The Archives of Minneapolis Property Rights Action Committee

Thanks so much for the kind letter. One thing I certainly agree with is that your guys have added some excitement to local politics. In the absence of any meaningful opposition political party in Minneapolis, you guys have done as much as you can to provide a coherent alternative perspective to the way things are done in City Hall. I have to admit I was slow to appreciate your group. I know it must be frustrating to continuously be seen as a ‘pariah group’, but I believe you guys have had a real impact on the way people talk about housing and crime in this city. It’s subtle, but I honestly think folks are much less quick to throw around the ‘slumlord’ tag these days. I also sense that the public has come to appreciate the social problems landlords confront on a daily basis.

As far as I can tell, all this has been accomplished by sheer persistence and tenacity. I admit Charlie Disney drives me nuts some days, but I have to give him and the rest of you credit for not giving up, sticking around to fight the good fight, and taking a lot of shit from sanctimonious hypocrites who snipe at you as they flee to the safe sanctuary of the suburbs or the city’s pricier neighborhoods.

I appreciate your generous assessment that my reporting on the housing crisis was fair. I’m sure there were days I disappointed you, either by sins of omission or commission. But that’s the nature of the news biz. I’m sorry I couldn’t do the Cable TV gig. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be seen with you guys as much as I just don’t feel comfortable playing the role of a pundit. There’s enough of that in Washington, D.C., where I’m moving. I really think reporters ought to just write what they see and hear and keep their mouths shut.

I hope when I get to D.C. there’s a group like the property owners group to keep me busy and keep me honest. You guys have been a pleasure to work with and, when you’re taking live fire as you were that fateful morning at Lucille’s, a positive thrill to cover.

Good luck and try to keep your heads down once in a while.
There’s a dusty corner at the intersection of 19th St. and Portland Ave. S. in Minneapolis known to local residents, landlords and even the police as an open-air drug market ... (T)hat’s where Charles Disney and a group of landlords decided to set up a card table Friday afternoon and talk about what he called ‘the destruction of the inner city.’ Just before 2 p.m., what sounded like a gunshot rang out in the clear blue sky from the direction of Portland and Franklin Avenues. It was widely assumed to be a sign of the neighborhood’s illegal drug trade, a market that seems to flourish in plain view of the police.”

From Arne Carlson, Governor of Minnesota 1991-1999. (A Republican governor who was troubled by growing street crime in Minneapolis and the city’s reputation as “Murderapolis”, he sent National Guard troops and helicopters into that city in the late summer of 1996 to try to deter crime, taking much criticism for it. But the initiative was successful. His letter was sent to MPRAC about the time that they held the corner-side press conference described above.)