The Current

Great Music Lives Here ®
Listener-Supported Music
Donate Now
Local Current Blog

Jeremy Messersmith, John Munson, Rogue Valley join video campaign against Minneapolis 70-30 rule

by Jay Gabler

October 20, 2014

Jeremy Messersmith, John Munson, and members of Rogue Valley appear in a new video dramatizing what the musicians and the video's producers see as the absurdity of a law requiring food revenue at some Minneapolis restaurants to greatly exceed revenue from sales of alcoholic beverages.

As Election Day approaches, many Minneapolis restaurateurs have been campaigning for voters to strike down the city's "70-30 rule," a law mandating that restaurants in residential areas must make at least 70% of their revenue selling food—as opposed to alcohol. The rule was designed to keep restaurants from becoming de facto bars, but it's been inconsistently enforced in recent years, and many argue that the rule is outdated in an era when high-priced craft beers are soaring in popularity.

Joe Widmer, communications director for the political action committee that produced the video, said that it wasn't hard to convince local musicians to campaign for the law to be voted down. Pointing out that many musicians have worked in bars and restaurants, he said that "if you think more culture is a good thing and you like where this city is headed," supporting the law's repeal is a no-brainer. He added that it's important to remind people the question will be on the ballot, since it will appear near the bottom of the ballot and may be missed by voters who aren't looking for it.

In the video—set at Corner Table—Messersmith and Rogue Valley's Linnea Mohn order a fine bottle of sparkling wine, and are then served hundreds of dollars' worth of food to offset the price of the alcohol. At the video's conclusion, the two are joined by John Munson (Semisonic, the New Standards) and Rogue Valley's Pete Sieve to sing a jingle possibly inspired by Homer Simpson's "Mr. Plow" song.

Pro or con, Minneapolis residents will have the chance to vote on the 70-30 law this coming Nov. 4.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.