By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
If it were up to Michael Langley, the Twin Cities bumper sticker would simply be "Business and people prosper here."
"We tend to be somewhat reticent to brag about the strengths of our region," he says. "That's a cultural thing. We need to get over that and be more willing to tell our story very aggressively to a broader national and global audience."
But what to do about winter? We shouldn't be shy about promoting our coldest season, says Rybak. "What we need to do is take lots of pictures of a spectacular night on the City of Lakes Loppet, when there are thousands of people on Lake of the Isles, with two-story ice globes, dog sled races, and cross country skiing, and say, 'You can't do this anywhere else in the world, and in the summer you can be swimming in the same lakes.'"
And once people come, they tend to stay, says Dane Smith, the director of the social advocacy group Growth and Justice in St. Paul. "I don't know how many times I've heard stories about how when you're trying to lure executives to the Twin Cities, they resist at first, because they really don't know what the place is like, and then they come here and it's impossible for the corporations to get them to move elsewhere."
The theory you hear from politicians and business honchos is as simple as it is optimistic. Our population is quickly becoming more diverse, and we should see that as a strength, because the fresh perspectives and talents of people from different backgrounds will help us thrive in the global economy.
Reality is more complicated, says north Minneapolis writer and educator Chaun Webster, who is set to open Ancestry Books, an independent bookstore that will highlight authors of color.
"This is the best place if you're a white male. But the gaps are increasingly large. We see some of the largest gaps in the nation between communities of color and their white counterparts, whether it be work opportunities, income ratio, or education."
For all our growing diversity, we're still a place where white people greatly outnumber minorities. And even though outright racism isn't the norm, many people of color note that they often feel out of place and overlooked.
"Some people might call that benign neglect, but I don't think neglect is ever benign," says Dane Smith. "This feeling that they're left out, consigned to a separate fate and really not part of the community is overwhelmingly real."
Webster aims to help fill the gap with his bookstore. "We need more spaces that are outside of the home and outside of work that facilitate opportunities for educational advancement," he says.
Politics has a role to play, says Webster, but he doesn't expect salvation from elected officials. "I don't think our answer is with our politicians. Our answers have never been with our politicians. It's happening on the grass-roots level, where people are beginning to do work. I'm starting a bookstore. Somebody else might start a garden in some of the empty lots that exist in north Minneapolis. Another person might set up spaces at their homes where children can be safe after school, and read, tell stories, and have healthy foods."
The majority culture needs to do some tough introspection, says Smith. "We might actually have to surrender some short-term advantage that we enjoy, in the form of taxes and maybe our kids not getting the job that we think they ought to get, because some kid of color is equally qualified."
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Department of Education released figures that show we are well on our way toward the goal of cutting the racial achievement gap in half by 2017. But we've got a long way to go. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Minnesota's gap between minority students and their white counterparts in math and reading hovers around 30 percent. That disparity is one of the largest in the nation.
R.T. Rybak's Generation Next is just one of the groups that is trying to fill the gaping chasm between affluent white students and others.
"We have a phenomenal opportunity in taking the most diverse population we've ever had, and turning the achievement gap into a highly successful global workforce that can help us soar around the world," says Rybak.
But on a human level, it's a long way from the world stage to the classroom, says Toki Wright. "My child was in private school all the way up until last year. She's 13 now, and it's the first time that she's ever told me that she didn't want to go back to school."
Many kids of color face a tough set of hurdles, says Wright. They often end up in overcrowded classrooms, with rookie teachers who have no idea how to deal with their problems.
Chaun Webster refuses to see the problem as an achievement gap. He prefers to call it an "opportunity gap."
"'Achievement gap,' in terms of language, places the onus of responsibility on the student," he says. "We need to think about education as a human right. Education isn't something that some folks should get at a better rate and a higher quality, while others just have to deal with the scraps."
BETTER FOR WHO?? DEVELOPERS AND YUPPIES? WHO WANTS MORE TECH? WHAT SO WE CAN HAVE EVEN MORE RICH FUCKERS DRIVING AROUND TOWN IN THEIR FANCY CARS WITH THEIR ME FIRST ATTITUDES? This is such a clusterfuck of an article. The main point of it and of many of the new kids in the city council though is DEVELOPMENT. Did construction companies pay for this article? Its a developers wet dream. Our city is already a great place! We need better transit for sure, but that's because its being done wrong. Everybody agrees we need better transit. But the same morons pushing more condos are pushing light rail on the street level. I do like how the cover picture shows elevated trains, but unfortunately that is not happening here. And they are pushing for more tech jobs. As if trickle down hadn't been disproven already... a bunch of rich brats with tech jobs doesn't make our city a better place. Unless you think plundering our city is a good thing. And until we do have a full network of trains and buses that actually come regularly during drinking hours and all the rest of the time we need our streets, so don't even talk about shutting down roads until that happens. How can you talk about reducing traffic and about making roads smaller at the same time? when you don't have the light rail in place yet?? And take a good luck of what befell Uptown and you will see what more tech workers and the condos being built for them will do to our once cool city. They fucking demolished uptown and built a bunch of ugly high priced condos and luxury apartments. They tore down the Uptown bar and put in an Apple Store. Uptown is ruined and this article is the leading charge to do the same thing to the rest of the city. Fuck that! You fucking yuppies and douche bag rich kids suck! You are ruining what used to be a good city. A city that was affordable and working class is now being sold off to developers by technocrats. How about affordable housing? Why wasn't that mentioned? Why wasn't it mentioned that RT Ryback and City Council ignored affordable housing in favor of kickbacks from construction companies who built condos? Affordability has been a problem for years, and its getting worse, and now you call for making it even worse. Not to mention our city is great because of parks etc. and those parks are already overused, so do we really need even more people so that you can't find a space on a beach or at a park?
@carnivalminds Technicality for a technicrat... you misspelled a couple things and put a comma instead of a period before "Often times..." so not sure where you get off telling me about grammar etc. More importantly I mentioned actual important issues in my *COMMENT* which is not supposed to be an article since I don't work at City Pages they would not post an article even if I wrote one. All points were cogent, so please desist from distracting.
@phux There is this thing called a paragragh. You state your premis and then support it with 3-4 sentences, Often times you have a break. Like a carrige return. It still don't make up for the I think I'm New York pages quoting a rapper about something a civil engineer should handle.
@carnivalminds technicality for a technocrat? this is a comment online my friend. they don't let you write a proper article on here unless you are on staff, so we just lob out ideas. don't waste our time with technicalities. and by the way my comment lays out valid points. Oh and you have a comma where a period should be just before "Often times..." haha; and you misspelled carriage.
@phux Fair is fair.
Can you solve the puzzle? Why did this puplication spend 2 paragraphs on a rappers resume and his "noted comment was 1 paragraph?
"I'm not going to take that job in the suburbs." Why did you produce a child? What kind of an example are you?
@phux Wow, you sound so scared of things that are well beyond your control: progress and change. Are you sure you can handle life? It's a city -- cities have to adapt to the times, otherwise they become places like Detroit. Sorry that tech workers are ruining what "once was a great city." From what I hear, downtown wasn't all that great 10, 20 years ago, and the North Loop was where you went to get yourself murdered. So yeah, maybe you should just stick to the suburbs instead of worrying about those of us who actually appreciate where the city is headed.
@DaveTheDopeFiend really dude, you are from the suburbs so you should stick them bro. I am from MPLS and was born here buddy. And the "improvements" to uptown are not improvements ya douche. Not to mention I talked about improving transit etc., I am a proponent of transit and very into progress, but rich dicks stealing your city out from under you isn't progress. Its theft.
@carnivalminds lern2rite, moron
@phux You said it!
Screw diversity Diversity =weakness Unity = strength One way to help traffic? Quit having Somalis relocate here
Here's a dose of reality from these same Citypages: "Rents are increasing despite a less-than-booming job market, the repot indicates, citing Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development stats showing only 900 new jobs were created in the Twin Cities during the first quarter of the year. "
The Twin Cities has always had a good job market for well-connected local yokels. For well-educated outsiders, its opportunities are little better than "loser cities" than Detroit and St. Louis.
This article includes the usual clueless garbage. Great place for white males? Great place for white males over 6'2" who are from the area. If you're not one of those white males you will be shit on by the local "feminist" females and anyone else who can get away with it. I used to think this was a great place for liberalism. Then I learned from experience it is the male-bashing, bigoted form of "liberalism". Yuck. No wonder people from the real cities don't take MSP seriously. It is every bit as discriminatory as the Jim Crow south, just with different targets of abuse, different selected "winner and loser" groups.
Yup, Sinclair Lewis had that whole midwestern inferiority complex thing pegged around 100 years ago. Still relevant as hell today.
"Why are you plugging a rapper and his resume in regards to transit issues? Why not quote a transportation planner that "plans traffic" professionally?"
- noted Minneapolis resident, me.
I'd like to see a very limited and controlled amount of development allowed right on the river / one of the lakes. A small riverfront plaza area with bars/restaurants right on the water would likely be hugely popular. Maybe even a pier on the river modeled after ocean piers that have shops, etc. I know I really wish there were spots where I could hang out and drink a beer next to the water.
@cholm1976 No development along the Mississippi here in TCs. Just conversion of rat filled old flour mills to apartment houses for rick yuppies. Just came back from Davenport, Iowa on a riverboat cruise. Fabulous views. There's a little town right on the river bank! We have nothing like that here. Mipples is still a hick town. Hennepin Avenue is a DISGRACE. Supposed to be the theater district and gateway to the Mississippi. It is full of empty store fronts and fag bars. And the Mall is appalling. Black boys with their low butt pants hitting on white women. NOPLACE TO PARK IN THE STREET!
As for me, I'm self-employed and very busy working out of my own home near downtown. Only place I go is the Uptown McDs to look at the weirdos for entertainment. And I can park for free at McDs and Lunds.
@loserdroid Put up some sticks and burn it.
This is what I don't like about the twin cities... We're insecure. Why do we have to compete or try to make ourselves appear nicer to outsiders? I get and respect the need to improve and grow, but it seems like we are sooooo desperate to be liked.
Not so much desperate to be liked as desperate to be admired, praised, viewed as superior. As far as being liked....nothing to worry about there....nobody is going to like the people in the Twin Cities any time soon.....self-obsessed, arrogant homers just don't warrant much respect anywhere and here is no exception. When Minnesotans start having a healthier attitude toward the outside world the outside world will start to take Minnesotans seriously.
ummm... hello? the state just gave rochester...i mean MAYOCHESTER, about $500 million to become a Destination Medical Center (DMC)..... the twin cities are over... just a north suburb of MAYOCHESTER now...
Everything in this yuppie-ism obsessed state has revolved around the suburbs and corporations since about 1960. The Twin Cities exist as a ploy to lure conventions to the state with fancy restaurants - the people of the state and its politicians mostly ignore the cities and obsess over the suburbs and Mayochester. For a purportedly "liberal" state there certainly is a love affair with corporations and fascism-style corporatism here that is WAY more than a little bit suspicious to liberals who move from the outside.
Makes you wanna puke!
And all it takes is OPM - other people's money. The socialist's will create a great city - just like the Soviet Union - with their 7 year plans.
@Truth_Teller_1 You know as much about "socialism" and the Soviet Union as I know about how to build a space ship.
@Truth_Teller_1 Move to South Dakota. I'm sure you will love it. We don't want scumbag bigots here anyway. Losers like you contribute nothing. It won't be tough replacing a toilet cleaning loser like you anyway.
@MicheleBachmann Please take your meds. It's easily understandable you have nothing to say - so what's left but to insult people. Truly mental case.
@MicheleBachmann @Truth_Teller_1 Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a great city. They have a half mile outdoor sculptor exhibit on the sidewalks on both sides of Phillips Avenue, which is the equivalent of Mipples horseshit Mall. And you can park your car in regular old time meters on their sculptor Phillips Avenue, the main drag. Free parking after 5 P.M.
Yes indeed, Sioux Falls is a class act. Wells Fargo is based there, not in Mipples because of low taxes and business perks.