Thursday, October 13, 2016

Who gets to live on our nicest streets?

Alex Cecchini has written a nicely comprehensive post outlining all the reasons it's a bad idea to force dense housing out of neighborhood interiors and onto the most noisy, polluted, dangerous streets in the city.

It's a timely post because the Wedge neighborhood is about to be downzoned. As Alex writes, the last time the neighborhood was downzoned, in 1975, it was happening in parallel with an equally successful movement to force dangerous high-speed car traffic out of the neighborhood's interior (a good thing). In other words, the city and neighborhood activists were making the neighborhood interior nicer/safer at the same time they were telling a certain kind of person in a certain kind of housing they have no business living there.

Read Alex's post for all the reasons why that's a problem.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lisa Goodman hates your minimum wage study

The Minneapolis City Council hired some economists from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs to produce this study on the impact of raising the local minimum wage. The study showed that raising the wage would not lead to economic apocalypse. The study did show that raising the wage to $15 would help a lot of people who need it--at the cost of an extra 50 cents to $1 for a $25 restaurant meal. Council Member Lisa Goodman was not happy with the results.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Downzoning Deadline: Submit Your Feedback to the City

This Friday, September 30 is the deadline to submit public comment on the downzoning proposed for Lowry Hill East--which I have written about a quite a bit. Here's a chart showing how the proposal would push us further along towards a zoning code that doesn't reflect our current built reality:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What's the matter with Alondra?

Last December, Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano went to the Mall of America to join a Black Lives Matter protest.
But the mall protest never really happened; crowds moved instead to the light rail and the airport, "creating a rolling wave of disruption on one of the busiest travel and shopping days of the year." Cano tweeted a few pictures and words of support for BLM, causing her mentions to fill up with people--probably tweeting from home--more distressed by minor holiday travel delays than the death of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police a month earlier.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Best of Minneapolis City Council Vines

Cast your vote for City Council Performer of the Year.

Ballot at the end of this post.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Downzoning Can't Save Us From the Future

I've previously written about the rezoning that's under consideration for Minneapolis' Lowry Hill East neighborhood. After a few more weeks of thought, these are my big-picture concerns.

Downzoning is forever

The city's proposal has been described as interim protection that gets us through until the next update to the city's Comprehensive Plan (the process for which is currently underway). But "interim" gives the impression that downzoning is temporary. This is technically true; all laws are potentially temporary. But in reality, we're still stuck with a 1975 decision that left most of the Wedge (under)zoned for nothing greater than a duplex. Downzoning is easy. Upzoning is hard.

It might be right to say this particular rezoning plan is a relatively insignificant drop in the bucket--but it's still the wrong bucket. Across the city, and over the years, these decisions add up. While we don't know what the Comp Plan update holds, it would be short-sighted to think we won't be living with today's downzoning in 2055.

For parcels north of 28th Street (data compiled by Alex Cecchini).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Truth About Drug Treatment Centers

A petition against the NuWay drug treatment center.

The executive director of the Whittier Alliance neighborhood organization believes "people in [addiction] recovery tend to bring about drug dealers." This idea went completely unchallenged in a City Pages article about the NuWay Counseling Center which recently opened at 2118 Blaisdell Ave. It's a sentiment that's been repeated often over the years when the issue of "too many treatment centers" in Whittier comes up.