Minneapolis’ Neighborhoods 2020 plan, explained

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
They are 70 independent nonprofits that represent Minneapolis’ property owners, renters and visitors by neighborhood.

With Neighborhoods 2020, the city of Minneapolis is on track to change how it gives money to neighborhood organizations, which are often the guiding voices for the city’s policies on development, public safety and more. Here is a guide to better understand the plan  and what it could mean for different parts of Minneapolis.

Why are neighborhood organizations so important in Minneapolis?

They are 70 independent nonprofits that represent Minneapolis’ property owners, renters and visitors by neighborhood often with paid staffs, regular meetings and skilled researchers. All groups elect volunteers as leaders, or board of directors, and shape decisions at City Hall by working hand-in-hand with elected leaders. But the groups, themselves, have no official political power.

The organizations’ work ranges from hosting block parties to analyzing development plans. About 100 volunteers with the Prospect Park Association, for example, spent hundreds of hours last year on a 45-page report to help guide development ideas in Minneapolis 2040, the city’s long-range plan for development. Other neighborhood groups did similar work. Critics of that process argued that the perspective of longtime homeowners, rather than renters, dominated that research since a disproportionate amount of homeowners attended project meetings and voiced concerns. That is often the case for other efforts at the neighborhood level, even in areas where there are more renters than homeowners.

Here’s what is critical: The city of Minneapolis funnels millions of dollars through neighborhood groups each budget cycle for issues such as housing and development, giving them a role in deciding how to spend that money.

So what is Neighborhoods 2020?

Right now, it’s a 16-page report of recommendations that city staff hopes to turn into specific guidelines to make the organizations more racially and economically diverse. Its main objectives are these: to ensure leadership proportionally reflects neighborhoods’ renters and people of color, and to change how the groups are connected to the city via municipal funding. Ultimately, the plan would tighten Minneapolis officials’ control of neighborhood groups after decades of a shifting power dynamic.

Among other things, the report recommends that neighborhood organizations, in order to maintain city funding, should diversify their membership by race, gender, age, income, and homeowner and renter status; establish term limits for board members; share services and staff with other groups, and implement rules that are consistent citywide. It also proposes a city commission for oversight and a “Neighborhood Election Day,” or a special day for leadership elections. And if that happens, the city wants “an alternate method to vote” for people who can’t attend the elections in person.

Why is the city considering these changes now?

For years, neighborhood groups have collected money from a tax increment district that is set to expire at the end of this year, leaving the organizations with a $4 million budgetary shortfall in 2019 and more next year. The current funding structure is a result of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which began in the early 1990s and ultimately decentralized neighborhood development by giving the individual groups more autonomy. Some groups have received substantial money from grants or fundraisers outside the city, too. Under Neighborhoods 2020, much of the money flow would remain the same just with new stipulations.

What do neighborhood organizations think of the proposed changes?

Some are skeptical of the city’s new ideas to tie municipal funding to their demographics, while still supporting the goals to diversify leadership. The Northside Neighborhood Council, which represents several associations in north Minneapolis, said in a statement the city should shift its analysis to the department overseeing the plan, Neighborhood & Community Relations, instead of the work of neighborhood organizations, among other suggestions. “Without equal intentional focus on the structure that holds that outcome, it fails to be work that is centered in equity or a genuine and authentic desire for meaningful impact in policy and procedure,” the statement says.

Council Member Steve Fletcher, who represents downtown and parts of northeast Minneapolis, said the initiative is part of the council’s commitment to broadening the type of people who interact with City Hall. “There’s going to be that tension [from] people whose voices have been heard — they’ve been at table — they’re losing power. We saw that expressed in the debate around the 2040 plan. We’re seeing it in the Neighborhoods 2020 conversation,” he said. “(There’s) legitimate anxiety about what does that change mean. …We are creating healthy tension in the community.”

What happens next?

The city’s Neighborhood & Community Relations is hosting a series of events for people to discuss the initiative over weeks, while also collecting feedback online and via phone and mail. Then, after the public comment window closes in March, staff will revise the plan in order to present it to the City Council in April, with the goal of writing new specific guidelines into city code this fall.

Comments (43)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/25/2019 - 01:10 pm.

    Sorry Jessica, around here, skilled researchers? working hand-in-hand with elected leaders? not so much, out reach to the community? Only way we see things from our neighborhood group is by accident, Accountability for the yearly stipend, not much, As before, how will the city increase diversity in a volunteer group, shanghai folks? Seems to be an effort to take those most vested (homeowners) in the neighborhood and give there involvement to the least vested (transient renters) to run the neighborhoods, The message from the city 2020 plan, appears to be, we don’t want folks to own and become vested in your neighborhoods, we want more rental and they along with the absentee slumlords should set the neighborhood themes. Guess to some folks, slum lording is “healthy tension”.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/25/2019 - 02:41 pm.

      Why are renters not vested in the neighborhood? What’s wrong with renting? Not everyone can afford to buy a home.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/25/2019 - 04:38 pm.

        Its called commitment. Experience on this end is a renter, is many renters are here today gone tomorrow, short term thinkers, don’t much care for the long term results, and then again why should/would they? We have seen 30-60-90 day turnovers.. So, they are in the neighborhood for 30-60-90 what ever days, make decisions that are favorable to them, (short term thinking) and not the homeowner (longer term thinking), and they are gone, who lives with the consequences? Not saying either is pure just saying there are tendencies.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/26/2019 - 11:47 am.

          No, its called stereotyping. Its called an overdeveloped sense of privilege. This type of thinking is exactly why we need these changes.

          Thank you Minneapolis for recognizing this.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/26/2019 - 03:56 pm.

            Really? So I am stereotyping my neighbors? Please enlighten how it is that I am putting them all in the same bucket? Especially the rental next door, what 5-6 different renters n 10 years, or the house on the other side, 5th set of inhabitants in the 35 years. Or do I just not have a pair of those rose colored glasses? Been here near on 35 years, so personal/history/experience multiple times on the local community council, etc. means stereotyping?

            • Submitted by Matthew Steele on 02/26/2019 - 04:41 pm.

              Wow, count this thread as exhibit A when considering why neighborhood orgs should be reformed or de-funded.

            • Submitted by Mike martin on 03/04/2019 - 12:58 am.

              No property owner has leases for less than 6 months and most have 12 month leases. So the comment about 30-50-90 day turnover is complete BS & bigotry

      • Submitted by howard miller on 03/06/2019 - 03:54 pm.

        An illustration: the Finn, a 4 story mid-density, mixed-use, transit-node apartment building was built across the street from a house I purchased in 2013. I was interviewing a resident one day to determine what a renter’s life was like. Management had put him in an apartment about a busy intersection so his nights were frequently interrupted by shouted orders from the semaphore (“Wait!”….”Wait!”… “Walk sign is on” etc.) He demanded another apartment on a quieter corner of the building. I, a homeowner, who has lived with street noise for years (even happily) have been much less patient with the accoutrements of high density living: multiple dumpster emptying 4x/week (5 a.m.), food supply for restaurant (Sysco 18 wheeler, drops heavy metal ramp on street and unloads boxes for hours at a time, every other morning), Uniform delivery 3 mornings/week), paper shredding 2.5 ton truck 1x/wk, steam cleaning
        kitchens at 11 p.m. and so much more. I cannot move. Who has more invested in the neighborhood? Who’s good for $5000/year in property taxes?

  2. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 02/25/2019 - 01:22 pm.

    What are neighborhood associations supposed to do when they can’t find renters/people from “diverse” backgrounds etc to serve on their boards?
    This is never going to end until the Mpls City Council has driven the people who actually pay the taxes out of the city.
    This is what happens when you have one party rule. There is no one on the other side to offset them.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/25/2019 - 02:44 pm.

      Weird that you would say that since the Minneapolis population is growing rapidly as are property values. Its almost as if what you are saying has no basis in reality.

  3. Submitted by Betsy Larey on 02/25/2019 - 01:33 pm.

    So is this the payback from the City Council for neitghborhoods who opposed the 2040 comp plan? It sure sounds like it to me. When people refer to socialism, this is the kind of stuff they are referring to. I know most of your readers disagree with that, but at some point this city needs to realize that people with the means will leave the city. And for the record, those are the people who pay the majority of the taxes.
    How much diversity do you think there is in Kenwood? Not much. So you will penalize them for having too many old rich white people on their board. What’s next? Force them to allow renters into their carriage houses? At some point I wish a group would band together and sue the city for reverse discrimination. Because they are actually gettting close to doing exactly that. This new proposal is proof.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/25/2019 - 02:38 pm.

      Thank you for your courageous stand on behalf of wealthy white people.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/25/2019 - 04:47 pm.

        You know PT, there is lots of homeowner diversity in the city, meaning that when folks talk about restricting gentrification, it means suppressing home prices, and is it any wonder that minorities may very well be the ones selling some of those homes that have risen in value? . So the unintended consequences is to restrict the potential value gains for the, diversified home owner populous. Strange how that works. What next, dots on properties that tell you who can buy and at what value? Sounds/looks familiar doesn’t it?.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/26/2019 - 11:59 am.

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure the motivation behind this comment (suggesting a class action lawsuit on behalf of put-upon wealthy white people) was not to help minority homeowners. Frankly, I’m a little shocked that anyone found that comment defensible.

          I also am pretty confident that the neighborhood groups are also not big fans of gentrification or any kind of development, as they made up a lot of the oppostion to the 2040 plan which would open up those neighborhoods. But since in your mind renters are just transients and not real residents, I guess that doesn’t count.

          I’ll say it again – the attitude you are expressing is exactly why Minneapolis needs to make these changes

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/26/2019 - 04:02 pm.

            Please address the issue, not the left wing drama: ” homeowner diversity” “What next, dots on properties that tell you who can buy and at what value? ” Do folks deserve fair value for their homes? How does the new plan provide support that. We are very familiar with the “gentrification argument”, point being what, folks should be segregated by income?

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/26/2019 - 08:19 am.

        Amen.

  4. Submitted by Anton Schieffer on 02/25/2019 - 01:41 pm.

    Neighborhood orgs are in desperate need of fixing. We’ve known about their representation problems since the 1990s, but now that the funding model is changing we’re finally doing something about it. These orgs have potential to do good things in the city, but meetings are often the same few people grinding the same tired axes.

    There’s currently little transparency (meeting minutes and agendas are impossible to find online – the only way to learn what happens at a meeting is if Wedge Live covers it), no accountability (one recent org shifted $225,000 from its “housing” fund to spend on a fountain in a park), and zero consistency (70 orgs with 70 different sets of rules, bylaws, financial accounting, etc.). The city needs to take charge and provide some oversight. If n’hood orgs don’t want this basic accountability, they can go elsewhere for funding like any other non-profit.

    • Submitted by Larry Moran on 02/25/2019 - 03:37 pm.

      Neighborhood organizations probably do have “the same few people” (though I’m not sure what, specific “tired axes” are being ground) but that’s not a function of a secretive cabal. Most organizations would love to have more people attend meetings and become involved. Our organization publishes meeting notices in the local newspaper (delivered free to every resident) along with meeting minutes and board decisions taken. For us to get anything funded under the current process we need to survey residents, establish neighborhood priorities, and then show how the expenditure meets one or more of those priorities. It is not an easy process, and in fact is a little arcane, but accountability is required. I agree that consistent organizational structures and maybe some consolidation among different neighborhood groups may help the process run more smoothly. I would also suggest that if you want to depend on Wedge Live for your information that you look for other sources that may have a more unbiased viewpoint.

      • Submitted by Anton Schieffer on 02/25/2019 - 04:12 pm.

        I’ve lived in 6 neighborhoods in this city and have attended n’hood meetings in 4 of them. By far the most popular topic to complain about was new multifamily housing, and renters generally. How to stop bike lanes is also a popular discussion topic, as is how to apply for free, no-interest money to fix up your home.

        I’ve heard renters dismissed as “not invested in the neighborhood” and every time a new building is proposed it is consistently opposed. Is this really the best way n’hood orgs contribute? Can you see how that is a turn-off to those who want to make an impact in their neighborhood? No one should be surprised that these groups have trouble attracting new people when multiple hours of these meetings are spent on such topics (and bashing elected officials but that’s another story).

  5. Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 02/26/2019 - 12:39 pm.

    No, not hanging around and not showing up is a serious disadvantage both to the renters and to the neighbors with whom they have a fleeting relationship. A quote from the above article really nails the flaw: “a disproportionate amount of homeowners attended project meetings and voiced concerns … even in areas where there are more renters than homeowners.” In other words, renters generally lack the same level of commitment to their neighborhood. Consider this quaint observation in an old Minnesota Supreme Court case on protecting rights in homesteads (and I will trust in your ability to update the language):

    “The law [protecting homesteads] originated in the wise and humane policy of securing to the citizen against all the misfortunes and uncertainties of life the benefits of a home not in the interest of himself, or, if a married man, of himself and family alone, but likewise in the interest of the state, whose welfare and prosperity so largely depend upon the growth and cultivation among its citizens of feelings of personal independence, together with love of country and kindred–sentiments that find their deepest root and best nourishment where the home life is spent and enjoyed.”

    Ferguson v. Kumler, 27 Minn. 156, 159, 6 N.W. 618, 619 (1880). In other words, a significant commitment to a place is vital to our social fabric.

    Having been purged for more than 50 years of its worst downside, restrictive covenants, and with a renewed commitment to equal opportunity for all to become home owners, we should not walk away from this long-recognized social value.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/26/2019 - 01:31 pm.

      As much as I appreciate legal precedent from 1880, you have got it completely backwards. While the racial covenants no longer apply, the neighborhood groups have kept their spirit alive but opposing progress and trying to keep people out.

      And again with the belief that renters are second-class citizens?

      Man, Minneapolis 2020 was long overdue.

  6. Submitted by lisa miller on 02/26/2019 - 03:03 pm.

    I can see both sides. There are renters who live long term in neighborhoods. And not all homeowners are wealthy white people. Although with the way housing prices are going, it is going to be that you have to be wealthy if we don’t get a grasp on it. If the issue is accountability, then by all means, have a system such as a website to publish the meetings, requirements for outreach to all, and have expenditures over 100.00 run by City Hall. Mandating some of the rules do seem like micromanaging and if you don’t have a 22 yr old on your association then you are not viable? Seems a bit much. Why not run the groups more like an association–use some of the money for mailings to all addresses, annual board type meetings. You can’t force people into a neighborhood group, you can make it more inviting. My other concern with the plan is there seems to be the assumption that nobody wants to be able to afford a small home and want to live in large complexes. Owning has been a way to build wealth and yes some have been shut out, but then make it more doable. Or maybe have apartment buildings try to appoint an annual rep for the neighborhood groups. It does take time to participate in meetings so maybe change up times so they are not always on a week night, or allow a couple of people to share attendance. The mentality of us vs them doesn’t do much and is unneeded drama.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 02/26/2019 - 04:02 pm.

      Why do renters have to be long-term?

      • Submitted by lisa miller on 02/27/2019 - 05:17 pm.

        They don’t. My point is some are. Short term renters can also serve. But as has been pointed out, it is tough to get people to do volunteer work which is usually not recognized and is the less glamourous stuff. It is true though that owners should hang around longer and live with the results. But either way, I don’t know too many neighborhood groups that turn down volunteers.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/01/2019 - 10:20 am.

    I think it disingenuous to continually claim that short term residents are just as committed to the neighborhood and it’s well being as “permanent” residents. This is clearly not a viable claim. We’ve seen a collapse of neighborhood involvement wherever long term residency has declined. This isn’t just a rental phenomena; during the height of the housing bubble when home ownership was all about flipping and buying up to bigger and more expensive properties. I lived through this and during that period almost no one who bought a house in my neighborhood stayed longer than three years. And during that time half the people on the block remained strangers the entire time they lived here.

    Since the bubble burst, and so many people essentially got stuck the homes they intended to sell off, we’ve gotten to know each other. More people have signed on to “Nextdoor”, and our Night Out block parties have become more numerous and well attended. We even have more kids trick or treating on Halloween.

    The observation that longer term residents are more invested in their communities isn’t a stereotype, it’s common sense experience. We can talk about the well known, documented, and understood psychology and sociology behind this common sense if you want, but affiliation with place and surrounding is well understood.

    Most of us who now own homes once lived in apartments. We remember the fact that we never knew most of our fellow residents, much less anyone in the neighborhood at large. The streets were places we parked our cars, not places where we hung out and chatted with neighbors. It’s silly to claim otherwise. Sure, maybe you’d like more transient residents to come the meetings, but that’s not how transient residents behave.

    Now none of this makes anyone a second class citizen, but let’s not create a myth of equality and use THAT myth as a basis for policy. By and large transient residents will never be as invested in the neighborhood as more permanent residents. You should be very careful about giving transient residents and their landlords more control over local policies because they may have very different agendas and perspectives, and they won’t have to live with the decisions you make.

    We can’t trap people in their housing, nor should we, but the primary driver of transient residency is un-affordable housing. The reason renters move so much is that they keep getting priced out of their housing. Landlords will offer incentives to NEW renters while relentlessly raising rents on existing renters annually for no good reason. Are these new 2020 neighborhood groups empowered to attack THAT problem?

    At the end of the day this whole thing looks a little goofy. It pretends to a vehicle for local control and influence, yet it seems to attacking that very local control and influence for it’s lack of diversity and inclusion? The city created these groups, but it doesn’t like the way they work so it’s trying to change them… how is that not an anathema to very idea of local control?

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 03/01/2019 - 12:31 pm.

      You make good points. I don’t think city hall always sees the big picture. Although as housing prices rise, more are renting. It has gotten so that unless you have 2 incomes in the home or are in the upper part of the middle class,(or qualify for lower income house buying programs) it is difficult to buy. I would also like to see more affordable homes/smaller homes vs teardowns and McMansions. Given income disparities, this also could help strengthen neighborhoods in diversity and helping people build wealth. It also may be that neighborhoods will be broken down more in terms of how you define neighborhood given increased density.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/02/2019 - 10:27 am.

        Nothing new about 2 incomes: We bought in 1984 (North side) fixed interest rates 12-14% we had to have 2 incomes. Job stability/availability, far worse than today, My folks had 2 worker incomes back in the 60’s. More affordable smaller homes? Some folks call them condominiums or town houses. Single family homes require maintenance, this winter,near every other day snow shoveling. How many folks want to sign up for that? Suspect the real issue continues to boil down to folks need to make financial choices. When we bought, we didn’t have a $175 a month, cell phone bill, or a $100 cable bill or a $300 a month cigarette bill, or a $65 a month gym membership, and we didn’t go out to eat at ~ $100 a sitting 3-4 times a month, etc. etc. Just saying the good old days were not necessarily the good old days.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2019 - 09:22 am.

          Dennis, the affordable housing crises is real. No one said anything about the good ol days, but we did NOT have economic refugee camps (homeless living in tents) all over the country in the 70’s and 80s despite high interest rates. Millions of Americans living under bridges in tents and are not there because they made different financial choices.

          Prior to the mid-late 90s interest rates were higher, but the housing prices themselves were much much much more affordable. When my wife and moved out of our Apartment in 1991 and into our newly purchased house, our monthly mortgage payment was $200 less than the rent we’d been paying. Of course we’ve remortgaged to take advantage of the lower interest rates but our housing is so inexpensive primarily because unlike almost everyone else… we’ve simply stayed put. Our $85,000 home is now selling for $300k while wages and salaries have remained flat or even declined for decades.

          The main driver of housing inflation has been market model that encourages people to keep moving around rather than finding a place to live. Realtors created the notion of “starter” homes back in the 90s, this was predicted on the assumption that the first house you buy is but one of many you will have to buy. It’s a financial model, not a housing model. The model has to keep people moving, buying and selling, whether they really need to or not. We haven’t actually had a housing shortage per se in the Twin Cities since the late 1940s – 50s. All that buying and selling simply drives up prices, which is exactly the idea, which is exactly why building “more” won’t lower prices.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/04/2019 - 04:17 pm.

            Paul, we’ll make this plain and simple, the A part is I never said we didn’t have a housing issue. B, what your idea of Crisis is does not square with many other folks ideas about Crisis! I’m sure that comment makes me as well as all those other folks cold-hearted inhumane bastards. Define housing crisis what % makes it a crisis, person? Lots of left wing drama, nothing to clarify or address the issues, should we have folks on section 8 etc. etc. ;living in single family homes there are lots of them now ? Is the next move that folks are entitled to a single family home and if not its a CRISIS? Must it have Air Con and cable? Microwave Oven, stainless appliances, 52″ flat screen, with DVD recorder, how many of the premium channels before its no longer a crisis? How about cell phone service every child over the age of 11 is entitled to a cell phone, if not its a crisis? See its easy to get into the drama and go troll people with CRISIS ideas and situations! Please don’t try to lecture me, and I’d appreciate it if you got off my case, I’ve been to numerous countries where they have “CRISIS” poverty, and crisis housing, and have seen, smelt, walked, worked in it first hand,

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 03/01/2019 - 02:49 pm.

      The biggest reason rent is so expensive in Minneapolis is that there isn’t enough rental housing. And a big reason for that is that homeowner-dominated neighborhood groups oppose adding rental housing in their neighborhoods. Its a self-reinforcing cycle. And this plan is trying to break that cycle.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/02/2019 - 09:52 am.

        The supply-demand claim that we can or will build our way into affordable housing is long since discredited example of magical thinking. The more we build, the higher prices go… the more simplistic pseudo-economist double down on magic.

        The most common scenario in the REAL world is new higher priced apartments in a neighborhood provide a rational for landlords to raise the rents on their existing older apartments. This is essentially the nature of gentrification.

        Supply and demand theory, while popular and widely referenced, only functions in a limited number of restricted scenarios. S&D is NOT the natural “law” that many assume it to be. History has shown the only time S&D influences pricing in the housing market is when markets actually collapse one way or another. Even market collapses can fail to produce “affordable” housing, the Great Recession, for all it foreclosures and empty housing, did NOT produce affordable housing instance.

        Markets will not lower housing prices simply because every single player in the market is trying to make MORE money, not Less money. Everyone from realtors, to landlords, to developers, and even buyers, are trying to push prices up, not down. It’s simply facile to assume that all those forces will be thwarted by a magic invisible hand.

        And if the market collapses, even if THAT lowers prices, it still doesn’t produce “affordable” housing because typically that only occurs within the context of a recession, wherein purchase power is reduced in proportion to prices. It’s not like we all make out like bandits during recessions because the prices for everything drops. Typically speculators and banks sweep up property in those scenarios while people who need a place to live are still left out in the cold, literally.

        Look, in a nutshell the idea that we build our way into affordable rests on the bizarre assumption that developers will build until they start losing money, and then they’ll keep on building despite the fact that they’re losing money. Developers don’t do that. When developers start losing money, they simply stop building, and they will even go so far as to abandon projects that are underway rather than complete those projects and lose even more money.

        • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 03/04/2019 - 12:46 pm.

          “The supply-demand claim that we can or will build our way into affordable housing is long since discredited example of magical thinking.”

          Nope.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/09/18/why-do-so-many-affordable-housing-advocates-reject-law-supply-demand/?utm_term=.51acad7dd34b

          “Left NIMBYism not only flatly contradicts the logic of supply and demand but also flies in the face of empirical studies of what happens when cities see new construction.”

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2019 - 04:06 pm.

            Theo, I’m not saying no one should build, I don’t care if they build or not. I’m just making the factual observation that all the building isn’t creating affordable housing, because if it did, you could point to all affordable housing right? Filtering IS a fallacy and we know this because you can’t point to the houses with declining prices or the apartments with declining rents. Prices and rents keep rising. The excuse that you can’t find this affordable housing because we haven’t build enough new housing is simply circular reasoning.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/01/2019 - 12:57 pm.

    And I hate to say it, but its inexcusable that we are not told “who” produced this 16 page report. Apparently we don’t need to know that? And course one reason we might need to know who wrote the report and how it was actually produced is to see how many voices of color were present and involved.

    How many people of color have been involved in this agenda of bringing more people of color into the neighborhood groups? Or is this just another example of white neo-urbanism pretending to be about equity?

    This is one problem the “new” journalist paradigm of reporters as gatekeepers of “important” information who construct narratives instead of reporting. Sometimes you have to remember the basics: who, what, where, when. We’re missing the “who” here.

  9. Submitted by Mike martin on 03/04/2019 - 01:33 am.

    My neighborhood association never sends out meeting agendas Their excuse is the agenda can change at the last minute. This ignores that fact that if someone from a city dept. or park board is to speak, that has to be scheduled weeks in advance..If there is an issue that is important to me I don’t find out about until after every thing is decided. Over a decade ago if there was an issue of major concern to all residents, the neighborhood association would schedule a special(separate from monthly meeting) meeting which would be 3-6 weeks in the future so people could arrange their schedules to attend. Not any more ,those things are handled at the monthly meeting but the speakers & topics are not announce in advance.

    When the City forms a special committee to get input for a specific project SW LRT, bike lane, neighborhood park remodeling etc.the neighborhood board picks themselves or their buddies, they never put it out to the community to ask for people to volunteer.

    How do you think residents feel when they see announcement that so & so was picked to serve on a special committee, that they would have volunteered for but they never had a chance?

    Some members of my local association have been on the board for over 20 years. How can a neighborhood association get new people on the board if people never retire?

    You can count on one hand the number people that attend my neighborhood ass. meetings that are not on the board, but about 50% of the residents in my neighborhood are on Next Door. That tells me lots of people are interested in what is happening in the neighborhood but they are avoiding the neighborhood association because it it so in breed.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2019 - 09:51 am.

    I guess at the end of the day I have to admit I just don’t understand the model. I mean, I understand what NAs are, and what people may or may not want them to be, but.. one way or another isn’t the expectation here that the NA’s will do what elected officials are supposed to be doing… only without the accountability? Isn’t the model itself inherently flawed no matter how it’s executed?

    The idea that unaccountable un-elected residents should have public budgets and decision making powers and responsibilities is just kind of goofy isn’t it? Regardless of voluntary levels of “involvement” where is the constituency? Just because someone chooses to be “involved” doesn’t mean they’re effective representatives of any kind, and of course they’ll represent themselves since this isn’t a political regime that expects otherwise.

    In my suburban paradise of Saint Louis Park we don’t have NA’s, we just have an elected city government. If we have issues in our neighborhoods we write or call our elected officials and go to town hall meeting and city council meetings. The city has a Facebook page; the other day I went on and complained that streets weren’t plowed yet and got back to me saying they’d plowing as of 3:00pm.

    Frankly, if someone wanted to create NA’s here, I’m pretty sure I’d be against it. Maybe 2020 is just moving deck chairs around on a boat that should be scuttled altogether?

    • Submitted by lisa miller on 03/04/2019 - 01:31 pm.

      Appreciate people’s comments; it is refreshing to have discussions that explore various aspects and people being open to hearing it.

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