Mayoral Race

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Nick
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Mayoral Race

Postby Nick » January 31st, 2013, 10:21 pm

In the first competitive mayoral race in Minneapolis since Peter McLaughlin challenged R.T. Rybak in 2005, we now have a wide open field. Councilmembers Betsy Hodges, Gary Schiff, and Don Samuels are running. Also interested are former City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes, Park Commissioner Bob Fine, and others. I can add folks to the top post as more candidates declare their candidacies.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby woofner » February 6th, 2013, 1:06 pm

Betsy Hodges' first policy stance of the campaign: stay in the dark, pedestrians:

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/188917581.html

At least the strib didn't deride the lights as ornamental just because they're useful to pedestrians, as KSTP did.

Until I hear otherwise, I'll assume that Betsy Hodges is just going to advocate for the rich suburban homeowners of her ward.
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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby MNdible » February 6th, 2013, 1:17 pm

That is disappointing, but based on the city policy, it would have been difficult to ignore that petition response.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby woofner » February 6th, 2013, 1:21 pm

But is it a reason to change the petition requirement? Any number you pick, there's always going to be a number right below it that the petition could end up at. There are important policy reasons that they chose a supermajority requirement, it's not just that they hate America as the guy quoted in the strib claimed.
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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby MNdible » February 6th, 2013, 2:18 pm

I completely understand and agree that a supermajority is appropriate.

Not sure what the number should be, nor am I sure what the actual number was. But if 70.4% of property owners vote no, and when that includes non-votes as yes, that seems to be an unambiguous message.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby woofner » February 6th, 2013, 4:46 pm

Except that the majority of homeowners are always going to weigh the impact on their wallet higher than the city's goal of increasing the numbers pedestrians and creating a unified, high-quality aesthetic. That's why the supermajority opt-out requirement was adopted in the first place, because the majority of local homeowners are almost always going to be against it, even if the majority of city residents are in favor of it. I agree that when the opt outs get close to the threshold (70%) it creates a basis for policymakers to carve an exception, although at the same time, they are elected to lead and should put the interests of the city ahead of those who just want to save a few bucks on an assessment.

I think we should be nervous that Hodges caved on this issue. It's a sign that she will govern our city conservatively even as she has a good chance of getting the nomination for her progressive positions at the state and national level.
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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby MNdible » February 6th, 2013, 5:55 pm

My prediction is that there will be no DFL endorsement for mayor. There are too many viable candidates, each who will have their supporters, none of whom will have any particular reason to back down. Once they start culling candidates during the process, they will pool their votes for "no endorsement".

Also, I think that in this case "conservative" is a very relative term. It's interesting that Minneapolis mayors and council members tend to get "conservative" as soon as they're elected -- the responsibility of actually running a city forces them to be a bit more calculated in their stances, as opposed to the Minneapolis legislative contingency, most of whom are free to sit back, carry little in the way of meaningful legislation, and throw firebombs (not universally true -- Minneapolis does also have some very good legislators).

To your original point, though, I think this Penn Avenue uprising is a bit of an outlier -- I don't think it's likely to be repeated very often. Folks were just asked to shell out a bunch of money for the street improvements, and now the lighting assessment is piled on top of that. In the case of a commercial strip, business owners might see the value in making this investment, but homeowners likely don't. The real lesson here might be that, even though it makes sense from a construction point of view to do the lighting work concurrently with street construction, it's more palatable to do it separately.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby exiled_antipodean » February 6th, 2013, 8:54 pm

Over a lifetime financing local infrastructure via assessments or via general property taxes should be about the same for any one person who spends their life in the city. But it does create these weird dynamics and resentments where people can vote down stuff for the general good. $8,000 is a lot of money to be asked to pay (even over several years).

The administrative costs of assessments must surely be significant.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby nordeast homer » February 7th, 2013, 12:16 am

redisciple wrote:Betsy Hodges' first policy stance of the campaign: stay in the dark, pedestrians:

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/188917581.html

At least the strib didn't deride the lights as ornamental just because they're useful to pedestrians, as KSTP did.

Until I hear otherwise, I'll assume that Betsy Hodges is just going to advocate for the rich suburban homeowners of her ward.
Do you own a home??? This stretch of Penn Ave. is FAAAARRRR from rich as you elude to!! Most of this is a blue collar area with some small duplexes, smaller single family homes and no McMansions! I grew up in this neighborhood and take offense to the fact that you believe this relatively small section of homes should take on an additional $600,000.00 burden so you can have pretty lights, I don't blame them for voting down the lighting! This is not LInden Hills or the Lowry Hill area, this is Armitage. A lot of people in this neighborhood live paycheck to paycheck, f#%* the lights!!
I applaud her for backing these homeowners!
I'm sorry you dislike the rich people in Linden Hills, after all, the President and Gov. are banking on them to pay for their spending habits!

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby mplsjaromir » February 7th, 2013, 1:12 am

nordeast homer wrote:
redisciple wrote:Betsy Hodges' first policy stance of the campaign: stay in the dark, pedestrians:

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/188917581.html

At least the strib didn't deride the lights as ornamental just because they're useful to pedestrians, as KSTP did.

Until I hear otherwise, I'll assume that Betsy Hodges is just going to advocate for the rich suburban homeowners of her ward.
Do you own a home??? This stretch of Penn Ave. is FAAAARRRR from rich as you elude to!! Most of this is a blue collar area with some small duplexes, smaller single family homes and no McMansions! I grew up in this neighborhood and take offense to the fact that you believe this relatively small section of homes should take on an additional $600,000.00 burden so you can have pretty lights, I don't blame them for voting down the lighting! This is not LInden Hills or the Lowry Hill area, this is Armitage. A lot of people in this neighborhood live paycheck to paycheck, f#%* the lights!!
I applaud her for backing these homeowners!


I'm sorry you dislike the rich people in Linden Hills, after all, the President and Gov. are banking on them to pay for their spending habits!
The median income for home owners in census tract 120.01 is estimated at $85,990 and is about 181% the median income of Minneapolis ($47,478) as a whole. This area is by most definitions is not blue collar. Over 55% of adults have a bachelors degree. I am going to contend that this area in the big picture is well to do.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby MNdible » February 7th, 2013, 8:31 am

I'll second Nordeast Homer's observation at least as it pertains to Penn Avenue itself -- there are a lot of modest-looking side-by-side duplexes. The surrounding area is likely somewhat higher income.

I'll also note that this is not a destination rich environment, especially south of 54th.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby Nick » February 7th, 2013, 11:13 am

Just got a robodial from Mark Andrew announcing his candidacy.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby Viktor Vaughn » February 7th, 2013, 11:41 am

Nick wrote:Just got a robodial from Mark Andrew announcing his candidacy.
Yep, me too. He must be using a previous delegate list.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby nordeast homer » February 7th, 2013, 12:02 pm

I'll be curious to hear what he has to offer. BTW he looks like a chiropractor I used to use. :|

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby woofner » February 7th, 2013, 3:01 pm

nordeast homer wrote:Do you own a home??? This stretch of Penn Ave. is FAAAARRRR from rich as you elude to!! Most of this is a blue collar area with some small duplexes, smaller single family homes and no McMansions! I grew up in this neighborhood and take offense to the fact that you believe this relatively small section of homes should take on an additional $600,000.00 burden so you can have pretty lights, I don't blame them for voting down the lighting! This is not LInden Hills or the Lowry Hill area, this is Armitage. A lot of people in this neighborhood live paycheck to paycheck, f#%* the lights!!
I applaud her for backing these homeowners!
I'm sorry you dislike the rich people in Linden Hills, after all, the President and Gov. are banking on them to pay for their spending habits!
Now that you've gotten some sleep, did you figure out that I was talking about the 13th ward as a whole and not this particular segment of Penn? But now that you mention it, I happen to know that this segment of Penn is home to a large number of low-income rentals, whose landlords should be able to handle the minimal increase in yearly payments represented by the assessment ($75/year and decreasing with amortization) and whose tenants would appreciate the PEDESTRIAN scaled lighting that the assessments would pay for.

I understand you think that anyone who takes a walk down the street is in fact demanding that you quit driving, but until you succeed in banning them, there will still be people who do occasionally walk down the street. So you don't think there are racial or class implications, you can pretend they're blue collar working stiffs like you who just take their pit bulls for a walk every once in a while. Because their 9 to 5 jobs prevent them from walking Killer before dusk, they have to walk at night at times and the existing shoebox lights provide almost no light for them. The lights you call 'pretty' are in fact an attempt to provide some lighting for those roadway users that unlike you aren't carrying 110 watts of light around with them anyway.

I will tell you if I own a home if you tell me WWHHHHYYYYYYYYY it's relevant.
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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby nordeast homer » February 7th, 2013, 11:56 pm

I was talking about this particular stretch because that was what was in the article you linked. I grew up in that neighborhood. With the park and the school there I understand there is a lot of foot traffic. I'm all for pedestrian traffic, I'd love it if I never had to drive a car, but that's not a reality. This stretch of road is not a parkway, it is not a "destination" where you would put these lights and I believe it is silly to ask these residents to pay for extra lighting that is not needed. This has the typical lighting of any Minneapolis neighborhood, in fact even more because of the sports fields. I could actually see this type of lighting more toward the creek or up toward Lake Harriet, but not this stretch of road.
The question about owning a home was rhetorical. Simply, home values have dropped, in many instances by over 30%, but property taxes have actually gone up, even with the decreased home value. For these residents along Penn, they are now being assessed a substantial sum, as they should for a new road and everything that goes with it, but then you want to add on another assessment for additional lighting. If the residents already have a tight budget there has to be a line drawn with spending. That's all, plain and simple.
Again, I have the impression you believe I am anti pedestrian when you couldn't be further from the truth.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby woofner » February 8th, 2013, 11:49 am

I'm glad we're cool again man. I promise to try not to perceive you as anti-pedestrian, and I ask you to try to not perceive me as anti-motorist.

Penn Ave S is important for pedestrians not only because it is an arterial and all arterials are important for pedestrians for the same reason that they are important for cars, but specifically because it is the only crossing of Hwy 62 for a half-mile to the west and for at least a mile to the east. Since most pedestrian trips are short, this represents a significant increase in trip time. When residents of Penn refuse biking and walking facilities because they don't bike or walk, they are holding the wider city hostage. This is why I think it reflects particularly poorly on Hodges to side with homeowners over larger city interests here.

Regarding property taxes, I'll point out that mine went down this year (by more than the streetlight assessment would be) even though my home value increased. If this is true for the city at large, I look forward to people showing up at hearing and demanding higher taxes.
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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby Ubermoose » February 8th, 2013, 12:27 pm

redisciple wrote: When residents of Penn refuse biking and walking facilities because they don't bike or walk, they are holding the wider city hostage. This is why I think it reflects particularly poorly on Hodges to side with homeowners over larger city interests here.
I'm sorry, but I think Hodges is doing exactly what she should be doing, and that is representing her constituents.If it is so vital to the city, maybe the city should foot the bill for it then. I think the amount that they want the homeowners to pay for this, on top of the assessment already proposed in this area, is over the top. You can't tell me that you have to have special lighting to walk in the area. As a kid growing up there I walked all over the neighborhood rode my bike without problems. I really don't see why this is so vital to the neighborhood. Maybe around the shops on 54th and 50th it could make sense, but then let the businesses team up with the city for that.

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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby woofner » February 8th, 2013, 12:57 pm

Ubermoose wrote:I'm sorry, but I think Hodges is doing exactly what she should be doing, and that is representing her constituents.
I'm glad you're sorry because you're also wrong. Hodges is representing a few dozen of her constituents and betraying the other 30,000.

I agree that assessments are not the ideal mechanism but strongly disagree that they are any kind of burden. You'll pay more for Vikings tickets than the average resident will pay for these streetlights in any given year.

You're also wrong that this lighting doesn't make a difference for pedestrians. My house is across from a park so my block has both the lantern-style lights and the cheesy park board future of the 70s globes. The light is much better in the lantern lights. The next block down has the old shoebox lights and feels like the set of Robert Altman's Popeye next to my block.

I know the USA has a long tradition of whining about taxes but neither has any American yet succeeded in creating their utopia which would be free of other Americans. Suck up and pay up, we're all in this together (yes I am paying assessments for the lights that were installed on my block before I bought my house).
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Re: Mayoral Race

Postby mister.shoes » February 8th, 2013, 1:10 pm

I tend to agree with respect to the latern-style lights. My wife and I own a home on the east side of 35W not too far from Minnehaha Creek. Our neighborhood has the latern-style lights and we love it. We're never scared to walk in the dark because there are enough lights (and enough light) to make it feel safe. They're also quite cute, frankly. However, just across 35W in the much more expensive Tangletown neighborhood, they've got the shoebox lights and it's terribly dark and unnerving—and not nearly as attractive. We didn't buy in that area for the lights, but we're extremely happy that's what we got. IMO, the entire city should use them. It's not only safer, but much better looking.

And yes, I realize that I've mentioned the aesthetic side numerous times. While I realize that safety is more important than how the lights look, there's a definite friendliness benefit to the smaller lights. The scale of the huge, towering shoebox lights isn't welcoming, no matter how much light they produce.
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