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The MPD Wants New Toys

Plus evictions spike, Carbucks is no more, and Racket's voting tips in today's Flyover

Do you know why I pulled you over?
Photo by Jonathan Lampel on Unsplash

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

Cops: Drones Are Safer Than We Are

The Minneapolis Police Department would like to kill fewer of the city’s residents, but it’ll cost us. That’s our takeaway from the MPD’s request to begin using unmanned aerial vehicles—you know, drones. “UAVs are a great tool in de-escalating potentially dangerous situations,” goes the sales pitch. “UAVs provide situational awareness that otherwise might be unavailable, which allows officers to slow a situation down and limit the possibility of misreading a situation by any of the involved parties.” There are 76 Minnesota law enforcement agencies currently using drones, and Bring Me the News notes that more than 40% of the drone flights last year were for officer training or public relations. I get it: We all like bright shiny new things. Fortunately, state law requires public comment before cops get to go toy shopping, and the Minneapolis Public Health and Safety Committee has been asked to hold a public hearing on the matter on Wednesday, August 24.

Evictions Jump 73% Statewide

Well, what do you know? Just because pandemic renter protections have ended doesn’t mean people don’t still need them. This June, there were an average of 600 evictions statewide per week, a 73% jump from pre-pandemic levels. “These are Black and Indigenous families with children, who are working families,” Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley told MPR’s All Things Considered, noting that the county’s two shelters are already at capacity. The issue: the federal money from the American Rescue Plan that filled the gap between stagnant wages and rising rents has dried up, and hasn’t been renewed with funds from the state or the feds. Just another reminder that the pandemic didn’t just create new emergencies—it revealed the emergencies we’d been ignoring all along.

Carbucks Would Rather End Its Drive-Thru Than Deal with Cops

The Snarshall Starbucks, located at Snelling and Marshall in St. Paul, might be the most notorious Carbucks in the cities. Though it serves people inside its cafe, its drive-thru brought the big business, or, at least, the big traffic jams. To make traffic less cluster-fucky, cops had been directing cars on Marshall, and were contracted to do so through August. But workers, many of whom are queer Black women, opted to shut down the drive-thru rather than deal with them in any capacity. “We basically gave an ultimatum to our district manager and our regional vice president,” an employee tells the Pioneer Press. The workers have also expressed concern over interactions between the white cops and Black and Somali customers. So the drive-thru will be closed, for now, as management tries to figure out how to keep the car party going. You can still enjoy coffee from this location, you’ll just have to, you know, park and walk inside to order. In the meantime, traffic in the area will most likely continue to suck, as cars regularly take out bollards lining the Marshall Avenue bike lane and drive mad, because slow intersections destroy the illusion that cars are worth it.

🗳️ or 😭

Happy primary election day! Nobody is quite sure how we got these candidates, and we’re even less sure if we like ‘em, but by God, few citizenries view the act of voting with such Hank Hillian solemnity as Minnesotans. We’re not gonna tell you who to vote for, because what the hell do we know? (We know not to vote for Don Samuels.) But we will point out: Here’s how and where to vote; here’s your sample ballot, which you must cram-study moments before leaving the house; and here’s a progressive-minded guide to the vast field of candidates from local blogger Naomi Kritzer, who reliably provides deeply researched analysis on every race. Kritzer is a particularly great resource for not approaching obscure, down-ballot contests with total ignorance, lest you accidentally vote for the football guy who “dominated in sports I did.” Polling places are open around the state from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.