Political Matters
Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Friday, March 09 2012
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Protect Our Manoomin
The environmental threats from proposed copper-nickel mining in northeastern Minnesota will come into public view when dogsled mushers deliver petitions to the Capitol in St. Paul on March 8. As I write this column, a sled dog run is scheduled to leave Ely and Grand Marais in a few days, with stops in Finland and Duluth, and a rally with the mushers and sled dogs 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 8 at the Capitol.
The Canadian firm PolyMet ( is leading the charge to dig out copper, nickel and precious metals in the Duluth Complex, in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - and in the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory.
Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Sunday, February 19 2012
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Down the memory hole
Arizona became notorious in 2010, with the enactment of a punitive anti-immigrant law, SB 1070 – known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The law allows local police to question a person’s immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion,” if a person is stopped for another criminal violation. As I wrote in my July 2010 column, the law had been decried as an invitation to racial profiling; it was feared that Latinos, or anyone with brown skin, would become the targets of law enforcement authorities under the new law.

Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Sunday, January 08 2012
Written by by Mordecai Specktor,
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White Earth's gaming proposal
The political dynamics of the Minnesota Vikings stadium funding debate changed in December, with the departure of Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo as the Senate majority leader. And at a second Senate committee hearing on the stadium issue, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe introduced a proposal to open a new casino in Ardens Hills, the stadium site favored by the Vikings' owners.
Native Issues in the Halls of Government
Thursday, December 15 2011
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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Vegas on Hennepin
Politicians, business interests and labor unions are applying a full-court press to build a new stadium for the Vikings (to mix sports metaphors). Team owners Zygi and Mark Wilf favor the old arsenal site in Arden Hills, while Minneapolis boosters - including Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis Downtown Council - are dangling sales tax money to lure the Purple People Eaters to one of three proposed sites in the Mill City.
Of course, the Vikes have fallen on hard times of late (a dismal 2-9 on the season, as The Circle goes to press); but this is Political Matters, not the Sports Report.
Over at the Capitol, two Senate committees held a joint hearing Nov. 29 to hear testimony on proposed stadium sites. There is no bill in the hopper; and there is no funding mechanism for a new stadium (beyond the Wilfs' offer to put up $425 million, with the remaining $600 million coming from somewhere).
A faction in the Legislature, comprised of both Republicans and DFLers, is adamant that no public money be used to build a football stadium; at the same time, a knowledgeable source in St. Paul told me that the building trades unions and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce are flexing their muscles in support of a new home for the Vikings.

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