Thursday, March 30, 2017

The concerning behavior of concerned residents

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I have been shamelessly teasing a must-see video on Twitter. But there's a good reason: before we get to the video (do not skip ahead to the video), this story needs unpacking. It would be irresponsible to release this video without context.

First, do the right thing--do the prudent thing--and read this very long blog post describing the multi-year controversy and legal battle involving an old house, a group of zany preservationists called the Healy Project and reality TV star Nicole Curtis.

Then, you'll want to watch this very long YouTube featuring some of our favorite characters from Linden Hills as they engage in a multi-year legal battle to save a barbecue restaurant and parking lot. Do those things right now!

(waiting for you to come back...)

In the time since that blog post and video were published, local anti-apartment extremists have gotten bolder. They're using tactics that go beyond lawsuits, and beyond baseless accusations of corruption during their testimony at city hall. Last year, I spoke with a neighbor who saw three people do this bit of vandalism at 2008 Bryant.

Get your message out by stapling campaign finance reports to every available surface.

I'm pretty sure the people responsible are connected with the Healy Project. Why do I think this? Because they painted "This Place Mattered" on a bed sheet and made a sign that said "Bendrification"--these are phrases closely associated with the Healy Project. "Bendrification" is a combination of the name Lisa Bender, who is a city council member, and the word "gentrification." Using this word pretty much saves you from having to make an actual argument.

In the last few weeks "Save Brenda's House" has become the next big, crazy house story. It's part of a long tradition of Facebook fan pages devoted to dumpy old houses. Evidence that the house is a cherished landmark includes the fact that the Facebook page was created days before a Zoning and Planning Committee hearing to decide the house's fate.

(I should briefly mention that Brenda Ueland is a deceased local author who was a pretty big deal in her day, but obviously not as famous and important as the house she lived in. Also, it's weird how much she looked and dressed like Beetlejuice.)

After the Minneapolis City Council voted to allow demolition, house fans created a profile on a website called "Chuffed" (which is not a location-based dating app for scruffy guys who are a weird combination of chubby and buff). House fans are using Chuffed to raise money for a lawsuit to save the house.

The organization whose name is associated with the fundraising page is the Healy Project. Constance Pepin is listed as the contact person for both "Save Brenda's House" on Facebook and the Healy Project's fundraising page on

Save Brenda's House: part of a long tradition of fan pages devoted to houses.

Fundraising page for Save Brenda's House.

In the wake of the City Council's decision, the Facebook battle has raged on. Pepin has credibly accused council member Linea Palmisano of driving her car past the house multiple times in recent days. In Palmisano's defense, she lives in the neighborhood. And it's hard to imagine she could get more than a few steps away from her car without being challenged to a fist fight.

Because there's a lot going on during caucus season, this story has fallen through the cracks. UNTIL NOW!

About-to-be-released video obtained by Wedge LIVE shows radical House Lives Matter activists engaged in what can only be described as "injurious" activity. I'm referring to Constance Pepin and her presumed getaway driver Anders Christensen--recognized by many as the public face of the Healy Project.

In the video, recorded just outside Brenda's house, Ms. Pepin is seen leaning down next to a car as she lets the air out of the right-front tire. The car's owner exits the house and asks Pepin, "Why are you letting the air out of my tires." Ms. Pepin stands up and says, "Because you're here illegally." My sources tell me the car's owner was legally at the house to remove appliances, an activity that doesn't require special permission from the city.

Pepin walks halfway down the driveway before turning around, raising her phone, and recording video of the person who is recording her, in a classic move that says I'm not the criminal here, you are!

As this all unfolds, Anders Christensen watches by the car from a distance. It should be noted that Anders Christensen is a bad friend who failed to shout any kind of warning to Ms. Pepin that the owner of the car was approaching her from behind.

Now you may enjoy the video:

UPDATE: Music gives video even creepier feel.