Off the record, SA opponents say McDonald is acting as a shill for the company, then point to financial statements her re-election committee filed in Hennepin County for 1997 in which both SA attorney Keane and developer Lander are listed as contributors. When asked if Keane's $150 contribution or Lander's $200 puts her in the corporation's pocket, McDonald bristles. "I think that's a cheap shot on the part of some people with a political agenda," she says. "I don't have a dog in this fight and I'm not falling on a sword
McDonald also points out that many others living in East Harriet donated money to her campaign, including at least one resident who lives within 100 feet of SA. The council member certainly doesn't object to expansion; however, constituents at Wednesday's meeting made it clear that going out on a limb for SA would be more political liability than asset for her.
Still, SA has no plans to retreat. If they can't get what they want now, they'll wait: for Lynch's group to change their minds; for a couple of them to move; for sympathizers to convince their friends on the neighborhood association to exert pressure on the holdouts. Both McDonald and Keane hope that even the most stubborn naysayers will finally see the light: that one bigger, better store would be more tidy and less troublesome than the two properties SA has no plans of abandoning or sprucing up.
"I was hoping after all of this they'd leave us alone," Lynch said wearily and somewhat warily after Wednesday's meeting. "But I doubt they'll go away.
Intern Miki Ann Mosman contributed to this story.