January 8, 2015

General Membership Meeting Minutes 01- 08

January 8, 2015, 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

Board Roster: Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz, Mary Gonsior, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Ali Micalin, Carol Pass, Cesar Prado, Earl Simms
Board Members Present: Mary Gonsior, Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, Rosie Cruz
Board Members Not Present: Ali Micalin, Cesar Prado, Jenny Bjorgo, Jean Howard, Earl Simms EPIC Members: Brad Pass, Laura Dale, Kyla Sisson, Harry & Dana Dewilde, Michael Green, Alfonso Cruz, Sue Goodspeed, Eric Immler, Alfonso Cruz, Maggie Ewing
Guests: Don Greeley, Tammy Johnston

6:35     Introductions:

·       Greetings and Introductions, share your favorite winter sport.
·       MOTION to meet as a committee of the whole; approved by consensus.
·       Approval of Agenda: Agenda was accepted by consensus.
·       Approval of Minutes from December EGM: Approval of minutes with corrections on page 3 (Water Works) and checking the tape for notes on page 3 (Planning Dept.)

 NOTE: get back to Susan Goodspeed regarding a future agenda item.

6:55     Crime and Safety – Don Greeley
Part 1 crimes (violent) between 2014 and 2013, there was an increase of 22% in East Phillips. There was a huge (71%) increase in robberies. Sexual assaults were down by 58%. A comparison of the four neighborhoods of Phillips for the two years was presented in a report.

MG Question: Why does East Phillips have the biggest increase in violent crime and the biggest increase in robberies of the four neighborhoods. What could make a difference?

Response: More active block clubs, more citizen patrols, might make a difference. Police do track patterns and focus on these areas. Over the years, the most apparent pattern we have observed of violent crime in East Phillips, is the Bloomington & Lake, East 29th street areas. The only real trend is that there are more Latino victims, and this is because they tend to carry more cash (accounts from victims and police reports.) Police take notice of these trends and focus more attention on these locations, send out alerts, and try to get the word out.

2927 16th; started the process of going after the landlord for rental license issues, as well as referring to the city attorney; owner will have to present a management plan.

RC Question: Is there a documented process that must be followed for license revocation, so residents can follow.

Response: There are 3 incidents that must be reported, with appropriate responses. The city is responsible for this process. The county can address “nuisance” properties. Typically that takes 3-4 incidents to meet state guidelines. Some owners just take over the property, but the new owner still has the burden of any previous requirements.

RC Question: Cars neglected in parking lot, used for crime. What can be done about this.

Response: Police cannot go onto private property and tow cars. Will follow up on this particular problem property/car.

RC Question: Is there any reason why windows of café should not be covered with green and red plastic, to shield the public from seeing into the building.

Response: it is illegal to cover more than 1/3 of any window on a commercial property.

Tammy Johnston, Midtown Safety; probation officer. Attending to be a resource to East Phillips.

7:20     Presidents’ Report

  • Conclusion of the Audit and implications.
  • NPP plan contract signed.
Carol explained the process of the audit that was conducted and reported that the actual cost will be $3,600 (still to be determined who is paying for this). While this was a helpful process for EPIC, it was extremely expensive.

The implications of this audit are that the CPP organization is not particularly supportive of neighborhoods and they should be more supportive of neighborhoods. They owe us some respect because we came through this audit very well.

Some members of  the City Council have been threatening to take away the funds that they describe as “sitting around”. However, EPIC views these funds as “planned funding” and we have every intention of spending these funds, in ways that support the sustainability of this neighborhood organization.

EPIC has built millions of dollars worth of housing over the years; this doesn’t even include the $50,000 invested in the Phillips pool, and the East Phillips Park development. We learned through NRP that if you have money available, it will raise up all kinds of creative volunteer capital. Unfortunately, we will not see that kind of money from the City any time in the near future.. City money is ONLY for citizen participation, and you really won’t have a big enough amount of money to fund projects.

Neighborhood Priority Plans (NPP) are a way of using the community aspect of CPP funding and allowing  it to be used for projects like the NRP dollars were, i.e. money that can be used to create capital and infrastructure improvements which are vital to maintain and enhance older neighborhoods like East Phillips.

  • CPP = Citizen Participation Program used primarily to run the organization.
  • NPP = Neighborhood Priority Plan- These are CPP funds treated in a special way, can be used for projects.
  • NRP Can be used for both

7:40     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 to set up this change in 2014, to date were $2,353.
  • Accepted report (No questions).
If members have questions about the financial statements, please write questions on the report and give to Treasurer at a membership meeting.

7:50     Housing Future: Home Ownership and Home Rehab
·       PRG, Powderhorn Residents Group and GMHC, Greater Metro Housing Corp. will help fill our vacant lots.
·       CEE, Center for Energy and Environment is in the process of transferring oversight for EPIC’s home rehab and home buyer loan programs to GMHC. EPIC has done our part. This is being processed by the City right now. Until this is concluded EPIC can offer no home loans.
·       There are 8 lots available and we should be able to start with 1-2 houses in the spring.

After much discussion, we will invite these organizations to make presentations to EPIC community, including an opportunity to ask questions and participate in planning to the fullest extent possible. 

8:10     Progress on the November Motion: Next steps, task force


MOTION: Establish a Clean Air Task Force to repurpose the heavy industry areas of East Phillips to the goals of transit oriented residential housing, to disallow any further introduction of heavy industry and ultimately eliminate heavy industrial polluting enterprises from within the boundaries of East Phillips.

Task Force signup:
Maggie, Kyla, Eric,
Other Task Force members are: Margarita Ortega, Rosie Cruz, Ben Fisher, Patty Zanski-Fisher,  Seth Kuhl-Stennes, Jennie Bjorgo

The task force has not yet met, thus has not selected a chair. EPIC has distributed news articles and fact sheets regarding the laws passed by Roseville that prevented the move of Bituminous Roadways into property located in Roseville. Our task is large; we have multiple goals: 

  • Stop the Water Dept. from moving here.
  • Clean up and prevent future heavy industry associated pollution.
It is not enough to be “against” something, we have to be “for” something better. What can we propose for these lands that would be a better use than Water Works, and existing industries? We must also remember that some or the entire site may not be suitable for housing due to the Arsenic Triangle.

CP discussed making conditions for Water Works, which could be of assistance in removing heavy industry and reducing pollution, while not our ideal solution.

8:25     25th Street Berm

We thought Paul Mogush would be helpful (CPED) but he didn’t like the idea of a berm and will not support it. He actually reported his opinion to the decision maker. So we need to have a plan of action. We should send a letter to the 16th Avenue Block Club. We should engage our city council member and staff to support us on this. We should also work with Midtown Phillips.

8:30     Should we have a party?

We have to be creative about funding a party, but we can still plan a party.  Let’s have a card-making, pot luck, event on Saturday, February 14th.

What rooms do we want: the kitchen and community room.
1-4 pm.

8:40     Adjournment

January 3, 2015

Board Meeting Minutes 01-03

January 3rd, 2015, Saturday, 10:00 am
East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center
EPIC web address:  www.eastphillips-epic.com
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, Jean Howard, Linda Leonard, Ali Micalin,
Carol Pass, Cesar Prado, Earl Simms
Present board members: Mary Gonsior,  Linda Leonard, Carol Pass, Earl Simms, Jenny Bjorgo, Rosie Cruz,
Absent board members: Cesar Prado, Earl Simms, Ali Micalin, Jean Howard
Members: Brad Pass

10:00   Introduction:
  • Approval of Agenda: passed
  • Approval of the December 6th, 2024  EPIC Board Minutes:
·                Budget Hearings on Dec. 10th, EPIC Chair spoke at the hearings on greater revenue sharing with the               neighborhoods.
·                Next classes in Financial and Computer Literacy coming soon.

10:15   Conclusion to the Audit Report –
Robert and Carol had to make lots of corrections to the audit and it was disappointing that a professional audit had so many errors. A question still remains about the membership rolls and how we maintain them. The auditor didn’t seem to acknowledge that.

10:25   Update on the Office - Pictures
One concern is about handicap accessible. We may have to redesign the entrance.

  • We need a new website
  • We need to post affirmations from others; document what we do well.
  • We need to habitually provide press releases and post them.
  • We need a communication specialist.
10:35   Updates on the Park Classes: FinanciaL and Computer Literacy
·       Success of First Class
·       MPRB Park Staff taking it to next level   
·       We need to ask for a letter of commendation.

10:45   Next steps for the removal of the Asphalt Plant and other heavy industry out of East Phillips
                        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)  Research Zoning issues.
                        5)  Learn what is needed by different agencies, City, County, MPCA, MDH, DEED how they   can help.
                        6)  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,
                        7)  Where to show powerpoint.
                        8)  How much political clout do           they have?
                        9)  Would an official “Health Impact Analysis be useful or just get in the way?
  • Call Gary Schiff and ask about zoning.
  • Talk with Allen Muller about consulting. Waiting for a fee structure. Maybe we could write a grant.
            Water Yard: 68 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? At what times?
                        What route would they take?
                        Number of employees and where do they live?
                        What do neighbors in present location say about their activities?
                        Consider other locations
            Actions: Write a Petitions, begin to circulate.
                        Organize a big group.
                        Write letters to elected officials, meet with owners.
                        Consult with a professional.
            Talking points:
  • Point out that the heavy industry is located at the intersection of Minneapolis’ highly touted light rail system, Greenway, Downtown, and more…why would the city allow a large intersection of pollution at City gateway.  
  • Slogan…Welcome to Murky Minneapolis.
  • Needs to be all about “equity”…and then they allow this.
Ø  Mary suggested sending out an RFP to find out what it would cost to get someone to guide the project/strategy.
Ø  Hiring a communication person would help us with talking points.

11:00   Implementing the Ambassador plan and some of the other parts of our Safety strategy
            Purchase of Bike and Camera? Placement of Camera

Carol had copies of the NPP plan for the camera and bikes. Linda asked how we get it to happen. Carol has to finish the 2013  CPP report and then we can do that.

The total cost for the audit was $3,600. Not $3000 as in the last meeting.

We approved the minutes by concensus.  Insert “organizational capacity assessment now being imposed on EPIC only addresses issues from the June letter and a lot of money is spent on one unsubstantiated claim that we have no copy of” for “This” at the end of the minutes as part of the discussion about Rubidor’s letter and Jones’ report.

The recommendations have nothing to do with the one claim against EPIC.

They have unnecessarily and inappropriately blended the fact of one unsubstantiated complaint with the much broader question of organizational capacity and compliance with NCR expectations.  The effect has been bias, punitive actions, and biased the organizational assessment. 

The city should have a standardized and equitable methodology that is consistent for every neighborhood for organizational review.

The city claimed participation issues and claimed there was due process on TV and claimed a conclusion to the situation before even conducting an investigation.

Lissa Jones appears contracted to legitimize the bias of NCR and the undue punitive actions.

There was no separation between organizational assessment and a complaint.  There is no way to separate the bias, which is adequately reflected in the organizational assessment when questions and references to Little Earth abound.

11:20   Self Evaluation Plan- Discussion of Document
Adopted for use by concenses with a suggestion for reformatting. Mary will send the revisions back.

11:35   Conclude the issues and meeting with NCR
            Some talking points:
  • Of 19 Interviewee’s; how many actually had significant interaction with EPIC? First interviewees were chosen by our critics and had almost no contact with EPIC.
  • No statistics regarding interviewees’ remarks or what their comments were are included in the report.
  • Exposure to EPIC is unknown (though we do know in the case of five interviewees apparently selected by NCR Staff
  • There is no data of any kind presented in the report.
  • No objective data in the report.
  • There are no objective conclusions drawn from data to validate them included in the report.
  • Lissa Jones did not attend a single EPIC meeting. She may have viewed a small portion of the June 12th meeting, which is the meeting where all of this controversy with the city started.
  • EPIC Board responded positively to all requirements of the June 27th Letter. The assessment by Ms. Jones  was not one of the requirements.
  • EPIC Board positive response to all requirements of the June 27th Letter was never acknowledged by NCR and NCR did not pull back punitive actions as stated would happen if conditions were met in the June 27th letter.
  • NCR staff appear to have financial, political and/or personal reasons for fostering complaints against EPIC.
  • Blame was placed on EPIC’s board without due process, examination of the facts, or investigation of any kind, before issuing a verdict. NCR staff resisted calls for any objective inquiry.
12:00   Adjourn