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Linda Tirado, Journalist Who Was Half-Blinded in Minneapolis Protests, Enters Hospice Care

Plus early regulatory rideshare remembrances, Arby's hat nostalgia, and tipping our cap to a Strib scribe in today's Flyover news roundup.

Substack: Stories From The Rail|

Linda Tirado

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Linda Tirado Keeps Fighting

Yesterday, in a Substack plea for financial assistance, journalist Noah Berlatsky issued an update on his friend. It incapsulates Linda Tirado's heartbreaking situation better than we could...

My friend, the journalist and photographer, Linda Tirado posted this week on Substack that she is dying. Linda suffered a traumatic brain injury during the George Floyd protests when a Minneapolis cop fired a projectile at her—probably a rubber bullet. She lost her eye, and she’s been deteriorating slowly since—and now I guess less slowly. She still has some lucid moments, but they’re becoming more infrequent. Linda received a settlement from Minneapolis, but medical care has eaten through most of it, and she and her husband and two children are struggling to afford palliative care.

In 2022, Tony Webster wrote a Minnesota Reformer story about the Minneapolis City Council agreeing to pay Tirado $600,000 to settle a lawsuit over the injuries she sustained when police allegedly fired a projectile into her eye during the protests that followed George Floyd's murder. The city never admitted blame in the settlement, which paid out a fraction of the $2.4 million settlement Soren Stevenson earned after he was blinded in one eye by a police projectile in the same protests. “That part of my career was effectively ended May 29, 2020,” Tirado told Webster, adding that her body and brain continued to suffer from the event. “I did the right thing. Any time you as a member of the press are covering people who are hurting, it is worth it.” In 2013, Tirado authored a viral essay, "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, Or, Poverty Thoughts," about living in poverty in the richest country on Earth; she would expand on it the following year with her memoir, Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America.

Here's how you can support Tirado today:

Venmo: Linda-Tirado-3
Zelle: 806.433.6075

We'll leave you with her tweet from yesterday.

Lyft/Uber vs. Drivers Postmortem

Now that it's a bit in the rearview (car term), the years-long fight between Silicon Valley giants Lyft and Uber vs. the Minneapolis rideshare drivers they exploit is beginning to receive media autopsies. Today, one such story appeared nationally via NPR, and it's framed mostly as a victory lap (also a car term?) for drivers, many of them East African immigrants who organized under the umbrella of the Minnesota Uber/Lyft Drivers Association (MULDA).

Minnesota became the focus of "an intense [lobbying] operation" from Uber and Lyft, reporter Dara Kerr writes, but unlike with similar driver uprisings in New York and Seattle, "something wholly unexpected happened last month—the drivers won." Kerr bills Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Gov. Tim Walz as "labor-friendly Democrats," though both vetoed minimum wage bills they feared would outrage Lyft and Uber. City Council Member Robin Wonsley ramped up her rivalry with Frey, telling NPR, "[Frey] announced a nonbinding agreement with Uber, saying, ‘Look, we don't need to change nothing, the company has made a commitment, a symbolic commitment to pay drivers more.' We were like ‘Wait, what?’ That makes absolutely no sense.” NPR politely calls out the competency of the Star Tribune's Opinion section, writing that a pro-Lyft/Uber op-ed from Rise's Dan Meyers, one that said the ordinance would be “devastating to the disability community,” didn't (and still doesn't) disclose that Rise and Lyft are longtime partners. NPR also notes that the Strib was littered with “save our rides” Uber ads at the time.

Driver/MULDA member Matthew McGlory caps the piece on a positive note, however, suggesting that the political fight in Minneapolis could emerge as a model for workers warring against the rideshare giants. “I'm doing this not just for drivers in Minneapolis. I'm doing this for the drivers in Nashville, Tenn. I'm doing this for drivers in Jackson, Miss.," he says. "Because when we educate ourselves, when we organize ourselves and we mobilize ourselves, we can win.”

But not so fast! (Sure, fine, let's call that a car term...) Last week, writing via the Minnesota Reformer, tech entrepreneur Niko LeMieux argued that while drivers will benefit from "fantastic, hard-fought developments" in the short term, in the long term municipalities, drivers, and startup rideshare companies may see their ability to flex muscle reduced considerably due to the "anti-competitive" nature of the new law. "In their noble quest to secure a better outcome for low-wage workers," LeMieux concludes, "the DFL have instead given a handout to corporations and further cemented a tech giant duopoly in Minnesota. Ope." Then again, LeMieux is a crypto-pilled MBA, so read his (seemingly well-argued) position through a critical lens.

L.A. is Also Mourning an Arby's

Today Los Angelenos are tearfully mourning the closure of the Hollywood Arby's, which sat with its big-ass cowboy hat on Sunset Boulevard for 55 years. "I didn't like going, but I liked knowing I could," writes an L.A. Redditor. Sound familiar? It should, because Minneapolitans—some with irony, some with genuinely heavy, Beef 'n' Cheddar-logged hearts—experienced a similar loss back in 2018. That's when the ol' Uptown Arby's, which also featured that wonderful big-ass hat, drew mourners for a singalong candlelight vigil. It's hard imagining Hollywood residents throwing a similar scene (those jokers can't even get fired up for either of their football teams), but we'd love to see 'em prove us wrong.

Speaking of that big-ass hat! How many remain in Minnesota? The Stadium Village one is long gone, having met the wrecking ball years ago... are we just down to the one holdout hat in Roseville? Let us know in the comments. And let's have a look at that resilient Roseville sign, just for the hell of it:

Richard Chin Appreciation Post

I've never met Richard Chin, though I'd like to dedicate a few lines to rhapsodizing the Star Tribune features reporter. A few times each month readers see a new Chin joint, and those stories are reliably weird, interesting, novel, fun, and/or unexpected. Over the weekend, we got this profile on Northwoods Baseball Sleep Radio—a "baseball radio ASMR" podcast that intentionally lulls listeners to sleep with obscure play-by-play recordings. Chin's other home runs include stories on: genetically sequencing corndogs; discovering the fabled St. Paul Sandwich; his first-person account of auditioning for Survivor; test-driving a "harmonic egg" chamber; and the death of the family piano. That's just from this year! Richard, if you're reading this, convince your bosses to let you freelance for Racket. What we lack in payment horsepower, we more than make up for with the freedom to swear.

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