Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
White Bear Lake Saves Itself From Convenient Transit
Who takes mass transit? The masses! Eww! So why would the good people of White Bear Lake want anyone who can’t even afford a car (imagine!) rapidly busing in and out of their fine town? After months of wrangling with the WBL, the Met Council has agreed to consider other routes for Metro Transit's Purple Line rapid transit bus line. The Ramsey County suburb's elite were so het up about the possibility of convenient mass transit they elected a new council and passed a resolution saying they were against the Purple Line. The Star Tribune paraphrases Council Member Bill Walsh as saying rapid bus transit “would ruin the city's small-town feel.” Maybe next we can take remove highway access to White Bear Lake and its gentry can be completely protected from us nasty urbanites.
The Wilfs: Still Evil
In 2013, while socking Vikings owner Zygi Wilf with a $84.5 million judgment, a New Jersey judge used the term "evil motive" to describe how the Wilfs ripped off their business partner. That same year, while breaking ground on the taxpayer swindle that is U.S. Bank Stadium, Wilf appeared as the Nintendo embodiment of evil, Wario, while shoveling dirt next to a seemingly befuddled Gov. Mark Dayton. And yesterday, as skillfully reported by Minnesota Reformer’s Max Nesterak, we learned darkness and deceit still trails in the Wilfs' wake.
The Wilfs are busy constructing a 200,000-acre Eagan parcel known as Vikings Lakes, a sort of multi-use suburban football-themed Valhalla that houses the team’s practice facility and, soon, offices, restaurants, and entertainment. Problem is, the Reformer found, the subcontractors doing Wilf’s bidding are allegedly ripping off their construction workers. More than 35 workers recently filed accusations of wage-theft violations with the state, and at least 25 of ‘em say they're owed $100,000 for unpaid work on the Vikings Lakes project. “The [Vikings] ownership group chose the worst subcontractors that we track around the region,” says union man Adam Duininck of the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters. “It was honestly a betrayal of trust.” The Reformer investigation is getting noticed: Labor leaders gathered Thursday at the Capitol to hold the Wilf family "morally accountable" for the alleged wage theft. We wish the workers well, but, man, good luck appealing to Zygi's morality.
You Don’t Have to Call the Cops
Six months ago, the city of Minneapolis, not particularly known for doing things right these days, actually launched a promising new program. An unarmed mental health crisis response team would begin intervening in cases where, previously, cops with guns would rush in. And… it’s working? The city’s behavioral crisis response unit, aka the BCR, has diverted 1,400 calls from the police so far. According to WCCO, BCR is so busy they don’t even have enough vans available to handle all their calls, and though they’re currently a Monday-Friday operation, they’ll be expanding to weekends soon. So the next time your proverbial racist uncle or his online counterpart hits you with that “Who you gonna call? A social worker?” line they think is such a dunk, let ’em know about the BCR. In related news, outside enforcement agencies are gonna start flooding into Minneapolis to patrol Lake Street and West Broadway. Hope they bring those lovely helicopters.
Hey Wisconsin, Minnesota’s Rules Rule
Sorry anarchists—the administrative state... rocks? In an odd but (to me!) compelling editorial at the Minnesota Reformer, Ian Lewenstein gives a shout out to the Office of Administrative Hearings. The OAH, as you probably don’t know, is the independent state agency that makes rules for Minnesota's various agencies. I know this shit sounds boring—in fact, it is boring—but with the U.S. Supreme Court poised to roll back the ability of Congress to delegate its powers to federal entities like the EPA, state regs are going to matter more and more. So it’s good that our process is insulated from legislative pressures. Kinda weird how this piece is framed as a slam on Wisconsin, dissed as “a feeble badger” when it comes to effective regulation. But we do know that whatever fine things Wisconsin has going for it, when it comes to politics, the less like that state Minnesota can be, the better.