Category Archives: Misleading Promotion Tactics

City of Minneapolis – Summary of Feedback Received

Back on August 26, the city of Minneapolis held yet another “Open House” meeting for residents.  (That was the meeting mentioned in THIS post).

As part of this open house, they presented attendees with a limited number of copies of a 37 page document: “Summary  Report of Resident Feedback”.  They said that the document would be available on the Greenway website.

Well, a month later, and we’ve finally got a copy of this report.  You can download it by clicking HERE.

A few notes:

 

1. At the meeting, the city of Minneapolis representatives claimed that the report contained ALL feedback received up until a certain date.  As we were BCC’ed on several emails sent to their department, we know this to be false.  There are several emails we were copied on that were NOT in the booklet, despite being sent before the cutoff date mentioned.

2. As you will see, the feedback is overwhelmingly negative, even with leaving out some of the feedback they’ve received.

3.  To this date, the Greenway Council and City of Minneapolis continues to spew a narrative about them having “overwhelming support” from the community.  How they can do so with a straight face, while also publishing this report is beyond us.
4. As previously mentioned, there have been multiple reports of dissenting feedback NOT being recorded at multiple in-person feedback gathering sessions.

 

5. We appreciate that the City of Minneapolis is finally acknowledging that their data collection standards have been less than acceptable to date.

6. Some of the language contained in the report is NSFW.

It’s Official: The Neighbourhood Does NOT Want This!

After many months of misleading promotion tactics from the Greenway Council, being ignored by the city, and the media presenting an INCREDIBLY inaccurate, one-sided view of what residents in our neighbourhood are living with… It’s with GREAT pleasure that we share the news we received this morning:

 
Last night, the Folwell Neighbourhood Association passed an official resolution, demanding the immediate removal of the temporary greenway installation.

 
To say that those of us who have been fighting this ugly, dangerous encroachment are jubilant right now would be quite the understatement!

 
Of particular note: Not only did the neighbourhood association demand the removal, they also acknowledged the reality that so many of us have been trying to bring attention to: that what was implemented is NOT what was promised, and is not what is being promoted to outside interests.

 

 

It is SO empowering to see that our neighbourhood association is joining us in pointing out the reality of this situation.  It’s one thing to point out that “the emperor has no clothes”, ourselves…  but it sure feels great to have official backing on that.

 
If you would like to read the official resolution, CLICK HERE.

 

 

Editing to add: If there are questions regarding this action please contact the Folwell Neighborhood Association. Roberta@folwell.org or 612-521-2100.

Providing Visual Context for This Nonsense

(Note: In the interest of fairness in presenting context, all photos on this entry were taken the same day  – this afternoon.)

 

Because this Greenway is being promoted to outside, non-residents (because obviously their feedback is more important that those living on the impacted route!), we thought it would be a good idea to provide some context for those who have not yet seen the area.

 
First of all, let’s have a look at the 5 blocks currently impacted with this “pilot” greenway project:

 

greenwaylayout

The impacted blocks are colour coded to match the ridiculous neon paint that they have been sullied by.

 

A few notes:

Read more »

A Look At Who Is Running The Show Here, Part 2

This blog entry has been a long time coming, and it’s going to be a difficult one to write. When talking about the subject of Willie Lumpkins, deceit, and lack of transparency with regards to the Greenway project… there’s almost TOO MUCH subject matter to cover.
Misrepresentation has been the name of the game for those promoting the Greenway encroachment, and no one has exemplified “misrepresentation” quite like Willie has.
To start at the beginning, Willie was a board member of the Greenway Council, before he… wasn’t. Popular rumour has held that he was fired, yet no one seems to want to clarify WHY exactly he is no longer on the board.
All we know is that whenever Willie has gotten out of line, various board members have been quick to point out that Willie does not speak for the board, as he is no longer a member.
Why is it, then, that any time there is a news piece on the Greenway, Willie is still selected to be one of the mouthpieces of the project?   Why does the Greenway council take great care to distance themselves from him when he acts out, yet routinely turns to him as a spokesperson?
Additionally, if distancing themselves from Willie, WHY has the official Northside Greenway Council had Willie in charge of their official Facebook page   (recently renamed “Northside Greenway Now”)?

will

 

will1

 

will2

 

Now, you’ll note in that last image, the corresponding Will post is by a name other than “Will Lumpkins”

 

That is because this is one of his fake accounts, as he recently outed himself on:

will3

By Willie’s own accounts, he’s not only a (former?) board member, but someone who is paid to “engage the community” with regards to the Greenway project.
On the subject of that “community engagement”… Will uses this fake account to “engage” residents on a local Greenway Facebook group:

will6

 

will4

 

 

 

will5

… It was only recently that he outed himself as being the same person with a fake account, and that came around by accident.  In the months leading up to it, he not only posted under the fake account to support the Greenway – making it appear that the Greenway has more support than it does – but also went so far as to reply to his own posts with his fake account, “converse” with his fake account, etc.

 

THIS is the “transparency” we’ve come to expect from him, the Greenway Council, and the City of Minneapolis. Fake accounts, misrepresentation of the level of support, and more.

 

… who pays Willie?   This is an answer that many of us on the Stop the Greenway group have been asking, but  – much like many other questions we have about the project, particularly with regards to money, where it’s coming from, and to whom it is being paid – we are left without answers.

 

Is the city paying his salary / fees?  Is this abuse and deception coming from our tax money?

 

How exactly can the city claim to be a “neutral party” in this (per Lara Pratt, on many public occasions), while paying extremists to alienate those against the greenway, and basically act as a crass cheerleader for the project?

 

How was Willie hired for the “Community Engagement”?  What vetting was in place?  Was he truly the best choice for such a role, given that he’s blocked basically everyone involved with fighting against the greenway?

 

Wouldn’t “engaging” the detractors, trying to win us over be a smarter plan of action?

 

Can we really not expect that our tax dollars – especially when actively being used AGAINST us – to be used to hire someone of some degree of professionalism?

This IS, after all, the person that publicly stated that we were in the wrong for being concerned about “1 old lady with cancer”, rather than “the future”.

Resident Concerns – W.R.

We recently invited those opposed to the Greenway to email their concerns to a list of politicians and others involved with forcing this fiasco on us. With permission, we are sharing some of those that have been forwarded on to us by the author. 

If you have sent such an email to the powers that be, and would like us to post it, please send a copy to us at fightback at stopthegreenway dot com. Please include information on  how you would prefer your name to appear:  Full name, initials, anonymous, etc.

 
I wanted to share my frustrations and concerns as a resident and home-owner on the Greenway in North Minneapolis.

 

There is growing frustration amongst my neighbors on Irving Ave N. about how this unattractive, unnecessary, unsafe greenway has been imposed upon us from outside interest groups and non-North Minneapolis residents.

1. MISLEADING OUTREACH

 
Outreach to the community about the proposed greenway was extremely leading and
subjective:

– Outreach materials mentioned only the pros of a greenway and never mentioned the downsides or losses associated with such a greenway

 
– The materials depicted beautifully rendered mock-ups of a theoretical greenway which bares no resemblance to the cheap, unkempt, unattractive greenway we’re now burdened with

 
– Information regarding community meetings and events related to the greenway including dates, details, cancellations, to time/date changes has been consistently unclear and miscommunicated.

Residents now feel misled and duped and continually unheard.

 
2. DEVALUED PROPERTIES

 

We’ve owned our home at Irving Ave N. for over 10 years now. With the recurring crime and violence, we’ve wanted to move away for many years now – but we were under water with our mortgage, and still are – by $80,000.

I’m attaching below a photo of our home as it now looks with the greenway encroaching on our property, and the Nice Ride station plopped right in front of our front door, which neither the city nor the Greenway Council bothered to inform us about or request our feelings about. (Folwell Park is huge and right across the street – couldn’t the Nice Ride station go anywhere inside Folwell Park instead?)

 

We were finally hoping to put our home on the market this year – a sale/transaction we’d already be losing money on – but the violence is just too much.

 
This temporary greenway and massive Nice Ride bike station do not add beauty or value to our property, as the Greenway Council and Blue/Cross Blue Shield kept promising residents. The greenway and all its elements are unattractive and will make our home even more difficult to sell, and at a lower price, to boot. (See photo below)

 

3. SAFETY

 
My 17 year old niece lives with us currently – and, what with the crime and violence, including those two toddler girls who were shot just blocks away on Penn/Lowry last week – I am not comfortable with my niece coming home from her job at 10 at night and needing to fuss around and find far-off parking that isn’t right near our front entrance.

For what is all this fuss and fear? Why does she have to do this, be more unsafe? Walk in the dark longer on our bullet-ed streets? So bicycling enthusiasts, the majority of which don’t even live in my neighborhood, can cycle down Irving Ave N? Cyclists already could bike down Irving last year, on Humboldt, on any street really, prior to this greenway.

 

Parks are parks. Streets are streets. Parks are for being active and enjoying nature. Streets are for driving and parking and access to our homes. It’s unrealistic and unfair to turn residential streets in densely populated neighborhoods into parks.

 

We have not gained much of anything here on Irving, we have only lost things – access, safety, input, respect. Litter and abandoned tricycles now clutter the greenway. I look our my window onto it, multiple times a day and it’s a mostly un-used, confusing, no-man’s land, that no one feels they own or have any say in, and so anyone can just wander in and abuse it, and our front lawns, and wander off again.

 

We all do appreciate new ideas to make North Minneapolis a healthier, more vibrant, forward-moving community – but this greenway isn’t practical or purposeful enough.

 
– W.R.,  07/26/16

 

IrvingHome

Resident Concerns – Meta C.

We recently invited those opposed to the Greenway to email their concerns to a list of politicians and others involved with forcing this fiasco on us. With permission, we are sharing some of those that have been forwarded on to us by the author. 

If you have sent such an email to the powers that be, and would like us to post it, please send a copy to us at fightback at stopthegreenway dot com. Please include information on  how you would prefer your name to appear:  Full name, initials, anonymous, etc.

 
To whom it may concern from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota,
I am writing to bring to your attention, if you were not aware of it already, the issues regarding the Greenway that’s being planned for Irving in North Minneapolis.

 
While I was initially in great support of this it’s painfully clear that, in the two years of polling and interviewing of residents, this Greenway board has not listened to or even formed a response to most of the concerns of people living on or near the Greenway. Not only is this test Greenway NOTHING like what people had described to them, but the responses from the Greenway board towards any concerns arising from it have been extremely dismissive if not downright offensive.

 

My concerns are primarily in regards to how this goes directly against the ADA. New construction to public streets NEEDS to provide access to housing for the disabled. Two of the three “options” proposed in the test would completely remove parking access and access to mobility transport. There is one woman currently on this route that’s been blocked off that must go through the back yard and into the alley to get to her transport that brings her for her chemo treatment. Backyards are not set up to be main entrances and exits, especially for wheelchairs or large transport vehicles, not to mention it would be impossible to have visibility of these areas, making seeing when transport arrives impossible. Upon being told these concerns the response was along the lines of “we shouldn’t let one sick woman stop our bettering of the community” or “they can just reconstruct their backyards to allow for their accessibility needs (on their own dime of course).”

 

This is an exceptionally offensive, apathetic, and out of touch response. It’s not simply about one woman. Not only can any person find themselves with either a permanent or temporary disability, or with a child or other loved one with a disability they must care for, but everyone in their life eventually needs a little more help in regards to accessibility and mobility. This is why the ADA was created: for those that find themselves in positions where they can’t speak up for themselves. This is why when things like the Greenway are forced upon communities that do not want them lawsuits happen with good reason.

 

Other concerns, just as valid, were also pushed aside as well as belittled. Concerns of safety when alleys become main access for houses, especially considering recent repeated rapes that had occurred in the very alley proposed to become a main access for these residents, have been called “highly unlikely” (along with a little offensive drawing of a hoodie wearing blackened faced grinning figure holding a knife) in the Greenway councils notes and then were also flat out ignored. Concerns that the proposed benches and picnic tables cause an environment for loitering in a neighborhood that already has trouble with loitering was also ignored, even among people entering residents yards to take flowers, signs, and dump trash under their trees as if it was part of the rest of this “park” during this test closure. Residents also are not keen on this being made into a place that children should feel they can play, as is being insinuated by many of the installments and pictures. Children do not belong by the road.

 

 
Alongside this concern was a very valid concern about the trash cleanup. Who would empty the trash cans proposed, or pickup the wrappers, bags, rotting food or diapers (all things left on the Greenway shortly after the councils events)? When asked this the Greenway council either shrugged or that the residents should pick it up. Snow and leaf removal is also something they had no answers for (would they make the plowing of the alleys a priority and would the plows be able to even fit down the alleys without damaging the uneven pavement or running into garages?). This is not acceptable. No answer after so long of a time to get these answers is in no way acceptable. When asked if emergency services would be able to get to residents it was simply stated “yes” with no explanation of how, and yet when the test closure happened the meetings were flooded with angry and concerned police, firefighters and EMTs who had not even been told of the closure in advance.

 

 
Throughout all of this we’ve had to put up with very rude treatment for our concerns. Meetings have been canceled last minute or moved up right before the meeting is supposed to start “out of respect for peoples schedules.” People have been removed from the Greenway mailing list or blocked from Facebook groups just for sharing their concerns. Residents who went to the Grand opening which was stated to be “for everyone to voice their opinions” about the Greenway had been told, once they share that they have some concerns of course, that the food (which was paid for with public funds) is only for supporters of the Greenway. This was told to multiple people, including an 8 month pregnant woman on what was a fairly hot day, by representatives of the Health Department. This is abhorrent behavior, especially from representatives for a city department and yet residents have been subjected to it repeatedly.

 

 

Again, I am not against a bike path. My suggestion from the beginning, as well as the suggestion of multiple people, has been a straight one-way road with a dedicated parking lane and a combined bike and walking path on both sides with a gradient slope towards the street that would allow anyone access at any point along the way. This would not be a “Greenway” but what is currently being proposed is far from a proper Greenway and should not be called as such unless the buying and demolishing of houses along the path is also proposed. Any part of our suggestions have not been incorporated, in any way, in this test closure and they continue to go unaddressed.

 

Please help us stop this badly planned project that’s damaging both peoples property values and relationships within our community, and help stop the inevitable lawsuits towards the city and board that allowed it to happen that will follow after these violations against the ADA become permanent structures. A bike safe road can happen and is a great idea but THIS Greenway is not going to happen and is not being received well in any sense of the word. By ignoring peoples concerns it only damages the goal bettering our community further.
Thank you much for your time,

Meta C
Resident of North Minneapolis

 

Resident Concerns: L.D.

We recently invited those opposed to the Greenway to email their concerns to a list of politicians and others involved with forcing this fiasco on us. With permission, we are sharing some of those that have been forwarded on to us by the author. 

If you have sent such an email to the powers that be, and would like us to post it, please send a copy to us at fightback at stopthegreenway dot com. Please include information on how you would prefer your name to appear:  Full name, initials, anonymous, etc.

 

My family and I have owned a home on the proposed Greenway, 4000 block of Humboldt Avenue North, for over 4 years. I had concerns from the time I received a letter regarding the proposed plan and responded twice by email and have attended one planning meeting.

 
I take exception to the results of the surveys as my household was never contacted to be interviewed.  Someone is at home 90% of the time and no one contacted us, nor if they tried, did they leave any information.

 
The only thing I like about the proposed Greenway is the name – but where is the “green?”  I have visited the demonstration project…Easter egg colored paint on the road, orange cones, barricade sticks and more signs…it looks like a children’s birthday party obstacle course – gone wrong.  I have sympathy for the people who have to look at it out their front doors.  It has benches – yes, but I can’t imagine wanting to sit on a bench in the hot sun and stare at your own houses.  Basketball hoops might be added?  Again, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to hear basketballs bouncing right outside their living rooms or bedrooms.  (Some people don’t have central air and keep their windows open for air.)

 
The main negative feedback seems to be the parking issue, an issue of concern for me as well.  I don’t think the details of how this would negatively impact me and my neighbors have been considered. On the posted page of FAQ, the question of where to park was condescendingly addressed by saying we could park in our garages, driveways and parking pads (whatever that is). (I’m glad they mentioned it as no one would have thought of that!)  On Saturday morning, I counted 35 cars parked on Girard (the next street over) and 17 cars parked on my street.  Please say you do not expect 17 extra cars (from Humboldt) to find parking spots on Girard).  And this is summertime; in the winter there are issues like no parking allowed on plowing days or worse, one sided parking only.

 
I don’t even use my driveway as it full of broken glass and nails. I have picked up 7 nails in my tires in the last 3 years.

 
On the 4th of July, my next door neighbor had a party.  About 15 guest arrived by car.  Most had children walking with them or were carrying babies and food.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to have them park a street over and have to walk to their destination?  Now imagine it is winter.

 
My daughter uses Metro Mobility which I see concessions have been made for front door pick up.  Metro Mobility also has a taxi service that clients can use and Metro Mobility pays all but $5.00 for a ride.  We have already contracted for a privacy fence for our backyard and once built there will be no sight access to who has arrived in our driveway.  Will taxis be allowed to pick up at the front door?  I also see an exception has been made for large delivery trucks – here again, what is considered large – Fed EX, UPS U-Hauls, pickups?  It doesn’t seem like anyone has thought through all the details.

 
I also have concern about safety.  I certainly wouldn’t let my child play in the street designated only by paint and cones.  If connecting the parks is an objective, what is wrong with the sidewalks that are already in place?  I have read there will be enhanced lighting, trash pickup and snow plowing.  Of course this would be an extra tax burden to homeowners.  The curious thing is if this plan comes to fruition, taxes will go up and certainly home values will go down.

 

 
Last week, yards on the demonstration block were trespassed on and vandalized – “Stop the Greenway” signs were destroyed.  This “project” has now become a divisive issue – in light of the other issues our community faces, please don’t let another one make us hate our neighbors.  It is extremely hard if not impossible to insinuate a “greenway” into an already established neighborhood.  The successful greenways have not had the space issues that we face here.  We already have the Victory and Theo Wirth Parkways in North Minneapolis.  They were planned before houses were there.  They are well used and beautiful.  The question was asked, “Why can’t North Minneapolis have anything nice?”  This is not the answer.  This is being seen as another insult to an economically challenged area.

 

 

– L.D, 7/19/26

 

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:

08_326643_NSBIKE_30109135

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.

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