This weekend, HGTV personality Nicole Curtis renewed her efforts to save 2320 Colfax by encouraging her nationwide fan-base to email the entire Minneapolis City Council. Unfortunately, her far-flung fans have been misinformed by months of error-riddled Facebook rants (seemingly banged out on her iPhone with a hammer). It’s only a slight exaggeration to say most of them believe 2320 Colfax was stolen from Nicole after she inherited it from her great-grandfather T.P. Curtis.
Here’s a sampling of the kinds of things the City Council will find in their inboxes Monday morning, courtesy of Rehab Nation.
Real estate types are some shady characters.
Shrewd political analysis.
America: Downhill Since 1893.
Freedom isn’t free.
A healthy distrust of government institutions.
Maybe we should knock it all down and start over?
But really though, Minneapolis is kinda lucky.
Do it for the ones with an unbreakable bond to a city they might one day visit.
Give it a drive-by. You’ll love it.
But they’re not all rural types. Check out the civic pride on this city-dweller.
Don’t select Lisa Bender in your Fantasy Electoral Draft.
Get these motherf-ing snakes off my motherf-ing email!
I dunno about President… what about Nicole 2017?
|24/7/365 livestream of my forever unused parking spot.|
My apartment comes with a parking spot. I don’t use it, but I pay for it. My apartment, my parking spot–it’s a package deal. It sits empty through spring, summer, and fall. Sometimes a parking scofflaw appropriates my spot as their own (this happens rarely). But I don’t care, because I don’t need it. In the winter my parking spot fills with snow, and management posts a sign that says move your car, we’re plowing the parking lot. Lucky me, I never worry about having my car towed, because I don’t own one. Still, I pay my share for the plowing.
Aside from the ample parking, my building is pretty no-frills. It doesn’t provide every unit with a bicycle or a bus pass. Those are the kinds of amenities that might entice me to choose living in a building that offered them. Even though I support the idea of a 1:1 bike to bedroom ratio, it’s probably a bad idea for Minneapolis to mandate bicycle minimums for new development. The same goes for parking.
This isn’t to say that I expect everyone in my building, or my neighborhood, to go car-free. Allow me to modify a metaphor previously made famous by Nick Magrino: If Minneapolis abolished a hypothetical law mandating a Keurig minimum, I wouldn’t interpret that as anti-Keurig, but rather giving people the freedom to choose whether they want to own a Keurig (and relieving them of the obligation to buy those expensive K-cups). You could still choose to own one. But my neighbors–one of whom drinks coffee by the potful and another who doesn’t drink coffee at all–wouldn’t be required to subsidize the bulk purchase of 40 Keurigs for the entire building.
Strict parking minimums make the assumption that everyone is living the same car-dependent lifestyle, thereby spreading the cost of car ownership to people who don’t own cars. This should trouble anyone who cares about housing affordability. Fortunately, Council Member Lisa Bender has a plan to ease parking minimums, and the costs that go with them (hint: it’s far more than the price of a Keurig):
Underground parking costs up to $25,000 per stall to build, [Developer Ross Fefercorn] said, and requires the accompanying development to have a larger footprint. It also raises taxes, maintenance and insurance costs.
“If you can build a building without underground parking and you have residents who will live in it, your cost of building the project is greatly reduced,” Fefercorn said. “You pass on the savings to your tenants.”
Based on some of the reaction in certain local comment sections, you’d think this was a proposal to prohibit car ownership. It’s not. Neither is this a proposal to prohibit the construction of more parking (though I once listened in admiration as Council Member Lisa Goodman sang the virtues of a parking maximum on Channel 79). This proposal is only about easing the parking minimum in transit-friendly areas of Minneapolis.
No matter what happens with this proposal, developers will continue to include lots of parking in many of their new projects. Just like they’ll continue to offer gyms and dog parks; these are amenities that certain people want, and somehow it is provided to them without regulating dog park minimums. Car storage is likewise an amenity that a lot of people will continue to expect, meaning there’s unlikely to be a parking shortage anytime soon.
Parking has a cost, just like a gym or a dog park. While shopping for housing it would be nice to have the freedom to choose how much parking you need and, more importantly, how much parking you can afford.
Cross-posted at streets.mn.
On January 12th, the Whittier Alliance held a tense and somewhat controversial meeting for the purpose of amending their bylaws. Among the more contentious aspects of the new bylaw language was the section giving the Whittier Alliance’s Board of Directors the power to screen Board candidates according to subjective criteria. A clause was also added to require Board candidates to have been a member of the organization for at least six months (membership is typically activated by signing in at a meeting).
It should be noted that the Whittier Alliance was improperly screening candidates prior to this change in their bylaws. Last March, a number of Whittier residents complained to the city’s Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) department regarding the neighborhood’s election process. In June, NCR sent the Whittier Alliance a letter, admonishing them for screening candidates and other infractions–like closing registration almost an hour before the election’s scheduled start, denying eligible voters the chance to cast a ballot.
|Whittier Alliance’s old language is typical of the vast majority of Minneapolis neighborhood organizations. The new, more restrictive language passed 40-16.|
There were quite a few people at last week’s meeting who were eager to suggest amendments. Unfortunately, the first person called on by Board Chair Erica Christ was a Robert’s Rules ninja, and the new bylaws were adopted without a single amendment having the chance to be heard. One older woman explained her support of the new restrictions by alluding to an unspecified neighborhood that had its bank account drained by some unspecified people.
(Obligatory note for those who might say these changes are justified by a certain disruptive individual: Amending bylaws in a way that restricts participation seems, at best, a misguided solution to a legitimate problem, especially in light of Whittier’s election issues last year.)
Whittier Alliance’s Executive Director Marian Biehn says the new language is common among non-profit groups. In the wake of this meeting, I read (okay, methodically skimmed) the bylaws of 70 Minneapolis neighborhood organizations (results here). The comparison shows that Whittier is one of the few neighborhood groups with highly restrictive election procedures.
Comparison of Neighborhood Organization Bylaws
Among the small number of Minneapolis neighborhoods with unusually exclusionary election processes, all have large minority and/or renter populations. This would seem to exacerbate the existing problem of unrepresentative neighborhood organizations.
Of the 70 Minneapolis neighborhood organization bylaws surveyed:
- Only two neighborhoods prohibit same-day voter registration: The Folwell Neighborhood Association (71% non-white) and Ventura Village (79% non-white).
- 62 neighborhoods have no length of membership requirement to be eligible to run for a leadership position.
- Six neighborhoods have length of membership requirements of 30 days or longer before you can run for a leadership position. All six are high renter, high minority, or both.
- Three neighborhoods require candidates to have been a member for 6 months or longer: Whittier (6 months), Prospect Park (1 year), and Marcy Holmes (6 months). Each of those neighborhoods have high renter populations (83%, 74%, and 84%).
- The Whittier Alliance is the only neighborhood whose bylaws contain anything resembling this sort of subjective qualification for Board candidates: “shall not have committed an act of malice or defamation against the Whittier Alliance or any member of the Board of Directors or otherwise disrupt the aims and purposes of the corporation.”
- The Jordan Area Community Council has the most onerous attendance requirement for leadership candidates (must attend 3 meetings over the last election cycle). Interesting fact about Jordan: The neighborhood was 64% white in 1990; today it’s 16% white.
- Whittier and Jordan are among seven neighborhood organizations that prohibit candidate nominations on the day of elections.
Other findings of note:
- Two neighborhood organizations set aside seats specifically for renters and homeowners: Cedar-Riverside and Sumner Glenwood.
- Bottineau and Linden Hills allow for absentee voting, mercifully eliminating the poll tax of a three hour annual meeting.
- Sumner Glenwood sets aside two seats for persons aged 16 to 18.
- The Kenwood-Isles Area Association allows itself the ability to assess an annual fee, which is something the city prohibits.
- The Kenny Neighborhood Association has a “Whistle Blower” policy.
- Lowry Hill East and nine other organizations specify no minimum age for membership. So conceivably, babies on Board!
Cross-posted at streets.mn.
|Luther Carlson’s house at 2301 Colfax.|
For Luther Carlson (Longtimer, Class of ’72) 1938 was the bad old days; a time when houses were ill-maintained, and children were scarce. Luther refused to sell out, despite being a virtual island in a sea of transients. We present his story below.
|Luther Carlson in 1972.|
|Rhymes with “transientsy.” Coincidence?|
|Luther’s no sell-out.|