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The Rand Report: Why were homeless misplaced during Glow?

The Rand Report: Why were homeless misplaced during Glow?

By Rand Retterath Rand Retterrath On July 27, 2019 large portions of the Midtown Greenway were cleared for an event.  Care to know what it was? It was the Midtown Greenway Coalition Greenway Glow 2019. Through registration, ticket and alcohol sales, pledges and more they raised nearly $23,000. They say it is for the “Greenway.” PLEASE do not be confused! The money goes directly to the Greenway Coalition EXCLUSIVELY. Care to know what was cleared? People were cleared, homeless people as well as their possessions.  I have a problem with that. Many years ago, the Executive Director looked me in the eye and said, “Unlike some, we do not think homelessness is a crime.” Apparently, that is true only as long as they are not seen. One week later, the Powderhorn 24 took place. They found an ability to co-exist over the course of the 24 hour event and set up / clean up periods. Local residents grudgingly find ways to deal with trash, theft, traffic, sex, needles, assault and much more on a daily basis and over months and years. For a week, all the MANY people calling the Greenway home were asked to relocate to protect the delicate sensitivities of Coalition members for a single afternoon event. Their possessions littered my neighborhood. Along the Greenway, I found Coalition-branded drink tickets. It is illegal to drink and bike, yet the Coalition encouraged it, through branded drink tickets. The Greenway is overwhelmed with homelessness, feces, urine, drugs, sex and sex workers and alcohol in staggering quantities, creating a myriad of social and environmental problems. Yet there the Coalition was, apparently above the law. Their drunken revelries are apparently ok. Privileged white elitism if there ever was such a thing. According to the Coalition’s most recently available Form 990, the salary expense for the Coalition is $124,820 against revenue of $119,690 down from $206,065 the previous year. [...]

The Rand Report: Join neighborhood board

The Rand Report: Join neighborhood board

By Rand Retterath Rand Retterrath I invite all of you to participate in your neighborhood organizations.  For me it is Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association Inc.  Others in the area include East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC), Phillips West Neighborhood Organization (PWNO), Ventura Village, and Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization (CANDO). MPNAI is a volunteer-based community organization advocating for a vibrant, safe, and healthy neighborhood. MPNAI partners with 7 local neighborhood non-profits to implement a variety of projects  We also partner with CANDO, EPIC and PWNO. Our annual events include Phillips Clean Sweep, National Night Out, Midtown Festival at Open Streets, and an Annual Community Meeting and Dinner. MPNAI has financially supported KRSM Radio, MadDads, New American Youth Soccer Club, Somali TV, St Paul Arts, Phillips Aquatics Centerand others. Currently, we are working on a traffic flow analysis. MPNAI has partnered with the Center for Energy and Environment Lending to help finance home improvement projects. Volunteers have partnered with authorities to maintain outreach efforts aimed at homelessness and sex workers. We have advocated against the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association incursion into Midtown Phillips, Phillips West and East Phillips. We have advocated for continuation of the community funding of neighborhood organizations with others all over the city. We have challenged inconsistencies in accountability. We have worked to protect our most fundamental right, the right of free speech. We have advocated for better metrics in the 911 calls. We form community through social and community efforts.   We need community members who have experience to guide us through the hostile politicos.  We need people to develop the knowledge and resources to know who to contact, when and how.  We need an aggregation of experience to address evolving [...]

Cano: Here are four things to do to show we all matter

Cano: Here are four things  to do to show we all matter

By Rand Retterath Rand Retterrath This issue I’d like to focus on a comment made regarding my 2020 article. Nicole H. posted this response to that article: “This is such a crock. Neighborhoods are not representative of their residents (say what?). The city is requiring work to be done to get money. You act like the money is expected or entitled. (This isn’t for me personally, it’s for the communities and part of the participative government experience that has existed in this city for decades.) …. You should write about how the white power base are losing power and have created false narratives. Every single one of your points can be argued yet you will never see it because you are full of the kool-aide. (I assume she means that I am white and it mitigates my ability to understand much of anything.) I agree with Nicole. I should talk about the white power base losing power; we all should. But to do that means that we must discuss her comment in light of achieving racial and socio-economic parity for all. The assault on my ideas and opinions is unrelenting not because they are flawed, but because I am (fill in the black). No single person has ever spoken to me about the facts or merits of my opinion. Rather, like Nicole, the response is always about my race or some other unrelated attribute, real or imagined, and as a result of that attribute, I have nothing to offer. Since Alondra Cano has come to office, I have been called an endless list of insults. It is the same tactic used by the Nationalists in Washington. Think about it. Facts are overlooked in favor of emotionally charged slanders and false narratives designed to cut people out of the conversation. 2020 is all about engagement; my responsibility, your responsibility, theirs and ours. It should be a message of inclusion. However, since 2013 the rant from Ward 9 leadership seems to be about minimizing someone as entitled, gentrified, or victimizers [...]

The Rand Report: Special service districts on Lake St. create inefficiences

The Rand Report: Special service districts on Lake St. create inefficiences

By Rand Retterath According to an Information Brief from Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives  “One way for a city to provide an increased level of service or infrastructure to its commercial or industrial areas is to create ‘special service districts.’  Special service districts (SSDs) are established at the request of the persons who will pay for the increased level of service. Since the early 1980s, individual cities have been authorized to set up these districts. Since 1996, cities have had general law authority to create SSDs. “A special service district is ‘a defined area within the city where special services are rendered and the costs of the special services are paid from revenues collected from service charges imposed within that area.’ An SSD may be established anywhere in a city but only business property (i.e., commercial, industrial, utility, or land zoned for commercial or industrial use) will be subject to the service charge. SSDs are commonly used in areas with a concentration of retail stores.” It is not a bad idea, it provides services that are not ordinarily provided throughout the city from general funds or services provided at an increased level than otherwise provided. Generally, to establish a Special Service district, owners of 25% or more of the property within the area complete a petition and file it with the city.  This includes 25% of the tax capacity or entities subject to the additional tax. The filing would include delineation of the area as well as services to be provided.  The city notifies all affected business and commercial entities of the filing, a hearing is scheduled and objections noted. The proposal can effectively be defeated if 35% or more within the land area that would be subject to the additional fees file objections. Assuming it passes this muster, fees are then assessed through service charges and are completely [...]

The Rand Report 2020 plan: ‘Do what I say not what I do’ applies to city

The Rand Report 2020 plan: ‘Do what I say not what I do’ applies to city

By Rand Retterath Rand Retterrath The stated mission of Neighborhoods 2020 is “an opportunity to further develop and improve upon the city of Minneapolis’ neighborhood-based engagement structure…by the people, for the people.” However, neighborhoods all over the city are opposed to this document. Here are my concerns: 1.  The goals are laudable, however, execution is completely contrary to the stated goals. Neighborhoods are held to a standard that is completely disregarded within the city. The proverbial “do what I say, not what I do” applies, and is a mandate with funding as the hostage. 2.  The stated goals of “public purpose” require neighborhoods to be inclusive, responsive and informative. Regrettably, there is no mechanism in place to hold the council and other decision makers accountable in the same way.  3.  Pooling resources and forcing neighborhoods into a co-operative purchasing will restrict options and diminish localized spending. 4.  Funding requirements reduce the neighborhood decision-making process.  At various times MPNAI has elected to do without staff or used part time/volunteer staff in favor of additional community spending.  The 2020 plan would mandate our actions in this regard by requiring staff. 5.  Community organization funding will be a mechanism to create “group think” across all neighborhoods. It will hold us hostage to a limited set of options. 6.  The potential exists for uniformity across all neighborhoods in the bylaw process, as well. The “minimum requirement” clause concerns many. These mandated points must be included or risk losing funding.  7. It states, “Not all residents can attend an annual meeting but may have interest in participating in the election process. Therefore, an alternate method to vote will be provided.” Is any neighborhood set up to address the complexities [...]

The Rand Report: Sex workers on Lake St. #2

The Rand Report: Sex workers on Lake St. #2

By Rand Retterath Rand Retterrath Part 2 of a series. After the one man research project attempting to fully comprehend all the mitigating factors affecting the sex tourism market on Lake St. and on Bloomington Ave. among others, I was left with the following considerations: Gender-based approach doesn’t work! Community approach doesn’t work! Political approach doesn’t work! Feminist approach doesn’t work! Social Service approach meets with only very limited success! Law Enforcement doesn’t have the resources to effectively arrest their way to a solution (nor should they)! Judicial approach doesn’t work, it means nothing! Penalties are meaningless. Combined Judicial/Social Service approach meets with limited success! Community Engagement approach doesn’t work! We have a spectacular list of tried and failed approaches to the sex industry. For decades, Lake St., as well as Bloomington Ave., have been the sex tourist destination of the south metro area. And for over 50 years nothing has ever resolved the phenomenon. Let’s try a new and completely different approach.  My first endeavor was a market assessment. Why is the industry almost exclusively on Midtown side of Lake between 18th and 11th while on Columbus to Clinton, it is on both sides? The demand side participants like to SHOP the supply side before purchasing services.Suddenly, EVERYTHING made sense. It is easier to go around the block on 29th than it is on 31st. This same situation holds true for the Columbus to Clinton stretch, but on both sides! The demand side solution is then to interrupt the shopping opportunity. Make the market harder to shop! It seems a silly thing but when considered, but it makes perfect sense. A test is simple enough by installing Jersey barriers at some key intersections. I would suggest barriers on the intersections along 29th between 18th and 11th Avenues.  Do the same on Clinton and 31st. Then [...]

The Rand Report: Who is really listening?

The Rand Report: Who is really listening?

By Rand Retterath Rand Retterrath I know, let’s put in a bike lane!  AFTER we approve the construction of five new parking ramps to join the existing five -- and all within a mile of each other! Makes sense to me! Oh, wait, we already did that!  Silly me! And still we have cars parking all over residential streets! RAMP TALLY 1) Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Blue/26th St. Ramp:  477 vehicle spaces 2) Abbott Northwestern Piper Building, 60 vehicle spaces 3) Childrens’ MN Hospital and Clinics, 26th St. Ramp: 700 vehicle spaces 4) Midtown Doctors Building: 19 vehicle spaces 5) Midtown Exchange: 1,000 vehicle spaces + 400 Surface Lot spaces 6) Wells Fargo: 2,239 vehicle spaces 7) Wells Fargo new ramp: 696 vehicle spaces At time of press, specific number of vehicle spaces was unknown at these following ramps: 8) Abbott Northwestern Hospital Main Ramp, 2800 Medical Building: 1 Ramp 9) Phillips Eye Institute: 1 Ramp 10) Sheraton Hotel: 1 surface lot 11) Wells Fargo: 5th St. Ramp According to MnDOT, approximately 14,000 vehicles traverse 28th/Chicago as well as the 26th/Chicago intersections daily, often EMS vehicles. The city master bike plans were adopted in 2011, with a revisit in 2014. The initial planning phase for Global Market/Village and Allina included promises of a traffic flow analysis because of the anticipated influx of vehicles coming into Midtown from the freeway to work at Allina. It was again promised with the redevelopment of Honeywell to Wells Fargo, its former step building and the new construction. Both have yet to be performed. Andersen United Elementary School is still looking for 100 stalls after being evicted from Abbott Northwestern ramp as the hospital had reached capacity with the addition of the Minneapolis Heart Institute and the expansion on 10th. Look for the teaching staff on residential streets. Then the Islamic Community Center went in [...]