Inspectors should think‘outside the box’
Minneapolis has started inspecting every rental unit in the city. The goal is to prevent buildings from deteriorating, eliminate substandard housing and keep Minneapolis neighborhoods safe and livable.
The city sent a notice that it was my turn for an inspector to visit my duplex for the first time in the 15 years since I have owned the property. I prepared by posting the mandatory 311 posters in each unit because I did not want to face the $200 fine. Otherwise, I thought the place was in order.
Of course, the inspector found issues, mostly small. The big one was the window sills. They should be 4 inches closer to the floor, and at the current height, they could pose an exit problem in a fire. It had been built that way, passed the original inspection that way, but now it is a hazard.
Don’t worry single-family homeowners, you are allowed to buy and sell houses with the high window clearance. I guess it is only renters that are vertically challenged. Since I want to keep my renters safe, I will build the required boxes that take up a large amount of floor space in relatively small bedrooms. My tenants already have plans for them. One will support a dresser and one will fit nicely under their bed. I do want to keep my tenants safe, but the problem really is not the window sills. The problem is the person who gets paid to come up with the city code needs to come up with better ideas that are outside of the box.
Teens who care
It is always a good thing seeing people helping others such as the poor or homeless. Yet it is a great thing when children and youth specifically, who are open-minded and well aware of such issues as homelessness around them, choose to act on it.
On the rainy cold night of April 18, as the Southwest Journal reported, more than 325 teenagers, ages 13–17, spent the night on the streets in cardboard boxes to help build awareness of the homeless in the area and to raise more than $42,000 in pledges in the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation’s (PCNF) fourth annual “night on the street.”
To have more than 300 teenagers raise more than $42,000 for those who unlike them, do not have a home, is amazing. Yes, teenagers — the age group in which they are usually more concerned with getting rid of reputation-ruining acne.
It is impressive to see that at such a young age, Minnesota youth see that there is more to the world than just themselves, their immediate family and friends. That one can do more for the community, more for their fellow Minnesotans who are having a tough time, and most of all, to do so at such a young and stereotypical “naïve” stage in their lives.
The most important aspect is that these teenagers were raising money for a night on the streets when the emphasis was, in fact, on homeless youth. Today’s homeless youth are more often than not on the street not by their own mistakes or vices, but through situations they should not have to deal with.
So kudos to those teens from PCNF, impressive to say the least.
Take a harder look at “Fresh Start” initiatives
I’ve been following the “Fresh Start” that’s being implemented at Washburn and Edison High Schools for the 2008-–2009 school year.
What I’ve discovered is communication only between the principal of Washburn and the print media. I’ve also researched online, and I think if you did a little research, you will find that this process does nothing to enhance the academic advancement of students.
Where I’m disappointed with the media is that there has been no attempt to hear how the teachers feel. Why not talk to the teachers who are affected?
Why do teachers take the wrap? Why aren’t parents shouldering some of the responsibility for their own children’s education? Is it because there are more parent voters than teacher voters? Why haven’t the “powers-that-be,” the officials who plan and make decisions on the direction of education, been held to the same accountability as the teachers who always are working to support, encourage and motivate students; many of whom are not interested in learning.
Please get to the grass roots and put a little balance to your reporting.