Category Archives: NonResident

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:

 

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

 

A few notes:

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The Boys Who Cried Racism.

Recently, pro-greenway activists have adopted the habit of accusing those opposed to the greenway of racism.  This tends to happen randomly, whenever questions are posed about the greenway, upkeep, who is in charge, etc.  So, we would like to say a few things.

 
1. The implementation of the North Minneapolis Greenway is a HUGELY racist thing.
When we are talking about taking away access to homes, potentially reducing home values, and generally causing a huge upheaval to those who affected, approach matters. When we are talking about doing all of that, in one of the poorest, blackest neighbourhoods in the city, details matter even more.

 

 

Details such as appearance.  This pilot project was erected as cheaply as possible, using inappropriate materials (Horse troughs as planters. Plants need drainage – they’re all moldy and dead now!), ugly paint, etc.

 
Does anyone honestly believe that such a big project – a 1 YEAR pilot project – would look like this only a couple months in, if installed anywhere else in the city?:

 

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No reasonable person would be able to imagine this mess anywhere else in the city, even at the end of a 1 year trial.  The fact that it is SO run down just a few months in is extremely telling.

 
Details such as contact.  When canvassing the route, many people had no idea what was going on, and stated that they had not been contacted prior to the temporary pilot being installed.  Many expressed feelings of having been kept in the dark.   Of those who had heard of it ahead of time and had at least a vague understanding of what was up, most expressed feelings of “they don’t listen to us”.  Additionally, a large number of people we spoke to did not have access to the internet.  Many brought up the view that it all felt racist to them.

 
This is problematic on many levels… and, again, are not issues that would necessarily be in place, had this been implemented elsewhere.  The lack of direct contact with those on the route, when seen through the lens of “Many of the people here do not have internet” seems predatory on the part of the greenway council.  It seems like they are taking advantage of the lack of resources – specifically, access to information – in this area, specifically.  Would this happen in a predominantly white neighbourhood?  Probably not.

 
Then, there is the matter of the Greenway Council specifically wanting to hire a person of colour as a consultant, for pennies on the dollar.  Click here to read all about THAT.
Admittedly, a lot of the problems we’re seeing that appear to be racism share a huge overlap with issues of classism. Whether rooted in race or class, they are important issues that are being outright ignored by those in charge… or worse, exploited for their own benefit (lack of communication)

 
2. To the best of our knowledge the only people of colour in support of the greenway are those being paid to promote it. This is based on attending many Greenway council meetings and events, and canvassing door to door along the route.  Will Lumpkins, Alexis Pennie, Ebony Adedayo, Lawrence Lee, etc. are paid consultants, employees of nonprofits, lobbyists, etc – not all of whom even live in the area, and NONE of whom live on the proposed route.

 

 

Taking a look at pro-greenway events paints a very clear picture of who is supporting them.  From the “Northside Greenway Now” Facebook page’s (Formerly the official Northside Greenway Council page, has been renamed) recent post about a talk they gave in the impacted area:

 

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… This is every photo they posted from that event.  As a rough guess from our canvassing, the residents of the blocks that are currently being subjected to this nonsense are probably around 2/3 people of colour.   So, where are they?

 
They’re not in the photos here.  They aren’t at any of the meetings we’ve been to. If you exclude people with a financial interest (actual salary,   freelance contract, and/or representing a bike shop), they aren’t even on the Greenway Council board.

 

 

3. One of the two people quickest to call greenway detractors “racist” when they ask questions he doesn’t have the answers for is not only a white guy, he’s a white guy that doesn’t even live in North Minneapolis.

 
Oh, and he’s a white guy – again, who doesn’t live here – that draws cartoons like this and posts them to Facebook to belittle women who raise safety concerns:

 

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We’ve done two posts about his antics, here and here.

 
Also, when he was asked if he planned to buy property on the Greenway at a recent Open House event, he recoiled in horror – as if living here is completely beneath him. I wonder why that is, exactly?  I suppose I could make some assumptions, based on his little “artwork”.

 
Oh, and for the record, the second person calling detractors “Racist” is Willie Lumpkins.  Yeah, the guy from our last entry, here.

 

 

4.  Racism is a HUGE problem in today’s society.  It’s all around us – in the neighbourhood, in our government, on the greenway council, and  literally any time we watch the news or go on Facebook.

 
To be fair, there are more than likely racists who oppose the greenway, also.  People of ALL backgrounds oppose this thing, so it would be naive to assume otherwise.

 
The thing is, racism is an important and serious enough issue, that false allegations of it should never be used to shut people down when it comes to completely non-racial issues.  It’s crying wolf, and it detracts from the very real issues of racism that this neighbourhood – and those affected by this project specifically – face.

 
When a resident asks why the garbage bins aren’t being emptied, why the paint looks like crap, why there are no plans for upkeep, and who is even in charge any more – such questions have no root in racism.  To accuse anyone asking such questions of racism is not only a coward’s way to shut down the conversation, it’s also distracting from the ACTUAL racism involved with this project.

 
… Then again, I suppose it is in their best interest that people NOT focus on things like their aim to pay a person of colour pennies on the dollar, take advantage of a lack of resources with the residents here, etc.

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 »

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.

 

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Greenway Council Meeting Notes – 3/8/16

Several homeowners got together to attend a Greenway Council meeting this week.  

At first, they seemed happy to have new people there – board member (now secretary) Nate Pentz was all smiles… until he overheard us talking, and realized that we were homeowners along the route.  From that point forward, his face twisted into the deepest frown I have ever seen in my life.  So very welcoming!

Shortly after the 6:30 scheduled start time, we were asked to introduce ourselves.  There was a very clear divide between the special interest groups there, and the homeowners along the route.  Most of those on the board were not from the area, all of those opposed lived on the route. Those on the route specified “Homeowner, I live on the proposed route” or some variation thereof. Pro Greenway special interest reps / cycling activists that happened to also live in north (though not on the route) would state “I am also a homeowner”, but without the designation of specifically being along the route affected.

As the meeting started,  we couldn’t help but be shocked at the lack of organization.  The woman running the meeting (Sarah, whose last name doesn’t seem to appear on any of the paperwork. I believe she said she was from the City of Minneapolis? Maybe Stewart?) was almost completely incapable of finishing a thought.  Almost every time she was asked a question, she started a thought, stopped herself, started again, and went off in a completely different direction.  She couldn’t answer even the most basic of questions about the project.

Let me transcribe my notes from the meeting.   I’ll try to group them into relevant categories

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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 »

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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