Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
52 Years Is a Long Time Between Strikes
The last time the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers went on strike you could have gone downtown and seen a whole lot of Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy (along with several less artistically redeeming X-rated films). What’s at stake in the current walkout? Mostly wages, caps on class sizes, and mental health services. The union is asking the district to increase starting pay for education support professionals to $35,000; right now people are mostly starting at $24,000. They’re also requesting that there be a counselor and social worker at each school, and to double the number of psychologists, bringing Minneapolis’s student-to-psychologist ratio up to the recommended numbers. (Yes, right now we’re only at 50%.) The union’s proposal sets the salary budget at $120 million, while the district is offering $20 million. This comes hot on the news that most Twin Cities school districts are facing massive budget shortfalls this year. Hm. If only we had the money to help out. Meanwhile, St. Paul teachers were able to secure a contract this week, hopefully making up for the rushed contract that was signed in 2020 amid a strike that happened right about as the pandemic hit.
Look at these marchers making their way north on Lyndale Avenue as we speak.
Mayor’s Office Hides “After Action” Report, Offers Cops $7K Bonuses
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has once more demonstrated his ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability… by limiting access to a long-awaited outside report on the city’s response to the unrest following the murder of George Floyd. The report is currently being presented to City Council, prior to which council members had only been able to view it by visiting the office of council member (and Frey ally) Linea Palmisano (who told the Minnesota Reformer, however, that she hadn’t read it) or council president Andrea Jenkins. Requests from journalists to view the report in advance of the presentation have also been denied.
Meanwhile, a new contract with the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis would grant $7,000 incentives to new and returning officers while making no changes to discipline or grievance procedures. (Nick Harper has a good run down on the major changes from the previous police contract here, noting that absolutely no changes were made to the discipline or grievance sections.) City Council has delayed the vote on the contract, which Frey was seeking to push through, seemingly before the report was released. Not very accountable, but his actions do seem pretty transparent, eh?
2 More State Fair Grandstand Acts Revealed
Until today, the Minnesota State Fair had confirmed only one 2022 Grandstand act: prominently hatted country act Zac Brown Band on September 2. That all changed this morning with the announcements of comic Jim Gaffigan (August 30) and Motown diva Diana Ross (September 3). Gaffigan rose to prominence with his whispery inner-dialogue and famous Hot Pockets bit, and he’s since established himself as one stand-up comedy’s most reliably hilarious clean performers, right up there with Brian Regan. What is there to say about Ms. Ross? At 77, the legendary Supremes leader still brings the vocal heat; Ross was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. Tickets to see Ross ($34-$60) and Gaffigan ($39-$94) go on sale Friday via the fair box office.
Pour One Out for Pourhouse Uptown
Bro-tastic Minneapolis sports bar/nightclub Pourhouse Uptown is shutting down, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Biz Journal reports. “DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, WE HAVE DECIDED TO SUSPEND OPERATIONS,” reads a piece of paper taped to the door at 2923 Girard Ave. The pandemic? The constant handwringing over Uptown and its precious parking? Something else entirely? Co-owner Joe Berg declined to comment, so the Biz Journal is calling the closure temporary “for an indefinite amount of time.” The flagship Pourhouse remains open downtown, though the local franchise lost its Dinkytown satellite in 2018, the same year the Uptown one opened. How will the prohibition-themed bar be remembered? “Loud as hell,” according to our 24-hour exploration of Uptown from last summer. But, of course, not every Racket owner got to experience those boozy decibels, and he’s not shutting up about it.