A Veteran Minneapolis Landlord Offers Historical Perspective

by Mel Gregerson

I hope that our city leaders tune in to what is being said here. Minneapolis is a great place, with beautiful lakes, parks and homes.

Minneapolis is a city of enough size that commerce and opportunity to better oneself should be plentiful. At one time in the early 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & even in the 80’s this opportunity existed.

In the early 50’s my father took me to Minneapolis Within 5 minutes of being in the city I made my first profit. Some guy in the Greyhound bus depot needed a dime for the pay toilet. I agreed to give up my dime for his quarter. Wow what a place!

However, since then, our praising and making suggestions to our city leaders have failed badly. How do we get them back to using common sense?

After graduation from high school in 1956, I moved to Minneapolis and rented a small room with a hot plate and a refrigerator. Wouldn’t this drive our Inspection Dept. nuts? …This opportunity does not exist today.

When I came here in 1956, Minneapolis had a part time city council. Council members took calls at their homes…. Streets were plowed cleaner & closer to the curb than they are now … and they did this without one-sided parking.

In 1956, Minneapolis had no murders, now its has a murder a week..... Residents left their windows and doors open.

Young Mormon church-men used to walk in pairs …. Last summer I noticed they were traveling in three’s…. and riding their bikes at top speed though the Phillips/Whittier neighborhoods.

In 1956 Minneapolis had approximately 550,000 people/and now it has only 360,000 people. Less people and more government & more crime - What gives?

Why do we need any more housing regulation? Let’s get back to what worked: More choices, less government interference into our lives and business. Give us safe streets and good schools and people will want to move back.

Rental Property owners are disinvesting in the city …These were property owners who, in order to survive, went the extra mile for their residents and even became their residents’ social worker/physicist/clergy/marriage counselor /banker.

Property owners are good businessmen; they have to be. Many of these property owners I’m sure, could run this city on the waste alone.

Many people like me would rather live in one room with a hotplate and a refrigerator and be free. A person’s freedom is more precious than money. Having the freedom to live and invest ones earnings as we see fit is a God given right. This is what I had the opportunity to do in 1956.

I and everyone else, including the city, is better off today because in 1956 Minneapolis had safe streets and free choice of low cost housing. It allowed me and hundreds of others like me, to find affordable housing without accepting the enabling & controlling government handouts. Thank God, they did not exist or I would be a bum today.

Some of us even become property owners and were paying over $1000.00 per day in property tax. See how private enterprise did and can work … Did they say thank you for our taxes? No, they blamed us for the crime on the street. Some neighborhoods were even used as jail substitutes. Property owners were conscripted into doing unpaid police work without backup or being deputized, or even armed.

Did Minneapolis built a jail to house the criminals from the streets so that we could get back to doing landlord work? No, they said we must continue to do the work of the police & continue to babysit the unlicensed Street Pharmacists & the Horizontal Performance artists. If we fail, they would revoke our rental license.

Property owners are forced to pay thousands every few years for their cities to perform rental unit inspections. Cities should at least bear the costs of enforcing their overprotective ever-changing codes and ordinances.

Did they raise our taxes to build more jails? No, instead they built stadiums and subsidized & overbuilt new housing to unfairly compete against us.

Does a city that tears down every thing that poor people can afford to live in help the poor and needy? Or does it help politically connected developers?



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