June 12, 2014

General Membership Meeting Minutes 06-12

June 12th, 2014, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address: eastphillips-epic.com
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers,
but most of all the world needs dreamers who do.”
Board Members Present: Carol Pass, Linda Leonard, Mary Gonsior, Rosie Cruz, Jean Howard
Board Members Not Present: Earl Simms (at funeral), Jenny Bjorgo (ill),  Ali Micalin (at meeting), Cesar Prado
EPIC Members: Laura Dale, Lee Samelson, Kyla Sisson, Andrew Falstrom, William Gilman, Erica Schultz, Doug VanderVeen, Jay Drieling, Alondra Cano, Jose Cortez, Margaret Kirkpatrick, Maggie Ewing, Abdihabin Avin, Liliuna Cortez,
Guests: Lt. Daniel May, Insp. Mike Sullivan, Don Greeley, Shirley Heyer, Rich Aspinwall, Carrie Aspinwall

6:40        Greetings and Introductions
6:47             Approval of Agenda
MOTION by Linda to meet as a committee of the whole; second Jean; Motion carried.
MOTION by Linda and second by Will to accept the agenda. Motion carried.
Approval of May 8th, 2014 minutes       
Moved by Carol and seconded by….. Motion Carried

6:55 Linda moved and Laura seconded a motion to approve previous motions after Rosie Cruz   arrived to established a quorum.

7:00:            Announcements:
·      EPIC SummerFest – June 22nd, in East Phillips Park, 1:00 to 8:00 pm
More volunteers would be helpful.  T shirts are ordered for prizes and volunteers. People invited to note the sign in sheet with a “v” if they can help.
·      Next EPIC General Membership Meeting – July 10th, 6:30 - 8:45 pm
·      Midtown neighborhood July 26 at Stewart park party as part of aquatennial. Special children’s stage; police demo; etc.  Everyone welcome. Somali independence is on the 21st at Peavy Park sponsored by Ventura Village. Karmel Mall has another celebration about the same time.
·      Global Market July 19th  as part of aquatennial.

7:10             Round Table Discussion with Council Member Cano and City Officials: Listenng     & Q and A.

CM Cano: A city dept head meeting held over a collective lens for crime was held.
Objective: neighborhood perspective on crime; police response; collective problem solving

Carrie announced she has notes from the meeting and a document about resources and distributed both copies.

Purpose to share information and solutions.
MPD presentation:  The priority is to look at where crime is and put resources there. Bloomington and Lake is a target area. Plain clothes community response team is active with drugs, johns, and prostitutes. Further east is another hot spot. There is additional funding for foot beats at Bloom/Lake on Fri/Sat/Sun from 4-8 pm. This requires officers to volunteer for extra hours. There are 5 beat officers for that area as well as Cedar Field and East Phillips. There is a mobile camera on Cedar/Lake.  Carol had hoped it could be closer to 18th and the police will see about that location.
The park police reported a camera on Cedar Field now. It’s a trailer mobile camera that went in on Friday.

Jean commented on conversation with Bill Ziegler. Little Earth can’t do much if they trespass people out of the property and then they sit across the street and can carry on their “business”.

Cano and Jean Miller and Corky met and talked about selling Cedar Field to Little Earth.  There is a motion to retain park land some years ago. The park board doesn’t give much attention. Cano will meet with Vreeland and Karen Clark about it.  Cano discussed that it would still be publicly open and available to others. Cano thinks it’s a tangible option. Bill says the park board doesn’t respond well. Cano wants us to contact the commissioner and she wants to hear from Little Earth Residents.  They also want to change the name to Trinidad Park.

Jean thinks it is an excellent idea. Carrie nodding in assent.

Carrie wants to talk about geographical trespassing. Suggested that that could be used by the Park Board for just about anywhere. 

The police said the city attorney could follow up on that but there is a civil liberty challenge.

The trespass is ordered by the court for geo trespass Don said.

CM Cano said Park Board Chair Liz Wilenski may support this option.

Shirley: thinks it is illegal to trespass people from public places.

Rosie: 2927 16th Ave problem property…..lots of cars stopping all night.  Report of ten license plates and underage girl involved. Rosie and neighbor at 2931 observed a little girl coming to the house. ??? someone said they would send undercover police. Rosie gave a description of an old man who comes often. Rosie got information from a realtor about the owner who really doesn’t live there and there is no rental license.  Rosie doesn’t want any officials coming to her house and said so, but police did come today to her house and now she is afraid. Her son gave information to someone and Rosie is fearful.

Police response is to pursue licensing about this building and another building across the street. 2924 16th needs to be completely boarded

The supposed daycare has lots of teen going in  2830 Cedar because it isn’t fully boarded.

Rosie says the container is used for clothing at salvation army and people change clothes often.

Mary commented again that the bar/restaurant is still a problem.

Discussion returned to Cedar Field- (transcribed word for word from video)
Linda Leonard said, “I want, if I may, to go back to the previous issue…About Cedar Field, one thing that is probably out of sight to the people who have had the discussion so far is the importance of that field for all the local residents whose children can walk there safely without crossing Cedar Ave, without crossing 26th St., without crossing 24th St.. There are many, many families and children and spontaneous things that happen in that field, especially relating to ethnic people and children, (Cano: “spontaneous in a good way?”) Yes, in a good way, and I would be reluctant for a decision to be made without the people who have limited English and who depend on that place for safe play for their children, so if you would consider a significant effort for the local folks that would probably appreciated.”

Mary: Did you want to speak to this (to CP)?

Carol Pass: Yes, there are some issues about that…and I think we need to get the neighbors to value that, I really see the logic of little Earth owning it, the only thing is … sometimes people have a problem with…who gets to play there....it’s an Indian land thing and so I think we need to have a committee that works on it together, because we police it too, especially that south west corner, where the baseball diamond is, some guys that sit there all the time and sometimes people drive up and sell into the park and there’s  a problem you have and we have too, and so I think it would be good to have what we have for this park, (we were in East Phillips Park) because we want everyone to be free to be here, we have a partnership deal where  we meet and talk about issues with each group that uses the park….I don’t know how anyone feels about that.”

Jean Howard said,” So do you think that if Little Earth were to own it, nobody could play in the park?”

Carol Pass said: “No….”

Jean Howard said: “I mean currently whose playing in there now… ? I don’t think it’s going to change the dynamics of whose playing in there, regardless of who owns it or polices it.”

Mary: “I think we just want to make sure that all the stakeholders are in the conversation, that’s what I’m hearing.”

Carol Pass: “Yeah”.

Jean Howard: “ I mean that’s alright, but I don’t want anyone to make the assumption that if Little Earth was to acquire it, that no more people could come in.                                                   

Carrie Aspinwall, our neighborhood specialist joins in: “Or that it turns into Indian Land? That’s just not possible…You know…That’ll never happen!”

Jean Howard: “Yeah, that will never happen!”                                                                               

Linda Leonard then said, “May I make a politically inept remark, but an honest one? …..No, it’s factual. There was a tension in the neighborhood, because for one thing… several years ago, after the Mother’s Day PowWow, at the closing of the PowWow, there was a public announcement made by whoever was chairing the event that everyone could be happy, because next year the park was going to belong to Little Earth and that it would be a space for Little Earth programming.....

Jean Howard said: “I never heard it.”   
Linda: “and so there are a number of residents who heard that and were surprised by it…so maybe the current leadership could be open to a cooperative kind of understanding of the future use of that field…but I am just saying that there was a time when some of the local residents who heard that were somewhat stunned by it. I am not making a racist comment…I am just saying that some of the public statements that were made were somewhat off-putting for some of the stakeholders.”

CM Cano: “ I understand that this issue is more multi-layered than what this meeting is about and pubic works is here…”
(End of exact transcription from video)

7:40 Cano recognized public works representative and wants us to discuss lighting.

Rosie reminded us that several months ago Katherin Johnson refused to sign for Mateo who lost his house. We requested that the police sign a letter for his help in the community. Cano accepted the letter and offered to take it to the police chief.

MOTION: Carol moved and Laura seconded that EPIC write a letter in support of Mateo. Passed.

7:45  Lighting and public works.   We have the name of the person from Xcel to call and we’d like to have one person to call at the city instead of 311 in order to control crime.  Last night the city did go monitor this and made a list a list for Xcel and the city. By next Wednesday they expect to get them all back in service.

EPIC wants to know if we could pay for bigger lights or if local residents and landlords could get more light like the ones on 29th and Bloomington.

Carol suggested rental property owners and others for more lights.

More lights will fund Bloomington Cedar 26th and 28th for pedestrian priority because of bus riders and pedestrians. They are trying to change to LED brighter and cheaper lighting too. The city is not looking at bike corridors on 17th . Only the midtown greenway bikeway is being considered.

The city wants the information if xcel has light problems. Several residents reported that the calls to 311 often result in calls to xcel that end up in a voice mail box.  The city official will call 311 tomorrow to see about the process for reporting so the city knows when xcel is called.

The number for  1800 960 6235 will get a human voice for excel for lighting.

Carol suggested that the neighborhood could perhaps pay for lighting installation but not maintenance and for equipment but not for service for security cameras and lights on private residences and rental properties.

Carol talked about possible barring of windows and what is legal. Also  suggested prickly roses and bushes as a buffer to crime too.

Cano asked about pressure we could put on the gas station for more lighting.

There was apparently some residential activity in 2008 for the pedestrian corridor input. Cano suggested analyzing the current situation and perhaps amending it.

Rosie reported more public problems near 2541 because the same person owns property on both sides.  The NE corner of 17th and E 26th is one of those.

Cano asked that we call 311 and get a reference number and then call or email her office so she can follow up with problem properties like this.

Carol suggested and others agree that 911 and 311 service be more responsive by making the first question whether or not the caller needs an interpreter.

8:00   Carrie distributed and explained funding allocations that are available for EPIC and some strategies.

There was a question from CM Cano about our focus on East Lake Street and development.

Carol responded that we can specify extra dollars for police and where they might be placed; there is interest in vacant lots and building.  Cano asked about a small area plan and we don’t have one. Carol talked about a neighborhood development district that does exist. PRG, Powderhorn, East Phillips and others put it together.

Carol pointed out that we can fill vacant lots for $15,000 each and we have been this discussing with PRG. Housing is one of our priorities and a key long-term crime stopper.

Carrie said that we need to get CPP and plans in place so we can respond more immediately.
Carrie stated that we have $500,000 and could get it in one month, then corrected saying add 21 days.
Police asked if that were true. Carrie said it was.

Linda commented that the reason we have so much money is because of the volunteer board and what we have accomplished and that we move slowly because of diversity and because good plans take time.

Andrew asked how the Board is moving ahead with Priority Plans. Another resident asked about involvement.

Jean spoke about the cost of not spending money on staff.

Rosie asked about the city giving priority to current neighbors about buying houses.

Carrie four points;
1. staffing at other organizations have similar problems.  CPP engagement; NRP for bricks and mortar
2. the city has resources and wants action

CM Cano supports the work EPIC has done.  Every Board is volunteer.  She wants sustainability. She wants capacity for legacy.

Doug commented that 14 years ago it was much worse. The partnership with police and city council member and the neighborhood made progress together. He would like to see a structural impediment to the negative traffic at the gas station on 18th. Linda will put Doug in touch with someone to work on planters.

Carrie, Alondra and the police left.

A thank you to the public officials who came.

Back to the Agenda - Presentation by the Neighborhood
 Carol talked about the previous EPIC Board that self-destructed. EPIC saved  $200,000 that became seed money for the park and discussed the neighborhood process in restoring and rebuilding East Phillips through financing projects.  She handed out different neighborhood budgets that have zero dollars for  real Priority Plan projects because there was only enough money for staff. She pointed out that we get $65,000 a year, enough for one staff with benefits, an office and technology. No money  for projects…

There was discussion last week with the Board about budgets. 

Margaret talked about how staff can get a lot done and it isn’t a waste of money. It can become a question of priority and pros and cons.

There was discussion about pros and cons of staffing. We only received information today from city officials about what our agenda would be tonight. We could not plan for anything. Rosie walked out claiming she was insulted.  Board members  spoke about being pressured into decisions without it being the will of the community.

Our goal is not to be in the position of not having resources to address needs. We have enough now for staff and priorities.

The member’s closing remarks were about how confusing the meeting was and members couldn’t participate. Some were angry and stated our meeting was hijacked

9:03 adjourned

Bumped off Agenda Items
8:00             Crime & Safety: Inspector Mike Sulliva8:40n :  Update since our last meeting.

8:15            Task Force on Public Safety/Crime
      1)      Walking and Driving Patrols,
                   2)            List Problem Properties (vacant and used for negative purposes).
                3)            Burned-out Street light reporting, new street lights in places.
                   4)            Cameras: Placement, Type and Cost.
                   5)            Research discounted camera for home-owner installation(Funds?)
                   6)            Collecting ‘Hot Spot’ locations for Police and our surveilance.
                   7)            Creating Telephone Trees for 911 collaborations.
                   8)            Lobbying City Hall for bi-lingual dispatchers (Somali, Spanish)           
                   9)            Have police train us for how to make effective 911 Calls.
ü  Volunteer Chair/Lead-Create a group. Arrange meeting time. Parcel out tasks. Create a report. Report in. Let us know about need for funding.

8:30            Task Force on Pollution: Bituminous Roadways and Smith Foundry

ü  Volunteer Chair/Lead-Create a group. Arrange meeting time. Parcel out             tasks. Create a report. Report in. Let us know about need for funds.
8:40            Festival on June 22nd-Volunteers needed.

8:50               Adjourned