Eyes on the Street
For the record—meaning between you and us, Dear Reader—it is the official editorial policy of Online that there is no such thing as “the good old days.” We are not here to make the Twin Cities great again, although we are committed to saving them from succumbing to that stupid generic term “North.” That said, we have noticed a disturbing trend in human behavior that diminishes our collective character: lack of eye contact. Once upon a time it was actually unusual for folks in these parts to not catch the eye of a passerby and greet them with a smile and a nod. This is not ancient history; as recently as the millennium, at the height of popularity of the TV show “Friends” it was common to accompany the nod with a Joey Tribbiani-inspired “How you doin’?” These days averting the eyes is the community standard. People who ought to be present, like the cops and hotel doormen, are always quick to look away and ignore a friendly nod. Taken transit lately? More than half of our downtown coworkers do, and not a damn one looks up from the iPhone when walking up to the stop. Something is happening here; what it is ain’t exactly clear. Suspicion leads to a feeling of powerlessness which often morphs into fear. Anger rises to the fore as a defense mechanism. Heightened anger leads to illogical violence, which in some significant way underscores the street mayhem, including gun violence we are experiencing in the 612. Our modest proposal is that we all redouble our efforts to be friendly first. It could start with the public’s representatives on the street, the police and in Minneapolis, the DID ambassadors who have really slipped in this regard. The rest of us can pick up from their fresh start lest falling down the livability scale is what we are striving for.
Shootout at the Downtown Corral
The Minneapolis Downtown entertainment district has been on high alert since scores of shots were fired and six people were wounded in the early morning hours of September 12, 2015. A year later this same neighborhood has experienced a spate of Sunday night shootings four weeks in a row. To date concerned citizens, business leaders and residents alike have been treated with the incredulous response “what should we do?” when they appeal to City Hall. It’s a head scratcher. Our city leaders sought election/appointment because they represented that they were up to the task of governance, which means at some basic level keeping the peace. Stakeholders have repeatedly begged to stop closing streets on busy evenings; it gives the hoodlums a safe spot to marshal and wreak havoc. These same stakeholders have beseeched authorities to send those with no obvious reason for lurking in the shadows, especially minors, back from whence they came. There are claims that there are more police but the policing has not changed. The stakeholders would concede that perhaps their suggestions are impossible to implement, but if pushed they would request that city leaders concede doing the same things over and over have not yielded different results.
Monday came the pronouncement from City Hall that help is on the way in the form of—you guessed it—more cops in the next budget. There is also a plan to “call in” high risk offenders to give them an opportunity to redirect their lives. Again, not longing for the good old days, but they used to call that probation, a program operated by counties with state and county tax dollar support. We trust that those crafting this initiative are coordinating with their county partners.
Your editors were particularly sorry to learn that the most recent gunfire left bullet holes in the windows of American Uniform/Army-Navy Surplus (Jump wings) on Fourth Street and First Avenue North. Since the end of World War II the Brill family has been an important contributor to the vitality of downtown, as a retail destination and as the proverbial shopkeeper with eyes on the street. Nobody deserves their storefronts riddled by bullets but nobody deserves it less than Toby Brill. This is a shame.
It certainly is the season and we have heard from several candidates and campaigns requesting that we forward the following dates and details of fundraising receptions on behalf of their campaigns.
- Mike Opat Volunteer Committee is holding an event on October 5 from 4:30 to 7:00 pm at Travail/Rookery, 4124 West Broadway in Robbinsdale. Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith are featured hosts. Open donation.
- That same evening, October 5, Greene for Hennepin County will have an event benefitting Marion Greene’s campaign fund at the home of Tom Hoch and Mark Addicks, 2100 James Avenue South, Minneapolis. There are several dozen hosts listed, too many to mention, but all very interesting and worth meeting. This event begins at 5:30 and is posted to 7:00 pm. Drive time from Robbinsdale to East Isles makes a twofer a possibility.
- Terri Bonoff supporters are beginning their October Fundraising Push in earnest on October 10 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in the warmly renovated Ford Center. The eyes of the nation—at least the eyes interested in the fate of the House of Representatives—are on this race which pits moderate State Senator Bonoff against a heretofore under-challenged incumbent, Erik Paulsen. Said incumbent has painted his challenger as a typical tax-and-spend DFLer citing Bonoff’s unapologetic vote for raising the gas tax after the I35W Bridge collapsed. Bonoff maintains that the current Congressman is out of sync with the majority in the Third District, pointing out his A-rating from the NRA, opposition to Freedom to Marry, and numerous votes to defund Planned Parenthood which have bogged down both Zika funding and important budget votes. Rather than a bevy of hosts Bonoff’s team has accepted the gracious offer by Twin Cities musical legend Tom Lieberman (Rio Nido, Tommy & the Liebermen) to entertain the throng. There will be a live auction of the white shoes used in the Bonoff “step up” commercial and Tonka toy door prizes as well.
- The same Ford Center location, 420 North Fifth Street, will be the spot of a breakfast reception on behalf of Hennepin County Board Chair Jan Callison on October 26 from 7:45 to 9:00 am. This event is being organized by individual members of The 2020 Partners who recognize the important role Hennepin County plays in the entire ballpark, transit-oriented neighborhood they serve. Donations are open and all are welcome.
- Absent any scary Halloween fundraising, Minneapolis Sixth Ward Council Member will close out October with an event on behalf of his reelection on October 29, 8:00 am at Elsie’s, 729 Marshall Street Northeast. We enjoy Council Member Warsame’s events because he never fails to look you in the eye and say thanks for coming. Further he is old school in terms of sending thank you notes, a custom disappearing as fast as eye contact on the streets of Minneapolis.
We will direct you to further information on any of these events. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.