City Officials Swearing In Ceremony: A Kinder & Gentler Minneapolis? PDF Print E-mail
Written by TYzaguirre   
Sunday, 10 January 2010 23:47

On January 4th, three newly elected Minneapolis council members joined their ten re-elected council members and the Mayor in a swearing in ceremony at City Hall.  The crowd gathered was made up of mainly family members, City employees and the media.  They're all expected to serve four year terms, that is unless the Mayor actually gets elected to the Governor's post.  Heaven help us! 

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 January 2010 23:58
Misadventures Of Johnny Northside: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged PDF Print E-mail
Written by TYzaguirre   
Friday, 08 January 2010 23:34

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: 3115 2nd Ave S


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.


Photo taken by Hawthorne HawkmanThose participating on Hoff's blog have patted themselves on the back with many pictures supporting theimission 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 presentthey 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.  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 bjudged!


Pictures below of 3115 2nd Ave S





















Last Updated on Saturday, 09 January 2010 14:35
Triple Homicide: Rash of Crime Targeting Local Somali Businesses PDF Print E-mail
Written by TYzaguirre   
Thursday, 07 January 2010 15:38

After the triple homicide that occurred on Wednesday evening at Seward Market and Halal Meats, on E. Franklin and 25th Avenues, area residents seemed shocked by the particularly heinous crime.  But our sources report that during the last couple of weeks there have been several robberies, some at gunpoint, that have targeted the local Somali community at the Somali Mall at Cedar Riverside, a Halal Grocery store and a break-in and robbery of a Somali daycare center in the Seward Neighborhood. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 January 2010 15:46
A Matter Of Focus PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fred Markus   
Friday, 08 January 2010 08:22

We are less than a month away from the next round of partisan precinct caucuses. Some participants will be enthusiasts who understand the maxim "those who show up rule the world". Some will have entirely local axes to grind and some will find creative release in the draft resolutions that are meant to convey collective opinions to the world at large. This year is an off-presidential election year and so the top of the ticket will be state constitutional officers, then candidates for the US House - the US Senators in Minnesota are not up for election this time around. We will also be contemplating candidates for Hennepin County offices including the Commissioners who are elected in seven individual districts and the Hennepin County Sheriff. There will also be contests for the membership of both the Minnesota Senate and the Minnesota House of Representatives and I rather think some charter amendments may also find their way to this coming fall's ballot. I'm leaving out notice of choices in the judiciary and some lesser offices for brevity's sake.


Not all caucuses are alike. The DFL and Green Parties have what amount to "loyalty oaths", meaning that signing in at the precinct caucus means pledging to be supportive of the candidates that intend to seek party endorsement to the exclusion of candidates who march to a different political tune. The IR and IP Parties have no such stipulations and my understanding is that the IR caucuses will occur on the night of February 2nd and the IP gatherings won't be on tap until much later in the month of February. There's plenty of manuevering available to us "political junkies". It's also the case that caucuses and conventions aren't the only road to fame and fortune, as demonstrated by Susan Gaetner's recent announcement that she will persevere in her candidacy for Governor on the DFL primary ballot whatever else happens between now and September.


There are literally dozens of candidates coming forward in Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis jurisdictions with or without party endorsements.  After having seen the remarkably thin and almost entirely monochromatic outcome in the 2009 municipal election cycle in Minneapolis, I've let it be known that I will host an IR precinct caucus in my home precinct, departing from both the Green Party label and that of the DFL Party in order to make the point that closed party systems are not particularly helpful. I can assure my old friends State Senator Berglin and Representative Karen Clark that I will be in their corner as has been the case since the early 1990s. It doesn't bother me one whit that they happen to be DFLers. I also want to encourage the Greens, the IRs, and the IP folks to think about running candidates in all the Minneapolis Senate and House Districts so we can have some real dialogues this time around and not the spurious silence of mainstream media indifference and the lackluster performance of the Minneapolis League of Women Voters that worked to the disadvantage of non-incumbents in 2009.


I started my political life as a liberal Republican in the early 1960s in Wisconsin. This proved unsustainable in the fullness of time and I now find myself returning to the Republican banner as a matter of free choice - no "loyalty oaths" need apply. I don't expect to find much purchase in the Minnesota IR mainstream for what I believe are obvious reasons. What matters to me is that I can be as frank as I please in the weeks and months ahead. I like the Libertarian purposes that are coming to the fore in at least the Minneapolis IR setting. These folks appear to me to have more heat than light in these early days but they also have a refreshing willingness to listen and to learn, character traits that seem to have become endangered species in our dominant political party apparatus.


There's also the appealing notion that Minneapolis IR Chair Niklas Ludwig and his colleagues have a hammerlock on the information management technology that I've been urging our political class to embrace for several election cycles with very spotty results and plenty of "blowback". The IR investment in technology is a commitment I can admire whatever the policy language and political personalities that come to the fore. Welcome to today's tools, say I, and let's have a serious go at the new media while we're at it. Lockstep obedience to a political environment that discourages innovation and pursues a censorious atmosphere that would make the Grand Inquisitor proud is simply not my cup of tea. 



Last Updated on Friday, 08 January 2010 10:19
A Message To Betsy Hodges PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kenneth Brown   
Sunday, 03 January 2010 21:00

I was somewhat surprised at many of your comments. We who have diligently served on the Civil Rights Commission have never had a conversation with you. The people at the State have their views and opinions, which are mostly garnered by the State Human rights Act. I tried for months as the Chair of the Commission to communicate on a level outside the human rights act with the people at the State, but their answers were dictated in law.  

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 January 2010 21:09

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