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Urban Farm, Not Toxic Harm! City Taking Steps to Demolish the Historic Roof Depot Building

Urban Farm, Not Toxic Harm! City Taking Steps to Demolish the Historic Roof Depot Building

By THE EAST PHILLIPS NEIGHBORHOOD INSTITUTE Negotiations with the city of Minneapolis have failed, and now the city is proceeding with its planned demolition of the historic Roof Depot building at 1860 East 28th Street after walking out of negotiations with East Phillips residents. Now our families, our community and our environment face 888 diesel trucks and toxic arsenic that will further pollute our already overburdened neighborhood. East Phillips is being treated as an industrial wasteland, and it’s making our community members sick! The City Council was scheduled to take a vote on demolishing the Roof Depot building in late September. We can stop this if the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) can raise $200,000 to post bond for a legal injunction. The old Roof Depot site in the East Phillips neighborhood sits atop an arsenic plume where arsenic-based pesticides were produced and stored by a company that once occupied it. The building’s continued presence helps keep the arsenic in the ground. This arsenic previously caused the Environmental Protection Agency to designate the area a “Superfund Site,” prompting immediate soil removal from over 600 homes. The city of Minneapolis bought the site to expand its public works yard, a project strongly opposed by East Phillips, one of the city’s poorest and most polluted neighborhoods, with one of the highest concentrations of BIPOC residents. The neighborhood already has too much pollution; kids here have higher rates of asthma. The city’s plan would add even more pollution from vehicle exhaust and threatens to stir up old arsenic pollution. EPNI has pressed the city for information on its arsenic mitigation plans. The city offered EPNI a September 16th meeting with its environmental consultants, a meaningless concession that was canceled at the last minute. The city needs to come to East Phillips and tell residents how it plans to handle the arsenic, then answer their questions and [...]

East Phillips is not a Sacrificial Zone- EPNI continues to Negotiate with Minneapolis

East Phillips is not a Sacrificial Zone- EPNI continues to Negotiate with Minneapolis

By EPNI BOARD On June 30th the City Council of Minneapolis approved 13-0 to move forward with its negotiations with East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) on Mayor Frey’s proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) offer regarding the City’s “Hiawatha Expansion Project” proposal from the City Council to the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office. We are aware of the confusing messaging that has been released by the City that conveys a “finalized deal” and we affirm EPNI’s ongoing commitment to transparency and to health and safety for our low-income, majority BIPOC neighborhood. In pursuance of the City’s proposed Hiawatha Expansion Project, which they would locate in East Phillips across the street from Little Earth of United Tribes Housing, a day-care and numerous family residences, the city has offered EPNI: 3 acres of land and 24 months of exclusive development rights along with vague commitments of financial assistance and social programming. This offer comes at a serious legal and health cost to the neighborhood and to all taxpayers. EPNI would need to end its current environmental justice lawsuits against the City of Minneapolis and to forgo any legal action against the city in the future. Their current proposed MOU offer would also allow the city to go forward to build its project by demolishing the huge 230,000 sq. foot former Roof Depot warehouse – thereby releasing toxic arsenic now safely encapsulated in the soil underneath. It would also bring on-site an additional 400 vehicles, including diesel trucks – further polluting East Phillips residents’ already overburdened exposure to toxic air pollution from existing traffic congestion. It is important to note that EPNI has not approved or signed any deal with Minneapolis. We will continue to meet with our neighbors and work in good faith with the City to find a path forward that benefits Minneapolis without sacrificing the health and safety of East Phillips residents. The East [...]

Random alley News July ’22

Random alley News July ’22

SEIU mental health workers and allies on the picketline in front of Abbott Northwestern Hospital for a one-day strike on May 24, 2022 Credit- SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa Nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and other metro-area hospitals held informational pickets on June 1. / Minnesota Nurses Association Written or compiled by LINDSEY FENNER 100 Percent of Cristo Rey’s Graduating Class of 2022 Accepted Into College: For the twelfth year in a row, the Jesuit High School in Phillips West will be sending all of its seniors to college. The private Roman Catholic school, which was established in 2007, is part of the “Cristo Rey Network” of 38 schools around the US that prepare low-income students of color for post-secondary education. Congratulations graduates! Minimum Wage Increases July 1 in Minneapolis: On July 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Minneapolis is going up to $13.50 at small businesses and $15 at large businesses. The Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance defines small businesses as 100 or fewer employees and large businesses as more than 100 employees. Tips and gratuities do not count toward payment of a minimum wage. The City’s Department of Civil Rights oversees enforcement of the municipal minimum wage and wage theft prevention ordinances, and workers are encouraged to report violations online at www.minimumwage.minneapolismn.gov -City of Minneapolis South Minneapolis Tenants Go on a Rent Strike to Protest Safety and Maintenance Issues: Five families who live at 3100 Bloomington Avenue South announced on May 25 they would be withholding May rent to protest unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. Residents are supported by United Renters for Justice - Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia, a tenant-led housing justice organization. The property was formerly owned by landlord Stephen Frenz, who in 2016 was sued by tenants, lost his rental license, and later went to jail. The new owners of the building say they are not affiliated [...]

What happened to my old polling place? Redistricting!

What happened to my old polling place? Redistricting!

Article #1 in a series about the 2022 midterm elections; brought to you by the League of Women Voters of Minneapolis Left: 2022 State House district boundaries of Phillips Right: 2022 City Council wards in black, former boundary in red It’s spring — flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the Hennepin County Elections office is sending postcards to registered voters. You may find that your voting district and polling place have changed. What happened? In 2022, many people will experience a change in their voting district. This process is called redistricting, and it happens every ten years, as states, counties, and cities across the country adjust their political boundaries to fit new census numbers. Because the population of Minnesota has changed, the sizes and boundaries of congressional, state, and local districts need to adapt so that each has approximately the same number of people. That will ensure that the value of each vote remains equal. In Minnesota the process starts with the legislature and governor. The political parties redraw maps for our eight congressional, state legislature, and metropolitan council districts. It can be tempting for parties to try to design these areas for their own particular advantage, sometimes resulting in weird shapes and unusual inclusions. This is called gerrymandering. Our system in Minnesota is set up to avoid gerrymandering. Here, when the parties and the governor don’t agree, as has happened for the past 50 years, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints a redistricting panel to draw new boundaries. The panel completed its work in February. When congressional and state legislative boundaries are determined, local redistricting begins. Cities, county boards, and school districts set their own local boundaries. The Minneapolis Charter Commission, with the help of an advisory group, and input from the community, draws the maps for Park Board districts and the city’s wards and [...]

February Random News

February Random News

by LINDSEY FENNER Phillips-area Cultural Malls Receive State COVID Relief Grants: At the end of 2021, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded funds of up to $300,000 each to twelve “cultural mall operators” throughout Minnesota, including the four listed below in the Phillips area. The $3 million program is part of the $70 million Main Street COVID Relief Grant packages passed by the State Legislature in 2021. To qualify, facilities had to have 50% or more tenants identifying as Black, African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, or other racial or ethnic minority. Support our vibrant Phillips businesses here: 24 Mall, 912 E 24th Street Midtown Global Market, 920 E Lake Street JigJiga Business Center, 1516 E Lake Street Mercado Central, 1515 E Lake Street New Workers Unionize at Allina’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital: 220 lab workers at Abbott have recently voted to join SEIU Healthcare MN (Service Employees International Union). According to SEIU, worker organizing focused on relief from understaffing and heavy workloads and increasing wages for healthcare workers. Newly organized workers include Cytotechnologists, Histotechnicians, Laboratory Assistants, Medical Laboratory Scientists, and Medical Laboratory Technicians. They join other SEIU and Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) unionized workers at Allina. North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS) Receives Award for Excellence in Human Services: Based out of the Midtown Global Market, NāTIFS Indigenous Food Lab was honored by the State of Minnesota for mobilizing to get healthy indigenous meals to neighbors in need. Over the winter of 2020-2021 NāTIFS with community partners distributed 80,000 culturally appropriate meals to tribal elders and families across Minnesota. Founded by the Sioux Chef, NāTIFS is “dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises [...]

November Random alley News

November Random alley News

By LINDSEY FENNER Nonfatal Opioid Overdoses Saw a Sharp Increase in 2020: A new report out from the Minnesota Department of Health looks at nonfatal overdose trends in Minnesota from 2016 to 2020.  From 2019 to 2020 alone, the number of nonfatal overdoses involving opioids increased 43%, with the increase most pronounced in the 7-county metro region. American Indian Minnesotans were nine times more likely and African American Minnesotans were three times more likely than white Minnesotans to experience a nonfatal overdose. Younger people are also more likely to experience a nonfatal overdose, with Minnesotans aged 15-34 experiencing the largest number of nonfatal overdoses, accounting for 55% of all nonfatal overdose Emergency Department visits. See the October 2021 alley for the steps to reverse an opioid overdose.  Your Feedback Wanted on City Redistricting: Every ten years, after the federal Census, political boundaries like City Council Ward and Congressional District get redrawn based on changes in population, so that each district has equal representation. The City of Minneapolis has begun the process of setting new boundaries for City Council Wards and Park Districts. This process is led by the City Charter Commission and Redistricting Advisory Group. You can get involved by attending public meetings, speaking at public hearings and listening sessions, submitting your own redistricting map through an app called Districtr, and sending in written feedback.  To learn more about the redistricting process visit: https://www.minneapolismn.gov/government/programs-initiatives/redistricting/ Former Gas Station at 25th and Bloomington Being Sold: The shuttered Speedway at 2445 Bloomington Avenue was put up for closed bid auction in mid-October, along with 166 retail sites in 22 states owned by Speedway LLC as part of an antitrust divestment agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. 7-Eleven Inc acquired Marathon Petroleum Company [...]

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