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Retired Minnesotan Moving to Florida

Plus a local Foo Fighters angle you haven't considered, a fun idea for downtown Minneapolis, and corporations prove untrustworthy again in today's Flyover


Howard Root, ready for the beaches of Florida!

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

Strib Prints Biotech Millionaire’s Minnesota Goodbye

Have you heard? Everyone is leaving Minnesota. And by “everyone” we mean Howard Root, who just published a long, pissy open letter in the Strib about how Minnesota is unfair to millionaires and so he’s headed to Florida. Root, who spends much of his time arguing that federal prosecutors unjustly target CEOs and rich people, is also the moneybags behind the “Walz Failed” campaign that got some Minnesotans hopeful/worried that Scott Jensen had a sliver of a chance of becoming governor. 

If a retiree moving south doesn’t seem particularly newsworthy to you, then you clearly do not have a future on the Star Tribune Editorial Board, which has an affinity for the political opinions of the stupidly wealthy. Though we’re loath to give any more clicks to Ed Board editor Scott Gillespie’s ragebait farm than it deserves (which is zero) this dumb thing has blown up so much and Root is such a mockable Scrooge McDuck figure that barrel be damned, we’re gonna shoot that fish. (I mean… Howard Root? His name even sounds like something Ayn Rand would’ve thought up—though in Root’s defense he’s a slightly better writer.) 

Root, who sold the medical device company he co-founded for $1 billion in 2017, begins by complaining about his taxes. Never mind that a small rise in sales taxes is hardly likely to bankrupt Root—typing with one hand on his wallet, he even worries about tax increases that didn’t happen, groaning that the state “flirted with raising my income tax” and even went so far as to consider a capital gains tax and a wealth tax. Of course, he’s also concerned about crime, which he talks about in the obsessive tones of a loyal reader of the Strib editorial page, without noting that the violent crime rates in Florida and Minnesota are roughly comparable. Along the way, Root also fails to acknowledge that retiring to Florida in 2023 implies that you, at the very least, do not disapprove of the state’s horrific policies hobbling higher education, its increasingly virulent anti-LGBTQ+ bent, and its government’s overall authoritarianism.

Still, not till the end of the piece (and bless you if you made it that far) do we reach Root’s real complaint: “I've contributed to a number of candidates and organizations that … haven't won, and, … their future odds of winning control of Minnesota seem about zero.” He’s leaving because he's convinced Minnesota Republicans are too inept to even let millionaires buy elections for them. That's the best news we've read all day.

New Foo Fighters Drummer Has Local Tuba Daddy

If you’re anything like us, you met Fox 9’s latest Maury Glover headline—"Foo Fighters new drummer has musical roots in Minnesota"—with kneejerk music snobbery. “Yeah, Maury, I’m well aware that drummer Josh Freese, a monster session player, gigged with the reunited Replacements—I didn’t attend Riot Fest ‘13 ignorant of that fact,” you might have said, snobbily. But get this: We’re the fools—that’s not the locally angled factoid at all! Via Glover’s trademark buttery voice, we learn that Josh’s father, Stan Freese, was once a tuba soloist for the U of M’s concert band. Ol’ man Freese even toured the Soviet Union and met Nixon, all thanks to his tuba chops. “Totally excited about that because he's been buddies with all those guys forever, you know?” he says of his rockstar son replacing late Foo Fighters drummer Tayler Hawkins. His other son, Jason Freese, is a touring member of Green Day, and we're officially counting both Freese boys as locals.

Target Is Not Your Friend or Ally 

Look, you’re a savvy Racket reader so we don’t need to rattle off terms like rainbow washing and fiduciary duty to illustrate that Target Corp.—the cartoonishly anti-union Fortune 500 that pays its CEO $34.2 million—doesn't have anyone’s interest in mind other than shareholders. The Minneapolis-based retail giant demonstrated as much Tuesday when it announced that it’s pulling its Pride Collection from some stores after workers “experienced threats” related to the merchandise. The company hasn’t responded to media requests that might specify important details like: What kind of threats? How many threats? How many affected workers? At which stores? So LGBTQ+ customers are left wondering how genuine Target’s “continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community” is, and whether the company simply caved to frothing anti-trans culture warriors whose playbook relies heavily on demonizing brands, as we see with the ongoing Bud Light ordeal. The noxious Tomi Lahrens and Matt Walshes of the world are already taking Target victory laps. The safe bet, as explored today by Discourse Blog, is to not buy any projections of moral character from a $109.1 billion corporation. And for more on what kind of a corporate neighbor Target is here in Minneapolis, consult this Twitter thread.

First Ave. is Closing this Summer

No, we’re not talking about Minneapolis’s beloved music venue; we’re talking about First Avenue, the street. (Sure, that headline is a little clickbaity, but hey–it’s not wrong!) Basically Warehouse District Live is expanding from last year’s single-day parking lot party to a multi-week, multi-day fest. They’re describing it as an “enhanced pedestrian zone,” which is artsy PR speak meaning First Avenue North, from 5th Street to 6th Street, will be closed to car-traffic from 9 a.m. Fridays through 10 a.m. Sundays. During that time you can jaywalk to your heart’s content, all while grabbing eats from food trucks, enjoying live entertainment, and urinating in the added porta potties. The street closing starts this Memorial Day weekend and will run through Halloween. Curiously, it does not appear to be listed on downtown’s “thousands of events this summer” calendar yet. In other (good!) street closing news, Open Streets Minneapolis has its summer schedule up, with locations including West Broadway (much needed, as FLOW was canceled this year), Lyndale Avenue, East Lake, Cedar Riverside, and Glenwood. Sadly, Minnehaha is not on the schedule this year, though fortunately the Minnehaha Falls Art Fair announced its 2023 dates as well.

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