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Minneapolis

Minnesota’s Mill City, plus the Capital City, and the surrounding MSA.

City-Funded Development a Necessary Failure

Minneapolis City Hall has recieved a partial repayment of loans made to a failed developer for a failed downtown retail project. The $29.4 million was:

a far cry from the more than $66 million the city once expected to collect in principal and interest on the three loans. Brookfield defaulted in 2002 on two loans involving the first phase of Gaviidae that included Saks, and the city took over the Saks property.

"This is an example where the public-private partnership has created something positive," said David Sternberg, who heads Brookfield's Minneapolis office.

“Positive” must have a different meaning in the subsidized development world:

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City Council Deliberates on Cops vs. Carrots

The Minneapolis City Council is hashing out a 2010 budget that will include both tax increases and cuts to core services. The latest compromise includes laying off 25 cops, but keeping 27 civilian Crime Prevention Specialists (CPS):

The budget writers dipped into funding for some of [Mayor] Rybak's favored programs to keep civilian crime prevention specialists working in neighborhoods. Money was taken away from such programs as high school career centers, micro grants to encourage homegrown food, and foreclosure prevention efforts.

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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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Judge Sends Petulant Park Board to Time-Out Bench

Earlier this year, the City councilmember for the 55418 proposed a few changes to the Minneapolis City Charter. Among the ideas for consideration was folding the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board into the City Council. The claimed benefits would be cost savings from eliminating duplicate administrations, and greater accountability due to the concentration fo authority in the Council. Opponnents claimed the cost would be lesser accountability, as the MPRB would no longer be an independent body focused on the City’s highly-acclaimed parks.

The initial proposal was not to eliminate the Park Board outright, but to put the question on the ballot, allowing voters to decide if a semi-independent Park Board was still the best arrangement for Minneapolis.

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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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Tomorrow It’s All Yours

Cost of Government Day (COGD) is the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burden imposed by government at the federal, state and local levels.

Cost of Government Day for 2009 is August 12. On average, working people must toil 224 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by government. In other words, the cost of government consumes 61.34 percent of national income.

If you had given the government everything you earned from January 1st through today, you could keep every nickel until the end of the year.

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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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Tattooed Absolution

An apt description of today’s urban culture is “post-modern”. All meaning is derived from context, without anchor to history and tradition. Tradition is merely fuel for irony, where the past is never faced honestly.

We knit and bake and work on motorcycles just like people did last century, but now the tone is different. The past has been deconstructed and rebuilt in terms of exploitation and degradation. The only acceptable way to embrace tradition is by mocking it. An implicit conflict between the experienced value and the learned negative regard remains unresolved.

The Public Includes Everybody

Minneapolis government is about to vaporize 1.75 million dollars in the name of bicycle transportation:

The Minneapolis Bike Share Program will create the nation’s largest municipal bike-share system right here in Minneapolis. Plans call for a thousand bikes to be available in the areas of Downtown, Uptown, and the University of Minnesota campus.

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Death Turns Biker Arrogance Into Rage

This morning in Minneapolis a bicycle commuter was crushed to death by a semi. The local bike nuts’ reaction was to blame the truck driver.

Semis dont belong on city streets. period.

If what the Star Trib is reporting -- that the truck driver turned into the bike lane -- is true, then it needs to be prosecuted as a negligent homicide. Period.

Later in the thread, cooler and more-reasoned voices tempered the calls for vengeance.

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Hope in a Teapot

I was at last month’s local Tea Party on the Capitol lawn. By now, most have probably settled on believing the media’s truth of the day’s events. What I saw was not that story.

The crowd numbered in the thousands. They weren’t mad about taxes. Or, not just about taxes. Most of the signs seemed to reference big government and big government debt.

And the crowd was civil. Disappointingly so. I wanted pitchforks.

Thanks to technology and the internet, the truth is available, should this day become recognized as the start of anything Important. I don’t have much to add.

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Landlords Unite!

Neighborhood activists like to trumpet how they engage and empower communities. Quite often, in my experience, it’s a lie. The organizers hoard whatever power they can collect, shut out dissent, and still claim to be selfless representatives of the broader population. Over in Dinkytown, landlords have called the organizers’ bluff:

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Nickels and Dimes

The unfathomable irresposibility of the US Federal budget is echoed in local government all across the land. Diminished economic activity had led to lower revenue for city and State governments. Since politicians are congenitally unable to recognize anything more than token waste in government operations, they can’t cut spending to keep budgets in balance. So they’re turning to myriad “revenue enhancements”:

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The 747 Inside Your Computer

Seagate Technology makes computer hard drives. They sell over $11 billion worth of them each year. Inside each drive is a collection of platters that store information and an array of heads which read and write that information to the platters. Twenty percent of those heads are made in NRR’s core service area (in the suburb of Bloomington, MN).

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Obama Insults His Ancestry

Obama’s oratorical incompetence is making headlines. He’s a stammering loon without his teleprompter. His St. Patrick’s Day debacle is good for a chuckle.

But I want to poke Barry with a different needle. After his self-congratulatory miscue, President Klink warned the assembled Irish-for-a-Day crowd:

about the free-flowing bar and warned his guests not to wear lampshades on their heads in front of the cameras.

The hurtful stereotype of the drunken Irishman is evidently still acceptable. Cultural sensitivity only matters if the victim group has been formally established in academia and sanctioned by government.

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Obama Touts Rybak’s Incompetence

The current President last night told Congress:

Because of this [porkulus] plan, there are teachers who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids. Health care professionals can continue caring for our sick. There are 57 police officers who are still on the streets of Minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoffs their department was about to make.

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Temple of Knowledge Booby-trapped

The downtown Minneapolis Hennepin County library is attacking patrons again:

The Minneapolis Central Library has closed most of its Nicollet Mall entrance because of icicles forming and falling from the building’s distinctive “wing.”

Many people think the design of the building and wing is to blame, and someone should have foreseen this problem.

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Cabal of Councilmembers Compromise Principles

A trio of of our Councilmembers—perhaps the three goofiest—have been caught selling out their principles:

A preemptive effort by several Minneapolis City Council members to state a preferred route for a new Xcel high-voltage power line through south Minneapolis blew up Friday when their colleagues cried foul.

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Mayor Pot Chastises Governor Kettle

One of the prerequisite talents for elected office is maintaining a straight face when telling jokes like this:

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Minneapolis Upgrading Parking Meters

A couple of days back I tossed out a suggestion to help Minneapolis meet its budget shortfall. Turns out our City Overlords are working in the oppostie direction:

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