“White Pastoralism” and the Fake Outrage That Never Ends

In July 2018, a local man with a passion for pigeons would cross paths with a Minneapolis planning official at a Wedge neighborhood VFW hall. It was a packed and raucous public meeting hosted by City Council President Lisa Bender, seeking to gather feedback from her constituents on the city’s 2040 long range plan.

During a question and answer session about an hour into the meeting, one of Bender’s constituents named Zack Mohlis used a phrase that would live in infamy: “white pastoralism.” Those two words would forever and inexplicably link him with Minneapolis director of Long Range Planning, Heather Worthington.

Continue reading ““White Pastoralism” and the Fake Outrage That Never Ends”

Hope for Edina

[Below are the words of Edina resident Hope Melton, adapted into a Video Letter to the Editor — without her permission, because I am a news pirate.]

At Wednesday night’s Edina Planning Commission meeting — in the face of some of her neighbors’ complaints about unwanted population growth — Hope Melton spoke in favor of her city’s comprehensive plan. She began by pointing to a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

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Plan to eliminate City Council seats and overhaul district boundaries would empower wealthier, whiter south Minneapolis

March 6, 2018 meeting of the Minneapolis Charter Commission

[This local news coverage made possible by readers like you.]

On Wednesday the Minneapolis Charter Commission was presented with a proposal to cut the number of city council seats from 13 to 9. The plan would also replace 3 district-based ward seats with at-large members elected by a citywide vote. This would reduce the number of wards (districts) by more than half — from 13 to 6.

Minneapolis’ City Clerk and top elections official, Casey Carl, spoke bluntly about the “wealth of research” showing the racist effects of such a radical change to the way voters elect members of the city council.

According to Carl, “research and practice in other jurisdictions” shows that “at-large elections do tend to favor white, wealthier, homeowning, property owning, higher educational status people.”

Carl added: “Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg stated that along with racial gerrymandering… at-large elections are the primary means of diluting the power of the vote and denying equal opportunity for minority voters and candidates.”

Continue reading “Plan to eliminate City Council seats and overhaul district boundaries would empower wealthier, whiter south Minneapolis”

It’s St. Paul’s turn in the 2040 spotlight

It’s St. Paul’s time in the spotlight. The St. Paul 2040 plan [read and comment on the plan here] heads to the Planning Commission next Friday, January 11, and is on the road for adoption by the City Council in June. A group of pro-housing St. Paul residents is starting a Neighbors for More Neighbors chapter.

Even though significant portions of our two cities are separated by a big famous river, people underestimate the degree to which both Minneapolis and St. Paul share the same global climate — and will continue to do so as late as the year 2040.

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The Whole Story on Minneapolis 2040

We’re being flooded with national takes about what happened in our city last week. Esquire magazine is writing about zoning in Minneapolis. The New York Times says the city has taken a “bold move to address its affordable-housing crisis and confront a history of racist housing practices.” Coastal elites are saying we’ve made “zoning history,” becoming the first major American city to abolish single-family zoning — and the third major US city to eliminate minimum parking requirements. Or, maybe we haven’t done anything very radical at all: Minneapolis is just “welcoming back historic, modest housing types: duplexes and triplexes.” 

The truth about what happened last week is that it was six years in the making. How did we get here? Who is responsible? Where will we park? Like nearly all stories worth telling, this one begins in the Wedge neighborhood of Minneapolis.

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Judge denies request to delay Mpls 2040 vote

After a morning hearing, Hennepin County district court Judge Joseph R. Klein took a few hours to decide not to delay a vote on the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan. He denied a request for a temporary restraining order from an anti-2040 group recently formed under the name Smart Growth Minneapolis. The group has been planning a legal action to stop the plan for months.

The City Council’s final vote on the plan will happen tomorrow as scheduled. The lawsuit may still go forward. Continue reading “Judge denies request to delay Mpls 2040 vote”

Minneapolis City Council starts amending 2040 plan

After years of staff planning and public outreach, the Minneapolis City Council met yesterday for the first time to publicly debate changes to the city’s long-range comprehensive plan called Minneapolis 2040.

If you’re someone who thinks revisions to the plan should be moving in the direction of allowing more people to live near billion dollar transit investments, the most distressing proposed changes are to the built form maps that will guide next year’s rezoning process. After a morning mark-up session to amend the plan, two maps were published on the city’s website outlining proposed changes (the maps were removed almost immediately, but preserved by #wedgileaks).

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Minneapolis 2040: The Final Countdown

I can tell that things are coming down to the wire with the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan because people from Southwest Minneapolis are signing up for brand new Twitter accounts in order to send me unhappy messages.

Last Wednesday was the final public hearing for the 2040 plan. An impressive number of people turned out to support: more homes in all parts of the city; a greater diversity of housing types; and a sustainable city where more people can drive less by living closer to daily destinations. Opponents expressed concerns like nobody knows this is happening/we need more time/your plan is divisive/we’ve been treated unfairly. Continue reading “Minneapolis 2040: The Final Countdown”