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55418

No Art for the Arts District

Our Mylar Mayor’s plan for $50,000 water spewers is bumping against budget realities:

The plan for the controversial $50,000 fountains would be pared from 10 fountains to six under a staff recommendation that's up for debate Monday by a City Council committee. That's after the city has made turtle-like progress in moving ahead with the program, for which Rybak proposed earmarking money back in 2007.

DFL Marching Orders Lost by Post Office

Many Minneapolis democrats had to cast ballots last week without guidance from their DFL overlords. That model of government efficiency, the US Postal Service, was unable to deliver sample-ballot postcards by election day:

The Sample Ballots were completed and sent off for mailing on Thursday October 22nd. The Minneapolis Post Office completed the assemblage of the bulk mailing on October 27th. The target dates for the mailing to be sent out were originally October 25th and 26th—Later than the candidates wanted—but the 27th became the actual date, the first small problem.

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9/16

I haven’t written much about it on NRR, but a big part of my life over the past few years has been spent walking around my neighborhood as a volunteer crimefighter. It’s not as tough-guy and vigiliante as that sounds. We more or less just find ne’er-do-wells and stand where they can see us until they leave.

It’s not dramatic. Not very often, anyway. We’ve been so successful that there haven’t been many bad guys to annoy. Tonight, we found some. And we pushed them off their our corner.

We had several new people out in our group, and this was the first time they got to see what a handful of dedicated people can do. Even if our presence was short-lived, we were noticed, and we made a difference.

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Calling a Bluff

City Council candidate Mark Fox throws his voice into the lefty echo chamber known as the Minneapolis Issues Forum:

I’ll start where Becker and I agree. There ain’t no free lunch. Lower taxes mean reduced services. There are no solutions, only trade-offs.

But this leaves a more fundamental question unexplored. Which services are essential? What can the public do for itself without the nannying hand of government applying gentle and expensive “corrections”?

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Let the Games Begin!

We’re heading into local election season in Minneapolis. The deadline to file as a candidate for City Council representing the 55418 has just passed. Kevin Reich, the presumptive winner (by virtue of his DFL endorsement) is facing more challengers than I had expected. Here’s the field, with links to the two campaign websites I could find:

Filing Date

Candidate Name

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Shocking Ignorance

I first heard it from a landscape architect in a meeting about land use planning in the 55418. We were discussing the projected need for parking in commercial districts. The conclusion was that auto technology would evolve so that personal autos would always be a significant and vital means of transport, no matter the price of oil. As sort of an off-hand comment about electric cars, the architect said something like, “And I hear the cars will even sell power back to the electric company.”

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No Einsteins in Blue

A favorite memory of my time walking the 55418 with the Northeast Citizen Patrol is a conversation with a couple of cops. The officers were telling us true stories of dumb criminals. After several laughable tales, one of the cops joked, “We don’t catch ‘em because we’re smart.”

Well, TJIC pointed to the sad truth of that wisecrack:

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Christmas Comes to Polk Street

A long-blighted property in the 55418 is no more.

Backhoe demolishes 2632 Polk St NE

May this be the first step toward major redevelopment in the Audubon Park neighborhood.

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Northeast Power Vacuum

Paul Ostrow, the 1st Ward’s City Councilmember, has decided against running for a fourth term in 2009. Ostrow, in my estimation, is knowledgeable and diligent. He seems to have the temperament of a bureaucrat, without the obvious passion several other wards enjoy from their representatives. His decision does not create, but merely amplifies, the power vacuum in Northeast.

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A Gift for Railfans

In 1825, in the northeast of England, the Stockton and Darlington Railway began operating the world’s first steam locomotive. Next February, in the same locale, the world’s newest steam locomotive will enter service.

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Me, too

I am just so tired and disgusted by the hipster attitude, seen everywhere from this book club to the writers at Salon, to a dozen other places (and people I’ve met) who like to pretend that popcorn culture is something more than it is, and that when you don a pair of Lisa-Loeb glasses and add a dash of sarcasm, you’re a wildly witty and informed consumer who is deconstructing the stuff and appreciating it on a meta level.

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A Right to Infantile Outbursts

Americans have long had the right to put their candidates and their ideas to a vote. Now there seems to be a sense that your rights have been trampled on if you don't win.

That’s Thomas Sowell, in a reaction to the backlash after California rejected gay marriage.

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You Can’t Lose What You Don’t Have

Arnold Kling echoes my experience in tracking problem properties, foreclosures and vacant houses as a community activist:

Imagining the Protests

A sign of progress from NRR’s neighborhood:

BusinessWeek.com has identified Northeast Minneapolis as a great buying opportunity.

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Caffeinate Corporately

A daring adventure beyond the limits of the “Think Globally–Caffeinate Locally” mindset reveals surprising vistas. Corporate Coffee and Crazy Aunt Coffee are competitors, but they need not be enemies. It was, after all, Starbucks which moved the latté into our daily consciousness. CoffeeCorp made all those artsy-activist mocha mills possible.

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Mayor Emptysuit is a Hopeless Romantic

R.T. Rybak, the insubstantial Mayor of Minneapolis, thinks he knows how to increase sales of City water. Quality or price improvements are too sensible for R.T. He’s using tax revenue to build pretty fountains.

His (non-)thinking is that if more people knew Minneapolis Public Works sells and distributes water, more folks would buy and use more water. The stuff already flowing from household taps throughout the city and several suburbs isn't flashy enough.

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Neighborhood Brands

Can neighborhoods benefit from branding? Amy Sheppard thinks neighborhoods are essentially brands already.

The neighborhood name serves to set the story. It provides an instant understanding of the place, people, feeling, attitude, and reputation associated with the neighborhood—just like a brand of Apple, Sony, and Starbucks.

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Why are Neighborhood Nodes Dying?

This, from the Antiplanner, seems relevant to wondering what
happened to thriving neighborhood nodes in the 60s and 70s and to today's potential for niche districts (kitsch/arts/whatever):

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