Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
The big news this weekend was a political poll sponsored by just about every non-Racket news org in the region, with results so inconclusive you could come up with just about any headline you wanted. (OK, the Star Tribune really had to twist the results in knots to come up with theirs.) For instance, there was 49% approval of the public safety ballot question, but most respondents didn’t want to reduce the size of the police force. Similarly, though only 35% approve of Jacob Frey’s job as mayor, respondents support the (underdiscussed, imo) ballot question that would amend the city charter to give more power to the mayor. (That City Council’s approval rating is even lower than the mayor’s might have something to do with that.) Critics of the proposal say that consolidating power within the mayor’s office gives undue control over city policy to wealthier city residents and business interests and disenfranchises voters who are more directly represented by their council members. The real takeaway from this poll: Voters are still making up their minds on a lot of important issues—which isn’t that surprising, because, let’s face it, shit’s confusing these days.
Mounted Cops Gallop Over City Budget
Last year, the Minneapolis City Council voted, well, neigh on keeping horses for the cops to ride. Despite that, the Minnesota Reformer reports, there are still mounted police, because the mayor and the chief of police want them around. This seemingly minor budgetary point (we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, rather than millions) highlights a quirk in how city government works worth our attention: No matter what the council proposes, when it comes to how policing money is spent, the mayor still holds the reins.
Wanna Buy… a House? Any House?
“The Twin Cities has the worst housing shortage in the nation,” the Strib reports, which is not much of a shocker. The U’s Minnesota Population Center found that only 4.6% of our housing is vacant. So if the Twin Cities area needs more housing, what’s holding us back? Zoning, construction costs, labor shortages—just about any culprit you can name. Everyone quoted in the story says it’s gonna take a while and there are no easy answers. Strib commenters, who believe there is always an easy answer, disagree.
Backstreet’s Back… Along the North Shore?!
At least one member is: AJ McLean, who, if we recall correctly, was the resident bad boy of ’90s boy band the Backstreet Boys. This past weekend, the charming 43-year-old singer shared scenes from Duluth with his 1.3 million TikTok followers. The three-clip journey went from his appreciation of Lake Superior (“I have never seen something so serene and beautiful in all my life”) to his tuneful transportation lament (“Damn Duluth/You ain’t got no Ubers”) to his friend’s wedding day, the purpose of the whole trip. The whole saga is weirdly satisfying. Enjoy.