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The Interventionist John Mehring, 64, is a single man who recently moved to Minneapolis from San Francisco, where he spent most of his adult life.He works at an elementary school and dedicates much of his spare time to researching the history of the 1980s HIV epidemic. Built small, his winter jacket an oversized husk on a wiry frame, he navigates the city by bus, toting his important papers in a plastic bag.Because it was not a registered business, the fire marshal did not inspect the Warehouse to ensure it met code.
“So they say it’s our right to have this place and if we’re in danger, then it would be better to have a place in danger than no place. So he set out to make it so by outing it to every governmental agency he could.
The Ghost Ship was a warehouse converted into an artists’ commune.
When an electrical spark set off a fire in the middle of a concert, flames hastily swallowed combustible art materials, wooden mannequins, instruments, and the building’s only stairway, which had been built precariously out of a stack of wooden pallets. Subsequent investigations found that Oakland officials were well aware of the conditions of the Ghost Ship, and that people were living, working, and hosting events there, when none of it was legal. ” Mehring concluded that Delage, based on some libertarian-style Facebook posts he’d shared that were critical of welfare and big government, must have intentionally shirked the law in order to avoid the costs of regulation, taxation, and consumer protection.
While he was discussing his research on 1980s laws that banned bathhouses and other places gay men frequented for sex, another man interjected.
There was one such institution that still existed in Minneapolis, he told Mehring. Mehring insisted it was impossible that such a place could operate under the radar of a government as squeaky clean as Minneapolis’. More apt to homework than groundwork, Mehring put off going to see the Warehouse for as long as he could.