31 October 2009

If There is a Parade in Minneapolis . . .

. . . you can be sure that city hall will be there with the rain.

The bureaucratic tangle involves two city ordinances. The first requires businesses to obtain a license to sell parking spots. But when several of these smaller, family-run businesses headed over to City Hall to apply, they were told they don't qualify.

That's because a long-term neighborhood plan, approved two years ago by the Minneapolis City Council, established something called a Transit Station Area Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District. (George Orwell, call your office!) The idea was to get cars and parking lots out of the area to make way for more bicycles, walkers and light rail in 2014.

Take the case of Tech Huy Ung, whose family has owned the popular U Garden Chinese restaurant for nearly 17 years on University Avenue.

At the first game, he braced for an onslaught of customers. None showed up, fearing traffic snarls. So, for the second game Sept. 19, he charged $25 to let customers park and receive a gift certificate for a free meal any time. City licensing inspectors photographed him waving cars into his 60 spaces and issued two warnings.

Ung says his property taxes have gone up $6,000 to nearly $42,000 a year since the stadium went up, but now he has no customers on game days and no ability to make parking revenue, while he must pay employees to manage the lot so no tailgaters sneak in and violate another ordinance for which he can be fined. "They treat me like a criminal on my own property," Ung said. "It seems like they have too much control."

Make no mistake - if it happens with the U on the horizon, the U will control all aspectsBetween the oligarchs at the University of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis who will do all their bidding, the glow of that new, outdoor, on-campus stadium will dim much faster than it would otherwise.

Read it all. It just gets worse. What a diseased political and civic culture they have over there.

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