Minnesota politics is often just too dang polite. Lucky for us, controversy follows Steve Minn... or is that: Steve Minn follows controversy? After five years of playing the loyal (and vocal) opposition on the Minneapolis City Council, the 13th Ward resident was tapped by Gov. Jesse Ventura to head the state Department of Public Service, which regulates utilities. When Department of Commerce Commissioner Dave Jennings resigned last July, Ventura also put Minn in charge of that agency, which oversees financial institutions. Soon Minn was presiding over a merger of the two departments, mandated by the Guv as a way to create efficiencies in government, but executed--oops--without consulting the Legislature. When lawmakers returned to the capitol in February, they had their knives sharpened for what turned out to be the political showdown of the year. Minn didn't help his case any when he asked Jim Howard--CEO of Northern States Power, one of the companies in Public Service's regulatory purview--to offer Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe a testimonial as to what a bang-up job the commissioner was doing. When the Senate voted by a 2-to-1 margin not to confirm Minn on February 24, it was not only the first time the body had rejected a major gubernatorial appointment in more than 25 years, but also the Legislature's biggest "fuck you" to Ventura yet.


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