Skip to main content

Worker-owner at Agaric web development collective, co-author of the Definitive Guide to Drupal 7, and person who gives a damn about justice, liberty, and gaining the most power possible for all people over our own lives.

benjamin melançon

Minneapolis is too dependent on fees and fines, with the result that people with the least money bear a disproportionately high share of city costs. I suspect that unfair enforcement makes fines even more of a burden on the poor. (Fines, in general, are meant to be a deterrent and so should be proportional to income or wealth.)

The worst, as far as unfairness built right into the structure, is the "base fee" included in services. This fee should be paid through property taxes, which are proportional with local property wealth at least. To make matters worse, the base fee for trash (solid waste services) for instance includes all sorts of unrelated things that are blatantly unrelated services that should be paid for through general revenue:

* Graffiti response coordination
* Dirty collection point cleanups
* Illegal dumping cleanups
* Neighborhood CleanSweeps
* Litter container collection, maintenance, placement, and removal
* Requests for litter clean-up supplies
* Coordination of Adopt-a-Block, Adopt-a-Litter Container, Adopt-a-Recycling Container, Adopt-a-Street, Adopt-a Highway, Adopt-an-Ash Receptacle, and other community involvement programs.
* Customer service staff, fielding 1500-2000 calls per week for information, and complaints.
* Coordination of special events such as Hennepin County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collections, University move-out enforcement (Marcy Holmes, Southeast Como, Prospect Park), etc.
* Education program with direct mail pieces, maintenance of website, involvement with neighborhood and community meetings, and presentations to schools and civic organizations, etc.

Then there's the things built into the base fee that will mostly be used by wealthier people, like six vouchers per year for disposal of 2,000 pounds of excess garbage or debris, and two vouchers per year for disposal of 8 tires each time.

And finally, to add insult to injury, the cost of enforcement, which is really intrusive and yes i have personal complaints, is included in the base fee.

All detailed at

benjamin melançon

Looking for organized community organizer for helping reshape the environment in which organizing takes place

benjamin melançon

Recycling cooking oil in Minneapolis

2 min read

There does not seem to be any current, readily available, way to dispose of home cooking oil in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Minneapolis has a handful of companies such as GreaseHauler that will go to restaurants and pay them for their oil and grease, but there are no cooking oil collection points for residential sources of cooking oil that would let non-commercial kitchens get in on free removal of vegetable oils, let alone get paid for it. The official recommendation from Hennepin County is to put it in the trash.

Minnesota even has a requirement that diesel fuel include biodiesel, but i guess most of this is coming directly from crops grown for this purpose.

Regardless, residential cooking oil recycling is commonly available and aught to be something we can get in the Twin Cities.

My present case is a long-term, now-departed houseguest's oil which has gone very stale if not rancid; so completely clean but not recommended for human consumption. But i would also like to occasionally deep-fry something, felafel or fries or tempura vegetables, and know i'd have somewhere to bring the oil after a couple uses.

Anyone else interested in this, particularly in the Near North neighborhood? Perhaps Breaking Bread / Kindred Kitchen could serve as collection points, or maybe Wirth Cooperative Grocery would be better suited for aggregating and vetting oil for recycling, and then further donating to a local restaurant, which presumably would be paid for it.

In the meantime, WikiHow has a perhaps an overly comprehensive list of options.