Off Message

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Hundreds of shots fired. St. Paul experienced an increase in both violent crimes (up 25%) and property crimes (up 14.9%) last year, which Police Chief Axtell attributed to the “global pandemic, historic levels of rioting and very real economic pain.”

Not January 6th?  Get on message, dude.

Joe Doakes

I’d say “I’m surprised nobody’s blamed ‘white supremacy8′”, but then Councilmember Jalali hasn’t spoken yet.

Frantic Bailing

The one, single public official in either city that didn’t marinade themselves in shame in the face of the rioting last year was Saint Paul’s top cop Todd Axtell.

Don’t get me wrong – Axtell has been no less DFL-doctrinaire an anti-gunner than any other urban police chief. He knows where his next paycheck is coming from.

But as Jacob Frey went blank in front of the cameras (only to wake up to tear into a Trump tweet, as Lake Street burned west to Nicollet), as Lisa Bender mumbled about public safety being a sign of privilege, and Melvin Carter apparently went into hiding, Axtell had the great common sense to go on TV and send a message to the rioters that had scourged my neighborhood the previous day: “We’re not abandoning any part of Saint Paul” – which, tacitly, also said Yes, public safety is a privilege, one that every %$#@@ one of you taxpayers of every race and orientation pays for with your tax dollar. And the SPPD, which got behind on the count on Thursday the 28th, at least went on to prove it Friday the 29th, meeting the rioters on the Marshall-Lake Bridge and sending them scampering back to easier pickings west of the river.

It was one of precious few times I’ve been happy to live in Saint Paul in recent years.

It sounded a little like riot night in Saint Paul over the past weekend – three separate shootings, including one at a crowded house party, combined with apparently hundreds of street racers dicing up and down the freeways, gave the city that Black Hawk Down kind of vibe.

Axtell commented:

And I don’t doubt Axtell means it. If nothing else, he’s built up some confidence in some parts of the public, including this mere taxpayer.

But if the SPPD catches them, then what?

They get handed over to a Ramco prosecutors office that is about as tough on crime as Mitra Jalali?

All but the trigger men, maybe, will be back out on the street before the ink is dry on their arrest records. Which are digital.

At least, that’s the sense people get.

If there was ever a time Saint Paul needed to be something other than a one-party desert, this is it.

The DFLin the metro likes to chant “We OWN This Town” after they win lopsided and at least partly fraudulent elections.

Yep, DFL. You do. And like a trust fund baby with a car you didn’t really pay for, wrecking it has no consequences for you. The trust will just get you another. Roseville. Maybe Rochester.

Good luck, Chief.

The Duration

A friend of the blog emails:

This just has me laughing. It will be interesting to see who wins here.
Before the police department was uncool, white urbanists applauded police presence at this Starbucks because they periodically would show up in the bike lane and felt like the police kept them safe.
Now the woke white “queer” employees think their customers, who this article notes are majority Black, might be uncomfortable with the police presence, even though the customers have continued to show up daily to get their morning coffee.
St Paul desperately needs businesses to stick around, so how will the current anti-cop, anti-car council react? (Rhetorical question- we know they’ll stand with the employees-they think the city can prosper on rental units and non-profits alone).
Starbucks will probably be the winner, because they can easily fire their employees, moved to a suburban location, and they’ll still have business.

I wonder how far people in St. Paul need to be pushed, before some sort of backlash happens.

The answer, so far, seems to be “that is a barrel that has no bottom to scrape “.

Better

A friend of the blog emails:

The supposedly pro-renter, pro-density council member, Mitra Jalali, has voted against the development on Lexington. It’s a development that would replace a vacant lot rather than tearing down houses that single families could buy. It also was a development that was not asking for any subsidies.h
Apparently, the city council thinks they can make Alatus (the developer) do it better or find someone who can do it better. Do what better is unclear. Of course, with Jalali’s push to enforce rent control, get rid of background checks, and reduce landlords ability to evict problem tenants, who will build anything here?
Well, there probably is some developer who funded Jalali’s campaign who “can do better.” But, we’ll see how much that type of donation costs us taxpayers when Alatus sues the city for this questionable decision. 

Ignorance?

Malfeasance?

When you’re dealing with a movement whose unstated motto is “our ends justify our means”, that has single-party absolute power over all the knobs and levers of government, ignorance, the answer is “irrelevant”.

It’s Good To Be King

In Minneapolis, the Democrat Party tells the peasants who to thank for their bread and circuses:

No, no no no no – this is totally not the act of a party that knows its voter base is a lumpen gray mass of people with no critical thinking skills.

And don’t you dare call the one-party governments of the Twin Cities mechanisms for transferring taxpayer money to the favored political classes:

Springboard for the Arts said its member artists will receive the first $500 payments in the pilot program in April. The payments will support 25 artists in the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods for 18 months.

In a release, Mayor Melvin Carter called Springboard for the Arts a “vital partner” and said guaranteed income will “benefit our entire community.”

The $500 payments are deposited directly to individuals and have no strings attached or work requirements. The recipients will be chosen at random, but Springboard for the Arts says 75 percent of the individuals will be “Black, Native and/or people of color…The city of St. Paul used its CARES Act funding, philanthropy and the Mayors for Guaranteed Income national network to come up with the $1.5 million needed to fulfill the pilot.”

So – not wanting your catalytic converter stolen is “privilege”…

…but being an “artist” entitles you to tax money, not paying which will put me in jail.

That boot-like thing you feel on your neck? It’s a boot.

Great Minds Think Alike

In the olden days, people and goods traveled by ship.  Nowadays, people and goods travel by car.

In the olden days, pirates took ships by force, leaving people and goods stranded.  Nowadays, carjackers take cars by force, leaving people and goods stranded.

In the olden days, law enforcement officials were spread too thin to prevent piracy so private persons were granted Letters of Marque allowing them to seize ships from pirates, deliver the pirates to the authorities, and keep the ships as a reward. 

Minnesota law enforcement officials are spread too thin to prevent carjacking.  Maybe we should . . . ?

Joe Doakes

Last week, I expressed – half tongue-in-cheek – an interest in running for Mayor of Saint Paul on the “Criminals Suck” ticket.

My platform:

  • Legalize “booby-trapping” (non-lethal, of course – gotta keep the plaintiff’s bar away) to catch criminals.
  • Offer rewards for the most creative trick, trap or subterfuge a citizen uses to catch a ne’er-do-well.
  • Pay for those rewards by cutting 23 of the roughly 24 deputy mayor’s offices, the Resiliency Office, and every city office that competes with more than three Saint Paul businesses
  • Direct the City Attorney to actively participate in the defense of any citizen deemed to have a legally sound claim of self-defense against.
  • Hold a tax holiday the week of the Fourth of Jully and the week before Christmas, to get people from outside Saint Paul to actually come to Saint Paul.

It’s not really a “letter of Marque”, but the spirit is there…

Priorities

A friend of the blog emails:

I don’t really like having police departments barricaded. But, I understand it. I look at [Saint Paul city councilwoman] Nelsie Yang’s post and I really don’t see a lot of support for her demand that the barricade be torn down, especially from non-White constituents, the very people she claims to be supporting in this action-

To social justice warriors like Yang and, let’s be honest, most of the Saint Paul and the entire Minneapolis City Councils, “social justice” with all its intellectual and political trappings is an abstract, academic concept that has little to do with the lives of their constituents – or at least the ones not employed in non-profits and academic humanities and soft science departments.

Rarely do people like Yang allow themselves to come into contact with the real life concerns of those they “represent”

When they do? It’s entertaining, at least.

Surge!!!!!

Governor Walz’ team of experts confidently predicted a Surge of Covid cases so large it would overwhelm hospitals. Patients would die on gurneys in hallways and parking lots, untreated. Bodies would lie in streets, uncollected. Everyone was at risk, from 6-month-old infants to 91-year-old seniors. 75,000 people would die, unless we ‘flattened the curve.’

To prevent that, the Governor declared a Peacetime Emergency and issued a Stay Home order which effectively suspended the United States Constitution, an act never before attempted in this country. Religious worship was banned. Political assemblies were banned. Jury trials were banned. Non-essential travel was banned. And non-emergency medical treatments were also banned, to keep hospital beds open for the Surge of Covid cases.

There was no Surge. Hospitals had on-going expenses for heat and lights, payroll, benefits and insurance amounting to nearly $1 million A DAY for the state’s largest medical providers, but no patients to pay those expenses. Medical providers are still scrambling to catch up.
Fairview Health is closing two hospitals in St. Paul – Bethesda (two blocks North of the Capital) and St. Josephs (downtown). The move will save the company money but it will cost the community hundreds of hospital beds and the entire psychiatric care unit. The company also is closing 14 primary care clinics in Minnesota and two in Wisconsin, a total of 900 jobs in all, hoping to slash expenses fast enough to keep the company alive.

Ramsey County is helping out. It’s leasing Bethesda Hospital for $1.2 million to use as a homeless shelter, December through May. Room, board, staffing and security for 100 homeless people will run about $66 per person per day, which is a pretty good rate (slightly cheaper than staying at the Motel 6 on I-94 and White Bear Avenue). The Board of Commissioners didn’t mention where that money was coming from.

To date, rounded to the nearest whole number, Covid has killed Zero percent of Minnesotans. The long-term costs of the Stay Home order have yet to be totaled up.

Joe Doakes

It’s a crisis not to waste. They’re doing a fine job of it – or so the polls tell us.

In Case You Were Wondering

In a shocking late-breaking story, Roseville – a first-tier northern suburb of Saint Paul – has broken with its long-standing tradition of embracing and upholding racism, and has undertaken a bold stance:

Sign in front of Roseville Central Park.

It’s good to see cities swim against the current.

Courage.

Of course, I drove further, and on seeing the single coolest jungle gym I’ve ever seen in my life, something that actually made me want to be six years old again, I had to wonder…

…if their next bold stance would be against militarism, and phallocentric patriarchy.

Because you just know one of the Karens that’s taken the suburb over is going to go there, don’t you?

Dead, Dead, Dead

A friend of the blog emails:

Downtown St Paul does need some improvement. It has been pretty lifeless for a while.

But, I don’t think collecting more money from the few businesses that remain there is quite the way to improve it, though I guess it is better than burning it down as they did for the Midway Improvement Project.

If you see both projects as glorified transfers of wealth from whatever private sector remains in Saint Paul to the political class, it all makes perfect sense.

Fortuitous

A friend of the blog emails in re the Taco Bell at Snelling and Edmund in the Midway:

Hmmm, are we positive that the city council didn’t pay people to riot in St Paul? Now I just read that the Taco Bell on Snelling can’t reopen until a conditional use permit for drive thru is issued because they need that in order to rebuild. (Even though they already have a drive thru currently). 

I know the city has been itching to get rid of the shopping center and the Taco Bell both. Seems too easy…

As we noted last week, the whole “renovation by Molotov Cocktail” thing this past month does seem to have been all too convenient…

Casualties Of “Woke”. Or…

A few weeks ago, I joked – well, “joked” – that you could that most of the destructive rioters were upper middle class white kids, closely linked to the Twin Cities’ political class.

How could I tell this?

Because Allianz Field, home of “Minnesota United” soccer club, and a mere block from stores that were burned or looted wall to wall, didn’t have so much as a single graffito on it.

We’ll come back to Allianz Field in a moment.

The strip mall that adjoins Allianz, the “Midway Center”, essentially the Midway’s “main street”, was damaged extensively in the riots – but not comprehensively.

That hasn’t stopped the mall’s owner from terminating all the leases in the complex.

Jenny Hui got choked up earlier this week when talking about the family business being shut down.

She’s 28-years old and essentially grew up inside Golden Gate Cafe.

Her parents opened the restaurant in St. Paul’s Midway Shopping Center shortly after they emigrated from China decades ago.

“They worked super hard all these years to build everything we have now,” Hui said. “It’s devastating to see it go out like this.”

But the aftermath of civil unrest last month left parts of the Midway Shopping Center significantly damaged, and the landlord has informed tenants that he intends to terminate their leases.

The Pioneer Press obtained a copy of a letter dated June 25 in which the landlord cited a clause in the lease agreement that allows him to terminate in the case of extensive damage. He noted that all personal property must be removed from the premises by July 1

Now, stop me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t “MN United” looking to clear that shopping center out of the way to make way for its own development plans – plans that cater only dubiously to the neighborhood?

Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United principal owner Bill McGuire is involved in the property, though owner Rick Birdoff with RK Midway wrote the letter to tenants. Neither responded to requests for comment.

The Midway Shopping Center sits in the shadows of the newly constructed Allianz Field soccer stadium, home to Minnesota United.

Convenient, huh?

Public Order

There was an apparent homicide last night – a woman was killed in the alley behind the Trend Bar on University at Pascal. The Trend – known throughout the neighborhood as “the place where alcoholics go to get drunk and robbed, and the drug trade goes to romp and play” – is eight blocks south of my house.

It’s squarely in the district of Councilwoman Mitra Jalali – who ran for office as “Mitra Jalali-Nelson”, but apparently that whole Swedish surname thing has become less convenient in Saint Paul politics in recent months.

She’s the one who advocates de-funding Saint Paul’s police department.

Seems like a bit of a conundrum, no?

Know Your Council

Two St. Paul City Council members want to completely abolish the St. Paul Police Department.

Nelsie Yang, representing Ward 6 (NE St. Paul, Phalen area) and Mitra Jalali representing Ward 4 (NW St. Paul, Hamline-Midway, Merriam Park, Saint Anthony Park, and parts of Mac-Groveland  and Como).

I wonder if they plan to replace the cops with armed citizens forming vigilance committees to dispense street justice? 

Joe Doakes

Jalali – who seems to have dropped the “-Nelson” from her last name just in time for prime ethnic virtue-signaling season – has been particularly Canoesque.

Institutional Racism

A friend of the blog writes:

I don’t know who re-worded this Villager article, but it was a white woman who thought she was pretty clever on Twitter. I haven’t actually looked at the Villager article yet, but did have fun making the “clever” woman’s edits more real-

A man died while in police custody May 25. The four officers involved are now in custody awaiting trial and charged with 2nd degree murder. The death sparked protests to highlight that police brutality still exists. Others took the opportunity to loot and commit arson in two marginal neighborhoods of the Twin Cities. The neighborhoods, which have higher populations of people of color, have been the target of DFL endorsed politicians for years as DFL endorsed mayors and councilmembers pushed through light rail construction, zoning changes, house developments, soccer stadiums and bike lanes despite calls from residents that those were not the priorities for their neighborhood. 
“They’ve been wanting to get rid of our community for years, and this is the last straw,” says one black resident who only gave a first name of Tyrone.
Other local business owners of color are saying, “we survived the 2008 recession, the never ending construction, the zoning changes since we weren’t immediately remodeling, but this is the absolute end. We’re packed and already moving.”

Hope springs eternal that black, Latino and Asian voters will figure it out: the riots the DFL wanted, condoned, celebrated and in many cases DFLers (or their idiot children), participated in, in the city whose entire economy has been jiggered against them by progressive plutocrats with deep pockets, just might not deserve their continued loyalty…

My permit to carry expires in July.  I finished the class May 19th and
called the Sheriff for drop-off instructions on the 22nd.  Sorry, you
have to make an appointment to drop off your renewal application. 
Earliest date is June 9th.

Just called me today (June 3rd).  They have to re-schedule. They’ll be
on lock-down June 9th, I won’t be able to get into the building to drop
off the paperwork.  Soonest I can come is June 26th.

Seriously?  Look, it’s just dropping off paperwork, there’s nothing to
it.  I’ve had a permit to carry for years, my record is clean, it’s
utterly straight-forward.  Why can’t the paperwork be dropped off by
mail, or by email?  If I can’t come into the building, why can’t staff
come out for curbside service like Applebee’s?  Why is it so difficult
for government to do their jobs?

It’s almost as if Sheriff Fletcher is taking advantage of the Covid
crisis and the Floyd riots to intentionally make it difficult for people
to get their permits.  Which is weird, because I never got that vibe
from him before.  The last time he was involved with permitted carriers,
it was to offer us training which was controversial (because he used the
list of permit holders to invite us) but sensible (because if you’re
going to be carrying, you ought to be practicing).  It’s just weird.

Word to the wise – if your permit to carry is up soon, start the renewal
early!

Joe Doakes

Urban pols are not, as they say, wasting thecrisis.

This Is My Town, Sparky

Thursday evening, I decided to walk down to Snelling Avenue to check out the situation.

I saw broken glass at Lloyd’s Pharmacy, at the corner of Snelling and Minnehaha. I decided to check out the situation.

The situation nearly came to me. I saw a vibrant group of youths carrying bags of merchandise out of the Speedway station across the street, chased by the immigrant family who run the place. The other gas station up the block was in the process of being looted as well.

A small group of twenty-somethings jumped out of a car in rudimentary riot-wear, and ran past me, headed toward the Speedway. They took no interest in me – which was good for all concerned. Take that as you wish.

I beat a hasty retreat home, and rode out the rest of the evening.

The next morning, it looked like this:

Lloyd’s, which had been in this building for 102 years, as one of the last of Saint Paul’s small independent pharmacies, was gone. They’d remodeled last year, adding more lab space and some offices for a medical office – a vote of confidence in the neighborhood.

Here’s what confidence in Saint Paul gets you:

That’s 102 years worth of rubble.

Some wag commented with a sign:

Lloyd’s Pharmacy rubble pile

Lloyd’s, and the looted gas stations , were the only visibly damaged bulidings north of Thomas – although it was hard to tell if the stores were boarded up as a preventive measure…

Asian buffet on Snelling at Van Buren

Or repairing damage.

Korean and Vietnamese buisnesses on Snelling at Blair

I don’t know.

All I know is that my neighborhood, the Midway – my tough, scrappy, blighted little underdog of a neighborhood – feels gutted today.

Did I say tough and scrappy? Hell yeah. The staff from one restaiurant, immigrants all, climbed up on their roof on Thursday night, vislbly armed, entirely to deter the looters that’d gone over so miuch of the street the night before. I won’t name them here – I don’t want the neighborhood’s many Soy Boys and Karens to try to cancel them for their impudence.

During the day on Friday, University was crawling with people with dustpans and brooms, descending on University to clean up the mess.

They clearned out later in the afternoon, though, as sporadic incidents of looting and violence started to speckle the map. Recovery? Just ending the nightmare seemed a long, hard slog away, given Mayor Frey and Governor Walz’s performance.

Anway – to those of you who’ve been burning down my neighborhood, looting my neighbors’ shops, trying to wreck our lives – the neighborhood where I raised my kids, started a business or two, and have lived for what seems like an entire lifetime?

You want to talk about police brutality? Cultures of entitlement? Systemic racism?

Want to talk anger?

Let’s talk.

Want to make some changes, over what happened to George Floyd? Hey, guess what – I’ve got huge problems with excessive police power, too. Let’s get things done!

But talking isn’t’ fast or dramatic enough for you? Want to browbeat dissent into submission? Want to vent your inchoate rage on innocent third parties? Want to burn things that don’t belong to you?

Racism, inequality and brutality is oppression. But so is rioting.

And if you want to fight opporession with more oppression?

This is for you .

Go back to taking your rage out on your family, or your professors, or on yourself. Jam your adolescent entitlement someplace nature never intended things to be jammed.

Screw your “revolution” – I brought my own.

I’ll be here long after you move on to other tantrums. I will listen, if listening and discussion is what you want. But I’m not running anywhere.

This is my town, sparky.

This is our town. All the good people, black and white, Korean and H’mong, Turkish and Ethiopian, and every other flavor of humanity God put here. The ones who built this place, and the ones who’ll rebuild it after you’ve had your excellent weekend of fun.

We deserve better elected “leaders”, it’s true. But we were here first, and we’ll be here last.

Civil Disobedience

Saint Paul barbershop, facing a life-or-death business decision, chooses life:

In the shadows of the State Capitol, King Milan Barbershop had, for the first time in seven weeks, its lights on. Milan Dennie is the owner.

“It’s my livelihood,” Dennie said. “I’ve been sitting here coming up with strategies and plans on how to open up and do it correctly.”

His customers outside had at least two things in common: The plea to reopen businesses, and the need for a haircut.

For two hours, Dennie enforced social distancing and sanitizing as a way to prove he’s serious for the 16 clients he served.

Government chooses…

…well, not “death”.  

Let’s go for “mindless, unquestioning acquiescence to even the most arbitrary decision of The State”

The 17th person to walk in was St. Paul police.

“We just stepped outside and he talked to me,” Dennie said. “He said he feels what I’m going through, but the order is in place right now.”

Technically, the state can shut him down and fine Dennie up to $25,000. He’s aware he could lose his shop by this decision to reopen. He’s convinced he’d lose it by staying closed.

When the doors did close, donations came in along with support. Some from fellow barbers who are also stressed from not providing.

“Everybody keeps saying, ‘File this, file that.’ You file everything you want to, until your hands hurt,” Burnsville barbershop owner Nile House said. “You can keep typing til your hands are aching, but you’re not going to get it because it’s not coming.”

When people stop respecting what government does, you can expect people to start working around, rather than with, it.

What Do They Want? A Cookie?

So among all the bad news about the pandemic, it seems there is a silver lining: the administrations in Minneapolis and Saint Paul are being forced to stop playing Sim City with real money and people, and actually do he things city governments are supposeed to do.

Or, well, try. Emphasis added by me:

In Minneapolis, meetings to discuss the hotly debated Upper Harbor Terminal redevelopment have been postponed. Discussions about millions in funding for neighborhood organizations and reimagining the city’s transportation networks have been pushed to the summer.

In St. Paul, the pandemic prompted the city to postpone public hearings on a tenant protection ordinance and a ban on conversion therapy. A community meeting on the future of Ayd Mill Road was canceled and replaced with an online video.

The coronavirus is causing a major slowdown for the two cities, which have in recent years raised the minimum wage, overhauled zoning and made other changes consistent with a progressive policy agenda for workers and the environment. Now, they’re scrambling to find ways to meet the immediate needs of struggling residents while protecting their own workers.

In bold, you almost literally see a shopping list of “progressive” virtue-signals – gone (until the spigot turns back on).  

I’ve said it for years – especially since the Walking Dead was the most popular show on TV:  catastrophe makes everyone a conservative, one way or the other.   

“It’s nice to want to change the way things happen, but we don’t have the luxury of promoting change at this point,” said Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman. “We have the responsibility to make sure we provide the basic services of the city.”

And, when conversations on those more ambitious goals resume, they won’t look the same.

And one can hope that the people of MInneapolis and Saint Paul, when they see how badly the Cities take care of the basics after a decade of no practice, react to that change in the “conversation” by changing the way they’re governed.

Likely? Absolutely not. But if we don’t have hope, why bother?

While The Cat’s Aw…Isolated

“States of Emergency” are like catnip for government. Transparency rules get “relaxed” in “everyone’s best interest”, so government can “get things done”.

Of course, it’s not all “Emergency” stuff getting done. The Saint Paul City Council is jamming down an exquisitely expensive rework of Ayd Mill Road – a road that rides like an Andean goat path, whose repaving has been held hostage as the Right Crowd tries to get it turned into their pet path, a bikeway with one lane of car traffic in each direction rather than the current two-ish, at at least quadruple the cost.

And…whatdya know, the dog ate the public hearings.

This is life in a one-party town with an “emergency”.

Striking Out

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Teachers say they’re striking because the schools are unsafe, not just for money.  But the solutions they propose don’t address the root causes of the problem.

Society painted itself into this corner a little at a time, each new initiative sounding good but each one sacrificing a little, too.  In every aspect of life, when there isn’t enough to go around, society must practice triage, must decide who gets the scarce commodity and who is robbed of it.  I suggest we’ve been making the wrong decision.

Child 1 has autism.  He needs special education, extra attention from teacher, additional time on tests but we’ve mainstreamed him in the classroom with average and smart kids.  While teacher is working with him, the other 29 students are bored, learning nothing.

Child 2 doesn’t want to be in school but is lumped with students who do.  He acts out, picks fights, talks back, disrupts class but we can’t remove him because of his race.  While the teacher is dealing with him, the other 29 kids are bored, learning nothing.

Child 3 has mental health problems.  You get the idea.

Two kids might have better lives, the disruptive one probably will drop out soon.  27 kids fail the reading and math test for their grade level.  Which is understandable, since they’ve been sitting in class learning nothing all year.

The solution may not be hiring mental health counselors in the main office or racism monitors in every building.  The solution may be removing the three who need special attention so the 27 can thrive.  No amount of teacher salary raises will solve that problem.

Joe Doakes

All very true – if the goal is to actually educate children.

And for many, probably most, teachers that is the goal. But for the administrative class, and a public employee unions that really control the whole situation, it’s really about power and transfer of wealth. If any children actually get educated, chalk it up to collateral benefits achieved by pure happenstance.

Behold The Racket

As this is written, I’m not sure if teachers in the Saint Paul Public schools are going to be going out on strike today. It seemed very likely.

One things for certain: the teachers unions PR people have been earning their money. Minnesota Public Radio’s coverage of the strike in particular sounds as if it is written directly from teachers union talking points.

Seriously. You be the judge:

St. Paul educators lead the nation in a strategy of using their contract negotiations as a lever to not just get better pay for themselves, but to make their schools a better place for their communities, said Lesley Lavery, an associate professor at Macalester College who studies education.

“Teachers are continuing their strategy of bargaining for the common good which they started about a decade rago,” Lavery said. “They’re trying to listen to community members and listen to teachers’ concerns on the theory that teachers are working most closely with students.”

Raise? Hell, you’re almost wanna give them a medal, don’t you?

Seriously – the entire time of MPR is coverage smacks of one pseudo-governmental fiefdom scratching another pseudo-governmental fiefdoms back.

The center of the American experiment has some facts about the SPPS:

On the surface, these salary increases may seem reasonable, but a deeper dive into the numbers provides more clarity around the union’s demands. Pay increases are built into the salary schedule for the first 20-or-so years of a teacher’s career. The 3.4 percent and 2 percent increases would be on top of the salary increase formula already included in the existing union contract, commonly called the “step and lane” progression. Despite participating in countless media interviews leading up to the strike, the teachers’ union has neglected to mention these built-in increases that already exist.

Unexpectedly.