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We, members of Minneapolis Property Owners Action Committee, are exercising our right as American citizens to present grievances to elected officials in a peaceable manner. We feel that we must take our case directly to the public because we cannot count on the media accurately and completely to report the situation which owners of rental property face in Minneapolis today with respect to criminal violence and treatment by city government.

Rental property owners, “landlords”, are stereotyped as irresponsible and uncaring members of the community and are treated as such by city government officials. We have a particular problem with city inspections - health inspections, housing inspections, building inspections, plumbing inspections, take your pick. The Housing Maintenance code is voluminous and excessively detailed, while minimum standards are curiously unspecified. No property owner in the city could possibly comply with all the regulations to the letter. This, in effect, gives city inspectors the power to ruin rental property owners at will. It gives City Council members, police agencies, and other politically well-connected persons, working through Inspections, to ruin us. And, believe us, they are using that power. Just look at all the boarded up buildings in this city.

A particular problem for us is dealing with crime. City ordinances hold us responsible for criminal misconduct taking place on or near our properties. Now, most of us landlords do not like dealing in illegal drugs any more than you do. But we are often powerless to deal with the situation. We try to screen tenants to avoid these problems, but drug dealers have developed sophisticated ways to fool us. We may rent to an innocent-looking young woman and fiend her boyfriend, brother, cousin, acquaintance, or, perhaps, the woman herself dealing drugs out of her apartment in a matter of days. These people may be heavily armed. The situation, bad as it is, is made much worse by the total lack of sympathy and cooperation from city government. If we call the city police, an all too frequent response is for the police to turn the building over to inspections and close it down.

We have other problems with the city - high property taxes, lead-based paint, neighborhood politics - that has made being a landlord in Minneapolis an absolute nightmare. It shows in plummeting prices for rental property. The goods news is that we have started to fight back. A group of Minneapolis landlords, started a year ago, now has over 300 members. We have filed a lawsuit against the city in federal court. We are staging this musical disturbance. You can get more information about our group and landlord issues by calling Charlie Disney at 871-xxxx.

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Song #1 (lyrics by Mike Wisniewski, to the tune of “Volga Boatman” song)


City council, city council,
Fees and taxes show your greed,
People’s needs you will not heed,
Discrimination, discrimination.

Administration, administration,
Sayles Belton, Cherryhomes,
Encourage repossessing homes,
Discrimination, discrimination.

City council, city council,
Takes our buildings, tears them down,
Best legal rip-off game in town,
Discrimination, discrimination.

Discrimination, discrimination,
The city violates your rights,
Makes laws to tax you out of sight,
Discrimination, discrimination.

Inspections department, inspections department,
Landlord victims have to pay,
Bad tenants are immune all day,
Discrimination, discrimination.

City council, city council,
To work with us should be your goal,
Stop your lust for full control,
Discrimination, discrimination.

 

Song #2 (lyrics by Bill McGaughey)

We are LAND-lords,
Joining to-GE-ther.
CROOK-ed in-SPEC-tions
will take PLACE no more ...

No more ci-TA-tions
for te-nant mis-CON-duct.
Take legal AC-tion
that will SHAKE things up.

SAV-ing our CI-ty from
BOAR-ded up BUIL-dings,
BOOT-ting from OF-fice
Ja-ckie CHER-ry-homes.

 

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