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Convention Beat: August 29, 2008 Archive

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Gumming up

Posted at 12:37 PM on August 29, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)
Filed under: Around town

Traffic restrictions aren't supposed to get serious until after rush hour tonight, but the general flow of life around St. Paul is already getting, well... thicker.

People are already reporting that its taking two or three times as long to get into downtown St. Paul and generally move around. Here's what Wabasha looked like a little while ago. I can't remember a time when parked traffic actually lined both sides of the street for more than a fleeting moment.

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The best counsel I can give anyone who's going to be in downtown St. Paul in the next week: the "Walk/Don't Walk" lights are no longer just a courtesy. If you mindlessly wander out into the street with some notion of crossing, like you usually can in St. Paul, either a delivery truck or some other large object is going to flatten you.

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True Blue: Not that hue!

Posted at 4:44 PM on August 29, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

The Democrats that want to put up a big mobile billboard in front of the Cathedral of St. Paul won a long-winded victory in Ramsey County District Court this afternoon.

District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin ruled from the bench this afternoon that the Capitol Area Architecture and Planning Board can't enforce its decision not to let True Blue Minnesota put up a big digital billboard flashing anti-war and other political messages.

The CAAP board split 5-5 on whether to give the group, featuring die-hard St. Paul Democrats like John Mannillo, Martha Ballou, Dan Dobson and Jay Benanav, a variance that would allow them to put up the sign near the Capitol. (They're also some of the city's staunchest billboard opponents, it should be noted.)

Gearin said the discussion seemed to be treading close enough to politics that she's giving True Blue the benefit of the doubt and giving everybody a legal time out until Tuesday. And noting that True Blue is free to put up the billboard in the meantime.

"Stayed for Tuesday," she said.

"We were going to plug the thing in anyway," said Mannillo, when the hearing was over. "We'll be up and running by the time the convention opens."

You can see the truck here.

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Closed!

Posted at 6:41 PM on August 29, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

Hurricane Gustav may be wavering toward the Gulf of Mexico, but the defacto start of the Republican National Convention began about 20 minutes ago.

They closed 7th Street in front of Mickey's at 6:12 p.m. tonight. Trucks full of guys from Highway Technologies were bolting signs onto barricades like this all over downtown as the sun was going down tonight.

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Critical mass ends quietly

Posted at 8:27 PM on August 29, 2008 by Tim Nelson (0 Comments)

22480638.jpgIt looks like one of the first street demonstrations around the Republican National Convention ended quietly a few minutes ago.

Bicyclists did their usual "critical mass" monthly ride through downtown Minneapolis this afternoon, riding in several packs around the city, nearing 200 riders at one point. They went through downtown Minneapolis, then then up through the University and over to Summit Avenue to St. Paul.

They even braved the daunting Ramsey Hill in the capitol city.

Police had worried about a possible confrontation at the Xcel Energy Center. Critical Mass rides have been the flashpoints for major demonstrations in other cities, and 19 were arrested in a melee last September. But but the riders tonight turned around and headed back to Minneapolis without any major incident.

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