Car2Go seeks to limit service in north Minneapolis

REUTERS/Todd Korol

Why let Uber and Lyft have all the discrimination fun? At the Star Tribune, Eric Roper reports: “Popular car sharing service Car2Go is proposing to scale back its Twin Cities service area, potentially leaving parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul in the dark. … Council Member Blong Yang raised objections Tuesday to a proposal he has discussed with the company, which he said would exclude much of the North Side. The company confirmed it was rethinking its coverage areas, which currently span the entirety of both cities, but said no decisions had been made.”

Who audits the auditor? From the AP (via WCCO) we learn, “State Auditor Rebecca Otto has paid out $21,000 in legal fees already to a law firm she retained to give her advice about a new audit privatization law. … Documents released to The Associated Press under a government records request show the firm was retained in June. Lawyers assigned to her file bill at rates ranging from $290 to $490 per hour, but she is getting a 15 percent discount under the Fredrikson and Byron contract.”

Change the State Fair … from the inside! That’s essentially the deal offered by State Fair organizers, according to MPR’s Tim Nelson: “Minnesota State Fair officials say they’ve invited Black Lives Matter to have an authorized presence inside the Minnesota State Fair even as the group plans a Saturday protest outside. … Fair general manager Jerry Hammer said he has spoken to representatives of Black Lives Matter and thinks they’ll take him up on the offer. … ‘We talked to them about the process and the procedure’ to get a booth, Hammer told MPR News Tuesday. ‘I don’t know if they got their registration in last night, or whether it’s coming today.’ ”

Scott Walker’s earning poor marks for his attempts to outmaneuver Donald Trump. In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank laments, “This is what happens when you try to trump the Donald. … Scott Walker has for two decades won primary elections by refusing to allow any Republican to outmaneuver him on the right. So when Donald Trump, father of the Central Park ice rink, began skating circles around the Republican presidential field with his perfect execution of hard-line conservative positions, the Wisconsin governor tried to keep up by attempting more daring ideological leaps. … But in recent days, Walker has spun himself into a triple axel — and landed on his face.”

Meanwhile, Walker suggested Monday that President Obama cancel a visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping because … the stock market went down? [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel] And for its part, The Onion is concerned about the Wisconsin governor’s health: “Out-Of-Control Scott Walker Injured After Wildly Careening Between Stances On Immigration”

In other news…

“Convictions upheld for Minnesota women in Somali terror case” [MPR]

This is pretty mysterious: “Warrant: Wadena County Farm Searched for Human Remains” [KSTP]

Anoka-Hennepin schools considering what to do about unpaid school lunches this year. [ABC Newspapers]

Minneapolis residents: filthy liars. [KSTP]

This Rachel Stassen-Berger guide to finding politicos at the State Fair could also be used to avoid them. [Pioneer Press]

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Bill Willy on 08/25/2015 - 04:18 pm.

    Minimum Living Wage

    “Lawyers assigned to her file bill at rates ranging from $290 to $490 per hour.”

    To interpret state laws few citizens of the state can understand (including the State Auditor) because they were written by lawyers.

    The Attorneys Union would oppose it vehemently, of course, but it’s possible government, business and individuals alike could save a LOT of money in the future if a law were passed in Minnesota that made it illegal for any law or contract to be written in anything other than that ancient, but once common, language, Plain English.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 08/25/2015 - 10:06 pm.


      The State Auditor could consult the State Attorney General–for free.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/26/2015 - 01:42 pm.

        Conflict of Interest

        That was my first thought, too, but the AG has a conflict of interest. She is supposed to argue in favor of upholding state laws as valid.

  2. Submitted by jim hughes on 08/25/2015 - 08:50 pm.

    slippery slope

    The problem with letting Car2Go drop coverage for the North side is that they’re not promising that will be the end of it. If we keep quiet and let North Minneapolis be put over the side, those of us on the South side might be next. I could see this system ending up covering just the really profitable parts of town. The rest of the city would be stuck with a declining cab service even worse than today’s.

    This sounds a bit familiar. US Internet Wireless came in via a contract with the city that required complete coverage of the city. Now they’re rolling out fiber and TDM wireless – but only to areas like Kenwood and Lake of the Isles. The rest of us will live with 90s bandwidth or go crawling back to Comcast.

    I want Car2Go to succeed, but not if that means they drop my neighborhood.

    • Submitted by Dan Berg on 08/26/2015 - 06:14 am.


      What you are saying is that if they won’t serve your neighborhood you don’t want them to serve anyone? Isn’t that a perfect example of greed or envy?

      With USI I am sure you won’t be left with 90s level bandwidth. Minneapolis was very late to get any sort of high speed internet because the city was wouldn’t allow it unless the company at the time (Time Warner i believe?) gave them free bandwidth. That meant most other cities including even St. Cloud had high speed long before Minneapolis. If that type of request was made by an individual city council person it would be called a bribe, when done by council and mayor together it is call advocacy. 90s bandwidth in Minneapolis would require finding a dial-up modem and reinstating your Earthlink account. The fact you have few options for internet is due to the fact that the city has always placed such onerous restrictions on potential providers that few find the large investment worth the risk. One reason it is expensive is that those who pay for it are supporting infrastructure that isn’t profitable so the provider can make city mandated coverage requirements.

      The idea that all businesses need to serve all areas despite the very real economic realities is like saying GM can’t offer any new features on Cadillacs unless they provide the same thing on the Chevy Spark, or that all houses must be built with same number of bathrooms, bedrooms and same level of finishes in every part of the city or they won’t be allowed. What would make Car2Go different than Whiteway cleaners or Lunds? Why should they be allowed to select the locations where they do business if not Car2Go? Alternately, since people who are supplying goods and services tend to set up where they are in demand why not just require everybody to buy equal amounts of everything thereby encouraging equal distribution of providers?

      • Submitted by jim hughes on 08/26/2015 - 12:35 pm.

        “What you are saying is that if they won’t serve your neighborhood you don’t want them to serve anyone? Isn’t that a perfect example of greed or envy?”

        If they don’t want my business, because I don’t live in a wealthy neighborhood, then I don’t care if they succeed or fail. Call that what you want.

        This is, basically, a privatization of mass transit. It takes business away from the bus service and the taxi companies; but it doesn’t have to play by the same rules. You can argue that the existing transit options will remain in place, but with the loss of business in the profitable areas, they become marginalized and their quality of service will only decline further.

        I assume this reduction in service is going to happen, and will be followed by more cuts. This amounts to a failure of the city to provide basic transit services. Car2Go appeals strongly to people like me because the taxi and bus services are, well, lousy. Bus routes are too limited; taxis are overpriced; both are slow, irritating and grubby experiences. Because the city and county haven’t been able to maintain and improve these services, they’re allowing private companies to take their business and operate as they see fit. Is this sort of back-door privatization “progress”? How you see it depends on who you are.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 08/26/2015 - 01:36 pm.

          Wait a minute, Jom…

          So by virtue of your logic, let’s say…McDonald’s or any other store should be forced to locate in your neighborhood?

        • Submitted by Dan Berg on 08/27/2015 - 08:22 am.

          So really you mean…

          But you didn’t say you didn’t care if they succeed or fail you said you wanted them to not be allowed legally to operate in the city despite offering a service you like simply because it might not be offered in your area.

          All forms of transportation compete with one another, from walking, biking, buses, cabs, Uber, rental cars, personal cars, Megabus, etc all fulfill some level of overlapping niche in the market. It seems ridiculous to restrict certain services simply because they might be an better alternative to another mode of getting around.

          Fares for buses only cover 1/3rd of the cost of the system. The rest comes from people who use other methods of transportation. So complaining that you aren’t getting enough free stuff, or that the amount of free stuff you are getting might be reduced, while encouraging a self supporting entity be kicked out seems petty at best. Public transportation can’t be much improved for the basic reason that it is public and the people who use it aren’t the ones paying for it. That fact and that they use technology from the 1800s will ensure it is never more than an option on the margins at best. Same as it is everywhere else.

          Cabs are terrible in general and especially so in this town, costs are high and service is awful. This is what happens with a cartel that has bribed its way in to an exclusive right to operate in the area. Uber is much better, good service, clean cars, less expensive. You should give it a try.

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