Is It Possible to Have Productive Neighborhood Conversations About Development?

Here’s a story about two six-story apartment proposals, from the same developer in adjacent neighborhoods. In both cases, city planners said the buildings were too big. But the differing approach from each neighborhood organization meant one was approved and the other has been scaled down significantly.

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Cat Tour Draws Hundreds to the Wedge

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People said it couldn’t be done. They said “Chet, you should reschedule, it’s going to rain really hard and everyone will get wet!”

I said, “Please don’t call me Chet. This ‘Chet Wedgely’ thing was meant to be a joke but now it’s catching on.” And then, showing uncommon courage, I refused to cancel the cat tour. As a result, 300 hearts were touched and the sun never stopped shining. That’s 10 times the number of people who attended last year’s Wedge neighborhood cat tour.

Attendees (the ones who kept count) reported seeing over 50 cats. Most cats were spotted at windows — but others were seen on porches, rooftops, in strollers, on leashes, or scampering through yards. A man at 28th and Dupont emerged from an apartment building holding a cat and wearing a giant cat head. As one Reddit user put it, “does anyone else think this is kinda fuckin weird?”

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A Fair Housing Proposal in Minneapolis

Nationally 30% of adults have an arrest or criminal record. That can make it much harder to find housing. And to the degree there are racial disparities in our criminal justice system (as of 2012, black people were arrested by Minneapolis police at 6.5 times the rate of the non-black population), this results in disparities in who is eligible for housing.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued legal guidance that “where a policy or practice that restricts access to housing on the basis of criminal history has a disparate impact on individuals of a particular race, national origin, or other protected class” could violate the Fair Housing Act.

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Star Tribune makes embarrassing false equivalence between Ilhan Omar and Donald Trump

“Some people did something.”

That’s as far as the Star Tribune is willing to quote Ilhan Omar — speaking about 9/11 — in their editorial painting the Muslim Congresswoman as an equally guilty combatant in a “war of words” with Donald Trump. They found Omar’s words to be lacking in reverence: “the seeming nonchalance of the phrase stings.”

Here’s just slightly more context for Omar’s quote:

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After history of anti-basketball racism, sport could make comeback at Mueller Park

In 1998 Mueller Park’s basketball court was cut in half after decades of racist complaints about basketball in the park. Over the years, neighbors made connections between basketball and crime; basketball and drug dealing; basketball and discomfort with strangers in the neighborhood. Concerned residents were quoted in the neighborhood newspaper saying things like: “ruffians”… “many of whom I do not recognize”… “descending on our park by the carload”… “music on full blast.”

A Park Board representative in the early 1980s admitted the obvious: “I do think some racism is involved.”

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Worst of Wedge LIVE 2018: A Year of “Disarray”

We saw a noticeable uptick in local gaffes in 2018. Some would attribute this disarray to the fact Minneapolis elected five new members to the City Council in 2017. Personally, I happen to subscribe to the old adage: “to bloop is human.” These bloopers served as the basis for Wedge LIVE’s least popular new segment in 2018.

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2018: A Look Back at the Year that Was

2018 was a big year. The year of Minneapolis 2040. The year of the Red Yard Sign. The year Wedge LIVE was declared “Best Website in the Twin Cities.” The year that an elected official tried to shut down this website by attempting to trademark the name “Wedge Live.” The year that same elected official couldn’t stop barking “Balls!” during meetings at city hall.

Let’s take a look back at some of 2018’s top local moments.

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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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