Skip to main content

At heated meeting, council president accuses Minneapolis of ignoring North Side

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Too much talk, too little action, was the criticism leveled at the City of Minneapolis for failing to address the serious poverty, education and crime problems plaguing north Minneapolis.

Mayor Betsy Hodges had to intervene during a heated City Council debate Wednesday after council president and north Minneapolis Ward 4 member Barbara Johnson accused the city of ignoring the North Side, the Star Tribune reports.

The debate, which can be seen below, centered on whether to apply to make that section of the city a "Promise Zone," an Obama administration program that gives poorer areas a better chance of getting federal grants to improve public safety and boost the local economy, MinnPost reports.

Johnson went on the offensive, the Star Tribune says, alleging broken promises over increasing the number of police on the streets, accusing the Park Board of focusing on northeast and ignoring the north, and questioning why the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority places so many low-income renters in the north side.

She told the meeting: "We have one-seventh of the population of the city; we have a third of the Section 8 units."

MinnPost says Johnson was joined in her criticism by Ward 7 council member Lisa Goodman, who was extremely skeptical about the Promise Zone initiative.

"I wonder how we can make this the Promises-We-Can't-Keep-Zone?" she said. "Too many times … promises have been made where outcomes have not changed."

Goodman argued the federal program is similar to previous zones designed to fight poverty, in particular Enterprise Zones and Empowerment Zones, except that there is no guarantee of funding, according to MinnPost.

In response, Hodges said that the failure of certain projects in the north does not mean the city council should not turn down the opportunity to increase the chances of federal funding.

The problems in north Minneapolis

This year has seen an increase in calls for action to arrest the growing deprivation and associated crime issues in north Minneapolis, which came to the fore over the summer after a spike in crime and shootings that heaped pressure on Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau.

According to the Minneapolis Foundation, more than 75 percent of children living in parts of north, south and central Minneapolis live in poverty, and a map depicting poverty levels shows a high concentration in northern areas.

At the beginning of the year, Metropolitan Council chair Sue Haigh highlighted the levels of poverty afflicting the city's people of color, the Pioneer Press reports.

She said that of the 38 areas in Minneapolis where more than 50 percent of the population are people of color and 40 percent are at the federal poverty line, 20 of them can be found in north Minneapolis, the newspaper notes.

And a study of teacher evaluations found that the city's worst-performing teachers are working in low-income school areas, with the largest proportion of poor-performing teachers found at Bethune Elementary in Near North Minneapolis, according to the Star Tribune.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 4.04.09 PM

Armed robbery suspect sought in two south metro investigations

The incidents took place at credit unions in Savage and Apple Valley.

image

Former Twin Cities plastic surgeon charged with sex crimes

Christopher Kovanda is accused of inappropriately touching woman under the guise of providing medical care.

Screen Shot 2022-11-15 at 4.23.26 PM

Minnesota man accused of murder in Chicago is arrested in Alabama

A 26-year-old man from a small town on the Iowa border is accused of murdering a Greyhound bus employee.

DougKeddieShakopeeSchools

Support for Shakopee Public Schools employee diagnosed with cancer

The media specialist has been transitioned to hospice care recently.

snow

Big November snowstorms uncommon in MN, but snowfall is increasing

This week's 8.4 inches at MSP Airport was one of the biggest November storms in the Twin Cities since 1991.

MNASecondStrike

Minnesota nurses take vote on whether to hold second strike

The results will be determined Wednesday night.

unsplash medical marijuana

OCD, irritable bowel syndrome added to MN's medical marijuana list

They are the two latest qualifying medical conditions for Minnesota's marijuana program.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 9.27.45 AM

Fundraiser created for family-owned Cô Tu' Oriental Cuisine after shooting

Support from the community will go towards medical expenses and overhead costs for the restaurant.

Erica Shameka Roberts

Police: Minnesota murder suspect arrested in Texas

Erica Roberts has been on the run since March.

JackknifedSemisI35

Jackknifed semis close I-35 northbound near Faribault

There are icy conditions across Minnesota

court room

Red Lake man gets 12 years for murder of his cousin

Charges state the man beat the victim with a metal cabinet and its drawers.

Related

Building a stronger community... meet the president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation

Sandy Vargas, president and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation since April 2007, was profiled in the book Heroes Among Us in 2008, received WomenVenture's Pioneer Award in 2009, and was awarded the Medal of Honor from St. Catherine's University in 2010. In this interview, Sandy shares her insight into how philanthropy is evolving in our society, as well as the formative experiences and relationships in her life, and what it’s like being the CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation.