NRP Policy Board Candidates at a Glance
Occupation: College Teacher/Property Management
Address: 2536 18th Ave. S. (55404)
Neighborhood of Residence: East Phillips
Years in Neighborhood: 30 years
Years in Minneapolis: 35 years
- How have your life experiences prepared you to be a neighborhood representative?
I have lived in an inner urban core neighborhood for 30 years, raised my children here, foster parented children here, hired neighborhood people here, helped get kids into college from Phillips, rehabbed houses here, presided over redevelopment, crime control, and general beautification. As a college teacher, I mentored inner city college students, so I've helped at the other end when kids move on as well. My son has chosen to live in Phillips and teaches at North High. He owns a home and he and his wife are now raising their kids here. My work in housing and social issues of every sort has educated me as have all these other experiences. I know and love the city, especially Phillips, and it has taught me well.
- What do you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the NRP?
The greatest strength of the NRP is the granting of full discretionary decision-making power over funding allocations to the individual neighborhoods. While this has sometimes caused dissension, in general it has leveraged countless volunteer hours and dramatically empowered neighborhoods. It has engendered some of the best creativity in urban planning anywhere and, as the neighborhoods have matured in this process, has led to valuable coalition building and collaboration among neighborhoods. The greatest weakness is that the centralized bureaucracy needed to watch over and guide the neighborhoods can be as sluggish and immersed in personal issues, as any other bureaucracy, and, of course, neighborhood bureaucracies can suffer from these problems as well. The additional training for neighborhoods is a strength also, and much appreciated.
- How have you participated in your neighborhood organization and its NRP process?
I began as a housing board member before the break up of People of Phillips and was a founding member of our new organization, East Phillips Improvement Coalition. I have continuously been its Housing and Redevelopment Chair and am the current treasurer of the organization. I chair the East Phillips Commons redevelopment on Lake and Bloomington, a collaboration of Powderhorn, Midtown Phillips and East Phillips. I have been a representative on the High Lake Guidelines committee, collaborating with Longfellow and Corcoran neighborhoods. I have helped start and maintain the Bloomington Ave. Citizen's Patrol, a crime control street patrol of Midtown and East Phillips. I am currently helping begin a Home Block Nurse Program for East and Midtown Phillips, which will be using NRP funds. We have guided our process for maximum leverage and accountability and been careful to maximize our finances toward affordable housing production and maintenance. I am also on the Village in Phillips Redevelopment Board. These projects both were initiated by NRP funds and will create roughly 200 plus affordable housing units.
- How do you plan to maintain a relationship with the neighborhoods you would represent if elected?
I am currently working with the multi-neighborhood process to address the mayor and city council regarding neighborhood issues. Several redirection neighborhoods are involved and we maintain a relationship through the staff and volunteers in that process. I would hope to visit more of the redirection neighborhoods actual meetings and ask them to voice key issues. An e-mail space for questions and answers like a web-site would be very valuable to poll regarding specific issues. Having been a representative for one year has made me aware that regular contact has not been there. The multi-neighborhood group is the closest we've come, so I am committed to amplifying the voice of the redirection neighborhoods on the NRP Board and elsewhere.
- Name one thing you would like to work on if elected.
I would like to assist the inner core and redirection neighborhoods in having a larger and more focused voice in city affairs in general with regard to specific issues and overall city policy. I would like to assist them in beginning a process to learn strategies from one another. We could also learn from one another's creative solutions and programs. I envision a joint conference of the Redirection Neighborhoods. This would be a hard project to accomplish, but extremely valuable.
- Why are you running for a neighborhood representative seat on the Policy Board?
I have served a very complex and busy year on the Policy Board. I feel that this experience has skilled me up to be far more useful to the Redirection Neighborhoods. We are confronted with very serious structural and financial issues about which I have formed strong convictions based on guarding the empowerment and financial future of the neighborhoods. I am convinced that both ample funding and discretionary power must be retained and I want to be a part of seeing to it that that occurs. I have never missed a meeting or briefing and have worked to be effective. My concept of being effective, of course, has grown, but I hope I have grown too. I would like very much to mentor others toward effectiveness at this post as well. For that I need another year.
- Please list any community-based organizations with which you are currently involved.
I am a founding member and current treasurer of East Phillips Improvement Coalition. I am President of the Board of our beginning Home Block Nurse Program (EPIC Community of Care) I am part of the Bloomington Ave. Citizen's Patrol, a Board member of Village in Phillips Redevelopment and Chair of East Phillips Commons Redevelopment. I am a member of the Bloomington/Cedar/Lake Commercial Association.
- Please list all current paid and unpaid affiliations.
Treasurer-East Phillips Improvement Coalition (EPIC)
Chair, East Phillips Commons Redevelopment
Board member, Village in Phillips Redevelopment
President, EPIC Community of Care
Member, Bloomington/Cedar/Lake Commercial Association
Chair, East Phillips Housing
Member, Bloomington Ave. Citizen's Patrol
Member/Delegate - DFL
Wildlife Defense Fund