Ah, Minneapolis. The prettier, more datable sibling of the Twin Cities. But at this week’s city council meeting, it was goodbye “Minnesota Nice” and hello “all-out warfare.”
No sooner had Council President Barbara Johnson opened the day’s agenda than a woman in the front row was hellbent on inserting herself into it.
“Council, I would like you to amend the agenda specific to Jamar Clark,” who was shot two weeks ago. “Our city isn’t responsive to the fact that-”
President Johnson leaned into the microphone. “Those who disrupt proceedings will be asked to leave.”
Front-row lady yielded no ground. “WHY ARE YOU…KILL OUR RESIDENTS…SHAME!” she shrieked over the president’s warning.
“Remove this lady!” Johnson ordered, summoning two burly sentinels to eject the rabble rouser. Incredibly, another woman in the front row stood to take her place.
“Consider this on the agenda today-” she repeated.
Ma’am, ma’am! We are trying to conduct a city council meeting,” Johnson pleaded, emphasis on “trying.” “Please remove this lady.”
Burly bouncer #1 rushed again to the front row to seize the protester. But–are you sensing a pattern?–Old Yeller #3 picked up the diatribe mid-sentence!
“BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE,” she bellowed. “A CHOICE ABOUT WHICH SIDE-”
“Ma’am, I’m going to ask security to remove you,” the president reiterated, a phrase that will now be forever seared in my subconscious.
I don’t need to tell you perceptive people what happened next.
“EVEN THE FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE-” the fourth synchronized shouter wailed, loudest of all.
LOCK HER UP WITH THE OTHERS! GAG THEM ALL, President Johnson thundered. (I’m paraphrasing here.)
At long, blessed last, the council could begin the People’s Business, although the lyrical chants of the dearly departed could still be heard from outside.
“The next item of business is to accept the minutes-”
NO JUSTICE! NO PEACE!
“Moved and seconded-”
“All in approval say aye-”
Council members had been holding their fire, but that all changed with consideration of the Third Avenue South bike lane proposal.
“I would like to move a substitute motion,” Councilmember Lisa Bender bombshelled.
Oh. S#%t. This daredevil diva wanted to take Third Avenue downtown from four lanes to an insane three lanes with bike space and a center turn lane!
“I use Third Street about four or five times per day,” physically fit Councilmember Jacob Frey bragged. “I use it more than anyone else in the city other than the guys that ride their bikes for Jimmy John’s.” It’s dangerous, he said. And he’ll be voting for the three lanes.
“I bicycle every day, year-round on Third Avenue, sometimes with my two small children,” Councilmember Bender responded. Jesus, is this a competition for who has the most badass commute? Does any council member ride a unicycle in the snow with immigrant laborers hanging onto their their back?
President Johnson called the vote.
It failed. 6-7.
Even though the Rebel Alliance lost out to the Empire, they would still get their bike lanes. No-voting Councilmember Lisa Goodman rubbed in her victory: “I think we’ve won and the feeling that we haven’t won enough makes me sad.”
Final thoughts: On drama, I give this meeting 4 out of 4 screaming protesters. On results, I’ll award only 3 out of 4 lanes because Councilmember Goodman feels sad.