Off Beat

Two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time: That's a fundamental law of physics. In politics, though, two or more candidates can occupy the same niche--witness the lawn signs popping up around Hennepin County for Sheryl Ramstad Hvass and Amy Klobuchar, opposing candidates for county attorney. Both sport the phrase "Police Endorsed." And both are right--after a fashion: Each has been endorsed by some local police federations, and both are backed by the Minneapolis Fed. But DFL'er Klobuchar's signs have ticked off Brooklyn Park Fed head Kent Cleveland, whose group backed only Republican Ramstad Hvass. "We feel it is misleading to the public for you to claim 'Police Endorsed' on your lawn signs in our jurisdiction," Cleveland fumed in a recent letter to Klobuchar HQ. Campaign manager Laura Sather says the signs aren't budging.

When it comes to crusading against publicly financed baseball stadiums, Sen. John Marty (D-Roseville) is the Cal Ripken Jr. of Minnesota politics. Marty, who pulled a dispiriting 34 percent of the popular vote in the 1994 gubernatorial election, dropped out of this year's crowded contest in July. But that didn't stop him from attempting to call attention to campaign contributions of Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad and family. According to Marty, recent filings show that various members of the Pohlad clan have contributed a total of $25,000-plus to various campaigns and caucuses: to Norm Coleman ($9,500), Mike Freeman ($2,000), the Republican Senate and House Caucuses ($10,000 total), and the DFL House Caucus ($5,000). Though Marty got no media bounce from the revelations, he says he plans to bang the drum steadily: "That's volley number one; I intend to start picking up the pace until the public hears what's going on."

The primary tallies were pouring in as Off Beat went to press, but Norm Coleman wasn't waiting for a DFL opponent upon whom to hone his liberal-bashing skills. He went right after Jesse Ventura. "The public doesn't know this guy yet," the St. Paul mayor informed Off Beat. "He's for gay rights and for legalizing prostitutes--a lot of things that are totally outside the views of mainstream Minnesotans. Once they learn some of these things, I don't think Jesse is going to make as much of an impact as some people might think." Or so Norm hopes: After all, his pollsters know full well that any bite Ventura takes out of the general-election pie comes out of Coleman's wedge.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis some people are talking about the election that really matters: Mayor 2001. City Council member Steve Minn (13th Ward)--who for years has been rumored to be weighing a bid for Sharon Sayles Belton's seat--may have been the first to say it out loud, in a recent post on a city-politics e-mail list that attacked 6th Ward council member Jim Niland's affordable-housing efforts as "the first salvo in his mayoral bid." "No comment," Niland grins when asked about the possibility of a challenge to the mayor for whom he once served as campaign manager. Translation: Maybe.

Off Beat is open for business and accepting tips. Call 372-3788 or e-mail [email protected] with any poop (political or otherwise) that's fit to print.

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