Vol. 22, #03 – 06/05/15

//Vol. 22, #03 – 06/05/15

You’ve gotta love the local ballclub; all they do is win.
We shed a tear for the Aquatennial; the energy is running thin.
Some more retirement kudos, and bits and pieces so fine.
So don’t hesitate a minute, Dear Reader; click to read this Online.


Whither the Downtown YMCA

We were able to confirm what we have overhead in elevator talk over the last couple of months: that the Downtown YMCA building on Ninth Street is for sale. While the current Y building was constructed in 1990, the “Y” has been a fixture on Ninth and LaSalle since the original, the Central Building, was constructed in 1918. Into the 1970s that facility was a hub of civic and athletic activity. The new “Y” was constructed as part of the Frauenshuh redevelopment of the entire block that resulted in the LaSalle Plaza, a revitalized State Theater and a brand new YMCA. The Central building now hosts 121 apartments.

The Downtown YMCA still hosts athletic facilities and a robust daycare program as well as summer youth activities. We have heard, but cannot confirm, that one possible new home could be in the United Properties development on the pad atop the Target Station transit interchange. That facility, we understand, would not include athletic or child care amenities.

May the Wind be Always at your Back

We guess it is just the stage we are at in life but since our last newsletter we have attended two more retirement parties of remarkable and noteworthy contributors to the “good life” and want to pay homage to the following:

  • Bob O’Rourke began his career with Target Stores working the overnight at a store in Waterloo, Iowa. Upon graduation from the University of Northern Iowa Bob moved into the management training track and for the next fifteen years moved his family twelve different times as his responsibilities grew. Eventually Bob moved back into the headquarters district here in the Twin Cities, and ultimately became a Group Senior Vice President. Across his career Bob touched the lives of thousands of Target employees as a manager overseeing a fleet of stores and as a motivational speaker teaching core Target values. In typical class Bob fashion he hosted his own retirement party, not to say “goodbye” but “thank you” to the hundreds who worked for him over the years. As Target Corp. continues to regroup we suggest that they stay close, not eschew the Bob O’Rourkes, for it is truly the culture that provides the competitive advantage. Bob would want us to make certain we acknowledge the foundation that wife Tammy and his three kids provide. Twelve moves in fifteen years; we say “A” for Amen to that!
  • The elegant surroundings of the Minneapolis Club were certainly an apt location to host the retirement party for Milestone Growth Fund CEO Judy Spika Romlin. Milestone has performed a unique and important function in this community, providing much-needed growth capital to entrepreneurs of color since it began operating in 1990. (The noteworthy list of successes can be found at milestonegrowth.com.) Milestone’s founder Esperanza Guerrero-Anderson originally recruited Judy to originate loans and oversee the portfolio, knowing of her stellar reputation in traditional commercial banking with stops at Wells Fargo, Marquette and National City Banks before joining Milestone. In 2012, the nonprofit’s Board tapped Judy to become its third CEO knowing that her skills and reputation were what was needed to lead Milestone out of the murky waters created by the economic disasters of the preceding years. They were right. Judy worked with creditors, clients, federal agencies and a host of others to right-size the organization. She credits both U.S. Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Congressman Keith Ellison for providing much needed help with federal regulations. Milestone, now closely affiliated with MEDA, is running again on all cylinders, and Judy can take a much-needed break. We are eager to see what’s next and wish Ms. Romlin only the very best in whatever adventures she chooses.
  • Peter Carter, one of this state’s most respected finance lawyers, has announced he is leaving Dorsey & Whitney, his home for the past 23 years, to join Delta Airlines as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Mr. Carter has consistently exceeded the standards of skill and integrity that the Dorsey firm expects of its partners. Personally, he meets and exceeds the standards expected of a true gentleman. We know Peter will be missed both professionally and personally by the firm and its clients.

Mirrors, Please

There is a municipality in the Twin Cities where some of the elected officials are trying to seize the holier-than-thou high ground by way of forcing the private sector into increasing the minimum wage. Said municipality has scores, if not hundreds, of employees locked below 32 hours per week so they can avoid paying benefits. These same champions of justice oversee a policy where tips are not allowed for those providing services like catering or taxis. Maybe if sequential attention to detail is in order, it is time to put down the bullhorn and put your own municipal house in order. Until then such outcry is pathetically fraudulent.

While we’re at it, are we the only ones frosted that this same municipality that went to extraordinary lengths to pony up $150 million for a new stadium for the Vikings seems to be sitting on its hands as the team prepares to build new headquarters and practice facilities in Chanhassen? Really? Nobody can assemble a comparable amount of land in town, say, near North Minneapolis?


Timberwolves CMO Ted Johnson himself asked us to invite you specifically, dear reader, to the Timberwolves Draft Party at Target Center on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 5:30 PM. Witness franchise history as the Minnesota Timberwolves make the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Bring your friends and celebrate the event with fellow fans. To enjoy additional VIP access and amenities throughout the event, take your place in the Pack with a 2015-16 Membership in the Hardwood Club. Members also receive:

  • The chance to win an opportunity to attend the press conference welcoming our #1 pick
  • Have your photo taken with Crunch, the Dancers, and Andrew Wiggins’ Rising Stars MVP Trophy
  • Get access to the best available locations before the #1 pick is announced
  • Special prize giveaways throughout the event

If you have questions, or to register, click here.

Bulletins and Bytes…

The Department of Justice and the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice would appreciate your participation in a community convening to discuss the National Initiative project. The NIBCTJ is a three-year, $4.75 million project funded by the Department of Justice and announced by Attorney General Eric Holder. Its goal is to improve relationships and increase trust between communities and the criminal justice system, as well as to advance the public and scholarly understandings of the issues contributing to those relationships. Minneapolis was one of six “pilot sites” selected for the National Initiative. At this convening, they will introduce the goals and methods of the project. They will also explain how you can participate more directly in this historic initiative, and how through research and community collaboration we can begin to rebuild trust. This open event will be held from 6:00-7:30 pm on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at the Minneapolis American Indian Center (1530 E. Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404). (Flyer)

Celebrate the new Bloody Mary Law on Sunday, June 14, from 8:00-10:00 am, by enjoying half off the epic 35-foot Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar at Hell’s Kitchen. The archaic prohibition-style law prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays before 10:00 am, on the books for 127 years, was knocked on its ass first by the House, then by the Senate, next by the State of Minnesota and then just minutes ago (Friday morning) by the City of Minneapolis.

Check out this Comcast readable voicemail from Ribnick Fur & Leather:

“Hello this is redneck first calling to remind you it’s time to bring in your for and she for summer storage. We also would like to tell you about our remodeling event this Thursday Friday and Saturday where you can transform your old code into a fresh new style reversible or vast. Thank you from redneck-mcpherson(?).”

You gotta love technology!

By |2016-10-21T00:42:40-05:00June 5th, 2015|Categories: Newsletter|3 Comments

About the Author:

Mark J. Oyaas is a principal in Neerland & Oyaas, Inc., a public affairs consulting company. His work includes advising clients on business opportunities in the public and nonprofit sectors. In addition to coordinating government relations projects, Mr. Oyaas heads up the firm's communications services under the "germ of an idea" banner.


  1. Bill Brooks June 6, 2015 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Still the best source for the inside skinny on relevant and overlapping machinations of business, politics and the meaning of life in the greater metro, and the great state of Minnesota… Thank you.

  2. barb dunphy June 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Nice tribute to Bob, Mark. I am going to copy and paste to sisters and Carol. Maybe they get your newsletter? but just in case not.

    • Mark Oyaas June 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Make them sign up! Next issue I uncover that one Patty Berlin will be taking Peter Carter’s spot at Dorsey working out of its So Cal office.

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