Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Just Say A-NO-ka to Chalk Art
Anoka has had enough of your ridiculous “self-expression.” The Star Tribune reports that the so-called Halloween Capital of the World has passed an ordinance banning all “displays” on city property except for “governmental expression of the city of Anoka.” This “protects the integrity of the city, our community and our citizens and all of that from … more nonsense,” says Anoka mayor Mayor Phil Rice, presumably with a straight face. The ordinance is written broadly enough that it even bans children’s chalk drawings, which has been the source of much mockery, but I say it’s high time that we took this “gateway drug” to future vandalism seriously. After all, what are homemade hopscotch boards but the “marijuana” that leads to the “crack cocaine” that is graffiti?
Spoonbridge and Cherry Rehab Spurs Bad Jokes, Half-Assed Outrage
The Walker Art Center is sending part of its most iconic sculpture to New York for refurbishing and suddenly everyone in Minnesota’s an art restoration expert. Once every 10 years or so, the museum carefully unbolts the 1,200 pound cherry from Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry and allows specialists to restore its outer finish, which takes a beating from the elements. (Here’s a description of the process from the last time it happened, in 2009.) This time they’re shipping the cherry to New York, where Fine Art Finishes will perform the work, and all should be completed in time for my birthday in mid-January. (Bring Me the News has the details from a Walker spokesperson here.) You might not think this bit of routine maintenance would be something people needed to have opinions about, but the words “New York” always make Minnesotans loopy, and Twitter gotta Twitter. Did you really think they just spray painted it with Valspar? Ah well, I guess it’s kind of a compliment to a pop artist when your work becomes such a part of the landscape that people forget it’s art. Anyway, here’s a video from 2009 of the dismantling in action.
Police Defund Minneapolis
If you’re a Minneapolis taxpayer, you should know the police cost you an extra $111 million this year. That’s in payouts for legal verdicts and settlements, according to Minnesota Reformer, and it’s a huge leap from even less than a decade ago—until 2015, we’d averaged “only” about $7 million per year. Thirteen officer-misconduct claims from the first two weeks after George Floyd’s murder account for $84 million of that total. How do you like them bad apples?
Local TV news, often cited as a blight on the greater news landscape, is still capable of producing valuable, compelling, and enterprising reporting. Sometimes, in the case of Fox 9, that happens twice in quick succession. Last month, Tom Lyden gave us this deep dive into the sordid history of the Minneapolis Police Department, and, yesterday, Bisi Onile-Ere released this segment on the racially motivated construction of I-35W. In St. Paul, I-94’s destruction of the historically Black Rondo neighborhood is well-documented, but, as Onile-Ere reports in great detail, the same thing happened with I-35W in south Minneapolis… and basically everywhere else in the U.S. as interstates spiderwebbed across the country. “[There] were prominent African Americans living at that time in Minneapolis. They said they had no idea what was going on until a bulldozer came in tearing down trees and moving dirt,” Dr. Ernest Lee Lloyd, still emotional after all these decades, tells Fox 9.