Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Minnesota Coalition For A People's Bailout Forum Was, Well, Not That Good...

Last night at the Urban League, the Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout gave a presentation on the foreclosure crisis and their civil disobedience tactics. There were about 20 people present, tops, including speakers. The video above, featuring Hawthorne Housing Director Jeff Skrenes, was really more of a counter point to many of the opinions and facts presented at the forum.

However, by dumb luck...

This video has the best audio, so it's going to be the one to represent the event. If you want to see the rest, check them out on my YouTube profile, "johnnyhoffa." However, they all have bad audio. Unless you are intensely interested in the Minnesota Coalition For A People's Bailout, I wouldn't recommend wasting your time.

Video 1, click here.

Video 2, click here.

Video 3, click here.

Video 4, click here.

Ah, yes, in regards to the event...

There weren't many people at the gathering due to rain, and a sporting event, and, well...the forum just wasn't that popular. Natalie Johnson Lee was the moderator...and in the course of being the moderator at the Urban League (a non-profit) she just happened to mention that she was running for city council in the Fifth Ward. Kenya McKnight showed up, too.

Al Flowers was present, with that lights-are-on-but-nobody-home elderly stoner look on his face, but (incredibly) he didn't go into a tirade at the forum or even ask any questions. Word from one source is that Al Flowers tries to "behave himself" around Natalie who is "his queen bee."

Of course, the next day we heard word of yet another frivolous Al Flowers lawsuit, click here.

And so it goes.

Both myself and Jeff Skrenes did manage to get one pressing point across during the forum: the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council doesn't welcome any high-drama radical housing takeover in our neighborhood. In fact, the HNC has passed a resolution to that effect.

These tactics have, so far, failed to roll back even one foreclosure. We are interested in tactics that work, not drama. Minnesota Coalition For A People's Bailout, STAY OUT OF HAWTHORNE.


Anonymous said...

Hawthorne really isn't about salvaging its history or its homes. From your own blog, it appears more homes are being demolished every week and, though you can argue they are not worth preserving, that really is just your opinion. Anyone familiar with the demolition process in this city knows it caters well to the squeaky wheels, and the squeaky wheels in Hawthorne are bent more on leveling homes, then preserving them.

There are several programs to help salvage homeowners from foreclosure, but how many in Hawthorne can attest to the help they have received to help save their home? Does the Hawthorne Area Community Council actually take an active role in helping its residents in such need? Or simply sit back and, after the homeowners are forced from their residence, watch the destruction of vandals or the elements eventually erode the building until they can declare it as a victory as "another trash house gets torn to the ground".

Does Hawthorne even have a historical preservation group? Probably not, since there really isn't much concern for preserving anything, whether it is a home, or an honest livelihood.

There is honestly so much that Hawthorne could do to help itself, but we are our own worst enemy. If its not the criminals, then its idiots at the steering wheel, calling the leveled lots in the path of destruction 'progress'...

Ranty said...


Johnny Northside said...

To be clear, the comment by "Ranty" was submitted before the first comment was approved. So Ranty's comment appears to be a remark about the post or the featured video, not a response to the first comment.

Now that I've got THAT out of the way...

In regard to "an honest livelihood." Well, an honest livelihood probably would have involved doing better research on a slummy, run-down 11-unit apartment building before going out and buying the damn thing and then--after plopping down earnest money--finding out it needs a variance which the neighborhood is not willing to support, for very good reasons.

I'm just saying. Sometimes the timing of a post as well as its content gives me a clue about where the post came from.

Dyna said...

Sorry, I didn't know the vote on the variance was coming up or I would have attended. Was it a close vote or a landslide?

In answer to anonymous, most of the buildings going down in Hawthorne have zilch historical value or are too far gone to save. None the less, it would be a good idea for Hawthorne to have a historic preservation committee.

Kevin said...

In response to Anony. 12:00

The last time I saw stats, the vast, vast, VAST majority of foreclosed properties in Hawthorne are INVESTMENT properties, not owner occupied properties. Your post implies we have all sat on our hands as legions of god-fearing, pillars of our community have been forced from their homes by our inaction.

The only owner occupied property I know of, in my immediate area that went into foreclosure was the home of the worst drug family any of us can remember. We dealt with their crap, their drugs, their bullets for almost 15 years before they finally got booted by the bank.

To summarize: There is another side to the foreclosure mess and it is rather positive.

Anonymous said...

I am confusing - Does Kenya actually think that the City is tearing down houses just because they are infested? Wow, she does not have a clue - even Natalie knows better.

It is so painful to watch Kenya speak - her good points (few and far between) are lost in her ingnorance. She may be intelligent, but it is lost in her inability to articulate (let alone write). She should go get an education - then try to run for office - she ran too soon.

Anonymous said...

I am really not sure if the first person who commented on this post has actually spent any time looking at these properties being demolished. By time these properties come down, they are generally in a hopeless condition. If they are not hopeless they would require far more money than any one or any bank would spend on fixing them up.

In terms of this Historical Preservation Committee this person is talking about. The city already has this in place. They have people going out to all of these properties and making an assessment about what should be saved and what shouldn't be saved.

The city makes the initial determination on whether the property should come down, we as neighborhood residents, can only have so much say. The city can listen to us or not.

It is my humble opinion that many of these properties were once gems, but they have long past that time. I am not saying all of them should come down, but it just makes more sense to start fresh.

Anonymous said...

John, the comments of 'anon 12:00 am' seemed to address how, in your own words, "the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council doesn't welcome any high-drama radical housing takeover in our neighborhood." You say you do not want the help, but do not say why.

What does this have to do with any specific building?

Low End Leroy said...

Not sure where these folks have been.
The idea of creating a protest group, now, strikes me as a feeble attempt to generate some type of enthusiasm to bolster their weak and small minded political campaigns. Aren't they about three years too late?

Here is how it works in my neighborhood:

From Best to Worst:

1. Owner occupied home with an owner that is engaged in the community and cares about their property and its surroundings (regardless of skin color);

2. Renter occupied home with an owner and renter who are engaged in the community and care about the property and its surroundings (regardless of skin color);

3. Vacant home, boarded if necessary;

4. Renter occupied home - problem property (regardless of skin color);

5. Owner occupied home - problem property (regardless of skin color).

Anyone who, in the name of foreclosure prevention, attempts to preserve the ownership interests of the owner of a problem property is an enemy to this community.

Johnny Northside said...

To Dyna: the housing committee voted 3 against the variance, and one abstention. It now goes to the full board tonight.

To Anonymous at 9:19, given the context, content and timing of the comment in question, I strongly suspected it had little or nothing to do with the content of the post and more to do with somebody pissed off about what happened at last night's Hawthorne Housing Committee, when (by a vote of 3-0-1) the committee would prefer to see an old dumpy apartment building torn down than to grant a variance.

This matter has not yet gone to the full board, so the story is still developing.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding the variance request will not come before the board tonight, unless someone gets a boardmember to raise the motion. I am not sure if a community member can call a motion, but I don't think they can at the committee level.

I believe only approved motions from committees come before the board.

I do know in the past that deference is given to committee decisions.

Also, the city does not have to follow what the neigborhood does. We know that is true, because of the distaster which is 2222 4th St N.

The Mortgage Geek said...


Your prejudice against the conditional use permit at 2510 4th St N is showing through and I'm calling you out on the terminology used.

The Hawthorne Housing Committee in no way discussed whether the structure should be torn down. Instead, the question centered around whether there was official neighborhood support for Jonah Bridger and his request for the structure he owns.

Johnny Northside said...

I distinctly recall Mike Klick talking about, heck, maybe the whole thing should be torn down. If no variance is granted, tearing it down is one very likely alternative. But, sure, Mortgage Geek I will concede the vote was merely about the variance and whether to approve or not. It was NOT a "variance or tear down." It was merely "variance, yes or no?"

I am not prejudiced on this matter. There is no RIGHT to a variance and I stand on the rule. I am no more prejudiced AGAINST than you are prejudiced FOR. However, we remain good friends who enjoy good wine together after meetings. When it comes to Jonah's Whale, we must simply agree to disagree or, well, write an editorial if you like.

Dyna said...

BTW, if anonymous wants to save some historic buildings in Hawthorne, all it takes is $$$, which we don't have much of. As for Jonah's building @2510 4th, I feel bad that he may lose his investment, especially since he's played by the rules, been upfront with the community, and kept up the property. But I don't see any way this community is going to allow another 10+ unit rental building given all the problems we've had with them. I've dropped hints to Jonah that a 4 plex might be a reasonable compromise, but he doesn't seem interested. And Jonah, if your reading this, making a couple or those 4 or less units wheelchair accessible might win over the community- accessible housing is about the only type of housing we have a shortage of.

The Mortgage Geek said...


If you were to write an editorial with your point of view, I'd consider writing my own.

However, unless it was clearly a JNS point/counterpoint type of an editorial I'd probably decline. The Housing Committee voted a certain way and I really have no desire to write a stand-alone editorial against that decision. I feel that would undercut my respect for grassroots decision-making.

Pond-dragon said...

Low End Leroy "Nailed it"

It's about live-ability I suspect you can walk/drive down near any street in NoMi and pick out the "Owner occupied"

Good call LEL