Sunday, October 31, 2010

Slumlord Interests Ousted From JACC Board, And Much More In A North Minneapolis "Tale Of Two Cities"

Contributed photo, xoxo, blog post by John Hoff

In the last 10 weeks, this blog has been less active than any time in its history due to employment obligations which took me across the country to Columbia, South Carolina for a long period of intense training. While I often had free time, I seldom had convenient internet access, plus other obligations (like being an outstanding designated driver to my hard-partying buddies) kept me pretty tied up.

Now, with my fingers comfortably back at the keyboard, and hot content ready to roll in the usual prolific Johnny Northside style, I thought it would be fun to review some of the amazing changes which have taken place during the last ten weeks. It's incredible how quickly our neighborhood changes, evolves, and revitalizes even in a relatively short span of time. Being out of the loop for ten weeks and then trying to catch up gives me a whole new appreciation for just how quickly our neighborhood is changing.

* First, and most recently, three nights ago the Jordan Neighborhood had its annual meeting and (for the second year in a row) managed to elect a slate of candidates to its board without any of the drama which, once upon a time, was synonymous with Jordan Neighborhood politics. In fact, the only drama was something positive: bylaws were changed so that mere property ownership in the neighborhood isn't enough to qualify individuals for board membership, not anymore. What this means, effectively, is shameless slumlords like Keith Reitman will no longer have such a powerful role in Jordan politics.

Best of all, the bylaw change took place right in front of Keith Reitman, but other than barking briefly and in a paranoid manner over whether somebody was "whispering" to the chair of the meeting--saying something, whining something about open meeting laws, blah blah blah, as though open meeting laws ever regulated whispering--Keith David Reitman was powerless to stop the change in the bylaws. As of that moment...

...Rietman no longer has a vote in JACC business. Though this seems like a relatively minor change, progress in our neighborhood is a moving mosaic made up of such minor changes. In my absence, other bloggers kept the neighborhood informed of important developments, such as these:

* Jimmy Carter's visit to the Eco Village, reported in detail by Jeff Skrenes on the Hawthorne Voices blog.

* 1564 Hillside Ave. N. was demolished, reported in detail by Hillside Chronicles.

* Decent people in the Jordan Neighborhood have grown increasingly upset with Steve Meldahl, who has been dubbed "Slumeldahl" by NoMi Passenger. WARNING: Slumeldahl has NOT been approved by the FDA for neighborhood usage, and has been known to have serious side effects, such as urban blight and low curb appeal. The fiery "Irving Inquisition" blog has been on top of Meldahl.

* Thug-on-thug homicidal violence. Yawn. What else is new? There are two different worlds in North Minneapolis, and one of those worlds is actually very safe, comfortable, and enjoyable. And then there are thuggish idiots who kill each other with whatever weapon is available, including a speeding vehicle. Outside observers should not be misled by colorful mainstream media reports of such criminal violence: the "revitalizer" lifestyle is gaining ground in North Minneapolis, and the "thug lifestyle" is retreating. It's my hypothesis that North Minneapolis thugs are killing each other over increasingly smaller territory, and increasingly more limited areas of influence. North Minneapolis is truly a tale of two cities.

* The "Tripping Cows" mural was painted over at the Kemps Dairy facility.

* NoMi resident Brian Reichow married the girl of his dreams. Brian, sorry I missed your wedding. I did get text updates through the whole wedding and reception and almost felt like I was present.

* The "thug memorial riot" took place. Some folks just can't behave themselves, even while mourning their dead. This is another good argument in favor of not allowing "thug shooting memorials" to remain on trees, fences, etc. Did I mention "a tale of two cities?" Yes, I certainly did.

* I was re-elected to the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council Board, even while not there to speak in my own favor at the annual meeting. Thank you, friends and neighbors.

* Jerome Kingrussell, the notorious "Imposter Foster" from the Larry Maxwell mortgage fraud trial, was arrested and held without bail.

* Principals of Dana D III pled guilty to mortgage fraud.

All these amazing events happened in A MERE TEN WEEKS, and I've actually left a lot of important stuff out. So what will the next ten weeks bring? What will the next year, the next five years, the next ten years bring to North Minneapolis?

These ten weeks have hammered home two lessons for me:

1. Though I intend to play a large and highly-active role in the positive changes taking place in our neighborhood, change will take place no matter what. Even if this blog grew silent, even if work forced me to leave the neighborhood or the COUNTRY for months at a time, Urban Utopia is headed toward NoMi.

Urban Utopia in North Minneapolis is unstoppable.

2. During times when this blog is unable to play a very active roll, other committed bloggers take up the slack and use grassroots media to move the revitalizer agenda forward.

Because of this--once again--Urban Utopia is unstoppable.

To all the readers who have been so loyal to this blog: I am sorry that I was gone for so long, but it was necessary so I could pay my child support and the taxes on my house. (My goodness, what will the hateful haters have to hatefully hate about in light of THIS development?) I also wish to give a special thank you to neighborhood "super citizen" Megan Goodmundson, who virtually kept my blog on life support in my absence.

But now I am finally heading back home, and tonight I am...

Blogging From Joplin, Missouri


veg*nation said...

yay! welcome back, jns!

Johnny Northside! said...

Update on subject matter of this post: as of last night, JACC board members were apparently proceeding under the assumption Keith Reitman has the right to keep his seat and vote, but this was strongly disputed by Eric Johnson, the re-elected Vice Chair, as well as former Chair Kip Browne.

However, Keith Reitman didn't show up at last night's board meeting, leaving the question of whether he can vote moot, at least for last night.

JACC seems to breed controversy said...

So according to the new bylaws business and property owners can no longer be members of JACC. A totally stupid move that will come back to haunt them. I don't know of any other neighborhood organization that bans business and property owners. I expect JACC will end up back in court on that one eventually.

The new bylaws also say that only members can speak, vote, etc. at meetings.
A member being someone who lives or works in Jordan. Where is it you live, Hawthorne? And you don't work in Jordan either do you.
So if they let you speak at meetings, they have to let other non-members speak. And being a member of HNC doesn't make a difference because that exception is not stated in the bylaws.

I'd love to see how JACC handles the right to speak at meetings now that business and property owners are excluded. And there is still some question as to the legality of that exclusion.

And if Keith Reitman's term on the board has not expired, he can't be kicked off by a change in the bylaws. The bylaws wouldn't effect his seat until his term expired.

People need to keep their personal feelings out of the picture and follow the rules, and do what's in the best interests of the neighborhood.
All this infighting does not reflect good on the community.

Anonymous said...

In light of the number of vacant and substandard properties owned by Mr. Reitman in Jordan, maybe he could better serve this community with a paintbrush or hammer.

While JACC struggles to clean up problem properties that blight the communities main corridors like Penn, Rietman has the hubris to think he can profit from being on both sides of the issue. He maintains numerous problem properties in the community while putting himself in a position to control the public policy and funding that he will eventually profit from.

Either he is stupid or we are. Allowing him a board position and a vote casts a hypocritical pale over the efforts of JACC.

Maybe he would consider taking up residency in one of the rat-hole apartments he maintains so he can have a more objective idea regarding the struggles facing "his community"?

Pond-dragon said...

TO: JACC seems to breed controversy said..

Perhaps understanding certain sections of State Statute 317A would be in your best interest before making uneducated remarks. The By-laws were written in accordance with 317A and under the over site, advice and guidance of a Professional, experienced State and City Civil Rights Attorney, that does not file frivolous suits or lose cases by the handful such as J.C and BM! Education, experience,credibility,ethical values,and success far outweigh blog remarks in the court room. The legal record over the last couple years speaks "VOLUMES" on its own.

Anonymous said...

"putting himself in a position to control the public policy and funding that he will eventually profit from"

Do residents not also stand to profit from said policy and funding, in the form of better quality of life, local services and increased housing values?

Obviously not as MUCH as a landlord, but the hoped-for outcomes are the same....

JACC seems to breed controversy said...

Pond Dragon, I did read the statute and I understand it. I also understand the back-story behind the changes.
I'm just saying, JACC has created a pretty exclusive club. Especially when it comes to who qualifies to serve on the board (Member in good standing).
And the videos posted make it pretty clear that only JACC members will be allowed to speak at meetings.
If, for example, I wanted to invest in and rehab a house for resale in Jordan, I wouldn't be allowed to present my proposal at a JACC meeting because I can't be a member. The rules say only members can speak. And (as evidenced by the videos) should I try to speak Megan will protest that I'm not a member and can't speak.
Sounds to me like you have created an unwelcoming council.
Maybe someone has not looked at the BIG picture and seen the vision down the road.
The lawyers are not always right.
The lawyers know the law.
There is a difference between practicing the law, and practicing civility.
Simply look at the headline of this article:
"Slumlord Interests Ousted From JACC Board", written by someone who cannot be a JACC member.

The key to revitalizing a neighborhood is creating an warm and inviting community.
Instead of opening the door and throwing out the welcome mat, JACC is putting up a barbed wire fence.
That's why I say: JACC seems to breed controversy.

Pond-dragon said...

TO: 11:21 JACC seems to breed controversy said...

Your counter arguments are baseless, lack any knowledge of the JACC by-laws, old or new, 317A, Community participation guidelines, NRP or for that matter how neighborhood organizations operate, or for that matter anything that has happened at JACC, or how the meetings are conducted. There is no back story. You are wasting good electrons with your un-substantiated ramblings and arm chair analysis.

As an Example: Based on your theory of inclusiveness the residents of Jordan are exclusive because they don't want their neighborhood board to be run by drug dealers, slumlords, prostitutes and L3 Sex offenders, none of which would actually reside in the neighborhood. Because under the old by-laws that was a theoretical possibility. "Get the picture yet?"

Anonymous said...

What a sad state of affairs. If you read the other blogs the backstabbing at JACC just keeps going on and it doesn't look like it will end any time soon.
Do other NRP community groups have this much internal problems with board members? Does the Jordan neighborhood know what's really going on at JACC?
One has to wonder at what point the NRP leadership finally say that the JACC board is made up of a bunch of jack asses and pulls all funding until some sort of receiver gets JACC affairs in order.
Maybe NRP need to step in before there is another mutiny and lawsuits.
Or, maybe the trouble makers (like Eric and Megan) should be kicked off before things get worse.

Johnny Northside! said...

Actually, the board seems to be doing quite well and here's an update: whether or not Keith Reitman can vote while still holding his seat on the board actually seems to be up in the air right now.

However, if Reitman shows up and attempts to vote, the issue will come to a head.

By the way, NRP appears to be quite satisfied with the board as it currently stands. JACC hasn't had a bunch of trouble on the board since the "Old Majority" officers lost their officer positions three elections ago. Little by little, the trouble makers stopped showing up and the decent folks took over the board.

The most recent debate on the JACC board went like this: should we elect a chair who wants to emphasize all the various neighborhood issues, or should we elect a chair who wants to pare down our focus to JUST CRACKING DOWN ON CRIME?

By a vote of 6-4, the board wanted to stick with emphasizing all the neighborhood issues.

But only by a vote of 6-4.

My, how things have changed! Two years ago, the Public Safety Committee wasn't even meeting because the old board was a bunch of "thug huggers." That's certainly not the case today. The JACC board is doing great and you know what? NRP knows the JACC board is doing great, despite the attempt of an anonymous troll to get up here and blow smoke.

NoMi Passenger said...

This blabble-blabble about me (Megan) not allowing anyone to speak stems from a meeting in September in which a riled-up northsider was hand-led to the JACC meeting by Don Allen and Terry Yza and she was so proud that she was a Jordan neighbor and she could insert herself into the mix and stir up a bunch of nothingness. When she was pushed and pushed to disclose her address she was quite surprised to learn she lived in Willard-Hay. At that point she no longer had the right to give her input on the by-law revisions that were taken place at the meeting.

So, yeah, if a non-JACC member tries to insert themselves in a part of the meeting that is only relevant to members, i.e. votes and discussions specifically about the organizations business and direction, I will (help) enforce that if nobody else is. I'll fill that void.

By the way, a few years ago all open community forum time had been stripped away at board meetings and the once per month open community meeting had been canceled indefinitely.

As of now, there is a community input time at the end of each board meeting and the third Thursday open community meeting will begin again this month, November 2010. Third Thursday, I believe it will be held at North Regional library. Thank you, Chairwoman Lynn.

Anonymous said...

So Pond-dragon, do the residents of Jordan want a vindictive bitch on the board? They were not given the chance to vote. The board appointed her after the election, in a under the table process that backfired on the vice chair.
Why was the membership not allowed to vote on Megan?