Salon owner reacts to Minneapolis city officials getting raises while businesses go under

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The same top Minneapolis officials who oversaw Black Lives Matters’ destruction of their city over the summer are poised to receive raises this year, though some — not all — of them have vowed to turn down the raises or donate the extra money.

“Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and all 13 City Council members are set to receive raises this year, even as some city workers’ wages remain frozen amid the economic fallout of the corona­virus pandemic,” the Star Tribune reported Friday.

In fairness, their raise was etched in stone four years earlier.

“A City Council resolution passed in 2017 put in place a formula to calculate raises for the city’s elected leaders. It determines their pay bump by averaging out the increases included in the union contracts they approved the previous year,” the Tribune noted.


“Based on that formula, the salary for council members is set to rise this year from $103,590 to $106,101, and the mayor’s salary is set to increase from $132,804 to $136,011.”

That’s fine, except that everybody else is currently suffering not only because of  the repercussions of last summer’s riots but also because of the coronavirus pandemic, including Flora Westbrooks, the owner of Flora’s Hair Designs.

Listen to her story below via Fox News’ “Fox & Friends“:

Speaking with Fox News host Pete Hegseth on Sunday, Westbrooks said that the notion of city officials enjoying a raise right now is “not right” and argued it’s only happening because they “can do whatever they want,” to hell with everybody else.

It’s not right. … [They do it] I guess because they can do it. You know, they’re the higher-up, and they can do whatever they want, while small business owners are still struggling,” she said.

And we need more put into the community to help the small business owners. Not just my my salon but other business that lost their business during the George Floyd riots.”

Westbrooks didn’t just lose business — she lost her business itself.

“Westbrooks, the owner of Flora’s Hair Design, has called the 900 block of West Broadway on the north side of Minneapolis home for nearly 40 years. On May 29 her building was intentionally set on fire during unrest in the city,” local station KMSP reported on June 8th.

Fox News has run several stories about her tragic tale since that time. CNN, on the other hand, has predictably run none.

“I felt so violated. For someone to just take what I made. I never got a loan. I never got a grant. I built this from scratch. This is my life. This is everything. This is my livelihood – everything,” Westbrooks told KMSP in June.

To try and rebuild, a feat that would require $500,000 minimum, she established a GoFundMe page that Fox News — but never CNN — has promoted multiple times.

As of Jan. 17th, the GoFundMe was up to $250,000 and counting:

(Source: GoFundMe)

“It’s still sitting there just burned down. I mean, you know, the GoFundMe has been going some, but you know, I need more money so I can rebuild,” Westbrooks told Hegseth.

This prompted the FNC host to ask whether the city has made even the slightest effort to help her rebuild.

“Is there any active proposal for the city of Minneapolis to say, hey, you know, our lack of ability to secure the streets led to riots that led to [the] burning down your [of] building. Has there been any support?” he asked.

Westbrooks replied in the negative.

“No, naw, naw, naw, there’s have been a talk about maybe help cleaning up, you know, the site there, but nothing has been, you know, they haven’t did anything yet. Not anything,” she said.

Except give themselves a raise, though again, the raise was agreed upon four years ago. Given the suffering currently being experienced by so many, some such as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey have rightly vowed to return the money:

But not every city official has shown this nobleness.

“Andrew Johnson said he plans to donate back part of his salary, in an amount ‘proportionate with what employees have forgone.’ Lisa Goodman did not specify what she will do with her raise but noted that last year she, like some other council members, donated back the equivalent of five days’ worth of pay in solidarity with other workers who took furloughs,” the Star Tribune reported.

It’s this sort of blatant selfishness that Westbrooks doesn’t appear to care for. Nor does she support the continued push by these same officials to “defund the police.”

“Please do not defund the police department. We need them. We need them for protection,” she said on Fox in one final emotional plea to the city’s leaders.

“The raises you’re getting, you know, why can’t you put them into the community? You’re freezing all the money, freezing everything for the city. Help the small business owners. Help us.”

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Vivek Saxena

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