What do people have against north Minneapolis?

One of these days I’ll learn to avoid the Facebook comments on posted news stories. Today, however, is not that day.

This week is the one-year anniversary of the devastating tornado in north Minneapolis and it’s pretty clear there remains — in some quarters — a “serves ’em right” mentality that we likely wouldn’t see if the tornado had hit, say, south Minneapolis.

Take the Facebook comments on KSTP’s story last night, for example.

A commenter writes:

I live in N. Mpls. It has not come back and it will never come back. Things are worse here than ever. That’s why I’m getting out at the end of this month. People walk around with guns sticking out of their waistbands. Random guys walk up to women asking for money and refusing to leave. People try to just walk in your door. I have lived here for over 7 years. We have had our ups and downs. This is by far the worse. I don’t even let my kids outside anymore bc you cannot trust anyone. North is a lost cause. The few good people remaining need to run away and let the bangers kill each other instead of our kids.

Another writes…

So many areas face worse devastation and get through it and move on. Why is it that N.Mpls is still being mentioned and grumbling about the tornado? Everyone in the area needs to get out and start cleaning up their homes and neighborhoods and stop sitting around for freebies.

That’s quite enough for Brigette Mengerson, a north Minneapolis resident who knows better:

I am disgusted by some of these comments. North Mpls lost a lot of businesses that people depended on for wages. Many people lost their place to live because of landlords who weren’t properly insured and/or let the homes go. Many homeowners are still stuck waiting for repairs due to greedy battles with insurance companies and the city. This isn’t about looking for freebies- its about trying to recover with the little means you had to begin with.

In the last year residents have supported each other through community dinners, fundraisers, multi-media art receptions, support groups and on going donations of food, clothing and furniture. We even have a local resident who has a book signing party later this week.

Yesterday we broke ground on a new youth garden at 21st & Dupont. Over 30 people came out to dig trenches, build raised beds, shovel and haul dirt, etc. People got out of their cars and walked in from off the streets to lend a hand in the development of this garden which will provide healthy food and income for the youth who will be working the garden and selling at our local farmers market.

North Mpls is not a lost cause- the residents past, present and future deserve better than that sentiment. What may be a lost cause is trying to change your perception of what all of North Mpls really is.

I challenge you to come out today, grab a shovel and meet those who still have plenty of hope and determination for the successful growth and rebuilding of North Mpls.

  • Jim Shapiro

    I have a dear friend who purposefully moved into north. He started off as “that white guy with the hoop we can play at.” He moved to Pittsburgh as Rick.

  • Dan K

    “Take the Facebook comments on KSTP’s story last night, for example”

    “That’s quite enough for Brigette Mengerson, a north Minneapolis resident who knows better:”

    As of 1:20 pm Sunday May 20, 2012 the Mengerson post is stamped Reply · 15 · Like · Follow Post · 4 hours ago

    Your blog is stamped at 9:04 am — Do the math

    Play the race card ever so subtly in your staged propaganda piece, how progressive.

  • Pete

    Minnesota has this bizarre priority of ‘ethnic diversity’ over economic well being, or societal stability, as a whole. Slums and blighted urban landscapes are held up to worship by racist liberals who are blinded by their own self loathing.

    There isn’t anything ‘progressive’ in it. It’s simply strange, and sickening.

  • Bob Collins

    //Play the race card ever so subtly in your staged propaganda piece, how progressive.

    You posted on the Facebook page that as of 11 a.m. the original comment was 2 hours old, which would make it 9 a.m.

    Here, you posted that as of 1:20 it was 4 hours old, which would make it 9:20, if I catch your drift.

    As of 2:37, Facebook says “5 hours ago” which makes it 9:37.

    And at 2:43, Facebook says “6 hours ago, which makes it 8:43.

    Other than Facebook’s time stamps aren’t exactly a Swiss watch, what is the point you’re attempting to make?

  • Dan,

    While no one here doubts that “Bleeding Heart” Bob “the Conspirer” Collins was responsible for such lefty plots as framing the Watergate burglars and forging Obama’s Hawaii birth certificate, I think there’s a reasonable explanation for the great “make North Minneapolitans appear actually human”plot of 2012. Facebook times are not meant to be exact. So “4 hours ago” doesn’t actually mean 4 hours and 0 minutes, exactly. So it is entirely possible that the Facebook post came before Bob’s post. Of course, you never know… Keep sleuthing!

  • Dan K

    “Other than Facebook’s time stamps aren’t exactly a Swiss watch, what is the point you’re attempting to make? ”

    “Take the Facebook comments on KSTP’s story last night, for example”

    Thanks for establishing the inaccuracies of facebook time stamping, maybe we should focus on your words LAST NIGHT then? The first two anonymous comments and then a named commenter oozes progressive platitudes, strangely, not LAST NIGHT. In FACT, the comments stand a good chance of coming out AFTER your blog. +16 in my favor by your own math.

  • Dan K


    Be as dismissive as you would with talks of conspiracy and exaggerations of Watergate etc. Leftists can never argue honestly. Your tactics are tired and dated. Freeze, isolate and polarize the messenger. Always play the racecard and live the illusion that your leftist ideals will “”make North Minneapolitans appear actually human” someday. If only the DFL ran this town they would solve that problem. .

  • Bob Collins

    The KSTP story aired last night, as indicated.

    As for the Facebook time stamps, as indicated, they’re are wildly inaccurate, and 6 minutes can be indicated as 1 hour.

    Let’s dial back the personal attacks, people, and stick to the issue. Some of you may be first-timers to NewsCut, and might not be familiar with how issues are discussed. We discuss differences intelligently and with respect.

    Nobody has to agree with anybody else, but our disagreements must be principled.

  • Rich

    The vast majority of folks on the north-side are concerned about their community. It is the extremely small percentage of malcontents which manages to do the most harm in the community.

    NYC has a controversial program of “stop-and-frisk”. It is controversial because it targets Black and Hispanic youth. Old ladies don’t get stopped and frisked and young Swedes don’t get stopped and frisked.

    The stop-and-frisk policy results in fewer and fewer people carrying guns on the street, fewer and fewer murders and spontaneous killings, and it makes the city safer. You can extrapolate from that to the rehabilitation of neighborhoods, the resurrection of businesses and what it could mean for tax revenues.

    When the police enforce the law, even when they seem tedious about it, it has an effect. And, you know, a criminal is a criminal is a criminal, and they’re always breaking the law one way or the other. So if you can get them on one law, you got them. And the little stuff starts to add up. You’ve got to start enforcing the law, and I think that’s the responsibility of the police.

    Richard Cohen a columnist for the Washington Post wrote a column about this policy in NYC.

    The Invasive Police Strategy that Pacified New York City

  • Jim Shapiro

    Rich – the “stop and frisk” program in nyc has indeed been successful.

    But sadly, it has made walking while black a crime akin to driving while black.

    The ends justifying the means is a complicated discussion but one of the negatiive ends is that yet another generation of black youths is becoming justifiably angry at the way they are treated based entirely on the color of their skin.

    Here’s hoping that somebody invents a non-invasive, colorblind gunpowder detector that can be used on black and hispanic youths, young swedes and old ladies alike.

  • Dan K

    That clears it up then

    “Take the Facebook comments on KSTP’s story last night, for example”. ‘last night’ modifies the phrase and not the subject? Dont they both modify ‘comments’ ?


    Brigette Mengerson ·

    “Oh and, I posted my comment around 9am while eating some eggs and chicken sausages” http://kstp.com/news/stories/S2625043.shtml?cat=1 Your piece – Posted at 9:04 AM on May 20, 2012 by Bob Collins Worse case scenario for my argument is you posted a 5 minute blog from an “inspiring comment” that you read that was written by a complete stranger. Are there other more likely possibilities?

    A quick google search might have your answers to your blog title- ‘crime rate in north Mpls’ Otherwise just continue with implications of racism and classism.

    2009 Figures-Changed much?

    ‘The city of Minneapolis as a whole has a higher crime rate than the average large US city, ranking around 30th in the approximately 400 large metropolitan areas in the nation’

    ‘According to the Minneapolis Police Department, who publish crime maps of the city, the highest concentration of violent crimes and property crimes are in North Minneapolis

  • Bob Collins

    I don’t believe anybody is disputing north Minneapolis crime statistics.

    What is the level of crime at which some additional mobilization should occur to help people, who may not be criminals, who are still in a bad way because of a tornado a year ago?

    One person indicated north Minneapolis “is a lost cause.” Does that mean the answer to the question is there is no additional help that should be offered of any kind?

    If someone wants to write a “stay out of north Minneapolis” as your about.com link shows, that’s up to them. As a matter of public policy, however, is a similar solution “ignore north minneapolis?”

    Like the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, communities like north Minneapolis present significant problems in disaster recovery tha don’t exist in the “nice” communities — the number of absentee landlords is high, the housing codes were ignored for years and now the cost of repairing homes includes the cost of bringing homes up to code.

    On the same day the tornado hit N. Mpls, a deadly one hit Joplin, Mo. I’m struck by the differing comments attached to stories I’ve read this week about Joplin, compared to N. Mpls.

  • Rich

    Jim, I really don’t know. It’s a conundrum. If I were stopped and frisked, repeatedly or even once, I would be furious. It is based upon – as we all know, it’s based upon race and ethnicity and youth and it troubles me. On the other hand I hate to say that the ends justifies the means, because I don’t ever believe that. But I do say that I can see what the ends are and I have to wonder.

    Bob, absent a safe environment, private capital investment in the north-side will be minimal. Perhaps state or Mpls tax policy [subsidies] would lure investment to the north-side.

    One thing’s for certain. If the north-side had a sports franchise there wouldn’t be any doubt about tax dollars available to subsidize their efforts.

  • Juan

    Many of the residents of North Mpls are from out of State looking for generous benefits provided by the people that work for a living.

    If their neighborhood is a mess, they need to clean it up! Quit demanding that other people give you their time and money.

  • Melissa

    Thank you Bob, for bringing to light how many of us who live in North Minneapolis feel lately. We have also learned to never, ever read comments on any news story about our neighborhood (present company excluded).

    Recovery is slow with any disaster, but it’s a lot harder when you have a deeply complicated financial situation to begin with.

    That said, I love my neighborhood. My child goes to a Mpls Public school, which we love and I would love to welcome more neighbors who want to be a positive force for rebuilding. We are a deeply multi-cultural place that takes a real committment to breaking down barriers and working on your own privilidge in order to work. If that kind of life calls to you, we have a lot of beautiful older houses for sale!

  • Ginny

    Can’t even get through reading all these comments. Pathetic that this is even a topic (due to the haters, not to Bob Collins). Of course north Minneapolis is a strong, proud community. Will not debate the haters.

  • allie

    If readers (of any media source) feel the North Minneapolis coverage is somehow an affront to their sensibilities or their morals, I suspect that says a bit more about their sensibilities and morals (and/or lack thereof) than the news coverage.

    The difference in coverage–even in the Twin Cities–between the tornadoes in Minneapolis and Missouri really IS striking. A point we could do well to remember–we who bury our racism below Minnesota Nice.

  • Rich

    A wise “philanthropian-type old lady” should know there are many opportunities for real estate investment on the north-side. There are beautiful homes with gorgeous views of the city that are available. All it takes is a ‘first step’. As we say on the north-side actions speaks louder than words. ;^)

  • Percy

    I’ve been on several Habitat for Humanity projects in North Mpls and have to report that more than 90% of the volunteers are white kids from outside the area.

    Says a lot about a neighborhood where they don’t even volunteer to help to fix their own neighborhood. Oh, and no, it’s not because they are busy at school or work. Please

  • Bob Collins

    // Oh, and no, it’s not because they are busy at school or work. Please

    Recipients of Habitat homes are required to put in sweat equity.

    But you’re stopping short of saying what you think it *is.”

    I’m assuming the suburban white kids didn’t have a tornado rip through their neighborhood and don’t have their own homes to work on.

  • jon

    Some people always have something against every one that isn’t them.

    When the Stadium was proposed to go in Arden Hills people called in to radio shows and complained about how they would rather stay home then go to a game in the north suburbs and sit by “those people”. As some one who lives in the north suburbs, and can assure you that Arden hills is mostly white, has low crime rates, and is generally a fairly clean/safe place. Not something most people would even try to compare to north Msp.

    There is this crazy concept that any one who is not me shouldn’t get jack squat from the government or any other big industry… Ironically the same idea is why people on food stamps don’t think they are getting welfare because they aren’t one of “those people.”

    I believe its a wonderful capitalist bit of propaganda to fight socialist ideas that were clearly “communist” during the cold war.

  • Sam

    I do believe that race is a major factor in the way the North side is perceived by Minnesotans who live elsewhere. For all of Minnesota’s good qualities (and I do love this state and its people,) there is a shockingly high tolerance here among whites for open and unapologetic racism.

    I don’t say that lightly. I’ve lived in several different parts of the country – Boston, small towns in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and even Birmingham, Alabama – before coming to Minneapolis, and I was stunned when I arrived here and began, for the first time in my life (I was born in ’76,) to hear other white people speak derisively about blacks without the slightest hint of shame. It was often couched in coded terminology rather than overt slurs: well, you know people like that hate to work, or that particular demographic on the North side just makes real growth impossible. But the meaning behind the words is unmistakable, and it is sinister.

    Minnesotans don’t like to think of themselves as racists, – there’s no pride in it the way there was in the Deep South a few generations ago – but far too many of us are all too willing to let majority-minority neighborhoods wither on the vine without lifting a finger to help, and then mutter to our white friends about “those people” being hopeless.

  • Greta

    “All it takes is a ‘first step’.”

    Indeed Rich.

    Admitting to being powerless over the breath taking views is the first step to the much needed road to recovery for North Mpls.

    So come on you old-lady-philanthropian-types-with-generosity-in-your-blood-until-you-can’t-give-no-more. Come take a gander at what the north side has to offer (and get out of my neighborhood.)

    North Minneapolis is calling for you, they really need you so go and take your good-willing self of udder selflessness and share your horn of plenty as you so much love to do.

  • dee

    The train is so off the track…

    Many people look down on Minneapolis’ North Side due to it’s “crime central” status for violent and property crimes in the Twin Cities. I wouldn’t debat the crime stats, however that is only two types of crime and crime happens everywhere, many of which have cause much more damage. i.e. ENRON, etc. IMHO to over generalize the ENTIRE North Side as such, feels narrow-minded.

    What if we were to reverse that slander a minute…

    hypothetically, let’s say those who live in Edina or Minnetonka were ALL viewed as, “elitest, snobs or worse”, certainly that might raise their blood pressure. I only use that as an example, that is NOT my opinion. What I’m trying to say is…

    We are ALL human beings BEFORE any race, religion, class, orientation etc. To tear each other down only demeans ourselves. Try even for just a minute, to honestly view those who are different from ourselves from a place of gratitude instead of anger or judgement. It may or may not be as easy, but it does change everything. It’s impossible to come from a place of anger, when you are in the mindset of gratitude.

    Perhaps focusing on the positive and giving support to those who have struggled through tragedy, would be more productive. In the end I really can’t imagine someone saying, “damn, I wish I would of had more anger or judgment.”