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.

The Star Tribune reports the consensus at City Hall is that the plan will pass in something resembling its current form. The council will have the chance to amend the plan in the weeks leading up to a vote on December 7. You can still contact your council member (to ask them to #UpzoneKenwood, for example).


Southwest Minneapolis picks a fight with North Side Council Member Phillipe Cunningham (Ward 4). Cunningham tweeted prior to the hearing that he had received a “flood” of emails from Southwest Minneapolis “using the North Side’s struggles” to justify exclusionary zoning in wealthier neighborhoods. Cunningham asked people not to bring that argument to the public hearing, and to “spread the word to your book club.” This war of words between North and South received generous attention in the Star Tribune article about the hearing. One woman strongly denied being a member of a book club.

This meeting was heavy on complaints about tweets. Planning Commissioner Nick Magrino’s tweets were also mentioned by opponents as a thing they were unhappy with.

Kathleen dominates the split-screen. You may have noticed an audience member used her very expressive face to video-bomb the first speaker at last week’s hearing. You can read Kathleen’s words and watch the audience reaction in a split-screen video below:

One of the things we know from the political science literature is that public hearings are not a good way to determine what the people actually want. This process favors more educated people, who will be better able to read policy documents and feel confident enough to speak publicly; it favors wealthier people who have leisure time to get involved on these issues; and it favors older people who have had more time to build connections that give them access and influence in this process, and who don’t have to donate their time and attention to work and young children. This process favors people who are privileged — and you’re going to hear from a lot of people today who are not representative of our city — they are older, wealthier, and a whole lot whiter than the people of our city. I’m here today because I want to remind you that the comp plan is something you should support for what it does for the people who can’t be in the room today.

Many of the people you will hear from today are insulated from the negative effects of the crises we face. They are homeowners who are not impacted by the severe shortage of affordable housing; they are wealthier folks who don’t depend on transit; and they are people who don’t have to take seriously the climate crisis because their wealth insulates them from the consequences of climate change that we are already experiencing. I’m asking you to please remember those who are most affected and most vulnerable when you make your decision. The Minneapolis 2040 plan is an opportunity to put racial justice, climate justice, economic justice, and generational justice at the center of Minneapolis policy for decades to come. I support the Minneapolis 2040 plan and I hope you will too. Thank you.

Ward 7 Council Member Lisa Goodman loses her voice when it comes to Minneapolis 2040. At a City Council meeting on May 3, Goodman said the possibility of a 10-3 vote to pass the plan would be the equivalent of having it “shoved down your throat.” Nobody was a harsher critic of the first draft of the 2040 plan than Goodman. But nobody has had less to say about the plan since the second draft was released in late September. Reductions in proposed density levels were most apparent in Goodman’s Ward 7, including in the swanky Kenwood neighborhood near a future light rail stop. I speculated at the time that those significant changes looked designed to get Lisa Goodman to vote for it (I would still predict she votes against it).

As passage of the 2040 plan grows increasingly likely, Goodman has shrunk from the public debate. Goodman struck a remarkably conciliatory tone at the end of last Wednesdays hearing — going out of her way to praise Lisa Bender “for chairing an extremely well done meeting” (and referring to Wedge LIVE as “non-mainstream but wonderful social media”).

Here are some questions for readers who have red signs in their yards: Where has Lisa Goodman the fighter gone? Will Lisa Goodman quietly accept a 10-3 vote as legitimate and democratic? Is Lisa Goodman’s silence on this issue a sign that she has surrendered (and is in league with yours truly)?

Kingfield Neighborhood Association does the right thing by distancing themselves from the more radical elements of Southwest Minneapolis.

Saying the quiet parts out loud. In response to some 2040 opponents bashing renters, a few supporters were moved to give testimony in defense. Among them, Amity Foster:

Guy puts redlining map up on the big screen and matches it to the geographic distribution of plan opponents. You can’t hear the groans and grumbles in this video, but I was on the front lines and I assure you the Red Sign Brigade suffered many casualties.

Eminent domain attorney Tim Keane, back in the news! Did you know one of the leaders of a group trying to convince residents that the city is out to bulldoze your house is an eminent domain attorney? That’s right, Tim Keane has assisted local government in the taking of private property — all to benefit a sports billionaire. During last Wednesday’s hearing, Keane tapped me on the shoulder (roughly!) and whispered, “If you’re going to write about me again, get your facts straight.”

Oops, it looks as though I have written about Tim Keane again. Tim Keane, if you’re reading this, I invite you to submit a response of no more than 250 words to be printed in a future edition of Wedge LIVE. I am eager to get the facts straight. Contact newsroom@wedgelive.com

Human-sized signs.

Balls Watch.  Carol Becker does outrageous and confusing things, at a rate that’s hard to keep up with. So here are the top three things you need to know about this controversial Minneapolis elected official:

  1. In the face of a corporate PAC dumping $275,000 into Minneapolis City Council elections in 2017, Becker’s big concern about money in politics was: who is funding Black Lives Matter and the Bicycle Coalition.
  2. Over this past summer, Becker attempted to steal the name “Wedge Live” by trademarking it. Note that this is the name of the website you’re reading right now.
  3. She’s recently adopted the demeanor of an aggressively unpleasant high school football coach by repeatedly demanding — during public hearings — that city officials “have the balls” to reject the Minneapolis 2040 plan. She did it again last Wednesday.

2040 opponents still engaging in climate change denial.  At last week’s hearing they continued to argue this plan needs more study.  Skeptics should watch Planning Commissioner Sam Rockwell read from a report written by a UN panel of climate scientists:

We have a United Nations IPCC report which was referenced a few times tonight. It states, “the route to achieving emissions reduction is to create dense, pedestrianized cities where public transport is viable; and to implement changes in urban design that encourage walkable cities, non-motorized transit, and shorter commute distances.” And that’s what this plan does.

It’s incredibly important, I think, that Minneapolis is known as a progressive city. We are watched on an issue like this. If we lead, we can provide a roadmap for other cities to follow. If we don’t lead, we can take the wind out of the sails for others. Our climate policies matter, and our actions matter. But they matter more than just the immediate impacts. They matter because of the kind of influence a city like Minneapolis can have.

More of saying the quiet parts out loud. Most painful testimony from Wednesday’s hearing.

The Star Tribune’s latest Minneapolis 2040 counterpoint has everything:

  1. Swahili yard signs are the new black friend.
  2. “high-density housing facilities”
  3. Don’t you dare say this is about racism!


War is Hell. Guy says protesting Minneapolis 2040 is like protesting the Vietnam War.