Forewarned

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

hen people complain the St. Paul City Council is a bunch of crooks . . . they’re right.
The Pioneer Press has helpfully published a guide to the candidates’ criminal history so voters can make an informed choice which crook to vote for.  Don’t see that in a lot of cities.  The guide, I mean, not the crooks running for office, they’re everywhere.
Joe Doakes

The next step toward truly becoming Chicago on the Mississippi would be for the candidates to turn those records into a matter of pride.

It’s coming.

More Good News For Saint Paul’s Poor!

Fred Melo in the PiPress:

So – a fake “faith” non-profit is actively campaigning for a policy that’s made poverty even more miserable and costly in Saint Paul?

You mean, exactly as they’ve campaigned for policies that increase crime, destroy entry-level jobs, and turn the city into a warehouse for the poor?

Whyl, it’s almost as though ISAIAH is a fraud or something…

“I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To Hinder The Wrong People”

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

Yes, thank you, CM Mitra Jalai Nelson. The city has not yet done enough to my neighborhood to prevent growth and development here.

We need to continue to run out those evil box stores and gas stations through minimum wage increases, zoning, and destroying streets to reduce people coming here to spend money. Then, we need to turn our back on the crime increases to ensure that people who possibly would invest here decide against it. Any other thoughts as to what the city could do to continue to prevent growth and development opportunities, er I mean gentrification, in our poorest neighborhoods?

Oh, make sure that it’s impossible to drive in or out, or park when you get here! And make sure transit is malevolent, expensive and keeps the peasants in their place!

Any more?

Listening to the celebration over the demise of the Midway Walmart, combined with the awkward lack of comment or facile rationaliation, about the 330 jobs, mostly for lower-income, often immigrant, workers, kinda told you everything you need to know about Ms. Jalali Nelson and the rest of the City Council.

Kudos

To: Mayor Melvin Carter, the City Council, and Mayors and Councilors going back 30 years, except Norm Coleman
From: Mitch Berg, deplorable peasant
Re: Here

You’ve all given us years of obsessive emphasis and spending on virtue-signaling programs to appease upper-middle-class progressives – “Resilience”, bikeability, making the city less habitable for cars, as well as focusing on toxic trifles like pushing up the minimum wage (driving down employment), “sanctuary” (bringing more low-wage, low-skill labor to the city, driving down wages for poor, low-skill workers right here), light rail (destroying more jobs and businesses and increasing blight) and “density” (of housing for upper-middle-class progs), taking money and city attention from public safety.

Spending less on police; carrying on his predecessors’ policy of failing to up-charge gun offenders, basically abandoning pursuit of property crimes, keeping the city focused on punishing property owners rather than criminals, and acting as if there’s really no problem.

And while you and city council don’t run the public school system, they are part of the same political machine that does. The ongoing collapse of the public school system (except for a few islands where the relatively few children of the “high density” progressive caste go, when they don’t go to private school) is correlated with crime in the community. They knew this in New York in the sixties; kids who graduate with terrible educations (as St. Paul kids increasingly do) and limited prospects for the undereducated (as Saint Paul increasingly has) are more vulnerable to being enticed into crime, gangs, and becoming part of the blight. As the schools get worse (and they are, and nothing the School Board is doing will ever stop it), it’ll contribute more to the city’s blight. And while blight may not cause crime, you don’t have to be a sociologist to note the correlation.

As a result? Calls go unanswered, crimes go unsolved, property gets less secure, people who value secure property move elsewhere, “high density” makes housing less affordable while housing policy drives down values outside the high density areas, making owning property in the city a terrible investment, spurring more flight and more blight. Violent crime, defying a nationwide down trend, is surging.

It’s the same recipe that made San Francisco and Manhattan unlivable for people making less than mid six figures and drove out poor people to the inner ‘burbs; it’s in the process of doing the same for Seattle and Portland, while making vast swathes of Newark, Camden, Baltimore, Chicago, North Minneapolis and other cities into blighted shooting galleries.
None of it’s new.

And the voters of this city will keep voting you, your council, and the same policies into office. Just watch.

Not sure how you all pulled it off – getting a lifetime sinecure for jobs you’re currently failing at, and have been for decades, and I’m gonna bet you continue to fail at.

Kudos.

That is all.

When All You Have Is A Hammer…

A friend of the blog writes:

The past week, neighborhood social media has been worked up over a shot fired at the Hamline light rail station. Reports are varied on what actually happened. And, yes, gun shots and other violence that is caused by gang activity, drug addiction, etc is scary. I really would rather not encounter it. Hundreds of comments blaming the BP gas station.
But, the hysteria reminds me of last year’s frenzy over the Starbucks drive through off of Marshall Avenue. Yes, a bad driver not paying attention can pull out and hit a pedestrian or bicyclist. And it could be a young person who doesn’t quite yet master the skill of looking at the surroundings. It could be an elderly person who can’t move out of the way fast enough.
I wouldn’t want my loved ones to die any of these ways.
What do both of these have in common? In both cases, the pitchfork crowd is screaming to shut down the business versus deal with the actual problem.
There are bad drivers out there. Ticket them. Fine them. Take away their license. Starbucks and the drive through is not the issue.
There are bad people out there. Arrest them. Rehab them or keep them in jail. Walmart, Taco Bell, BP are not the problems (unless the BP at Hamline is indeed a front, then the franchise owner is also to blame. They are apparently selling something the city council banned, so there is that).
Why can we not admit that there are bad people and we need to do something about them, not everyone?

Ooh! Ooh! I got this one!

Because Saint Paul is run, in effect, by a crowd of biddies and ninnies from Merriam and Highland Parks whose entire frame of reference is organizing to get rid of things in Their Backyards that annoy them.

Smoky bars.

Hot rods on University Avenue during Back to the Fifties.

Trash truck rolling their alleys.

Any business that crosses them.

Pretty soon, snowplows in the alley.

It’s really all these people know.

Chain Of Command

A friend of the blog writes:

When the Highland Park dwelling Executive Director for Union Park District Council wags his finger at people asking what they can do to get vagrants away from their bedroom windows, telling them “just advocate for more housing” and the reality is, these vagrants don’t want housing, they just want freedom to shoot up wherever, whenever- 

Mr. Long – who, as a “district council” employee is in effect a double-A farm club player for the Saint Paul DFL machine – will never have to face any consequences for his belief, since homeless, addicted people are worth more to his real bosses, the DFL, as drug-addicted vagrants than not.

Great Job, Mel

St Paul has a resiliency officer, socialized trash collection, and bike lanes in places where bikes rarely if ever go.

What does st paul not have?

Well, starting next month, a Walmart. And the 333 jobs that go with it:

“The decision is based on several factors including the store’s overall performance,” Tiffany Wilson, a Walmart spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The Walmart Supercenter slated to close is located near the Snelling Avenue inters

The store first opened in 2004. About 333 employees will lose their jobs, the company told a state agency.

Walmart, and retail in general, have been shrinking. But the fact that this store is one of 20 being closed this year out of Walmart’s current inventory of 4000 stores, Should tell us something.

And just you watch  the Merriam Park crones and cronies who call the shots in St. Paul will call this a Good Thing.

Since Tony-Soprano-Style Trash Collection Was Such A Success…

Around November 1 of every year, ever since I’ve lived in my house in the early ’90s, the guy who somehow inherited the job of “block captain” on our block drops an envelope in everyone’s door with a flyer asking for $20 to cover snow plowing.

It’s the biggest bargain – one of the few bargains left – in Saint Paul; he gives it to a plow driver. The driver lives on the block – so he literally needs to plow our driveway to get to work anyway.

So anytime there’s more than a dusting of snow, our alley is plowed to a fine sheen. And since side streets in my neighborhood are only plowed by the sun in April, the fact that our guy blasts out the street on the east side of the block to get to Minnehaha (a city snow emergency route) is almost literally a lifesaver.

Of course, it’s something that works – which, in a one-party kleptocracy like Saint Paul, means someone’s gotta try to appropriate it.

The same Merriam Park harpies that jammed down the smoking ban (years before the rest of the state) and, most recently, Tony-Soprano-style trash hauling, have been nattering away about socializing alley plowing for the past fifteen years.

It’s flying about as well as…well, the trash system:

Consultants from the University of Minnesota found little public appetite for the level of services the city likely would be able to offer.
Most residents who contract private alley plowers said they were unwilling to pay more than $15 per season for the city to complete the same service, and they expressed concern that the city might actually provide less snow removal and only plow after snow emergencies.
“Respondents will expect the city to plow the alleys after each snowfall or after a 2-inch snowfall, alleys to be plowed at the same time as main streets or at the same time as residential streets,” states a study summary. “Residents will be willing to pay an amount that would not be more than the amount they are currently paying, or less than $15 per season.”

Of course, the fact that real people who live in Saint Paul don’t want it is no defense; the little pack of “woke” Merriam Park biddies who burned countless hours of their worthless labor banning smoking in bars they never went to, and jamming down a trash collection system nobody wants – have sent their little hive minds on it.

For St. Paul to remove alley snow, consultants estimated $3.1 million in one-time start-up costs, such as new plow trucks, and $4.8 million in ongoing annual costs for labor, maintenance, training and recruitment.
That’s a total cost of $7.9 million in year one alone — or more than $100 for each of the city’s 74,000 households. Adding in business storefronts would reduce the cost.

Except to the businesses. Those few that are left, anyway. And that cost will be passed on to consumers – again, the few that are left.

But it’ll happen. Mark my words.

That Moment When…

…you see a headline on social media that you just swear has to be from Babylon Bee, but it’s not:

St. Paul school board members aren’t paid enough, St. Paul school board members say

But sure enough, it’s a real story. Or as real as the mainstream media gets, anyway.

Of course, they preside over a crumbling district with one of the worst achievement gaps in the country, on a board that serves mostly as a DFL farm team.

But it’s all about keeping up with the Joneses:

Board members get $10,800 per year, which is less than what comparably sized metro districts pay. However, members are eligible for district health insurance; those who sign up get a premium subsidy that’s worth $9,643 this year.
Jon Schumacher and Mary Vanderwert, who are leaving the board next year after serving one four-year term, gave the strongest endorsements for a raise at a meeting Wednesday evening.
“I feel very strongly that there really does need to be an increase so we can make sure that we have people who have passion, who have expertise and who aren’t going to feel that serving on this board is going to make it impossible for them to meet their financial needs,” Schumacher said.
Vanderwert suggested a salary increase of $5,000 or more.
“I definitely think it’s time for us to do this,” she said. “It’s the most important work a community does, and the board positions need to be attractive to high-quality people.”

Full (but unneeded) disclosure – I worked with Mary Vanderwert a loooong time ago. Perfectly fine human being, although there’s that whole “SPPS School Board member” thing.

Did I mention the Joneses?

…Anoka-Hennepin, pays between $14,400 and $15,600, depending on the board member’s role, human resources director Laurin Cathey said.
Minneapolis, the third-largest district, pays $22,000.
Most board members make $9,000 in Osseo, $7,236 in St. Cloud, $7,200 in Bloomington and $5,000 in Brooklyn Center, Cathey said.
Cathey also looked at St. Paul’s national peers and found school board members receive no pay in either Des Moines, Iowa, or Portland, Ore.

I wondered if they bothered comparing school board pay to graduation rates, minority achievement or percent of students who need remedial classes in college?

And maybe correlate that with ideological distribution of the school board’s members?

Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

“Why Does Anyone Need More Than Six Shots?”

Because you don’t want to run out of bullets before your attacker runs out of attack.

Three armed home invaders shoot man on the East Side, tie up woman, scare the hell out of the kids:

Police say three suspects broke into the house armed with a gun.
Investigators were surveying the scene of the crime Thursday, after a home invasion left a man shot in the leg and his girlfriend tied up. The man who was shot is expected to be alright.
Police say the victims were staying overnight at a relative’s house.
“These are terrifying and traumatic events to have happen,” St. Paul Police spokesperson Steve Linders said. “Also concerning is that they found two young children in the house that were present during the robbery.”
The children, however, were not harmed.

By the way – during the dog days of summer, it’s important not to be an idiot.

Linders says home invasions in the city are rare. Investigators think a social media post by the man that was shot may have played a role in this crime.
“Our investigators think it could be tied to a Facebook post that the victim made recently he had been on a successful trip to Las Vegas and posted about it,” Linders said.
Security expert Mark Lanterman, who is not affiliated with this specific investigation, says it’s a reminder that posting online about expensive belongings or cash can get you in trouble, but also if you share you’re leaving town or on vacation.
“It’s very important to be very careful about in the details you share on social media,” Lanterman said. “Burglars know hey you’re out of town now you’re an easy target so think before you post.”

I’m always home, and I’ve always got an AR15 in one hand and a .44 Magnum in the other.

Hurt Feelings

A friend of the blog writes:

Betty McCollum doesn’t like the language in this application for Grant money for ShotSpotter.
In a July 19 e-mail to City Council members, Chief of Staff Bill Harper wrote that the application “paints a picture that our office feels is not reflective of the city and the people of St. Paul. Furthermore, the inaccurate manner in which the Green Line is characterized undermines the necessary work to advance transit funding.”
The e-mail compared language in the grant application to how President Donald Trump talks about U.S. cities.
I wish she would spend some time in the neighborhoods along the Green Line sometime. Walk around at night. Do some police ride-alongs. Ride the train at night.

“Telling the truth about Democrat governance” is “racist”, these days.

Great Job, Saint Paul

The steady trickle of Saint Paul traditions being extinguished by taxes and roaming teams of weasel lawyers and pet plaintiffs continues. The original Snuffy’s is next:

[Snuff’s marketing director Dana] Bach said the decision to close was based on a combination of factors: a rent increase, property tax increases and ADA compliance issues. “It’s making it tough for us to continue operating at this location,” she said.

Of course, Snuffy’s continues to operate elsewhere – Edina, Minnetonka and Bloomington.

But then, that’s the point. Like Saint Paul eateries, old and new, pretty much anyplace is a greener pasture, these days.

Speed Bump In The Alley

A judge has ruled that Saint Paul’s Tony-Soprano-style trash collection system violates the city charter:

Ramsey County District Judge Leonardo Castro ordered that the system be suspended June 30 until voters can decide whether it should continue.
“It’s huge,” said attorney Greg Joseph, who represents three residents who sued the city. “It’s the right thing. We’re very, very happy.”

Last year, the City Council rejected a petition from residents to put the issue up for a vote, prompting some to file suit earlier this year asking for judicial intervention.

Between the lines, Judge Castro ruled exactly as many of us had been saying since the beginning; that the system was a violation of the city’s charter:

The city’s charter allows residents to petition to have ordinances put up for a vote. Critics of the city’s organized trash system gathered 6,469 signatures asking that residents be allowed to vote on the ordinance governing collection, the judge said.

“… A city’s charter is, in effect, its local constitution,” Castro wrote. “… Here, there is no evidence in the record that the petition presented in October 2018 was deficient in anyway. [City leaders] concede that the petition was sufficient. Consequently, it was an improper exercise of power for the Council to refuse to place the Referendum on the November 2019 ballot.”

More and more, Saint Paul’s government seems to look up to Chicago as its role model.

In the meantime – half of the haulers that were pummeled into the system have left, with many of the smaller haulers being swallowed up by larger, out of town jobbers:

A mix of small companies and big corporations were among the 15 haulers that signed a contract with the city in November 2017. Seven remain, including three based outside Minnesota.
The number of haulers will soon drop again. Last month, Waste Management announced it had bought Florida-based Advanced Disposal Services.
The retreat of haulers is happening despite the city’s pledge to preserve small businesses in the transition to organized trash collection.
“The city chose to pursue a consortium option to ensure all garbage haulers — of any size — could maintain their current market share in providing services to St. Paul residents,” Lisa Hiebert, a spokeswoman for St. Paul Department of Public Works, said in a statement. “This approach was reflective of the feedback we heard from the community, and what was represented in the final council resolution.”

“Unexpectedly”, of course.

Unless you’ve paid any attention to other such “partnerships”.

How Not To Defend Yourself

Vincent Nesta Trotter. an eastside Saint Paul homeowner who shot a guy who was alleged to have crashed a stolen car and fled from police, has given us an object lesson on what not to do in a self-defense situation.

Remember – when claiming self-defense, you have to prove you were in reasonable, immediate fear of death or great bodily harm, you tried to disengage, you used only the force you needed to end the lethal threat, and (when outside your home) made a reasonable effort to disengage.

And if, heaven forfend, you are in a shooting that you believe fits those criteria (and in Minnesota, it had better)? My first carry permit instructor, the late Joel Rosenberg, drilled it into his students’ heads; when talking to the police, say only:

I want to talk to a lawyer. I don’t consent to a search.

That – and pointing out evidence and witnesses who attest the fact that you met those four criteria above – are all you say.

You do that so evidence that you violated at least three of those four criteria doesn’t wind up in front of the entire jury pool in the local media. As it seems to have done for Mr. Trotter:

The complaint says Trotter followed police instructions and put the gun on the ground, telling officers, “I pull up and he’s by my door.” The complaint states he also said, “I told him don’t move, he moves, and I let 3 or 4 rounds go. I see blood, so I think I hit him. I tried to hit him. I carry a 45.”
Officers identified the man who was shot as the suspect in the auto theft incident, and believed that he had fled police not long ago. He denied that, but told police that he was walking through the yard at Trotter’s address when a man pulled up in a vehicle and began yelling. He told police he heard shots and got on the ground. He said he was walking away and the man yelled, “Don’t turn around,” then started shooting.

And as if that’s not bad enough:

Surveillance footage shows the shooting victim walk up onto Trotter’s porch and sit down, never attempting to get inside the home. When Trotter’s vehicle pulls up five minutes later, the video shows the victim walk down the porch steps and take about two steps toward Trotter. His hands are visible and away from his body.
The video then shows the man walking away from Trotter, “looking back over his left shoulder as he retreated,” the complaint states, and then Trotter advancing and a muzzle flash from the gun.
Trotter continues to advance with his gun in a “high ready position” while saying something.
“It is clear from the video that (the victim) was retreating away from Trotter as Trotter fired his handgun,” the complaint says.

I’m no lawyer (dear God, thanks) and Mr. Trotter is innocent until proven guilty.

But to the casual observer, it’d seem that Mr. Trotter was not in immediate threat of death or any kind of harm – the guy was walking away and seemed (according to the media report) to show no signs of being armed. He made no effort to retreat – quite the opposite.

We don’t know how the trial (or plea-bargaining) is going to go, but the moral of the story is this: if you’re going to carry a firearm for self-defense, learn the law. And figure out if it’s something you’ve got the temperament to do.

Silence Is Golden

When the police and prosecutors talk with you in relation to allegations of criminal activity, you have the right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer to keep you from saying something stupid or even just inadvertent that can end up putting you in jail.  

And it doesn’t even have to be anything you say to the cops. 

A few  years ago, during the “Black LIves Matter” protest at Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct, a fellow with a carry permit, Alan Scarsella,  shot and wounded someone from a group of protesters that was chasing him.   His fear of immediate death and great bodily harm was real; he attempted to retreat, running a whole block before firing back; he used the force needed to end the threat (the chase stopped cold when he fired).  

But on the way to the protest, he and his idiot friends made some videos, including some statements (which may or may not have been quotes) that the county prosecutor managed to get before the jury as racist provocations that, in the end, negated Scarsella’s attempt to prove that he wasn’t the aggressor in the jury’s eyes.  He got convicted and sentenced to seven years.  

So if you’re a good guy or gal with a gun who, heaven forfend, winds up shooting someone in self-defense, everything you say can and will be used against you – even things you say long before the episode in question, unrelated to the shooting.  

I thought about that when the media started covering this story – a Saint Paul homeowner shot a suspected car thief. 

And what picture did the Strib, and then every single gun-grabber group, run with?

Photo via the Strib’s Sharon Prather.

From the Strib, with emphasis added:

A 36-year-old man with a gun was with the suspect when police arrived, and he identified himself to officers as the homeowner, police said. He cooperated with the investigation and was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of aggravated assault.
The Star Tribune typically does not name suspects who have not been charged.
Police found the man who had been shot in the side yard of the house after hearing gunfire, said Sgt. Mike Ernster.
A sign in the window of the house read, “No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again!” The sign punctuates the message with drawings of bullet holes.

The guy – guys, really – are innocent until proven guilty. And Berg’s 18th Law is still in full effect.

But will the police and county attorney – who both cordially detest the law-abiding gun owner and dislike the notion of the Good Guy With A Gun, use this sign as evidence to logroll a jury, if necessary, into believing that the homeowner, whatever the actual situation, was looking for a chance to use his right to keep and bear arms on someone who “had it coming”?

Yes.

Why embroider it?

If you are a gun owner who is concerned about self-defense, it is imperative that you stop writing on social media, putting stickers on your car, or posting your house with signs talking about what you intend to do to alleged criminals with your firearms.

It’s the same thing I wrote back when I did own guns. I’d never buy another, of course. Guns terrify me.

Where Will I Go When I Want To Watch Drunk People Fighting Over Laundry Hampers?

The Midway Walmart is a former K-Mart, with all that implies. It’s a great place to go if you want a look at customer service from the old East Germany. It’s basically a small Walmart, with fewer groceries and more inner-urban dysfunction.

And now, via Fred Melo at the PiPress:

My fearless (and likely balderdash) prediction: both sites will sit, unchanged, for the next five years.

Then, Major League Soccer (or at least the Minnesota club) will fold, and all three sites will sit vacant (or blighted, in Walmart’s case) for a decade or two while various inner-city power interests argue for decades.

Unexpected, Part MCLVIII

When Saint Paul opted for Tony-Soprano-style trash collection, they used a “formula” more or less like the Five Families used to divvy up racketeering in New York and New Jersey; each of the trash haulers got a slice of the city more or less equal to their market share.

This meant there was no “need” to compete for customers – and also no benefit in competing for customers.

Some small trash haulers just pulled out of Saint Paul without any further ado.

Others?

Eventually, Saint Paul is going to have three trash haulers – BFI, Waste Management and maybe Aspen. They will have monopolies in their territories, costs will rise, customer service will eventually worsen…

…oh, wait. Who said “eventually?”

Wings So Good, They’re Worth Going To Jail For

A Saint Paul woman, upset that a local Dominos Pizza had forgetten her wings in her delivery, decided to take the law into her own hands.

Well, not “the law”, per se.   More like “Customer Service”:

Police were called to the Domino’s at 1110 Grand Avenue just before 9 p.m. Thursday on a report of a customer pointing a handgun at staff.

When police arrived, they were told that the Robinsons — who had already left — were upset that their wings hadn’t been delivered with their pizza to their home in the 1000 block of Dayton Avenue. An argument had ensued.

It was fairly easy to find the Robinsons’ home, since the order had recently been delivered there. Police drove to the address, and — while waiting for a supervisor to arrive on scene — Holly Robinson came out of the home and began talking to officers.

“She didn’t want to wait for another order because they had already waited for an hour, so she decided to go to Domino’s because it would be faster,” a police report stated. The two had demanded a refund.

The Robinsons never got their wings, or a refund. The daughter told officers the “manager had an attitude,” and said her mother had brought a gun because she feared a physical confrontation. She took it out and held it at her hip but never pointed it, the daughter said.

The first thing I thought on hearing the story was “please don’t have a carry permit”.

Since it’s been about a week and we haven’t had Nancy Nord Bence yipping about it, I’m gonna guess Ms. Robinson doesn’t.

“Unexpected”

SCENE: Mitch BERG is building a snow wall around his property.

Before he can close the last gap along the sidewalk, MyLyssa Silberman – reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats – pulls up in a Subaru Outback.

SILBERMAN: [stepping out of the car]Merg!

BERG: Er…hi, MyLyssa. What’s up?

SILBERMAN: I’m doing a series on the purveyors of brisk, quippy rhetorical memes and their use in disseminating “fake news”.

BERG: Of course you are.

SILBERMAN: If I may. In the past, you have referred to the new municipal trash collection systems in cities like Bloomington, Saint Paul and other cities as [riffles through notes] “Soviet-style trash collection”. Also [squinting] “East German”, “Tony Soprano-Style”, “Cuban” and…

BERG: North Korean.

SILBERMAN: Here in my notebook it says “North Korean”.

BERG: Yep.

SILBERMAN: Are these racist references against Russians, Germans, Sicilians, Latinos and Asians? And how are they affected by climate change?

BERG: No, and not at all.

SILBERMAN: OK, we’ll come back to that. But what do those terms mean?

BERG: It’s a reference to the fact that in countries that try to repeal the free market – among them most “socialist” nations – there is no incentive to serve customers better. In planned, marketless economies, all goods and services are essentially rationed, and there’s no impetus to provide a good or service better, more efficiently, or even more cheerfully than anyone else, since there’s no upside to it; you get paid the same whether you’re a jerk or an Employee of the Month.

SILBERMAN: OK, but how does this relate to trash collection in the Twin Cities? We haven’t suspended the free market.

BERG: Well, we’re going to need a price check on that statement. Saint Paulites are complaining about the service they’re getting from the hauler their city so graciously selected for them:

Beginning Jan. 30, [Waste Management, the hauler allocated to a large part of the East Side by the City Council’s “Sopranos”-style division of the city’s turf] skipped pickups on her street, Cottage Avenue East, for three weeks in a row. Rather than complete full collection Wednesday, drivers exited their vehicles to take pictures of overflowing trash carts and lids that couldn’t fully close. Some they emptied. Some they didn’t.
Now, residents are bracing for financial penalties.
“They drove through the alley yesterday, right past all the garbage cans that were out and not covered with or buried in snow, and only emptied two cans,” said Riggs on Thursday in an email to Ward 6 City Council member Kassim Busuri’s office. “Since that seems to be one of many excuses they use, yes, the lids are not closed, which is another thing they will charge us extra for. According to St. Paul policy, they must close. Otherwise it is $3

BERG: By the way, MyLyssa – my old trash collector would only upcharge me for an over-full container if a good chunk of the bag was visible. The new haulers are gloriously Minnesota passive-aggressive about it, and the customer service is atrocious, even in other neighborhoods.

Who picked up your trash, by the way?

SILBERMAN: I live in a condo downtown, so my trash just goes away.

BERG: Right. Continuing:

Busuri said he’s more than just sympathetic. He’s in the same boat.
“I’ve had the same problem myself,” Busuri said, “where the trash was not picked up for going on three weeks. It bothers me to see a garbage hauler not fulfilling their obligation in the contract. There’s a section in the contract where we can charge the haulers for every collection they miss. I’m looking into that

SILBERMAN: See! They’ll fix it!

BERG: Sure. The city council will cross the actions of a previous city council, most of whom have gone on to positions of bureaucratic power that .can be used against them.

SILBERMAN: What do you mean?

BERG: OK, so imagine you were to park in Teri Gross’s parking spot…

SILBERMAN: That would be really bad.

BERG: See?

SILBERMAN: No.

BERG: It’ll never get fixed. There’s no market imperative to do anything, and plenty of bureaucratic imperatives not to.

SILBERMAN: So you’re saying you’re transphobic.

BERG: Are you by some chance working on getting a PR job with the city?

And SCENE

Unbooked

Garrison Keillor is selling his saint Paul bookstore:

“I opened Common Good Books because I loved the bookstores I knew around the U, Perrine’s and McCosh’s and Heddan’s and Savran’s,” Keillor said Wednesday in an email. “And now I’m leaving town and am busy writing a book of my own so it’s time to turn over the business to someone else. The world is full of wonderful independent bookstores and needs every one.”

Keillor put his St. Paul home on Summit Avenue up for sale last year. He wrote in a Facebook post last month that he and his wife, Jenny Nilsson, had moved to Minneapolis.

I may actually have to get in there Dash I rarely make it south of Midway books these days…

Since we’re talking Garrison Keillor, I thought I would throw this out there; Keillor had a reputation as one of the worst bosses in radio, and he always brought so much smug entitlement to his brand of Minnesota politics that it was sometimes hard to parity without lapsing into self-parody in turn – but I loved A Prairie Home Companion. I listened to it most weekends for probably 15 years. Whatever Garrison Keillor’s many flaws, he got small town rural Scandinavian life.

Nowadays the show – rechristened Live From Here after it turned out Keillor was #HimToo, and still starring PHC’s designated replacement Chris Thile, seems to specialize in a really, really excellent underground country/bluegrass music, really really really really really bad standup comics, and skits written to a target audience of Brooklyn hipsters by, apparently, Brooklyn hipsters that Garner the occasional giggle and usually make me desperately miss Tim Russell and Sue Scott.

So who knows – maybe I’ll run down and buy a book from the old guy.

But it will be some Hayek or Paul Johnson. He’s not winning this thing.

White Liberal Gilt

A friend of the blog writes:

Those young, progressive, priveleged white men who fight their older progressive, priveleged counterparts are just so entertaining. Here, the new executive director of Union Park District Council is essentially calling some of the people in Union Park racist because they are opposing large development projects in their backyards.

He, and other young progressives, cry about lack of affordability (for some other group of unknown people), while they live in their single family homes in Mac Groveland or Highland Park (as is the case for this director.) Thinking about affordability, I wonder how these young, just out of college people afford their houses in neighborhoods like Mac Groveland or Highland Park. Thinking about racism, I wonder why these young, privileged white people chose those neighborhoods instead of the more transit connected, affordable neighborhoods in the city…

Urban Progressive Privilege – when nobody who matters in your social and vocation circle will ever call you on “inconsistencies” like this.

I’ve found that the correlation between these young non-profiteers and old Saint-Paul-DFL money is really, really high.

Life In A One-Party Town

In the past few months, I’ve been treated to the sight of Saint Paulites – almost all of them people who’d never dream of voting for anything but a DFLer – reacting with Major-Renault-like shock, shock, that…

  • Saint Paul’s Mafia-style trash-collection system costs more, offers fewer options and miserable customer service, all delivered with the sort of arrogance we’ve come to expect from Saint Paul’s government (Motto: “Government is the things we do together, arrogantly and imcompetently”).
  • Mayor Carter’s shunting of budget from police and fire to “Sustainability” (e.g. institutional virtue-signaling) would pave the way for more crime
  • The Soccer stadium, ballyhooed as the core of an urban renaissance with green space,  shops with walkable access and the rest of the urban planning buzzwords – is going to wind up being precisely the plutocrat plaything in the middle of a sea of asphalt that all of us skeptics predicted.

And, now, Saint Paul’s school-building spree turns out to make the Pentagon look like a Bemidji Norwegian Lutheran church’s decoration committee.

St. Paul Public Schools vastly underestimated the cost of an ambitious 2016 plan to improve the look and function of every building it owns.

Eight major school projects that got underway last year will cost the district a total of $214 million, according to the latest figures from the school district.

That’s $63 million more than the district estimated in 2016, a Pioneer Press analysis has found, a difference of 42 percent.

New estimates for the next eight large projects, all scheduled to break ground in the coming five years, total $220 million. That’s $91 million, or 70 percent, higher than the 2016 estimate.

There will be shock.

And then a majority of them will vote for an even further-left Democrat next election.  ∂

The Carnage Continues Apace

The Green Line (aka “The Vomit Comet” – ride it late on a weekend night or early on a weekend morning to find out what that means.  Or…don’t) has claimed its second life this year:

The crash occurred at Syndicate Street and University Avenue about 4:30 p.m., according to Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla. Two men were crossing the tracks at the intersection, when a westbound train struck one of them.

The man who was struck by the train was taken to Regions Hospital, where he died about 5 p.m., Padilla said.

The crash disrupted Green Line service between Hamline and Western avenues until shortly after 5:30 p.m., according to posts on Metro Transit’s Twitter account.

That’s on top of another, two blocks away, last January, and at least 2-3 more previously.

That’s a project I may need to take on – going over the human factors problems that make the Green Line such a death machine.

On top of the six (last I checked) on the Blue Line, and makes the Metro Transit trains’ body count roughly 11 times that of Minnesota carry permit holders.

 

The Neighborhood

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s at University and Marion, a couple of blocks West of the Capitol.   7:00 a.m. and already, there are scruffy people carrying backpacks, strolling aimlessly around the parking lot, sidewalks, sitting on the lawn.  Not school kids waiting for the bus – I passed them at their assigned corner, every eye glued to a cell phone.  These were people with nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to do it with, watching me get out of my car.

Inside, the restaurant is staffed entirely by employees with Hispanic name tags, speaking to each other in Spanish.  The food appears promptly, the order is correct, the dining area is immaculately clean, but it’s also totally deserted.  The drive-through does steady business.  Nobody wants to get out of the car to dine in, for fear of being panhandled, or worse.

This is the picture of an area in decline.  Providing food and shelter for homeless people attracts homeless people, same as putting out bird food and building birdhouses attracts birds.  How hard is that to understand?

Note to Mr. Doakes;  Please address this to the city’s Resiliency staff.