BY ED FELIEN
There are revolutionary changes happening in Minneapolis, and I don’t remember voting on them. Robespierre had more of a mandate for his Reign of Terror than Bender and Frey do for their changes that are transforming Minneapolis.
The city’s so-called “Inclusionary Zoning” has marked the inner city for extermination through gentrification. They are planning to eliminate the communities of color in the inner city in the name of integration, and they are sparing the neighborhoods that have historically discriminated against people of color. The communities included in the zoning change will be excluded and removed, and the communities excluded in the zoning change will be included in the new Minneapolis. What amazing doublethink. What a fraud.
They are raising our taxes more than they have in 10 years to pay for more cops and more bureaucrats. We have tried for months to get the city to show us a manning schedule of the Minneapolis Police Department so we could begin to hold them publicly accountable, but they have refused to send us the data.
They are reducing the lane widths on major city streets like Park and Portland and 42nd Street.
The new lanes are only 11 feet wide, which creates more “side friction.” They are deliberately making the streets more dangerous in the belief that will slow down traffic. Early last month I wrote to Council Member Andrea Jenkins, who represents the area around 42nd Street: “Are the reduction of lane width for autos and enhanced space for bike lanes on 42nd Street part of the 2040 Plan to ‘Reduce speed limits.’” She hasn’t answered.
But that wasn’t enough for the Millennials Gone Mad (MGMs). They converted Lyndale Avenue from four lanes to three and reduced the lane width to 10 feet.
Yes, fossil-fuel-powered motor vehicles need to be phased out. There are, right now, more than 5 million electric cars on the road, an increase of 63 percent from last year. It’s happening, and instead of subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, the government should be doing more to subsidize electric cars, and the city should be encouraging more charging stations. A war on fossil fuels shouldn’t necessarily be a war against motorized vehicles. For seniors, families, and for shopping—a car may be a necessity. The actions by the MGM’s on behalf of bikes make it seem like their bikes are aggressively trying to shove our cars off the road. Can’t we have a truce and talk about this?
In Amsterdam they have separate streets for bikes with traffic signals. Instead of encouraging bikers to use Park and Portland, why don’t we make Oakland a through street for bikes only? Cars could only drive for one block before hitting a diverter. That would calm traffic on Oakland and eliminate bike accidents on Park and Portland.
An incident in South Minneapolis last summer illustrates the overreach of these modern day Robespierres, these MGMs: A friend in South Minneapolis was having troubles with squirrels eating the soffit and fascia on their home and eating their garden. Squirrels are rodents, like rats and mice. The Minneapolis Code of Ordinances—Pest and Vermin Control, 229.70, says, “It shall be the responsibility of the owner of such property to exterminate the rats.” So, rather than pass the vermin on to someone else by leaving them in a park, they were exterminating them.
Some MGM found out about it and reported it to Megan O’Brien, animal control officer for the city. She paid a visit to them in full battle gear and informed them that it was against the law in Minneapolis to kill any animal: Chap. 64.90, Prohibited Acts: “No person shall kill or injure any animal within the city unless it be in defense of himself or herself, another person or the threat of imminent death of another animal.”
My friend was incredulous. “You mean you can’t kill a mouse or a rat?”
Officer O’Brien was insistent, “What you do inside your house the city won’t bother you, but you are not permitted to kill a mammal outside your home.”
Chap. 64.90, Prohibited Acts is an interesting chapter in City Ordinances. It also says,
“No person shall cage any animal for public display purposes unless the display cage is constructed of solid material on three (3) sides to protect the caged animal from the elements and unless the horizontal dimension of each side of the cage is at least four (4) times the length of the caged animal,” and “It shall be a misdemeanor for any person who houses, possesses, or is in direct contact with an elephant to use a bullhook, ankus, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, or similar device designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant.” These prohibitions seem to exclusively apply to preventing cruelty to animals in circuses, and it is doubtful that the intent of the ordinance was to prohibit control of pests and vermin.
It is true that a rodent is an animal, and it seems the city has taken the side of the rodents. Chapter 64.90 is at odds with 229.70, and the City of Minneapolis has chosen to aggressively enforce, with military khaki and a fearsome utility belt, the rights of rodents.
George Orwell said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
OK, Millennials, can we talk about this?