Don Samuels

Recent Articles

North Mpls rental property owners refute slumlord label

Property owners place responsibility for code violations on problem renters
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

City landlords Keith Malmer and Mahmood Khan both do not see themselves as “slum landlords” simply because the majority of their properties are located on Minneapolis’ North Side. They insist they are making the best effort they can to select good tenants and maintain the properties. “I like to think I’m being pro-active with the houses I own and manage,” said Malmer, who began acquiring foreclosed and auctioned properties in the early 2000s. “Given my limited financial resources, I’m spending every dollar I got to make sure my properties are kept up the best I can. It’s a real strategy to make sure that you are taking care of the basics, and hopefully make things as nice as possible at the same time.”

“I am buying older properties, fixing them up, making them look good for the neighborhood,” said Khan. Continue Reading →

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Small group of slumlords have big effect on city

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to City of Minneapolis housing officials, there are at least 200 “problematic properties” among the estimated 85,000 units and 23,000 buildings that are annually inspected. A house fire last month in North Minneapolis that killed five children shed a tragic light on an issue that has persisted for many years. “The City of Minneapolis does not tolerate landlords who violate rental licensing standards,” states the city’s housing inspections website. “Maintaining a rental license…is a privilege.” Most rental properties are inspected once every eight years to ensure these standards are maintained. “We only have so many inspectors,” admitted Minneapolis Deputy Housing Inspections Director JoAnn Velde. Continue Reading →

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Violence grips downtown

One dead, three wounded in night of terror
 
When shots rang out around 11:53 pm, Saturday night, November 2, 2013, at the Epic nightclub in downtown Minneapolis (or 1 am; reports vary as this is written just two days after the shooting) the crowd of over 2,500 partygoers disbursed in panic. The concert featured Yo Gotti, a prominent and legendary rapper. Because of violence associated with his concertgoers, the Minneapolis Police Department prepared for violence outside Epic with pepper spray and riot equipment, but not inside, as there were 40 well-trained security personnel inside along with six off-duty Minneapolis police officers. The assassin was able to approach the VIP section, gun down and kill 27-year-old Tyrone Washington with precision and dispatch, and then leave, unnoticed and unapprehended. Clearly this was not a shooting of random victims (as at schools, theaters and workplaces). Continue Reading →

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North Minneapolis mayoral forum disappoints community members

 

 

By Helen Duritsa

Contributing Writer

 

When DeVon Nolen asked her question on food justice at the October 8 mayoral candidate forum at Folwell Park, she expected them to answer. But the 10 candidates recited stock phrases from their print literature. She was disappointed and frustrated with them all. “I asked a multi-layered, multi-textured question,” said Nolen, a community activist and lifelong resident of the North Side. “I asked about food justice. Continue Reading →

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Mayoral forum focused on Mpls communities of color — Candidates acknowledged inequities but lacked solutions

 

 

By Jamal Denman

Online Editor

 

On Thursday, June 6, the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis hosted the One MPLS Mayoral Forum, giving candidate hopefuls the opportunity to address the questions and concerns of members of Minneapolis’ communities of color. Questions were collected from the audience before the start of the forum, and the candidates were randomly selected to answer each question. While it is assumed that the participants in the forum were made aware of the forum’s overriding theme, because of the candidates’ constant inability or unwillingness to directly answer questions posed to them it would not be hard to believe otherwise. The auditorium in the Sabathani Community Center was packed with a diverse crowd of community activists, politically active young people, and concerned citizens eager to hear what the people vying to become the next mayor of Minneapolis had to say. Mayoral candidates Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Betsy Hodges, Tony Lane, Doug Mann, Don Samuels, Gary Schiff, and Jim Thomas faced the 500-plus people in attendance and their questions that centered on addressing issues facing communities of color. Continue Reading →

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Northside neighborhoods reflect what it means to be diverse

 

 

There are many reasons to live in or move to the Northside. These reasons are based on the many assets of our community and the assets of many of the people who live here. Some move to the Northside because of the great housing deals, and there is no time like the present to take advantage of this. You can get a home in North Minneapolis for a fraction of the average regional cost. Young families are able to buy their first home here without going broke. Continue Reading →

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Northside Achievement Zone envisions a ‘tipping-point’ of success

 

By Vickie Evans-Nash

Contributing Writer

 

Over the next five years, just over 1,000 families in an 18-by-13-block area of North Minneapolis will be participating in a $28 million social experiment. What is at stake is much more than money; what is at stake is the future of these families’ 3,000 children, and perhaps, insofar as it could become a model for other such efforts, the futures of countless more families and children. It started with Michelle Martin and Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels founding the Peace Foundation in 2003. Martin served as the organization’s original executive director. The Peace Foundation’s mission was to combat violence in North Minneapolis by first determining what was causing higher crime rates. Continue Reading →

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City Foreclosure Wrests Prime Northside Land From Black Developer

Is ‘Heritage Park fatigue’ causing City leaders to neglect the historic project? Or is a land grab underway?  

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Minneapolis City Council recently voted to begin foreclosure proceedings against properties in North Minneapolis’ Heritage Park, once billed as the most ambitious housing start-up in city history. A Black developer formerly praised by City officials for his investment in the project now worries that his losses may become someone else’s gain and the Black community will be the poorer for it. Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Senior Project Coordinator Matt Goldstein said that the City’s action, which took place December 16, involves two loans totaling an estimated $2 million owed by Heritage Housing, LLC. “The foreclosure is only [about] those two loans,” he noted. Continue Reading →

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Contract for Student Achievement can transform our public schools

 

 

Today the Black community has an opportunity to take real leadership in ending our cities’ persistent educational crisis. We have an opportunity to change the game by impacting the negotiations that are currently happening between the Minneapolis Public School District and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT). We can do this by individually and collectively raising our voices in support of the Contract for Student Achievement (CSA). CSA is a manifesto created by active parents, citizens and stakeholders. It calls on the district administration and MFT to “negotiate a different kind of contract — one that recognizes the academic crisis in our schools and makes student achievement the top focus.”

As stated in the CSA, “The teachers’ contract currently being negotiated represents almost $240 million in annual wages and benefits and directly controls who is teaching our children in the classroom. Continue Reading →

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