Skip to Content

How Many Cab Drivers Do You Think Minneapolis Has? Nope, Guess Lower.

Plus music fest blues, Moriarty vs. O'Hara, and graduating Covid High in today's Flyover news roundup.

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

Having Destroyed the Mpls Taxi Industry, Uber and Lyft Threaten to Leave Town

About a decade ago, there were nearly 2,000 licensed cab drivers in the city of Minneapolis. There are only 39 left. That small detail jumped out at us from this Axios story about what might happen if Uber and Lyft leave Minneapolis. The dwindling number of cabbies should be no surprise—their highly regulated industry was purposely "disrupted" by Uber and Lyft, which have benefitted from minimal government oversight and their drivers’ lower pay. From the standpoint of Uber and Lyft, our current situation is a success.

Following the 10-3 vote from the Minneapolis City Council today to override Mayor Jacob Frey’s veto and enact a pay raise for the companies’ drivers, Uber and Lyft are now threatening to follow through on their pledge to leave town by May 1. In other words, they’re admitting they cannot or will not pay a fair wage to their drivers, a sizable number of whom rallied to convince city council to pass this ordinance. If that’s the case, surely Minneapolis can either find a way to support businesses that can or to fill in gaps in service with government programs. 

As for the veto override vote, it’s not only important in itself, but in what it reveals about the relationship between City Council and the mayor. Ward 11 Councilmember Emily Koski inserted herself into the center of this story by voting yea on the veto override. Koski, who’d initially voted against the proposal, says she was swayed by the state task force report into rideshare pay that was released a day after last week’s initial vote. Long seen as a Frey supporter, Koski has increasingly distanced herself from his agenda. Meanwhile, prior to the veto override, Frey told the Minnesota Reformer’s Max Nesterak that Ward 6 Councilmember Jamal Ousman, who’d helped write the ordinance, privately thought it was bad policy.

Whether or not that’s the case, that certainly gives councilmembers a clear message: Don’t ever confide anything in the mayor. 

Maybe Festivals Just Aren’t Cool Anymore?

Like the Catholic priesthood, the Basilica Block Party favors men. That’s my takeaway from the festival’s 2024 lineup, announced today. I know I’m supposed to groan “Ugh! Counting Crows?” and “Blech! Goo Goo Dolls?” but while I endured the era when each act’s sincere, midtempo yelps ruled the radio, I presume the BBP knows its audience and what they want. Let this lineup stand as a reminder that no, the ’90s really weren’t all that cool. 

It should be more noteworthy that the sole woman on the main-stage lineup is country singer Ingrid Andress, way down at the bottom of the bill. This certainly makes the decision of festival circuit newcomers Yacht Club (yeah I still don’t get the name either), which will be held at Harriet Island on July 21 & 22, to select Gwen Stefani and Alanis Morrissette to headline its first day, with many other female acts down-bill. 

The gender breakdown is a bit better on the Basillica’s local stages, with the Black Widows and Cindy Lawson, She’s Green, and the Mary Jane Alm Band all scheduled to perform. And the inclusion of Nur-D and other Black performers on day two is a slight correction to the fest’s racial imbalance. Anyway, the Basilica Block Party is August 2 and 3 at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, not its usual home on the Basilica of St. Mary grounds. Enjoy!

Summer festival announcement season is well underway. On July 6 and 7, Taste of Minnesota will take over Nicollet Mall again, where the not-un-Counting-Crows-or-Goo-Goo-Dolls-like Wallflowers and country star Martin McBride will preside over day one, while day Morris Day & the Time and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis will funk up day two. And the State Fair Grandstand announced its first big lineup surprise yesterday: Chance the Rapper. Already on deck are comic Nate Bargatze, the Turtles’ never-ending nostalgia whoop-de-do, Mötley Crüe, and Kidz Bop. 

Moriarty Says Cops Don’t Communicate; O’Hara Responds “YAAAARGH!”

Hennepin County’s Youth Auto Theft Diversion program has only been in effect for nine months, but it’s been a success, Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty told the Minneapolis City Council yesterday. According to Moriarty’s stats, of the 82 juvenile offenders referred to the program, 72 have had no new charges afterward. Moriarty did, however, mention ways the program could still improve. "I would like to see that communication between MPD and our office improve," she said. 

Them’s… fighting words? Apparently!  In its story on Moriarty’s presentation, Fox 9 describes Chief Brian O’Hara as “visibly shaken” during Moriarty’s remarks (men can be so emotional sometimes) and quoted the chief as calling her call for communication “a slap in the face to the cops that are out there every single day putting their lives on the line.” Elsewhere in the story, Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt appeared to dispute Moriarty’s figures, but offered none of her own. 

The Graduates of Covid High

We’re starting to see a lot of “four years ago” stories looking back at what life was like in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. (And we should! It sucked! We were terrified! Our economic system’s inability and refusal to adjust to a crisis was revealed, as was our threadbare social safety net!) I hope at least a few of them are as insightful as this MPR story from Elizabeth Shockman, which talks to six graduating high school students from Minneapolis and Red Wing.

Rather than seeing these students as statistics, or lumping them together as a “lost” micro-generation (they’re only teenagers, for cryin’ out loud), her story looks honestly at the challenges these kids faced because of Covid and looks at the ways they’ve tried to overcome their setbacks. Most importantly, the piece highlights the fact that these teens (like all teens) just need help. In the words of South High student Aisha Abdullah: “We need more counselors and more mental health help. I just think because we’re like, older, they expect us to really have it all done. But we don’t, because we’re still kids.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter