St. Paul Artists’ Community Forced to Find New Spaces

2402 University Avenue has housed artists’ studios for 20 years, the artists renting there forming a tight creative community. During the financial crisis, the building faced foreclosure, only to be snatched up by a buyer lured in by proximity to the Central Corridor Light Rail line. Now the building will be turned into high-end retail and condo spaces, too cost-prohibitive for these artists to stay. The artists will be hosting one final group show and art sale before they all pack up and go their separate ways.

Lawsuit Brought Against City of Minneapolis for Inflated Housing Values

After the housing bubble burst, many foreclosed properties in Minneapolis sold for bargain basement prices, yet the city is being accused of assessing them at much higher values so as not to lose revenue from property taxes. Of course, the most highly targeted neighborhoods are Near North and Philips. A group of these homeowners, some of them paying taxes based on assessments over 300% higher than their purchase price, are banding together in a lawsuit against the City which may reach class-action status.

On a personal note, while my house isn’t in any of the neighborhoods specifically mentioned in this article, I’m in the same boat as these folks. When I bought a foreclosed property in 2009, it was appraised by HUD at $101K. I bought it for $73K. I think my tax value is still something like $162K. I understand that property tax value assessment is a tricky procedure, but my house will probably never be worth $162K again so it would be nice if I didn’t have to pay taxes on value I don’t have.

Vote LOL/OMG in Ultimate Best of the Twin Cities Showdown

Our friends at LOL/OMG are currently in a head-to-head battle with the MN Zoo Concert Series in the first round of Mpls/St. Paul Magazine’s Best of the Twin Cities Showdown. It’s currently the closest race in the whole bracket. Your vote matters! Do it for the internet!

Should Kaler Have Been Labeled a ‘Finalist’?

After much fanfare and little public input, Eric Kaler was just named the 16th ever President of the University of Minnesota.

In an op-ed  today, Art Hughes from the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information (and also the Society of Professional Journalists and laments the lack of transparency and public input into the selection process.  Kaler was essentially selected behind the scenes by the U’s Board of Regents for the very public position and presented as “a” or “the” finalist to the media and general public.  In light of Hughes’s op-ed, and with STrib Higher Ed reporter Jenna Ross noting in her headline of Kaler’s confirmation that he was the “sole finalist”, should Kaler have ever been referred to as a finalist?

New World Order Stencils St. Anthony Main

HongPong snaps a bunch of pics of the street art/graffiti down around St. Anthony Main and the riverside.  It’s a good reminder to not submit to the new world order.