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RIP Laurie Lindeen, Minneapolis Rocker and Writer

Plus doing right by West Side Flats, calling put private-public partnerships, and 'GMA' visits us in today's Flyover news roundup.


Laurie Lindeen

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

RIP Laurie Lindeen 

Laurie Lindeen, best known in Minneapolis as the singer and guitarist for the band Zuzu’s Petals, died yesterday of a brain aneurysm. She was 62. Her former bandmate Colleen Elwood broke the news on Facebook this afternoon, calling Lindeen “one of the smartest & funniest…who could convince me to do just about anything; sure I’ll take my college degree, move to Minneapolis & start a band with you, before I can play the bass.”

Lindeen moved from Madison, Wisconsin, to Minneapolis in the mid-'80s, and then she, Elwood, and drummer Linda Pitmon formed Zuzu’s Petals. They released their first album, 1992's When No One's Looking, on Twin/Tone Records and broke up in 1994; they'd later earn a star on First Avenue's exterior. Lindeen later became a teacher and a writer, publishing her 2008 memoir Petal Pusher: A Rock and Roll Cinderella Story and an essay in the New York Times called “Johnny Goes to College” about driving her son out to school in Colorado while her “professional rebel” ex-husband (Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg) smoked nervously in the back seat. She also co-founded the popular music and storytelling series Morningside After Dark, held in the Edina Morningside Church. Lindeen was living on Martha’s Vineyard at the time of her death. 

Reparations for West Side Flats?

In 1952, flooding destroyed one of the most affordable neighborhoods in St. Paul. Following the disaster, residents of West Side Flats, many of them Mexican-American, were ordered to clear out. The compensation was minimal—many were paid as little as $35. All in all, 2,100 residents from 436 families were displaced, while the city pumped in millions to create an industrial business park. Now, reports Fred Melo of the Pioneer Press, the West Side Community Organization is releasing an 80-page report on the history of the flats that will include recommendations “for redress for historical displacement” as well as suggestions for how to prevent this happening in the future. The report will contain a call for “economic justice,” plus an acknowledgement of what happened to the residents of the flats. 

Government Is Not the Problem

Why don’t we just let the government handle things? That’s what Eric Harris Bernstein suggests in a recent opinion piece for the Minnesota Reformer. Bernstein looks at some recent examples of mismanagement—the crash of the website designed for the e-bike giveaway program, a rash of fraudulent Medicaid billings, and, most of all, the Feeding Our Families case—and notes that in each instance the parties at fault were either nonprofits or private businesses to which the state had delegated its duties. Champions of “small government” historically praise “private-public partnerships” for ideological reasons, failing to take into account how they lead to inefficiency, waste, and mismanagement, while diminishing necessary public infrastructure. “Undoing decades of privatization is a generational task, but it is necessary if we want to address the pressing needs of Minnesotans, like accessible health care, quality public education, and affordable child care,” Bernstein concludes. I’m in. 

Good Morning 'Northeast' Minneapolis

So, how ya feeling about “the American spirit” these days? Not the ideal time to be celebrating it, if you ask me. But that’s what Good Morning America’s Alex Perez was doing in town today, as part of the ABC show’s “Main St. USA” series. As you might guess from that title, GMA is visiting various Main Streets throughout the U.S. Cheering Minneapolitans gathered behind Perez in “the charming St. Anthony Main neighborhood” with The Main Cinema’s marquee prominently in the shot. (He also said that St. Anthony Main is in northeast Minneapolis, and someone carried a “We HEART Northeast Minneapolis” sign; does this mean we can officially call that area Northeast now?) We get a montage of water taxis on the river, a Segway tour through the neighborhood, a visit to the Aster Cafe, and a display form TC Swing Dancers. Check it out below.

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