OPINION | Livin’ the Lime life in Uptown Minneapolis — Tarts Welcome?

Dear LIME apartments,I live a few blocks from your Uptown apartments for 25-35 year-olds who want to relive their college years. I’m 33 and love my vibrant neighborhood in part because of the many energetic, artistic, civically engaged young adults who live there.What I don’t love about the neighborhood lately are your advertisements, especially when my friend’s seven-year old daughter asks me to explain them to her when we drive by.I particularly don’t like the one that says, “Tarts Welcome” but hey, at least it’s more direct than, “I don’t remember her name…but her apartment.”When I see these slogans, I usually resolve to send you a serious letter outlining my sense of sadness about your advertising messages. An excerpted version basically goes: “Blah, blah, women=dehumanized sex objects, blah blah men=dehumanized sex crazed buffoons, blah, blah, people internalize that stuff, blah, blah, bad for society, blah blah, we should stop making ads like this.”But you’ve probably already heard those tired old arguments from other people. Indeed, that’s the point of your campaign.So what’s a neighbor to do in order to get the ads down? I read that you’ve “got a sense of humor” about your ads, so I thought I’d point you to Jay Gabler and Becky Lang’s hilarious suggestions for additional slogans. Continue Reading

Immigrant driver’s license bill passes MN Senate, goes to MN House

The Minnesota State Capitol filled with loud cheers and chants of “Sí, se pudo,” (“Yes we could”) Saturday night, after the Senate passed a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. The next step: the bill would need to pass the full House of Representatives before the May 20 adjournment to have a chance of becoming law.  Governor Dayton has promised he will meet with the bill’s supporters if it is passed by the legislature. More than 150 supporters showed up at the Captiol to hear the Senate vote on a bill that the Latino community has been lobbying for in various incarnations for at least five years. At the beginning of the week, organizers felt the bill was in danger of getting brushed aside, and a handful of supporters began a hunger strike to bring attention to their cause. Last night several of the hunger strikers pledged not to eat until the bill is signed into law.Session Daily reported earlier that the drivers license legislation “would modify eligibility requirements for a driver’s license to allow applicants to use identification cards issued by another country as proof of identity; remove citizenship requirements; and eliminate immigration status check dates on the card for applicants with short-term visas.”Supporters characterize SF271, sponsored by Senator Bobby Joe Champion, and the House bill, HF348, sponsored by Representative Karen Clark, as public safety measures. Here are some videos from the evening. The Minnesota State Capitol filled with loud cheers after the Senate passed SF271 by 36-28 votes.State senators who voted yes on the “Drivers Licenses for All” bill hugged organizers and supporters of the bill.Monica Vega, an organizer with the MN Agenda Latina, describes the mood in the MN Capitol after the vote. Related stories:OUR STORIES | Driver’s license statementsMinnesota immigrants explain why they support driver’s licenses for all 
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Minnesota immigrants explain why they support driver’s licenses for all

Latino community members want driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status. That was the message they gave city and state legislators on Friday night at Waite House, where more than 170 Latino immigrants gathered to voice support for legislation to make people eligible for Minnesota driver’s licenses, without regard to immigration status.The Latino community came out in large numbers to share their stories with Minneapolis City Council members Elizabeth Glidden and Robert Lilligren, and State Senator Scott Dibble and State Representative Karen Clark. The Minneapolis City Council Committee of the Whole endorsed the driver’s license initiative and a proposal on in-state tuition, as well as federal immigration reform, on January 24. The recommendation will go forward to the February 8 council meeting. (See City Council Staff Report:  Immigration Reform State Agenda RCA; Immigration Reform Higher Ed Policy Recommendations PowerPoint; Immigration Reform Latino Engagement Task Force Policy Recommendations.)Many community members, a third of whom were from Mexico and the rest of whom were mainly from Ecuador and Central American countries, gave emotional testimonials outlining various reasons for being in the country and for wanting driver’s licenses.“I came here for a better life and I had to leave a lot of my family behind,” said Maria, a housecleaner, while fighting back tears. Continue Reading

Jobs vs. Environment: Do we have to choose?

A few weeks ago the New York Times published an article with a painting of an ethereal iceberg and the headline, “Where Did Global Warming Go?” It’s a fair question, and one that many people brought up at four in-person community conversations about the environment. The conversations were part of the Twin Cities Daily Planet’s ongoing coverage on the New Normal.A few years ago when people talked about the environment they talked about global warming. According to an annual Gallup Poll Americans’ concerns about global warming peaked in 2008 and have steadily declined since. Now, it seems as though it’s practically off the table, according to environmentalists who attended our New Normal conversations at the Wilder Foundation, the St. Paul chapter of the Audubon Society, the Capitol River District Council, and Land Stewardship Project. Continue Reading

Join the conversation on the Achievement Gap

The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series, The New Normal: Deciding Community Priorities in a Downsized Economy, tackles a different issue each month. So far we’ve looked at issues ranging from health care and immigration, to neighborhoods and the state budget.In October we’ll be looking at the achievement gap and will use use Bruce Johansen’s article, Meeting Minnesota’s educational challenge to get a series of community conversations going. We’ll be asking:What’s the best way to close the achievement gap? Is the best solution to: A)   Increase engagement between schools and communities B)   Focus on accountability and basic reading and math skills C)   Focus on intensive intervention after school and in early childhood, or D)   A different approach.We’ll do some basic education about the achievement gap in the Twin Cities, then we’ll ask participants to weigh in on what they think we should prioritize when closing the achievement gap. At the end of the month we write an article summarizing what we’ve heard across all of the conversations we held. Continue Reading

Mark Schultz: “Food for people instead of corn for Cargill”

Mark Schultz had been organizing around corporate accountability on the East Coast when he moved to Minnesota in the late 1980s and saw an ad in the paper that said something like: “Are you concerned about corporate absentee landlords? Concerned about foreclosures and removing conservation from the land so it can be farmed with chemicals?” His response to the advertisement landed him a job at the Land Stewardship Project, where he’s (mostly) been for the past couple decades. “I loved being connected to people through the land and creating solutions,” Schultz said. “We need to be about challenging the worst environmental challenges while also building the community solutions.” We talked to Schultz about challenges in land use as part of our September focus on the environment. What’s the most important issue in land use and agriculture facing Minnesota today?They’re all interconnected, but probably the phenomenon of factory farm and mega farms. Factory farms mean livestock. Mega farms are the huge expanses of crop land which are owned or rented by fewer and fewer people. Continue Reading

Light rail on the Northside: Q&A with Raymond Dehn

When the recession hit, Raymond Dehn lost his job as a full-time architect. He began freelancing and doing some consulting, but also found he had more time to work on issues on the Northside, where he’s lived for 12 years. A couple years back he attended a town hall meeting about transportation and the Bottineau Line—the proposed light rail line that would connect many western suburbs to downtown Minneapolis, as well as skirt around, or go through, North Minneapolis.Dehn was hooked. “As an architect I have an understanding of how important transportation can be to a community,” Dehn said. “It seemed clear to me that if light rail was good enough for South Minneapolis it’s good enough for North Minneapolis.”Dehn and others started the Northside Transportation Network, a loose coalition of organizations and residents on the Northside. Continue Reading

Join the conversation: Environmental sustainability

The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s series, The New Normal: Deciding Community Priorities in a Downsized Economy, tackles a different issue each month.In September we’ll be looking at environmental sustainability and are looking to partner up with groups across the metro area to co-host community conversations. At the conversations we’ll explore the question:What should be our priority for environmental sustainability in the next decade?1) Implement stronger regulations2) Educate for individual actions3) Rely on market approaches4) Something elseWe’ll do some basic education about environmental sustainability and policy in Minnesota, then we’ll ask participants to weigh in on how environmental issues shape their communities and how we should move forward.COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONSWilder FoundationTuesday, September 20 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.451 Lexington Parkway NorthSaint Paul, MN 55104 Facilitator: Don ArnostiLand Stewardship ProjectFocus on urban agricultureSeptember 22, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.821 East 35th Street, Suite 200MinneapolisAudubon Society – St. Paul ChapterTuesday, October 11Audubon members Capitol River District Council Wednesday, October 127:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.10 East 5th Street, Suite 240, St. Paul At the end of the series of conversations someone from the TC Daily Planet will write an article summarizing and analyzing the discussions from all the conversations. Click here to see our summary of the immigration conversations in July. Continue Reading