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Beyond Contempt: Abhorrent Behaviour Towards Local Residents

June 27, 2016

This weekend was the Grand Opening for the greenway. It was advertised to the community as “Enjoy music, food, and fun with your community”, and “Come share your thoughts on the temporary greenway, and hear what your neighbors think”. Further along that same flyer – that was mailed to residents by the City of Minneapolis Health Department – stated “A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at Folwell Park at 5pm (food provided).

At the bottom, the flyer stated “This project is funded in part by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the City of Minneapolis.

With all this talk of “community” and “food provided” and health, we were shocked and horrified when a (pregnant) neighbourhood resident came up to our booth, visibly upset. She told us that she had just been over by the food stations, and was asked what she thought of the greenway. She said that she had replied that she wasn’t overly happy about it, but was there to enjoy an afternoon outside with her young son.

At that point, Vish Vasani ( told her that the food and water was only for supporters of the greenway, and denied it to the woman and her 2 year old son.

She did this in front of many witnesses, and left that poor woman feeling humiliated. After letting us know what happened, she left the event visibly shaken, and on the verge of tears.

We later found out that this woman was feeling the effects of heatsickness when she went up for some water.

Vish Vasani

After I got home, I came upon a post online:

Which indicated that it wasn’t an isolated event. In that thread, the poster further stated that “All she did was argue and snap at people. She was horrible and I guess from the health department. What a miserable,nasty women”, which mirrored a lot of the comments we were receiving at our booth.

Further, in the comments for the thread:

I would like to reiterate that NO WHERE on the flyer did it state that you have to be a supporter to partake in this event, or that the provided food – which was apparently at least partially taxpayer funded – came on the condition of support. This was supposed to be an event for community engagement.

Instead of “engagement” (which one would assume to have been meant in the positive sense of the word), we get more of the same contempt for residents. You are actively driving a wedge through this community.

Greenway council and supporters: This is beyond shameful. The fact that you have people with such contempt for the residents that are negatively impacted by your actions is exactly why you are seeing this uprising against the Greenway.

City of Minneapolis Health Department, Blue Cross Blue Shield: How healthy is it to deny a pregnant woman food and water on a hot day, exactly? Or are you only concerned about the health of the cycling lobbyists that are taking a salary from this project, and those along the route who lack empathy for others? Because those are your supporters. Those are the ones you deemed exclusively entitled to the food and water at this public event.

You turned away people who live on the very street you completely shut down for this greenway.

I am beyond disgusted. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Editing to add: Apparently once residents complained about this behaviour to another member of the greenway council, they started allowing non-supporter residents to partake. At least someone was smart enough to see the negative impact their discrimination would have.


Dana Fisher
June 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

There were very few people at the event except those that had put up this Fakeway, , protestors, a handful of kids and a few bikers. When I heard the bickering I walked over to the food table.This was very late in the afternoon and there was more food left than people, cases of water and plenty of fruit. I put my camera up to record her being nasty to the people and she screamed at me not to take her photo. Honestly, she looked and acted like a child. So hard to fathom, after googling her education and work that I was looking at the same person. To me the entire Fakeway, event and the people involved have the attitude that”We are here to save you poor unhealthy black folks so you just like it or you get no water and thank us for the tacky paint”.

I’m a vegan and I don’t want your toxic paint, turkey wraps nor you preventing elderly women with walkers from getting to their doctors or 80 year old visitors to park several blocks away and walk in the hot sun or the ice that the city without fail, NEVER cleans or plows correctly. I went with and open mind and walked around and talked to everyone around and left knowing that these are not the people who have any ability to help this area or it’s people. We really need to clean house with our votes if we want real change around here or they better clean all this mess up.

June 27, 2016 at 2:19 pm

When i heard they were refusing food and water to people that were non greenway supporters i had the pleasure of talking to vish, i asked why non supporters were turned away and could not have food, she back tracked on her statement, she said they didnt properly plan they were suppose to have tickets for food and if you did a activity you got a ticket for food, and that they were on a limited buget for food. Well the pregnant lady and son did participate , they went to the face painting table her sons face was painted when they asked her food and water! Vish was rude and yelling at me when i bought this up. Wow what a way to bring a neighborhood together.

Andy merritt
June 27, 2016 at 3:41 pm

And then at the end of the ribbon cutting they said “come get food, we have plenty left over.

Mark Lundell
June 27, 2016 at 7:43 pm

I was at the greenway ribbon cutting. I was told I could not leave because I had a “no way to the greenway” sign on my bike and was threatened with a ticket for protesting. I was riding my bike on a bike trail and my sign is called “freedom of speech” I felt as though I was treated as a criminal and was not welcome. I live nearby and have ridden my bike in this awful ugly disrespectful greenway many times and have never seen another bicyclist in the bike path and have only seen two kids playing in the street. It seems like this greenway is not being used and is a big problem for the residents of the streets that are closed. I also attended the meeting at the park a week or two back and felt as though the city is putting on “show” so people think they care about the neighborhood but all residents concerns have been ignored. I feel this greenway was FORCED upon the residents. And I also think that property values on the greenway are greatly effected in a negative way. I suggest a class action lawsuit. How can you close a street that resident pay taxes on and expect to park their cars on and receive emergency services. Come winter time this will be a serious issue because we all know they don’t plow alleys in north Minneapolis more than once so we bounce our cars down ruts like a roller coaster car. I do not live on the greenway. I feel bad for those who do. And the organizers or who ever put on this grand opening should be fired from Blue Cross for the way the children and local residents were treated and turned away making a nice community event a horrible experience for everyone who actually lives here.

June 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm

There is no way they can come back from this one. Time after time it seems those running the show don’t care about those that are affected by this, and now to blatantly be rude and refuse the food and water provided to a resident simply because she does not support the Greenway is beyond horrendous. I feel horrible for her, and all the other voices that the city has chosen to ignore. Residents don’t want this! Quit shoving it on them!

mark dante
June 28, 2016 at 10:16 am

You tax dollars hard at work. Once again the liberal agenda rears it’s ugly head. Do as I say, not as I do.

Nothin more than a show.

A. M. Robinson
July 3, 2016 at 2:57 pm


Shut the f*ck up and get back to sucking Trump’s junk!!!!

But I bet if they wanted to put up a gun range somewhere, you’d be all over it, wouldn’t you?!?!? F*cking right wing P.O.S.

July 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Another Lib with a non-argument. Just spewing more hate. You lefties claim the righties hate almost everyone, but you engage in more hate speech than constructive conversation. I hope you don’t raise children with a mind as closed as yours.

July 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm

You guys, can you keep the “left vs right” crap out of this?

This isn’t a Democrat vs Republican issue. There are people of both political persuasions on both sides of the greenway issue. This is a greed and entitlement issue – and greed/entitlement are NOT traits limited to one side of the political spectrum.

July 5, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Understood. Will keep the conversation more local.

Jodie Walters
June 29, 2016 at 10:57 pm

The fiasco of the Grand Opening is but the latest misstep in this project which has been badly bungled from the start by patronizing people without a clue about the realities or needs of the community they are supposedly trying to help.

I live nearby & would be beyond upset if that was done to my street. Residents do not own the street but when you buy a house & pay taxes I think it’s reasonable to assume that a street will continue to function as a street. Your rights to use your street should not be taken away & given to others. All those involved should admit this project is fatally flawed & put the street back the way it was!

A. M. Robinson
July 3, 2016 at 2:55 pm

First of all, this is a TEMPORARY study!!!!! This is not in any way shape or form a DONE DEAL!!!!!! But I guess you don’t give a sh*t about that, do you?!?!?!?

I suppose you would rather have cars speeding up and down your street, people littering everywhere, blasting music, hanging out in their cars smoking weed and drinking, and generally disturbing the peace?!?!?

God forbid North Minneapolis actually have something nice for once!!!!!

You curmudgeons suck. Period!!!!! If you don’t want the Greenway, move it one block over to my neighborhood!!! We would LOVE to have it!!!!

A. M. Robinson
July 3, 2016 at 2:58 pm

…and I’d love to know how many of you “detractors” are Trumpers and Trumpettes?? Just a random survey…

July 3, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Keep it classy, A.M. Robinson.

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