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Does Minneapolis Need an Even STRONGER Mayor?

Plus new standards for testifying cops, Afghans in Minnesota, and your chance to dress like the Hamm's bear in today's Flyover news roundup.

5:38 PM CST on January 3, 2024

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Jacob Frey think he slick huh… we kno that’s u with a moustache son.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Frey: Public Scrutiny Makes City Employees Sad

Remember those blissful days of yore when you barely knew what the Minneapolis Charter Commission was, let alone what it did? Well, the unelected giant has been stirred from its slumbers, and may soon heave two more proposed changes to the city charter our way, reports Susan Du at the Strib. With the apparent support of the mayor’s office, the commission is working on proposals to change the way city council ethics violations are enforced and to exempt many potential city hires from undergoing city council confirmation hearings. Both proposals are still in their early stages; to be adopted, they would require an unlikely unanimous council vote in favor or the approval of a majority of the voters.

Currently, a three-person board reviews ethics complaints, and city council then decides how to enforce any violations; the proposed change would give the board enforcement power instead. The other change is being pushed by the mayor’s office because public hearings are supposedly too embarrassing for candidates. "Concern about the reputation damage during that council hearing has been one of the reasons why candidates don't apply and or choose to leave," says Mayor Jacob Frey, hiding a power grab behind a smokescreen of civility once again (or, uh, so some critics of the mayor might suggest). Well, yeah, democracy is messy. That doesn’t mean we should try the opposite.

A Very Brady Policy Change

When a police officer testifies in court, the defense is entitled to know whether the cop’s record suggests that he or she has credibility issues. But it doesn’t always turn out that way, because what constitutes an issue of credibility can be too loosely defined to maintain an accurate list of such officers (commonly called a Brady list, after the U.S. Supreme Court case). So we’re glad to hear that Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarity has made good on her promise to establish new Brady list requirements that are both more expansive and more concrete. As of January 1, law enforcement agencies must turn over any evidence of a police officer’s lack of truthfulness, bias, use of excessive force, or abuse of authority. "This is much more proactive—which is what the Supreme Court requires us to do," Moriarty says of the policy, which was designed with the support of law enforcement.

We Stan Minnesota’s New Afghans

Five years ago, there were 332 Minnesotans who’d been born in Afghanistan. By 2022, there were 1,107. No need to ask what happened—after the completion of  the U.S. withdrawal from Kabul in 2021, desperate refugees fled the country, including 1,300 evacuees who came to Minnesota. Hibah Ansari has a nice little introduction to our newest neighbors in the Sahan Journal. Ansari talks to Rizwan Qazizada, who opened an Afghan grocery store and restaurant in Bloomington last July, as well as Zahra Wahidy, a newish immigrant who works for the Afghan Cultural Society, a cultural and educational org that’s recently taken on the work of refugee resettlement. “The weather is a little challenging, but I like it here,” Wahidy says. “I went to Arizona, New York, Colorado to visit. But I like it here the most. The people here are so friendly. I think I will stay here.” 

Wanna Buy a Vintage Hamm's Bear Outfit?

Of course you do! The real question is whether you want to spend $1,200 on it. But if you’ve got the cash and feel like taking a drive out to Elk River, someone has offered up a ’60s outfit on Facebook Marketplace. The fur is a bit dingy (“The whole thing needs to be cleaned up, which I will not do!!!” the seller admits/declares) and the suit has a few holes, so you’d have to do a little salvage work if you want to wear it around, you weirdo. But the costume is ideal for Hamm's many vintage collectors or for those of us who’d just like to look at the pictures for free.   

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