Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
What the Fuck Is Going on in This Picture?
It’s been a few years since Minnesota tried some dumbass high-profile stunt to get the world to pay attention to us. (Apparently hosting the Super Bowl during a particularly frigid February wasn’t the longterm tourist draw some imagined.) Enter the expo, aka the world’s fair, aka another boondoggle-in-the-making that some are hoping to lure to Bloomington in 2027. “We know that Minnesota can do big things,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “We did the Super Bowl, and that was in the middle of the winter,” she continued, as though that was a good idea, as though visitors weren’t miserable, and as though it actually made money for local businesses. (Her following sentence used the word “major” three times.)
To show what Minnesota has to offer the world, gaze upon this truly wtf rendering of what the area near the Mall of America could become in just five years. It looks like someone prompted an AI artbot to sketch “the future,” complete with some truly physics-denying architecture. On top of that, the downtown Minneapolis skyline will apparently be moved several miles closer to Bloomington. And what is that giant sphere looming on the horizon? The sun? The moon? Melancholia? The event will cost $2 billion, which will supposedly be covered by “ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and other private investment,” though we’re advised that planners “haven’t ruled out seeking some kind of public financial support.” We bet they haven’t.
MN Freedom Fund Responds to Cop-Loving AG Wannabe
Bail is one of the more messed up elements of the (profoundly messed up) U.S. criminal justice system. For a nice, digestible lil primer, consult this John Oliver ep from 2015; for a left-on-left critique, consult this Citations Needed pod from last week. The nonprofit Minnesota Freedom Fund has been at the forefront of local bail-reform efforts since 2016, and yesterday it entered the crosshairs of Jim Schultz, the GOP AG candidate/apparent sentient egg. In defense of the Bail Abatement Nonprofit Exclusion (BANE) Act, Schultz—who’s pitted against current DFL AG Keith Ellison this November—slammed MFF for “a record of making bail payments for criminals who go on to commit new crimes.” (The whole concept of being held on bail means you’ve not yet been convicted of what you’ve been arrested for, thus rendering it de facto imprisonment for the poor, but Jim won’t let facts get in the way of a good lock-’em-all-up platform.)
The Freedom Fund clapped back Thursday via press release, with co-executive directors Elizer Darris and Mirella Ceja-Orozco stating: “Schultz gives no details about what ‘responsible bail policies’ he supports, but what he wants is crystal clear. He and his colleagues want to help the for-profit bail industry line their pockets with money funneled from Black and brown communities; prop up a system that jails poor, Black, brown and Indigenous people at disproportionate rates while allowing wealthy people accused of the same crimes to go free; and use their positions of power to crush the first amendment rights of organizations that dare oppose them.” The BANE Act, which MFF says was written in concert with the for-profit bail bondsmen industry, would effectively ban groups like MFF.
Do Bad Guys Like Operation Endeavor? “They do not,” Says Cop.
Amid election season, a new public safety commissioner, and the annual back-to-school crime dip, Operation Endeavor’s PR blitz continues. This time they’re getting the copaganda treatment from KSTP, with reporter Ben Henry going on a ride along through the North Side and downtown. In the segment, Henry is seen asking MPD Sgt. Adam Lepinski the tough questions, like if he thinks criminals like Operation Endeavor (“They do not,” he boasts) and if their recent spike in arrests is thanks to Op End (“Without a doubt,” he agrees). According to KSTP’s report, since the program began about two weeks ago, the MPD has made “50 arrests and seized 30 firearms, 520 fentanyl pills, 270 grams of heroin, 196 grams of cocaine, and $39,500 in cash connected to crime.” What’s unclear is how these numbers compare to previous years, how many people arrested were actually charged with a crime, and if the seized firearms were illegal. Also, if you’re basically running a stop-and-frisk campaign, how do cops determine whether or not any cash they find on people is connected to a crime?
Not In My Birds’ Yard!
Residents of the Highland Park neighborhood in St. Paul are concerned that replacing a modest three-story building with a towering new four-story building will disturb a pair of eagles who have made a home in the area for a decade now. “We have a tapestry here that’s beautiful,” area resident Wendy Neurer told the Star Tribune, referring to the eagles and other wildlife in the area. “It is their land. We’re encroaching on their land. And as you start building on it, they become disoriented and where do they go? They become displaced.” Neighbors have objected to the project on various grounds, and won some concessions from developers. Council member Chris Tolbert, who has been fielding complaints about the project from constituents, recently commented, “This is the first I’ve heard about the eagles.”