Off Beat

No Parking Anytime Soon

We shudder to think of the implications, but it seems Minneapolis City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes doesn't read City Pages. Cherryhomes swears her idea for a green-space task force to ponder the possibility of a downtown park is in no way a move to squelch colleague Lisa McDonald's Block E park plan ("Greenbacks or Green Space," 9/2). In fact, says Cherryhomes, "I've never seen Lisa's plan for a park on Block E." Of course, she can't actually have seen it: McDonald can't float her plan until Brookfield Management Service's exclusive option on Block E expires. That deadline was recently extended to December 31. While McDonald awaits her chance, Cherryhomes's task force is moving ahead with typical bureaucratic gusto--it has yet to be formed. Cherryhomes says she's waiting to announce details until a new planning director is named. She does say that the group will include members of the public at large; concerned citizens are welcome to express their interest directly to Cherryhomes by calling 673-2205.

It's Only Money--Lots of Money

Meanwhile, there's talk around City Hall that Brookfield, stymied in its attempts to find outside investors, is positioning itself to self-finance the $101-million Block E megaproject. That may explain why the developer has approached the city seeking to renegotiate the terms of one of its other downtown retail meccas, the perennially flaccid Gaviidae Common. City Finance Officer John Moir confirms that Brookfield, which is due to pay the city $32 million in 2002 and another $30 million or so in 2009, wants to pay off some of the debt up front, thus lowering its total financing costs--and, in all likelihood, the city's final take. That Gaviidae dough, Moir notes, is earmarked to provide major funding for the final decade of the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). According to Jackie Cherryhomes, the City Council hasn't discussed this intriguing confluence of Brookfield-related monetary issues. "I would need to see how those pieces fit together, but it's a legitimate concern," she admits. Harold Brandt, president of Brookfield's Midwest division, says the suggestion that his company is trying to get out of what it owes is "patently untrue." Brookfield wants to make the city whole with an up-front payment, he explains; the company and the city are negotiating how much that should be. Confirming that self-financing Block E "is an option," Brandt adds that Brookfield could do so regardless of the outcome of the Gaviidae dealings.

Pay What You Gotta Pay

Garth Brooks may have "Friends in Low Places," but local fans scraped up enough money to buy about 163,000 tickets for his nine shows at the Target Center next week. You'd think that would blunt demand in the local Brooks aftermarket... but no. While scalping is against the law here, it's perfectly legal in Wisconsin; in Hudson, Mike Nowakowski of Ticket King reports "unbelievable demand." Tickets with a face value of $21.50 are going for $150-$250 apiece for the first 10 rows, Nowakowski says, with other lower-level seats fetching $75 or more and the upper level starting at $45. Much like Wall Street, however, the market appears headed for a correction: "We're starting to notice a lot of people with extra tickets, so the market might start to loosen up," the broker reasons.

You Didn't Hear It Here First

"Public media should not contain explicit or implied descriptions of sex acts. Our society should be purged of the perverts who provide the media with pornographic material while pretending to have some redeeming social value under the public's right to know." That statement popped up in a lot of e-mail boxes last week, attributed to Kenneth Starr, who ostensibly uttered it to Diane Sawyer on 60 Minutes in 1987. The quote also found its way into Friday's Strib, in Syl Jones's column. Jones didn't, as they say, confirm or deny its accuracy; several newspapers nationwide have since debunked the tidbit as Internet myth. CBS reportedly has no record of Starr having been on the show.

Off Beat is open for business and accepting tips. Call 372-3788 or e-mail offbeat@citypages.com with any poop (political or otherwise) that's fit to print.

 
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