The McDonald Affair

Thr Strib's Dubious Timing Puts it on the Wrong Side of Another Local Pol

THE STAR TRIBUNE still hasn't recovered from bad PR over its printing a picture of state Senate candidate John Derus with a story about charity fraud last fall on the day of a hotly contested primary election--a goof Derus still contends cost him the election.

Now the Strib stands accused of running a story damaging to City Council member Lisa McDonald on the morning of a crucial endorsing convention in her ward. (Under an unwritten journalistic rule, newspapers aren't supposed to run stories that could clearly impact an election without giving candidates time to respond.)

The story itself was interesting, if no bombshell. It noted that "eyebrows [had] been raised in City Hall" by McDonald's advocacy for proposals that would benefit two prominent supporters, Sam and Sylvia Kaplan. Sam Kaplan is a downtown attorney who's been one of Sen. Paul Wellstone's top advisers; his wife, Sylvia, owns the New French Cafe. The Kaplans don't live in the 10th Ward, but have donated money to McDonald's campaign and serve as honorary chairs of her committee. The raised eyebrows came when McDonald sponsored an ordinance to reduce the parking fees collected by the city from restaurant owners such as Kaplan for curb space used for valet parking.

McDonald opponents acknowledge having tried to feed the information to the Star Trib for at least a week before the convention, but even they were surprised by the story's timing. Editor Tim McGuire was quoted in the next day's Strib, saying that the paper "regrets" the move, and that it was a "miscommunication among reporters and editors." As of this writing the paper was engaged in damage-control discussions with McDonald and the Kaplans. On the theory that you don't need a conspiracy when you've got incompetence, we suspect that part of the paper's problem is simply its penchant for hiring out-of-town careerists: Whoever made decisions Friday night didn't know enough to realize there was a convention--just as whoever ran the Derus mug didn't recognize one of this town's most prominent politicians.

Q LIVES ON

AS DEADLINE APPROACHED, we received confirmation that Q Monthly founding editor Rick Nelson will continue as the paper's editor. On Tuesday Nelson accepted an offer to stay on in his previous capacity at Q, the gay/lesbian paper that was acquired by Stern Publishing last week as part of its deal to purchase the Twin Cities Reader; Nelson will also be a featured contributor to City Pages.

SERVERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

JOBS ACTIVISTS WERE going for the photo ops Tuesday, showing up in black bottoms and white tops ("We're Black and White and We're Right") at the state Senate Jobs, Energy, and Community Development Committee hearing as it debated whether to let waiters and waitresses get a raise. Turns out that though Congress last year raised the minimum wage to $4.75, the Carlson administration has refused to enforce the law for workers who also get tips, heeding hospitality-industry claims that those workers are already making more than enough money. State Sen. Randy Kelly (DFL-St. Paul) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) have introduced bills to make the state treat tipped employees the same as everyone else. But restaurant owners have lobbied hard to keep servers' minimum wage below the federal limit in a campaign called "Tips are Wages." Advocates claim companies are keeping a total of $72 million a year that by law belong to servers.

LITTLE VICTORY FOR ACORN

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE power of music. Last week, ACORN, the activist group for low- and moderate-income people, claimed a minor victory in its year-long skirmish with Norwest Bank. The bank recently announced it will lower the price of its money orders, and ACORN organizer Jordan Ash thinks Christmas spirit was part of the equation. "We went caroling at CEO Richard Kovacevich's home," he reports gleefully, "and sang songs like 'On the First Day of Christmas, Norwest gave to me, a $21 bounced check fee.'" Ash and other ACORN members maintain that Norwest rigs prices for money orders and bounced checks to discourage poor people and minorities from becoming clients. "When you can get money orders for 29-59 cents each at grocery and convenience stores, and then see that Norwest has been charging $3 apiece, it's not hard to imagine the intent," says Ash. CP

PUBLIC DOMAIN

Anagrams used to be one of those road trip
pastimes. But now with the wonders of the computer, thousands of letter combinations are available at the touch of a button. Our favorite anagram-generator can be found at (www.genius2000.com/anagram.html). Here are some of our favorite anagrams:

Norm Coleman

Clean moron man

Alarm on con men

Anal 'n' commoner

Amoral 'n' con men

Male corn on man

Carnal men moon

Non-roman camel

No cornmeal man

Normal once man

Roman clone man

Loner 'n' moan cam

Amen! Clan moron

Colon 'n' mean arm

Sharon Sayles Belton

Honorably. Staleness.

Boneless, anal shorty

Analyses on brothels

Banally hot soreness

Hosanna! Let's! Soberly.

Hell annoys boasters.

Honorless 'n' a beastly

Hen as sensory ballot

By assholes learn not.

To all horny baseness

Shy on saleable snort

Loony arses blast hen

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