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New Direction for East Phillips Urban Farm Derailed by Mayor Frey’s Veto

Update: On March 24, the Minneapolis City Council upheld Mayor Frey's veto of CM Chavez' motion by a vote of 7-6. At the March 24 City Council meeting, CM Chavez said he hoped to bring a new motion forward at the next full council meeting on April 7. Look for an update on that in the May issue of the alley. By Lindsey Fenner At the March 10 City Council meeting, new Ward 9 Councilmember Jason Chavez put forward a motion that rescinded the council action last fall that gave a green light to the expansion of the Public Works facility at 1901 E 26th Street. Chavez’ motion gave the East Phillips Urban Farm project a new way forward on that parcel. It also explicitly included the public works training facility that had been left out of the last council action, stopped demolition of the former Roof Depot Building, instructed city staff to find funding options to repay the Water Fund, and required community stakeholders to make formal proposals for redevelopment of that city-owned land by June 30 2022. Chavez’ motion passed the City Council with a vote of 8-5, after a series of impassioned speeches by those voting in favor. Voting for Chavez’ motion were CMs Chavez, Chughtai, Ellison, Johnson, Koski, Payne,Wonsley Worlobah, and Council President Jenkins. Voting against Chavez’s motion were Ward 6 CM Osman who represents Phillips West and Ventura Village in Phillips, as well as CMs Goodman, Rainville, Vetaw, and Council Vice President Palmisano. But Mayor Frey’s veto derailed the Council’s action. In his March 11 veto letter to the Council, Frey said he would sign a similar motion with conditions including: changing the word “rescind” to “suspend,” giving clear guidelines for a formal proposal from community stakeholders, and including a clear finance plan for the community redevelopment. According to council rules, Chavez’ vetoed motion would need to be reconsidered at the next City Council meeting, March 24, after the alley goes [...]

Letter to the Editor April ’22

Two Reactions to Articles in the March 2022 Issue: For Marti Maltby: Please stop perpetuating the myth that panhandling and homelessness are the same thing. As a block leader who has tried unsuccessfully for years on behalf of my block club to get some kind of regulation of panhandlers, I have been told by neighbors that they could actually identify a house where the panhandlers lived at one point. These are the people I encounter at literally every street corner and, in my neighborhood, all up and down the 35W entrance and exit ramps. And yes, as I have also been told by neighbors, every one of them was high on something when the neighbor attempted to speak to them. They and their friends leave their needles and other paraphernalia for little children to find or step on, creating a public health problem. And when one of my neighbors asked a panhandler to please not panhandle on the sidewalk surrounding his corner lot, he was rewarded with a brick through his truck window. Both members of my block club have now sold their homes and moved away, citing panhandlers as a primary reason. If you live in an area of the city where panhandlers hang out it is a problem for all sorts of reasons. But please, don't equate a panhandler with a homeless person. They are not the same thing. For Melanie Majors: You are absolutely right. The last city council ignored residents and simply pursued their own unrealistic goals for their own political gain. We have a small window of opportunity to perhaps start things in a new direction with the new city council, depending on how responsive they are, and also, whether or not residents are willing to get involved. The previous city council was perfectly happy not to have any input from residents who were understandably discouraged that they received absolutely no response to phone calls or emails. It meant that they could just do whatever they wanted. I can't tell you how many Minneapolis residents I have talked to in the last year [...]

New Council Brings New Hope for Environmental Justice in East Phillips

New Council Brings New Hope for Environmental Justice in East Phillips

By STEVE SANDBERG East Phillips Cultural Center gymnasium gathering, where community members gathered on Saturday, December 18th to lift up their ongoing work to bring community-led development to the Roof Depot site. As Minneapolis residents waited to see what change would result from the November 2021 election, 75 to 100 community members gathered on Saturday, December 18th at the East Phillips Cultural Center gymnasium to lift up their ongoing work to bring community led development to the 7.6 acre Roof Depot site in the East Phillips neighborhood. Led by EPNI staffer Joe Vital, the meeting highlighted EPNI’s work to save the 230,000 square foot Roof Depot building for aquaponic farming, affordable housing, solar development, and a youth-led coffee shop, event center, and bicycle repair and assembly facility. Local BIPOC businesses displaced in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd are also supporting this community led effort. The meeting featured appearances of City, County and State level representatives. Restating their long-held support for the project were State Senator Omar Fateh and Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley. Neighborhood resident Karen Clark, who represented the area for 37 years in the state legislature, presented compelling documentation on disparities of income and wealth, as well as extremely elevated rates of asthma, childhood lead poisoning, and other environmentally related illnesses occurring in our majority BIPOC neighborhood. Her work for environmental justice over many years was the genesis of this project. The greatest interest was in the changing political situation at the City level. This is being led by 9th Ward Councilmember elect Jason Chavez, joined by Ward 1 Councilmember elect Elliot Payne, and 10th Ward Councilmember elect Aisha Chugtai. In the weeks before the 2021 election, a resolution to tear down the Roof Depot building was reinserted for a vote and passed by a 7 to 6 margin, but 4 of those 7 [...]

City Moves Forward with Public Works Expansion in Phillips; Neighbors Continue Fight for Environmental Justice

City Moves Forward with Public Works Expansion in Phillips; Neighbors Continue Fight for Environmental Justice

By LINDSEY FENNER The Minneapolis City Council voted to continue the Hiawatha Maintenance Facility expansion at the Roof Depot site at 1860 E 28th St on a narrow 7-6 vote. The approved plan, put forward by Ward 1 CM Kevin Reich, is a reversal of the previous Council directive to halt the Public Works expansion project in East Phillips. Community members, led by the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI), have protested for years against this project, putting forward an alternative vision for an Indoor Urban Farm at the 7-acre Roof Depot site. Reich’s proposal came as a surprise to Urban Farm supporters, including Ward 9 CM Cano. The passed proposal, which was “Option B” of four potential plans presented to the City Council over the summer, moves the City Water Yard facility from it’s crumbing building in Northeast to East Phillips, demolishes the Roof Depot building that community activists had wanted to use as an indoor urban farm, removes a proposed training facility for Public Works from the expansion plans, and sells 2.8 acres of the site for “community use.”  The vote to continue the public works expansion in East Phillips came despite a Racial Equity Impact Analysis (REIA) presentation that showed that neighbors near the project already “experience much higher levels of cumulative pollution than residents from majority white city neighborhoods and the average metro area resident leading to hiring levels of asthma and hospitalization for children and adults living in the surrounding neighborhoods.” The Public Works expansion is expected to bring an increase of car and truck traffic into the neighborhood, which will further increase already high levels of air pollution in East Phillips.  Council members Bender, Cunningham, Ellison, Fletcher, Goodman, Reich, and Ward 6 CM Jamal Osman voted in favor of the Public Works expansion in East Phillips. CMs Jenkins, Johnson, Gordon, Schroeder, Palmisano, and Ward 9 CM [...]

Pledge to Vote! Make Your Plan Today!

Pledge to Vote!  Make Your Plan Today!

The sixth in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis. Election Day is November 2, 2021. Do you have your plan to vote? You want to vote in the November Minneapolis local election! Your city is important to you. You care about racial justice, housing, police reform, education, the environment, public transportation, parks and who is elected Mayor! Did you know that you are more likely to actually cast a ballot if you make a concrete plan to vote? How do you make a plan? Follow these simple steps: Be sure you are registered at your current address. In Minnesota, you can register to vote online, by mail or in person at your polling site. Pre-registering online and by mail must be done by October 12. Or you can register in person at a local early voting center or Election Day polling place.  If you are registered to vote at your current address, you do not need to bring an ID. If you need to register at your polling place site, you”™ll need to bring an ID or other proof of residence to vote https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/register-to-vote/register-on-election-day/. Not sure if you”™re currently registered or want to register online? Visit www.mnvotes.org. Decide when you want to vote. Minnesotans have been voting absentee for over 75 years. Since 2014, Minnesotans have been able to cast an absentee ballot without a specific reason. The popularity of early voting in Minnesota has grown in each election since this change took effect. To vote early by mail: Request your absentee ballot no later than October 19th, fill it out and return it right away, either through the mail or to your local election office. Ballots must be received by November 2. Request and track your ballot at www.mnvotes.org. To vote early go to Minneapolis Election & Voter Services, 980 Hennepin Ave. E. Early in-person voting begins September 17 and is open [...]

City Council Candidate Questionnaire

City Council Candidate Questionnaire

This year, the alley asked the City Council candidates who want to represent Phillips in City Hall some questions about issues that are important to the people of Phillips. These questions were adapted from suggestions by Phillips residents and alley contributors.  Adapted Minneapolis City Hall photograph, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Micahmn/photos The alley reached out multiple times to all candidates running for Ward 6 and Ward 9 City Council. Candidates were given a deadline for responses as well as a word limit. We received completed questionnaires from three Ward 9 Candidates: Jason Chavez, Mickey Moore, and Brenda Short. We received no responses from candidates running for Ward 6 City Council. Responses from candidates are presented in alphabetical order and have not been edited. Ward 9 1. How long have you lived in Ward 9? What do you love about Phillips? Jason Chavez: I was born and raised in the East Phillips Neighborhood located in the 9th Ward. What I love about the Phillips Neighborhoods is its diversity, culture, and perseverance despite the obstacles. Displacement, pollution, and hardship are all too familiar here, but we always have the determination to fight back to get on our feet. The people in the Phillips Neighborhoods are what the community looks like, strong, courageous, and friendly.  Mickey Moore: I currently live on 15th Ave., across the street from Powderhorn Park, but have lived in and around Ward 9 since 1983.  I grew up in these wonderful neighborhoods and spent my formative years at the parks, along Lake St., and especially 3rd Ave.  I”™ve always been drawn to the cultures and opportunities of new experiences and have focused my business efforts around communities like Phillips because it is such a fantastic example of diverse people, all with similar goals, ideals and passions.  Brenda Short: I have been living in Ward 9 for over 27 years. I have been a constant in [...]

Vote!

Vote!

Pledge to Vote! Make Your Plan Today!

The sixth in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis. Election Day is November 2, 2021. Do you have your plan to vote? You want to vote in the November Minneapolis local election! Your city is important to you. You care about racial justice, housing, police reform, education, the environment, public transportation, parks and who is elected Mayor! Did you know that you are more likely to actually cast a ballot if you make a concrete plan to vote? How do you make a plan? Follow these simple steps: Be sure you are registered at your current address. In Minnesota, you can register to vote online, by mail or in person at your polling site. Pre-registering online and by mail must be done by October 12. Or you can register in person at a local early voting center or Election Day polling place.  If you are registered to vote at your current address, you do not need to bring an ID. If you need to register at your polling place site, you”™ll need to bring an ID or other proof of residence to vote https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/register-to-vote/register-on-election-day/. Not sure if you”™re currently registered or want to register online? Visit www.mnvotes.org. Decide when you want to vote. Minnesotans have been voting absentee for over 75 years. Since 2014, Minnesotans have been able to cast an absentee ballot without a specific reason. The popularity of early voting in Minnesota has grown in each election since this change took effect. To vote early by mail: Request your absentee ballot no later than October 19th, fill it out and return it right away, either through the mail or to your local election office. Ballots must be received by November 2. Request and track your ballot at www.mnvotes.org. To vote early go to Minneapolis Election & Voter Services, 980 Hennepin Ave. E. Early in-person voting begins September 17 and is open [...]

RCV…Easy as One, Two, Three!

RCV…Easy as One, Two, Three!

League of Women Voters Minneapolis The fourth in a series of articles about the 2021 Municipal Elections brought to you by the League of Women Voters Minneapolis. Minneapolis residents can say goodbye to voting for the lesser of two evils thanks to Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), a unique method for electing local officials that was first implemented in our city in 2013. On November 2, you can vote for your first, second, third choice candidates for the offices of Mayor, City Council, Parks & Recreation Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation. That”™s right, just like the lottery, you can pick three. Here”™s how RCV works: Choose the candidate who best represents your views, and fill in the circle beside their name under the 1st Choice column. You can then proceed to indicate your second and third choice candidates by marking the circles next to their names in the 2nd and 3rd choice columns. There is no Primary election runoff, so no candidates are excluded before Election Day. You can choose any candidate among every candidate who files to run for office. You don”™t have to choose three candidates, but here”™s why you might want to: After the polls close, all first choice votes will be counted (including absentee and vote-by-mail ballots). If there is a clear winner ”“ that is, if one candidate receives the highest vote count ABOVE the 50 percent threshold - the race is called, and that candidate is declared the winner. If no candidate reaches 50 percent, then the counting moves to round two. In round two, the candidates with the lowest vote count and no mathematical chance of winning are eliminated, and their voters”™ votes are shifted to their second choice candidate. If, after round two, no candidate reaches the threshold, the counting moves to round three, four, and five etc. until the candidate with the most votes above 50 percent is declared the winner. With Ranked Choice Voting, [...]

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