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- The I.I.
Copyright 2011, Irving Inquistion. Powered by Blogger.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
12:08 AM | Posted by The I.I. | | Edit Post
This blog thread posted by the Irving Inquisition uses some explicit language, as well as depicting some aspects of life in North Minneapolis that some readers may find objectionable. Reader discretion is advised.
Raising the Phoenix—Return of the Jordan Advantage
phoe-nix or phe-nix [ feéniks ]
Definition: A fabulous and ancient mythological bird of fire resurrected from the ashes of its previous life
The harsh reality presented in the Reality Check post prompted one reader to comment that the state of North Minneapolis is hopeless. Thankfully there’s some good news to present and to say that isn’t the case. While I think it’s true that NoMi has hit rock bottom, I also think there’s a bright sunrise ahead. The blight in NoMi that I talk about with nauseating frequency is a man-made issue. Therefore the solutions to said blight are man-made.
|The Phoenix is symbolic in terms of where NoMi is now and what it will become.|
Six months of communicating, coordinating, negotiating, compromising, and hard work; has brought back the Jordan Advantage program. What is the Jordan Advantage? The Jordan Advantage is a program that applies up to $7,500.00 in home buyer assistance for down payments of homes in the Jordan neighborhood here in North Minneapolis. It’s essentially a loan that operates as a grant. All you have to do is homestead your property—sorry slumlords, this isn’t for you—and live in it for 10 years. Why 10 years? We want you to stay and make NoMi your home.
This wonderful program was initially created and championed by one of JACC’s (Jordan Area Community Council) previous board chairs, Michael “Kip” Browne. Thanks to Browne and the other people that made the program possible, a lot of people were able to purchase homes in the Jordan neighborhood. Without that assistance, they could possibly have been attracted to buy somewhere else. The program was a success and eventually the well ran dry.
Time marches on…
The framework for the Jordan Advantage was still in place, and in 2010 I decided I wanted to do all I could to bring it back. The previous version of the program awarded $5,000.00, I wanted to beef it up to a larger number. Why? Let’s face it, times are tough. Times are real tough. Therefore I believe it’s up to us to do everything we can to attract people to our housing stock. And hot damn; we’ve got lots housing stock available! Properties for under a hundred grand grow on trees over here; and what’s more, many of these houses are turnkey ready.
The $7,500.00 available to potential buyers is available right now, but the story of how this came to pass wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. This blogger assumed command of the situation—I am the Vice Chair after all, although the title is usually presented in a negative light by the poverty pimps that criticize me—and got to work. The steps to affecting change in a neighborhood, a neighborhood organization, or a business, or any other institution for that matter will win you some friends but will also make you some adversaries. So before anybody thinks that this was just a simple stroke of a pen, read on because here’s how this adventure played out.
|Go to www.jordanmpls.org for details about JACC.|
I initially presented the idea at a committee—not the Housing Committee—and was shouted down by some guys that don’t share my vision for the future. They didn’t exactly listen to my pitch, so I needed to take my medicine show to a different venue. I called JACC’s NRP contact and was pleased to discover that the Jordan Advantage was still in place; it just needed to be updated and have funding reallocated. Armed with this knowledge, I contacted the top dog at the Housing Committee. My conversation with that person did not yield the results I was looking for. They had a vision of allocating NRP resources to the construction of subsidized housing per that dreadful Broadway Alive Plan. (Absolutely worthless document far as I’m concerned)
Frustrated by my inability to land traction with the Old Guard, I needed to try a different approach. How does one deal with the Old Guard? Let’s see here… Every battle is won before it’s ever fought. What’s the Old Guard all about? Hmmm… Well, they like to sign Kumbaya a lot. They’re still hung over from the bad old days of Jerry Moore and Ben Myers. I’m going to digress for just a minute here. For anybody that takes an interest in our quaint little neighborhood organizations, you might be interested to know that former JACC board member, Ben Myers, advertises on his law firm’s website that he’s the Vice Chair at JACC. Interesting tid-bit of information; that man hasn’t served on the JACC board in years.
|The Phoenix was symbolic in ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Persian culture.|
Back to the Old Guard, they like to sing Kumbaya, which means they can be manipulated by group think. Group think is a classic problem that arises in environments where you have decision by committee. Individuals don’t want to be ostracized by the group, so they’ll go along with what everybody wants. So I spoke with our NRP person about it, and lucky for me I didn’t have to try very hard to persuade them to attend the next Housing Committee meeting. Next step, time to call in favors from friends. You remember my friends from the Rat Pack, right? If not, just look at previous postings of our outstandingly awesome exploits together. I’m glad to say that my friends have more connections than Verizon’s nights and weekend plan. Thanks to them I was able to get the numbers I needed.
The Housing Committee meeting came up, and there was plenty of fierce and emotional discussion amongst us about bringing back this program. But thanks to strength in numbers, we got the program rammed through like it was the healthcare bill. With the Housing Committee’s support, Jordan Advantage was brought up to the next JACC board meeting. I made my sales pitch, we all sang Kumbaya and the Jordan Advantage was ratified by JACC. Happy ending? Ummm yeah, not quite.
The numbers and details in the NRP contract had to be updated with our loan originator, NHS. (Neighborhood Housing Services) After a couple months, we had a working contract between JACC, NRP, and NHS. Success! Time to go over to Good Sports and get plowed while celebrating success! Ummm yeah, I’m afraid not.
|We don't have lakes in NoMi, go figure... It's always gotta be about the Southies, huh?|
You see, the Minneapolis City Council decided in their infinite wisdom that they were going to pillage all neighborhood councils of half of their NRP phase 2 money. Money not allocated for spending was simply going to vanish. The final day to submit any NRP program contracts was suddenly thrust upon us at point blank range. The four of us scrambled to get the contract hammered out as fast as possible. On the final day of contract signings before the end of available NRP phase 2 money, I drove like a bat out of hell to get to downtown and sign the paperwork. I made it just in time… barely. I signed the Jordan Advantage contract at NRP’s office at the very end of the business day. That’s it; the Jordan Advantage is the Last of the Mohicans. It was the last new contract signed before the barbarian horde at the City Council would take all the money away. Quick sidebar; NRP funding was stripped from the neighborhoods to accommodate complaints about rising property taxes across the city. My personal property taxes have gone up four out of the last previous five years, even though my property value has been plummeting faster than a skydiver without a parachute. Thanks to the City Council and the Mayor, I got a $13 property tax relief. Woopdie-doo. Back to the subject: Great, the contract was signed just in the nick of time. Now I can go to Good Sports and shoot Iron Butterflies, Flaming Doctor Peppers, Grape Apes, and sing We Are the Champions for karaoke at the same time! Well…. No…. I’m afraid not.
|Neighborhood Revitalization Program|
Due to complexities of new federal laws, HUD got their undies in a bind because of semantics, pomp, and circumstance. Apparently they were worried that those of us championing this program would personally benefit from this program monetarily. That meant we had to negotiate, haggle, and get HUD’s lawyers involved. That sucked. To come so far only to be stymied by some stupid bureaucratic bullshit. This of course was unacceptable. I spent the next month sending e-mails, calling HUD, following up, and in general just being a major pain in the ass until they finally capitulated. HUD finally gave us the green light to operate the Jordan Advantage.
So there it is. Six months of work has finally paid off. $7,500.00 of home buyer assistance is now available in the Jordan neighborhood. I want to thank Deb Wagner, Glennis Ter Wisscha, and Stacy Sorenson for playing such critical roles in helping to facilitate the revival of this program that will attract new home owners to my neighborhood. In my mind, this is a very important step towards gentrifying North Minneapolis and my eventual dream. And my dream is to see this neighborhood resurrect itself and become the awesome place to live that I know it someday could be.
|Gentrification is coming...|
One last thing before I sign off. Realtors, I have new marching orders for you. Bring your clients over here stat, and sell these houses. NoMi needs fresh meat for the grinder.
- Neighborhood of Times Past—Part 1
- A Racquetball Challenge
- Raising the Phoenix—Return of the Jordan Advantage...
- The 1522 Hillside Controversy
- Reality Check
- Mea Culpa
- Remember This Date
- Minneapolis Public Schools Falls Victim to Theft b...
- 2210 Irving Avenue North Vanishes
- Introducing Captain Poopgate
- Honest Marketing at the Store
- ▼ February (11)