Pawlenty vetoes Minneapolis

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March 31, 2003 // UPDATED 9:31 am - April 30, 2007
By: says major city "expensive frill" state can do without
says major city "expensive frill" state can do without

In a move that took many by surprise, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the city of Minneapolis' state incorporation, effectively rendering what had been Minnesota's largest city defunct.

In his veto message, Pawlenty declared the city "an expensive frill that, in tight budget times, we can do without. I tried to send them the hint with my local-government aid cuts, but I guess sometimes you just have to knock people over the head."

Pawlenty denied any political payback for an area that overwhelmingly voted against him in 2002; however, his veto rendered Minneapolis's all-DFL legislative delegation underemployed and gave Republicans control of the state Senate.

The out-of-work DFLers declined to comment on Pawlenty's plan and said they would announce a tepid alternative in two to three months.

Surprisingly, a now-jobless Mayor R.T. Rybak and suddenly itinerant councilmembers told reporters they were "relieved" by Pawlenty's move. "When we took this job, we thought we'd have a little power to throw around, but all it was was 'cut, cut, cut.' They guy's given us a Get Out of Jail Free card."

Pawlenty's move started a land war, as nearby suburbs rushed to claim choice parts of the city. St. Louis Park's police SWAT team occupied a corridor from Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles into Loring Park and the Theater District. Edina quickly purchased land rights to Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. St. Paul emergency responders commandeered the Metrodome, fulfilling the Capitol City's dream of having major-league baseball and football.

Richfield and Bloomington announced that they would now be known as the "Twin Cities."

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