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New Residents Flock To Downtown Mpls Hellscape

Plus U of M tuition hike, MN GOP election obsessions, and exposing the Legal Marijuana Now Party in today's Flyover.

People live here.
Tony Webster via Flickr

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Downtown Population Keeps Growing

The population of downtown Minneapolis, a barren land of death and destruction visited with great trepidation by even the most daring outstate Minnesotan, somehow continues to grow. There were 5.6% more people living in downtown in 2021 than the year before, Dan Niepow of Twin Cities Business reports, citing Downtown Council stats. Downtown East/Mill City, or (as the marketing-befuddled call it) East Town, has nearly doubled in population, while the number of North Loopers is up nearly 80%. Surely, these must be the most desperate people of Minneapolis, shoveled into our rotting urban core by the direst circumstances. What’s interesting (he said Minnesotanly) is that the map uses the term Lower Northeast to describe the area that hood-branders once failed to dub NeHe and our benighted mayor calls “CenHen.”

U Hikes Tuition, Prez Pay Amid Enrollment Crisis 

The University of Minnesota knows it has a problem. Ryan Faircloth’s recent series for the Star Tribune explores the one-third enrollment decline at Minnesota colleges, a trend that’s accelerated by spiking tuition and a growing suspicion that college ain’t worth it. Acting swiftly, the U of M’s Board of Regents just proposed hiking tuition by 3.5% for Twin Cities students (1.75% at Crookston, Duluth and Morris). Smart! It currently costs $24,422 for one year at the U ($53,036 for non-residents). Additionally, late last year, the board approved a pay raise for President Joan Gabel, boosting her total compensation to nearly $1 million. Is she worth it? No, bosses never are. Anyway, combating the growing “higher ed is a scam” narrative gets tougher with headlines like those, as well as national headlines like this one and this one.

MN GOP Still Determined to Find Non-Existent Election Fraud

With another election looming darkly on the horizon, the GOP and the DFL are presenting what a Star Tribune headline benignly classifies as “competing visions” for voting in Minnesota. The DFL proposal: New civil penalties for threats against election officials, because such incidents rose drastically in 2020. The Republican plan: Livestream all ballot-counting activity, because… well, basically they’re falling back on the “if you don’t have anything to hide, what are you scared of?” argument. The obvious answer being, uh, we’re scared of the absolute wack jobs you’ve convinced that a Democratic election victory is de facto proof of fraud, and who’ll use any evidence to “prove” it. The best case scenario under the Republican plan is that we’d all find ourselves arguing with some six-hour YouTube “analysis” of ballot-counting livestreams. The worst case is, you know, mobs overthrowing democratic elections.

Weed Won’t Get Fooled Again

Remember how Republicans recruited bogus third-party candidates to run in close legislative races in 2020? Well, Oliver Steinberg of the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party was not happy with that. One of the legalization movement’s founders in Minnesota, Steinberg says he’ll file complaints against any candidates who use the party’s name without having any actual connection to it, according to Peter Callaghan over at MinnPost. Steinberg says there’s evidence of eight such candidates in the last election, as well as two movement-affiliated candidates recruited directly by GOP operatives. There’s no way to screen for this beforehand: As the story puts it, “Anyone can pay a filing fee, fill out an affidavit, and run under the party label.” No word about whether the Legal Marijuana Now Party, which endorsed two candidates in 2020 who proved to be spoilers, despite no prior party or issue involvement, will take similar steps.