Minneapolis Redlining

“Urban Progressivism” Didn’t Cause The Racial Housing Gap, Racism Did

Since the murder of George Floyd and the social unrest that followed, the Star Tribune has been publishing a series of editorials reflecting and commenting on the proposals that have emerged to address the issues of police violence and the racist system that underpins and fuels it.

Unfortunately, before retroactively seeking out and publishing the perspectives of people of color, the Strib has instead chosen to recycle quite a bit of tired commentary from the usual suspects. This has included an editorial from former Senator and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, whose day job now involves lobbying for a regime that prosecuted an illegal war on a neighbor and ordered the assassination and bone-saw-butchering of a critic. Not everyone who has weighed in is as morally vacuous. However, many who have written in the Strib and elsewhere are people who held power and spurned their chance to take bold action to remedy the historical inequities that are still present in Minneapolis. Now, they have the arrogance to try to blame the current city leadership—which has acted more boldly than any before it—with the problems that they allowed to fester.

PSA:

Enter into the fray Carol Becker, an elected member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation. It is quite an achievement, but her recent editorial “Counterpoint: Minneapolis is ‘progressive’ and has terrible racial disparities,” is my vote for the most offensive of the entire genre. Proudly ignorant of history and contemptuous of the intelligence of the reader, for these reasons it should never have been published.

Small Errors

You do not need any special training or knowledge to note that Becker makes a number of completely unsupported assertions. For instance, in her closing, she attacks advocates for the 2040 plan as “mostly paid”. Despite having spent years making the accusation that support for the plan was astroturfed, she has yet to uncover any evidence of this. This is because it simply doesn’t exist. The Star Tribune should be ashamed to have allowed such a slander to slip past its editors.

Becker also makes the claim that “there is no bigger indicator of a family leaving poverty than availability of a car”. This is the kind of statement that deserves a citation. When subjected to any amount of scrutiny, it fails a basic test of causality. Owning and operating a car is a major expense. The ability to own and operate a car is a good sign that a family is not in dire poverty. However, did the car create those improved financial circumstances, or did the improved financial circumstances allow for the purchase of the car? There is a strong correlation between people who are not in poverty and people who dine at Spoon and Stable, but it would be obviously ridiculous to imply that it was dining at Spoon and Stable that was the cause of a family’s escape from poverty.

As a matter of fact, the relationship between car ownership and poverty is quite a bit messier than this simplistic framing suggests. Millions of Americans are underwater on their car payments and a bust in car loans is a sword of Damocles above the American economy. This is yet another reason why it is critical that cities build transportation networks that do not require the use of a car for access.

In addition to those dubious statements, Becker also makes several statements that it is hard to consider anything but outright lies. She writes; “The city’s 2040 Plan, the bible of urban progressives, says we must cut automobile travel by 40% in the next 20 years. Yet they never talk about how people will get to jobs.” This is demonstrably false. For instance, under ‘Goal 2: More Residents and Jobs‘, the plan states “A crucial element of residents’ ability to access employment and of a vibrant economy generally is public transit. While transit has improved in Minneapolis, it is still far behind the level of transit accessibility and mobility the city’s residents once enjoyed as they accessed jobs, services and housing.” This goal is supported by a wide array of policies aimed at improving mobility and access and at locating new and existing jobs along transit corridors. A typical example is ‘Policy 20: Transit‘, which explains “As our city’s population grows, it will be necessary to increase the frequency, speed, and reliability of the public transit system in order to increase ridership and support new housing and jobs.” Follow this thread further to the city’s draft Transportation Action Plan, which is a direct outgrowth of the 2040 Plan. The executive summary of the Go Minneapolis TAP includes the language; “Our streets will be organized to enhance access to jobs.” All of this information is public. Why Becker felt compelled to misrepresent it is beyond comprehension, except that she cultivates a base of readers who are unable to do their own research.

One Big Mistake

The objections above are small potatoes however, when placed alongside the editorial’s central thesis, an egregious misunderstanding of history. Becker wants to make the argument that Minneapolis’s progressive policies are to blame for the city’s yawning racial disparities. Which progressive policies? Becker is specific: “When I talk about ‘progressive,'” she writes, “I mean a very specific set of policies that define urban progressivism today. One touchstone is density. We must build more housing, goes the refrain, at almost any cost.”

Already, this line of argument shows its flaws. Minneapolis’ racial disparities are not only a local phenomenon. Cities around the country have the same problems. Are the size of these problems correlated with density? There’s no evidence of it. Nor are these racial disparities a new phenomenon. They can only be blamed on policies that ‘define urban progressivism today’ if those policies also defined urban progressivism in the past. Becker does not show evidence that they did, and that’s because it’s not the case. The policies of urban development have shifted dramatically in the past decades, especially on the issue of density. Less than thirty years ago, leading lights of urban progressivism were fixated upon the idea that design at lower densities was a key strategy that could change the fate of impoverished urban residents. They were wrong. Through the HOPE VI program, the federal government financed the demolition of dense modernist public housing blocks and replaced them with public housing developments that were influenced by the New Urbanist movement and aimed to capture the aesthetic of mid-century suburbia. The result was the loss of thousands of public housing units in already-reeling neighborhoods, and no widespread improvement in the fortunes of the people who lived there.

Becker, however, has a specific thesis. Homeownership is how a generation of Americans achieved generational wealth. The path for Black residents to gain the wealth of their White neighbors is to own homes which will then appreciate in value. What stands in their way? The Minneapolis 2040 plan and progressive leaders who have presided over a city that has built far more rentals than ownership opportunities. She writes: “It should be no surprise that Black families cannot build wealth through homeownership—urban progressive policies haven’t produced any homes to own.”

Urban progressive policies haven’t produced any homes to own?

I’ve read a lot of commentary about this subject, and I admit that I have never seen this angle before. The assertion that the country lacks single family homes to own is facially absurd. There are few things this country does better than building single family homes at great scale and low cost. (Not to mention that home ownership is perfectly compatible with multi-family buildings).

In the next paragraph, Becker specifically claims that the city is not producing enough large, multi-bedroom homes for Black households, which she notes are more likely to be larger or multi-generational. Here again, her assertions fail a test of causality. A leading reason why households in America become multi-generational is because they lack the wealth to live separately. Are some Black families not buying homes because there are not enough options to suit a preference for multi-generational living? Or are they living in multi-generational households because only by pooling their resources can they afford housing at all?

Becker’s explanation for the racial homeownership gap in Minneapolis is worse than silly. It’s gaslighting. The cause of the homeownership gap is not some kind of inefficiency in the market caused by benighted urban progressives. The cause is a sustained campaign of racist discrimination that was (and to a degree still is) practiced at every level of the real estate industry, aided and abetted by all levels of government. It has two parts. The first locks Black families out of owning homes in areas where prices were set to appreciate. This segregation was first enforced by racial zoning. When that was ruled unconstitutional, it was enforced by racial covenants. When those were ruled unconstitutional, or when White sellers and Black buyers conspired to break these barriers, this system of American apartheid was enforced by White mobs who waged campaigns of terrorism against the interlopers, their neighbors. These local rules and mobs were sanctioned by local authorities. At the federal level, the lucrative system of federally-backed mortgages that fueled America’s homeownership boom and the generational wealth of millions of White families was rigged through redlining to exclude investment in Black communities. When the last of these explicitly racist structures was broken down, the damage had long since been done. Single-family zoning today limits the supply of homes in exclusive neighborhoods, artificially keeping prices high. Prevented from gaining wealth through mid-century homeownership, many Black families now lack the resources to live in these areas and access the amenities they provide. Legal barriers have been traded for economic ones, but the result is much the same.

The second part of the system relentlessly scammed Black families of what wealth they did acquire. A common strategy called ‘blockbusting’ occurred when realtors spread a panic in a White neighborhood that Black families were coming to move there. Even if they were not personally motivated by racial animus, homeowners on that block knew (and were told) that if the neighborhood became more integrated, property values would fall. The realtors then would buy these homes from the desperate White families on the cheap and sell them to Black families at above their market value. This arbitrage was possible because while the supply of homes was not constrained, the supply of homes available to Black people was extremely constrained. Thus, Black families ended up forced into situations where they had to pay a premium if they wanted to own a home, for which the value was financially engineered to never increase. Sometimes, Black families were not even able to purchase homes before going bust. Many homes were sold “on contract” which meant that the buyer would be allowed to live in the house and pay it off, but until they paid the full price, they owned none of the asset. A missed payment could serve as justification for an eviction, after which the house would then again be sold “on contract” to another family, at no loss to the seller, who retained full ownership with none of the responsibilities. This scheme is so infamous, it became the principle exhibit in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations.” Becker’s indifference to history omits recent history as well. Black homeownership surged in the early aughts thanks to a system of cheap credit that proved to be built upon quicksand. That paper wealth evaporated in the financial crisis, leaving behind a trail of foreclosed homes and gap-toothed neighborhoods that disproportionately effected Black families and the places where they were concentrated.

No Excuse

This history isn’t secret. It is increasingly well-known and well-documented. Interested readers can pick up Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, Tom Sugrue’s The Origins of the Urban Crisis, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s Race for Profit, or a number of other books to learn more. Not everyone may know this history, but it should at least be compulsory knowledge for anyone seeking to write editorials in the local newspaper about these issues.

Becker writes that “Urban progressives ignored, then gutted, policies that shaped development, allowing developers to go where they would make the most money, not where we needed it. Uptown and Northeast have thousands of new housing units and jobs, yet Broadway never seems to change. This didn’t just happen. It was chosen by urban progressives.” This is profoundly ahistorical. It erases black letter history in order to score a self-serving political cheapshot. It denies the architecture of racial segregation and rebrands that odious machinery—insultingly—into a force for equality.

Characterized throughout by the use of rhetorical slight of hand and a loose fealty to the facts, all while masking a deeply false assertion at its core, this editorial is an unwelcome and unhelpful addition to the conversation about policing and racial gaps. The best we can make of it is to learn from its mistakes and resolve to do better in understanding the history that brought Minneapolis (and the rest of the country) to this point today.

 

Alex Schieferdecker

About Alex Schieferdecker

Alex Schieferdecker is from New York City, lived in Minnesota for six years, and now lives in Philadelphia. He is still unhealthily invested in Twin Cities politics and development. Please help. His twitter handle is @alexschief.

53 thoughts on ““Urban Progressivism” Didn’t Cause The Racial Housing Gap, Racism Did

  1. Bill LindekeBill LindekeModerator  

    I did not read that op-ed, but I appreciate that someone gave it enough attention to respond. This history is incredibly important as we think about how to craft the city policies and zoning rules that we need to redress this deep injustice. For sure, doing so will not be an easy task, and anyone that promises quick fixes is likely selling something and making things worse.

    1. Bill LindekeBill LindekeModerator  

      PS. this is just being pedantic, but I am sure that the folks making the racist HOLC redlining maps in the 1930s thought of themselves as “urban progressives” in a New Deal kind of way. We should always strive to make sure that well-meaning policies do not reinscribe racism that already exists.

      1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker Post author

        It’s possible, but my understanding is that the efforts to create these maps of loan risk in cities were driven primarily by business considerations. The best you can say for them is that their origins were partially colorblind, in that they simply were reflecting what was then considered a cold calculus of business sense.

  2. Ed Kohler

    Thanks for writing this. As someone who lives near Carol Becker, I get to see drafts of this thinking from her on Nextdoor. Economic exclusion is a great way to think about this. For example, she claims to be fine with new multi-family developments as long as they’re not near her. And she opposes small multi-family developments within our neighborhood that would allow people to move into the neighborhood without the wealth needed to buy a single-family home.

    When I think about what her policies would look like in practice, I picture non-white people living in large apartments on the perimeter of the neighborhood along Lake Street and Minnehaha Ave while white single-family homeowners are near the parks, schools, parkway, and theater. It basically makes non-white people guests in their own neighborhood when they attempt to take advantage of the neighborhood’s amenities.

  3. Sheldon Gitis

    I agree the large apartment buildings on the neighborhood perimeter are much more problematic in terms of wealth disparities and other quality of life issues than relatively small 6-unit or smaller buildings within the neighborhoods. However, speaking of small errors, as I recall, there was some pretty clear and convincing evidence the plan was astroturfed.
    https://kstp.com/news/5-eyewitness-news-investigation-minneapolis-hired-pr-firm-to-sell-2040-plan/5223017/
    http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls/files/f/mQhQWDbgBCsWy5SnpFYvjOrxHHE-2Sip-2J2qZ0a/Goff%20and%20Contract.pdf

    Carol Becker claims she was banned from discussion on this forum. If that’s correct, than it seems like those attacking her should avoid making “small errors” claims that are refutable.

        1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

          They got like one person to write an op ed in MinnPost.

          Meanwhile, hundreds of people had Neighbors for More Neighbors signs, a group that both pre-dated the Goff contract (I’m think) and had nothing to do with Goff.

          1. Sheldon Gitis

            So what’s your point? Are you saying Goff’s city-funded propaganda wasn’t city-funded propaganda because “hundreds of people had Neighbors for More Neighbors signs”?

            1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

              I’m saying that Goff had nothing to do with widespread support for the plan. My basis for saying that is that I never had any contact with Goff and I don’t believe that the grassroots organizers for a widespread movement in support of it did either.

    1. Ed Kohler

      @Sheldon, the specific claim Carol has repeatedly made is that people who write blog posts, comment on Nextdoor, or tweet positive things about the 2040 plan only do so because they’re paid to do so.

      This is simply not true, and insulting to people advocating for positive change in the city. She has not provided any evidence to back up her claim even after being repeatedly asked to.

      She seems to think that the only reason someone would disagree with her is if they’re paid to disagree with her.

      1. Sheldon Gitis

        Ed, the only specific claim I am aware of is that the City hired Goff Public Relations to do propaganda for the plan. I think, if you read the contract, it’s pretty clear that is a valid claim. I also think, if you read the contract, it’s clear that astroturfing was a key element of the “strategic communications.”

          1. Sheldon Gitis

            Believe what you like. I get a digest of the Mpls Issues listserve. Most of it I ignore, including most of the 2040 plan posts. I really don’t give a rat’s ass about the 2040 plan. As Ed Kohler has already articulated, there’s a much bigger problem with “non-white people living in large apartments on the perimeter of the neighborhood along Lake Street and Minnehaha Ave while white single-family homeowners are near the parks, schools, parkway, and theater” than some triplex getting built somewhere.

        1. Julie Kosbab

          Hiring PR is not AstroTurf. That is like saying political ads are AstroTurf.

          Many politicians hire organizers to help them campaign.

          Both are different than “paying people to support you.”

            1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

              There were thousands of supportive comments. Lots of people showed up to testify in support. Do you really think Goff arranged that? Why?

              If you smart enough to ignore what Carol and Ed say generally (everyone should), why do you believe them about this?

              1. Sheldon Gitis

                I’m just saying what’s obvious. Goff had a City-funded contract to do propaganda for the plan. Whether or not it was effective is anyone’s guess. Given the negative publicity that the contract received, and that the city planning department tried to cover up the fact that the contract even existed, it could have actually swayed some to oppose the plan.

                1. Hyacinth Diehl

                  So…The editorial claims that advocates were “mostly paid”.

                  You assert that a PR contract resulted in at least one editorial, although it’s not obvious the person who wrote it was paid. Let’s stipulate that they were. One paid supporter identified.

                  Folks point out that there were hundreds of folks publicly supporting the plan, with no evidence or reason to believe they were paid.

                  You reiterate that there’s one editorial was paid, and then say this was the only claim made…but if that’s the only claim it is vastly short of sufficient to the idea that advocates were “mostly paid”. The you imply that folks can’t prove to you that everyone wasn’t paid. Cool. You can’t prove you’re not paid by Bob Dobbs to drive us all mad with frustration. That’s just a ridiculous argument.

                  You keep asserting you’re just saying simple straightforward things, but this is baldly specious rhetoric. Either claim that all those folks were paid and defend it, or you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    2. Daniel ChomaDan Choma

      My understanding is that Carol Becker was encouraged to participate on this forum by the editorial board of streets.mn.

      I recall there was a twitter outlash from hyperactive urbanist boys with thumbs that could stand to have other hobbies, many of whom called upon this publication to ban her for her non-compliance with their perceived social media morals of bikes, new urbanism, and beer, but as far as this pub is concerned she was encouraged to participate.

      The first amendment in this country is sacrosanct. It has been my experience that streets.mn editors facilitate discussion as best as they are able and their abilities often eclipse those of publications run by professional journalists.

      The TLDR is I don’t always agree with Carol. I don’t always agree with the twitteratti urbanist bros. But this is America. We don’t always agree. That’s kind of the point. It’s my opinion that streets.mn does a pretty good job of holding up the discourse that powers our democracy to be the best it can be.

      1. Sheldon Gitis

        Are you saying she wasn’t banned, and that she’s free to post comments here?

        1. Adam MillerAdam Miller

          My, outsider, observation is that they decided to stop publishing her pieces (see above for why). Anyone with a valid email address can comment.

          1. Monte Castleman

            So she was banned for having different opinions than the “correct” ones as opposed to say publishing something objectively false?

            I was kind of encouraged to publish here at the time when they wanted more diverse opinions- from people other than urbanists living in the city, but I do wonder how long that will be the case, so I’m looking at options at restarting my own blog as a landing pad.

      2. Daniel ChomaDaniel Choma

        Sheldon, I am a red blooded free patriotic American. As a token of that I speak for myself. Neither you or anyone else can or will speak for me. I do not appreciate your straw man here.

        I said what my understanding of the situation was. I do not speak for the board.

        1. Sheldon Gitis

          It was no straw man, just a simple question. A simple answer ie I don’t know, I’m not on the Board, would have sufficed. No need to wave the flag.

          1. Monte Castleman

            Maybe an actual board member at the time could clarify exactly what happened with Carol and why?

          2. Daniel ChomaDaniel Choma

            I have every right as a person and an American to be offended for you trying to speak for me. You try to gaslight and walk it back and say “no need to wave the flag,” but as two free Americans speaking under the constitution you have absolutely no jurisdiction to stop me from being offended and expressing that I find your comment represensible.

  4. John AbrahamJohn Abraham

    Another great, deeply researched post on StreetsMN, and even if you don’t outright say it another shining example of why the alternative media landscape in MN is so important right now. Imagine the Strib publishing one fourth of this as a counterpoint. Well I can’t so I’m glad Bill’s outlet is publishing it.

    Alex I hope to do a Twitter thread on the finer points later but for now thank you for pointing out the literal mountain of fallacies at play here. And just so we all remember this woman is still in a major position of power at the city government. I wonder why? This is also reductive of my recent “interactions” with the (white, wealthy) CIDNA board as they attempted to dissect their immense privilege in this city w/o having to do much about it. One of them literally said “there were huge gaps in my education” when it came to much of what you lay out (and again, publicly available) in this post. May all white Boomers be so enlightened.

    Oh and just on Bill’s comment, which is still prescient (there is a racial legacy in the New Deal obvi) but the 1920’s “Progressives” (if those are whom Becker is “really” going after?!?) also hated things like alcohol and other stuff. So there are parallels to history but not always supportive or helpful. (IMO)

  5. Adam MillerAdam Miller

    You have to wonder whether there are any editorial policies at all at the Strib if “this thing from the last decade caused this other thing that has been going on for at least seven decades” makes it to print.

    1. Daniel ChomaDaniel Choma

      I’ve with a couple editors at Strib over the years over some differences and editorial policy actually. A particularly good example was over the 38th st bike lanes hoo haa.

      Strib does have an editorial policy and they do have good journalists. It’s important to remember that, especially when so much of our media environmental today revolves around the cesspool that is twitter. They as a newspaper however have a way different job than streets.mn. They bring the news, one side and another side. As best they can. That’s a different writing medium than StreetsMN and it is super important to remember that.

      Media is in flux and gigantic corporations are leveraging huge buyouts of media. This is anything from local papers in medium sized cities in the midwest to local news stations. This also means that as alt publishers we often are punching above our weight as what corporations want is advertising. This limits newspapers in some ways, because there is always politics in making sure you say the truth and stay employed. Its why America is now one of the worst nations on earth for journalists. It sucks but its true.

      That also means as alt writers we need to not be s***birds to journalists on twitter. A big problem with our democracy right now is people dont get access to the info they need. We can feel all high and mighty as streets writers, but the importance of alt papers is a product of a really bad societal situation where people dont thing newspapers are legitimate. Its not a good situation. And journalists being attacked by anyone from domestic terrorists to our literal federal government to twitterati urban bros is part of that.

      We should be coigniscent and respect journalists even when we disagree.

      Thats what this country is about, thats what our constitution tries to give us, an thats what NY v Sullivan attempts to give our democracy.

      As people and citizens who care about our community enough to write about it and participate in the discourse, it is imperative we don’t participate in the nonsense.

  6. Derek

    Carol’s argument doesn’t seem based in reality, but these type of bad faith arguments are pretty common among conservatives. Even though her argument is, lets say “unique”, she isn’t the first person who tried to link Democratic governance of cities with racial inequalities. Those of us that read blogs about zoning and the history of US housing policy for fun realize the long history of these issues and know that they stem from local and national policy, but we should still engage with the kernel of truth in these arguments. It’s important to educate people on this history. It’s important to challenge people, like Carol, who push policies that would make these inequalities worse. But sometimes it’s easy to pile on the easy targets like explicitly racist policies from decades ago but what about people living in Minneapolis that would consider themselves progressive but will fight to maintain the racist status quo? It’s easy to make fun of the suburbs or the Carol’s of the world, but now is a good time to challenge people who consider themselves progressive but want to maintain a racist system.

    1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker Post author

      Well, let’s be clear, Democrats absolutely were part of the problem here, and they still are. Mayor Hodges’ editorial in the NYT yesterday is a great explaination of this. People are willing to put “All Are Welcome Here” and “Black Lives Matter” signs in their yards, but they aren’t willing to put their kids in public schools or allow affordable housing in their neighborhoods.

      The problem with the op-ed I responded to here is that it tries to flip the script. It attempts to blame the people who are trying to solve these hypocrisies for causing the issue. And that just isn’t so.

      1. Sheldon Gitis

        The “people who are trying to solve these hypocrisies” construction contractors and real estate investors trying to make a buck. Give me a break.

        1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker Post author

          That’s not who I was referring to, and it’s odd that you thought it was.

          1. Sheldon Gitis

            I assumed you were talking about the people trying to get SFH neighborhoods rezoned for multi-unit housing. Is that not who you were referring to? And if it was, then can you tell me with a straight face that real estate investors and construction contractors are not leading the charge to make that re-zoning happen?

            1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker Post author

              Yes, that is who I was speaking about.

              And yes, I can tell you with a straight face that “real estate investors and construction contractors are not leading the charge to make that re-zoning happen.”

              If you don’t believe me, ask Kelly Doran, one of the biggest developers in Minneapolis, who was quoted in the Star Tribune as being in opposition to the 2040 plan: https://www.startribune.com/comp-plan-protects-against-bulldozing-neighborhoods-backers-say/497454901/

              It makes sense that big developers would oppose the plan, since they succeed in a market with complicated roadblocks to development and as much housing scarcity as possible.

              1. Sheldon Gitis

                Alex, I thought the link you provided was to an op ed by Kelly Doran stating why he opposes the plan. The link you provided doesn’t disprove what I said, it confirms it.

                “Scott Busyn says he doesn’t want to bulldoze your neighborhood. President of Edina-based Great Neighborhood Homes, Busyn is among developers who see a business opportunity in Minneapolis’ proposal to upzone the entire city and allow for more multiunit housing.”

                How can you say it’s not the Scott Busyns with their Edina-based Great Neighborhood Homes that are leading the charge for the upzoning when the article you cite clearly shows that’s whose backing the plan?
                https://www.startribune.com/comp-plan-protects-against-bulldozing-neighborhoods-backers-say/497454901
                Who do you think Scott Busyn is if not a real estate developer and construction contractor?
                https://greatneighborhoodhomes.com/

                Of course Doran doesn’t want Busyn building apartments that compete for tenants with the apartments Doran is building. That doesn’t mean Busyn’s smaller buildings in residential zones are providing any more affordable housing than Doran’s much larger buildings in commercial zones, or that either one of them gives a shit about affordable housing or the financial well-being of their tenants, as long as the rent gets paid. The only thing either one of them cares about is profit – making some quick cash doing the “the deal” as our fearless leader might say, and moving on to the next project before tax time comes. Both are sucking tenant’s blood.

                I agree Bosyn’s smaller buildings are more pleasing and less problematic than Doran’s much bigger buildings, but neither is in it to provide affordable housing. They’re doing it for profit, not public service.

                1. Alex SchieferdeckerAlex Schieferdecker Post author

                  The entire article repeatedly makes it clear that the developers are a separate entity from the advocates of the plan.

                  1. Sheldon Gitis

                    Alex, I don’t know what article you’re reading, but the one I’m reading, and the one you linked to makes it very clear who the “advocates” really are.
                    “Scott Busyn says he doesn’t want to bulldoze your neighborhood. President of Edina-based Great Neighborhood Homes, Busyn is among developers who see […]” a buck to be made.

                    Who paid to print and distribute the Neighbors for Neighbors signs, Alex? And don’t tell me volunteers. Scott Busyn and his business buddies are not volunteers.

  7. Daniel ChomaDaniel Choma

    The real question for me here is “what happened to Carole Baskin’s husband?!?!???!?!”

    😉

    But in response to how we address op-eds from people who are deflecting narratives & kernels of truth, etc:

    Ive read a lot of Carol Becker’s stuff and I find it very narrative. It’s descriptive.. It talks about individual stories then attached those to global policy. This isn’t necessarily bad, descriptions and narratives are very human and resonate with people.

    I think this often clashes with the vibe of policy analysts and the *average Streetsmn writer or policy nerd in that what policy aims for is *perscriptive.” It sees a big situation and tries to address it. I think when a writer like Carol hops on a platform like StreetsMN, that often times can cause conflict, mainly just in the tone and perspective.

    That being said, we need to be able to navigate perspective vs descriptive thought, as those perspectives are written into the structure of our government. In law, legislators are perscriptive. The judiciary is descriptive. And dont get me started on agencies. Theyre just weird.

    My point is that how we learn to foster discourse between a writer like Carol and a writer like Alex can give us stronger soft skills that will subsequently benefit our democracy. I don’t think that will ever happen on twitter, bc that platform is algorithm garbage, but I do think it could happen here.

    1. Daniel ChomaDaniel Choma

      And to be clear: I am not talking of any one incident, just how “vibes” can clash. Its my opinion that streets and the editorial team do a good job of letting this platform be open for many perspectives, not just policy wonks. Thats a bit of a hat trick considering its entirely volunteer run. Kudos to tge oft under thanked editors.

    1. Sheldon Gitis

      Are you saying Carol Becker repeatedly failed to comply with your commenting policy and editorial policy? If so, what policies did she repeatedly fail to comply with?

  8. Black Renaissance

    What I gathered from all of this is… Carol Becker is Minnesota Nice? What else is new. The enter state is sanction for cognitive dissonance. No wonder everyone is driven batcrap!

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