Mpls Mayoral Race: Benjegerdes, Dehn, Frey, Flowers

OKAY. ::cracks knuckles:: Let’s get this election-blogging-show on the road. The first set of four (edited to note: these are the first four alphabetically, I will be covering all sixteen candidates):

Troy Benjegerdes FARMER LABOR
Raymond Dehn DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR
Jacob Frey DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR
Al Flowers DEMOCRATIC-FARMER-LABOR

Four years ago, I suggested that when picking three candidates (out of 35) to rank, the two most basic questions are, “who here could plausibly do the job?” and “who here could plausibly win?”

Occasionally, candidates show up really mad when I say they’re not a serious candidate. Here’s how I know that you are definitely not a serious candidate for a job like “mayor” — if you have no campaign manager, no fundraising link, no way for interested people to volunteer, no one who appears to be volunteering for you, and no one who’s endorsed you. (If I can’t even figure any of that out because you have no website, then you definitely are not a serious candidate.) Even if all your ideas are perfectly sensible, if you’re not doing this fairly basic stuff, you’re not a serious candidate.

In most cases, not all their ideas are perfectly sensible. They’re a crank. Or they have no actual ideas. Or they’re running 100% on platitudes. (There are serious candidates who run 100% on platitudes, but they also have high-powered endorsements. This might seem unfair; you can take comfort from the fact that I, for one, do notice when someone’s running 100% on platitudes.)

Anyway, on to the first set of candidates!

Troy Benjegerdes

Troy ran four years ago. I was not super impressed by him at the time. From his Facebook, he’s clearly in local fandom (there are pictures of him, his wife, and his adorable baby going to both MarsCon and Convergence) and we’ve got several real-life friends in common and in looking at pictures of his wife I think it’s entirely possible we’ve chatted at conventions.

Putting him through the “fannish” filter makes his obsession with cryptocurrency slightly less weird. Maybe? Maybe slightly.

Back in 2013, he suggested you could support his campaign by donating Bitcoin. This time around he suggested last month that you should get yourself some “Grantcoin,” which is a cryptocurrency that “supports basic income” in the sense that you can enroll in it and they’ll simply send you some every month, which appears to differ from me declaring a currency and offering to send anyone who wants it an e-mail awarding them 1,000,000 Gold-Plated Unicorn Farts annually in the following ways:

  1. Blockchain is involved.
  2. There’s a registration process that isn’t working very well and people got really pissy about it back in 2016. (Or so I gather from the really irritable blog post from its founder.)

Also, it sounds like “Grantcoin” is relaunching as “Manna.” However, everything here really sounds to me like it runs on unicorn farts. I AM NOT AN EXPERT ON BLOCKCHAIN and hey, Bitcoin continues to be in use, although I’m pretty sure that the only people I know who’ve used it, bought it in order to send in the ransom after getting hijacked by ransomware. But I’ll tell you this much: after a bunch of poking around on the Grantcoin site, I didn’t run across anyone accepting payment for anything in Grantcoin, and on the exchange I found via the Grantcoin site, they appear to have the approximate value of dog farts (I mean, let’s be honest, unicorn farts would probably be worth something).

In addition to donating 6 months of volunteer time to Grantcoin, Troy also works for a company that provides cryptocurrency infrastructure, I guess? He’s also an “Agronomic artist and Holistic Engineer” at a farm he owns (?) down in Iowa.

Four years ago, I remember him mentioning somewhere that he really wanted to run as “Farmer-Labor” but wasn’t allowed to — you can be a Democrat-Farm-Labor candidate but you couldn’t have either “Farm” or “Labor” in your party name otherwise. (He was “Local Energy/Food” instead.) I thought this was bogus. This year, he’s on the ballot as Farm/Labor and his website talks about how Democrats are more dangerous than fascists: “The organized elite left-wing….are, due to unconscious bias, far more dangerous than the open right-wing fascists.”

Hey, did I mention he’s a white dude?

He goes on to say: “You see it in the politics in Minneapolis in the belief that only a card carrying lifetime democratic party member can be a serious candidate. I am a serious candidate, and so is everyone else who has taken the time to gather signatures or pay the fee to be on the ballot.”

  1. If someone’s prime example of threats to democracy is that in Minneapolis, only Democrats get taken seriously as candidates, they need to get out more. (Also, serious Greens get taken seriously. Serious Independents get taken seriously. Even occasional Republicans have gotten people to take them seriously.)
  2. He was trolling for a campaign manager in July.

Is there any reason to believe he’s qualified to be mayor? no.
Does he have any chance of winning? hell, no.
Is there any reason to vote for him? maybe you really like his proposal to allow you to pay your taxes in unicorn farts.

Raymond Dehn

I’ve heard Dehn referred to as the favorite candidate of the lefty progressives. (I’m not entirely sure how fair this is; I definitely know lefty progressives supporting Betsy Hodges, and I’m pretty sure there are at least a few supporting Nekima Levy-Pounds.) Dehn is the State House Rep from 59B, which I think includes a mix of upper-income and lower-income neighborhoods. I was trying to check my assumptions here by looking for the houses for sale in the Jordan neighborhoods he represents, and — this is kind of hilarious — found a handyman special with a JACOB FREY sign in the picture of the house. At least one of his constituents clearly thinks he sucks.

Anyway. The thing I find most fascinating about Dehn is that he’s served time. In the 1970s, as a troubled teen with a cocaine habit, he took up burglary to pay for his drugs. He got caught and served seven months, followed by a drug rehab program. He’s been sober for 40 years. In the early 1980s he had his voting rights restored (this doesn’t happen automatically in MN) (which I think is bogus, FTR). He was elected to the state legislature in 2012.

His website has a “Ray-Bot” link that pulls up Facebook Messenger and lets you chat with a chatbot that will tell you about Ray’s background, visions, etc. I will say I’m impressed with the fact that he manages to be both brief and reasonably substantive. (On housing, his action plan: “1. Build enough affordable housing to meet demand. 2. Increase density while protecting naturally occurring affordable housing. 3. Increase the number of public housing residents serving on city boards and commissions.” There are a lot of hanging questions there, like “when you say build enough affordable housing, do you mean that the city itself should build it? Or offer incentives to get landlords to build it?” But I like that he mentioned protecting “naturally occurring affordable housing” — that is something Minneapolis has been distinctly terrible about in the past. (This may be a hot new buzzword I’m going to find in everyone’s essays about housing; I guess we’ll see.)

His website gets you longer versions of everything, but who’s going to build the new units is still not clear. He does talk explicitly about avoiding gentrification that prices poor people out of their neighborhoods, and calls for “upzoning” — “Implement strategic and equitable growth in density by upzoning parcels across the city and bringing our zoning code into the 21st century.”

I was curious about upzoning and turned up this case for it. It looks heavily like what a lot of Republicans would call “deregulation.” “Fewer design requirements that limit the size, shape, and cost of new buildings or how they’re used inside. Examples include further reducing parking minimums, easing minimum setback requirements, and reducing minimum lot size per unit requirements.”

One of the issues we’re seeing in both Minneapolis and St. Paul right now is teardowns: people want a big house, can’t find out available in Longfellow or Nokomis because they’re neighborhoods full of bungalows, so they buy a bungalow, tear it down to the foundation, and rebuild it as a 4-BR 2-BA full-two-stories house with a two-car garage on the alley. These are mostly not McMansions; they’re replacing 1200-square-foot houses with 2500-square-foot houses. I went looking for an example and found one. At 4452 41st Avenue (this is literally three blocks down from my old house) someone bought a 2-bed 1.5-bath 1402 square foot bungalow:

445241stAveThen

…tore it down, and replaced it with a two-story, 4 BR 2.5 BA, 2200-square-foot (but the basement can be finished with another 2 BR 1 BA and family room for $35K…) house that is currently for sale for $493K:

445241stAveNOW

I know this is literally the opposite of what Dehn is advocating for, but I’m not sure how you regulate against teardowns followed by overbuilding (one of the objections to these houses is that they’re often a lot taller than their neighbors, putting everyone else into shadow) if part of your plan is decreasing regulation about mandatory setbacks and how tall stuff can be.

On continuing to read down, he wants to impose a special tax on houses worth more than $500K. I’m not sure whether this is a tax imposed at time of sale, or if it would apply to people whose houses go up in value because their neighborhood became trendy.

He’s a fan of rent control. (I am not. It perpetuates housing shortages, unless your city is going to get out there and build an absolute shit ton of housing, which it’s not going to do, no matter who you elect mayor. I mean, realistically speaking.) It doesn’t really matter that he’s a fan of rent control, though, as apparently there’s a state law against it? (He wants to have that changed, but he’ll have a much better shot of changing that law if he stays in the state legislature, where this stuff actually gets passed.) He also uses language on his website like “Uplift Climate and Environmental Justice,” which sounds like the sort of language a lefty Madisonian would use, which is probably why he’s endorsed by Our Revolution. (Bernie also chronically sounded to me like a lefty Madisonian.)

Where Dehn has really made a name for himself is with the police accountability stuff. He got profiled on some godawful right-wing news site and infuriated the head of the Police Union by suggesting that police officers in Minneapolis ought to be required to leave their gun in their car unless they had a good reason to go get it.

According to his page on accountable policing, he wants to cut the police budget; not increase the number of officers; decriminalize some low-level offenses (he doesn’t say which, although as a general rule I think this is a good idea. Broken-windows policing was debunked as a good thing a long time ago). He wants to ban the MPS from using military-grade equipment and prioritize de-escalation. He wants to protect the right to protest and assemble. Here’s the piece he wrote for the Star Trib on all this stuff.

I like pretty much all his ideas on policing, although when he says “Add effective civilian oversight mechanisms to current structure” I wonder why he thinks he’ll succeed where others have failed.

I always find endorsements interesting in these sorts of races. Dehn is endorsed by the Minnesota Nurses Association; Minnesota Young DFL; Our Revolution; Representatives Karen Clark and Ilhan Omar; and Minneapolis School Board members Kim Ellison, Kerryjo Felder, and Jill Davis. He also lists two private citizens, one of whom I’m friends with; possibly this is simply because they went up on his campaign’s Facebook page (there’s a lot of automatic connectivity between his website and his Facebook page, which is pretty cool.)

Anyway: that’s certainly a number of noted progressives in town, but it’s definitely not the full spread. I noticed that he’s not endorsed by any of the reps in the districts that border his, or by the State Senator whose district his is within. (You can see the map of State Reps or the map of State Senators, complete with pictures.) The fact that a State Rep has very few endorsements from colleagues makes me wonder if this is a policy issue, or if they’re hedging their bets because they think Betsy Hodges is probably going to win, or if they don’t much like the guy. (To be fair: a lot of city legislators just stay out of the endorsements for mayor. To quote one legislator I spoke with last time: “I have to work with whoever wins.”)

One final note: I started writing this over a week ago, and having chatted a bit with the Ray-Bot, I sent him an e-mail asking him a question about his plans for affordable housing and police accountability. Nine days, no response. (The Ray-Bot says that if you have more specific questions, you can send in an e-mail, but I guess it doesn’t actually say you’ll get a response?)

Is there any reason to believe he’s qualified to be mayor? Totally.
Does he have any chance of winning? Heck yes.
Is there any reason to vote for him? The police stuff.

Jacob Frey

So due to the alphabetical order, we’re going straight from the leftiest lefty to the guy broadly viewed as a corporate hack.

I’m not quite sure how and when that transformation took place; back in 2013, he was definitely more progressive than the stadium flack he ran against. (Here’s my writeup at the time.) He’s the one who floated the idea of a tip credit to offset the $15 minimum wage for waitstaff (and then backed off when this proved unpopular) and he was pro-soccer-stadium. (FWIW, the soccer stadium was asking for a much more modest sort of public subsidy, and I kind of suspect that Hodges shot it down mostly to demonstrate how anti-stadium she was. But, whatever.)

Frey promises to be an approachable, responsive mayor. I sent an e-mail to his media contact address, asking for more information on his housing plan and also his endorsements. I got a response within three days, with a link to his brand-new endorsements page and the promise of an affordable housing plan that was coming out soon.

There’s an expanded housing section on the website now, in fact, and he makes some of the same proposals as Dehn: preserving naturally-occurring affordable housing, increasing density, building more public housing. He also suggests expanding the owner-occupied rental market, decreasing parking requirements, shrinking or eliminating minimum lot sizes, and easing occupancy limits. (“Restrictive occupancy limits based on outdated conceptions of what a ‘family’ is supposed to look like often make life challenging for immigrant families, and I support changing these laws.”)

Are there candidates pushing for street cars this time around? Dehn’s Uplifting of Environmental Justice references transit but with basically no specifics. Frey wants expanded light rail and bus rapid transit.

Again, policing is a big issue. Frey’s proposals are overall less radical than Dehn’s. The stuff he advocates is mostly stuff I think people were generally advocating for a decade ago: let’s go back to having beat cops, everyone should know their cop, let’s train cops in de-escalation and educate them about mental health crises, stuff like that. Probably his most controversial proposal is trying to get more police officers to live in the city, but contrary to the outraged letter to the editor I saw last week, he is not trying to force anyone to live anywhere, he’s suggesting offering a rent credit good only in the city or some other incentive.

One of the claims he makes, incidentally: “We must implement the use-of-force reforms that the MPD rejected and that Mayor Hodges declined to implement less than a month before Justine Damond was shot,  including requiring officers to exhaust reasonable alternatives before the use of deadly force is a permissible option, deterring officers from shooting at moving vehicles, and holding officers accountable for taking actions that unnecessarily place themselves, suspects, or bystanders in deadly force situations.” I went looking for more details on this and found something from over a year ago on how the MPD was changing its use-of-force policy: “Minneapolis police officers will be trained to exhaust all reasonable means in defusing potentially violent encounters before resorting to force, under new department rules unveiled Monday” says this article from August 2016. This change is discussed in an article from last month (which observes that it didn’t keep Justine Damond from getting shot). Anyway — I found no info on what Frey was talking about regarding stuff rejected by Hodges, so if anyone knows, please chime in in the comments. (And I’ll note that this is one of the things I dislike about both Frey and Dehn. Like, I know you are running against Betsy and you have some legit beefs with her; I feel like some of the claims they make about her are neither reasonable nor fair.)

Moving on to his endorsements: wow, is that ever a lot of unions.  I have mixed feelings about union endorsements. On one hand, I am in favor of worker-friendly policies like mandatory paid sick time. On the other hand, building and trade unions tend to adore things like stadium deals. And on the other other hand, everyone seriously running for mayor supports mandatory paid sick time, I think. If you actively opposed it, you’d probably come in behind the Rainbows Butterflies Unicorns guy.

I don’t know: I have a lot of friends who are vehemently Not Fans. Fundamentally, I think they think his progressive stances here are for the sake of political expediency. And … maybe? The thing that strikes me is that he radiates ambition. I’m not necessarily opposed to ambition if it’s tied to genuine progressive values. We need a bench, right? This guy wants to be on that bench. (And he’s younger than me by almost a decade. So he’s got years ahead of him to run for the offices that would eventually lead him to whatever it is he’s dreaming about in his secret heart of hearts.)

Is there any reason to believe he’s qualified to be mayor? Totally.
Does he have any chance of winning? Heck yes.
Is there any reason to vote for him? I mean, he’s trying to position himself as possessing basically Betsy Hodges type values, but being a more effective version of Betsy. And possibly that’s what you want? I feel like his housing platform is pretty practical and his campaign office lived up to their “I will get back to you promptly if you contact me” pledge.

Al Flowers

Al Flowers has run for mayor once before — in 2009, he was one of the dozen or so randos who ran against RT. He made the news for a marijuana arrest, not that it mattered: he wouldn’t have won the election anyway.

Articles that mention Al Flowers typically describe him as an “activist” but mention no issues or organizational affiliations. I wanted to know what exactly he was an activist for or with. Also, since he doesn’t hold elected office, I was also curious what he does for a living.

He has a campaign website (with a fundraising link and lawn signs, even) and an issues page full of bland platitudes and zero specifics, but there’s no “About the Candidate” page with the usual bio. I dug in and here’s what I can tell you about who he is.

Al Flowers is a Black man who’s had a shit ton of negative run-ins with the police. Back in 2007, MinnPost had an article about the many times he’d sued the city, generally over police brutality issues. In 2003, local NAACP leaders called the cops to have him removed from a meeting because he was allegedly being violent; he sued the cops and city for allegedly beating him up while he was handcuffed.

In 2014, the police came to Flowers’ home very late at night to arrest his daughter (she’d violated some sort of home-monitoring thing). When he asked to see a warrant, they arrested him for obstruction of justice and beat him up. He filed a complaint and sued. The cops were cleared, but in May 2016, surveillance video captured one of the police officers involved in that arrest brutally kicking an unresisting man in the face. The kick caused a permanent traumatic brain injury and was so egregious the department actually fired the cop and he was charged with felony assault. (As of June of this year, the victim had sued for 4 million; no update on the felony charge.) (Update! Found guilty.) (In case you’re skimming: he wasn’t convicted of assaulting Al Flowers; the cop that Al Flowers said assaulted him, has now been found guilty of assaulting someone else. Al had no video, and his obvious visible injuries were not sufficient. This time, there was video.)

So hey, if you were for some reason wondering why policing in Minneapolis is such a hot-button issue in this election: this is barely scratching the surface.

But okay, what does Al Flowers do, exactly? In 2014, he apparently ran an organization — of a sort — called the Community Standards Initiative. It’s mentioned in a July 2014 article about crime in North Minneapolis. In May of 2014, the Community Standards Initiative was approved to receive $375,000 from the Minneapolis School Board for … stuff. It was supposed to be an achievement-gap group, maybe? But it doesn’t sound like there was ever any specific plan for how they were going to accomplish anything? And then in October of 2014, a group of Black leaders demanded an investigation into what the hell the school board was thinking, awarding this much money to a group with no plan or even a website other than an inactive Facebook page. With no bidding. There’s a longer postmortem here.

So I guess what I’m concluding here is that he would probably not be a good choice for mayor.

Is there any reason to believe he’s qualified to be mayor? Less and less the more I read about him.
Does he have any chance of winning? Not in a million billion years.
Is there any reason to vote for him? If your #1 issue is policing, you could put him on your ballot to send a message, maybe. (However, it might or might not get through.)

 

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17 thoughts on “Mpls Mayoral Race: Benjegerdes, Dehn, Frey, Flowers

  1. Hi Naomi! I have a couple initial thoughts.

    The value of a future downtown light rail site is incredibly high, both in $-and-¢ terms and in the community-placemaking sense. The soccer plan around the planned Royalston stop would have frozen the site’s property tax rates at their current sub-half-million values for decades, and–in my admittedly jaded opinion–it would have choked off the site’s potential vitality with a gigantic block of concrete that would sit idle most of the time. (If anyone can link to a peer-reviewed study showing that a comparable stadium has produced unambiguously positive economic net value, please share.) Beyond that, it would have opened the door to Yet Another Exploitative Relationship between a wealthy team owner and a city. (“Not as bad as past stadium deals” is an awfully low bar to clear!) Jacob’s a good man, but I vehemently disagreed with him on his choice to push for that stadium deal. Raymond’s a good man, but I was disappointed with him, too, when I heard him express openness to this stadium deal at a forum in 2015. (To Raymond’s credit: He has since expressed opposition to stadium subsidies.) I’m grateful to Betsy for stepping in and preventing a deeply disappointing outcome in this case.

    Again, Jacob is a good man, but I won’t be ranking him on my mayoral ballot. (Full disclosure: I have Betsy 1, Raymond 2, Nekima 3. When you do your Hodges writeup, Naomi, I’ll explain why.) I feel that Jacob’s ambition–and the ideas listed on his website, whatever their merits–are undermined by what I see as a certain lack of depth and maturity. A Strib article not long ago detailed business community members’ disappointment at Jacob’s failure to deliver on what they saw as promises made. (Several progressive activists have previously expressed a comparable disappointment in him, on other matters.) With issues like the minimum wage tip credit(/penalty) and the soccer plan, my sense is that Jacob’s answers were so obviously “right” to him that they didn’t even need discussing–so that he was caught off guard by opposition in each case. I don’t know that Jacob is insincere, but I don’t know that he thinks things through either.

    I’ll keep a long story short for now. Thank you Naomi for posting, and for sorting through however many comments you get. Thanks everyone for reading my thoughts here.

  2. There probably isn’t a way that upzoning prevents teardowns, but the real thing it allows for is multiunits, which the current zoning of most neighborhoods prevents. So Linden Hills would probably still be full of those new giant houses but would also get some duplexes & triplexes, which would do something for affordability (and raise the tax base, too.) And possibly the landlords building multiunits would actually outbid the teardown buyers, because they do have more money, but right now they’re blocked from even trying.

    The real neighborhoods that would be helped would be ones like mine, Powderhorn, where it’s really hard to add density or even replace existing density when we lose a building to age, fire, tree falling on it, etc.

    • Oh, that’s interesting. I had not realized that so many buildings in Powderhorn were essentially grandfathered in. That’s a compelling argument in favor of upzoning.

      Although given the existing rental properties, it’s not hard to imagine landlords buying up 2-3 adjacent lots, given the chance, tearing them down, and building the maximum size building they can on that lot, all the way to the edges, to put in a full-on apartment building. Is that something you’d be comfortable with / happy with, as a Powderhorn resident? Would that also be allowed by upzoning?

      • I’d be pretty happy with it, though what seems more immediately likely is that upzoning would allow a lot of existing duplexes to become triplexes (something that happens a lot illegally and is really difficult to do legally) and developers that can put together a larger set of lots would build 6-8 unit buildings or rowhouse style townhomes. When you start looking around S Mpls neighborhoods, there are already a lot of apartment buildings, mostly smallish ones like the 4plexes that were common from the 1880s-1920s, or the 6-8 units that i think from style are mostly from the 1960s. I guess the newer ones we have right by me are actually in Phillips, since they’re north of Lake, near the Greenway, but they are pretty great, as are the modern but older (1970s?) apartment buildings down around 42nd street.

        Upzoning would make it easier to divide and use the big houses in Ventura Village, too, it’s something the neighborhood group there has been asking for since it started – and Dehn’s wanting to get rid of the limits on unrelated occupants in rental housing would help owners rent them out as-is. I could have my in-laws, my brother, and my 2 nieces live with us in my 4BR but when we first moved here with 3 roomates we were out of compliance with the law. That’s kind of ridiculous.

        The setback & parking rules are separate from straight upzoning (Dehn’s plan has a lot of different things in it, and I’m not sure I support the entire package all at once) but if they made it easier to redevelop small SFH lots when the house is demolished, I’m all for it. The neighborhood is littered with empty lots and double-size lots where a neighbor has bought a lot that used to hold a demolished house. Some of them date back to the when the city and neighborhood were using condemnation as a tool to get rid of drug houses, back in the ’90s. We’ve been through at least 2 cycles of skyrocketing housing prices since then, but they’re still really hard to rebuild on. And we just keep losing houses, slowly – the straight line wind storm a few years ago took out a house around the corner from me, and maybe 10 years ago a house a few blocks north of us was demolished (I heard for black mold) after the owner died, and it’s still an empty lot.

        I walk around Linden Hills and Seward a lot, and it doesn’t seem like the current setback/zoning stops people from building really obtrusive, giant, light-blocking SFHs anyway.

        There was a pretty good summary of Dehn’s plan at Streetsblog – https://streets.mn/2017/08/24/unpacking-raymond-dehns-housing-platform/ that came out supportive generally but worried about details like funding and some items seeming to contradict each other.

      • For an example of a recent building that seems like a fine neighbor (I go past this all the time on my bike, it’s right by the 18th Ave Greenway entrance, so technically not in Powderhorn by a block and a half) take a look at 2850 Cedar. I can’t find any flattering pictures online, but it’s pretty unobtrusive and quiet. It was built in 2005.

        If they were directly south of us I might be sad enough about the shade effect to sell my newly-appreciated house and move. But overall I think density is good for the neighborhood and the current spacing between existing houses is “I chat with our neighbors while I do the dishes” so the idea of building closer to the lot lines doesn’t bother me.

  3. This is tangential to your mayoral race, but: to what extent are the zoning laws actually enforced? Almost none of the buildings in the city I live in comply with the existing zoning regulations. I’m reminded of this because we also have a mayoral election this year, and I was looking at the incumbent’s campaign page. It says there are 22 buildings in Somerville that do comply with the zoning law. That’s a city of about 70,000 people. The mayor says he has been/is working n a major update of the zoning laws, with the goal of having zoning that would allow for development along the lines of what the city looks like now. The devil is in the details, obviously, and I need to see what his opponent is saying. (On paper he has two opponents; the other one doesn’t meet your “is this a serious candidate” test of having any sort of campaign website or otherwise visibly campaigning.)

    • I think it depends on which type of zoning law. I mean, you don’t actually need to get a permit to move a bunch of extra people in to your house, so if you’ve got an off-the-books arrangement where you’re renting a room out, and your neighbors don’t rat you out… I don’t have a clear sense of how likely it is that you’d get into trouble, honestly, but I would bet a lot of money that if you’re a white person who’s doing something countercultural (e.g., you have a poly household) you are more likely to get away with it than if you’re a person of color and/or you’re doing it because you’re really poor and this is how you can afford the apartment.

      On the other hand, you’re not going to get a permit to build an apartment building on a plot of land that’s only zoned for houses, unless you can get it re-zoned.

  4. ” In the early 1980s he had his voting rights restored (this doesn’t happen automatically in MN) (which I think is bogus, FTR).”

    As a PSJ in Minneapolis, I’d have to say that this assertion does not match what our training for the last (OMG, has it really been that long!?!) mumble-mumble years. Which, in a nutshell, is that voting rights are restored upon completion of all supervised release.

      • What happened was he got a full pardon from the state to erase the felony from his record. While felony voting rights are restored upon completion of your sentence, having a criminal record puts up tons of barriers in terms of employment, housing, etc. This has informed his very strong commitment to racial justice as he know white privilege, at least in part, helped him to get this pardon.

  5. I find it very interesting that the 4BR house that was built looks *exactly* like the new house that was built on my block on the second half of a double-sized lot that was sold after the owner-occupant passed away a few years ago. These must be a common design pattern that’s being used by developers. Here in my University neighborhood it means more rental rooms for students and perhaps explains why I keep getting unsolicited “hey, I want to buy your house” mail. (I also have a double-lot.)

  6. Pingback: Taking criticism | Mayor Troy

  7. I think what I’m most upset about here is the characterization that Jacob Frey is the corporate sellout and Raymond Dehn is the leftiest lefty, which is leaving me with a bit of a mental confusion, is Universal Basic Income and a lefty progressive idea, or am I a corporate sellout for taking salary from an employer with all the big banksters as clients?

    Or maybe I just need another hit of solar powered fintech rainbow farts https://mayortroy.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/vote-for-the-local-fintech-expert/

    • How on earth did you look at this list — which includes Al Flowers but not Betsy Hodges, the incumbent — and conclude that I was covering only the important candidates?

      This has happened more than once now and I’m finding it kind of baffling. (I will edit so that this post includes the fact that I’m trying to do this alphabetically, although my husband helpfully posted out just now that I swapped Frey and Flowers.)

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