Excitable Guv, They All Said
Warren Zevon, who canceled four shows to sing with Gov. Jesse Ventura January 16 at the Target Center inauguration bash, still had The Body on his mind last Wednesday when he played his scheduled gig at First Avenue. Zevon inserted Ventura references into several songs and even offered his own postelection analysis: "Congratulations, by the way. It's a great victory for gonzo." The singer also had choice words for those who dared to question Ventura's pipes. "Speaking of whistledicks, I think the governor of Minnesota sings this song very, very well," Zevon declared before launching into a "Werewolves of London" encore--which he gubed as well: "Little old lady got mutilated late last night/It was the governor of Minnesota again." But given the governor's thin skin when it comes to the media (a day earlier he'd fumed at a news conference after a Duluth reporter jokingly asked, in reference to the aforementioned Zevon/Ventura inaugural duet, whether he planned to take voice lessons), Off Beat posits that it would have been more appropriate to amend "little old lady" to "member of the Capitol press corps." Ventura, incidentally, was in attendance at the First Avenue show, up in the DJ's booth. "He really enjoyed it," Ventura spokesman John Wodele gushed when contacted the day afterward. "It was the first thing he talked about this morning."
Jesse Online: Nothing but Net
Last year candidate Jesse Ventura deployed Webmeister Phil Madsen to use the Internet to generate volunteers, money, and interest in the unconventional campaign. The result: JesseNet, which boasted 3,000 members on election day and had grown to 5,000 by the end of December. But three weeks into his term, the man who garnered kudos for his Internet-savvy bid for office hasn't managed to unveil his official gubernatorial site on the state's North Star Web page (www.state.mn.us). "You can't do everything at once," laments spokesman John Wodele. "Just responding to the traditional media requests has been a real challenge." Meanwhile, Off Beat has been perusing www.jesseventura.com, one of the unofficial sites that have appeared on the cyberscape of late. That page, which touts "news and information about Minnesota's governor and his administration," provides direct links to recently published governor-related stories, and pimps e-commerce, including Jesse T-shirts ("As seen on the Tonight Show"), and a computer game called Mr. Ventura Goes to St. Paul, for which Off Beat promptly plunked down the requisite $9.99.
You gotta love a politician whose moral outrage gene is so dominant it compels him to tilt away at the same windmill year after year. Now that the Legislature is open for business, state Sen. John Marty wants to close yet another loophole in Minnesota campaign finance law. And as usual, the Roseville DFLer's colleagues appear to be scheming to scrap the measure right out of the gate. During a hearing last week, Marty proposed amending the law that requires lawmakers and other elected officials to disclose their financial dealings. As the statute is currently interpreted, Minnesota pols must regularly file reports listing certain financial information, including income--but not income earned from consulting or independent contracting. City Pages readers will recall that this semantic two-step is one reason Sen. Dallas Sams (DFL-Staples) didn't have to own up to having received $12,500 from the University of Minnesota College of Agriculture ("How to Take a Check," 12/9/98). As chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, in 1997 Sams sponsored a $1 million appropriation for the school. The "consulting fee" was uncovered only after it popped up in a UM audit in late 1998. Not surprisingly, Marty didn't get far with his crusade. The Senate Election Laws Committee took up the bill for a whopping 90 minutes before tabling it. Marty blames the truncated debate on a full gallery: There's nothing lawmakers like less than discussing in public why they oppose campaign-finance reform. He predicts that when the bill comes up for discussion again today in the absence of an audience, it will be quietly dispatched. He chairs the committee, Marty says, but "they have the votes to kill it."
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