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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“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.

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Steve Fletcher is as confused as I am about Neighborhoods 2020

Here’s how the debate about neighborhood association reform and funding in Minneapolis has unfolded so far:

  • City’s NCR department recommends some good ideas
  • Engagement is done almost exclusively to neighborhood association board members/staff
  • Neighborhood associations hate it with a passion
  • In response, the framework was watered down to eliminate good ideas
  • Council passes framework on a split vote

And it’s left me confused trying to figure out what the debate is even about anymore. Neighborhood associations still hate it, even though it’s so tepid I can’t imagine what it is they don’t like about it. In watching the council conversations, I have a hard time figuring out what we’re trying to achieve.

I do want to give thanks to Ward 3 Council Member Steve Fletcher for being as confused as I am. I found this three minute video very reassuring:

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More urgency needed on oversight of neighborhood orgs

The City Council’s PECE Committee held a public hearing last week to debate neighborhood organization oversight and funding.

About a week before the meeting, the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department revised their “Neighborhoods 2020” recommendations to remove all the the parts of the diversity action plan proposal that would actually require accountability from city-funded neighborhood organizations.

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Minneapolis considers ban on new drive-throughs

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

Next Thursday, the Minneapolis Planning Commission will discuss a proposed ordinance from Council President Lisa Bender that would prohibit new drive-through facilities throughout the city.

If adopted by the City Council, it would prevent the construction of new drive-throughs for banks, drugstores, and fast food restaurants (or any other “facility which accommodates automobiles and from which the occupants of the automobiles may make purchases or transact business”).

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“Save Lake Calhoun” petition shows lakeside homeowners united against Bde Maka Ska

map of calhoun supprting lakeside homeowners

In an effort to stop a process to change the name of Calhoun Parkway, Tom Austin of “Save Lake Calhoun” has submitted a petition signed by over 300 lakeside homeowners to the Minneapolis Park Board. You’ll remember Tom Austin from his recent Star Tribune opinion piece in which he railed against the “elites” forcing a lake name change on “everyday Minnesotans.”

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