Where to find Wedge LIVE during a time of transition

Wedge LIVE grew up on the micro-blogging platform called Twitter. It’s the format that suits me best and it’s fostered an incredible community, so it’s been hard to watch the destruction of the platform.

The original is still here: Most of the action is still happening on Twitter. I’ve heard from some that they miss being able to go directly to our Twitter profile without the hassle of logging in. You can still do that! Just go here: https://nitter.net/wedgelive

The alternatives aren’t ready: We are on Bluesky and Threads. There will be limited posting happening on these apps for the foreseeable future, as they still lack key features. I think Bluesky has the most promise as a Twitter alternative, but it’s still invite-only and is missing other important features.

The future: As these platforms develop we may switch to making them a priority, but neither one of them is ready.

The Wedge LIVE podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts. Video content and podcast episodes are posted to youtube.com/wedgelive.

Most importantly, please support Wedge LIVE on Patreon. And if you’re already doing so, thank you for keeping us alive and paywall-free during a time of transition.

We’ve Seen Enough: Ricky Cobb’s Killing Was “Unjustifiable”

Here’s what we know of Ricky Cobb’s killing during a traffic stop, from police video and news reports:

After being pulled over on I-94 in North Minneapolis by the Minnesota State Patrol, Cobb had been waiting in the driver’s seat, compliant and in possession of his car keys, for about 20 minutes. When three state troopers re-approach his car, having confirmed Cobb was wanted by Ramsey County, they ask him to step out of his car. He doesn’t comply. He insists they tell him why. The trooper on the driver’s side repeatedly asks Cobb for his keys, seeming to anticipate that Cobb might decide to drive away. At roughly the same moment when Cobb begins to get his car lurching forward, troopers open doors on both the passenger and driver’s side and reach inside the car to pull him out. Six seconds later, as the car continues to jerk forward, the trooper on the passenger side, Ryan Londregan, shoots Cobb at least twice. As Cobb speeds off, two of the troopers fall to the ground. All three run back to their patrol cars. Cobb drives a short distance down the interstate, dying, about thirty minutes after being pulled over for a taillight violation.

After watching the video of Cobb being shot to death by police, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (one of the most conservative Democrats in the country) posted his reaction on social media: “Law enforcement is a very difficult and risky job, but shootings like this are unjustifiable and more must be done to prevent them.”

The Star Tribune editorial board chastised Phillips for his comments and urged us all to “allow the investigative and legal processes to take their course.” While the legal process moves at its own pace, I think the rest of us have seen enough, in part because we’ve seen this before.

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Is Minneapolis back, baby?

It’s a question being asked and answered all over the local news: Is Minneapolis back? I’ll be honest, I like big events, people on sidewalks and in the streets, gathering together in ways that make city life so uniquely joyful. These essential experiences we’d been deprived of for too long are coming back. Sometimes it feels like I’m falling in love with this city all over again.

But hey, snap out of it. Wake up and smell the trauma of the last few years. The real existential question for this city remains: Does any of this mean we’re meaningfully addressing our police problem? I pose that question in the broadest sense. Whether you believe our “police problem” is the pattern of racist practices that made MPD the target of state and federal investigations for racism and brutality; or you say our police problem is that we don’t have a functioning department; or that we don’t have enough police; or that the city still lacks well-integrated alternatives to armed police.

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Minneapolis Behavioral Crisis Response teams win committee approval for one year extension; city staff and contractor stress importance of longer term commitment

The Minneapolis City Council’s Policy and Government Oversight Committee approved an extension through August 2024 for the city’s Behavioral Crisis Response teams. The current contract with Canopy Roots, who runs the program for the city, expires next month. Final approval of the contract extension is scheduled to come at a meeting of the full City Council on Thursday.

BCR program manager Marisa Stevenson, with Canopy Roots, said a long term contract extension was necessary as a show of commitment to the service, which would help them hire responders. She said her employees don’t know whether they’ll have jobs come mid-August. BCR teems will tentatively be available for dispatch by 911 on a 24/7 basis by the end of summer/early fall, pending the hire of one more weekend night responder.

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Winter sidewalk pilot programs will need funding to ensure safe routes for the 2024-2025 season

The City of Minneapolis is considering a menu of pilot programs to ensure sidewalks are clear of snow and ice during the winter months. If all five were funded, it would require $2.6 million annually. These were presented to the City Council’s Public Works Committee today. Decisions about next year’s budget will be made later this year — with Mayor Frey’s recommendations coming in August and a City Council vote to amend and approve in December.

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Tennessee-Based Scam “News” Website Gives Curious Coverage to Minneapolis City Council Race

The number one story on the Nashville-based news website TN Horn News for the last week or so has been an article headlined “Dissension Inside DSA: Minneapolis Chapter Faces Criticism For Alleged Rejection of Minority Communities, Potential Shift In direction of Republican Celebration.” The story echoes charges from Minneapolis City Council candidate Nasri Warsame that the DFL endorsement process has been tainted by unfair treatment by party officials and a crew of local socialists.

The domain tnhornnews.com was registered on May 16, three days after the Ward 10 convention was cut short by chaos instigated by Warsame supporters. The website publishes dozens of stories a day, but so far no other stories about Minneapolis local politics. Based on my extensive reading, the website’s content is stolen from popular mainstream websites. The large volume of poorly re-written stories suggests they’re using an automated process — swapping words for synonyms — in order to avoid being recognized as obvious plagiarism. But this word-swapping is so crude that it makes TN Horn News just a flood of nonsense articles.

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Rent Stabilization Not Getting An Honest Analysis in Minneapolis

Back on December 14, the appointed group of volunteers serving on the City of Minneapolis’s Rent Stabilization Work Group completed their work and made a recommendation. Hours later, Mayor Frey delivered his rebuttal: “It’s not happening.” And four months later, Frey’s administration presented a report to the City Council reinforcing his opposition, recommending against enacting any version of a rent stabilization policy. Under our new government structure, even when they’re doing work in service of the City Council’s legislative function, city departments answer exclusively to the Mayor.

The analysis in the staff report is narrow, focusing on competing recommendations from the city’s work group. One side of the work group was made up largely of tenant advocates pushing for a maximal rent control policy. The other faction was tilted towards landlords and developers who recommended a more lax policy. Differences between the two sides’ recommendations go well beyond just capping rents at different percentages. It’s more complicated than that.

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Return of the Corner Store in Minneapolis? Planning Commission Approves First Land Use Rezoning Plan Since 1999

After a nearly four hour meeting Monday night, the Planning Commission voted to expand the possibility for small scale corner stores and offices across large parts of the city. They also passed an amendment to make grocery stores viable by easing square footage maximums. The City Council takes up the issue next.

It’s been a quarter century (1999!) since the city last redefined which land uses are allowed in which places. So testimony at yesterday’s public hearing on land use rezoning took note of the “once in a generation” opportunity. It’s the last big step in bringing the city’s zoning code into compliance with the city’s 2040 comprehensive plan, adopted in 2018.

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Minneapolis Election Forecast: Award-Winning Pile of Money Could Be Dumped on City Hall Again in 2023

prize winning bag of money posing in front of city hall

You might remember “All of Mpls” as the group that sent a glossy photo of our old police chief to your mailbox at an irritating frequency during the 2021 election. A recent email survey sent to Minneapolis residents indicates the group may be back to dump another large pile of money on this year’s city election. And with the mayor not on the ballot, they can focus all their attention on city council.

All of Mpls spent $2.3 million in 2021, with $1.2 million coming from a separate independent expenditure campaign called “Plan for Progress.” Most of the rest of the money was made up of $5,000, $10,000, and sometimes $100,000, donations from wealthy individuals. There are no limits to the money you can donate to an independent expenditure campaign. The money was used to defeat a public safety ballot question, boost Mayor Frey, flip the city council majority to a slate of preferred candidates, and push voters to approve a new strong mayor government structure.

It was a campaign that distracted us with a promise/threat: if you vote the wrong way, say goodbye to your chief. Then the election went their way, and the chief immediately retired anyway.

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