It seems the Minneapolis City Council members have had significant difficulty with their “reimagine” project. So my neighbors and I thought we would give them a hand with some local “reimagine” projects we would like to see:
- Neighborhoods that don’t have boom cars rattling their windows and causing their heart pacemakers to skip a beat every 15 minutes or so.
- Neighborhoods where people don’t hear random gunshots 1-2-3-4 blocks away and in front of or next to their house nearly every night.
- A police force that is mainly working for the betterment of the community — a force that you have associated as all bad when the reality is they are by and large good people just trying to do their job.
- A city where our regulators and other city employees take the initiative (i.e. are pro-active) to fix problems in a timely manner, not making the citizens responsible for contacting 311 to report everything (reactive). And that these same employees actually have the time and the people power to do the job, and they are supported by the City Council. Need more funding? Fine the offenders, instead of increasing the property taxes on those doing the right thing.
- A city where a 311 call/email gets a quick response (in a matter of days, not weeks).
- A 311 system that actually collects data on repeat violators and doesn’t give them 1,001 chances and require the neighbors to do 1,001 311s!
- City Council members who actually talk to the local population before they “shoot, aim, ready.”
- A City Council that holds slumlords accountable, instead of letting them depreciate neighborhoods and create ordinances, etc., that require an increase in taxes. Use the best landlords to set the bar, not the worst. If they are renting to gang members, shouldn’t they be assessed a neighborhood impact fee?
- That our citizens put litter in the garbage cans, and if they can’t, the street should be kept clean of litter. Homeowners and landlords are responsible for cleaning the garbage in front of their house. There’s no reason we can’t fine folks for excessive litter; if you can’t do that, start a new city project where every street is swept by the city every two weeks.
- That the streets, alleys and driveways of the city are not junkyard storage spaces for cars that don’t run or haven’t been moved in days, weeks, months or years. And of course, let’s forget the 1,001 warnings. Like baseball: three strikes and you’re out.
- That the streets are passable and folks respect other people’s right to drive down a street without negotiating between double parked cars on both sides of the street.
- That we actually collect data on ordinance offenders and addresses and stop giving them a pass until we hit the 1,001 violation.
- That the liquor stores can’t sell glass bottles that end up on our sidewalks and streets where our children play and dogs walk.
- That our new mothers and fathers find their way to putting used diapers into the trash cans instead of tossing them out the car window.
- Some type of mandatory training for new renters to a property and new homeowners that focuses on how you care for the streets around the home – no broken-down cars, no trash, no diapers, no loud noise late at night without permission from neighbors, and no loud music with expletives — period.
- With tenants relocating from many disadvantaged regions of the world and country, landlords are responsible for giving written and oral instructions to tenants. As an example, a list of what they could and could not do (i.e. you can’t hang your laundry in the front yard.) Minneapolis public housing, housing organizations providing homes, landlords, and mortgage companies could be responsible for providing and/or ensuring that people get this advisement/training. It’s better than the “broken windows” theory; it’s a decorum theory.
- That the city has lots of homeowners and taxpayers as well as business folks; perhaps you could give them some consideration from time to time. At last check they do contribute to paying the bills!
- A model to emulate Singapore, probably one of the safest, cleanest cities on the planet.
Please also reimagine that folks out here in the neighborhoods can supply a lot more “reimagine” ideas.
Dennis Wagner is a 36-plus-year resident and homeowner on Minneapolis’ north side who has been active on the Minneapolis Capital Long Range Improvement Committee (CLIC ) and Minneapolis police oversight committee. He is retired from the high-tech industry, where he was the director of global sales and marketing for a Minneapolis-based technology development company.
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