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Minneapolis is known for its beautiful and extensive park system. One would think that the people fortunate enough to serve on the board that oversees this urban garden would concentrate on maintenance, expansion, outreach, and other obvious necessities. But the poison is in the groundwater now.
A divided Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passed an emergency resolution to kick the State Patrol out of parks headquarters, where troopers would take breaks and eat lunch.
An emergency resolution.
Commissioner Londel French,
If you’re curious:
French, 46, whose day job is union organizer, had pushed the Park Board to allow homeless people displaced by the pandemic and civil unrest to take refuge in city parks.
This summer, the Powderhorn encampment swelled to 560 tents, a mini-community supported by volunteers like him. But within weeks, it had become so dangerous that the Park Board cleared the eastern encampment using police and heavy machinery. Last week, it did the same with the remaining campers on the west side.
As Park Board commissioners passed new restrictions on encampments, French joined the rest in acknowledging the problem was far bigger than a park system could handle.
Perhaps because the parks are not places for tents and propane stoves and a clickety thicket of needles underfoot. But, as that article noted,
“I just want people to have some grace when it comes to their fellow man or woman,” he said. “Just care about people. Care about people. That’s all.”
Some people. From Minnesota Public Radio, during the worst of the encampment:
Every night, Angelina Roslik says she can watch a steady stream of cars pass in front of her home on a dead-end street overlooking Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis.
The cars — backing in and out, pulling up next to each other, or idling for long stretches at a time — are a new presence here, she says.
Roslik believes they’re symptomatic of an uptick in open drug use and sex trafficking — something she says is tied to an encampment of people who started gathering in the park last month.
“If you sit here long enough, you’ll start to see people coming and going. Coming to the passenger side window. Like we see right there,” Roslik said, looking out from her front porch on Saturday night. “A lot of times, it’s a woman getting in and out.”
The article goes on to quote one resident, a self-described liberal, as saying “conditions have become unsafe not just for neighbors, many of whom are immigrant families with young children.”
Perhaps, as property owners, they should check their privilege. Anyway.
French, who authored the resolution, advocated ending the Park Board’s relationship with the State Patrol due to its role in suppressing protests and riots over police brutality.
Since 2012, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has had a license agreement allowing State Patrol troopers to use its headquarters at 2117 West River Road as a rest area for free, where they can work on reports as long as they use their own equipment. Commissioners last voted in 2018 to extend the agreement through January 2022.
It was a 5-4 vote, so there was some pushback:
Commissioner LaTrisha Vetaw objected. “This seems like political grandstanding to me,” she said. “It’s my understanding that they use the parking lot and the toilet.”
True, perhaps, but it’s the perception of the penumbras of the emanations. Better to kick them out, so you can admire your hands: so clean. So shiny. Such a virtuous glow. Tick off that box and move along to the next.
UPDATE: Mayor Frey vetoed the resolution.Published in