I fully expect to see KSTP-TV reporter Mark Albert on the North Lawn of the White House — and he doesn’t even have a job lined up.

“White House correspondent” has always been his dream job, Albert told me Wednesday, his last day on air at KSTP, where he’s worked since 2006. The Peabody Award winner said if he can’t report from the White House, a job as a national news reporter “is the ultimate goal.” But as for where he’ll land in the short term, “I have no idea.”

Right now he’s just ready for a long vacation, the kind of extended R & R you can’t take when you’re a hard-charging reporter with a demanding job.

“We talked yesterday, and he really doesn’t have a plan,” KSTP-TV’s news director Lindsay Radford told me Wednesday. “He tells me that no one believes him. I asked him if he had contacted any agents or started applying for anything, and he said, No, I want to enjoy my time off traveling. I’ll start hunting when I get done with that process.

“What most people don’t know about Mark is that he’s a huge world traveler. Always jetting off to exciting places,” Radford said. “There’s a side of him that’s very detail-oriented, but there is a side that likes to just pick up and go.”

Although Albert went to places like Pakistan and South Africa for work and took a personal trip to Australia, he’s remaining stateside this time, driving around to “visit friends and kind of do the trips you can’t do when you have a full-time job.”

Humoring readers who continue to popularize the myth that he’s related to a famous sportscaster, I asked if he’d be hanging out with Marv Albert.

“He, for some reason, doesn’t know who I am,” said Mark. “I don’t know why.”


Knocking Nicollet Mall

Is the atmosphere in downtown Minneapolis becoming more unpleasant?

A downtown store owner who does not wish to be named recently complained to me that Nicollet Mall is not as inviting as it once was. The Unnamed 1 has noticed that the planters designed to beautify the street are now benches for the homeless, panhandlers and loiterers, who can be seen hanging out, sleeping and drinking. I was told that women are constantly being harassed.

This source says poor race relations are handcuffing Minneapolis cops when it comes to dealing with this situation and wonders whether any mayoral candidates will take it on. Unnamed 1 said some customers say they prefer downtown Chicago to downtown Minneapolis.

Steve Danko, an owner of Jean Stephen Galleries, was asked about his perceptions of Nicollet Mall. He recently moved his business from the mall to St. Louis Park. He said his wife, Jean, never felt unsafe or harassed on Nicollet Mall.

But he says, “If you are from Edina or west Bloomington and you come downtown, how often do you see people who are begging on the streets? And it does make you uncomfortable.”

I feel uncomfortable writing anything that suggests making the lives of the homeless more stressful. “It’s a hard one,” Danko said. “It’s difficult in our society whether we say it or not; there’s a huge gulf between the poor and the wealthy. If you compare it to other towns, we’ve got more people on the street asking for support. Our downtown is pretty concentrated. We’ve got one street, Nicollet Mall. If you are going to beg, you’re not going to beg on Hennepin, you’re not going to beg on Marquette, you’re going to beg on Nicollet Mall so everyone goes there. In Chicago you’ve got State Street, Michigan Avenue, Randolph — it’s a much bigger downtown.”


Kluwe’s Google Glass

Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe teased Forbes.com with a feel of an NFL game through Google Glass.

Kluwe shot video while wearing the gadget, doing drills at camp with a player or two on his new team, the Oakland Raiders. Kluwe told Forbes when he gets permission to film a full punt or field goal, fans’ll get a much more intense feel for the game.


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.”