Off Beat

The End of the Civil War Was Near...

Addressing an Insurance Federation of Minnesota luncheon on September 29, Carleton College political science professor and MPR pundit Steven Schier uncorked a prediction that Republican gubernatorial nominee Norm Coleman would lose his bid for governor because his campaign "was being run by F Troop." Coleman wasn't visible enough before the primary, hurting him in the polls, Schier elaborates. And which F Trooper is Coleman most closely emulating? Probably Capt. Parmenter, Schier quips. "He's been clueless." Coleman campaign director Chris Georgacas (would he be Sgt. O'Rourke or Cpl. Agarn?) isn't ready to fly the white flag over Fort Coleman: "Steve is a good friend, and he well knows that campaigns take a lot of twists and turns."

What Liberal Media Bias?

Meanwhile, on the local radio dial, DFL nominee Skip Humphrey is losing the race. At KSTP-AM, morning maven Babs Carlson and straight-talkin' Joe Soucheray have given the on-air nod to Coleman. Jason Lewis has gotten into the act as well, asserting that a vote for his man, Jesse Ventura, amounts to a vote against Coleman. Program director Steve Konrad says the station's only non-Normer is nighthawk Tom Mischke, who has an affinity for the Body. On KFAN, Ventura's once-and-possibly-future bully pulpit, morning man Bob Yates and afternoon staples Chad Hartman and Dan Barreiro are staying neutral at the mic. But according to Yates's sidekick Jeff Dubay, Paul Allen, in the studio to help Dubay fill Ventura's chair, has voiced support for Jesse both on the air and off. Naturally, KQ's Tommy B is in Norm's corner. And over at WCCO, George Chapple, a.k.a. Dark Star, has gone so far as to give on-air advice about how to donate to the Coleman campaign. In fact, as revealed in last week's Politics in Minnesota newsletter, Chapple is on the books himself for $500. "Nothing speaks louder than money and morals," he tells Off Beat. Muses Humphrey campaign spokeswoman Tammy Lee: "Let's face it, there aren't a lot of liberal talk-show hosts. In terms of those who actually do the news, we have a broader support. But none of them are allowed to contribute to our campaign."

Smart Shopper

Amy Klobuchar may have been out-fundraised 2:1 by Sheryl "Moneybags" Ramstad Hvass in the race for Hennepin County attorney, but last week she did manage a coup of sorts. On Thursday Klobuchar's moniker graced the marquee of the city-owned State Theatre, along with the slogan "THE NEXT HENNEPIN COUNTY ATTORNEY." And how did the DFL candidate get her name in lights downtown? She shelled out 75 bucks. Fred Krohn, whose nonprofit Historic Theatre Group runs the State for the city, says anyone can rent the theater's lobby space on nights when no show is scheduled, and the Klobuchar campaign ponied up for a fundraiser. In addition to the standard $300 fee for the State's second-floor lobby, Krohn explains, Klobuchar had the option of spending $75 for a day's worth of signage rights. "We've had fundraisers here for all political stripes," he reports, adding that as near as he can remember, all comers have opted to pay extra for the marquee. "They can't say 'Please vote for...' or anything like that," he notes. "But they can do a limited message of their own choosing."

Drivers' Ed: The Bus Edition

It's hard to find good help these days. That certainly appears to be the case at Metro Transit, where bus drivers can't be trusted to drive where they're told. After noticing a smattering of laminated cardboard signs that blare, "METRO TRANSIT BUSES DO NOT ENTER" on street corners around North Minneapolis, Off Beat wondered whether bus company honchos are so desperate they're hiring drivers who are unable to find their way from bus stop to bus stop. Well, sort of. "Some neighbors called and said buses were cutting through the neighborhoods," explains spokesman Bob Gibbons. "We determined that drivers who were heading back to one of our garages might have been trying to take a shortcut." Besides the signs, which Gibbons says will be coming down shortly, the department has issued a bulletin and alerted supervisors.

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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