The Lost Neighborhoods

Liberals and the “progressive” politicians to their left love to talk about “equity, diversity, and inclusivity,” but Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey have erased decades of equity for low-income families by allowing violence and rioting to run virtually unchallenged earlier this year. The fallout is resulting in a huge drop in the kind of equity you measure in dollars.

Traditionally, the way that Americans build their wealth is through home equity. Investopedia defines home equity as “the market value of a homeowner’s unencumbered interest in their
real property, that is, the difference between the home’s fair market value and the outstanding balance of all liens on the property.”

The key phrase here is “fair market value,” and the inept response to the riots by Walz and Frey, and the calls to defund the police by the Minneapolis City Council, will disproportionately harm low-income and minority communities by reducing the fair market value properties in these areas. Their actions are erasing years of equity.

Property values will fall in low-income and minority communities because violence has escalated where they live. Notice how virtually all the reports of gunfire are occurring in North Minneapolis and South Minneapolis, between I-35 and Hiawatha. Notice where gunshots aren’t being reported: Kenwood, East Isles, or Lake Harriet. In case you’re unfamiliar, these areas are populated by white, wealthy, liberals.

To the degree that there is systemic racism in Minneapolis, this is it.

Meanwhile, as calls to defund the police have escalated and routine stops have plummeted, residents in North Minneapolis are severely under-protected. Minnesota Public Radio News recently recounted the chilling details of how a drive-by gun battle near Jordan Park threatened the lives of 50 children attending a football practice, some as young as 5 years old.

Coach Marvin Thompson told MPR that about 50 gunshots rang out during a gun battle. But despite the gunshots, there was no police presence. “It was the worst seven minutes of my life so far,” he said.

The residents of North Minneapolis can be forgiven every ounce of outrage they feel about being overlooked by their local government. This isn’t the only instance of this happening, either. A July article in the Star Tribune described how a mother found a bullet in the mattress of her 11-year-old son’s bed, under his Ninja Turtles blanket.

Not surprisingly, she’s trying to find the money to move.

Who wants to live in an area where their kids aren’t safe? Who is going to invest in a community where people live in fear of gunshots and have zero confidence that there will be enough police to protect them? If no one wants to invest in these areas, how can the current residents build any sort of home equity? Home equity is a large percentage of most families’ wealth.

Less prosperous communities will only build home equity, or business equity, when they feel safe and confident that they can build better lives for themselves.

Minority communities need home equity, not empty-slogan equity.