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Questions still linger about what to do with the myriad gifts presented to Rybak over the years, and his wife, Megan O’Hara, “has made it very clear that she loves what I’ve done here, but all of this stuff is not coming into the house.”
• There’s the oversized shovel from the groundbreaking of Target Field, which Rybak said he doesn’t remember “where the heck it came from” because he didn’t attend the event.
• A red, white and blue quilt presented by the White Earth Indian Band that Rybak can’t figure out should belong to the city of Minneapolis or to him (his name is stitched on it).
• A large, goofy puppet from the fringe festival that he has grown to love, but knows that if it were in the living room and somebody was coming around the corner at 3 a.m. it would startle them. “What do you do with it?” he asked.
Rybak’s aides have made further progress on their packing, writing briefing memos for Hodges’ staff and preparing to move boxes of archives down to Hodges’ temporary office in Room 115, which is still largely empty. Most of the wall hangings remain, including a large photo of his inauguration in the City Hall rotunda featuring the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, in the crowd.
Much has changed since Rybak took office as a political novice who defeated two-term Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton.
People treated him in the beginning “like he was going to burn something down because he was so new and they didn’t expect him to win,” said Peter Wagenius, Rybak’s policy director.
Now, he said, Rybak “doesn’t seek to make everybody happy the way he did back in his first term. It’s more important to get things done.”
Maya Rao • 612-673-4210