Sunday, September 23, 2018

Over-Processed Minneapolis 2040 to Begin Next Step In Process

Lisa McDonald, a spokesperson for a group opposing the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan said at a press conference earlier this week, "the City has failed to engage the community in any meaningful way." McDonald, who is also a former Minneapolis City Council Member, claimed Minneapolis officials "wrap their work in secrecy" and that there hasn't been an "honest accounting and summary of what citizens really said in online comments, emails, and meetings."


At a meeting of the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association yesterday, McDonald called City Council President Lisa Bender a "weenie" after Bender answered McDonald's question about an $80,000 PR contract. McDonald wasn't happy with Bender's explanation that city departments have the authority to enter into contracts under $100,000 without council involvement.

Here's a true thing: the city has published every written comment received about Minneapolis 2040 on their website. Every single comment. It's also true that Minneapolis 2040 has been a well-publicized and exhaustive multi-year process. My summary:

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Dave Hutch for Hennepin County Sheriff

Dave Hutch is available on your ballot. "WEDGE" hat is available in the Wedge LIVE store.

Hennepin County Sheriff is a non-partisan office. But that only applies to what's printed on the ballot; the candidates really do have political affiliations.

Rich Stanek is the Trump-supporting, ICE-cooperating, Republican incumbent, who once admitted to using racial slurs while on the job. The admission about racial slurs came in a deposition when he was sued for police brutality (the case ended in a settlement). In 2006, Stanek used $30,000 in sheriff's office training funds to produce a "not-so-thinly-veiled campaign video," depicting events in the aftermath of the I-35 bridge collapse. In 2016, Stanek sent officers to North Dakota to assist in putting down the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

Dave Hutch is the DFL-endorsed challenger, a Metro Transit Police sergeant who works on the north side and surrounding suburbs. His official bio includes humanizing details like the fact that he lives in Bloomington with his husband and his dog. Left out of Dave Hutch's bio is the fact that he is not Rich Stanek, who, I should reiterate, is a pretty bad guy who supports Trump and a bunch of other hateful policies.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Angela Conley for Hennepin County Board, District 4


There's a lot of talk this year about Hennepin County never having had a person of color serve on the board. It's a big deal, if not surprising. It needs to change. But if you haven't entirely tuned into the campaign in District 4, you might have the false impression that the arguments here are entirely about identity. They're not.

Where is everyone going to live?

The forces of the housing status quo are sharpening their knives in advance of the release of Minneapolis 2040 Draft 2 ("Ban Cars Boogaloo," as Lisa McDonald might call it). As we begin a new chapter in this never-ending conversation, let's go back to the beginning.

First, you should know that the current zoning code in Minneapolis basically allows one of two things:

  1. Big buildings and big developers
  2. Tearing down a single-family home to build a single-family mansion
We're missing all those homes in the middle ("the Missing Middle"). That's why the battle over fourplexes is relevant. Fourplexes are the homes we used to build, but don't anymore because we made it illegal nearly everywhere. People still live in them. (Some say it's an alternative lifestyle, as documented by the Star Tribune.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Local Elections are Happening in 2018

We're less than two months from election day on November 6. As you're likely aware, this is a pretty important national election. A great way to get involved during this critical time is with a local campaign. Turning out voters for local DFL candidates (as the Democratic Party is known in Minnesota) means you've likely turned out votes for Democratic candidates all the way up the ballot: for governor, the state legislature, and US House and Senate races.

If you live in Minneapolis, the most consequential 2018 races are for offices in Hennepin County. If you care about policing, there's the sheriff's race. If you care about criminal justice issues, there's the county attorney. If you care about housing, transit, health care, and human services, there are two competitive races for the Hennepin County Board, which controls a massive budget of $2.4 billion (for context, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey recently proposed a 2019 budget of $1.6 billion). You should find a reason to feel strongly about one or more of the candidates below. They need your help over the next two months.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Minneapolis 2040 is back!

Minneapolis 2040 is back! In just a few weeks a second draft of the proposed comprehensive plan will be released by the city. This is a big important document guiding future decisions on street design, housing, land use, and job access.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Neighbors Sue to Stop Apartments at 36th and Bryant

The immediate neighbors to a recently approved 41-unit apartment project at 3612/16 Bryant Ave S have notified the City of Minneapolis of their intent to file a lawsuit in order to stop construction. [Read the complaint.]

The apartments, located near a transit and commercial corridor at 36th and Bryant, were approved by the City Planning Commission on April 23. Neighbors of the project, led by Steven Verdoorn, appealed that decision to the City Council. That appeal was denied in May. Verdoorn is also one of the plaintiff's behind the lawsuit.


The complaint alleges that the apartment proposal approved by the city council "represents a substantial change in the character of the neighborhood and is a substantial detriment to neighboring properties." There are three four-story buildings directly across the street from the site. There's a seven-story building a half-block north.

The complaint also alleges, among other things, that the city "abused its discretion" because "the density approved was more than three times the maximum required by the comprehensive plan."