December 11, 2014

General Membership Meeting Minutes 12-11

December 11, 2014, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

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

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Ali Micalin, Carol Pass, Cesar Prado, Earl Simms
Board Members Present: Jenny Bjorgo, Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, Jean Howard, Earl Simms, Rosie Cruz
Board Members Not Present: Ali Micalin, Cesar Prado,
EPIC Members: Brad Pass, Laura Dale, Michael Green, Seth Kuhl-Stennis, Harry DeWilde, Dana DeWilde, Neil Ahlstrom, Mark Welna, Randy Kramer, Ben Fisher, Patti Zanski-Fisher, Abdihakim Abdi, Bob Dalsin, Bayissa Didi, Ira Jourdain, Darren Konson, Megan Kuhl-Stennes, Margarita Ortega, Margaret Kirkpatrick, Karen Clark,
Guests: Heidi Hamilton, Paul Mogush, Tammy Johnston, Mahamoud Wardere, Ned Brooks

635      Introductions:

·       Greetings and Introductions, share your favorite holiday.
·       Agenda: Agenda was accepted by consensus.

6:55     Approval of Minutes
·       Approval of November 13, 2014 minutes: (JB, CP) Approved with no objections.


7:00     Crime and Safety

Lt. May reported on 3rd precinct activities since our last meeting. Not a lot of violent crime to report, however, there was a fatal stabbing last Saturday afternoon at the Lake St. station of LRT. Suspect is in custody. Aggravated assaults are down. Theft from autos is up. There were a couple stolen vehicles in E. Phillips. There is always a spike in these crimes this time of year, usually because people are leaving valuable items in plain view, and leaving cars running to warm up.

2927 16th Ave; one arrest on narcotics
Also addressing a “tippling” house 22XX Bloomington (selling booze, paid parties).

7:05     Presidents’ Report-

Every neighborhood has to undergo an audit, and EPIC just recently had ours. The auditor hired by the city gave us a good report verbally, and we are expecting to receive a written report this month. The audit will cost 1/3 of our annual budget, around $3,000, paid by the city.

7:15     Treasurer’s Report:

  • Report is preliminary and represents transition from do-it-yourself reporting by EPIC, to professional accounting by a CPA.
  • Noted that accounting costs in 2014, to date were $2,353.
  • Accepted report (No questions).

7:20    EPIC East Phillips Park Programming Partnership – Standing Committee Report-

  • Brad Pass reported on progress with the Financial and Computer Literacy Classes
  • Partnering with Wells Fargo on Financial Literacy; just held first series of (4) classes
  • The first series of Computer Literacy classes is coming up. (Distributed a sign up form). Partnering with Americore  and Mpls. City IT Dept..
  • Space is limited – 8 computers and 1 instructors station.
  • We are very pleased with how things are going with these partnerships.
  • This is the only class that is offered in the neighborhood during the evening.
  • We are trying to provide these classes in Spanish. We could probably fill classes every night of the week.
  • People are welcome to join this committee; we would like to find additional partners, recruiting students, coaching and mentoring opportunities.

7:25    Ambassador Program update/sign up sheet

EPIC has been working on this program for several months now. Ambassadors wear a vest, and go out into the neighborhood to engage with the community, disseminate information, solicit information and build stronger relationships between EPIC and the communities it serves. .

Will Gilman is the chair of this Committee, and would like to know anyone who is interested in joining this program to contact him:

LL read report from Will: Linda and Will walked about 2 hours and met many new people. While we handed out EPIC materials, and met new people, we did NOT bring back contact information from new people that we met. They are looking for more people to do this.

8:05     Our Heavy Industry Dilemma-The Asphalt Plant, Foundry and Roof Depot Site-Power Point
            The Issues: One, the Asphalt Plant, Two, the Foundry, Three, The Water Works Move to Roof Depot.

BP presented a powerpoint discussing links between pollution and ADHD in children. A recent article published by the StarTribune highlighted the connection between PAHs (a component of the pollution released by the asphalt plant), and a disproportionate incidence of ADHD diagnoses in children living in East Phillips.

MOTION PASSED AT NOVEMBER MEETING: (ME,LD, Approved) Establish a Clean Air Task Force to repurpose the industrial areas of East Phillips to the goals of transit oriented residential housing and ultimately eliminate heavy industrial polluting enterprises within the boundaries of East Phillips.

Who is on the task force, and when will they meet? What kind of time commitment is needed? CP reported that we have struggled with similar issues in the past. All of our past battles have taken about a year and were costly in terms of time and everything. This neighborhood has worked with our legislature to produce the only law in the US that is protective of a community like E. Phillips, in an area that is low income, diverse, etc. In every big city there is an area where the folks who have less, live. This seems to be where these challenges end up due to a lack of resources to track and fight them.

We know that we need to be concerned for our children. But we need to say that we can’t have heavy industrial pollution right in our midst. We don’t know how long this will take, we don’t know what the obstacles are, we have new data supporting the harm that pollution causes, and we want to make this happen and we need to make this happen now. We want to work with the industries that are here and be fair, and work with them to address these problems.

Ned Brooks (651-757-2557), works for the Pollution Control Agency and their job is to help. He reported that the PCA does a lot of air monitoring. There is also a very extensive network of PAH monitoring in the neighborhood including right here at the Park. There are about 15 monitors in East Phillips as part of a 2 year study. There is plenty of information about air monitoring available about this neighborhood. Would like to offer to have PCA present the findings from this monitoring to the neighborhood. Suggested inviting the public health department to participate also. Will send some links to the internet that we could post on our EPIC site.

Ned Brooks distributed a report from the monitor that was stationed at Little Earth, showed similar findings as those found at Anderson school.

Smith Foundry
Wanted to comment that when dealing with the state and other agencies, he has been told that the bulk of PAH’s are really coming from the vehicles that are burning diesel. Asked Ned to comment on sources of PAH’s, who responded that PAH’s come from fuel combustion, from vehicles or other sources.

Every two years PCA gives a report to the legislature, so the current report is two years old. The next report is due in January 2015.

Water Works Division
Heidi reported that the Water Works Division is looking for a site as their current location is obsolete. We believe this would be a good operational benefit. The site is currently an industrial site, and the property is for sale. The Water Works Division will work with the community to address community concerns.

LL responded that there is and has been concerns about the zoning issues in E. Phillips. The current zoning is really out of date, and with the transit oriented development here, it should be changed to reflect modern conditions

Planning Department
Long range planning for Minneapolis, proposed acquisition, will serve as a resources. What would the process be to change the zoning in an area.

1. individual property owners can request a change for their own property.
2. a city-initiated re-zoning study; defined by state law; at least 40 acres, involves a lot of process. Typically in areas of change, where there is new land use planning processes.

Mary G question: While heavy industry use is “grandfathered” with the property when sold, that would not be the case in the event a business stops operating for more than one year. On the 366th day, the property would no longer retain the right to operate heavy industry.

Michael G question: Does the pollution “cumulative” effect measure mean that a sale to another heavy industry would be legal provided the pollution does not “increase” pollution from the existing heavy industry?
8:30     East Phillips Vacant Lots and Boarded Buildings

CP presented a little history surrounding EPIC’s efforts to set aside funds for new construction and previous work with PRG and GHMC to partner to build homes on empty lots in E. Phillips, introducing a 2nd vote on the

MOTION PASSED AT NOVEMBER MEETING: (CP,ES, Approved) EPIC will set aside $120,000 to build 8 new houses on 8 empty lots and that we seek contracts with PRG and GHMC.

Michael G: suggested that EPIC require an RFP for these homes. CP responded that we have solicited RFP’s in the past and based on previous work with PRG and GHMC we have more confidence in them than with PPL, the only other developer who could really provide a bid.

Seth: Why is this motion being considered since it has already been approved. Have there been other “uses” considered for these properties? There is room for other possibilities.
LL: We always do a second vote for a Neighborhood Priority Plan or anything that uses a lot of money. A first vote is for neighborhood review. This has been long envisioned since our NRP Phase II Plan. We will have other possibilities later on.

Michael G proposed amending the motion to: EPIC will set aside $120,000 to build UP TO 8 new houses. This was rejected by JB, however, JB did accept the addition of the words “UP TO” to the motion.

MOTION: (JB, ES) EPIC will set aside $120,000 NPP using 2012-2013 to build UP TO 8 new houses on 8 empty lots and that we seek contracts with PRG and GHMC. Approved with 1 opposed, no abstentions.

8:50     Adjournment

December 6, 2014

Board Meeting Minutes 12-06

December 6th, 2014, Saturday, 10:00 am
East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center
EPIC web address:
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

The opposite of poverty is not wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice.

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Mary Gonsior, Jeanne Howard, Linda Leonard, Ali Macalin, Carol Pass, Cesar Prado, Earl Simms
Present board members: Jenny Bjorgo, Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, Rosie Cruz, Earl Simms
Absent board members: Jeanne Howard, Ali Macalin, Cesar Prado,
Members: Brad Pass, Alfonso Cruz

10:00   Introduction:
  • LL offered to serve as chair.
  • By consensus, meeting as a committee of the whole.
  • Approval of Agenda: by consensus, agenda is approved.
  • Approval of the November 1st EPIC Board Minutes: by consensus, minutes are approved.

·       $50,000 to the pool, press release; published in the Alley. EPIC to issue a press release to other news venues.
·       Budget Hearings on Dec. 10th. Most important issue: there is not enough money for neighborhoods to run a successful organization ($65,000).

10:15   Self-Evaluation- Discussion
 Three months ago the board reviewed board self-evaluations to consider whether such evaluations could help board members improve their personal performance. There are many examples available, and there are a variety of focus’ that can be incorporated (specific vs. general, and more.) LL presented a document for EPIC’s consideration, which was amended for use later in the meeting.

QUORUM ACHIEVED: Ratified previous Motions

10:30   Audit Results:
  • Segregation of duties
  • Check Reconciliation
  • Financial Statements

The total financial audit cost $3,600, and CP spent four hours meeting with the auditor. EPIC is part of the contract and should receive a copy of the audit report. The auditor was very impressed with our recordkeeping and practices, for such a small organization.

Reviewed and discussed with the auditor
  • Auditor suggested that EPIC show funds spent on specific events on the financial statements so they match the board votes to spend funds.
  • Both the CPA, and EPIC’s Treasurer are reconciling the statements every month. LL pointed out that the City also provides a third check on the spending of funds.
  • New Binder
    • Minutes going back five years (in print) and on web.
    • Past tax filings
    • Check Register
    • Contracts
    • Financials
    • Bank Statements
    • Bylaws & foundational documents
    • Policies & Procedures
    • Community Garden financials

10:45   Ambassador report

Linda and Will walked about 2 hours and met many new people. While we handed out EPIC materials, and met new people, we did NOT bring back contact information from new people that we met.

10:50  Bituminous Roadways, Smith Foundry, Roof Depot -  Flyering, PowerPoint, Articles,
                        1)  Inventory of polluting industries
                        2)  Put together available information on emissions from each one
                        3)  Available information on their permits and when they expire
                        4)  Learn what is needed by different agencies, City, County, MPCA, MDH, DEED how they  can help.
                        5)  What are the attitudes toward moving, (Are they profitable, do they have alternative locations that would not create injustices in other communities, is there economic development money available that would help them move. Do they provide valuable employment to locals,
                        6)  How much political clout do they have?
                        7)  Would an official “Health Impact Analysis be useful or just get in the way?
            Water Yard:
                        What type of vehicles, Diesel trucks are more polluting than gas vehicles. Sometimes the health impacts of vehicles going to and from a facility might be greater than the emissions of the facility itself. .
                        How much coming and going?
                        Number of employees and where do they live?
                        What do neighbors in present location say about their activities?
                        Consider other locations
            Actions: Petitions
                        organize a big group.
                        Write letters to elected officials, meet with owners.

Reviewed the PowerPoint and made some edits, as needed. Advertised the meeting on Thursday evening in the Alley, and distributed flyers throughout the neighborhood.

Talking points:
  • LL pointed out that EPIC is located at the intersection of Minneapolis’ highly touted light rail system, Greenway, Downtown, and more…why would the city allow such a large intersection off   pollution right   in the gateway of the city.
  • Slogan…Welcome to Murky Minneapolis.
  • CP commented that the city claims to be all about “equity”…and then they allow this.
11:10   Lissa Jones Report
            Read aloud?
            Evaluate- Questions?

CP noted that the City cancelled both of the previous meetings, on the day of the meeting. We felt this was unprofessional and disrespectful to EPIC board members who had made arrangements twice to attend these meetings. EPIC sent them a letter saying so. To date, we have not received a response. The city is expecting a level of professionalism which they themselves are not willing to meet.

MG requested that EPIC receive the auditor’s report before meeting with Lissa Jones and the City, and that the City assures EPIC that the report submitted from Lissa on Friday, Dec. 5th, is the FINAL version of the report from Lissa Jones.

Some talking points:
  • Of 19 Interviewee’s; how many actually had significant interaction with EPIC?
  • No statistics regarding interviewee’s are included in the report.
  • Exposure to EPIC is unknown.
  • There is no data in the report.
  • No objective data in the report.
  • There are no conclusions included in the report.
  • Lissa Jones did not attend a single EPIC meeting. She may have viewed the June 12 meeting which is the meeting where all of this controversy with the city started.

Conditions to be met (June 27th letter) (the “reason” for the meeting.)

1. Adopt and Enforce a Code of Ethics; this was already part of EPIC’ Policies and Procedures. Have Robert verify that NRP already approved this document. Request approval of this document by NCR.

2.  Provide sufficient time for NCR staff to regularly report to the community. EPIC immediately complied with this condition, provided time for NCR staff to report. Request verification from NCR that this condition has already been met.

3. Be subject to an audit. EPIC immediately complied with this condition, and completed the audit in November, 2014.

MG: This report makes no claim to address the issue and complaints that were reported to NCR in June 2014. EPIC has never received copies of these complaints, and therefore, EPIC has no basis for adopting or agreeing with the conclusions drawn by NCR or the consultant Lissa Jones. EPIC believes that NCR staff  have financial, political and/or personal reasons for filing complaints against EPIC. NCR Staff, and CM Cano have not done anything to increase EPIC’s effective outreach to the community since July 2014, and in fact, caused damage to the cohesiveness of EPIC’s board by placing blame on EPIC’s board without due process, examination of the facts, or investigation of any kind, before issuing a verdict.

MOTION: (CP, RC) Send a fruit basket and thank you to NAME OF FIRM for reviewing and advising EPIC regarding Lissa’s report. Approved. Later decided this would/could be seen as currying favoritism, so decided against.

11:40   Final Community Vote for New Home Construction- EPIC Board has been supporting this NPP for a year to return to our empty NRP Phase II housing strategy. We need attendance at this meeting. This is our last vote for this long awaited project. PRG and GMHC have been ready to act on this. Note: this is not an aid to buy them as the language suggests. It is to build them.

11:50   Board Self Evaluation- discussion did not get off the ground. People had to leave early.

12:20   Adjourn