End of Story

Hours before their final vote on a high-buck proposal to move Lawson Software into new downtown digs, St. Paul's City Council members had yet to see the lease or learn the terms of the deal.

IF YOU WANT to give the St. Paul City Council a piece of your mind about the Lawson Software deal--you know, the $25 million, make that $75 million, no, better make that the $98 million project to entice a Northeast Minneapolis high-tech company to move downtown--you better hurry. The way things look now, the latest and apparently final proposal, with a price tag of $101 million, will be presented sometime July 30. Public comments will be taken at that point; sometime later that night, the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (the City Council wearing a different set of hats) will vote; and that will be that.

Technically, the meeting isn't designated as a public hearing. However, Council members say they won't deny anyone a turn to speak. They also acknowledge that chances are very slim the comments will change the vote. The city has been locked into the Lawson deal, most of them argue, ever since it made an unprecedented commitment to not only subsidize Lawson's move downtown, but build, own, and operate the company's entire corporate headquarters. That was in May. Back then, the City Council voted only on a memorandum of understanding; the specifics, they were promised, would come later. But some of the specifics were still missing 48 hours away from the final vote, 4th Ward City Council member Bobbi Megard complained Monday. "I don't have the lease agreements in hand--they're being finalized. Last week [when city negotiators released the latest proposal], there were four key points that had not yet been negotiated, and I don't know if they'll get those to us. I'm not comfortable in voting for a project like this until I've had a chance to go over all the documents." The way the vote counts looked early this week, few of Megard's colleagues share her caution.

MALL MANNERS

LAST WEEK, HENNEPIN District Court Judge Jack Nordby ruled that the Minnesota Constitution gives people the right to free speech inside the Mall of America, but the megamall has the right to decide where, when, and how protests can be held. The fur protesters arrested in the mall in this case will still face trespassing charges since they didn't have the mall's permission, and Nordby's decision may be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The decision also leaves the door open for dozens of court cases further defining what civil rights extend onto private property when public money is involved, as it was at the Bloomington commercial colossus. Unless the mall changes its policies itself, courts will have to define whether the mall, when assigning the time, place, and manner of protests, will be required to give people access to busy areas during peak hours. What limitations the mall can place on the type of speech will likewise need to be defined. The decision also raises the possibility of protests at sporting events and other activities held in taxpayer-subsidized facilities.

BUY THAT MAN A VOTE!

EVEN AS ENTERPRISING WCCO reporter Pat Kessler was toting up the cash the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Wins have so far spent trying to convince lawmakers and their constituents to back a new outdoor stadium (more than $2 million according to public records consulted by Kessler; more than $700,000 by the team and $1.3 million by the booster organization), Sen. John Marty declined to back the public-stadium referendum being pushed by Rep. Kevin Knight. The Roseville DFLer warns that big-league sports can and have used their deep pockets to change the outcomes of such elections. According to the Seattle Times, Seahawks owner Paul Allen spent nearly $11 million on a June referendum on a new stadium in that city. The $1.7 million spent lobbying the Washington Legislature was the least of the software baron's expenses: Allen paid for the election itself at a cost of $4.2 million and then spent $5 million to fund a media blitz to combat staunch citizen opposition to a $300 million state subsidy. Stadium foes, meanwhile, spent $100,000. The measure squeaked by 51-49.

Public Domain

We asked our computer to "AutoSummarize" the following books of the Bible. It gave us the Gospel according to Microsoft Word:

Matthew: It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. How think ye? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? What think ye?

Mark: When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done?

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