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Huh: Jane Fonda Weighs in on the Ward 7 Minneapolis City Council Race

Plus Stalk & Spade bites it, talkin' labor at the U, and a journalist becomes a candy scientist in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:21 PM CDT on November 1, 2023

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Noted Katie Cashman backer Jane Fonda.

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

Celeb Casts Rare Minneapolis City Council Endorsement

If you're even vaguely aware of actor Jane Fonda, you almost certainly know her history of fiery leftist activism dates back to the 1960s, when she rallied behind the Civil Rights Movement and strongly condemned the Vietnam War. Over the decades the star of Klute and 80 for Brady has remained a committed climate warrior, even debuting her own political action committee, the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, last year.

That's the issue that connected Fonda, 85, with Ward 7 Minneapolis City Council candidate Katie Cashman, 30, two years ago when they met together with Indigenous water protectors in northern Minnesota. And, today, Fonda released a video vouch for Cashman on behalf of her PAC, calling the Sierra Club-endorsed political newcomer "committed to tackling the climate crisis head on by advancing equity-based climate solutions." (Cashman's rival, landlord Scott Graham, has been committed to batting away slumlord accusations ahead of the Nov. 7 election to choose Lisa Goodman's Ward 7 successor.)

As a thinking person, you know to take celebrity endorsements with a grain of salt; the more telling ideological alignments in this race are establishment centrist group All of Mpls boosting Graham while progressive group Mpls for the Many supports Cashman. That said: Has an A-list celeb ever endorsed a local City Council candidate? We asked a reporter at the Strib who once covered the beat, and he responded with "Hm, IDK." There you have it, folks! He did add, however, that pop star John Legend championed Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty last year, though Legend lost his honorary local status when his nephew, Mike Brown-Stephens, transferred away from the Golden Gophers football team in March.

Anyway, let's hear from Ms. Fonda:

RIP Stalk & Spade

How much scale can a vegan fast-casual concept achieve in the Twin Cities market? In the case of Stalk & Spade, three tony locations—North Loop, Eagan, Wayzata—proved to be three too many. Launched locally in 2021, the burger/shake chain announced Wednesday that it'll immediately shut down its plant-based restaurant Cerberus. Writes the S&S social media team: "Over the past couple of years, we've experienced first-hand the unpredictable landscape of the plant-based meat and dairy alternatives industry, which has led us to make this hard choice." Last month Racket's Em Cassel wondered aloud why so many Twin Cities restaurants are expanding so fast, with Wrecktangle Pizza chef/co-owner Jeffrey Rogers telling her, "The challenges definitely outweigh the benefits." For Stalk & Space, whose ambitious biz plan once eyeballed a dozen locations with the support of pro athlete franchisees, those challenges apparently proved too daunting. The other, meatier businesses under the umbrella of Wayzata-headquartered Steele Brands include Puralima Cantina and Crisp & Green.

Learn About Union-Busting at the U

Gather 'round, as I tell you about one of my favorite podcasts, Citations Needed; hosted by Nima Shirazi and Adam Johnson, the media criticism pod comes with a tagline—"a podcast on media, power, PR, and the history of bullshit"—that ably encapsulates the premise. And if you recall our conversation with Workday Magazine, you already know we're fans of the pro-union news outlet operating inside the University of Minnesota. Why am I telling you all of this? Because Johnson and his partner, Workday editor Sarah Lazare, are co-leading a U of M lecture on November 8 titled "The Most Common Anti-Union Talking Points—And Why They’re Wrong." In it, they'll attempt to debunk tropes such as: “unions used to be relevant, but now they’re obsolete,” “unions make sense in other industries, but not mine,” and the classic “unions are a third party, an outside force.” We asked Lazare for a lil insight into how/why they decided on this specific subject:

At a time union density is low, but enthusiasm is surging, bosses are coming up with increasingly sophisticated ways to oppose unions. There are a handful of nefarious talking points that show up seemingly everywhere, and may seem reasonable on their face, but once you examine them, they begin to break down. Adam and I wanted to teach a class that debunks the most common anti-union talking points. We hope it can be a resource for workers, union members, and anyone who is curious about what unions are and why they matter.

The lecture is free to attend, though you're encouraged to chip in $25 if you can/want. Kudos to the poster art for lifting a still from Target Corp.'s cartoonishly paranoid anti-union training video of yore:

Local Reporter Conducts Candy Experiment

Not since the famous 1972 Standard marshmallow experiment have we encountered a tot-based treat study as rigorous or as compelling as the one conducted last night by Max Nesterak. (In fairness, we also haven't been looking.) Nesterak, by day a reporter at Minnesota Reformer, used the 76 trick-or-treaters who visited his St. Paul home for an age-based analysis of whether they'd prefer a single full-size candy bar or three fun-size ones. The results may leave you shocked, bored, or somewhere in between.

We reached out to the professional journalist/amateur scientist for some behind-the-scenes intel on his sweet study:

It all started because I heard my husband say that kids love quantities over quality, in terms of birthday and Christmas presents. So I bought a bunch of fun size candy, but he got mad saying we're a "full-size candy household." So I said we could run an experiment to see which kids would prefer. They totally prefer full-size, which is good information for the future.

The youngest group of kids, however, seem to prefer fun size; five trick-or-treaters in this age range preferred fun size to three who chose full size. I think it would've been even more skewed toward fun-size were it not for the guardians of two trick-o'-treaters telling them to "take the full size!!!" The quantity by weight was about the same, so there was not right choice there. As far as choices, in full-size we had M&Ms, Snickers, 100 Grand, Butterfingers, and Twix; in fun size, we had Snickers, Reese's, Kit Kat, and Hershey's Cookies & Cream. I actually thought the selection of fun size was better, which one girl seemed to agree with. After considering the fun size, she grabbed a full size 100 Grand and said, "I'm going to put this in the bowl at home of candy no one likes."

As for the ages, they are mostly perceived ages. I was asking kids their ages but my husband, colleague Michelle, and mom all agreed it was creepy and asked me to stop.

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