Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) Got Down To Serious Business Last Night (But Where Was Slumlord Keith Reitman?)

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Meeting at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PCYC) last night, the Jordan Area Community Council tackled an impressive laundry list of neighborhood issues, affirmed Michael "Kip" Browne as its Chair, and met in closed session over the latest frivolous grievance filed by Level Three sex offender Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer.

As discussed in a previous blog post, Rickmyer appears to be claiming his loathsome and disgusting "pedophile" status makes him a member of a protected class for purposes of discrimination, like race and gender.

Yup, just another fun-filled JACC meeting. Here's the rundown...

1.) City Council Member Don Samuels--who lives quite near JACC headquarters--would like to have office space at the "JACC house" so he can meet, conveniently, with constituents. JACC approved the request, unanimously.

2.) Vincent Thomas, the Director of Development at Kwanzaa Community Church in Minneapolis, spoke of his desire to provide a drop-in center for women involved in prostitution. The drop-in center would be on the 2100 block of Emerson Ave. N. This would allow the women to talk to social workers, use bathrooms, etc. in a comfortable space "instead of having to go all the way downtown" for the same services.

Expect more editorials on this topic, but the Irving Inquisition blog has a great example of what our neighborhood is enduring due to the presence of these so-called "sex workers," click here.

3.) David Snyder, a Community Organizer for Jewish Community Action, spoke of the need for more folks to help with door knocking as part of the ongoing outreach by the Northside Community Reinvestment Coalition to help individuals experiencing mortgage problems to save their homes.

4.) There was a presentation on plans for the upcoming Minneapolis public schools headquarters. Impressive architectural drawings were circulated. Four individuals presented on this topic: former City Council president Jackie Cherryhomes, Todd Elkins of Urban Home Works, Mark Bollinger, the Executive Director of Facilities at Minneapolis Public Schools, and Lynn R. Littlejohn, Director of Community Affairs for Mortenson Construction.

Though many aspects of the project were covered, I was particularly interested in the fact some "public art" would be incorporated into the project. During the comment period, I spoke up and expressed a hope any such public art would be "tasteful" and not done in a style I would dub "contemporary urban dystopia," which celebrates the aesthetic of graffiti, decay, and lawlessness. I pointed out there were many individuals (Gratia Countryman comes to mind) who have made substantial educational contributions to Minneapolis, and have connections to the Northside. These individuals are deserving of tasteful statues in their honor. Or, to sum it up another way: ANYTHING BUT A GRAFFITI MURAL LIKE THE "TRIPPING COWS" ON THE SIDE OF THE KEMPS BUILDING.

5.) There was an extensive discussion on using "buy back dollars" to promote more police presence in the Jordan Neighborhood. The discussion got incredibly bogged down--and, it is fair to say, somewhat tense--over a desire by some members in the community to use bike and foot patrols only. It is fair to say "drive by policing" is a major concern and source of irritation in this neighborhood. When Jordan residents call police about a hooker on Penn Ave. N., we want the police to get out, check identification, do pat down searches, detain, and INTERACT INTENSELY AND INTERPERSONALLY WITH THE SUSPECTS, rather than making a "keep on moving" motion from behind their windshield while slowing down to five miles an hour.

6.) Three recommendations came from the Housing Committee. A.) Supporting the preliminary design proposal for the Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters building, B.) supporting a variance and conditional use permit for Alliance Housing/Gateway Lofts, C.) recommending JACC support the Lowry Avenue Strategic Plan and proposed zoning changes.

7.) Michael "Kip" Browne, serving as Chair in the wake of the resignation of Vladamir Monroe, was unanimously reaffirmed without opposition. Eric Johnson was appointed Vice Chair, without opposition, after two other board members declined nominations to the position of Vice Chair.

8.) The most exciting part of the night was closed to the public: dealing with Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer's latest frivolous and stupid grievance.

If I had to hazard a guess as to how the matter will be resolved, I'm guessing JACC will write a letter saying pedophilia is NOT a protected class, the grievance therefore has no basis, and Peter Rickmyer should go crawling back to whatever dark snake hole he crawled out of. (I'm paraphrasing the last part) Unless, of course, the grievance is just dismissed by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, which is what SHOULD have happened.

9.) A grievance filed by the Penn Gas Station was resolved. The gas station--which is a filthy hole where dubious activity takes place openly right in front of employees, see a recent blog post regarding THAT, click here--had its metaphorical pants all in a sweaty bunch over something that had been said in long-ago minutes about how the store had been raided by police. The comment had been made by some random community member during open commentary, and NOT by a board member.

The store denies it has ever been raided. JACC agreed to change the minutes to reflect the fact the store had never been raided. How this old, obscure portion of the minutes ended up in front of the store owners is not hard to guess. This may be a good time to mention Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer has been known to work at the store.

The store, pictured above, recently laid down new blacktop in its parking lot, which will undoubtedly improve the store as much as lipstick will improve a pig.

10.) At the very end of the meeting, right before closed session, a relatively recent Jordan resident and proud home owner stepped forward and politely asked to join the board. She highlighted some experience serving on other boards, which she promised to document with a resume.

She was appointed to the board, conditionally, and must present documentation of her residency by the next board meeting.

The appointment is only good until October, when JACC board elections will be held again.

Oh, and on a final note: Slumlord Keith Reitman, who is a JACC board member and usually makes JACC board meetings, missed this particular meeting.

One can't help but suspect the heat is a little too hot in the kitchen for Reitman's tastes, but this is all Johnny Northside Dot Com can say at the present time about this matter.

Stay tuned as more information comes available.

41 comments:

Kevin said...

Thank you for speaking up about public art. If we can't come up with anything other than painted walls or painted sidewalks we should wait until we can. I hate that stuff! It looks ghetto, deteriorates quickly and only re-enforces the notion of a neighborhood in decay.

M. Clinton said...

I understand that there is good intent behind the idea of a drop in center for prostitutes. In the big picture, it's an attempt to get them off of the streets. However, while they are victims, their behavior also is victimizing the residents of the neighborhoods where they work (or are worked as the oft unseen pimp is the one in control).

I absolutely believe in outreach, but I believe the place for outreach is on the streets. I would not support creating a drop in center. To create a place where they feel comfortable going and providing amenities will only create a magnet location and enable their behavior to continue. Much like an addict often needs to hit a "bottom" before he or she gets help, the focus for prostitution should not include anything that makes their day to day living more comfortable. Absolutely I believe in providing condoms and information about programs - but it is just as important that their day to day life becomes as uncomfortable as possible to steer them toward wanting to get out of the life.

Years ago, the naive liberal side of me might have thought differently about this, but trust me, I lived on a corner of prostitution. I have spent years directly observing behaviors related to prostitution (including behaviors of the pimps and Johns) as well as having gotten to know and converse with a few of the long time "regulars" of my corner. There becomes a fine line between "support" and "enabling."

NoMi Passenger said...

Thank you M.Clinton for articulating exactly what was formulating in my mind. I could not get past the vision of a prostitute pipeline transit corridor forming from Penn/Lowry through my neighborhood to the drop-in center at 21/Emerson.

I mean, we might as well run a streetcar for them.

I agree, creating a more comfortable workday for them does not seem like an effective approach. Sometimes Minnesota Nice is just plain harmful.

veg*nation said...

no mural will ever be able to compete with the love-power mural on the west bank. larger than life rainbow jesus totally rocks!
http://tinyurl.com/2c78tog

Marjorie said...

We definitely need a drop in center for prostitutes. It's the pimps that deserve our derision not the poor working girls. If we can get just one of those poor girls off the streets it will all be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Why would the JACC have closed meetings? It just breeds suspicion just like when the various city, county, state groups try this.

Hans said...

I wonder how those who live near 21st and Emerson feel about the idea of having a hooker drop-in center in their neighborhood? I sure wouldn't want to live near that.

How can Vincent Thomas assure the neighbors that street walkers won't start using that block to sell themselves?

On another topic, I hate the new "public art" banners along Broadway. Who came up with those designs? Did they have a high school contest and pick the losers for public display? I'd rather have ZERO public art than more stuff like that... most bus stop ads are more attractive than those.

Anonymous said...

I think if a Hooker drop in center is created, then folks in Nomi should get to drop in to sample their services.

Johnny Northside! said...

In reply to Anonymous at 10:19 PM.

JACC had a closed meeting because they were discussing possible litigation. That's routine with any board. If Spanky Pete wouldn't be filing stupid crap, JACC wouldn't be going into a closed session.

Funny how some people have more "suspicion and distrust" of these decent, reputable folks running a neighborhood council than of a Level Three sex offender who gets sexual gratification from spanking minors.

Anonymous said...

Careful Hans,

Vince Thomas is a VERY distinguished and respected person.

You can attack the program, but not the person.

Johnny Northside said...

I don't think it's an attack on Vincent Thomas to ask how he can assure the neighbors that the hookers won't hook right outside of their drop-in center. However, I was impressed with Vincent Thomas. He is a very distinguished and sincere man who wants to help these women. But I am concerned about what this project will mean to my neighborhood and I oppose this drop-in center.

Johnny Northside said...

One reason I oppose it is because we have CLEANED UP the corner of Emerson and Broadway, and now somebody wants to invite the hookers BACK to that area?

No. No. No.

Kevin said...

But why didn't Vincent come to the Hawthorne neighborhood board? The Kwanzaa Community Church is in Hawthorne, not Jordan. Granted Emerson is the dividing line between the 2 neighborhoods, but if this drop-in center is going to be located at the church itself, that would be Hawthorne. If it's located on the other side of Emerson, that would be Jordan.

I spoke to a Hawthorne Board member this morning and they knew nothing about this proposal and were not aware anyone from the church had contacted Hawthorne. Stuff like this only breeds suspicion.

Hans said...

anon 11:53

Careful? Or what? Is that some kind of threat/warning?

That was simply a question for Vince, not an attack.

NoMi Passenger said...

I also was impressed with Vince Thomas when he presented about the Northside Women's Center, and I thought to myself "Wow, Kwanza (church) for sure found the right man for the job, because Vince sure has a tough task ahead of him." And he's gonna have to absorb some of the shock that is deflected back towards him from neighbors who are up to here *eyebrow to hand gesture* with the hookers and all that comes with them when we are asked to open our hearts and minds and be tolerant and non-judgmental. I think they found the right man for that job.

Anonymous said...

I think cops should just sit outside of any hooker drop in and bust anyone using their services. By using such a facility I would think that would be probable cause.

Todd Snell said...

I think such a drop in center is just what we need. I'm sick of seeing prostitues using the outdoor bathroom's (IE There are none). I'd prefer to provide a clean and maintained facility to ensure they aren't leaving their droppings and condoms on our yards. As an alternative. Could we install portable facilities and waste containers for dropping off condoms/needles and for them to urinate etc?

Concerned neighbor said...

The JACC housing committee supports the granting of the variance and conditional use permit so the Alliance project can pack more poor, addicted people into the neighborhood.

There's been extensive discussion on this topic on other non-JACC lists. Very disappointing to see the JACC Housing committee supporting this, and I'm surprised that our own JNS hasn't made mention of any of it.

Anonymous said...

Surely NoMi-ites can find more pleasant ways to pick up a disease than that.

Anonymous said...
"I think if a Hooker drop in center is created, then folks in Nomi should get to drop in to sample their services."

NIMBY said...

What's to keep just anyone from using the drop in center? I can see this being a draw for every drunk and junkie and homeless person who wants to use the bathroom. How does one prove they are eligible to "drop in"?

Anonymous said...

Hans really? You clearly try to call him out now you back peddle. You might want to meet him and hear the proposal before passing judgment.

Freedom Vet said...

It's pretty hypocritical to complain about hookers in the neighborhood and oppose this drop in center.

This is just what NoMi needs. I'm sick of these Hookers defecating in the streets and am grateful that Vince has stepped up to solve the problem.

I think I'm going to start worshiping at Kwanzaa church.

Anonymous said...

Here is how they do it in the Land Of The Morning Calm, my beloved Korea where shorttime longtime G.I. live in number honna world.The women are checked at the V.D. center once a month and preeze no forget because they will hunt your ass down and jail you if your card is not updated.If thy ho was clean she was free to go(Not FREE,dummy)I imagine that the role of this DROPOUT center will listen to these fake perpetrating whores stories ang give them free shit while they charge their customers to contract the disease of ther choice."I'm selling herpes and she's selling Syph just drive on by and get you awhiff" This kind of wants me to puke on the Boat but i already cleaned myself for the week.Lets put an end to feeling sorry for these game running takers and fakers because wherever the fakes decide they want to put this enabling establishment is where they should put the next Police -mini precinct office.

Kevin said...

"The JACC housing committee supports the granting of the variance and conditional use permit so the Alliance project can pack more poor, addicted people into the neighborhood.'

And again I say, if this drop-in center is in Hawthorne and NOT Jordan, why is JACC involved in this? If there's a variance that needs approving, we should be doing that NOT JACC.

We need to know where this center is going to be located - Hawthorne or Jordan.

There also use to be an informal agreement between the two organizations that both neighborhoods would be kept in the loop so-to-speak when issues like this came forward. A drop-in center right on the border of the 2 neighborhoods affects both and both should be involved in the decision making process.

Patrick said...

With the proposed location, both Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhood associations should be involved.

That may also mean more funding, and a nicer facility. Perhaps the YWCA could be involved.

Pond-dragon said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, all kinds of issues, and all kinds of maybe solutions.
License, Legalize,Tax, and regulate. Catch a John (not the John I suspect) with an unlicensed and un-regulated working girl or guy: fine $1500 a head (no pun intended). Folks after 1000's of years we aren't going to end it, time to bring these folks into the tax paying fold. I'm getting close to SS and would appreciate more contributors.

Johnny Northside said...

Here is a link to another account of the JACC meeting, posted on the JACC Flash NoMi blog.

http://jacc-flash-nomi.blogspot.com/2010/07/approved-action-items-from-jacc-board.html

The woman provisionally appointed to the JACC board was named Amy Blenker.

Hans said...

anon 8:05...

I never tried to attack Vince Thomas, "call him out" or "back-peddle"... I just want an answer from him. (And I'd kinda like to know why you told me to 'be careful'... what's your point? Be careful or else what?)

Just so we're all clear, I'll repeat my original question: HOW CAN VINCENT THOMAS ASSURE THE NEIGHBORS THAT STREET WALKERS WON'T START USING THAT BLOCK (21xx Emerson) TO SELL THEMSELVES?

It really doesn't matter how distinguished or respected Vince is. I judge the program based on the program, not based on the public opinion of the person creating the program. So far I haven't heard any information besides the rumors.

If Vince comes to a Hawthorne meeting I will definitely be hearing the proposal... I can be open minded but he'll still be fighting an uphill battle to win my support... I will "pass judgment" anytime I please.

Hans said...

"Freedom" vet 9:28 (as though there were a different kind of Veteran)...

I believe this drop-in center will make the problem of "hookers in the neighborhood" worse by enabling them to conveniently continue their lifestyle.

Your cry of hypocrisy does not make sense from my perspective.

Anonymous said...

@Kevin:

Just to clarify, the Alliance Project is actually a different project, on West Broadway in Jordan Neighborhood:
http://www.alliancehousinginc.org/properties/broadwayworkforce.html

However, i think we should all be concerned about it, since it's going to affect us all.

"The JACC housing committee supports the granting of the variance and conditional use permit so the Alliance project can pack more poor, addicted people into the neighborhood.'

Hopeless in NoMi said...

Really?

More high density low income housing in NoMi?

This summer has really been depressing as far as revitalization progress. With all of the violence and thugs everywhere I've lost a lot of hope.

And this new low income housing nonsense is like a kick in the stomach.

What can we do about this JNS?

Johnny Northside said...

If Vincent Thomas walks on water right in front of me, I will still not support a hooker drop-in center anywhere in North Minneapolis, but particularly in my neighborhood.

Furthermore, I'd like to keep emphasizing this: the corner of Emerson and Broadway has been CLEANED UP. The police uprooted the hookers. Now they cluster in a narrow area of Penn Ave. N. But if the drop-in center ends up at the church on the 2100 block of Emerson Ave. N., the hookers will be back on that corner and the hard work of the police will be squandered.

I feel bad the hookers are in Jordan and lord knows I do way more than my fair share to help Jordan with this issue, writing about the ongoing problems there and calling for police to crack down, not to mention PLENTY of 911 calling when I go down Penn Ave. N., but HELL if we want the hookers back in Hawthorne! If that drop-in center happens over our loud and sustained disapproval, clearly we will have to SIT OUT FRONT OF THE CHURCH IN VEHICLES and call 911 when we see the well known hookers walking down that street to the drop in center, no doubt hooking all the way there.

It would also be a good idea to go to the church services and register our objections in person. This needs to NOT HAPPEN.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Furthermore, Penn and 26th is NOT that far of a walk or drive from Emerson and 21st. I don't want to enable the prostitution that already exists in the Jordan neighborhood.

Pond-dragon, I might be swayed towards legalization, but until that happens, I want the laws enforced - especially because many people engaged in prostitution may be involved in other illegal activities as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Hopeless in Nomi about the low income housing point. Nomi already has an abundance of low income housing. In fact, a lot of the problems here have to do with the concentration of poverty. There ought to be more low income housing -in other areas of the city and suburbs, to more equally spread out the weight that communities have to support. What Nomi actually needs to push for is more owner occupants of homes. We need to bring more affluent people into Nomi to create a healthy tax base and support the growth of the local economy.
I've got nothing against people who don't have money. I've been there myself. But we we can't pile all the impoverished folks into one area and then wonder why things never improve. We're good on the affordable housing front, it's the other areas of Minneapolis who should be adding to their affordable housing stock.

Kevin said...

Thanks Anony 9:38 for the clarification concerning the Alliance Project.

I took a look at their website, noticed it hasn't been updated since 2005, but the following bit of info from that site really caught me eye:

"Sober housing , however, doesn’t work for homeless people will never give up alcohol and drugs. If they’re to be housed, there has to be another model. They need a building that tolerates discrete chemical use but insists on decent behavior in public spaces. They need a building that keeps out people who prey on them, take over their apartments, and start dealing. They need a building with street-wise social workers who can help them with their mental and physical health problems. Housing First does this."

So, if I read this correctly, with at least one of their programs they allow the people they provide housing to to continue using drugs and alcohol in their housing unit or apartment (whatever you want to call it).

OMG! My mind is exploding with questions!

MikeT said...

Let's be clear; the Alliance Projects on Broadway are nothing more than cheap housing to warehouse a minimum wage workforce for North Memorial. Next will be a payday loan/check cashing place they will try and sell as a "bank", I'm guessing. "Look...", they'll say, "...economic development on Broadway!" Then all the NRRC seals will clap and pat themselves on the back. Another fine idea by the same people who brought us the Karamu Shopping Center.

Take a drive down Penn Avenue between Morgan and Humbolt. That was somebody's idea of a affordable housing at one time, too. Now keep going and hang a right on 7th... nice, huh? Can't wait to have it up by me next!

Hey NRRC... you want to be REALLY helpful?
STOP HELPING!

Anonymous said...

I would suspect that a little more research be done by the people who come out of their respective corners swinging at an opponent they have yet to do any research on.Alliance was created to assist recovering alcoholics and addicts get reasonable housing while containing their demons.I had no idea that the requirements have changed and that they will open housing to anyone that farts loud enough.There is a building that sits at the intersection of Glenwood and East Lyndale avenues.The place where the chronic inebriates are warehoused is..drum roll)....called The Glenwood.The facility next door which requires sobriety is called the Evergreen.Alliance Housing started in South Minneapolis on 18th and Stevens a while back.Their rules are stringent enough and the Apartments that sit on Stevens avenue seem to have been a success in helping people get back on their feet.MIKE T seems to think that this will be the equivalent of a baseball teams Farm System that North Memorial will use to supplement ther work force....this coming from a person so full of honey dew wagon drippings that he thinks you can take a ride down Penn avenue between Humboldt and Morgan,I would wager herr shithead isn't even from North Minneapolis.Where the hell do these streets intersect?What the hell do you mean by stop helping?Take a right on Seventh? Should i do that where penn intersects with Morgan or where it intersects with Humboldt? Boat thinks MikeT @10:50 should buy a Hudson roadmap book and use it to find his way to another place he thinks he knows.Meanwhile, and it will happen somehow, we are going to find a way keep assisting the neediest in our society while thinning out the ranks of the fakes that continue to make it hard for US ALL. STOP HELPING?!!??!Dilligently and constructively we will prevail.I am an optimist-realist and will be damned if i ever give up.

Automobile Head said...

Boat,

There's a fine line between enabling and helping. Enabling doesn't do anyone any good. I respectfully disagree with you and suggest that alliance and high density low income housing enable the ghetto lifestyle. They don't help.

I'm a pessimistic realist.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Typically when a zoning variance is required, the applying person or entity must at least notify everyone within a 350-foot radius of the site of the application. When a place is on the border of two (or more) neighborhoods, it's common for the adjacent neighborhood to be a part of the process.

Trike Head said...

Hawkman,

Frankly it should be REQUIRED for people seeking zoning changes to get approval from the neighborhood association before any change can be made.

And if, as in this situation, a property sits on the border of two neighborhoods, it shold likewise be REQUIRED.

Anonymous said...

Why did Vladamir Monroe resign?