Downtown Minneapolis Residents Association - Board Meeting

Hennepin Crossing Apartments -- July 18, 1995 -- 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Called to Order: 7:00 p.m. by GR

Pre-Meeting Guests:

1. Margy Ligon, Executive Director, Friends of the Minneapolis Library

Ligon expressed appreciation for time on the agenda, especially considering past relationship with DMRA using Heritage Hall as a community center. Queried if people present were familiar with Friends; has been disheartened by how few people know about the organization.

Her purpose for attending the DMRA meeting was to introduce herself as the new executive director and investigate ways that Friends and DMRA could be allies in promoting the livability of the downtown neighborhood. She sees the downtown library as a magnet for drawing people into downtown via the Planetarium, public/cultural programs, as well as using Heritage Hall as a community center.

PB has given her a list of downtown building managers, and she wondered about receiving our membership list for the purpose of mailing out informational flyers/membership applications. In conjunction with their 45th anniversary, Friends is planning a Befriend Your Library campaign this fall and wants to get the word to as many people as possible in the hopes of increasing grassroots support. (With over 3,000 library card holders in Minneapolis, Friends has only 1,002 members.)

GR thanked Ligon for her comments, and thanked the library for allowing use of Heritage Hall for meetings. Asked if they were soliciting organizations for membership in the drive, and what it would cost for DMRA to join. Ligon responded that the organization could join for the suggested $25 donation, and furnish one address for receiving the monthly newsletter and other information to circulate among members.

GR concluded that the Board would have to discuss allowing use of their mailing list, as well as the possibility of DMRA joining Friends as a group member. Ligon left a membership brochure with ER. GR introduced Peter Millington from Lake Area News, suggesting that he might be able to help get the word out about the Friends' membership drive.


1. Secretary's Report (PB)

a. Roll Call:

i. Present: George Rosenquist (GR), Donald Hicks (DH), Paul Barber (PB), Andy Hauer (AH), Dolores Cotten (DC), Eunice Roo (ER), Mike Olson (MO).

ii. Absent: Marsha McKinnie Davis (MKD).

iii. Guests: Peter Millington, Lake Area News; Frank Brust, Downtown Council; Marsha Wagner (MW), DMRA office partner.

b. Minutes from the June 20, 1995 Board of Directors meeting were approved.

GR commented that although the minutes were totally accurate, perhaps the length could be minimized and they could be a bit more concise in an effort to keep costs down. MO countered that, since he wasn't present at the previous meeting, he enjoyed a thorough reading of the minutes.

c. PB noted the new Board Roster included with the meeting packet. ER said she didn't receive her meeting packet because the zip code on the address was wrong; however, it was correct on the Board roster. [Comment: This has been corrected so there should be no problem in the future.]

2. Treasurer s Report (AH) -- attached

a. $2,200 deposited from MCDA; additional $2,400 to come. Fiscal year runs from June 1 to May 31. PB inquired about the budget for the year. AH said one was prepared and submitted to MCDA. PB said he would like to see the budget, and requested that AH provide same to be included with next meeting packet.

b. Information Book

All funds have been paid on the Information Book. Distribution of the book resulted in about 45 new members of DMRA. AH distributed a breakdown of new members by building. [Comment: 50 new members have been added since May 1.] ER asked if there were extra copies available for new residents, stating that a lot of new people have moved into her building. PB said that each building should have received extra books (25% more than the number of residents). AH reported that 400 copies were still available.

3. Community Organizer's Final Report

Linda Roberts' final report contained suggestions for DMRA as well as comments on her time with them. Not all Board members had received a copy of the report so upon distribution, members were given several minutes to look it over. GR thought that some of the suggestions were not appropriate for the group. AH said there were a lot of good points, but many were oriented to staff and DMRA has no staff. Agreed that DMRA should be more active and involved with issues, citing as an example the possibility of adopting a bus shelter to be placed on Nicollet Mall.

PB, citing the paragraph about DMRA Board Responsibilities, agreed that there should be more delegation, action and reporting of issues rather than discussing them for two hours at the Board meetings. Agreed with AH that a lot of LR's suggestions were great if you have the money to do them. Disagreed with LR's assessment that "money does not make or brake [sic] you" since money did make sense at RiverGate; you can do more when you pay people to take action.

DC said residents at RiverGate got involved when someone was hurt. Individuals instigated action to curb skateboarding. Again PB mentioned that someone had been paid to help with that issue.

Old Business

1. 501(c)(3) Incorporation for DMRA

DMRA was incorporated on July 13, 1995, when AH filed the papers with the Secretary of State. Taking the least expensive route ($70 as opposed to $90) of having the certificate of incorporated returned via mail rather than paying for them to expedite the process, AH expects to receive the documents within 10 days. Proceeding with the 501(c)(3) process, AH distributed copies of the form and said filing should be accomplished by Monday of next week.

2. CIP Grant Proposal

The contract has been retyped/revised but has not yet been signed and sent in. This grant proposal requests $8,800 to study the adult entertainment industry in downtown Minneapolis. Extensive discussion was held regarding the purpose of the study, and who will administer and conduct the study.

AH said the terms are included in the contract, and reiterated that the language had been changed to reflect the true intention of DMRA: to study the impact of the adult entertainment industry, not attempt to curb it. [Comment: The exact language in the contract is: "Scope of Service. The Contractor will launch a campaign aimed at studying the adult entertainment businesses in their neighborhood."] The money is available; the application just needs to be submitted and processed. Funds would be available within six weeks of submitting the application. MO wondered why it has stalled. PB thought we were waiting for money. MO is concerned that if someone is not hired to fulfill the contract the money will have to be paid.

AH said that the two proposals that had been received (from Linda Roberts and Sally Westby) lacked substance, and that they could not proceed with the two proposals on the table. MO asked if effort had been made to go back to the applicants; AH responded no. GR said one of the two applicants (LR) has been employed full-time, and asked if she would still be interested in doing it. PB said that the required eight hours a week would be like overtime, and MO added that since she is young and energetic she could do it. PB said the Board didn't look at or discuss the proposals. GR agreed, and asked if it should be discussed at this meeting.

DH stated he was going to vote against it. He wasn't sure he understood it, and wondered if it was opening a can of worms. He's concerned about alienating people, dabbling in their personal business. He also wondered what DMRA would do with the information since they're not big and powerful enough to change anything. AH responded by restating that it is a task force study to determine the current status and impact of adult entertainment in downtown Minneapolis. The findings can be used as a guide for future development; the report can be pulled off the shelf when facts are needed, similar to the LRT study. With this new explanation, DH said he would back it.

AH suggested an item be put on the calendar for the August Board meeting to look at the proposals and choose someone to administer the contract. He also said that sending in the application starts the processing, but the contract isn't binding until the money is received. It was MOVED and SECONDED to proceed with signing and submitting the application. Motion CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

3. PRO-Neighborhoods Grant Proposal

Funding is requested to support Crime and Safety efforts. The amount of $9,782.88 covers staff support, services support and security alliance as specified in the formal application. Discussion followed about the purpose of this grant. ER questioned the monthly workshops for security personnel, starting that her building had new security people each week. AH said the workshops are to enhance networking and communication between the security directors and employees at each building so they can work together to address problems they have in common. GB mentioned the Police Fax Network, and discussed the possibility of the security offices tapping into this system or developing a similar system on their own. PB said they might already have access to that system but might not be aware of it.

AH informed the Board about a site inspection at the crossings on Friday, July 28, at 3:00 PM. All Board members are welcome and encouraged to attend and support the grant request. MO wondered if there was a difference between governing board and board of directors, noting that his was the only name missing from the list contained in the application. GR addressed the errors (there are nine board members, not seven, and Mike's name should be added). The corrections will be made at the meeting on July 28. AH explained that, due to miscommunication, the application as prepared by LR was submitted at the last moment with no time to proofread or revise it. GR requested that any further corrections be submitted to GR, AH or PB before the July 28 meeting so the application can be corrected during the site visit.

PB asked if one person should be hired to handle both the CIP and Pro-Neighborhood Grants. GR said we need to get the grant first. AH said the signed contract with NRP, with a total budget of $32,890, included $8,222 for hiring of staff. He's working on lining up a number of things, and has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday, August 3, at 3:00 to start talking about hiring personnel, procedures, etc. Apparently Karen Rogers, NRP staff, says there are people who live and work in downtown Minneapolis who may be available to volunteer their help. AH is convinced there are people out there who have done this, who will know how to do it and just proceed--need to keep eyes open for those people.

Discussion was held about hiring one person to work on all three projects, spending 50% of their time on NRP, 20% on CIP and 20% on PRO-Neighborhood. Whether one person is hired or three separate people hired to administer the different parts will affect the hiring process. GB suggested writing a job description and sending it out. AH said the City of Minneapolis has a required procedure, which he will learn more about on August 3, and the NRP budget contains an hourly rate of $12 for staff. This issue will be resolved at the August meeting.

4. General Membership Meeting

Chief of Police Robert Olson has agreed to be the primary speaker, with his remarks limited to about ten minutes. CCP/SAFE Coordinator Tom Sawina will facilitate the question-and-answer session to follow Chief Olson's remarks. Other people to be invited and available to respond to questions include Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Council Members Pat Scott and Jackie Cherryhomes, 4th Precinct Comm. Chris Morris, Foot Patrol Comm. Steve Sizer,

Flyers must be mailed to the general membership as soon as possible. Radio stations and papers will not be notified, to avoid the chaos that ensued at the last meeting with outsiders coming in to address their own issues. PB said only residents should be allowed to ask questions, and that effort should be made to draw people in to become part of the solution: form task force on three biggest issues to emerge, committee on crime and safety, etc.

AH brought up one very visible problem: beat patrol is not visible. GR said they were, in groups of 10 or so on Hennepin Avenue street corners, smoking and BSing. PB agreed, saying that the Patrol is not responsible for responding to calls. GR mentioned that this is part of the reason for the PRO-Neighborhood grant--accountability of Beat Patrol to downtown residents. The message will be, not only are businesses supporting you, we are--and we expect to see you.

PB asked for specifics to he can prepare a flyer. MO volunteered to make follow-up phone calls to the building managers to make sure the information was being posted. GR will contact the people to be invited and send them a copy of a letter he will send to Chief Olson outlining the format.

AH introduced an additional agenda item for the August 10 meeting, an NRP Election fact sheet. After brief discussion about the appropriateness of including this item and the amount of time to be allocated, it was agreed that a flyer would be inserted in the mailing to DMRA membership, and it would be added as the last agenda item, at 8:45 or 8:50. AH has made arrangements with the library to use Heritage Hall, using the standard contract language, requesting two mikes, etc. GR recommended having a chalkboard on stage. AH requested permission to purchase an easel and pad if nothing was available at the library. It was MOVED and SECONDED that AH can spend up to $50 to purchase an easel, paper and pen; MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

During this discussion PB questioned MW about how long it would take to mail out these flyers [estimate: approximately one hour], giving her a chance to jump up on her soap box and address the issue of rates and time spent on DMRA work. MW suggested that if a full-time person is to be hired to administer the three grant programs, that person also be given the opportunity to take on more responsibilities such as taking and writing minutes. MW and Sally Westby are willing to continue as Office Partners of DMRA, but recognize that their rate structure might be prohibitively high. In the meantime, we will continue to look at ways to cut down the hours spent each month on DMRA work.

New Business:

1. North Warehouse Residents Association

PB asked MO to tell the Board more about NWRA: What is it? How does it work with DMRA? What does it include? Should DMRA draw back its lines for membership?

MO responded that the group was formed specifically in response to the opening of Blossoms Massage Parlor. A corporate entity was formed to protect individuals from the possibility of personal lawsuits against them. It's very narrow focus involved holding meetings and distributing flyers to address concerns about the massage parlor, street prostitution and the spin-off crime and nuisance.

The group has been inactive for four months, since the massage parlor was shut down. It has no intention of competing with DMRA. They will hold one more meeting to see if other issues need to be addressed, will probably recommend using remaining funds to purchase Neighborhood Watch signs, and request that if there are additional concerns they be channeled to DMRA through MO. GR suggested they disband and turn their remaining funds over to DMRA.

2. Civil Rights Resolution

AH distributed a resolution urging the Minneapolis City Council to eliminate the loophole that exempts police officers and others from the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance. Some discussion ensued about the necessity for this resolution, and whether or not DMRA should be concerned with it.

GB stated that the Civil Review Board would take complaints--why not just go through them? AH replied that since Minneapolis taxpayers pay for Minneapolis Civil Rights they should have easier access to filing complaints. At a meeting the previous night, Chief Olson had been asked about the resolution and said he had no problem with it; if his men are acting inappropriately, they should be reported and dealt with.

AH argued persuasively for DMRA's support, providing background on how this exemption came to exist (Charles Stenvig, who was mayor at the time the Civil Rights Ordinance passed, had been a police officer and gave his support with the exemption) and why the loophole should now be closed (to make it easier to people to file complaints. The current ordinance puts police officers above the law. This issue has been developed for some time; last time lost by only one vote. Nationwide, the majority of police are covered by civil rights ordinances. Action must be taken at this meeting; by August 10 the City Council will have already taken action on it. Motion MADE and SECONDED that DMRA support the Civil Rights Resolution; MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

3. Miscellaneous

PB asked what should be done about Friends of the Library--should we give her our mailing list, or mail out her flyer with our information. GR said we should discuss/decide whether or not to join FOL. Requested that PB call Margy Ligon to see if she has something to include in our mailing for the general meeting. PB agreed to do so, adding that it would have to be available fast since general meeting mailing must go out soon. MW cautioned about the weight of the FOL piece; since we're covering postage, we want to keep it at 32¢ per item.

PB also introduced the topic of the next annual meeting, and reminded members it will soon be time to start planning.

Adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Paul Barber, Secretary