I was surprised at how much media attention was given to the Pauline Fjelde house at 3009 Park Avenue, when it was demolished on Christmas Eve. The "historic" house was built in 1907 and Pauline Fjelde used the house as her home and her dressmaking and embroidery shop from 1907 to 1918. It was the subject of heated discussion between preservation activists that wanted to restore it for historical reasons and the owners who wished to tear it down to further their development plans. I toured the house last year and was interested in helping to preserve the historic residence if feasible. I wrote about it back in December of 2008:
The present owners brought to the attention of those in attendance, that Fjelde had purchased and lived in another home until her death, located at 4715 15th Ave S, which according to their claim, is in pristine condition. They also provided photos of the house on 15th Avenue S. They claimed that the 15th Avenue home was the one passed down to family members. The owners of the Park Avenue house and their representatives argue that the 15th Avenue house should be put on the historical register instead of 3009 Park Ave. They want to level the Park Avenue house to install a surface parking lot to serve their adjacent commercial structure.
While I applaud those who champion the reclaiming of abandoned homes and distressed neighborhoods, I find it disheartening and hypocritical when those same people cast dispersions at others when they themselves appear guilty of the same acts. In my opinion, one person who has made a name for himself bashing the now imprisoned Northside real estate speculators that operated as T.J.Waconia is Bully blogger John Hoff, aka Johnny Northside, who has made it his mission to expose slumlords or errant property owners.
He chose to deviate long enough from his usual Northside rants to focus on the Pauline Fjelde house, along with his sidekick Jeff Skrenes aka Hawthorne Hawkman, Hawthorne Neighborhood Housing Director. They appeared to be coming to the aid of one of their chums, self-described "real estate agent, preservationist, fixer-upper-type-nut, sometimes-landlord, and all-around house-addict", Connie Nompelis. Nompelis seems to have moved from being a Southside house saving saint to Northside (Nomi) kamikaze realtor who frequently blogs with Hoff using the name "Ranty". A year ago she was actively fighting to preserve the Fjelde home, but recently seems more focused in joining Hoff's tiny chorus of nattering nabobs of negativism. Hoff has shamelessly gone to great lengths to expose what he and his hangers on claim to be bad property owners using public documents to expose them.
Those participating on Hoff's blog have patted themselves on the back with many pictures supporting their mission to demolish homes on the Northside. Some of which, at least from the outside, look better than their own.
How odd that this group applauds so loudly over the destruction of so many Northside homes and weeps big boo hoo tears for one lousy Southside house that was absolutely gutted, and falling apart on the inside with such a questionable pedigree. As I stated earlier, I know, I was in it. So with a select few trolling the bait and the mainstream media gulping down the hook, credit him without doing any real digging into his own past and present, they ignore the very tools Hoff brags about when exposing his villains. Had they bothered to use the very same tools that Hoff uses on his blog as proof of bad property owners, they would have discovered that little Johnny and Ranty have a few issues of their own. That is if these public records that they seem to hold up like bible scripture are accurate.
From reading Nompelis' blogs and a 2008 MinnPost article about her, she seems to have jumped from being the Southside Savior of homes to one of the Northside knuckle dragging Neanderthals she critiques. Her Southside property is located at 3115 2nd Ave S, as
can be verified by Hennepin County Property Information Search. To see for yourself, clink on the following
link: http://www16.co.hennepin.mn.us/pins/ Please type in 2226 Bryant Ave N for verification of John Hoff's Northside property information.
Hoff has alerted his readers to nuisance conditions in his neighborhood by pointing them towards the City of Minneapolis website. From the look of records found there relating to homes of him and fellow blogger, Nompelis, it appears that the condition of their homes has been in a state of disrepair for many months. Suggested reading is the Truth in Sale of Housing (TSH) and Inspection Permits (IP) reports accessed from the dropdown menu at: http://apps.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/PiApp/TishRpt.aspx?PIN=58796 Pay close attention to details on the TSH and dates on IP's, especially what has and hasn't been completed.
Although obstructed by foliage, her house looks pretty much the same on Google Street View, as it does today, (the images captured months prior appeared on-line 12/10/2007). Just to make sure, I went and snapped a few photos of my own so my readers can see what anyone who drives northbound on I-35W towards downtown sees. I've been watching the progress or lack of for a long time, as I pass by it every time I take the Lake Street exit. Hers is among the gingerbread Victorians designed by T.P. Healy on the historic 3100 block. See Pictures below.
What is even more interesting is I used the same web site that Johnny the Ringmaster himself uses to "expose" his neighbors, but this time aiming the microscope on his peccadilloes, discovering that he also has some long standing issues that need to be worked on and according to the website have not been resolved since he became owner of the property.
There's a lesson to be learned. If you want to expose other people's homeownership dirty laundry, give out personal information, pictures and addresses, I would hope that the same scrutiny would find no open work orders or permits are hanging over your own head. Maybe they've corrected their errors and the City is simply behind in updating the website. I doubt that this is the case with Nompelis' house due to the appearance of the exterior. I won't rule out the possibility that there's more going on behind the scene of which I'm unaware. If that's the case, the same could hold true for the property owners that Northside Johnny goes after. From what I'm reading in public records, they may have reasonable explanations too. So Johnny and his followers might want to hold off on their judgments, lest they be judged!
Pictures below of 3115 2nd Ave S