Minneapolis City Council members aren’t sitting easily these days. Our fair burg is undergoing growing pains. Signs of a restive citizenry are everywhere.
Complaints bubble about policing, homelessness, housing prices, officer shootings, high taxes, too much liberalism, not enough liberalism, and the great incursion of homely new condos. On the north side, they’re worried about gun violence. On the south side, they fear someone will raze the neighbor’s house and throw up a triplex filled with undesirables.
If council members were smart, they’d demand a trade to St. Paul, where the people are more serene, and the angst never reaches such flammable altitudes.
Yet sometimes their wounds are self-inflicted. Case in point: Council President Lisa Bender.
When we last left our hero, she was preaching loud and lofty about making Minneapolis a more walkable city. Then the Star Tribune revealed Bender had been cited seven times for not shoveling her own sidewalk, which didn’t make it very walkable for the elderly and disabled.
As politicians are wont to do, she decided the obvious response – a simple apology – seemed impolitic. Instead, she accused the Strib of sexism for singling her out due to her womanhood.
This did not play well with constituents, since an unwillingness to shovel is a rather gender-neutral sin. They scolded Bender for hypocrisy and the unauthorized playing of the woman card.
this is gross and harmful to women everywhere who are legitimate victims of misogyny. of course it's going to be considered newsworthy when a council who zealously pursues shoveling scofflaws is being led by one.— ™ (@mplsmrcle) November 28, 2018
Katharine and Craig Brown also took notice. They live in the Fulton neighborhood. You could say they weren’t big fans of Bender in the first place.
They’re not pleased with the city’s 2040 plan, which would change zoning laws to bring more multi-family units in Minneapolis. They’re also not happy with the city’s quest for more bike lanes at the expense of the combustion engine.
“She is getting a lot of heat for pushing through laws that make sense to no one,” says Katharine.
So the Browns created the “Lisa Bender Shoveling PSA,” a tutorial demonstrating the basic steps of snow removal. “Since our council president has had such a hard time figuring out how to get her walk shoveled, we just wanted to show you how it’s done,” Craig announces on the video. “The best part of a shovel is they’re not sexist. They’re just a shovel.”
The sly, simple needling has received thousands of views on Nextdoor. Though the Browns can claim no advanced degrees in the science of shoveling, Katharine says they did get a fair amount of practice “on Lisa Bender's unused bike lanes.”