Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Minneapolis Had a Plan. Frey Didn’t Follow It.
If you were in town for the unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd, you might be surprised to hear that Minneapolis has an emergency operations plan that’s “well written, comprehensive, and consistent with nationally recognized practices.” The plan didn’t do any of us much good, though, because Mayor Jacob Frey failed to implement it. Those are among the findings outlined in the 86-page after action report filed by risk management firm Hillard Heintze, dated February 3 but made public yesterday. The report also faults the MPD and MFD for failure to follow their own emergency plans or to set up a command structure adequate for the situation. (The report does seem to let individual officers off the hook for their frequent use of “less lethal” rounds and chemical irritants, as though lack of “consistent rules of engagement and control” justifies the behavior we saw.) Since, as the report states, neither the police nor fire departments conducted their own after action reviews to see how they could have done better, this is the first official summation of the situation. And without making any unsupportable claims about why the report is coming out three months after the election, let’s just say that if I were Jacob Frey (gah, what a sequence of words to type) I’d much prefer it that way.
Will Past Accusations of Chipotle Rage Bedevil Matt Birk’s Lt. Gov. Candidacy? (No, but lol.)
Matt Birk is a Harvard graduate who played for the Vikings, won a Super Bowl with the Ravens, and is now seeking the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor, on a ticket with quack fantasist Scott Jensen. But in certain parts of local Twitter, Birk will forever be identified with three words: “Which Chipotle Ryan?” Birk’s succinct tweet-query arose from a silly incident in late 2020 when the NFL-center-turned-reactionary-culture-warrior announced that he would foil Big Pharma’s plans to exploit him by refusing to get vaccinated. Whoever was running the account for local Asian food market United Noodles took this as an opportunity to tweet: “I remember him treating me like garbage every time he ordered from me when I worked at Chipotle in 2000.” When Birk denied this (instead of just ignoring the troll as any non-weirdo would), Ryan James of Prep Hoops tweeted, “My girlfriend and I at the time were quite amazed at how you talked to the chipotle workers there.” At which point Birk dug in further, issuing his infamous demand for the site of the Chipotle in question. Does any of this matter? Absolutely not! Is it funny anyway? We think so! And if for some reason you’re all in for a dude who traffics in COVID conspiracies, opposed same-sex marriage, and wants abortion outlawed, and yet rudeness to service workers is a line too far for you, maybe this will help with your decision.
As we enter the second day of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers’ strike, news orgs throughout the area are on the ground reporting what the strikers have to say. Referencing the union’s demand to raise educational support professionals’ starting pay from $24,000 to $35,000, Northside ESP Jose Bodeya tells MPR News, “For the district to say that they don’t have the means, I think, is a disrespect to the profession itself.” In MinnPost, Solomon Gustavo talked with an array of affected parents and staffers, from strike-supporting parent Shannon Gibney (“It really does feel like a community thing, like we’re all tied together in this, for better or worse”) to MPS parent and intervention specialist Jessie Begert, who stopped paying MFT dues prior to the strike and is still going to work (“the union [is] demanding more money in the pockets of teachers when our students can’t even read at grade level”.) And in Minnesota Reformer, Rilyn Eischens connects the MFT walkout to new trends in public sector unions’ strategies, such as an increased willingness to strike and new ways of framing the unions’ goals. “You see traditional bargaining issues recast in social justice, progressive terms,” UNLV labor historian Bradley Marianno tells Eichens. “That sometimes gets teachers unions further down the field because they can find more support among people outside of education.”
Can Van Gogh Hucksters Make Bank on Banksy?
Using graffiti stencils and the dark of night, artist Banksy has been creating guerrilla-style public protest art around the world for decades. Anyone can enjoy the art; you just have to find it (or find it shared online). Though the anonymous, (probably) Bristol-born artist mostly works on things like buildings, bridges, and overpasses, they have been known to make insane amounts of money selling lithographs, silkscreen prints, and self-destructing art to rich people. Suckers! Now, you can pay $55 to be the sucker. Brought to you by the same group that gave us “Van Gogh: Hardcore Video Room” comes “The Art of Banksy,” an unauthorized show featuring over 100 Banksy pieces from private collections. Can’t manage that ticket price? If you’re a social media shill with over 2,000 followers, you can apply to become a Banksy Minneapolis Influencer, where you will (probably?) get in for free if you give the show free promotional content. We gotta wonder though: Will the crowd who paid mad money to sit in a room with a classy Van Gogh screensaver be into Banksy’s anti-fascist, pro-immigrant, anti-consumerist art? We hope they at least pay their staff better this time.