Lisa Goodman puts gum from her mouth into opponent’s hand at Ward 7 forum

At some point, far into the future, when I give talks to classrooms full of aspiring journalists, I will tell them you miss 100% of the weird stories you don’t show up for. That’s why you go to all the neighborhood meetings, all the zoning hearings, and every candidate forum.

You go to a Ward 7 city council candidate forum at a big fancy church on Hennepin Avenue to break a once-in-a-lifetime story that a not-so-clever person might call Gumghazi.

(What you’re about to read is the biggest Wedge LIVE scoop since Deflate-gate.)

Multiple eyewitness accounts and the pictures below show that Lisa Goodman placed chewing gum from her mouth into the hand of one of her opponents. Poor guy thought when Goodman said “take my gum” that she was offering a nicely wrapped piece of unchewed gum. Live and learn. The unlucky political neophyte, Teqen Zéa-Aida, won’t fall for the old gum trick again. Experience matters. (Read Teqen’s account here.)

Photo credit: Canin Apriori

Meg Tuthill works the room 
Former Ward 10 city council member, Meg Tuthill—who is a Goodman supporter—walked around the room before the candidate forum, doing some persuasion work. Tuthill interrogated a couple of sweet, innocent older ladies about who they were supporting and why. The innocent older ladies said they were supporting Goodman’s other opponent Janne Flisrand.

My close encounter with Lisa Goodman (Kingpin Wedge “El Chapo” LIVÉ escapes Mexican prison once again)

Here’s another Real-Life Story from the Ward 7 Candidate Forum. After it was all over (after all the gum had been chewed and spit out into other people’s hands), I stood up and began talking to the tall, handsome man I was seated next to during the 90-minute forum. To my great terror, Lisa Goodman approaches us and asks the tall man, “are you John?” Clearly she was confusing one tall handsome man for another.

Lucky for me, Lisa Goodman had her sights locked on my friend, convinced that this was the “John” she was looking for. But he was not John. I am John. And at that moment, John (me) was making his escape.

My thinking was, if the first thing on Lisa Goodman’s mind after a grueling 90-minute candidate forum is “John” then something has gone terribly wrong.

The tall man will have my everlasting gratitude because he did not waver. He is brave. A normal person would have looked in my direction when asked, “are you John?” A coward would have given me up to the authorities. But the Tall Man looked Lisa Goodman square in the eyes and said “no.” With a convincingly perplexed expression on his face, he gave the impression he had never met anyone named “John” in his entire life.

I believe the Tall Man is tall and handsome and brave enough to play Wedge LIVE in the movie version. In the movie he (I) will say, “So you must be Lisa Goodman… We meet at last.”

Later I spoke with the Tall Man about the incident. He says he was scolded for taking video of the forum (because I guess taking weird videos of city council members slapping a wet wad of chewed-up gum into their political opponent’s hand seems like a thing Wedge LIVE would do). Lisa Goodman said to the Tall Man that she thought video recordings were maybe a violation of the candidate forum rules. In addition to being tall and handsome and loyal and brave, Tall Man thinks that city council candidate forum rules don’t apply to him. Tall Man is a rebel. Sorry ladies, he’s not single.

[Show Lisa Goodman that WE ARE ALL WEDGE LIVE, by wearing official Wedge LIVE team apparel.]

Election 2017 Calendar

We’re going to try to track Minneapolis candidate forums and other key election-related dates on this calendar. You’ll also see a sidebar calendar on the desktop version of the site. I’m asking readers and campaigns to help track down anything we’ve missed: contact us via Twitter or send an email to

It’s not your imagination—*not driving* is still way harder than driving in Minneapolis.

It’s no accident that not driving is still the hardest way to get around Minneapolis. More than half a century’s worth of decisions by local officials have led to a city designed primarily to serve automobile traffic. This has created neighborhood streets that inconvenience and threaten the safety of anyone not traveling in a car. It’s a destructive trend that, despite recent victories on bike lanes and parking reform, hasn’t yet reversed itself.

Alex Cecchini, an expert who has written smart things for, thinks we could be doing more to make not driving easier: “On one hand, biking and transit are easier and less scary than your regular suburban commuter assumes. On the other, it really is way more complicated and shitty than it needs to be.”

Biking / transit require more physical activity than driving, interrupting the planned atrophy of my muscles.

— Jeff (@j3effcSTP) September 3, 2017

Too Many Cars, Not Enough Buses

Whittier resident Mike Beck says local buses are crowded and don’t come frequently enough. On the way home from his son’s football game, he says, “the bus was so crowded, I had to stand.” And when he attempted to transfer to a second bus, the wait was so long he decided to walk 13 blocks home.

Residents like Sam Jones of Stevens Square place some of the blame on the sheer number of cars clogging city streets. After a long train ride from Chicago, Jones says he was deprived of a bus ride home by “suburban dad traffic” that jammed downtown streets following the conclusion of a teen-oriented pop concert.

He says he waited for an hour in the rain, “even though there are four routes that directly connect my neighborhood to the Hennepin LRT station, three of them high frequency.”

Saturday standing on the 5. This is my not-driving horror story. @StarTribune

— Wedge LIVE! (@WedgeLIVE) September 9, 2017

Rising Costs

Not only is sharing road space with cars a major inconvenience and potentially dangerous, but it can also be costly, as Adam Miller found out when “a car backed into me in the Portland bike lane and I had to walk to [the bike shop] for a new front wheel.”

For bike commuter Nicky of Elliot Park, a lack of secure bike parking means their transportation costs are on the rise, in the form of repairs and replacement parts.

They describe having to “lift my bike up off the sidewalk about 3 feet to lock it to the fence every single day. I have to use 2 locks, because my front wheel got stolen from this insecure location a few months ago, so I lock the frame and rear with one u-lock, and the front to the frame with a second u-lock. And, it’s not covered, so my components are rusting fast thanks to our increasing rainfall levels.”

Cost will soon rise for transit riders as well, with Metro Transit set to increase fares by 25 cents on Oct. 1, with no increase in service. This is due to the GOP-controlled state legislature’s refusal to fund transit at an adequate level.

Concerns for Safety and Comfort

In addition to the usual safety concerns a person might have walking, biking or taking transit–including from drivers distracted by cell phones or from streets designed as high-speed thoroughfares–non-drivers also contend with aggressive behavior and outright harassment on their commutes.

“People have shouted slurs at me numerous times walking,” says Ryan Johnson of Prospect Park.

“Pretty sure I was about to get assaulted once in Northeast, but the bus arrived at the right time,” he said. “Things like that make me prefer to bike so I can GTFO fast, but then obviously, no escaping assholes in trucks. My former roommate had numerous experiences where drivers would road rage and shout slurs because he didn’t seem straight enough while biking.”

Perhaps more disturbing than street harassment is the mental anguish I have personally experienced reading comments on the nextdoor website from people pretending that a new bike lane has delayed their car trip by 30 minutes.

Rider comments via Transit App show not-driving is harder than it should be

Misplaced Priorities

With all the danger, discomfort and inconvenience they face on their commutes, non-drivers sometimes laugh at the parking concerns like those of a suburban lawyer who’d rather drive to work downtown than take an express bus. He makes this choice even though not driving would cut his parking expenses by $1,500 annually and get him to work in the same amount of time. Most city-dwelling transit riders would be fortunate to have a bus commute anywhere near as speedy as a car trip.

Noted guy in the Wedge, John Edwards, who is writing this blog post right now, asks, “Why exactly should a car get to live downtown rent-free for a year? We seem to understand that real estate has value as a place for people or businesses, but too many people think land stops having value the moment someone wants to park a car on it.”

Some residents make arguments that because biking or transit is harder than driving, we should double down on the automobile-centered design of our city. This only perpetuates the problems, says Edwards, guy who has read the comments on the nextdoor website (editor’s note: I am John Edwards).

“People say we should forget bike lanes that make it safer for people to commute by bike because it feels like their commute might be slower,” Edwards observed. “They point to a lack of adequate transit as the reason we should layer our cities with as much free parking as possible, instead of pushing for policies that make better transit viable. This is largely concern-trolling from comfortable people averse to small changes.”

Considering (1) the hazard cars pose to people and the environment; (2) the cost that free parking adds to the price of housing and other things we buy; and (3) the opportunity cost of land we dedicate to parking not serving some other, more productive use; driving remains embarrassingly cheap and easy.

If you believe in the kind of journalism where a reporter isn’t afraid to quote himself in his own story, support Wedge LIVE! on Patreon.

The mayor’s race is a false flag

It’s pretty sad that you care about this llama dressed as a biker more than you care about the city council election.

I wrote a whole thing about the mayor’s race, and I hope you didn’t read it. Don’t let establishment media figures like myself use the mayoral sideshow to distract you from what matters in 2017. I’m here to tell you: the mayor’s race is a false flag.

MAYORAL UPDATE: Carol Becker’s dumb lawsuit against Mayor Hodges goes up in flames; Carol Becker declares victory, says “Judge agrees with me.”

City council races are by far the most consequential elections happening in Minneapolis this year. Minneapolis has a weak mayor system. The biggest thing at stake this year is whether we return in 2018 with Team Barb running the council. There’s a vast difference between a council majority led by a President Barb vs a President Bender (to use a wildly random example).

What you do as an individual over the next two months matters. Here’s why. There were only 3,621 ballots cast in Ward 5 in 2013 (the lowest turnout in Minneapolis). How many voters can you bring to the polls by volunteering for the next two months? Easily enough to tip the balance, even in higher turnout wards.

City council elections are hyperlocal battles: neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, person by person. Pick a competitive city council race to volunteer for—right now—while there’s still time to make a difference. If your city council ward isn’t competitive, find a candidate in another ward to volunteer for/donate to. (Find your ward here)

Below is a list of campaigns in pivotal “swing” wards. The incumbents in these wards all pledged allegiance to Barb after the 2013 election.

Where to Help in 2017

Ward 1 (5,942 ballots cast in 2013)
Incumbent: Kevin Reich 👎👎👎👎
Bio: Tool of Barb.

Jillia Pessenda: website / volunteer / donate
John Hayden: website / volunteer / donate

Ward 4 (3,940 ballots cast in 2013)
Incumbent: Barb Johnson 👎👎👎👎👎
Bio: Council President; thinks garage apartments cause prostitution.

Phillipe Cunningham: website / volunteer / donate
Stephanie Gasca: website / volunteer / donate

Ward 5 (3,621 ballots cast in 2013)
Incumbent: Blong Yang 👎👎👎👎
Bio: Endless whining; seems to hate his job; pretending to be DFL.

Jeremiah Ellison: website / volunteer / donate
Raeisha Williams: website / volunteer / donate

Ward 7 (6,594 ballots cast in 2013)
Incumbent: Lisa Goodman 👎👎👎👎👎
Bio: Stands against all that is good.

Janne Flisrand: website / volunteer / donate
Teqen Zea-Aida: website / volunteer / donate

Ward 11 (7,494 ballots cast in 2013)
Incumbent: John Quincy 👎👎👎
Bio: Finger in the wind.

Erica Mauter: website / volunteer / donate
Jeremy Schroeder: website / volunteer / donate

👎 – Not Great
👎👎 – Oof
👎👎👎 – Bad
👎👎👎👎 – Pretty Bad
👎👎👎👎👎 – The Worst

FAQ: Are you endorsing these challengers? These are not endorsements; these are only ideas for where your volunteer time or donations could be prioritized if you are so inclined. (You are welcome to spend your time volunteering for Barb or Lisa Goodman. But I can’t find links that would allow a regular person to volunteer for Barb or Lisa Goodman.)

FAQ: Shouldn’t we focus energy on one challenger per ward? Ranked choice voting is a thing! Splitting the vote between a few challengers doesn’t automatically accrue to the benefit of an incumbent.

FAQ: I still don’t know which candidate to help. Send me a DM or email, and I will help guide you to the right candidate.

FAQ: Where can I find a complete list of candidates on the ballot in Minneapolis this year? Right here.

FAQ: How do I donate to Barb? I refuse to help Barb pay for her cable TV, internet, landline and cell phone service by linking to her donate page.

FAQ: Is it true that Wedge LIVE is conducting a write-in campaign against Carol Becker? Yes it’s true! Instead of voting for Carol Becker, please write in “Wedge LIVE” on your ballot for Board of Estimate and Taxation.

Register to vote.

Key dates:

Early voting starts September 22.
Election day is November 7.

Upcoming city council candidate forums:
Ward 1: Sept 13
Ward 3: Sept 6 / Sept 18
Ward 4: Sept 14 / Oct 3
Ward 7: Sept 6 / Sept 19 / Sept 25 / Sept 28
Ward 8: Oct 4
Ward 9: Sept 9 / Sept 19
Ward 11: Sept 21

Send us your not-driving horror stories

Frustrated Man

Do you have a bus ride that takes three times longer than if you drove a car instead? Have you ever had to lug a bike upstairs because secure bike parking (or any bike parking) is just impossible to find? Are you frequently run off the road, or out of a crosswalk, by a suburban lawyer driving too fast on the way to storing his car in some remarkably cheap real estate in a downtown parking garage?

Stories about how hard it is to park are giving the impression that non-parkers are a bunch of freeloaders. You and I know that just isn’t the case! Not driving is hard. We should complain about it more.

I need you to send me stories that are sadder than this guy’s:

Non-parkers should promote their horror stories too.

DM or email me your not-driving horror stories for a chance to be featured on Wedge LIVE as a poster child for how amazingly easy it is to drive in Minneapolis—compared to, like, every single other way of getting around.