Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648

Have you been to downtown Minneapolis lately? These days some don’t feel safe there. In Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648 we run the gauntlet on Hennepin Avenue.

After Billions Spent, New Questions About Safety Downtown

The media is starting to ask questions about crime in downtown. Opinion makers and the city’s leaders are apparently concerned. The questions they don’t ask are revealing.

Another New Crisis

The Crisis in American Cities has been grabbing headlines for a hundred years. From The Gateway District to Mayo Square it’s the same formula. Use taxpayer dollars to Demolish. Rebuild. Repeat. Has it been worth it?

Robert Moses and Richard Daley Would Be Proud

Light rail and mixed use condos. Expensive restaurants and Hipster art districts. Bike paths. Safe spaces. Higher Minimum Wages. Political fights about redevelopment and economic inequality. Tax Increment Financing to bring in big retail and big companies.

When these efforts produce mixed results, the process starts all over again. More money. Newer stadiums. More buildings. More condos that are sold as ‘affordable’ but cost at least two hundred thousand dollars. Higher rents. Traffic Jams. Crime.

Downtown Minneapolis was never a ‘thing’

The neighborhoods and retail business were located in North Minneapolis and North East, Uptown, Lake Street in South Minneapolis and Saint Paul’s ‘Midway’. Sure, Hennepin Avenue always featured bars and hotels, places to eat and entertainment. But downtown was for warehouses, light industry, office buildings, city and county government. And drunks.

Not DisneyLand

Let’s just say it. Downtown Minneapolis isn’t Disneyland. It never was. That’s the reason punks loved in in the early 80’s. The gritty nature of Moby’s and other Block E attractions made it ‘charming’. It’s one of the reasons First Avenue was able to gain a foothold as a seminal and nationally famous music and punk culture venue.

These days, the well connected, with impeccable credentials in the Twin Cities’ public-private partnership world, continue to sell ‘more of the same’; Taxes, regulation, and fees that make seeing a show or going to a baseball, football, or basketball game and having dinner after, impossibly expensive for most of the disappearing middle class.

Investment For What?

Want to start a business downtown? Want to buy a condo downtown? Better be juiced into the money or have a lot of money. No wonder people are concerned about the nitty gritty nature of Hennepin Avenue. Walking down this street you’re mixing with the great unwashed. Unruly, scantily clad, vulgar, of different races and often from the poor side of the cities. And it’s really, really fun.

What Does The 21st Century Look Like?

We need to start asking questions about the nature of the city in the mid twenty first century. Retail is dying. Corporations don’t need tons of office space anymore. No one wants to pay more and more tax. No one wants to have to pay 22 dollars for a hamburger to fund the sports cathedrals for billionaire team owners that live around Lake of Isles or out in Minnetonka.

Is the solution really more cops downtown. Another Light Rail line? Subsidized office space? Another redevelopment of Nicollet Mall? More incremental taxes added to the bills at the Smack Shack? Who lives down here? Not the servers. Nor the kids hanging out at the LRT station.

Spend Daddy’s Money Downtown

Downtown Minneapolis is a place for trust fund babies, lawyers and corporates relocating. People who are used to having things their way. No wonder they think it’s unsafe. Sadly, they’re making everyone else pay for their own personal Epcot Center. It’s a con.

Present Becomes Past?

No matter how much they spend when you walk this street, you’re walking where the bums in the Gateway used to spend the winter drinking. The past echoes up and down Hennepin, even if the buildings are long torn down. That’s never going to change.

We Pay For Power In The Shadows

When you think about how much of the taxpayer’s hard earned dollars they’ve spent, one wonders when the Downtown Council and the real shadow power in Minneapolis will be held accountable.

Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing of Saint Paul

Friday Night On Mean Street Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis-Podcast 648



Looking back at history through ancient cities such as Sumer in Iraq.
Lower Egypt in Egypt, Maccu Picchu in Peru. Rome in Italy. We humans are hardwired to build the tallest buildings with whatever materials and knowledge we have at the time. I know even though I can’t afford to live in Minneapolis or Saint Paul. I feel more relaxed when I’m in an urban city vs the suburbs and rural areas.

Bob Davis

First, I don’t believe we’re ‘hard wired’ to build tall buildings. Slaves built the pyramids. You’re certainly welcome to volunteer your resources to be a slave for overspending in downtown on development and ‘urban renewal’ if it makes you feel good. Just think how much better you’ll feel if you pay my share as well. Because I don’t particularly want to be a slave. Second, you posted a comment on a recent podcast about overspending at local, state and the federal government wondering how we’re all going to pay for it. Yet here you are saying you feel better when you’re in an urban center. Do you live downtown? Probably not. Why not? You can’t afford it. I’m mystified at the reasoning process that gets you from ‘how are we going to pay for it’ to, ‘I feel better in an urban atmosphere’.


Hi Bob – another interesting podcast. I’m up in Wright County and the County Board is starting to talk about upping the taxes, solar gardens, and subsidized apartments to “grow” our towns. Why do our town have to grow, anyway?
In the St. Michael school district, a “small request” for a $1M hockey rink turned into a– wait for it– $35M capital referendum in which everybody’s special interest was thrown in to make it pass. Unfortunately it did barely pass but with a lot of hard feelings because the YES campaign was the typical threats to stop busing kids and cutting programs, not to mention some shady numbers to minimize the cost to households. And by the way the hockey rink became a $11M chunk of pork built into that $35M bill…

And one more petty thing: your outro music is always very cool – do you mind posting the song titles? You’re finding some great tunes.


Interview number one: Ummm I feel like our confluence of culture is making us safe…did you hear any rumors of us being unsafe in the city pages??? I have been surprised by the heavy police presence (a sign of unsafe environment).

Number 2: BRRRRRLLLLAPP (violent gun sounds) “I feel like there so much money here no body needs something” aka niggas aint need to rob, steal, and kill.

Number 3: Its sketchy but I haven’t been affected because of my white privilege (denial).

I love it.

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