Electing a New People in Minneapolis

The population of the City of Minneapolis peaked above 521,000 back in 1950 and has not recovered since.  In 1950, 17.5 percent of the state’s population lived within the city limits of the City of Lakes.  Today, only 7.3 percent of the state’s population lives there.Desperate to regain population and influence, the city is working hard to attract new high-rise apartment and condo projects and mixed-use commercial/residential developments.  But not all current Minneapolis residents are buying into the city’s new skyscraper vision.

In a panicky editorial today, the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board writes about an effort to put brakes on some of this new growth through the use of “conservation districts.”  The Board writes,
After decades of relative slumber, Minneapolis is finally showing signs of growing into the urbanized city that it needs to become.  So, naturally, there’s a move afoot to slam on the brakes.  Not everyone, it seems, is happy with more people, more housing, and filling in sparse commercial areas with new apartments, shops and vitality.

The Board claims that the city “desperately needs the density and tax base that those buildings represent” and dismisses the concerns of those who would bitterly cling to “a version of city life that sprang up after World War II and now has happily run its course.”

In an odd version of democracy, the Board laments that,
“No one at the City Council or in the mayor’s office represents an important constituency—the city’s next generation of residents.”

At the same time Minneapolis is working to attract a new generation of upscale residents, the regional government agency Met Council appears to be moving ahead with their bizarre plan to end poverty inside Minneapolis by scattering the city’s poor families around the metro area.

Right on cue to prove Glahn’s First Law, the University of Minnesota has come out with a study that shows: why yes, we would all be better off shipping poor people out of town.  The Law School’s Myron Orfield looked into the matter and found out the following,
Orfield blames legislative mandates and perverse allocation formulas for funneling the bulk of housing money into already poor, racially segregated areas rather than into whiter suburban districts where subsidized housing could be built at two-thirds the cost and where opportunities for better schools and jobs are greater.

Funny, Mr. Orfield was opposed to suburban sprawl when he was a state senator representing Minneapolis.

I’ve speculated that the zeal to relocate the poor is rooted in political considerations: namely, an effort to elect more Democrat candidates in suburban districts.  Now comes Minneapolis-Democrat State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, who gives away the game.  Speaking about the Minneapolis-based Somali immigrant community, MinnPost makes an interesting observation,
[Rep.] Kahn, who along with other state legislators worked to get out the vote in Somali neighborhoods in the elections of 2012, said there was so much political excitement among Somali organizers in Minneapolis two years ago that they also made calls into many suburban areas to get out the vote.
Those scattered Somali votes in the suburbs, Kahn said, may have been crucial to the DFL taking control of the Legislature in 2012.

Moving the poor out and moving the upscale in represents an effort by the city to elect a new people.  More interested in catering to the “creative class” and young singles, the city’s ruling elites have given up on working families, those citizens that used to be considered a city’s heart and soul.