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In a meeting last week, the Minneapolis City Council called on police brass to answer questions raised by our recent cover story, which reported that the department's Sex Crimes Unit had been cut in half, with the result that 9 of 10 rapes have gone unsolved this year ("The Case of the Disappearing Sex Crimes Unit," 10/17/07).
Deputy Chief Sharon Lubinski's defense of the department echoed Chief Tim Dolan's statements to City Pages: The staff cuts were necessary because of budget constraints and pressure to put more cops on the street.
Councilmember Cam Gordon responded that neither he nor his constituents wanted to sacrifice critical investigative follow-up for neighborhood policing. Immediately after the meeting, Gordon wrote about it in an online letter to his constituents: "This article and conversation have strengthened my resolve to resist the pressure to commit a larger and larger portion of our police resources to patrol," Gordon wrote. "Right now, 75 percent of our officers are assigned to patrol. I am interested in having an open, public discussion about whether that's the right balance."
Councilmember Gary Schiff asked Lubinski to come back to the council with numbers gauging the success of all investigative units that deal with violent crime. In a letter to his Ward Nine constituents about the article and the meeting, Schiff wrote: "It doesn't make sense for a city to under-staff investigative units in favor of claiming there are more cops on the street."
MPR put on notice
In its 40 years of existence, Minnesota Public Radio has grown from a single, college-based operator to an empire of almost 40 stations, as well as the producer of such public-radio juggernauts as Marketplace and A Prairie Home Companion.
But the eminently above-average Goliath may soon be ensnared in the increasingly ugly and protracted legal battle over WCAL, the former radio station of St. Olaf College ("A Trust Betrayed," 6/13/07).
Last week, SaveWCAL lawyer Michael McNabb gave a clear signal of how far he intends to take his crusade to win back his beloved radio station, which MPR bought from St. Olaf College and turned into the Current in 2004. In a letter sent to MPR's top brass, McNabb wrote that because St. Olaf exceeded its legal rights in selling the station, the transaction is "void."
Says MPR spokesman Brad Robideaux: "There is no valid legal basis for challenging Minnesota Public Radio's purchase of the station." —Jonathan Kaminsky
Outsider artist—waaaay outside
Marcus Young, a conceptual artist, has been hard at work the last few days maintaining his most recent work, From Here to There and Beyond. The work is, in its entirety, an unbroken line—drawn in chalk and watercolor, as well as preexisting cracks in the sidewalk—starting in the MCAD galleries and stretching to the Third Avenue bridge.
Young has a history of strange artwork. He engages in what he calls a "lifelong project" in which, in his own words, he "walks extremely slowly along Nicollet Avenue in a Chinese scholar's garb, smiling broadly at every passerby." And on Earth Day of this year, he produced a project on Harriet Island that saw the flight of hundreds of kites bearing the written wishes of onlookers.
In conceiving of From Here to There and Beyond, Young said he realized that "most of my work doesn't belong in the gallery." On that, everyone can agree. —Ward Rubrecht
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