Saturday, January 10, 2009

Minneapolis Advantage Program: Mayor R.T. Rybak Calls In Massive Reinforcements In Battle To Revitalize North Minneapolis!

Wow! Ten thousand dollars in FREE MONEY for a new home in North Minneapolis...

By now, most folks who care deeply about this issue have heard about the renewed funding for the Minneapolis Advantage Grant Program, which provides incentives to individuals buying homes in--mostly--North Minneapolis. The Hawthorne Neighborhood just passed its own program called the "Hawthorne Advantage" which I will be revealing, exclusively, in my next blog post.

But in regard to Minneapolis Advantage Grants, this story in the local media, click here, does a pretty adequate job of explaining the details of the funding. Here's another story which contains other useful facts, click here.

There will be 150 grants of $10,000. One hundred of the grants will be in North Minneapolis. The remainder will be in Northeast and South Central.

There are critics of the program, such as this article in the Minneapolis Mirror, click here. (Well, really it's more of an opinion piece unhappily born into an article's body) The "journalist" who wrote this piece about "welfare for yuppies" actually pouts about not knowing the spelling of the names of individuals he is citing in his story.

To this I say...

Well, Mr. Michael Katch, you're supposed to be a journalist, or at least you're trying to pass yourself off as one on the internet.

So here's what you do, Michael.

You go up to these folks, you pull out your notepad, you say, "Excuse me, could I get your name again? How is that spelled?" Then you ask some pithy follow-up questions. That kind of thing. The journalist thing. The very basic stuff I used to teach in "Intro To News Writing, 3101."

As for the assertion "yuppies" will be using these grants and moving to North still, my foolish heart. An army of yuppies? Oh, my word, I need to buy some good quality coffee beans, an expresso machine, some Sugar In The Raw and put out a few Pottery Barn coasters and...and...

"Yuppies," you say. Mr. Katch? Great, writhing hoardes of them moving to North Minneapolis because of this Minneapolis Advantage program?

(Giddy squeal...hands clapping together...dancing a jig)

Do you have any idea what this will do to crime rates and property values, Mr. Katch?

Please, sir, you must write more articles revealing gripping details about this invasive army of yuppies...the vacant, foreclosed, boarded up houses they are invading, their expansionist yuppie hopes and dreams, their jobs and so-called "cultural values"...just, anything, any scrap of information would be useful, Mr. Katch, in this developing crisis situation impacting North Minneapolis.

"Yuppie army marches north."

Oh, my word. STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!!

(I've always wanted to say that)

But when you write these articles, Mr. Katch, keep a few things in mind:

Pen. Notebook. Get right up in there, all bright-eyed, and ask pointed questions instead of slouching in the back of the class, doodling the names of heavy metal bands.

Plus let's remember our "five w's and one h."


That "who" part includes getting the names, Mr. Katch.

But, you know, pretty strong work for so early in the semester. I'll give you a B minus.


Jeff Skrenes said...

I have serious contentions with the "army of yuppies" article myself. The writer immediately draws a correlation between income levels and credit scores. While it is true that having less money may make it difficult to pay bills, that's not necessarily the case. And even if it is, who do I want in my neighborhood? The family that is financially healthy or the one that hasn't managed their money to the point where home ownership is feasible? I'm not talking about how MUCH money someone has, I'm talking about how well they use it.

That being said, I understand that hardships can happen to anyone. Our responses to the housing crisis should reflect that understanding. Which is EXACTLY what the GMHC program does. He complains that the interest rate is higher than the rate to those with perfect credit? And this is a problem because? Hey, even if someone was completely innocent of any financial mismanagement and was a victim of a tragedy or a predatory loan (or both), a foreclosure still means you're a credit risk.

Finally, the problem we have right now in my neighborhood is swaths of vacant and foreclosed homes. I want to help out those in the greatest need as much as possible, but we need people living in our communities, period. If that's a white, upper-income family that wouldn't have come here if not for some assistance, the program worked and I say bring on more!

Johnny Northside said...

Well, to be fair, the author of the article said "welfare for yuppies." I was the one who used the phrase "army of yuppies" to characterize what he was writing about.

But I think it's a fair characterization and it's perfectly alright to characterize his piece as "the army of yuppies article."

And, as I think I made clear in my post...the article might be seen as an incredible "back handed compliment" directed at what this program is doing for North Minneapolis.

The author of the article is not without his own political ambitions, as is clear from the link to his (dormant, sad) blog, which can be viewed by clicking on the "hot link" in his name, Michael Katch.

So one might jump at this program but, be careful...there's a Katch. And he might go out of his way to criticize your Pottery Barn decor.

Anonymous said...

It's ironic you are slamming him for misspelling names or not knowing names.. but then you misspelled his name....s
crap of information would be useful, Mr. Klatch, in this developing....

anyways, you would really like Michael, I know you would. He is an extraordinarily intelligent person, and he is very sincere.

Anonymous said...

yup, you misspelled it twice from what I can see..

Do you have any idea what this will do to crime rates and property values, Mr. Klatch?

Johnny Northside said...

Typos are a short little nail on which to hang something as heavy as irony. I went back and corrected the two typos. Thanks for "Katching" those, ha ha.

I never criticized Mr. Katch for misspelling. A piece would have to be rife with ignorant errors before I'd criticize THAT, and this piece wasn't.

My criticism was directed at the fact Katch complained about not having people's names, or knowing how to spell the names, when he clearly had an opportunity to get that information if he'd known how to actually wear his self-appointed role as a journalist, and do what a journalist is supposed to do.

But I consider that a minor and tangential critique. My main criticism is how he's worried about an army of yuppies getting incentives to move to North Minneapolis. Furthermore, the incentives came from the federal government.

Does Katch want to send back the money and say, "No thanks, you can keep your funding...we're happy enough with copper thieves and boarded up, vacant houses. The last thing we want is stable families with a good income buying some of the scores of empty homes in North Minneapolis."

Yes, I'm sure I would like Katch in person. I like most people in person, even if I don't agree with some of their views. But here we have this WONDERFUL program which is going to help our neighborhood, and Katch wants to launch a torpedo at it because, what? He doesn't like yuppies?

Well, two can play at the harsh critique game.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are right to poke some sarcastic fun at the idea of an army of yuppies marching north to bring some stability. But it just seemed a little overly personal to Mr. Katch himself rather than his view/opinion. Not every one had the chance to go to journalism school and a majority of bloggers are complete amatuers. The interesting or debatable issue is where does one draw the line between a blog and a vehicle of journalism, like the Minneapolis Mirror in which Mr Katch often contributes: no print edition (that I am aware of), probablly not a money making venture. It's really just a blog like yours. So it seems fair game to take up the issue, but to clobber someone for admitting they don't know the proper names to attribute. I dunno. Anyways, good night.

Anonymous said...

What gives the City the right to steal money from one person and give it to someone else?

Johnny Northside said...

Oh, I love it when you speak Libertarian. Now whisper softly in my ear about how the "invisible hand of the marketplace" is going to fix everything, and we just need to stand back and let that happen.

Johnny Northside said...

To the "Anonymous" before the previous "Anonymous."

Well, I think the blogosphere needs to keep pulling itself up to a higher journalistic standard. But I am, yes, fortunate to actually have training as a journalist. It's not magic armor against error, of course.

And though I may have been "overly personal" with Katch, he was the same way with folks he was criticizing as recipients of this "welfare for yuppies." I see myself as defending a wonderful program that's helping my neighborhood--GREATLY--against a critique both shallow and wrongheaded.