Sunday, May 24, 2009

Johnny Northside Tire Casualty Count Stands At 10...

Photo By John Hoff

So a couple weeks ago, all four of my car tires got "poked."

I won't say they were "slashed." They were merely "poked" in a pathetic and weak-wristed kind of way.

This has happened before and, I strongly suspect, it will happen again. If you call 911, 311, blog about crime in the neighborhood, sit on neighborhood committees, pal around with the police, if you do everything possible to clear the criminal underbrush so decent people want to buy up vacant houses and live in this neighborhood, even if they're not into the same level of adventurous activism, well...

If you do THAT kind of stuff, sooner or later some of your positive energy blows back as negative energy. Poked tires are very minor compared to the stupid doomsday predictions I had to endure when I first started blogging about the colorful battle for neighborhood revitalization in NoMi.

Where are the doomsday critics NOW? This blogger is still alive. So let's examine the score, shall we?

Regular readers know I wrote before about the time four of my tires were slashed, and I carefully drove to Highland Auto Tire (just a few blocks away) on flat, wobbly rubber.

Then there was the time I was off truckin', and...

...I had two tires "poked," one passenger window busted.

Now all four of my tires were "poked." Again. Thank goodness my friend Jeff Skrenes, Hawthorne Housing Director, lent me a tire iron--turns out I didn't have one in this vehicle--and the good guys at Highland Auto Tire loaned me another jack, because I really NEEDED two jacks.

(Unlike the Jordan Neighborhood. Get it? Two jacks? JACCs? Never mind...)

In this incident, the car was also "keyed." What's so FUNNY about that is the car's paint job is SPRAY PAINT. The paint was worn off down to the metal, so I touched it up with paint that was pretty close, but not EXACT. And yet the side of my car with the spray paint paint job was KEYED.

How STUPID is that? Like, oh gee, do you think I don't have ANOTHER can of spray paint or even the leftovers from the original paint job?


Two things to address: PROGRESS and FEELINGS.

As far as progress, the stuff with the slashed tires is minor compared to all the things I've managed to do in the neighborhood, whether by blogging or shoes-on-the-sidewalk stuff. I consider slashed tires merely my "cost of doing business," like when a restaurant has to buy toilet paper. Sooner or later, you have to deal with some....


Second, how does this make me feel? Let us sit around, then, and talk about my sensitive, delicate, precious (expletive) FEELINGS. Here is how I feel:

Jealous. I am jealous of Peter Teachout and his eternal glory, because his truck was torched on the Fourth of July last year, and yet he's all, like, "I'm not selling my house. I'm not leaving. I'm going to turn this neighborhood around" and his statement is, like, in the Adventures Of Johnny Northside movie project. 

(See bottom of my blog roll for clips and more info)

So my score: Ten tires. One window. One paint job.

Peter's score: ONE TORCHED TRUCK. By my reckoning, Peter is still ahead.

But, hey, is this the cost of blogging about neighborhood revitalization?

Cheap at twice the price.

HOWEVER, and please take note of this: I did not make a police report. The car is a loaner from a friend or relative, who didn't want their name on an official report associated with me and my activist efforts. (Though it's apparently fine for me to blog about it. Strange. What can I say? I have strange friends and/or relatives)

I am obedient to the law, but I have blood oath loyalty to my friends and/or relatives. So I just had to endure the incident rather than waste the time of a police officer, taking down a report on a minor crime that will never be solved. It's on this blog. There is a record of it. It's public enough.

Incidents like this are what make me realize crime stats don't tell the whole story. There are many incidents which, for one reason or another, go unreported. There are undoubtedly people who are wounded with bullets and drag themselves home, where friends perform surgery with whatever is handy. At some level, I almost have to admire that. When thugs are virtually extinct in NoMi (North Minneapolis) will we get nostalgic for them?

I hope we have the opportunity to find out. I BELIEVE we will have the opportunity to find out. Because I'm not breaking off, I'm not backing down, I've put down roots and I'm staying. FOREVER.

ADDENDUM: Forgot to count a broken window from the time my van was stolen. So TWO broken windows.


The Mortgage Geek said...

Housing Director Jeff Skrenes (pronounced Skree-ness)

veg*nation said...


before moving to the northside, i used to see northside activists on tv and wonder "how can people live like that?" but what i've learned since moving up here is when you see the bad guys winning, and corruption winning, then you get stubborn. and, as you say, the dangers turn out to have been greatly exaggerated in the first place. things really do look scarier on t.v.

Anonymous said...

My official count while living in Jordan was three broken car windows, one home burglary (the entire home was turned upside-down and trashed with numerous items stolen), four slashed tires, and an additional #4,000 worth of body damage to a vehicle.

The body damage was actually quite humurous in hindsight. First the theif attempted to punch-out the door lock. When that failed, they took a retaining wall paver from beisde my driveway and attempted to throw it throw the truck window. Their first attempt missed the mark. and they dented the door column next to the window. Not to be dissuaded, they picked the paver up and tried again (probably froma closer distance) and were successfull in blowing-out the window and I might add, disabling the passenger side airbag in the process.

Oh, I forgot to mention another $1,200 worth of damage done by three yound miscreants that weren't from the immediate neighborhood, but had come to "beat-up" a neighbors child. After running them off, I learned that they came back and beat (with sticks they had brought to beat-up the neighbors kid) the hell out of the side of my vehicle (a brand new $35k truck).

So, adding it up. I was probably out-of-pocket (including the ransacking of my home when I was living on Irving Ave) about $10,000 over a 6-year period.

There is no doubt in my mind that everything (with the exception of the home burglary) was related to my "community activism".

Smarter neighbors that had lived in Jordan longer than I had had a much better "feel" on picking and choosing their battles...

dennis plante

Anti Johnny said...

Hey John,
I admit that I don't follow your blog closely anymore after the TJ case was finally concluded but, I did read this post and here I am to own up as one of those who thought you would have been dead and buried by now.
I was wrong. Or at least I guessed wrong.

The reason I wanted to post a comment to this post was to be a smart as* and point something out about your "score" comparison.
You said Peter is ahead because, he got a nice, new truck after his was torched while you have edured minor vandalism and have not come out with an upgrade via insurance as Peter has.
The point I wanted to make light of is this:
Peter's vehicle was nice BEFORE it was torched.
Your vehicle's were... Well... HoffMobiles BEFORE anyone ever vandalized them lol!

Just having a bit of fun w/ this is all.

-Anti Johnny

Jordan neighbor said...

"Skree-ness, it's Geek

hahaha LMAO

Jordan Neighbor said...

Anti-john - I actually took Johnny's score calculation that Peter was winning because it was more valiant to have your truck torched and declare that you are digging your heels in and sticking around. I think that is where Johnny was coming from.

But good point about the truck and the Hoffmobiles. But really, could Johnny even look right driving a newer vehicle? It wouldn't be right and the world might shift off axis or something. Best to stick to the Hoffmobiles.

Free the show thrower.

Anonymous said...

You need to park your ride in a locked garage John!

Anonymous said...

John, the life expectancy of a window or a tire on a car left on the streets of "NoMi" is measured in days. I'd advise putting up a fence and gate, or maybe you could work a deal to use Connie's garage? In the meantime, what size tires do you need- I may have some takeoffs...