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Stancil Fever Hits National Media

Plus punitive cig pricing, a new North Side food hall, and a look at the Walker's finances in today's Flyover news roundup.

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

Will Stancil Updates: NY Mag Profile; Self-Cancellation Campaign

Unavoidable Twitter dude Will Stancil, whom Racket profiled before anyone else, achieved a much more prestigious profile treatment this week in New York Magazine. While Stancil is a metropolitan governance researcher at the University of Minnesota and a House District 61A candidate, much of David Klion's story understandably focuses on his relentless Twitter march to end economic doomerism.

The profile quotes friends of Stancil, like progressive journalist Brian Beutler, who says his pal's power-tweeting is having an impact among Washington power-players... for better or worse. “With Democrats who have raised his name to me, I would guess something like two-to-one of them wish he had less of an impact on liberal thinking than he does. And then the other third are grateful that he’s out there,” Beutler says. “It flows naturally from the fact that he is engaged in critique. It’s not that the ideas are two-to-one bad.” And Klion talks to foes of Stancil, like socialist writer Carl Beijer. "The man has absolutely convinced himself that he is somehow controlling political discourse at a national level," Beijer says. "It’s delusional, but it also betrays a staggering level of Messianic arrogance and condescension towards all the people who he thinks he’s manipulating.”

Stancil himself is lightly quoted, and he echoes much of what you already read in Racket. But novel Stancil news dropped this afternoon, when the aspiring state lawmaker unveiled a savvy stroke of self-deprecating marketing: His self-imposed "Cancel Stancil" fundraising drive will shut him up at a rate of one minute per every dollar raised.

Regressive Ordinance Celebrated by City Council

On Thursday the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will require retailers to sell cigarettes for at least $15 per pack, which is estimated to be the highest price in the country. Interestingly, under Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw's bill, chewing tobacco, snuff, and cigars will be subjected to the price hike, though tobacco vape products won't, reports Jon Collins at MPR. But here's the (perhaps unpopular) thing: This sort of price control is economically regressive, since it punishes a group (smokers) that's disproportionately represented by poorer individuals—about 18% of lower-income people smoke compared to just 7% of higher income ones, according to the CDC.

And what the City Council just passed isn't even a tax that could, theoretically, route additional resources to folks in need; it's simply a pricing mandate that allows retailers to pocket the difference. Beyond its punitive nature, the Minneapolis cig pricing mechanism seems pretty avoidable. Evalyn Carbrey, a senior public health specialist with the Minneapolis Health Department, told council members that, per data since 2021, St. Paul's similar $10-per-pack ordinance "wasn’t enough of a price increase to deter many smokers." So head east and stock up, smokers... but, ya know, also consider quitting.

New North Side Food Hall?

There could be a bright future for the address that housed the ol' beleaguered 4th Street Saloon on West Broadway Avenue for 37 years, reports Azhae’la Hanson at North News. Teto Wilson, a barber by trade, hopes to close on the 13,000-square-foot Minneapolis building soon, and then start work on Swank Eatery—a food hall concept that could open as soon as 2026. Wilson's dream is boosted by a $500,000 grant from Hennepin County that will assist with acquiring 328 W. Broadway and the estimated $11,000 required to remodel it. He's also seeking outside investors. "It’s kind of like the gateway to north Minneapolis, from that standpoint, it’s a great space," Wilson tells North News. "There’s a food deficit in north Minneapolis. People are going outside of the community to get what they need. This won’t solve the food problem but it gives us more options." Wilson has reportedly long hoped to own a bar/restaurant by the time he turned 50, which just so happens to be this year.

Talkin' Walker

Ahead of the Walker Art Center's big Keith Haring exhibit, which opens tomorrow, Adam Platt of Twin Cities Business used the excitement as an excuse to discuss the intersection of art and commerce, and how those dueling forces have played out inside the region's "most prestigious and influential arts institution." As with the Guthrie Theater, the Walker finds itself as a big-fish institution that must balance challenging artistry with accessible cash-grabs, and Platt dives deep into the museum's history, finances, and creative endeavors. (Though TCB makes no mention of the Walker's 2020 worker unionization or its recent worker grievances.) "Money always follows great ideas,” concludes Adam Weinberg, ex-director of New York’s Whitney Museum and an '80s-era Walker curator. “The Walker is still a great idea.” Hard to disagree with that last bit, but money reliably follows lousy ideas, too: NFTs, the Metaverse, WeWork, the list goes on. Thankfully there won't be any Bored Apes this weekend at "Keith Haring: Art Is for Everybody."

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