Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tenth Ward Preview: Scott Fine is running for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 10

Scott Fine is running for Minneapolis City Council against Lisa Bender in Ward 10.
We'll start with a few things about our current council member. I find this endorsement of Lisa Bender very persuasive:
In three short years, she has passed more progressive ordinances than other Council Members have managed to pass in two or three whole terms. Parking reform, ADUs, flexibility for homeless shelters, a nation-leading Complete Streets policy, parklets, sick and safe time, relaxing regulations for beekeeping... I could go on, but won't.
The quality I appreciate most in a politician is the sense that they are running for office because they care about policies more than just the idea of getting elected. Lisa Bender cares about policy; she wants to make those policies happen; and she's talented enough to have been successful making them happen in her first three years in office. Most importantly, she inspires enough confidence in her colleagues that they're willing to follow her lead.

Monday, February 6, 2017

What's Going on in Ward 9?


(For Minneapolis election year news beyond Ward 9, read this post.)

Gary Schiff announced his campaign to challenge Ward 9 Council Member Alondra Cano a little more than a week ago. Schiff held the Ward 9 seat until running for Mayor in 2013. Since his announcement, a series of open letters have been addressed to Schiff on Facebook questioning the legitimacy of his candidacy.

Minneapolis 2017: Campaign Digest

First, a public service announcement: City Council incumbents of varying degrees of bad are being challenged in Wards 1, 4, 5, 7, and 11.

DFL caucuses are April 4th. Consider donating, volunteering and--especially--caucusing for one of the challengers in these races. 2017 is your last chance to decide which candidates get to spend the next four years making decisions about police reform, transit, zoning, bikes, and whatever other local stuff you care about.

City government is the easiest level of politics for one person (you!) to have an impact. This is your moment!

Ward 1: Jillia PessendaZach Wefel (incumbent Kevin Reich)
Ward 4: Phillipe Cunningham, Stephanie Gasca (incumbent Barb Johnson)
Ward 5: Jeremiah Ellison (incumbent Blong Yang)
Ward 7: Janne Flisrand (incumbent Lisa Goodman)
Ward 11: Erica MauterJeremy Schroeder (incumbent John Quincy)

Like the above races, Ward 9 is also competitive, but Wedge LIVE is advising the civilian population to evacuate the area. Do not get involved in this conflict. For details, read the Ward 9 update.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Our Winter Sidewalks Are Broken

Snow emergencies are a big deal here in Minneapolis. You hear about it on the TV news. There’s an app–tens of thousands of people have installed it on both iPhone and Android (“avoid the cost and hassle of a ticket and tow…”). People are very interested in not having their cars towed, so people become very interested in moving their cars to designated areas.

The reason the City of Minneapolis makes a big fuss and puts so many residents at risk of serious personal cost, inconvenience and unhappiness is that we’ve collectively decided to make it a priority to keep our streets plowed and safe. Individually, people comply with the rules because their personal interests (money and property) have been aligned with public safety (plowed streets).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

13 reasons Minneapolis needs to move beyond Intentional Communities

In the videos below, City Council Members Lisa Bender and Jacob Frey make some compelling arguments for why we should ease occupancy restrictions for all people living in Minneapolis, and for why we shouldn't limit housing opportunities to a select few who live in strictly defined "intentional communities."

[For a detailed discussion of problems with the intentional communities ordinance, read my earlier post]

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"Intentional Communities": A Path to Legal Status for White People

Over time, average family sizes get smaller, and old houses get emptier. But in Minneapolis’ lower-density zoning districts, no more than three unrelated people can live together as a household; in higher-density districts, the limit is five unrelated people. For people who want to live with three or more friends in a big old house, this is a problem. As a targeted fix, the City Council is on the verge of removing occupancy restrictions for a select group of residents who live in what are called “intentional communities.”

Intentional communities are “a form of housing co-operative where residents form a household organized around an idea.” In researching a proposal to legalize these communities, City staff found that Minneapolis “is fairly unique in that occupancy is regulated in both the Zoning Code and the Housing Maintenance Code." No other city defines the special legal category of "intentional community," and many peer cities don't specify maximum occupancy in their zoning codes.

Minneapolis’ 1924 definition of a family was surprisingly liberal.

Friday, October 28, 2016

70s-Era Planner Confesses Role in Decades-Old Downzoning Plot


In commenting on the city's current plan to downzone the Wedge neighborhood, former Minneapolis city planner Perry Thorvig has given us some historical perspective. He starts off by celebrating the results of the 1975 downzoning:
The zoning scheme adopted in 1975 must have worked. It was gratifying to me and I'm sure many neighborhood residents, including former council member Meg Tuthill, that the recent study by city planner Brian Schaffer found that very little new development has occurred in the neighborhood since that rezoning was done forty years ago.