Category Archives: Contempt for Residents

More Sign Thefts and Vandalism

Yesterday morning, I was saddened to see yet another report of stolen “Stop the Greenway” signs along the 3500 block.  By this account – with photos – every sign had been pulled up and dumped in the street.

Silencing

This was the morning after Greenway representative Will Lumpkins had hosted a pro-greenway event, and – no surprise – every single one of the yellow “Support the Greenway” signs remained as they were.

When I walked the route later that afternoon, I was saddened to see that most of the remaining “Stop” signs had now been tethered to something more permanent on the resident’s lawn (in one case), or moved indoors (windows, behind storm doors, etc) altogether – in most of the other cases.  Many more of the signs that we had placed were just missing altogether.

It makes me angry that this organization and/or its supporters – backed with hundreds of thousands of dollars – attempts to squash negative feedback in any way possible.  Those were signs I paid for from my own pocket, later reimbursed by crowd funded donations from the community.  They stole from all of us, these actions are working to silence all of us.

To add insult to injury, this comes only 2 weeks after I addressed the theft/vandalism issue with greenway council chair Alexis Pennie, who promised me that he would put out an official, public request from the greenway council to ask its supporters to not steal and vandalize our signs.  I agreed to do so in return, for our side.  I followed through, he did not.

This is just another example of how the pro-greenway side has been working to force a narrative of support from the community.

I recently wrote about my frustration with this unfair, uphill, “David vs Goliath” battle, in this blog entry.  This recent spate of sign thefts/vandalism seems like awful punctuation to that article.  It’s exhausting.

To those promoting and supporting the greenway, I ask:  If you legitimately want resident feedback and input, why are you so invested in silencing any and all dissent?  If you think you are in the right in forcing this greenway on us, why must you work so hard to make it seem like you have “overwhelming support”?

To those fighting against the greenway:  Thank you again for your support.  Hold strong!

Also, again: I understand that this has been frustrating, but please, PLEASE do not lower yourselves to their level.  Leave the pro-greenway signs as they are. We are fighting for what’s right, and we can’t succumb to or adopt their dishonest tactics to do so.

Bias and Misrepresentation – The Unfair, Uphill Battle We Fight

This past week, a “reporter” (intern) from the Star Tribune joined the Stop The Greenway Facebook group.  She told us she would be walking the greenway, interviewing people for an article.

As it was just on the heels of an incredibly biased article about the greenway, we were excited – there was finally someone willing to listen to those who live on the route!  Many, many people offered to talk to her.

As administrator of this site, someone mentioned that she should talk to me, and I agreed. We exchanged information, she gave me a time she’d be by to talk to me, and said she’d message me when she was near.  I got a message “I’m here!”, and when I replied, she told me she would be 15 minutes.  More than an hour later – then outside of the stated window of my availability   – she finally messaged me.  We decided to take it to email, where I answered her interview questions promptly.

I felt very disrespected at the time, but assumed she was inexperienced. I was still thankful for the idea that someone was finally looking to listen to the residents.  I should have seen the writing on the wall.

The Star Tribune published her INCREDIBLY one sided piece.  Only one resident who was against the greenway was quoted. Our issues were minimized to things like “an ice cream truck can’t get through”, the Grand Opening Situation was described in a patently false, misleading manner.

Once again, those who take a salary for pushing this greenway onto us were front and center. Those with the most resources- those who stand to benefit by taking from others – were given a voice, while those with the least resources – who stand to LOSE from this encroachment – were all but ignored.

This is exhausting.

That “reporter” had talked to many people who are vehemently against the greenway. She looked through our website.  Not only was she well aware of the actual issues, she was well aware of what happened at the Greenway Grand Opening event.  She went out of her way to mischaracterize everything from the “No Greenway!” side.

I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised when it was discovered that the “reporter” and her husband are involved with a cycling activism organization – a fact that should have been disclosed not only to the residents, but to the public who read her incredibly biased and misleading article. That was a huge conflict of interest, and was certainly NOT good journalism.  Hannah Covington (or “Hannah Tines”, as she represented herself to those of us she wanted to interview) and the Star Tribune should be ashamed of themselves. This was absolutely irresponsible and unethical.

 

Before I address some specific issues in her article, I would like to make a few points about what is going on here.

Those who are fighting the greenway stand to lose a lot – access. Home value.  Safety, both for ourselves and our property. (There has been a rise in property damage along the affected route and adjacent alleys.).  We are having our lawns destroyed by those who see them as public property now.

None of us who are fighting against this are getting paid to do so.  We are investing what little time  – and money! – we have (in one of the lowest income areas of the city, no less) to fight this. We cannot afford what this greenway will do to us.

In addition to damage, it will make our homes less sellable. It will cost us money to retrofit our back yards to accommodate use as a main entrance, something they were never intended for. It will cost us money in car wear and tear, using alleys in EXTREMELY poor condition on a daily basis.  It will cost us money to build fences in our front yards, to try to keep the public OUT.

We are fighting an uphill, unfair battle because we CANNOT afford NOT to.

Those we are fighting against – the paid lobbyists, city employees, and bicycling activists that don’t even live here – They’re not in the same position.

Most of them ARE getting paid to be here.  This is literally their job, to force this encroachment on a neighbourhood that is ill equipped to fight back.

They aren’t taking precious “free” time away from their families, this is their job.   Those of us living here can put in a full day at work, and then come home to having to deal with fighting against this, on top of it.

Where we pool money, a few bucks here and there, to cover a $380 printing bill, they have hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal. Over $600,000, to be more precise – much of it coming from taxpayers.

Yes, those of us who have to spend our own time and money to fight this are – at the very same time – paying the salaries of those who are fighting against us.  It’s twisted.

The most pro-greenway person who actually lives on the greenway (and there are very few of those) is a young, able bodied man, with a young, able bodied wife, who lives on the corner.  Not only are they not losing their parking (at the street corner, there is less parking than those who aren’t on the street corner, due to space left before an intersection), they have plenty of parking on the side.  Additionally, they are looking to sell their house, and are hoping this greenway will mean a bigger profit for them – everyone else’s losses be damned.

We work to organize residents in an area where many of the homes we canvassed do not even have access to the internet.  They post flashy push-polls online, promote them almost exclusively to cycling groups outside of north, and claim they’re contacting residents.

Our own city council people can’t be trusted to look out for our best interests, as they’re too busy looking out for their own. Barb Johnson and Blong Yang are quick to sell us out to a billionaire football team owner, but care little about what is actually going on in their constituency. By all accounts, neither bothered to show up to the Greenway Grand Opening, though they are fully aware of what a contentious issue it is for residents in their respective ridings.

We cannot even trust a mainstream news outlet like the Star Tribune to write about this, without the reporter pushing their own, undisclosed agenda.

It’s very frustrating to be stuck in such a David vs Goliath situation, for something that affects our HOMES, and our lives.

Now, about that article.  A few points, in chronological order:

The title, “In north Minneapolis, neighbors at odds over greenway pilot route”

For the most part, the neighbours are all on the same page. With VERY few exceptions, we are at odds with outside people, not actual neighbours.

 

The photo used for the story:

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This photo is fake, and in NO way represents the “greenway” we’re living with. It was EXTREMELY misleading for them to include this.  For a better idea of what the “greenway” actually looks like, visit our galleries, HERE.

Not only is it a photoshopped composite image, the base image wasn’t even taken ON Irving, where the temporary greenway was installed.  Pictured is Humboldt Ave N, during a pro-greenway day-long event over a year ago.

It has nothing to do with the current reality in any way whatsoever.

Reality:

Photo by Gregory M

Photo by Gregory M

 

“The pedestrian- and bike-friendly route hugs the residential area extending from Jordan Park to Folwell Park.”

The route is neither pedestrian friendly, nor safe for cyclists. It is FAR more dangerous to both – as well as being more dangerous to children, drivers, and homeowners – than it ever was prior to the installation.

Click here to view video of the route, that demonstrates the lack of “safety”.

“A bike boulevard snakes through the next three blocks, which still allows two-way traffic and parking. Cars, however, must navigate around bump-out recreational spaces along the curb.”

There is no such bike boulevard, and that can clearly be seen on the video linked above. They shoehorn two way traffic and any cyclists through what becomes single-car-width spaces, repeatedly, along the route.

“It was here that a food snafu, they say, also snowballed. Participants said it was unclear whether refreshments were for everyone or just volunteers, and tempers flared after some were denied food.”

At no point was it unclear what was going on. This public event, funded by public money, on public space had a public, city employee deny food to anyone who was not pro-greenway. A pregnant woman who lives on that block was humiliated in front of a group of people. This was all despite the event being promoted to everyone on the route, as an event for everyone on the route.. with “food provided”.

When residents took offense to this gross, fraudulent misuse of public funds, one of the other greenway council people told her to stop denying food to those residents opposed to the greenway.  For a full account of what happened, click here.

“There has to be a democratic process,” Yang said, adding that the city should be a “neutral facilitator.”    

We would love to know how the city can be a neutral facilitator, when they are making money off this encroachment.  When the city is paying the salaries of those involved in implementing this, when city resources – website, contact lists, staff, money, and more – are being used to fight against those of us ill equipped to defend our rights – WHERE is the neutrality?

 

 

In closing, we would like to point out: newspapers have an obligation to inform, educate, and even – in some cases – uplift… not mislead, misrepresent, and oppress.

Beyond Contempt: Abhorrent Behaviour Towards Local Residents

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 (Vish.Vasani@minneapolismn.gov) 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.

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Vish Vasani

 

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

 

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:
Dana2

 

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.

A Word on Cultural Sensitivity to the Affected Area…

Today was the Greenway Grand Opening. We’ll have more to say on that in a day or two, once we’ve had time to rest and recover a bit… but something needs to be addressed.  It’s too appalling not to, and hey – the photo does most of the work for us.

 

Just two short days after the blazingly insensitive Tree Stump Fiasco (which were removed the same day), these stickers were being handed out as part of a Greenway Council – organized activity at the event:
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Yes.  In North Minneapolis.

 

In high crime rate North Minneapolis, where safety has been a #1 concern of those against the greenway.
In North Minneapolis, where resident concerns about safety were addressed LIKE THIS by a greenway proponent!

 

In North Minneapolis, just days after CHRISTMAS LIGHTING was installed “for safety”

 

Much like tree stumps would be something far more innocuous in an area that hadn’t recently been hit by a tornado, I’m sure this bit of marketing material could be considered cute somewhere else, if perhaps a bit of poor taste.

 

But here?

 

City of Minneapolis employees (none of whom live here) were WEARING these stickers while parading up and down these streets that they are encroaching on.

 

Have a little empathy for the area, Greenway Council.  If your partner companies are to be handing out marketing materials, perhaps check them first.

 

The fact that council members and city employees were sporting these was a huge slap in the face to all of us who have had our concerns for safety ignored and even ridiculed by council members.

 

Well, the “Additional Lighting” is in…

As we’ve mentioned previously, one of the major concerns about the greenway route is safety.  Safety both on the route, and the back alleys that we are being forced to use as a substitute main access point to our homes.

 

First, a quick reminder about how one (non-resident) who is heavily involved with the greenway council initiatives took our concerns about safety:  HERE.

 
Several months ago, we were told about a plan to add extra lighting to the greenway space (which is QUITE dark at night!), as well as to the back alleys. When pressed for details, the greenway council told us that the additional lighting – safety lighting, mind you – would come in the form of Christmas lights.

 

Christmas. Lights.

 

I don’t think I was the only person who thought they were kidding.  Not only would it look cheap and tacky (par for the course, as it turned out!)… strands of Christmas lights would provide little more than “mood lighting” for assaults in the area.  Christmas lights are certainly no theft deterrent!

 

Well, the lights are in – in the street anyway. Nothing yet in the alleys.  Strands of Christmas lights, as promised.  Very, very sparse strands of Christmas lights. Look at the theft deterrent power that they bring to the neighbourhood: Read more »

… Because the Hammocks Weren’t Bad Enough…

This morning, the greenway is having tree trunks installed onto the greenway… presumably to “pretty it up” for the grand opening tomorrow.

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Phillip posted a few photos on a local Facebook group, including the one above.  Click HERE to go to that post.

Here is the problem.  Just one block south of where these are being installed (Who knows, these may be going in on other blocks as well!) is the 3400 block of Irving – which had the 2011 Tornado go right over it.  It doesn’t have the nice canopy of trees that the 3500 block does (pictured)… because we lost so many beautiful old trees in the tornado.

100 plus year old hardwood trees were ripped from the ground like they were nothing.  They landed on and in houses, on cars, blocked people from accessing their front doors (oh, the irony!), and more.

It was many months before the tree damage was cleared up.  There were giant stumps with pulled up sidewalks all over north until more than 5 months later, some into the following summers.   It was hard to see, for everyone in north.  A few visual reminders: Read more »

One Sided “Journalism” Does a Disservice to the Community.

Last night, residents were enraged when Minnpost published a ridiculously 1-sided article about the greenway.  You can see that article HERE.

 

As you can see, the article presents a very different picture than we are seeing from local residents. A big part of that is that the people that they quoted, for the most part (Nathan, Alexis, Will) don’t live on the Greenway. In most cases, they don’t even live anywhere NEAR the greenway.  Alexis and Nathan are on the board of the Greenway Council, Will WAS on it before stepping down recently.  They quoted each in such a way to make it seem like they were local to the route. They are not. Will Lumpkin’s association with the greenway council should have been disclosed – this article is incredibly biased and misleading.

 

So, a few notes. Read more »

Safety Issues: Painting the Greenway.

Given the fact that this whole deal is sponsored by BlueCross/Blue Shield of Minnesota, and the idea – according to the bicycle activists pushing it through – is to promote healthy living, you’d assume that would come into play in the planning and creation of this greenway project, right?

WRONG.

On Saturday June 11, the Greenway council held a “Paint the Pavement on the Northside Greenway” event, co-hosted with theNorth Minneapolis Bicycle Advocacy Council . Employees from BC/BS were on hand to help paint, and children were present – and painting – for photo ops (Which have since been removed from Facebook).

The problem?

This is the paint they were using:
Read more »

Privilege: Racism, Ableism, Classism, and Sexism with the Greenway Project

Rather than recap this month’s Greenway council meeting (Which can be summed up as “More of the same disorganization, lack of direction, ‘I didn’t bring that information with me’, etc”), I’d like to address a major problem with this entire project – privilege.

This greenway manages to be a perfect storm of many of the biggest forms of privilege/isms, all in one.  The entire project is based in privilege: Classism, racism, ableism, and sexism. It’s to the point where I’ll feel the need to yell “bingo!”, should homophobia present itself at some point.

Where should I start?  Let’s go alphabetically.

 

Read more »

Bicycle Activist Contempt for Residents Along the Proposed Greenway

Note: Again, Brett Von Schlosser does not live in North Minneapolis and is a VERY vocal pro-greenway activist,  You may remember the name from an earlier post,  Non-resident attitude towards the resident concerns .

Today, the following was posted to a pro-Greenway Facebook group.  Let’s just allow the screen shot and full sized download of the attached photo do the talking for us: Read more »

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