April 15, 2014 Minutes

Armatage Neighborhood Association Meeting

Called to order at 6:32 by Board President, Betsen Philip

ANA board members in attendance: Sarah Broich, Lance Custer, Kelly Falsani, Jeff Forss, Denis Houle, Steve Johnson, Bri Keeney, Nikki Lindberg, Betsen Philip, and Keith Swanson.

Others in attendance: Tina Erazmus, ANA staff member; Matt Perry, NEHBA and 65+ residents.

Safety Update

Inspector Todd Loining (MPD, 5th Precinct Commander); Adam Tomczik (Assistant Hennepin County Attorney); Lisa Eder (Victim/Witness Unit for Hennepin County Attorney’s Office)

Loining summarized the primary event of concern for our neighborhood: on March 28, the victim boarded a bus downtown and got off at 58th & Vincent. He was followed off the bus by two suspects (ages 13 & 16), and they demanded money and his wallet. The victim told them he didn’t have any money, they assaulted him, during which time he was stabbed. The victim was transported to HCMC, treated, and has made a full recovery. The two suspects were identified and arrested on March 30 by Edina police. They remain in custody. The camera on the bus along with witness statements helped to identify the suspects.
It was asked if the victim’s backpack (and identification) had been recovered. He was not certain, but would follow-up to check on its status.

Because of the young ages of the suspects, the amount of information that could be shared about them (especially the 13 year old) is limited. The 16 year old does reside in our neighborhood and doesn’t appear to attend school. He also does have a felony on his record since turning 16.

Tomczik added that three people are in custody. (An 18 year old was involved in two other crimes associated with the two suspects from this crime). He stated that although is was a very frightening situation, it is also very rare, especially in our neighborhood. The two other crimes occurred in March in Edina.

Eder commented that they may be trying the 16 year old as an adult. She also provided Community Impact Statement forms. These statements are used during the sentencing phase, and help to demonstrate the ripple effect crimes have not just on the victim but the entire community. These are also available online, and often are automatically mailed by the MPD in relation to crimes in your area (sign-up for email updates online: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/police/precincts/police_about_5th-precinct).

One of the biggest concerns raised was why we, the Armatage neighborhood, was not notified about these crimes sooner. More awareness and diligence on our part may have been able to prevent further crimes and in particular this violent attack on one of our neighbors. The Commander responded that due to him being on vacation, there were some things that weren’t handled as they should have been in his absence. They have talked it over in the department and don’t expect this to happen again. There were also comments from our new Crime Prevention Specialist, used to working in north Minneapolis, that this sort of crime is more commonplace there, and she wasn’t aware that she should be sending out information. A board member expressed his hope that this sort of crime would be treated with as much seriousness on the northside as here. The Inspector assured us they do their best, and in fact will be part of a safety summit taking place in north Minneapolis later this week.

Some individual residents shared personal stories of frustrations and concerns with 911 (issue reported in media has been remedied) and law enforcement (in particular the Edina Police Department). Although this sort of crime is not something that can be seen to be on the rise, cell phone thefts are a huge issue throughout the city. People should be sure to continue to be aware of their surroundings. Please report any suspicious activity. If you see groups of people walking down alleys, this is certainly something to report. (Only residents are to be in the alley.) Another resident shared concerns about the behaviors of adults and unattended children in and around the park at 58th & Washburn. Besides reporting suspicious behavior, be sure to report any violations you may see, as many of the properties in the area are rentals and may take more interest in the quality of their tenants if their licensing is at risk. Comments were also shared about reporting graffiti and how quickly these issues have been responded to. Although bus drivers see kids out beyond curfew, it is not their responsibility to do the job of police (or parents). Metro Transit police are often busy dealing with more serious crimes to do much regarding enforcing curfew. If you do see kids walking around during the day (truancy) or late at night (curfew) be sure to report it. The MPD does support programming in the schools which addresses these issues, but often parents aren’t aware of curfew hours. It was also noted, that although you can use the online crime reporting tool, if you are the victim of a crime, you may also request to have an officer come in person to file the report.

A comment from Councilwoman Palmisano was requested. In lieu of all the media attention paid to her leadership regarding housing tear downs and remodelling project, she is very concerned about safety and sits on the Public Safety, Civil Rights & Emergency Management committee. She is kept apprised of safety issues in her ward, and hasn’t seen any notable up ticks in criminal activity.

Besides being aware of your surroundings, some other ideas and programs were mentioned to help us keep safe and help keep our neighborhood safe. Some neighborhoods have safety walking groups. In conjunction with the city, the ANA is working to increase the number of blocks with block leaders (so please consider signing up if your block is not represented). You can subscribe to email updates from the MPD 5th Precinct as well as from City Council Ward 13/Palmisano and the ANA. National Night Out (NNO) is a great time to connect with your neighbors and gather email/contact information so you all can keep each other informed and alert. Palmisano also recommended RAIDS Online (which also has an app and email alert program) which tracks and reports on crime in your area: https://www.raidsonline.com/.

Monday, April 21 from 7:00-8:30 pm, the ANA and MPD are hosting a personal safety workshop. People of all ages are welcome.

As stated by Lt. Connie Leaf (our overnight watch leader for the 5th precinct), she was very sorry about the violent crime that happened in our neighborhood, but the level of response by our neighbors, and the show of support and concern is what makes this a great neighborhood and why this sort of thing doesn’t often happen here.

(Short recess as guests left the meeting and took questions in the hall. 15 neighbors still in attendance.)

City Council Update by Linea Palmisano

For the first time in years, the city budget allows for us to hire more police officers. However, it will take time to recruit and train additional officers. As the weather improves, she reminded everyone to stay vigilant. Because of the young ages of the suspects discussed today, she addressed some of the concerns people expressed over the supervision and education of these youths. The city is involved in a strong anti-bullying program, she is also involved in the city Youth Coordinating Board with discusses ways to address absenteeism, and hopes to partner with the Health Department to find ways to better intervene and prevent delinquency. She also stated that our partnership with Edina is very important and that we need to operate without boundaries with issues that affect all residents living in the area. She encourage participation in NNO. Regarding the housing policy issue, she left copies of her press release with updates (also available online).

70/30 Resolution: Molly Broder (Broders Deli, Pasta Bar & Terzo) & Conrad Leifur (Pizzeria Lola)

Broder presented the issue and the concerns as it relates to about 70 small restaurants throughout the city (the small group of business affected by this resolution). Twenty years ago, when Broders requested permission to sell beer and wine, the 70/30 resolution was added to the City Charter. As the cost of wine and craft brews have risen, it is often hard for restaurants to maintain the 70% food/30% alcohol sales ratio. Because it was written into the Charter, unless the city council unanimously accepts the proposal below, this small group of business owners would be faced with trying to garner support to a ballot initiative, which feels onerous. This regulation by Charter is also unique, as all other regulations and licensing rules are held under the city ordinances. Being an ordinance allows for better/easier adjustments to rules over time as things change. Although they would like to address the concerns of 70/30 on their businesses, they want to do that discussion as an ordinance versus a constitutional amendment.

There was a short discussion about the pros and cons of business in the area, and the impacts (positive and negative) on residents.

Motion made for the ANA to support amending the Minneapolis City Charter Chapter 4, Section 5, First Power, sub-section (c) for the purpose to regulate neighborhood restaurants with a wine/beer license by city ordinance and state statute (which also regulate all other restaurants in the City) by eliminating:  (1) the 70/30 ration of required food sales to alcoholic beverage sales; (2) the requirement that a customer must purchase food to order a glass of wine or beer; and (3) the prohibition on serving beer/wine at a bar. (Importantly, adoption of this motion simply states that the ANA supports moving the liquor regulations out of the City Charter and into City ordinance. It does not speak to changes in the regulations.) Motion seconded and carries.

Park Update by Park Director, Nikki Friederich

Summer program brochures are available (at the desk or online). The Park Board received a grant, and will be promoting special programming along the Creek in July. Watch for more information. Movies in the Park are back! Saturday, June 7, at dusk, Armatage will be showing  Dispicable Me II.

Motion made to support popcorn/refreshments for the movie up to $100. Motion seconded and carries.

Coordinator Update by Tina Erazmus

The board has been previously made aware of the GMHC/CEE funds. There is a total of $256,000 available, but $142,000 had been held by GMHC and the city no longer wanted them to administer loans, and so has the money currently. We can elect to reallocate some of it, or move it all to CEE. Although our last home improvement loan was in 2011 (probably due to changes with NRP, etc), it was felt that residents would take advantage of a local loan program if they were made aware of it.

Motion made to move all GMHC funds to CEE. Motion seconded and carries. (Details of loan program to be worked out later.)

Our Annual Meeting will be on May 20 at Wagners. Currently we have a woman to talk about bees and Jim Tincher (Fulton Neighborhood Association)  to share information about the creek improvement survey results and plans/ideas for the future. She is looking for a third person (possibly Chief Harteau or another environmentally focused speaker). She is also talking to two caterers and will update us by email.

In May we will hold board elections. Sarah Broich, Lance Custer, Jeff Forss,  Bri Keeny and Nikki Lindberg are up for election.
Garage sales  will take place the weekend of May 23-24. The idea of reusable yard  signs to help promote the sale and individual locations was suggested and we will look into it (has been cost prohibitive in the past).

Meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.