Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Minneapolis has an actual public safety success story—and its future is uncertain. Last year, the Office of Performance and Innovation began dispatching mental health professionals instead of police to certain conflicts; in its first three and a half months, the program diverted 1,600 emergency calls from police. Director Brian Smith received an award in Berlin this summer at the very Germanically named Creative Bureaucracy Festival, and even the cops are happy with the new system. But, as Susan Du reports in the Strib today, several city council members are concerned that Mayor Jacob Frey’s plans for restructuring City Hall governance will leave OPI in limbo. The piece quotes Second Ward council member Robin Wonsley as saying, “There is no road map that’s been told to council about where these programs are going to be housed next.” Adds the First Ward’s Elliott Payne, “I want to get some commitments around making sure that OPI remains intact.” Seems like a little clarity on the issue would help a lot.
Landlords Gonna Landlord
St. Paul passed a rent control measure last fall that limited increases to 3% annually. But, as Max Nesternak reports over at the Reformer, just months after the ordinance went into effect, tenants are saying landlords are getting pretty creative about how to get around that cap. Renters who formerly were not paying for utilities are now getting hit with surcharges for gas, electric, water, and garbage, while other landlords are rewriting leases to make utilities the tenants’ responsibility. Given the rise in utility costs, that’s amounting to as much as a 10% bump for some. The city of St. Paul says this isn’t allowed under the new ordinance, and tenants’ rights groups are organizing in support of those affected. But official city-level rulings against individual landlords are still pending.
Minneapolitans Celebrated America Last Night with Chaos
On July 4, the City of Minneapolis urged people not to call 911 for fireworks complaints, instead urging them to use an online complaint form that would be reviewed during normal office hours. But people downtown called 911 last night anyway, as cars and people roaming the street on foot shot fireworks directly at buildings and pedestrians into the wee hours of the night. Star Tribune editor Paul Klauda, who lives in the area, says the shenanigans started around 10:30 p.m. around 2nd Street & Portland Avenue. When cops showed up, thinking they were going to be breaking up house parties, officers were reportedly overwhelmed by people shooting fireworks at them as well. Eventually, police managed to detain a 23-year-old woman from Savage for assaulting an officer and obstruction. Meanwhile, over at Boom Island Park, eight people were injured around 11:30 p.m., after someone–or multiple someones–began shooting bullets at crowds. There are no suspects at this time, and several of the people taken to the hospital are now in critical condition.
Serial St. Paul Jelly Gifter Remains at Large
As you’ve you’ve just read, lotta grim news occurred over this dumb nation’s birthday weekend. So we’ll leave you with a bit of levity from MN Crime. (Important brand reminder: MN Crime is the benign one; Crime Watch is the reactionary right-wing one that’s a net-negative for society.) The police scanner account picked up the following tidbit Monday:
Local Redditors had a blast riffing on the questionable 911 call: “Sounds they are in a real jam,” “Could be a real sticky situation,” “It’s just sour grapes,” etc., et al., you get the idea. We hope the harried homeowner can find the peace they deserve. Or, at the very least, a proportionate cache of peanut butter. And to the jelly vandal? Heed this psych-rock warning!!