You could think of this as 11 Who Don’t Kare: We want to know who struck you as the biggest public turd in the punchbowl that was Twin Cities 2007. So after conferring with some fellow Festivus celebrants, the Mole has assembled a provisional list of 11 nominees and the grievances they face, but no doubt we’re forgetting many worthy candidates. Who?
DFL leadership: The Kelliher-and-Pogemiller-led troops parlayed a big 2006 electoral victory into a) no meaningful legislative progress, b) a crisis in party finances, and c) barely a peep during the “battle” over a special session to deal with transportation funding.
Pick your villain
Steve Perry made his picks on The Daily Mole. Who are your picks for villain of the year? Keep it local, keep it reasonably clean, and “tell us here.”:mailto:email@example.com
We’ll post the best of the nominations during the first week of January.
Minneapolis Downtown Council chair Sam Grabarski: Has big ideas for making downtown a more effective retail theme park, and they include allowing cars on Nicollet Mall.
St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington: Was the object of complaints and a lawsuit charging political cronyism in the administration of his department; never apologized for his department’s conduct in the warrantless seizure of a local TV reporter’s cell phone records.
Former United Health CEO Bill McGuire: Made the most expensive settlement of a back-dated stock options case in 2007; complained to a judge that the freezing of his remaining $800 million in options was interfering with his financial prerogatives; became a billionaire running a health insurance company that perennially denies claims it should be paying.
Kevin McHale: He had to trade Kevin Garnett by the time he did it, yes, but whose fault was that? You’d be hard-pressed to find any professional sports franchise from the past five years that has made so little of so much.
Minneapolis Police Department: Besides the usual quotient of embarrassing high-profile incidents–this month’s utterly unfounded, gunfire-filled raid on a north Minneapolis home, the city’s $4.5 million payout to Officer Duy Ngo, shot in 2003 by one of his own colleagues–the department was also hit by a pair of civil rights lawsuits alleging chronic prejudicial treatment of non-Anglo cops, the more publicized of which is pitting five of the department’s longest-tenured and most respected African-American officers against MPD Chief Tim Dolan.
MnDOT Commissioner Carol Molnau: No explanation required.
Governor Tim Pawlenty: Sure, we know about the 60 percent approval ratings. We also know that if Carol Molnau’s management of MnDOT wins her an uncontested spot on this list, then the man who appointed her–and who benefited politically from her acquiescence in the face of whatever budgetary crumbs MnDOT was thrown–has to be on the list too, doesn’t he?
Twins owner Carl Pohlad: Should Pohlad even be on this list, or should we retire him and name the award after him? Only a few years ago, amid a run of Twins division titles and higher-than-customary payrolls, there were those cynics and paranoiacs who swore that once the Twins got their stadium, they would stop spending even to this new, minimally competitive level. Lo and behold: Torii’s gone, Johan is going, and the chance to build a Central Division powerhouse around the nucleus of Mauer, Morneau, and Santana is already history; the Tigers have seen to that.
Par Ridder: There are mitigating factors here: 1) Ridder’s always entertaining, not quite human-looking hair, and 2) the fact that his travails provided comic relief during a year of otherwise disastrous news in local mainstream media. Still, he is not a hard man to hate.
TJ Waconia and the fly-by-night mortgage industry: TJ Waconia gets the honor of naming rights here because, as Steve Brandt wrote last month in the Strib, “the FBI has identified the owners of TJ Waconia as the targets of a mortgage fraud investigation that would represent the biggest such case uncovered so far in the Twin Cities area.” But the category really belongs to all the hustlers who, by whatever means, either scammed homeowners outright or put them into mortgages that were bound to blow up on them.