It’s officially the end of an era for Minneapolis’ Corcoran neighborhood. For what seems like forever, anyone passing the corner of Lake Street and Cedar Avenue could look up and see the same billboard featuring the smiling face of Gary Schiff, who was running to become to area's city councilman in... 2017.
The billboard, which loudly declared, “On Nov. 7th, 2017, VOTE AGAINST ‘SCHIFFTY’ POLITICS,” has remained up this whole time.
As the calendar pages turned, residents starting thinking of the billboard as a beloved local landmark.
But on Sunday, Twitter users started posting photos of an empty space, the attack ad finally having been scraped from its lofty perch. The internet mourned the only way it knew how: with a sappy memorial video cobbled together by Wedge LIVE, set to the tune of What Hurts the Most by Rascal Flatts.
Iconic as the billboard was, nobody seems sure who paid for it or how it lived so damn long. The only indication of ownership is a small caption that reads, “approved by www.watchyourpoliticians.org,” a link that takes you pretty much nowhere today.
Twitter speculators have centered on the Sabris, a family that manages a swath of buildings across south Minneapolis. Sabri Properties has been cited repeatedly for violating city codes and ordinances, which real estate tycoon Basim Sabri referred to as “pigeon shit” in a 2007 interview with City Pages. But Sabri Properties sent a statement saying they never bought any billboard.
Schiff lost that 2017 City Council bid pretty handily to Alondra Cano.
In his previous tenure in city government, he’s most famous for authoring the 2003 ordinance that separated local policework from federal immigration enforcement – essentially our “sanctuary city” doctrine.
But by 2017, his career was clouded by his attempt to unseat Cano – the council’s only Latino member in its 150-year history.
His only comment on the billboard was that he was "kinda sad to see it go," having, as he put it, "earned the opposition of the Sabri crime family" was an "honor."
"Not sure how it fell down," he said, "But I'm assuming it was an act of God."