I don’t have a lot in common with former Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges. I took my fair, and justified, share of shots at her during her four years in office.

It seems the former Mayor and I share only two things: our mutual love of Darkness on the Edge of Town

…and criticism of white “progressives'” unicorn-dust approach to social issues, especially racism:

As the mayor of Minneapolis from 2014 to 2018, as a Minneapolis City Council member from 2006 until 2014 and as a white Democrat, I can say this: White liberals, despite believing we are saying and doing the right things, have resisted the systemic changes our cities have needed for decades. We have mostly settled for illusions of change, like testing pilot programs and funding volunteer opportunities.

These efforts make us feel better about racism, but fundamentally change little for the communities of color whose disadvantages often come from the hoarding of advantage by mostly white neighborhoods.

In Minneapolis, the white liberals I represented as a Council member and mayor were very supportive of summer jobs programs that benefited young people of color. I also saw them fight every proposal to fundamentally change how we provide education to those same young people. They applauded restoring funding for the rental assistance hotline. They also signed petitions and brought lawsuits against sweeping reform to zoning laws that would promote housing affordability and integration.

Nowhere is this dynamic of preserving white comfort at the expense of others more visible than in policing. Whether we know it or not, white liberal people in blue cities implicitly ask police officers to politely stand guard in predominantly white parts of town (where the downside of bad policing is usually inconvenience) and to aggressively patrol the parts of town where people of color live — where the consequences of bad policing are fear, violent abuse, mass incarceration and, far too often, death.

Underlying these requests are the flawed beliefs that aggressive patrolling of Black communities provides a wall of protection around white people and our property.

Is there a certain amount of “I Told You So” on the part of a mayor who wasn’t rated a whole lot better on dealing with crime in those lazy, innocent days before Minneapolis became the new Los Angeles, Baltimore and Saint Louis? A little inter-party tit-for-tat?

That’s fine. Any energy they spend at each others’ throats is energy they can’t spare for the rest of us.

55 thoughts on “Sniped!

  1. We are singing the same tune, Joe.

    What I am seeing is the total failure of DFL progressive politics that for the first time in generations offers conservatives a path back into power in the cities.

    If they can grasp it.

    On another note, I grew up in Saint Paul (Selby & Lexington) and moved out to the burbs when my kids approached school age. Unfortunately, city attitudes followed me to the burbs, so I packed my kids off to the burgs. Now that they are grown, I live in a town of 15, counting the chickens and love every minute of it.

    To give you an idea, how ideal retirement is in the country, if I didn’t monitor the news, I would have no idea that covid existed. It has hardly touched my life at all.

  2. Greg, I lived two blocks South of Sweeny’s at Selby/Dale back in the mid-80’s, when The People’s Choice was still open. That was shoulder holster territory but it was close to school and money was tight, so . . . . Moved away when I finished school but moved back for the career, Charles Avenue two blocks East of Snelling. It was okay at the time – the blight was mostly East of Lexington and only slowly spreading West.

    Left 15 years ago when I could afford to move a few blocks East of Lake Como, a “nice” neighborhood, but it’s beginning to feel as if I should dust off that holster again. The blight is spreading up Dale from Maryland, along Wheelock and Larpenteur from Rice. I hear gunshots far too often. Two separate incidents of people in the neighborhood robbed at gunpoint by groups of “youth” this summer.

    These are not mailbox rule violations. These are serious criminal offenses in my formerly safe neighborhood. I’m ready for a little more vigorous law enforcement action.

  3. I went to school on Rice Street, an area where my father grew up, back when people scrubbed their sidewalks. No, I am not kidding. Old ladies would get on their hands and knees to scrub the public sidewalk with a bristle brush.

    I also lived in Camden across from Patrick Henry High School, in the mid 70’s, back when neighbors would have putting contests on their manicured lawns.

    How far we have fallen.

  4. My take is the old libertarian point of view “your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.” Kids smoking dope? Leave them alone. Lawn length violations? Keep the limit high–bugs can cause issues, but we shouldn’t insist on golf course like lawn care. Shots fired? That can kill people.

    It gets a little bit more complicated and debated when it’s prostitution and harder drugs, of course, but overall, I think we can thread the difference between nanny state and anarchy.

  5. I also lived in Camden across from Patrick Henry High School, in the mid 70’s, back when neighbors would have putting contests on their manicured lawns.

    There were still echos of that time you describe in the 80s when I lived in Brooklyn Center. Having had no experience of the Northside nor the Nordeast, I explored a lot. I was astounded when I discovered how nice some of these areas were. And the biggest surprise for me was Victory Memorial Parkway. Yes, Just north of Henry.

    Thanks for the reminder.

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