More on the Scott Graham episode

We’ve got a podcast episode out today about Ward 7 City Council candidate Scott Graham’s record as a landlord (listen wherever you get podcasts or watch on YouTube).

In our conversation, Julia Curran talks about her experience renting from Graham for four years, which ended in 2011. You may have already heard about the gaping hole in an exterior wall, written about by Naomi Kritzer here. But there’s more: Julia getting staples in her head after having a poorly installed light fixture fall from the ceiling; having no heat in the winter to the point one of the tenants left due to a frozen toilet; squirrels chewing through walls, a problem covered up by hanging a painting (you know, scooby doo style); failure to address a leaky roof and a carpenter ant infestation; never delivering a lease to Julia despite her requests, then asking other tenants for leases after his hard drive failed; having Graham kick her and others out of the house soon after the door-pounding delivery of a foreclosure notice; Graham nickel and diming his tenants on the way out, billing them for the problems he failed to address.

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Vote Katie Cashman for Minneapolis City Council because even Scott Graham knows he’s bad news

Last week, candidates for the Ward 7 seat on the Minneapolis City Council were asked to tell voters why they were running. Scott Graham used the introductory question to scare voters by raising the specter of “socialism” and “abolish the police.” He wasn’t quite claiming that his opponent Katie Cashman supports those ideas, just sort of throwing the idea out there that she probably does, because she’s several degrees removed from people who’ve said some things.

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2023 Endorsements for Minneapolis City Council

If you want my thoughts on the stakes for public safety, rent stabilization, and other big issues — please read this. It applies broadly to every candidate I’m endorsing in 2023.

Do I want to put my spotless reputation on the line for the bad acts and opinions of others? Not at all. I have grown to hate endorsements. But any good editorial board knows the public has a short memory for bad calls and really needs to be told how to think. So here we go. If you don’t see your ward listed, you are either in a part of the city that’s beyond help or you’re fine and you don’t need any help.

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2023 Minneapolis Election Issues Overview

This is intended as a preamble to my forthcoming Minneapolis City Council endorsements, and to give readers a better sense of how I see some of the issues at stake in this election. My endorsements in key races will follow in this post.

It’s a city council election year in Minneapolis. Early voting is underway. 13 seats are up for grabs, I’d say only 5 are competitive. The mayor is not up for reelection until 2025. If you haven’t been tuned into Minneapolis politics for the last several years, here’s a recap, along with my thoughts on the big issues.

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St. Paul church holds blessing ceremony for new bike parking

I was on location for the blessing of a newly installed bike rack at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church on Sunday morning. Churchgoers are excited to have a place for their bikes after spending years locking up to random street fixtures like railings or signposts — or carrying their bike up three flights of stairs. The rack was installed thanks to the efforts of the church’s Creation Care team, with 50% of the cost covered by the transportation non-profit Move Minnesota through their bike parking cost share program. It’s a story you’ll only see on Wedge LIVE.

Interested St. Paul businesses or organizations can contact Move Minnesota.

Is Bike Resentment Back for the 2023 Minneapolis Election?

The Star Tribune’s 2023 Minneapolis City Council candidate questionnaire asks a question that divides our city and inflames the culture war: “If you’re faced with the choice of spending $1 on a road for vehicles or $1 for a bike lane, which do you choose and why?” The existence of this question gives you hope that maybe crime resentment is dead and good old-fashioned, “Nazi lane” style bike hate might return (the photo above is from the 2017 election).

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Protect Mother Earth From Increased Parking Constraints

Have you ever pondered a fun thought experiment like “What would happen if everyone in my city flushed their toilets at the same time — never before has a comprehensive plan specifically authorized this many theoretical toilets operating in sync.” That’s pretty close to the premise of the never-ending legal crusade to stop the Minneapolis 2040 Plan.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that back in 2018, some very wealthy pretend environmentalists created an entity called Smart Growth Minneapolis for the sole purpose of suing the city over triplexes. Now in 2023 — after ping ponging between district court, appeals court, and the state supreme court — this group has convinced a district court judge to take seriously the idea that every plot of land in the city is about to be built up to the fullest extent of the law, damaging the environment. So the judge has halted the 2040 Plan temporarily, as we wait for an environmental analysis (likely to be followed by yet more legal action contesting the validity of that analysis).

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Landlord Zoom Call: Ward 12 Candidate Luther Ranheim

One of the things I DO FOR YOU is listen to landlord zoom calls. If you’re not familiar, Kari Lundin (the “Duplex Chick”), a realtor and mentor to the local landlord community, hosts Q&A sessions where Minneapolis candidates give revealing answers, but only after being reassured that a wider audience will never see it. Past guests include LaTrisha Vetaw, who embarrassed herself so thoroughly on a landlord zoom call in 2021 that voters in Ward 4 elected her to the City Council.

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What a wise old man taught me about the past and future of Lyndale Avenue

A grizzled old friend of mine (who will remain anonymous) told me a story about a long ago Hennepin County Public Works official who decided a reconstruction of Lyndale Avenue was just too difficult — even though age and condition meant the street was overdue for it. And so for many years it was just arbitrarily shoved aside.

We’re lucky that feckless bureaucrat was there at the time, because if the county had done a reconstruction 10 or 15 yrs ago, they’d have given us the same horrifying layout that was already there. Too wide, too fast, too dangerous. It would have robbed us of the chance to make it the great neighborhood street it has the potential to be.

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