Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Parks vs. Parking, Again
You know what’s pretty sick? Doing a laser flip on your skateboard. But the Minneapolis Park Board’s decision to put a temporary skatepark in the north side parking lot of Bde Maka Ska has drawn the ire of windsurfers who park their cars there. The wind people say they’re upset that they weren’t able to voice their opinions about losing 16 of the 80 spots in the lot; skater peeps just want somewhere to hang after their 2020 unsanctioned DIY park in the lake’s burned down pavilion was deemed a liability and torn down. Windsurfer Kevin Barta set up a petition against the skatepark’s proposed location. He estimates that the set up would take over 36 spots, not 16. The petition, now closed, has about 66 signatures. “I don’t know if [windsurfers’] concerns are more valid than the concerns of other citizens who want to skate,” skate advocate Paul Forsline told Susan Du at the Star Tribune. “It’s just an area that gets a lot of use from a variety of users and a variety of people that want to be in this space.”
More Money, More Cops, More Jail
“Tough on crime” is an ad slogan, not a policy, so it’s a shame to see reporters using it, even in scare quotes, to describe the $200 million GOP-supported public safety bill that passed the Senate Monday, with DFL coattail support. (The bill will eventually have to be reconciled with whatever plan passes the DFL-controlled House, which will surely allocate resources much differently.)
Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), the bill’s author, believes that “the defund the police movement and other anti-police rhetoric has diminished and denigrated our law enforcement community to the point that it’s an encouragement to the criminal element in our state.” (I could write 1,000 words dissecting that one sentence alone.) His answer? State-funded pro-police rhetoric (paid ads saying cops are good) as well as bonuses for current officers and hiring assistance for local communities. The bill would also limit the discretion of local prosecutors, requiring them to bring more criminal cases, regardless of their independent judgment.
The Senate hasn’t presented much of a data-based argument for why these tried-and-false measures will work. But bill supporter Bill Ingebrigsten (R-Alexandria) says he gets all the data he needs from the tee-vee. “Every night there’s crime going on, unbelievable amounts of crime going on,” Ingebrigtsen said. “That’s the data I bring. That’s the data my constituents are concerned about.” If only TV news would just stop reporting crime, Alexandria would feel much safer.
Soucheray: I Love Birds and Bees More Than I Hate Experts and Edina (Or… Something?)
Like so many great masters of prose before him, Joe Soucheray has come to bravely risk density and inscrutability in his later works. Each weekly dose of PiPress crankery used to be just a source of irritation; now it’s almost fun, like solving an old-timey word jumble in the funny pages. This weekend’s column begins with Joe tossing a dead bird into the air, and, when it refuses to fly away, reflecting on how he’s been torn between two strong emotions—his love of nature and his hatred of being told what to do. The result is a true late-career classic. His Golden Bowl. His Finnegans Wake. His Boom Town: A Lake Woebegon Novel.
Souch was skeptical of the Raptor Center’s advice to help prevent the spread of avian flu by keeping bird feeders unfilled, because it reminded him of getting COVID advice. Oh how that used to chap him! And don’t get him started about No Mow May. “We have been cutting grass in May since the invention of the lawnmower, but our consciousness is raised these days and I will resist all the lines I am itching to use about Edina residents being so predictably precious that they think that they will become the pollinator capital of the world,” Joe snarks with (surely unedited) aplomb. (You can find a bit more nuanced context about why Minnesota communities are asking residents not to mow in spring here.)
And yet, Joe keeps the feeder empty and puts his lawnmower away, on the off chance that such virtue signaling will actually help the bird’s and the bees. A complicated man. Maybe the lesson in Souch’s column is that we shouldn’t let our ingrained skepticism prevent us from making prudent decisions. Uh, let’s pretend that’s what he’s saying, anyway.
The Insta-Famous Fowl of the U
Don’t let the use of “extirpated” in the dek scare ya: This 4/20 Minnesota Daily story about campus turkeys is exactly as much fun as you’d want it to be. It’s also full of incredible video clips from the Turkeys of UMN Instagram, an account that was started by students Amanda Ichel and Paige Robinson in October 2020 to highlight the gobblin’ guests on campus. We’re late to this one: Their account has already been included in a New York Times story and has amassed over 3,400 followers. That’s… more than Racket. (Do you guys want us to post more turkey content?)