Don’t tie neighborhood funds to representation

I just read your description of the “next generation” of Minneapolis neighborhood engagement in the Southwest Journal (“The next generation of neighborhood engagement,” Dec. 27–Jan. 9). I realize that you are a reporter and do not make policy, but the strong methods used by the city to try and change the makeup of neighborhood organizations is wrong and you should be saying so.

The city is wanting to put funding for neighborhood organizations contingent on how those groups widen the participation of groups like renters and various minorities. Historically many groups have not participated in various neighborhood organizations, primarily because of a lack of interest. Tying neighborhood funding to how much representation certain groups have going forward is (unfortunately) a form of blackmail and should be described as what it is.

Using threats is never a good idea, unless the people or groups involved are not likely to strongly protest. Maybe a follow-up article with a little different spin would be helpful.

Your article was well written, but maybe more feedback from neighborhood groups and unaffiliated residents would be useful.

 

Jim Miller

Linden Hills