Transportation network companies now licensed in Minneapolis

Last Friday morning, the Minneapolis City Council approved an ordinance legalizing and regulating transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft. The new regulatory framework includes licensing fees, insurance standards, and driver qualification requirements. The ordinance also includes measures to significantly lessen the regulatory burden of taxi companies, ensuring a fairer regulatory playing field for decidedly similar businesses. Continue Reading

The free lesson in MnSCU’s $2M consulting contract

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ recently announced a $2 million contract with consulting group McKinsey & Company to assist with a system-wide initiative, Charting the Future. The contract made headlines when Chancellor Steve Rostenstone did not mention McKinsey or the contract after a student asked about the cost of the initiative. Additionally, Rosenstone did not update the Board of Trustees on the contract agreement. Continue Reading

Decline in hunting permits shows shifting leisure trends

The romantic image of the hunter in Minnesota’s popular culture will continue to hold substantial weight with many Minnesotans. However, this image is becoming increasingly inaccurate. From our history as a leader in the fur trapping industry during the 18th and 19th centuries to annual expeditions for the November deer hunting season opener, Minnesotan’s relationship with hunting can be described as quixotic at best. We’re not hunting nearly as much as we thought we were. Continue Reading

Are you a troll?

Last year, our federal government shut down. In 2011, Minnesota’s government did the same thing. Clearly, as far as governments go, we are struggling to come up with a functioning public policy consensus. But this problem extends beyond stalled governments. It has woven its way into the very fabric of American culture, taking over our way of life, and if we are not cognizant of it, it will surely have its way with our nation’s economy and political scene. Continue Reading

As EdTech grows, concern about corporate influence

Last April, when New York governor Andrew Cuomo was deciding how to allocate $2 billion for classroom technology, he turned to a three person council for advice. One of the advisors he selected was Google chairman Eric Schmidt, prompting criticism about a potential conflict of interest. Would Schmidt recommend Google-favorable learning technology? This controversy illustrates a larger concern with the growing acceptance and adoption with educational technology: how much of a role should corporations be allowed to play in our education system? Continue Reading

Happy times on the Green Line spurs business, beer

I crossed University Avenue to get on the Green Line at the Raymond Avenue station with a friend the other day. We were catching a downtown Minneapolis bar’s happy hour. During the twenty minute ride to the Warehouse District, we chatted, not worrying about stop lights, reckless drivers or navigation errors. Continue Reading

Bottineau LRT Corridor mistakes

Many people have written about the alignment of the SW LRT and the ensuing battles. Much less public attention, however has been placed on the Bottineau corridor in the Northwest. The Bottineau corridor is an extension of the current Blue line from Mall of America to downtown Minneapolis. The expansion will run from downtown Minneapolis north through Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, and Crystal. Just as in the SW corridor, the Bottineau route quickly leaves the densest part of the region and heads for the suburbs. Continue Reading