Category Archives: Entitlement

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words – I’ll try to use fewer words than that, to explain the significance of this particular picture:

 

 

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This photo of a house for sale on the temporary greenway route is so very representative of a main issue with the entire greenway plan: Those that fight for it are not those that have to live with it.

 

 
We have a “Greenway Council” that is entirely composed of people who don’t live on the affected route.  Not one single member will have their parking, access, property, and safety negatively impacted by their plans, as their homes are all far enough away to avoid the fallout.

 
Not only that, but most of the greenway council doesn’t even live in the neighbourhood.

 

 
At the May Greenway Council “meeting” (the meeting that wasn’t), one council member was asked if they intended to purchase property along the greenway installation. They responded with a horrified “NO!”, as though living here was very much beneath them.

 

 
At least 4 of the homes with pro-greenway signs are owned by people who want to sell their homes in the very near future. One of the loudest, most obnoxious supporters on the route has declared their intention to flip their house in a year or two, and that they are looking for the greenway to be a windfall from them.

 
They are people who have bought into the propaganda that this greenway will increase home values, when it is clear that this is not the case.  We’ve already heard from one homeowner who has had to decrease his asking price by $10,000, because of the negative impact the greenway is having on his attempts to sell.

 

 
People who don’t live here, and people who are looking at the greenway as a way for them to profit on their upcoming departure are not the people who have to live with the negative impact the greenway will have.

 

 
The selfishness and the greed that we have seen from the pro-greenway people has been utterly mind boggling. With so much grant money on the line, the city and the council are quick to throw the entire neighbourhood under the bus, to line their own pockets.  Residents who are moving out are willing to financially cripple their own neighbours, just for the *possibility* of turning a higher profit on their own sale.

 

 

 
What this area needs is EMPATHY, not to be further disadvantaged for the benefit of those who do not live here.

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.

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 »

Resident Concerns: Arthur Dent

Green Way Or The Highway – Or – Misogynistic Salutations From Those Who Know What You Need

 

The Visit Greenway project or experiment is loaded with irony: in concept, Blue Cross Blue Shield is donating funding with beautiful aspirations for society, yet the idea that part of my premium, or the premium of a hospice patient that I work with is somehow embedded with this mishmash of color and cattle troughs – meandering from one point to another; with neither a destination of purpose, is tragic and whimsical. You see, this community is not healthy, and this action is like putting colorful underwear on a dying cancer patient who is in pain and delirious. Helping is based on good intentions, and it is necessary to be acute and functional, and at best have a strong science to reinforce what you are doing, but NOT IN THIS SCENARIO.

 

There’s an irony in the participation of the city of Minneapolis, which is not able to take care of the parks, infrastructure, or true needs of it’s people. Please refer to the $50 million dollar mud vein once known as Nicollet Mall, or the weeds growing through the tennis courts at Folwell Park. There’s a greater irony in an institution such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, which demands specific science and documentation presented for any chance of reimbursement, proselytizing the future with a happy north-south Greenway without any solid research or investment of assessment within THE MILEU OF THIS COMMUNITY. Imaginary thoughts of functional wonderment like that must mean I will be able to write in order for reflexology for a bilateral lower extremity amputee. That was cruel to say and frames the ridicule.

 

Last night I had the privilege of mingling with a small disproportionate group of white people (7:2,… White: Others), most of whom were vehemently opposed to this greenway project. Many of the proponents, all four that I talked to, were not from North Minneapolis, and although one worked in North Minneapolis, the others lived in South Minneapolis, and one lived in Southeast. Barb Johnson joined us, and carried out her role exceptionally well because she listened to, and acknowledged the feedback from her constituents. She reinforces her support for this trial, and also acknowledged a wide array of frustration.

 

Now it’s time to pull things apart.

 

From a social and psychosocial perspective, this community needs far more human engagement, and I am sure Blue Cross Blue Shield could be far more effective; exponentially more effective, by rethinking this investment. This community needs better parenting, better mental health support, and our children need better care. Unemployment is high here, and basic shelter and nutrition is a daily challenge for many people that live in North Minneapolis. Crime is well-known as a distress in our community, and I can’t help but feel that there’s a Blue Cross being painted on a sinking ship. This part of the demographic is very complex. North Minneapolis is more an amalgam than a community in that we are an attracted and combined while holding our own matrix of separate components: racial, ethnic, economic, renter, property owner, criminal, victim , affect, despair and hope. This project is wonderful on paper and in concept. This project, in isolation of benefit would make sense: however, we need to remember our good friend Maslow and the hierarchy of needs: the basic needs of safety, health and well-being are not being met, and fall far below the engagement threshold this project requires.

 

 

One of the supporters shared excitement that kids could ride their bikes from North Minneapolis to a “better place” like activities in South Minneapolis, or “perhaps catch a show at first Avenue”. Well, hammocks and play stations in the street are an invitation for disaster when a four-year-old child, or for that matter 30% of our nine-year-olds, don’t exhibit cognitive framework skills for discrimination of setting. In other words a four-year-old that learns to play in a Greenway Street zone is not likely to go to the next parallel street and recognize that that area is NOT a play area. We already have a problem with kids running into the street. It was suggested to me that a 12-year-old would be “fine” riding a bike from North Minneapolis to South Minneapolis. Again, a good heart is found in the best of all idiots (it is not, but could be a great Shakespeare quote).

 

 

There are people who need access to the street because they have disabilities, and Minneapolis Public schools need to pick up and drop off children, often using wheelchair lifts. My nurse practitioners visit hospice patients, and carry equipment and pharmacy, and it is unreasonable for them to park half a block away from the house at 3 o’clock in the morning during an emergency visit because of this Greenway fantasy. United Parcel Service and Federal Express don’t utilize the alleyways, and frankly this neighborhood is not inviting people to the back door. This neighborhood has had too much backdoor activity as it is – perhaps some ex leadership of the urban league will soon find their own backdoor activity in prison. (I had to get that in)

 

 

This Project: Property owners will lose value, and many people can’t afford or are not able to expand parking in their backyards, nor should they be expected to. The idea that guests to my home would be required to walk a block to my house is ridiculous. The city of Minneapolis could find itself in a legal battle solely on loss of property and passage, and risks the liability of restricting necessary services such as police, fire department, and emergency medical support. Increased traffic on other parallel streets is likely. The reason the city of Minneapolis would fall under liability is because they are the entity that approves, and they have to follow federal and state statutes that determine impact on projects like this. Why? Because federal funding is in our road systems, and even in the public housing which authorizes certificate based on a reasonable assessment of functional living property. Somehow the city of Minneapolis forgot that there are both federal and state statutes that have not been identified and assessed with in this model of Greenway. There are violations against the Americans with disabilities act, and one could make a civil liberties case through proximal isolation.

 

 

The real bother to me is the lack of science. Proponents express that the Greenway will also unite the community and help people travel to and from work. There is no evidence that this is true, and the cost to dollar ratio is obtuse to this argument. Just six blocks east Is Fremont Ave., North, which is constructed and determined to be a bike way to meet this goal (notice the green interchange markers and signage). Blue Cross Blue Shield is being very generous and I do feel we should applaud this, but the health benefits of the Greenway are touted with no evidence as it relates to the demographic of this community. Ultimately, the city is in collusion with an external corporate entity, and there is a lack of trust here in North Minneapolis: we are not safe, we are not supported through actions that are accurate: identifying goals and objectives with functional measurement, and we are not cared for.

 

 

The majority of this community is not being engaged, and I heard a comment, “we’ve put notices out about these meetings and about this project”, and people know. Hello, did you accurately measure to make sure you are effective in your communication? Show me, show us. The majority of this community is suspicious. Oh, 6:00, 6:30 wish and no structure agenda….

 

Would Blue Cross Blue Shield consider expanding these design ideas within our city parks where there could be an opportunity for higher supervision and expand our park programs? Blue Cross and Blue Shield might spend its money better by creating a training center in customer service here in North Minneapolis. How about building a facility within walking distance of a large percentage of our citizens. That would be heart healthy in action and support the economy. Perhaps increasing job training opportunities in healthcare professions.

 

 

I do need to apologize for writing with a muted tone, because I prefer to eviscerate when impassioned about a topic. I really do appreciate the effort that people are trying to put into this community.

 

Lastly, this afternoon a nine-year-old girl rode he bike by one of the hammocks, it snagged her jacket, pulled the hammock from the road fasteners, and sent her flying headfirst into the pavement. She did not have a helmet, her grandmother provided first-aid, and loving care that included a purple icy pop. We all got lucky.

 

Think this through please,

 

Arthur Dent..

 

Also, there are many organizations that donate bicycle helmets for those in need

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 »

Non-Resident Attitude Towards the Resident Concerns.

One theme that we residents on the route have been dealing with is an abundance of entitlement mentality coming from cyclists who do not even live in the neighbourhood.

Our parking, use, and safety issues come second to their ability to have yet *another* dedicated biking space, never mind the existing greenway running parallel to the proposed route, less than a mile away – and the multitude of bike lanes in the area that are all but unused.

This post and resulting COMPLETE dismissal of personal safety concerns happened on a Facebook group about the Greenway pilot project today. Note that Brett Von Schlosser lives nowhere near north, yet feels compelled to write off the safety of resident women as “A personal preference”.

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