Revive MPRAC?

It’s been about two months now since we’ve been on Channel 6 and three since our last meeting as a group. Some former members have been asking whether we should try to revive the group once known as Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee.

Now would seem to be the time if we do it at all. The property-rights cause has gained considerable momentum in the past two weeks as a result of protesting the proposed demolition of a house in St. Paul. It’s located at 14 E. Jessamine Street. Monday a court in St. Paul should announce its decision whether or not to allow the City of St. Paul to demolish the house.

We caused a real stink about the city’s plans when we staged a protest demonstration in front of 14 E. Jessamine on February 14, Valentine’s Day. We had about twenty-five participants including six from MPRAC. Television crews from Channel 5 and 9 covered the event as did MPR. The Pioneer Press had a story about the doomed house on the morning of the 14th.

This topic dominated the St. Paul e-democracy forum for several days. More than 200 related messages were posted over a ten day period. If you’re interested, you can read my report on events related to this house at http://www.goldparty.org/osterman.html.

The Watchdog newspaper has continued to hammer on corruption within the St. Paul housing inspections department. It posted interesting items on its web site, http://www.watchdog-news.com, such as photographs of a St. Paul housing inspector standing next to the open door of the garage behind 14 E. Jessamine from which building materials had illegally been removed. St. Paul city employees were also caught breaking into the house itself through a back window. The Watchdog printed an affidavit from its former owner, Nancy Osterman, to the effect that a St. Paul housing inspector had threatened to have her home demolished if she did not sell it to an associate for $40,000.

Anyhow, the Watchdog publisher, Jim Swartwood, and I, and several others, think that there is a need for a continuing organization such as the old Property Rights group which would fight corrupt city governments wherever they rear their ugly head. We think that such a group might encompass property owners both in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It would, of course, have the full support of the Watchdog newspaper. Additionally, we might try to revive the monthly videotaped meeting which would be shown on cable-television. While our financial resources might not match what MPRAC had, we could do something in this area, perhaps.

How do you feel about this? I am making this initial inquiry to try to determine whether there is sufficient interest to go forward. Please let me know if you think the group should be revived. If so, what suggestions might you have for a new group? Any comments will be appreciated.


(Note: This email sent to former MPRAC members in late February 2006)


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