The Archives of Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee

MPRAC Issues & Activities

Rental property is the focus of an intense political struggle in some U.S. cities. Most people would think that “landlord politics” concerns the relationship between landlords and tenants. Increasingly, it concerns the relationship between property owners and predatory city government. Local elected officials have used landlords as scapegoats for crime, blaming buildings for criminal activity so that the ineffective performance of city police goes unnoticed. Another political sport is to take properties without paying for them: First vilify the property owner and then call in inspections to impose ruinous work orders. No one likes “slumlords”. If a derogatory label can be attached to the property owner, the public will tolerate almost any kind of abuse directed against this unappealing figure.

Some landlords, notably in Minneapolis, have fought back against the hostile political forces. This web site is an archives of written materials about their ideas and activities. The landlord group is called Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee.
MPRAC’s type of organization:
1. Not a trade association but a good government group
2. Doesn’t have resources for lawsuits or lobbying at state capitol
3. Achieves objectives through publicity and election campaigns
4. Not a “good landlord” group - we make no judgments about our members
5. Show was “a cross between a public affairs show & the Jerry Springer show.

What are our issues:
1. Abuse of the inspections process - city punishes buildings for crime, excessive code violations or condemnations to drive property owners out of business & take their properties without paying for it, the human misery of condemning properties & making people homeless.
2. Abuse of police functions - the “problem property” concept which shifts the blame for crime to landlords, police fail to control crime, police organize block clubs to identify problem properties, unlawful coordination between police and inspections.
3. City policies that put us at a disadvantage - wasteful city spending that drives up property taxes, unfair subsidies to nonprofits and favored developers in competition with us, city meddling with the housing supply
4. A hostile political environment for landlords - an unholy alliance between city officials, nonprofits, neighborhood associations and block clubs, and ignorant media.

What is our function:
Started with a lawsuit but it was thrown out of court. Introduced legislation but it did not get past the committee. More successful were these:
1. A media operation - regular monthly meetings which were videotaped and shown on cable television, a free-circulation newspaper, a web site.
2. Public protest activities - have picketed public officials, spoken up at public meetings, sought coverage in the commercial media.
3. Monthly meetings so we get to know each other individually and develop sense of camraderie.
4. Supported candidates for election to city offices.

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Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee has become a small media-content provider with the potential of arousing a political opposition to DFL control in the city of Minneapolis. As such, we need to broaden our base of support from inner-city landlords to other groups which share our goals. These groups, in turn, need to support us financially and otherwise to sustain our media operations.The media operations are:

1) a cable television show which has viewer recognition within the metro area: MPRAC maintains an hour-long show on regional Channel 6 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Friday each week and irregularly on other channels. It costs us $6,000 annually to keep this time slot. In addition, we pay the cameraman/producer varying amounts for his work, supplies, and other expenses. We have recently spent $2,500 on video equipment.

2) a related free-circulation newspaper: then called "The Property Owner", now "The Watchdog", distribution every other month in a circulation of 10,000.

3) Websites and other internal communications:,,,, plus monthly postcards or email messages to notify members of meetings, and a telephone hotline.

4) a 100-watt radio station shared with other groups (not realized): MPRAC was one of twelve organizations which applied for a license with the FCC to share a frequency for a 100-watt radio station to be located near downtown Minneapolis. However, Congress passed a law effectively preventing this in our area.

5) whatever publicity we can generate by interesting big media in our events

We also have monthly meetings that allow people to become personally acquainted.

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We invite all (not just landlords) who share the following ideals to join us in seeking to make them a reality:

What we are against
1. We oppose one-party politics in Minneapolis and the abuses that come with prolonged absolute power.

2. We oppose what amounts to confiscation of private property through overly aggressive or politically directed city or state regulation.

3. We oppose the use of attorneys on the city payroll or under contract to defend unlawful city actions and win court victories by grinding opponents down on appeals.

4. We oppose the use of city police to serve political or private (property acquisition) agendas.

5. We oppose toleration of high levels of street crime in certain neighborhoods and may want to rethink the war on drugs.

6. We oppose the use of funds from foundations, corporations, or government units (often in the guise of charity) to favor the nonprofit (especially housing) sector over the private sector or to favor some political causes or some parties to lawsuits over others; and generally oppose the intrusion of “big money” into local politics.

7. We oppose mediocre or limp journalism, soft on corruption in public life, quick to stereotype persons or groups often along politically correct lines.

8. We are against the needless destruction of housing units in a time of severe housing shortage.

9. While we oppose the “bad landlords” who neglect property maintenance or charge too much in rent, we believe that the best policy to address this situation is to increase housing supply relative to demand so that tenants in unfavorable situations have realistic alternatives. This means creating a favorable climate for investment in rental housing and restraint in demolishing units.

What we are for
1. We are for the type of city government which most citizens think it is or, at least, should be:

(a) a police department which effectively fights crime (but cuts back on publicity or political work),

(b) an Inspections department which limits itself to honest and impartial maintenance of minimum housing or health standards,

(c) a development agency which maximizes public resources to promote economic growth, and

(d) elected officials who exhibit good will toward all law-abiding persons or groups, who are thrifty with the public purse, and who accept their decisionmaking role within a representative democracy instead of delegating decisions to neighborhood, police, or other groups.

2. We are for full public disclosure of facts pertinent to city government including parties which benefit from major public expenditures or persons who complain to Inspections. (Minneapolis should not emulate East Germany’s system of government through cadres of anonymous informers.)

3. We are for government which does as much as, but not more than, is necessary to ensure the continued freedom, prosperity, safety, and well being of all its residents.

We are for: small businesses and property owners, small media

We are against: big money and big media

We are for: freedom, justice, prosperity, free speech, and landlords’ right to operate in a normally friendly political environment.

We are against:

1) the use of city police for political purposes
2) identity politics, political correctness, and related double standards
3) media agendas, slanted news, exclusion of legitimate political debate
4) control of politics by big money, corporate or otherwise
5) attempts to silence free speech or to marginalize people with disfavored views
6) governmental secrecy
7) the non-profit/ foundation mentality - furthering political and personal agendas with someone else’s money
8) corporate welfare
9) subversion of constitutional guarantees of private property
10) the drug war as it is being conducted
11) undue use of the courts to pursue political agendas
12) unpunished crime, slow police response times