March 8, 2011 Minutes – Annual Meeting

ANA Safety & Annual Meeting Minutes

ANA board members in attendance: Tina Erazmus, Denis Houle, Steve Johnson, Nikki Lindberg, Peggy Rasmussen, Noah Schuchman, Alisha Strowbridge, Keith Swanson, Dan Sweeney. ANA staff member: Jen Swanson. Over 60 in general attendance.

ANA Safety Meeting

Keith Swanson called the Safety Meeting to order at 6:07 p.m.
Keith opened with an update regarding the bus and drop-off changes at Armatage Montessori school. There have been many safety concerns, and although changing the drop-off to door 15, no parking during specified hours may be implented to further address safety concerns.

Amy Lavender (Crime Prevention Specialist) 612-673-5407 —
Amy presented a summary sheet of crimianl activity for Armatage (12/20/10-3/8/11). Briefly, there were: 1 instance of criminal sexual conduct; 8 burglaries; 1 business robbery (Domino’s); and 3 thefts. Thefts are fairly low, but can be expected to rise once the weather improves. At least one of the burglaries was possible because a garage door was left open. Amy issued a reminder to double check that doors are locked, and to watch out for our neighbors.

Some other safety tips she included are:
1) Call the precinct front desk (612-673-5705) or Amy before you go on vacation.
2) Be sure to keep your vehicle locked and valuable removed, even when parked in your garage.
3) Record make, model and serial number of electronics, bikes, etc. (An inventory sheet is available online).

Chris Dixon (City of Minneapolis Community Attorney) ­— Chris emphasized the importance of recording serial numbers, for example for your bike, to aid in prosecuting those with stolen merchandise (helps to prove the items were stolen).
Chris presented the current CLEAN List of people the police are looking for, but also said rarely are they down in our part of the precinct. This list is available online at
The importance of Community Impact Statements was raised. Again, when a prosecutor is able to show that others are affect by the crime (beyond the victim), it helps in sentencing. For anyone interested in being more involved in the process, there is a program called Courtwatch. This program allows citizens to follow a specific case through the system, and to comment on it, etc. Please let the ANA or Amy know if you are interested in starting this program for Armatage.

Lt. Jack Kelly ­(Mddle Watch Shift Supervisor from 4:30pm-2:30am for all of Mpls) — Lt. Kelly emphasized the improtance of teamwork between the police and the neighborhoods to prevent crime. Violent crime is down 20% for the city in the past year.
Opened floor for questions: How can we see the crime statistics? Some are available online (i.e. or you can contact Amy.

Reminder that door to door solicitors must have license which you can ask to see. If you have funny feeling about someone in your neighborhood call 9-1-1. A neighbor noted that when he has been awake around 3-4am, he has more than once called 9-1-1 to report people in the alley, and each time they were stealing from garages, so keep alert and call 9-1-1.

ANA Annual Meeting

President Dan Sweeney called the Neighborhood Meeting to order at 6:34 p.m.

Welcome & Introductions

Dan and thanks to our special guests.

A quick announcement was present by Ashley from the Center for Energy & Environment about an upcoming educational workshop. The workshop (on April 5,  6:30pm, the Armatage Community Center) with present energy saving tips and give residents an opportunity to sign-up for a home energy audit.

Armatage Treasurers Recognition – Dan Sweeney
Dan gave a brief history of the program: Armatage Treasures are nominated for their how they help better our neighborhood, whether it is through volunteerism, support of education, etc.

Four people were nominated in 2010: Jane Sasaki (for her 40 years as a teacher, the last 8 at Armatage Community School); Cheryl Anderson (for her art, gardens, and being a great neighbor); Brian Ciccone (for his donation of food for the ANA Summer Festival over the past 4 years); and Lisa Domagala (for her donation of time and talents in creating the new ANA logo, and Summer Festival signage). Brian and Lisa were in attendance an able to accept their awards in person.

Mayor R.T. Rybak

R.T. opened his remarks with thanks for showing up. He then presented an overview from the state of the city which focused on growth. In 1955, Minneapolis has 525,000 people, today we are just under 400,000, so there is room for our city to grow, in population, but also in business. This would help bring more to the city (diversity, business, tax dollars, etc.). To help with this growth, the city is looking at several areas for development. He also mention three main strategies to support growth: 1) invest in people (i.e., the employment training program to help transition hard to employ people, career centers in every high school, the Step-Up summer jobs program, and free/reduced college access program); 2) invest in our infrastructure (i.e., roads, lightrail, rapid transit, buses, bikes); and 3) invest in small business (i.e. support low interest loans and food economy)
On the issue of property taxes: R.T. holds a monthly property tax forum, next date to be determined, but we will try to post that on our ANA site as soon as it is available. He knows that our property taxes are way too high. But part of why crime is at a 27-year low is through investments made in law enforcement. Compounded with the economic slow down, drop in property values and cuts to local government aid (LGA), new ways need to be found to fund the operations of the city. LGA and the issues from the closed pension funds are the primary focus he has for helping improve the situation.
Opened floor for questions: Several comments were raised about the poor snow removal and road conditions. Because of the large early snowfall, it created large mounds at the start of the season, making plowing (and not burying sidewalks) difficult. They will be looking at how to improve plowing, including considering different plowing strategies for different parts of the city based on parking conditions. They also did look into moving some snow out of the city, but parks and lakes are not viable options because of the road salt/sand and the concerns with flooding. If you know of particular road or plowing issues, report them to 3-1-1.
Asked about more flexible alternatives to light rail, such as alternative fuel buses, and they are already in use on some routes, and other means of transportation are being considered.
Further concerns were raised over property taxes. He stated that the city budget comes from property taxes, as well as LGA and sales tax. However, Minneapolis takes in more in taxes for the State than we get back in LGA. A coalition of mayors is meeting the govenor tomorrow to talk about property taxes. He also emphasized the need to resolve the closed pension issue.
It was asked to clarify the pension situation. In 1979 all of the state pensions pooled thier funds except three. These three were run by independent boards as approved by legislature. One agreed to merge in the past few years, but the city has sued and won over the mismanagement of the other two pension funds. He would like support from the residents of Minneapolis to encourage our legislators to move on this issue. The pension lobby has a lot of money to fight this issue, but it is costing the city a lot of money. You can contact R.T.’s office to get more information about this issue and how to express your concerns.
It was asked as to the city’s interest regarding the Viking stadium and why we keep putting money into the Target Center. In 1998, Minneapolis took on ownership of Target Center (the only stadium owned by city), and created a tough situation for us today. Overall, folks are in agreement that there needs to be a new approach to stadium management. Besides the sports teams, there are hundreds of events that take place at these venues each year. He hopes that a new approach to these types of facilities can be agreed to, and that it will not rely on property taxes (a more state-wide approach).
To ask further questions or to learn when his next open house will be held, call 3-1-1 or

City Council Member Betsy Hodges

The final Ward 13 breakfast will be April 20th at 8am the new Uptown Cafe (old Pearson’s). She is looking at new ways to do some outreach, so has been phasing out the breakfast. Felt that R.T. addressed the property tax issue, and reiterated the biggest issues are the closed pensions and LGA. A Redistricting Commission is being formed. You can learn more online or by calling her office.
Another reminder to report potholes to 3-1-1. She is meeting with the snow removal crew this week to talk about ways to improve plowing in the future. She is also meeting this week to discuss the neighborhood funding issues. The ideas generated from this meeting will be available for public input, so more information to come.
Penn Ave – is it going to be repaved and how long would it take ; depends on how the road is being done (one of 3 ways) – it is shared with county, so working on plan — has been under discussion, but not sure on dates/plan — same concerns for Upton, and no response from Betsy’s office, what are we to expect will get done ; they will respond when they get an answer and that can take time – what about a plan in general for the life span of a road and to have a plan for addressing this
Opened floor for questions: A residented commented on the annual increase in the water bill, and his observations that there didn’t seem to be a cohesive plan for utility and street improvements. Betsy explained the city’s approach, but also added that part of why there are such bad potholes, is why it is safe to walk down the street. For information on road repair planning, she referred to the Public Works website or to contact her office. ( or 612-673-2213)
It was asked what Betsy’s positions were in relation to the legislation being brought forth regarding liquor stores and outdoor dining/patio restrictions. The liquor store bill wants to restrict how close a liquor store can be from a school or church (as measured property line to property line). The other bill is about patio noise would put limits on hours and numbers of people allowed. In her estimation it seems to create more problems than it will help, but neither have been presented to the full council yet Currently she doesn’t support either.

Brian Elliott, District Director (on behalf of Congressman Keith Ellison) 612-522-1212

Brian stated that it is the job of their office to help constituents deal with bureaucracy, so call them. Most of the Congressman’s time year has been defending work he helped make happen over the past 2 years. They were hoping that a jobs bill would be to the house floor by now. He is also currently involved in the Congressional hearing on Muslims. For questions or concerns about any of these topics, to help understand how the health care bill affects you, and more, please call their office.
Opened floor for questions: Has an WPA plan been considered? In fact something like this has been proposed (The Local Jobs for America Act), but it has not gotten out of committee.
Does our Congressional delegation ever meet and if so what do they talk about? They do meet on occasion, and the last time they met they talked about education reform.
How can we avoid further financial troubles if the Federal Reserve keeps buying debt? Brian deferred to somebody more knowledgeable about this issue at the office (please call).
One resident observed that it seems as though there has been change of philosophy from things being good to being good enough, and that in that same process the blame keeps shifting down. He commented that we should look at voting as one of our first ways, not last, to help make change and influencing policy
Overall, Brian summarized Ellison’s guiding principal is to work toward communities of inclusion and generosity.

ANA Board Elections
Three people asked to be write-in candidates for the ANA Board.
1) Kelly Falsani ­— a new resident to Armatage as of August 2010 and looking to get involved
2) Betsen Philip — a resident since 08, he has a great network of friends in the neighborhood and is looking for a way to give back
3) Kyle Nolan— a Minneapolis resident since 2001, a block party organizer, and looking to get more involved
Results of the vote, and election to ANA board:
Keith Swanson    13
Steve Johnson     13
Denis Houle    13
Tom Alagna    13
Betsen Philip    11
Kelly Falsani    8
Kyle Nolan    6    (alternate)

Meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m.