Monday, September 30, 2013

Ward 5 Candidates Spar in Second Round of Debates

Videos recorded by Yang for City Council Campaign Committee

Like many voters in the fifth ward, I could not make it to last week's debates.  I was sent links to recordings done by the Blong Yang campaign, and am reposting them so others can watch as well.  I am posting without commentary, so that viewers and voters can make up their own minds about the forum.

And thanks to Jewish Community Action and the Northside Community Redevelopment Coalition for putting together the event.

Friday, September 27, 2013

26th Avenue Closure Showcases Poor Street Layout

Varying stretches of 26th Avenue North have been closed off due to construction as of late, and that closure has forced drivers and bikers to find alternate routes to cross this section of north Minneapolis.  Unfortunately, due to some very poor urban planning, those alternatives don't exist.  In between Emerson and Penn, there are no consistent thoroughfares to get people around the neighborhood.  Drivers either are forced onto Broadway or Lowry, or they wind up wandering through the convoluted side streets, likely breaking a few traffic laws along the way.

I tried to traverse the area by going a block north of 26th, only to find...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

5th Ward Candidate Karaoke

One of the most fun elements of the recent 5th Ward candidate forum was when each candidate performed either karaoke or an artistic endeavor of their own creation.  We got to see a different side of everyone, as each of the possible next council members let their hair down and have some fun.

If a better video of Ian Alexander's performance exists, I'll use that instead of what's embedded here.  I received a phone call in the middle of that, and the video turned off momentarily.  I think that was my camera saying "Finally!  An excuse to do something OTHER than film this!"  And yet I want--nay, I am compelled--to publish these videos.  Such is the burden that citizen-journalists must bear.

The other three videos, as well as a belated post-debate analysis are after the jump...

New Feral Cat Ordinance Is Almost Good Enough

Last week when I read a few articles in the Strib about a new city ordinance codifying feral cat colonies, my gut reaction was based on the last several encounters I and other neighbors have had with the crazy cat ladies.  They were not pleasant.  The photo above is from 2909 3rd Street North, a home I had actually looked into purchasing (quite literally, as it was continually open to trespass) prior to buying my house at 26th and Penn.  The 3rd Street property had been taken over by feral cats, and later (or which came first, the feral cats or the crazy cat ladies?  That is our existential question of the day.) by presumably well-intentioned people who put out both dry cat food and tins of Fancy Feast.  I made repeated calls to 311.  The house was broken open numerous times, and the cat food was replaced.

The interior of this property was, at one time, full of dozens of cats, most of them alive.  Feces and urine made the floor a minefield of sorts.  The stench was overwhelming, and the only thing that's harder than crazy cat ladies to remove from a property is the smell of cat urine.  These supposedly goodhearted people will not acknowledge that they are damaging a home, and will not leave even when owners and neighbors confront them.  And the odiferous after-effects of their presence lingers on well after they leave.

Complicating matters further is Minneapolis' trespassing ordinance, which in essence states that...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The HERC and "A Burning Question"

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, image from the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

On Tuesday, September 17th there will be an excellent community forum on the HERC garbage burner.  It's called "A Burning Question" and will be hosted at the Mayflower Church at 106 E Diamond Lake Road in Minneapolis, from 7 - 9 p.m.

The Minneapolis Issues Forum has a tremendous amount of information on the HERC, more so than I could distill in a single blog post, and more than I can reasonably summarize.  Here's a decent, recent thread as an example.

I've spoken at length with supporters and detractors of the garbage burner, and find myself in the middle of the road on this one.  There are benefits to the burner, and there are costs.  The question is, who benefits and who pays those costs?  And unfortunately, low-income and minority communities in our city bear the brunt of those costs without seeing significant benefits.  Here, from my layman's perspective, is why:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

5th Ward Candidate Forum at The Capri

On Saturday, September 7th, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change hosted a candidate forum at the Capri for those running for the open 5th Ward seat. I captured the debates in their entirety and will post the footage.

The highlight, for some, was the event ending with each candidate doing what can only be described as a performance under the most liberal standards.  Unfortunately, I received a call on my cell phone (which was used since the camera was out of juice by then) and Ian Alexander's footage was interrupted.  I will post all four performances if someone has a link to the full footage.  Otherwise, it's not fair to watch the razor-thin line between loving homage and untalented desecration known as candidate karaoke for only three of the four contestants.

The rest of the forum videos (minus karaoke, which deserves its own stand-alone post) are after the jump...

Monday, September 2, 2013

How the 4th Street House Was Saved

In the summer of 2011, 2914 4th Street North was a boarded, vacant, and condemned house on the verge of demolition.  The summer of 2013 will see its completion by a nationally known developer, and the home will likely be featured on her television series.

Yes, this post speaks of Nicole Curtis, aka "The Rehab Addict," but it is not about Nicole Curtis.  It is about how the values of preservation, when put into action, produce results so positive that no one could have foreseen them.

Going back through old photographs, I can tell this house first came on my radar screen in January of 2011.  Later that year, the Twin Cities Community Land Bank approached the neighborhood with an interesting proposition...