reconciliation committees.
WE KNOW WHAT MATTERS: Interesting scene at Minneapolis City Hall last Thursday: while the media hordes panted after City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes's hot pursuit of a publicly financed hockey team, Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton was all but ignored, even as she corralled both sides in the bus strike into her office and jawboned them into resuming negotiations. Score it Circuses 1, Bread 0. The good news: Insiders say that Cherryhomes told the suits she so has so arduously courted that no direct city money would be available for a puck deal.
POLITICALLY INDECISIVE: The oft-ridiculed Star Tribune, whose decision last year to ban Native American nicknames from its sports pages was widely mocked, backpedaled a bit in the face of the current Cleveland Indians-Atlanta Braves World Series. "Indians" and "Braves" are still taboo for sportswriters, but the paper decided that a script version of "Indians" could appear in place of Cleveland's hideously grinning logo, Chief Wahoo. According to sportswriters at the paper, editors had decided to allow Wahoo after using a crude "C" logo at the start of the post-season; apparently Strib "team leaders" came to their senses after realizing that banning a word but not a more outrageous cartoon made no sense. Instead, they opted for the lesser double standard of allowing the Native American synonym to be drawn, but not written.
GANGSTER DISCIPLES: A couple of loose ends from the Million Man March: In a story that got prominent play in D.C. but no coverage locally, the Washington Times reported that "10 buses of gangs from Minneapolis and St. Paul" were among march attendees. No telling if the Times, funded by the right-wing Unification Church, was furthering an anti-March agenda, but the paper did quote a source, Rahim Jenkins of the Southeast Righteous Men's Commission. Jenkins, whose group reportedly negotiates gang truces, termed the March "a celebration for the gangs." Perhaps the complications of the event explain why the Strib was not brave enough to write an editorial the day after the March, waiting perhaps until bolder opinion writers made their evaluations.