Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

We want street food!

There’s been a lot of griping over the last few years (myself included) about the lack of street food vendors in the Twin Cities and the obstacles the seemingly arbitrary regulations faced by someone looking to start a street food business. (think St.Paul’s rule on taco trucks having to change locations)

Sheila Regan of TC Daily Planet covers the recent bruhaha in Minneapolis with Street vendors coming to downtown Minneapolis?

Minneapolis’s Regulatory Services and Public Works Committee on March 22. After hearing testimony pro and con, the committee voted to forward to the City Council, without recommendation, an amended ordinance that would allow 25 street food vendors to set up their businesses in downtown Minneapolis. In the next two weeks, city staff will make changes to the proposed amendment related to issues brought up at the public hearing.

As you might expect T.C. food guru Andrew Zimmern has something to say and in his column titled Moron Awards he lets loose on local favorite Hell’s Kitchen.

Most ironically the article included a quote from Cynthia Gerdes of Hell’s Kitchen who opined that “I paid $33,000 in rent last month, and now I have to compete with someone who pays $400 a year for their food license?” What a bone headed idea that is. How is this any different than any other business? If you choose (and yes, it is a choice) to pay $33,000 in rent then you are crazy. Second, these types of complainers already compete with those paying less overhead and have been for as long as there have been restaurants. Third, a falafel cart selling 100 sandwiches at lunch helps businesses in the same way that restaurants on the same block help each other to grow business. Fourth, HK is getting into the mobile food game so its unfairly hypocritical, and fifth, based on my visit there last Sunday for brunch, the biggest problem HK has is not the burgeoning groundswell of support for mobile food carts. It’s their own food and service, which have gone downhill in a big way over the last year.

What a disaster of a meal…rude greeting, a 40-minute wait for food, missed items on our order, major service missteps, six out of seven cold plates of food, and inedible items (truly). And the most puzzling of all: Even if you think its kitschy to have your servers wear pajamas, the least you can do is insist they are clean, not pilled, stained, and wrinkled. What a turnoff.

I don’t care what universe you’re from, that’s gotta hurt.

What kind of street food would you like to eat?


Hennepin County hearts spying on you

With the massive healthcare debate going on Hennepin County has decided to fly under the radar and approve a twice denied request for KingFish cell phone tracking equipment.

According to the Strib This time, Stanek lands KingFish phone tracker

After twice coming away with nothing, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek received approval Tuesday to funding for a controversial tracking device that can pinpoint cell phone locations even when they’re not being used.

The equipment would be used by the sheriff’s investigations bureau, according to County Board documents. “The system acts as a mobile wireless phone tower and has the capability to find, track and/or deny mobile phone service,” the documents state.

The tracking device can receive information from all cell phones that are on, even if they are not being used.

I’m certain this will not be used in an intrusive and possibly illegal manner. Though, I wonder what Ol’ Smash-and-Grab Stanek has in mind?


One step closer to booze

I wrote about when legislators banned alcohol at the newly built TCF Stadium and most agreed of-age college students should be allowed to drink beer at games. Now it appears the Mn Legislature is having a change of heart as A Senate panel OK’d a bill allowing limited alcohol sales in TCF Stadium.

A Senate panel gave quick approval Tuesday to a plan that would let the University of Minnesota sell alcohol in some areas of the year-old TCF Bank Stadium, reversing an all-or-nothing policy that resulted in a prohibition on sales throughout the stadium.

In reviving a debate at the Legislature, Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said the university — at a time it was facing $36 million in legislative cuts — also was losing at least $1 million a year because it did not sell alcohol at the new facility. The proposal, which would go into effect this fall, will head to another Senate panel, but still faces an uphill fight at the state Capitol.

Good? Bad? Doomed to fail again?


They’ll have to pry our porn from our hot sticky hands

Here’s an update on the ongoing debate about Minnesota workers staying at places that show THE PORNO.

Strib reports

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A bill that would prohibit Minnesota government employees from staying in hotels with pay-per-view pornography has failed in a House committee.

If you’re a state employee don’t break out the lube and tissue yet, your nannycrats still have one more threat to your right to Jackin’ and Jilling

A companion bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tarryl Clark, also from St. Cloud, passed a Senate committee last week and has made it to the Senate floor.

I can only ask, what exactly has it been doing down on the Senate floor for the last week?


Is our judicial system on the verge of collapse?

Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson recently announced he will be retiring after serving only two years on the bench and this week he has issued a dire warning that the state’s judicial system is on the verge of collapse.

The Strib reports

We are running a really big engine with almost no oil in the crankcase, and things are going to start to break down if we get a significant cut in this legislative session,” said Magnuson, who made it known last week that he will leave the bench in June.

Facing nearly $15 million in proposed budget cuts, Magnuson envisions more backlogs and delays, more drug court closings, public-counter closings and “delaying justice to Minnesota citizens.” …

Now he says, the judiciary is “struggling” and if another round of cuts proposed by Pawlenty is imposed, the system may have to look at simply delivering fewer services.

“We may have to look at changing what we are doing, not just how we’re doing it,” Magnuson said. “And I’d hate to see that.”

The comments to the story break down into three general categories, it’s time to look at spending, it’s time to increase funding, and politics where most of the political venom is aimed at our Governor, Tim Pawlenty.

One commentor went so far as to write a dissent.

DissentI get Chief Magnuson’s dilemma, but I have to dissent with this statement. “”We may have to look at changing what we are doing, not just how we’re doing it,” Magnuson said. “And I’d hate to see that.”” Actually, it is time to look at changing what the judicial system is doing. As another commenter stated about going to court for “dog at large” there are simply too many ways to go to court in this state. What is the sense in thousands of dollars in court costs for a hundred dollar fine? Is that really justice served? Also, the war on drugs has been a horrible burden on our courts and has only succeeded in driving up the costs to the courts and the cost of the entire judicial and legal system while creating power mad prosecutors that care more about their “win” record and career aspirations than justice. Yes Mr.Magnuson, with all due respect, I disagree with your statement. It is time to change what we are doing.
posted by songczar

What do you think?


Jesse The Body laughs at Tea Baggers.

“Former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura sounds off on Republicans, Democrats and the Tea Party”


Porn is OK for Minnesota Lawmakers, just not violent porn.

Strib reports Minn. lawmaker: No more violent hotel porn

A bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud could prohibit spending public dollars at in-state hotels or meeting facilities that provide their customers with pornographic materials that link sex with violence. Nonviolent adult movies would be OK.

The bill gets a hearing in a Senate committee Wednesday.

The Department of Administration would keep a directory of approved facilities to help employees plan travel.

All I want to know is, who gets the job to watch all the hotel porn and determine if is it’s violent or not?


Talking Minnesotan – 02-26-10

Image “Third Thursday: Foot in the Door 4 Premiere” Uploaded on February 19, 2010
by Minneapolis Institute of Arts
(Photos: Lacey Criswell and Kimberlee Whaley)
Find artwork on the FITD4 website

Check out the Best Shoes in the Door Gallery here

Learn about upcoming Third Thursday events.

Join the Third Thursday Group Pool and upload your own images from the event.

Well I missed another Third Thursday event, but I really want to go. The wife has decided she won’t be able to make the next couple, so I need a date or three. Want to go to the next one?

This week the talk has been all Prince all the time. His Purpleness has released a new song “Cause and Affect” and Andrea Swensson is not impressed.

People, we have a fake applause situation. When one of our friends was listening to “Cause and Effect” for the first time, he remarked that it sounded like the background noise on the video game Rock Band. We giggled, and then became very, very sad. Honestly. Is there anything more depressing than the image of the Purple One at Paisley Park, wielding a plastic guitar with multi-colored buttons and playing with a backing band of cartoons?


Check out Toki Wright talk about BlackMale, an 8 song digital EP of all brand new music. “Seeing that it is Black History month it seemed like a fitting to release this interpretation of African-American manhood”

Although Mn has plenty of Minnesotans in the Olympics people still can’t seem to get enough Brett Favre talk.

Most sports fans are getting into baseball mode and What ‘choo talking about, Willis? has some things to say with Twinsanity

While MPR’s Laura McCallum takes on the more serious discussion of homelessness in Mn with A business plan to end long-term homelessness Ever notice how politicians say they are going to end homelessness, but then set the date way off in the future all the while defunding programs for the homeless?

Yeah, I’m sure that will work.

There’s been a lot of law talk this week and right in the midst of it all Sheila Regan fights the law and well, somehow actually wins. TCDP’s Sheila Regan gets court records opened

Secret court proceedings will see the light of day, according to an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on TC Daily Planet reporter Sheila Regan’s motion to open the records of contempt proceedings against Carrie Feldman. The appeals court allowed further government delay in opening the records, drawing a sharp dissent from Judge Bye, one of the three-judge panel hearing the case:

Congratulations Sis, but be careful, that’s not how the song goes.

Hey look that pretty boy Andrew Zimmern is going to be on the Tyra show. Fierce.

Speaking of MSPMAG Man-about-Town Steve Marsh (who still owes me 20 bucks and drinks, fucking hippy.) has two videos worth checking this week.

In this one he gets hammered and talks about the monster situation he created with Michelle Bachmann and in this one he interviews author Wells Tower at Il Gatto

HEY YOU!!! Don’t forget to vote in the Pepsi Refresh contest, there are some good local entries.

You know what? It’s Friday, let’s close it out with Eyedea & Abilities – Smile



Become a zombie, go to jail, get a lawyer, sue.

Minneapolis Zombie Pub Crawl Uploaded on October 11, 2009 by chris-williams

Strib reports Appeals court gives new life to local ‘zombie’ suit

The U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday released a ruling in favor of a group of zombies who say they were wrongfully arrested while protesting consumerism during the 2006 Aquatennial. The ruling reanimates the group’s federal lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and its police, seeking damages of at least $50,000 for each person arrested.

A three-judge panel of the court ruled 2-1 that police lacked probable cause to arrest the group — seven people wearing white powder, fake blood and black around their eyes and shuffling around like zombies — for disorderly conduct. Police do not have immunity from claims against them for making the arrest, the court ruled.

The appeals court did side with the city on two other points — affirming the lower court’s dismissal of the zombies’ claims of false imprisonment and First Amendment retaliation.

I have a hard time seeing how the zombies were wrongfully arrested and yet False Imprisonment and First Amendment retaliation do not apply. I guess that’s why I’ll never be a judge. I have to admit I was a little disappointed that a zombie suit wasn’t a type of clothing to be worn at a zombie office or at a zombie wedding.

In case you were wondering both lawyers see this as a win of sorts. The Zombies’ lawyer says the court decided correctly, while the City’s lawyer says they won 2 of 3 charges.

“A Minneapolis police spokesman declined to comment”



Should police obey the law?

In this post at the Pioneer press Ruben Rosario: Cops’ seat-belt sting did the job. But was it right? Ruben talks about a police string to catch motorists not using a seatbealt.

The FBI had Donnie Brasco, the undercover agent who infiltrated the mob. Maplewood police have “Homeless Harry” — my moniker for the undercover cop who last weekend bagged a completely different kind of outlaw. Let me explain.

Blake Elfstrom, 22, of Maplewood, was driving his girlfriend home late Sunday morning. He was the fourth car at a stop sign before turning onto westbound Minnesota 36 from northbound McKnight Road in North St. Paul.

That was when he spotted a shabbily dressed, middle-aged man wearing glasses that seemed too big for his face. The man, who turned out to be Maplewood cop Paul Bartz, was holding up a sign — “Will work for food” — as he approached and looked inside the line of waiting vehicles.

Elfstrom was pondering whether to roll down his window when he saw the cars moving ahead of him. He entered the on-ramp, only to be waved to the side of the road moments later by one of several uniformed cops standing near a line of patrol cars.

He asked the cop why he was being pulled over. The officer told him his girlfriend was in violation of a 9-month-old law that gives Minnesota law enforcement the authority to pull over drivers and occupants for not wearing seat belts.

“How in the world did you know?” Elfstrom asked the ticketing officer.

“That homeless guy back there? He’s an officer,” the cop replied.

“I saw about 10 other cars pulled over as he wrote out the (summons),” said Elfstrom

Ruben then goes on to delve into the right/wrongs of police posing as the homeless for a sting and quotes officers that are both for and against the practice.

Though, the bit that caught my eye is this

I was left wondering whether the cops violated one state law in order to enforce another. According to Subdivision 2 of Minnesota Statute 169.22, “no person shall stand on a roadway for the purpose of soliciting employment, business, or contributions from the occupant of any vehicle.”

It’s clear from the article that the police did in fact solicit and accept money while working on the sting. (Almost $100! which they donated)

I think we’ve all seen police breaking laws that apply to other drivers: speeding, flipping on lights to go through a red and then immediately turning them off, distracted driving, etc.

I know it’s a loaded question, but does anyone think it’s ok for the police to break while enforcing the law?
Should all these seatbeat tickets be tossed out of court on a technicality?



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