Blame Ward 13

If I had $100 for every online wisecrack by Minneapolis urbanists about evil Ward 13 for its strong (but hardly unique) opposition to the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan update, I could fund the city’s new $40 million affordable housing commitment myself — which is weird, because the only people who hate McMansions more than Uptown “plan fans” are the people of Southwest who tried to ban them years ago.

I admit to having many dear, kind-hearted, accomplished and staunchly liberal friends over your way, but I prefer we keep all shame and guilt for the 2040 fight squarely on Ward 13. Otherwise, it might land on my own Ward 11, where opposition was as intense as anywhere. Bright red “BULLDOZE” signs were a legal requirement on 58th Street near Todd Park, and equally high-density in (Olde) Tangletown and north Windom. I even saw a few in Kingfield!

But only Lynnhurst and Linden Hills are to blame for City Council Member Linea Palmisano, who dared speak the obvious criticisms of the plan and did not echo YIMBY PR about the city’s strategic precision or its vast community outreach. Her views were not shared by any others I met at many 2040 panel chats this summer, except folks in wards 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. (I missed a few. So many gripe sessions. So little time.)

Putting brilliant political satire aside for a moment, these have been extraordinarily angry months in Minneapolis. But respect to City Council grande dame Lisa Goodman, who was eloquently unfiltered at the 12–1 vote, both about the plan’s shortcomings and its vital necessities. In closing, she was remarkably poignant about how tragically mean and shallow the debate became, and I second.

These are tense times in my hometown. I still have hope for “One Minneapolis, Version 2,” but only if 30,000 residents can transcend themselves in the scourge of our city, the Half-Quadrant from Hell, unlucky Ward 13.


Jim Meyer