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The MN GOP Has Gotten Out of (Carna)han-d

Plus State Fair updates, rent control in St. Paul, and Jacob Frey talkin' tough

12:18 PM CDT on August 20, 2021

Rep. Jim Hagedorn, Jennifer Carnahan and Anton Lazzaro at a Vikings game.
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, Facebook|

One of these people still has a job.

Welcome to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets are gabbing about.

MN G-ope! in Disarray

Well, we won’t have Jennifer Carnahan to kick around anymore. Amid accusations that she “used her power to cover up allegations of sexual harassment and abuse,”  the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party was booted from her perch in a closed meeting of party honchos last nightThe Strib quotes the assonantly named activist Sheri Auclair as saying “the state party is in ruins" and has “no brand." But honestly Carnahan casting the deciding vote to award herself a $38K severance seems all too on-brand. (Party employees should feel free to blame any missing office chairs or staplers on Carnahan the rest of 2021.) Anyway, Racket wishes J-Carn and her beloved husband Rep. Jim Hagedorn many happy years together. The whole circus has been so entertaining from the lib side of the fence, it’s important to remember that what got the ball rolling—Carnahan’s friendship with GOP donor and alleged sex trafficker Anton Lazzaro—isn't funny at all, and some disturbing unanswered questions remain about Lazzaro's other connections within the party. It's an old political trick: Distracting from systemic abuses with petty grift.

A Middling Fair?

After the Minnesota State Fair punted on health safety restrictions this year, media orgs and plain ol’ folks alike are debating whether to just sit this one out. WCCO won’t be broadcasting from the fair; Heavy Table won’t review the fair’s food offerings. Five state legislators sent a critical letter to the fair warning it could become a superspreader event. If ventilators don’t worry you, maybe the danger of a Pronto Pup smelling like rancid garbage for two years might put you off: CCO spoke to someone suffering with parosmia, the smell and taste disorder that afflicts some who contract COVID. And if you’re still on the fence about going, maybe a judge’s imminent decision about whether to allow guns on the fairgrounds will help you decide.  

Speaking of COVID

Despite high rates of resident vaccination, the Star Tribune reports, there has been an increase in nursing home cases statewide. What’s more, about a third of Minnesota nursing home health care workers aren’t fully vaccinated, and about 1 in 7 homes staff rates are under 50%. The Strib’s Chris Riemenschneider breaks the bad news that the North Loop live music institution Bunker’s has shut down temporarily after a handful of staff COVID cases. Good job on the pandemic reporting, Strib. (See, we can play nice.)

More like Nay-cob Frey

Jacob Frey has ziplined into view to announce that he will veto the public safety ballot measure that the Minneapolis City Council is expect to pass today, Fox 9 reports. Frey said he disapproves of the council’s decision not to append explanatory language to the measure, which would replace the police department with a public safety department. [UPDATE: It passed. He vetoed. I should waited 15 minutes before posting.] A state judge recently struck the initial explanatory language attached to the bill, saying it seemed more like “a warning label.” When reached for comment, Frey told Racket “I support the chief.” OK, we didn’t ask for comment, and he didn’t say that, but that’s what he usually says, right?  

Rent control’s up to St. Paul voters now

Somehow everything seems to be going more smoothly in St. Paul these days. After a unanimous city council vote in favor of a citizen-led petition, a rent control measure will be on the ballot in the state capital. And actual rent control, not that weird thing happening in Minneapolis where voters are deciding whether to authorize the city council to later consider rent control. Rent increases would be limited to 3% annually, with no inflation adjustment. As Max Nesterak says in the Minnesota Reformer: “If passed, the measure would institute one of the country’s most rigorous rent stabilization policies and the state’s first.” 

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