Lileks: Minneapolis checking on the pulse of things

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 13, 2012 - 4:22 PM

This month and next, the city of Minneapolis is surveying residents by phone to see how they feel about things. The results of the survey will be used to reevaluate things in an ongoing thing-adjustment process. We have a transcript of one such exchange.

Q: Thank you for participating. When you think about the city government as it impacts your existence, would you say the city is more responsive, somewhat responsive, inert, openly contemptuous or sends around a cop every time you complain about that pothole?

A: Uh ... very responsible.

Q: You mean more responsive?

A: Uh, somewhat, yes.

Q: OK. On a scale of one to 10, one being "not at all" and 10 being "loud," how would you rate the color of the sky in Minneapolis?

A: I'd say about five.

Q: OK. Imagine you're on fire. What would be your first choice? Call 311, the city's hotline for citizen information, or 411, the number to get other non-fire related phone numbers?

A: Shouldn't I call 911?

Q: Why? Are you on fire? I can transfer you.

A: No, I'm not on fire.

Q: OK, I'll put that down as "yes, isn't on fire." Now, do you currently have a child in the Minneapolis public school system?

A: Yes.

Q: That's strange; it's 8 at night. Did you A) forget to pick her up, or B) not realize the bus came and went without dropping her off, or C) call 411 to get the number for 311, so they could call 911?

A: She's upstairs getting ready for bed.

Q: I'll put that down as "other," then. Now then. Since the letters of "Minneapolis" can be arranged to spell "Pale Minions," and this does not reflect the city's growing diversity, would you support selling off the extra N to another city?

A: Sure. Say, I have dinner cooking ...

Q: Last question: when you think about taxes, do you think they are A) crushingly painful for yourself, B) much, much too low for others, or C) the fiscal equivalent of Baby Bear's porridge, inasmuch as they are juuuust right?

A: I'm sorry, what was that about porridge?

Q: It's delicious with milk and sugar.

A: You're right. Yeah, I'll go with C.

Q: Thank you for your time. Now, on a scale of 1 to Z, would you rate this survey ...

A: (click)

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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