#Unexpectedly

Turns out the man charged with murder in last weekend’s west end Saint Paul shoot out had never, ever committed a crime of any sort.

No, that’s a lie. I couldn’t resist.He had a rap sheet longer than John Thompson’s list of social offenses, and at least as long a list of judges who kept letting him skate:

The man charged with murder and attempted murder in the St. Paul bar shooting last weekend has a long criminal history, and court records show 33-year-old Terry Brown should never have had a gun.

It appears that at every turn Brown was given breaks by the system, breaks that allowed him to be free to go into the Seventh Street Truck bar Saturday night.

In 2018, Brown was charged with a felony for violating a no-contact order in a domestic case. He had a long record, with felonies including a 2016 conviction for violating the same no-contact order. In the 2018 case, he twice missed court dates and warrants were issued

If the system had done what it was supposed to do with convicted felons, Brown would have been in jail last Saturday night.

Vibrant

Perhaps you’ve heard – it’s been in all the headlines; a shooting in a Saint Paul bar left one dead and 14 injured.

It took place in one of the many bars along West Seventh that suffered horribly with the shutdown of all events at the XCel Center, Ordway and the Science Museum, and the concertgoers and hockey fans and general tourists that used to crowd the area on a beautiful evening.

And the crowd that replaced them, when they could open at all, was a little…edgier? More likelly to cause problems? Bars in the area, and up on Cathedral Hill, had a much different atmosphere. Charged. Jumpy. Ready to blow.

And at the Truick Park – across from Cossetta, where the Seven Corners Hardware store used to be – things finally blew up.

Now, most of the politicians in Saint Paul – a city controlled by the DFL for over 60 years, and where county prosecutors have all but given up, well, prosecuting, had the good common sense to shut the hell up.

Not Carlos Marianil, the DFLer who “represents” the neighborhood.

But the three perps that where arrested all had lengthy felony records – so they wouldn’t have taken any background checks, whether “Universal”, or for that matter ‘intelligent and meaningful”, or not.

And who would have entered a “Red Flag” order on them?

Rep. Mariani’s next statement wasn’t especially intelligent – but it was meaningful, albeit in a sinister way:

So here’s the message; if you start a business in Saint Paul, after the state tried to kill you off with the hamfisted lockdown, and the Karens that make up the majority in your neighborhood decide to keep hiding in their basements and not go to bars and hockey games and shows at the Ordway, and you have to take whatever clientele you can to stay afloat, and problems erupt, your government will try to stuff you under the bus.

But! If you see that the clientele might have the potential to cause problems, and they’re not conveniently politically neutral (like people wearing motorcycle “club” paraphernalia)? Well, then the locals in and out of government will stuff you, on the other hand, under the bus: when the late, great “Bar Louie” chain tried to see to its own security, in exactly the way Mariani demands, the Karens from the Non-Profit/Industrial Complex were waiting to stomp on that as well. If it walks like a gang member and talks like a gang member, apparently you’re a racist.

So to take Mariani, and both city councils and both county prosecutors at their words:

  1. if you try to pre-empt trouble, you’re racist.
  2. If you make the the best of things and the crowd causes problems, they’ll throw you under the bus.
  3. The county attorneys won’t touch the petty criminals, and even the not so petty ones can’t seem to get put in jail no matter how they try.
  4. And if you say that that you expect the government to which you pay taxes to see to public safety? That’s your privilege talking.

Starting a business here sounds like. a great bet, doesn’t it?

Fearless Prediction: The media will start running even more “thjink” pieces on how it’s “Racist” to demand law and order.

Already Gone

From a letter to the editor:

And, in cozy bungalows in Highland Park, and Victorian proto-mansions in Crocus Hill, and condominiums down by Raymond, dozens of smug, cosseted nonprofit employees no doubt chortled “Good! More city for us!”, too snugly molded in their ideological bubbles to see what this means.

Peak Minnesota

During the Twin Cities marathon yesterday, former Viking and former Minnesota supreme court justice Allen Page…

Photo courtesy John Welbes (@jwelbes on Twitter)

…cheering on the runners by playing the sousaphone.

Got to say, Page is looking pretty good for a 76-year-old guy, especially for a former NFL lineman from back in the “concussion? We don’t care about no stinking concussion“ stage of the game.

Downfall: Ramco Edition

Hold this thought:

“When people don’t trust the institutions in authority to uphold order fairly and justly, they create their own institutions to do it, to a more self-centered standard of “Fair and Just”. That’s almost always a bad thing”.

This just in from Ramsey County. Read the whole Twitter thread (available here in one convenient page):

Mr. House would seem to be a regular guest of Ramco law enforcement – but not a long-term one. Even with his long record of not using his indoor behavior, he just can’t seem to get a charge to stick enough to matter.

Why, it’s almost like he’s above the law – in a city that fines homeowners whose grass gets too long.

“When people don’t trust the institutions in authority to uphold order fairly and justly, they create their own institutions to do it, to a more self-centered standard of “Fair and Just”. That’s almost always a bad thing”.

Now, it’s nothing new that Ramsey County, while bellowing on cue about “gun safety”, goes nerfy on actual criminals using guns. Three straight Ramco Attorneys, going back thirty years – Tom Foley, Susan Gaertner and John Choi – have had access to a significant set of sentence enhancements to use on gun criminals, tools that have had measurable effect on crime over the past three decades, where they are applied.

Which they are not, in Ramsey County (or Hennepin, either). Foley, Gaertner and Choi, at best pled it away, and at other times didn’t even bother applying it, sometimes for the very crimes for which the measures were designed.

But don’t you dare put a security shutter on the window of your small business.

“When people don’t trust the institutions in authority to uphold order fairly and justly, they create their own institutions to do it, to a more self-centered standard of “Fair and Just”. That’s almost always a bad thing”.

It’s almost like they want public order to collapse.

That’s absurd, of course.

But if it were true, what would they do differently?

The Better Mousetrap

The new dean of the Hamline Mitchell law school says it’s time to do away with the bar exam, since it’s not “inclusive“ enough.

With all due respect to someone who, I suggest with all humility, hasn’t quite earned it yet, allow me to suggest alternatives approach; do away with law school as we know it today.In

Not every country requires a would-be lawyer to spend three years and $200,000 in law school as a prerequisite to taking the bar exam. In the United Kingdom, for example, it’s perfectly acceptable to “read“ for the British equivalent of the bar exam – One can walk in (figuratively, I’m sure; I imagine there are fees, registrations and so forth) and take the exam, and on success, become a practicing Barrister.

I would suspect it’s harder to pass the test without three years of motivated study, to say nothing of getting a job worth the effort without the degree (and the alumni guide) from a high-end law school.

But opening the profession up to people who are motivated to practice law, rather than acquire the most prestigious sheepskin, couldn’t hurt the ailing profession.

Urban Progressive Privilege:Somebody Else’s Neighborhood

Saint Paul progressives are all about high density housing and development.

In the Midway. Or out on the East Side. Or all up and down University Avenue.

Not, you know, where they live:

Neighbors who rallied together under the title “Friends of A Better Way St. Paul” had said the St. Paul Planning Commission had mishandled a series of zoning variances related to the height and density of the proposed structure, which would span 80 residential apartments and four restaurant-ready commercial spaces at ground level.

Fearless prediction: the development gets built, but only after the city spends enough on fighting the court case against the well-heeled neighborhood to have hired 200 cops.

The Midway: Nothing Here But Us Hipsters

A friend of the blog emails:

This has to be the most depressing, let them eat cake piece on the “success of the soccer stadium” that I have ever read.
“There’s been some smaller businesses moving into the stadium area to serve soccer fans, but much more work is needed to boost the area.”

Excuse me? To serve the soccer fans? What about those of us who live here. This was a community long before the stadium and the light rail came along to break it up.
Nothing is going to be built there for a long time. But, hey, as long as the city keeps dealing out the money, McGuire doesn’t have to really do anything.

The fabled “memory hole“ is full of narratives that don’t match those of Big Left, locally and nationally.

City + Other People’s Money + Urban Progressive Privilege = Fun For Progs!

A friend of the blog emails:

I’m not going to weigh in on whether the Interstate system was bad for some neighborhoods when it happened. 

But, every urban renewal project since then (like St Paul’s Green Line) seems to have been worse in terms of the impact on these neighborhoods. The goal in these current projects seems to be to keep poor neighborhoods poor and segregated. 

So, I read this and anticipate that current St Paul activists/councilmembers are looking at Syracuse and drooling at what they can do to I94 and the businesses owned by Immigrants and POC that survived the Green Line and the 2020 riots. And how many accolades they’ll get from Macalester Groveland for “saving those people” from pollution of cars by destroying their businesses and displacing them out to suburbs. 

It’s funny- they supposedly hate cars so much, but they never ask to close the section of Snelling Ave down between Selby and Grand, for instance. It’s always about shutting down streets in neighborhoods where they want to make sure to keep control of the residents.

I’ve wanted to tell these people – you want to make a statement? Muster all that political clout you have and shut down Lincoln and Portland Avenues from Hamline to Western. Or Dayton from Snelling to the River . Or just block all the streets south of West Seventh from Eagle down to Grand. Or Como from 280 east to Raymond. And make Crocus Hill, Merriam Park, Irvine Park and Saint Anthony Park, respectively, the urban meadows you envision.

Lead by example!

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.