Alondra: We thought you were on our side


What happened?

A little over three years ago, on Sept. 30, 2015, you held a big community meeting with more than a hundred people at Plaza Verde to talk about the dangers of gentrification. You told Ryan Williams-Virden from the Twin City Daily Planet, “Gentrification is a process that slowly and gradually changes a community. It is a physical and cultural displacement.”

You invited us to understand the threat to our community: “Please join me and a panel of community experts for a timely conversation about equitable development, housing policy, gentrification, and how to protect our communities from displacement.”

And last month you voted to displace everyone in the 9th Ward.

You voted for zoning changes that will allow developers to come in, buy up three houses in a row, tear them down and put up two-and-a-half-story walk-ups. That’s not “equitable development.” That’s not providing affordable housing. That’s tearing down affordable housing in our multi-cultural community and replacing it with expensive apartments.

The Wall Street Journal called out this fraud in an article by Elliot Kaufman on Dec. 22: “Housing Deregulation in Progressive Clothes:”

“(T)he City Council overwhelmingly approved an ambitious plan to encourage higher density development and increase the supply of housing. The trick was to couch pro-development policies in progressive pieties.”
In talking about the 2040 Plan they said: “Local officials typically make these documents vague to allow for maximum flexibility. But the “Comp Plan” the Minneapolis City Council just passed is different. Its detailed zoning maps and rule changes leave little wiggle room for officials next year, when Minneapolis embarks on its first citywide rezoning since 1999.” And it eliminates neighborhood review and the power of people to control their own communities.

This is being done in the name of providing affordable housing, “But cheaper homes are already being torn down and replaced by fancier single-family homes.”

This is supposed to be more ecologically sound “even as it shrinks Minneapolis’ ‘green space.” And, “One worries about the city’s natural beauty.”

“Local officials crow that the Comp Plan passed because they crafted it in response to popular concerns, gauged through extensive outreach. In truth, the planners advanced their own ideas—most of which are good—and rallied the City Council with appeals to fashionable liberal causes. Advocates showed that many neighborhoods that once kept blacks out with restrictive covenants are now zoned exclusively for single-family homes, and thereby cast the Comp Plan as a blow against racism.”

Neighborhoods that are multiracial and multicultural (Phillips, Powderhorn, Central, Bryant, Bancroft and Corcoran) will eventually be replaced by expensive apartments for people who work downtown and don’t want to commute.

Isn’t this gentrification, Alondra?

We thought you were opposed to it.

What made you change your mind?

Was it the money?

Was it the $600 from Marty Schulenberg, an associate of Basim Sabri, a major Lake Street developer?

Or was it the $500 from David Wellington who built the $25 million apartment complex at 2340 East 32nd St?

Or was it the $600 from Martha Schiller representing Basim Sabri’s International Gateway project?

Or was it the $400 from Robert Speeter, Basim Sabri’s lawyer?

Or was it the $200 from the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce?

What made you change your mind?

Who do you represent now?

You don’t seem to be representing the people who live in your ward.

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