Sunday, June 1, 2008

A New Sign For North Minneapolis

You'll never guess who designed this sign...

No, it wasn't me. It was a guy named Jim Watkins, who I call "Texas Jim" on this blog. Jim has some really good qualities--his gregarious nature, for one thing--and some arguably bad qualities, like his undying loyalty to his friends at T.J. Waconia.

Jim and I have gone 'round and 'round about T.J. Waconia issues in chat rooms, emails, and even long phone conversations. At some point, reasonable people have to agree to disagree. My contribution to the discussion at this point is my "let the punishment fit the crime" theory.

But, anyway, Texas Jim made this sign and emailed it as an attachment. I have to say, I love the way Texas Jim crammed in a lot of information and yet the eye flows across the sign very naturally.

I say, "Forget flipping properties, Jim. Sign design is your true calling."

This is what Jim has to say about it:

"This is a sign I personally designed for North Minneapolis. The city can buy the rights from me so they can have them placed on every street corner to combat crack hoes and dealers. The city wouldn't need to actually install cameras because the thought of being recorded would be enough to ward off most dealers and street walkers."

One thing I like about the sign is its bright, attractive yellowness. It is highly visible like, well, Big Bird!

When I was a see-cure-itty guard I learned most of the point of guards, cameras, fences and locks is DETERRENCE. That being the case, if you're going to install video cameras it makes sense to boldly announce their presence with a sign like this, to maximize deterrence.

(My one complaint about the sign...the hooker shape is too suggestive and therefore erotic rather than discouraging. I think to really fulfill its mission, the hooker in the sign needs to be more chubby) (I like the street light, though. At first I thought it was an extraneous element, but then I realized it is there to emphasize the idea "even at night, stuff is being videotaped.")


Texas Jim said...

John, John, John...

When I got your email that confirmed you saw the sign I sent, I quickly went to check your blog. As I was doing that, I said to my girlfriend, "Watch... I bet John will somehow make it about TJ Waconia."
Sure enough... I don't understand why you have to continue to grandstand about TJ Waconia?
You seem to be the only one that left that comments about it. Both of the blogs have been silent for weeks.
Your comments on my article two weeks ago all but hijacked the article. I guess I have been branded in a way because every time my name comes up with you... You find a way to make the association between me and TJ Waconia.
It's getting old, John. You even said yourself that "Johnny Northside" was born as a result of the Behind the Mortgage blog. So, just say "Thank you" for TJ Waconia giving you your local fame.... And get over it. Or is TJ Waconia going to be responsible for every other issue in Minnesota?

No one commented on your "let the punishment fit the crime" because... No one cares!

And about the female image on the sign... I couldn't use an image that was too suggestive but then I couldn't use a g-rated image of an average woman either so.... I ask you to snap a few pictures of an actual northside street walker and email them to me. I will edit them and pick the one that fits best to replace the current image. I will send you the finished product.
Maybe I will add the following on the bottom of the sign....
"The inspiration for this sign was provided by TJ Waconia. This sign is their contribution for directing crime out of north Minneapolis."

Johnny Northside said...

Jim, Jim...Jim.

First and foremost, you need to send me a picture of this hot girlfriend you're always talking about. If anything is getting old, it's hearing about the girlfriend but being unable to picture her.

I promise not to put the picture on my blog. (Unless you dare me) The picture would be for my own... information.

Secondly, you branded YOURSELF by taking on the role of true blue loyal defender of Tom Balko and (to a lesser degree) Jon Helgason of T.J. Waconia. (Voted No. 1 Civic Villains in the Twin Cities)

And I seem to recall telling you a number of ways such public association would have a bad long-term impact on your reputation, that you had everything to lose and nothing to gain by going out there on blogs and taking on the role of defending T.J. Waconia.

You remember what I said? "Stuff on the internet never goes away."

For those who are reading these comments besides you and me, some explanation...since it's hard to know understand the play, here, without a program.

When Texas Jim refers to his article where my comments "hijacked" the article, he is talking about an article he wrote concerning North Minneapolis and the mortgage meltdown. Jim was indeed nice enough to forward me a link to the article. The article criticizes Minneapolis for suing lenders.

I consider North Minneapolis my turf, so certainly an article like that is something where I would take an interest...especially since I am (how shall I put it?) mildly and carefully supportive of suing certain lenders for predatory lending. (Though at first I was cynical about the very term)

In regard to the lack of comments on my "let the punishment fit the crime" blog entry about T.J. could be nobody cares.

Or it could be everybody agrees.

Or maybe my audience, as it were, is a lot more into the issues of open air drug markets and boarded up houses and their impact on the neighborhood, and a lot less into my rather arcane and creative proposal for making Jon Helgason and Tom Balko live in one of their own homes in North Minneapolis as their prison sentence.

Some things on my blog get attention and comments...some don't. Another way to look at things is that nobody but you is jumping up to defend T.J. Waconia and call them victims of some political witch hunt.

But I continue to assert there are a lot of others out there who are equally guilty and should also be prosecuted. I don't know if we can call that "common ground," since you don't see your friends as guilty.

But perhaps we can agree on this: a lot of mortgage fraud is going unpunished. There shouldn't be a "scapegoat" (even a guilty scapegoat) and then a lot of guilty parties getting away.

It is true I first cut my "blogging teeth" on the issue of T.J. Waconia. The chat threads of Behind The Mortgage Dot Com in those discussions is where I first used the name "Johnny Northside" and got hero blogging powers to fight evil.

However, around that same time I was writing opinion columns for the Minnesota Daily about the abundance of affordable housing in North Minneapolis. I don't "owe" T.J. Waconia for anything, least of all attention for my "good citizen" endeavors.

I can't say, like that old character from Saturday Night Live, "T.J. Waconia been berry berry good to me."

I'm really not wrapped up in their fate much at all. I'm wrapped up in the fate of North Minneapolis.

I only took an interest in the T.J. Waconia scandal because I was looking for a cheap house in North Minneapolis and I thought mortgage fraud issues might present opportunities for bargains.

However, let us find some common ground, turns out the new chairman of the Hawthorne Area Community Council asked me where he could get some signs like this, on metal, and put them up on the street in front of his house.

So forget what I said about the girl on the sign being too suggestive. The sign is a hit, Texas Jim! Did you really design it yourself? What creativity! (I think the notation you suggest would work well on the BACK of the sign)

Let's see your friend Tom Balko and his partner Jon Helgason in a house in North Minneapolis running the video cameras and put these signs up on the streets all around.

I continue to assert their skills, their energy can be put to good use. I was never personally harmed or tricked by them, so for me there really is no desire for hurt, punishment, a pound of flesh.

The only way I am still beating the issue is to keep putting forward my creative idea for "let the punishment fit the crime" and see them serve their sentences living in North Minneapolis...picking up litter, planting flowers, and calling 911 on drug dealers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KD said...

"No one commented on your "let the punishment fit the crime" because... No one cares" - Well, that's about the most absurd statement I've read in a long time. Hell, we've been talking about these jerks for years! What else is there to say?

I guess I was a bit surprised at the lack of comments, but to be honest I don't make many comments on this blog or any blog for that matter. It doesn't mean I'm apathetic to most issues. I simply don't feel a need to put my thoughts down in print. I'm more of a doer and as anyone knows who's involved in Hawthorne right now, I think that's probably how a lot of folks feel.

Things are in the works. Heads will most likely roll. Why spend time writing about that when we can spend our time doing the chopping.

Johnny Northside said...

To the anonymous poster who submitted a comment which I did not approve:

It's rare for me not to approve a comment. I believe in a substantive discussion.

But, for your information, even though I was (admittedly) having a bit of fun with Jim, I'd actually like to see some proof, some evidence of the hot girlfriend he has mentioned a few times for the purpose of PROOF.

Anybody can say "hot girlfriend this" and "hot girlfriend that," and it doesn't prove anything.

However, just to keep the discussion moderate and friendly, as I prefer it to be (yes, even when talking about T.J. Waconia) there is apparently some behind-the-scenes enthusiasm about the sign Jim created. It's a good and useful sign. Jim is a smart, creative guy.

I'd like to see such creativity poured into North Minneapolis. That's why I keep bringing up my "let the punishment fit the crime" idea.

Though few have commented, here is one noteable fact: nobody who can speak on behalf of the victims has OBJECTED.

I really see it as an "everybody wins" idea to have Jon Helgason and Tom Balko serve their sentence by living in one of their homes in North Minneapolis. Even if they spent most of their time keeping dandelions at bay, that alone is a big job.

Anonymous said...

How did I guess that my comments I submitted after the 5th comment... Would not get posted? You must have been a tech advisor for the movie, 1984.
- texas jim

Johnny Northside said...

It's my personal blog, Jim, not a quintessential public forum like a sidewalk. Don't engage in hyperbole.