Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
The Purge: MN State Patrol Edition
A funny thing happened when the ACLU requested a number of texts and emails sent by the Minnesota State Patrol: turns out they’d been deleted. The ACLU is suing state and city law enforcement for allegedly assaulting journalists in the wake of the unrest following George Floyd’s murder, and the disappearance of documentation from that moment is striking some as not quite coincidental. “The purge was neither accidental, automated, nor routine,” say ACLU attorneys and it “makes it nearly impossible to track the State Patrol’s behavior, apparently by design.” And plenty of state lawmakers are now demanding answers as well.
“Sexual Ringmaster” Lazzaro Faces New Suit
A newly filed federal civil lawsuit calls Minnesota GOP donor Tony Lazzaro a “sexual ringmaster” and alleges that he “used his power, wealth, influence, connections, and resources to recruit children as part of a predatory enterprise of perversion wherein he used whatever means he could to gain their trust so that he could prey on them.” The attorney in the case is Jeff Anderson, best known for bringing massive sex abuse actions against the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, Jennifer Carnahan, the former state party head ousted on account of her friendship with Lazzaro, is insisting that she’s received “thousands of calls” asking her to get back into politics, with many supporting a possible gubernatorial bid. Thousands. Thanks to Dan Heilman for doing the math and determining that would come to at least 118 calls a day since she lost her job. Sure, Jen.
Education Transportation Frustration
School is back in session throughout much of Minnesota, including Minneapolis, but will students be able to get there? Districts statewide are facing a shortage of school bus drivers. In response, Stillwater has sued a contractor, Minneapolis is offering mileage reimbursement to parents who drive their kids to school, and St. Paul supplying students with Metro Transit cards. In other education news, over at Sahan Journal, Becky Z. Dernbach offers an excellent overview on the battle over more inclusive social studies standards being fought on school boards around the state.
Stop the Press, Ballot Printers!
The Minneapolis city council is scrambling back to work today as a county judge has ruled that the ballot language approved for a proposed public safety amendment is “vague, ambiguous, and incapable of implementation.” This is the second court win for Don and Sondra Samuels this year—the north Minneapolis couple earlier prevailed in a suit charging that Minneapolis was not maintaining charter-required police staffing levels. This is also the second legal defeat for the phrasing of the ballot question: A previous explanatory note went down after a challenge from pro-amendment group Yes 4 Minneapolis. Can council even act fast enough to get a modified proposal on the ballot? NBD if not, says Judge Jamie Anderson. “The city can always hold a special election or put the proposed amendment with revised language on the ballot in a future general election.”
NFT Stands for Nice Fucking Try
Did anyone score a Scott Jensen NFT at the fair this year? To fund his seemingly perpetual campaign for governor, PolitiFact’s 2020 “Lie of the Year” posterboy, who made his name nationally by claiming that hospitals were over-reporting COVID-19 deaths (they aren’t) and has moved on to railing against COVID vaccines as “experimental,” served up four colorful digital thingamabobs. According to a campaign press release, Jensen’s “the first statewide candidate in history” to peddle NFTs. PolitiFact, please advise.
It’s a Living
The Minnesota Reformer just debuted a great feature idea that doesn’t deserve to get lost among the splashier headlines and clickier stories. They’re just talking to people as they go about their everyday jobs, and for the first installment, James Napoli (who—full disclosure—wrote this sweet Racket feature) talks to barbershop owner Antone Darrington.