28 June 2013

...for a city of its size...

City of Minneapolis inspectors evidently have claimed another casualty, this time the Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar, a lovely establishment right in my old neighborhood with which former compadres Matt Peterson and David Alderson, among others, have had long-standing associations. Find more info, including how to help, here. I left the following comment:

Some conjecture from a (willfully) displaced Minneapolitan:

Has anyone reached out to the "neighbors?" In my experience (i.e. the first 28 years of my life), the "neighbors" (too kind a euphemism, frankly) have a way of precipitating city involvement in these sorts of matters. I lived in this neighborhood for 4 years; it's a lovely place and a demographic checkerboard. And it totally has "neighbors." I moved there specifically so I could take the light rail to work and promptly found my car chalked like clockwork every three days if I did not drive it.

Fifteen years is too long for something to be going on without someone at the city knowing about it. We have been down this road before in recent years with the 331 Bar and Tillie's Bean In the former case, according to the given article, "The city's concern is that it needs to regulate businesses impact on their communities (ie noise, traffic etc)." Though the provenance of that interpretation is unclear in the article, it certainly suggests "neighborly" involvement if accurate. Tillie's Bean, meanwhile, merely experienced a "routine inspection," that is, "after nearly three years in business." Hmm...

These events were not "big news," but they were talked about, not just in musicians' circles, and received not-insignificant media coverage, as the linked articles attest. Concurrently, a city councilperson's proposal to regulate music by type (i.e. genre) also fell flat, but gave away the degree of obliviousness at work, some suggested to the Constitution no less than to the culture of the city! I would be shocked if a sizable proportion of relevant city officials at any/all levels were completely unaware of how all of this makes them look. However, anyone who has lived in Minneapolis for any period of time knows that these officials ultimately serve the "neighbors," and truthfully, that's because the "neighbors" are vocal and involved and the rest of us, I say as equanimously as I can, generally are not. As a musician, I have always worried that there were more pressing social issues for me to be "involved" in than my own musical self-interest, but it's possible that we're seeing something here which does have larger implications. What do you think?

It is, of course, plausible that no residents of any of these neighborhoods have had anything to do with bringing such "violations" to the city's attention and/or demanding action. But if that is the case, then my recommendation to get in touch with them goes double. Get a few musicians together this weekend to door-knock 42nd Ave. between 37th and 39th streets and see what people say. Perhaps also consider contacting the managers/proprietors of the other businesses at 38th and 42nd. If these "neighbors" are sympathetic, use them; the city WILL listen. If they are evasive and irritated, then at least you've confirmed what's going on.

Easy for me to call others to action, since I've fled to Los Angeles, where the music scene stretches beyond the horizon, and where the "neighbors" in Eagle Rock are busy opposing a new bike lane. Maybe this is my cue to get "involved" in that.

In spirit,


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