Tape Drive

If a new stadium goes where Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton wants it, the City will pay--again--to move Precision Tapes.

SURE, THERE'S LOTS of hurdles standing between plans for a new Twins stadium and reality. But at least one business slated to be displaced by a new ballpark figures it's close to a done deal, and is asking the city of Minneapolis for cash to help plan a move. Officials at Precision Tapes Inc., a multimedia production firm whose headquarters at 911 S. Second St. are at ground zero for the proposed stadium, have asked Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton for $30,000 to defray the costs of a move. Sources say the suggestion, which came up while Sayles Belton was touring Precision in early July, was politely sidestepped.

But Minneapolis officials concede that if plans to build a stadium along the Mississippi riverfront do go forward, the city will end up shelling out to help Precision move--for the second time. In 1994, the city backed $2.1 million in bonds to move the company to its current location; last December, Precision borrowed another $625,000 to expand the business. Mayoral spokesperson Amy Phoenix says her boss is aware that a new stadium will displace Precision (nearby Liquor Depot will likely also be cleared out) but says those discussions are premature. "At this point, who knows if the Legislature is going to be able to come up with the money? It's kind of out of our hands right now."

CURVE BALL

MINNESOTA WINS, THE organization working to shape public opinion about using tax funds to build a new outdoor Twins stadium, was given a three-month extension by the IRS on its deadline for turning its federal tax returns over to the state attorney general. The organization has been decidedly closed-lipped about its contributors, whom the documents would identify. Minnesota law says charities must file both a return and a nonprofit Form 990 with the attorney general's office six months after the end of its fiscal year--June in Minnesota Wins' case. But the extension gives the organization until the end of September. To say the extension comes at a politically expedient time is an understatement, especially considering this week's announcement that Wins will be taking over much of the legislative lobbying previously done by the Twins organization itself.

FIRE SALE

THE CITY OF Minneapolis's blatant disregard for the racial-discrimination problem within its fire department reached a predictable result last week when U.S. District Court Judge Robert Renner ruled that the city was again in contempt of court for violating the terms of a 25-year-old court order to integrate the MFD. Charged with improperly firing seven minority firefighter cadets last fall (as first reported by CP in April), the city's defense was that the court order was "long-ignored" and "outmoded." Indeed, Judge Renner noted, the city's expert witnesses hadn't even read the court order and were generally unaware of its terms.

The City Council knew of both the impending lawsuit and the department's costly history when it gave MFD Chief Tom Dickinson a positive performance review this spring. The Council also knew that Dickinson had told psychologists evaluating MFD candidates that the department was being infiltrated by gang members, a breach specifically noted by Renner in his decision. In the last five years, minority firefighters have won more than $1 million in judgements against the MFD. Renner's ruling adds attorneys' fees and paid leave for the affected firefighters to costs borne by city taxpayers.

THREE LITTLE WORDS

CANDIDATES FOR Minneapolis city offices are allowed to have three words next to their names on the ballot. So when City Council member Jim Niland received the endorsements of the DFL, Progressive Minnesota, and the Green Party, he decided to follow his name with "DFL-Progressive-Green." But the state Supreme Court recently ruled that Niland could not do so since state law dictates that no candidate may list more than one party designation. City races, however, are supposed to be nonpartisan. The only reason candidates can list even one party is because they're entitled to have any three words on the ballot. Small parties like the Progressives, effectively kept off the ballot in Minnesota, are harmed most by rules against so-called "fusion" candidacies. Come Election Day, Niland's name will appear with only "DFL" behind it. If you're keeping score, tally another for the establishment.

HENNING NAMED CP PUBLISHER

LAST WEDNESDAY, City Pages co-founder and publisher Tom Bartel announced he was resigning from his role as publisher. Associate Publisher Kris Henning, who founded the paper with Bartel in 1979, has been named publisher of City Pages. Bartel will take over the direction of citypages.com, the papers online edition.

PUBLIC DOMAIN

According to a recent issue of Corrections Today, "effective correctional leaders go beyond managerial tasks to adapt to a new paradigm that embraces risk-taking, provides a vision of the future, and fosters cooperation both internal and external to their organizations." That's right--no time to waste quelling riots, debating double bunking, and buying exercise equipment; today's cutting edge correctional-facility manager has a paradigm to shift. More evidence that once the private sector takes over the public realm, anything could happen--even touchy-feely wardens. Excerpts follow:

Encouraging the Heart. A leader should let people know they are appreciated. The leader takes time to celebrate and nurture individual and team accomplishments. Workers seldom bloom in environments where they are not appreciated. One director of a state probation commission was described as one who listens very well. "He gives you his undivided attention," a staff member said... "He's a very nurturing leader."

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