Meg Tuthill leaves snotty voicemail for prospective Mpls business owner [AUDIO]

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Tuthill is worried about Uptowners buying growlers of beer a few hundred feet away from a school.
:: UPDATE :: Meg Tuthill responds to voicemail criticism

SEE ALSO: Restaurants fight City Council move to restrict outdoor dining


Since being elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 2009, Meg Tuthill has taken heat from Minneapolis' non-property owning 20-somethings for being a patio-hating, red tape-creating joykill.

If she hopes to change the way she's perceived in time for next year's council elections, she didn't do herself any favors with the snotty and condescending voicemail she recently left for a prospective businessman who hopes to open a brewpub at the corner of 25th Street and Hennepin Avenue South.

The Southwest Journal provides some context about why the unnamed brewer reached out to Tuthill:
The brewery was asking Tuthill to change a recent [Tuthill authored] ordinance that required liquor stores to be at least 300 feet from a school's front doors. The brewery, according to Tuthill, wants to sell growlers of beer, making it an off-sale establishment within 300 feet of nearby Jefferson Elementary.
A little over three weeks ago, Tuthill responded to the prospective business owner's email and left him a voicemail. The audio was published on the net last week by Minnesota Beer Activists. Here a transcript, followed by the raw audio:
I have an e-mail here that you would like to open a business in the Hennepin and Lake area. First of all, let me just tell you, geographically 25th and Hennepin is not Uptown -- (just) so that you kind of know your neighborhoods.

Secondly, I love the statement that it says 'being the first microbrewery in the area would be a great fit with our target customers and will help revitalize the Uptown area.' Are you kidding? It's revitalized, honey. It does not need to be revitalized. The reason you want to come there is because it is revitalized and it's doing just fine.

However, you are certainly welcome to open your brewpub there, as long as you meet current city ordinances, and no I will not be changing the ordinance for you. I don't work on changing ordinances, and neither do any of my colleagues, for one business.

Have a great day.


Condescending tone aside, Tuthill's statement about councilors not changing ordinances for particular businesses isn't true. As the Journal notes, last spring, councilor Gary Schiff authored an ordinance amendment that allowed breweries to open near churches. Impetus for the change came from Dangerous Man Brewing Company, which wanted to open in Northeast but was prohibited by ordinance from doing so at its preferred location. Schiff's amendment was approved and Dangerous Man is on track to be up and running at 1300 2nd Street NE soon.  

Stifling a prospective job-creator, especially one that wants to contribute to Minneapolis' burgeoning beer culture, and doing so with an eyebrow-raising tone? The only thing that could make that combo less popular with the Uptown-area's hipstery hordes would've been if Tuthill devoted a sentence or two to bashing on tall bikes and Polica.

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54 comments
localvolunteer
localvolunteer

Meg Tuthill is a refreshing improvement over two prior Mpls Ward 10 City Council Mrs. (Some still trying to address at least one obvious mess made of things -- # 12, CPC Agenda August 27, 2012).  I'm a ward resident who'd vote for Meg again. She gets to the point & is frank. Parties to the brew pub proposal, west of Jefferson Middle School (and community ed), got off on the wrong foot, it's regrettable, will need to move on. Site may no longer be available, and there's more suitable locations.  It's a matter of' 'balance' in midst of many different forces in this part of City (some with a lot more resources - money, technology, clout, contacts, time, etc.). Using Internet media to unroll facility siting, brand and product intro, leave a lot to be desired in terms of citizen participation, and suggestions on one blog site to engage in a criminal act is close to being a personal threat. It's difficult enough getting people involved in constructive ways, much less volunteering for appointed or elected office  I've been a renter, and homeowner, with lots of roommates over time. Some make better neighbors than others, relative to enhancing health, welfare, safety, positive quality of life, curb and alley appeal, etc.  Meg's overall record is one of trying to improve:  recycling, restoring older homes to save 'em from the wrecking ball, supporting new housing options along The Greenway (including some restorations/ renovations) when the older factories and warehouses were no longer viable, crime safety & block club work, volunteering with and sometimes founding school, neighborhood, business associations, etc.  She's second to none at the grassroots level over 40 years, and an unabashed supporter of the city, and the best of urban life. Her record as an elected official is part of that total picture.  Taken as a whole, she will be remembered for what she's accomplished in her lifetime, and that's likely true for the rest of us.

green713
green713

Meg certainly has her detractors and I am one of them-

I won't repeat what has already been said and I certainly  think we can do much better regarding representation in this ward but people are going to have to get into the trenches and out of the blogs to make it happen. OK DFL activists and others who have the time/inclination to get involved, start organizing now for someone who can challenge her-

nataliehartwell
nataliehartwell

Meg Tuthill is horrible representative of this neighborhood and an even worse neighbor. I have lived a block away from her for the past 14 years and have witnessed her outrageous behavior first hand, while always claiming she is just trying to be an activist for all. Over the years she consistently roams from house to house backstabbing other neighbors and making up all kinds of rumors about them if she (for instance) doesn't like a garage or addition someone built. She has driven at least three families (ironically the ones right next to hers) off the block, and in fact the house for sale right now on her block is moving solely because her continued harrassment. If you mow your lawn too early in the morning she will call the cops, if your kids are playing in the backyard on a warm summer evening close to 10pm she will call the cops, if you are having a friend over on your front porch for a glass of wine and she feels you are talking too loud she will call the cops. If you decide to have your house painted or do any home improvement she will call every inspector in the city and have them measuring to the centimeter that everything is correct. She will try to round up all the neighbors against you if you have a dog she doesn't like. She has stopped me several times in the street to gossip about this house or that (houses with wonderful families in them) and told me to please call the cops when they are roasting marshmallows in their back yards as this is a fire hazard. This woman is crazy. And now that she has become council woman she has abused her power to run the neighborhood the way SHE wants it, not her constituents (as she loves to claim). Well I know first hand that her NEIGHBORS (the ones like me who KNOW her) cant stand her and want her out of office, and frankly out of our neighborhood.

maxsandersphd
maxsandersphd

I'd like to see Meg Tuthill leave office. I grew up in the house directly next door to Meg. I can honestly say i've never known such a horrible person. Meg was sort of nice to my family, until my mom came out of the closet.  (when i was about 5 years old). Meg began to treat our whole family like we were not even human. Meg wouldn't  say hello to me anymore (a five year old!). My mom wanted nothing more then a peaceful living situation, she tried many times to make peace offerings with Meg, but every time was ridiculed and returned home in tears. Meg did many horrible things to my family, when our family dog was out in the backyard and would let out just a bark, Meg would call the police. The dog was never out for more then 5 minutes. We had a fire pit in the back yard, whenever we would have a family fire in the back yard, meg would call the fire department. This continued until my mom finally sold the house just to get away from Meg Tutuhill. ... This is the kind of person that gets on city council?

 

paigetastic
paigetastic

I see someone's doing the political "two-step" to cover up her not so "professional" behavior....

Emily Summers Leabch
Emily Summers Leabch

There is a difference between telling someone the way it is and just being a condescending b**** about it. I cone from a tell it like it is, I hear the difference all the time.

bikerbda1
bikerbda1

Meg, when it comes to any correspondence from a business in your area you should always respond in a professional manner. You were belittling, sarcastic, and for a Minnesotan just straight up rude. Now compare that with the letter you have posted here and surprise it's respectful, insightful, and filled with encouraging words for the neighborhood. So are you the person in the phone message or are you the person on the public blog? hmmmm

username
username

Having lived in south Minneapolis for over 20 years I can tell you Meg that while you may view the area as revitalized I view it as a homogenized mess. Many people who live in this area avoid Uptown on Friday and Saturday nights when it turns into one big frat/jocko meat market (Cowboy Slims!?!). Where do these people come from? The two bright spots are Magers and Quinn and the Uptown Theatre. Other than that Uptown now looks like a suburban mall in many ways. Damn I miss the Uptown Bar!

Meg_T
Meg_T

Response from Council Member Meg Tuthill:

 

I, like many residents, are tired by yet another business wanting to go around the law or change the law claiming their business will "revitalize" a very vital community.

 

The reason there are very few vacancies in Uptown and the surrounding area is because it is a hot spot. That's why businesses want to locate here.

 

So we are on the same page, the ordinance in question is off sale liquor store spacing from schools. Before this ordinance was adopted spacing requirements for off sale liquor stores were measured from front door to front door. All this ordinance change did was standardize the spacing. As amended, the ordinance now states off sale liquor stores must be spaced 300 feet apart measured from lot line to lot line. As far as I know, there is no variance option for this ordinance.

 

The 300 foot spacing requirement was supported by surrounding community members and the Minneapolis Public Schools.

 

Lot line to lot line is how the City determines spacing for everything else, from building a garage to the development of multi-family dwellings. Case in point – there were two liquor stores in North Minneapolis that moved their front doors multiply times to get around the spacing requirement. They ended up in court. If the ordinance had been lot line to lot line at that time both businesses would have had saved a lot of time, effort and money.

 

I would like to reiterate that I am a big fan of patios and outdoor dining. Like everyone else in the summer, if a restaurant has a patio I am more inclined to patronize that establishment.

 

When I was running for office the number one issue I heard from residents was the noise, obnoxious behavior and livability issues in the neighborhoods surrounding Hennepin and Lake from late at night to early in the morning. I am responding to what my constituents are asking for.

 

In May of 2010, I called together the bar/restaurant owners to discuss the issues that needed to be addressed. The bar/restaurant owners literally blew off the residents and the City.

 

By bringing forward an ordinance it brought everyone back to the table.

 

Then, I put together a task force with the bars/restaurants, licensing, Hospitality Industry, residents, CM Goodman, CM Schiff and the police. The task force came up with several suggestions that are working very well this summer.  Several of the bars/ restaurants are paying for 2 extra squad cars in the neighborhood from Thursday through Saturday nights. This has helped make it safer for the residents who walk home from the restaurants and has also helped cut down on the obnoxious behavior of the folks passing through. The bars/restaurants have participated in a Hush Campaign as well as many other small changes that are having a huge impact on the residents living closest to the business district. My compliments and great appreciation goes to the restaurants/bars for their participation and help with the issues that have affected the surrounding communities.

 

What I am opposed to is not having enough parking, taxi, bus service and bike parking to accommodate the numbers of folks that come into our community. The parking in the neighborhoods with the noise, vandalism, urinating, and vomiting is not acceptable in our community or any other. The City, the residents and the businesses have been diligently working on these issues. Some very positive progress is happening. A prime example is the taxi stands which have been very well received. This is a terrific win for all of the stakeholders.

 

Thanks again for the opportunity to set the record straight - I appreciate it.

Meg

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

Important story. As if we didn't have sufficient Victorian ordinances to handcuff business around here, Meg sees fit to bring us back to the Regency, or worse, into more prohibition. We need this type of curmudgeonly, unhelpful politicking to go the way of the dodo...step aside Meg, you are a sour old vestige.

 

Aaron...you are a journalist now. You are making a record. This isn't facebook. Leave the "...Uptown-area's hipstery hordes would've been if Tuthill devoted a sentence or two to bashing on tall bikes and Polica." crap for your Tmblr page...you're better than unfunny throw-away's at the end of an important story that are at best, ignored; at worst, distracting. Let's up our game!

Erik Hess
Erik Hess

I don't know Meg personally, and I'm all for telling it like it is, but there's no need to be a jerk. Life's short and anger leads to the dark side and all of that stuff. Plus, a classy brewery/taproom doesn't seem to be a threat to kids (from my untrained, non-politician, non-kid-having perspective anyway). Then again, I'd vote for a pro-bike, pro-Poliça ticket any day and I'd see another North Face or Victoria's Secret store to be a far larger threat to chidrens' sanity. :)

zach.pasdoe
zach.pasdoe

If Minneapolis (and St. Paul) city officials want to keep up with peer cities like Seattle, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, etc..., they really can't afford to have people Meg Tuthill in office. 

 

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

I've heard about this woman over the past couple of decades, and met her a couple of times.  I have to say, my impressions of her are remarkably consistent.  She treats people with extreme condescension and outright rudeness whenever she thinks she can get away with it.  Ms. Tuthill has always been a classic "Kiss Up/Kick Down" personality.  I spoke to her twice in connection with her balloon/decor company.  Both times I was working on behalf of a large and potentially lucrative corporate client.  One time I told her, and the other time I didn't.  Guess which time I was treated well, and which time I got a snotty, snippy, condescending response.  I'll just say I sent my client's money to somebody who treated all prospective customers with respect, and it sure as heck wasn't Meg Tuthill. 

 

I'm certainly glad I'm not in her ward, although I'd love to work to get her out of the City Council.  She's a pretty good representative of that East Isles mentality, though.  Those were the same people who nearly torpedoed Al Franken and Mark Dayton because they weren't pure enough DFL insiders, and Franken once made some bad-taste jokes when he was a professional comedian.  Had it not been for the snootier-than-thou East Isles bluenoses, there wouldn't have been recounts in either the Franken or Dayton elections.  If Coleman and Emmer had won, we would have them to thank.

 

For the love of Pete, somebody decent run in the 10th Ward, please.  At least someone with basic politeness. 

cool_guy_6669
cool_guy_6669

Hey Meg, we all just want you to GTFO... forever.  You are old and awful.

MNBeer
MNBeer

@Special_hOps Yes. Way to be condescending to prospective businesses! It's one thing to disagree, it's another to be an ass about it.

paigetastic
paigetastic

and wow - this is a prime example of why you SHOULD NEVER leave a voicemail for somebody when you are a public figure who is cutting them down.....what was she thinking????

Skarlett Gabriela
Skarlett Gabriela

...and judging from this article she just enjoys being rude to people as her way of life...! hmmm

Skarlett Gabriela
Skarlett Gabriela

Ugh! I used to work as a bank teller in an uptown bank branch and had the unfortunate luck of having HER as a customer! She was trying to do a transaction I had never done before and when I had trouble figuring it out and had to ask for help she was rude and mean as fck! I live in the burbs so I didnt realize she was a Mpls politician, I just saw her picture and immediately remembered being humiliated as a customer service employee by her and got the chills!! Trust me, Ive worked customer facing jobs for years and there are few faces I would actually remember of rude customers but this apparantly was bad enough to stick.

Skarlett Gabriela
Skarlett Gabriela

Ugh! I used to work as a bank teller in an uptown bank branch and had the unfortunate luck of having HER as a customer! She was trying to do a transaction I had never done before and when I had trouble figuring it out and had to ask for help she was rude and mean as fck! I live in the burbs so I didnt realize she was a Mpls politician, I just saw her picture and immediately remembered being humiliated as a customer service employee by her and got the chills!! Trust me, Ive worked customer facing jobs for years and there are few faces I would actually remember of rude customers but this apparantly was bad enough to stick.

Ian Campbell
Ian Campbell

Also, she was sure standing up for those kids when she sat by and had no problem with a porn store opening on the next block up.

Ian Campbell
Ian Campbell

There's a fine line between "telling it like it is" and telling someone off. When you're an elected official dealing with someone who wants to open a good business in your ward, you don't treat them like this. There are about a hundred other, better ways she could've gone about doing this. Instead, she just stepped in it.

Ian Campbell
Ian Campbell

There's a fine line between "telling it like it is" and telling someone off. When you're an elected official dealing with someone who wants to open a good business in your ward, you don't treat them like this. There are about a hundred other, better ways she could've gone about doing this. Instead, she just stepped in it.

Joe Struss
Joe Struss

Meg Tuthill needs to go back to selling balloons.

Pamela Diedrich
Pamela Diedrich

I've known Meg for many years and this is how she has always been. I love that she tells it like it is and speaks her mind and stands up for kids! Someone has to look out for the kids. It's the least you can do to keep alcohol at least 300 feet from a school. FYI, Meg was a small business owner for years--Tuthills balloon shop.

Map_guy
Map_guy

Anyone can go go Google maps and type "uptown, MN" and clearly see 25th/Hennepin is indeed Uptown. She isn't elected to be condescending to potential business owners, and especially when her statements are not correct.

teruterubouzu
teruterubouzu

@GingerFritzie This is the same way she talked to me the one time I met her (maybe 10-15 years ago). At least she's consistent. ; )

Kate Galloway
Kate Galloway

She's the worst. I really wish people in her district (HELLO UPTOWN) would stop voting for her already.

Kate Galloway
Kate Galloway

She's the worst. I really wish people in her district (HELLO UPTOWN) would stop voting for her already.

thedeathofirony
thedeathofirony

Funny, when I lived at 25th and Emerson it was called Uptown. She must have trouble looking down her nose at a map.

Kevin Aldwaik
Kevin Aldwaik

Historically MPLS Democrat controlled city council ALWAYS been Anti small business. I am not surprised :(

Alex Anderson
Alex Anderson

People are too wound up over what's near what these days.

paigetastic
paigetastic

 @maxsandersphd Wow!  That is so sad - I feel bad for you and your family, and your mom definitely should not have had to put up with that.  I completely agree with you - this is not the type of person who should be in charge and/or on the city council.  I find your experience to be a sad statement of what people like her (who have "entitlement" issues) do to other people and simply are so miserable with themselves that they strive to make other people's lives miserable.  God bless you and your family for having put up with that obnoxious behavior for so long. 

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

 @Meg_T Councilperson Tuthill:  Maybe you should quit while you're behind.  The concern in this matter is not about the substance of the issue.  You have been elected to the Minneapolis City Council.  If you don't think it's a good idea for this business to have a variance, that's not just your privilege; it's your job.  That's fine. The issue here is one of tone.  And you're not helping in this response.  Your opening paragraph is needlessly antagonistic and impolite.  Your statement later on that "The bar/restaurant owners literally blew off the residents and the City" cannot possibly be true, unless there is a very juicy story story you are not telling us.  "Literally?"  Really?  "Literally?"  If I can assume that you know what that word means, then I have to wonder what you mean by "blew,"  or "blew off."  Something isn't adding up here, and your tone is not appropriate for a person in the public position you hold. The business areas in your ward have been overcrowded and inconvenient since I moved to town nearly 30 years ago.  None of that has changed; indeed, the expansion of The Wedge is probably the single worst development in your ward, in terms of accessibility, in those 30 years.  I know I go out of my way to avoid your ward unless I have no alternative, just because of the inconvenience posed by New York City levels of traffic, poor parking options, and inadequate transit.  The Trader Joe's proposal was rightly scotched for this reason.  It would have been far better to put Trader Joe's at Lake and Nicollet, and perhaps this brewpub concept someplace more conducive to such a business, as well. But you need to be more professional in your tone and conduct.  Maybe you see nothing wrong with your behavior, but most of the rest of us do.  All you have to do is to repeat the ordinance, your justification of the ordinance, and then an invitation to discuss alternatives within the ordinance.  And, since you left such an appallingly rude voice mail and you've been called on it, you might, even if you think it's all silly and you don't owe anyone an apology; a sensible leader might say something like this: "I do a lot of my own constituent response and contact, and sometimes I do it when I'm tired, or sick, or not on my game.  Sometimes I misread tone, and take offense when I should not.  Once in a while, I respond in ways I think are appropriate, but later turn out to be not so much.  Listening to that voice message I left, I'm embarrassed, and I see I owe some apologies.  I'm sorry I can't help this business owner with the idea they propose, but I don't have to be rude about it, and I really didn't mean to be rude about it.  Rest assured I'll do what I can to make it up to this person.  Thanks again for the opportunity to set the record straight - I appreciate it."

idrivefast
idrivefast

 @Meg_T The first half of your post should have been word-for-word what you said in your voice mail to the still-unnamed brewer instead of your snide and curt response. It explains the current ordinance, as well as a justification to the ordinance, and isn't inflammatory. Instead you blasted someone with a holier-than-though attitude. 

 

The second half of your post is standard PR damage control. Save it for next time you run for office. With antics like yours, you'll need it.

 

Good luck, honey. 

ElizabethC
ElizabethC

I agree with your second paragraph. I really didn't care for that comment in that article. I live, work and spend my money in the Uptown area. I also don't care for hipsters or Polica.

I cannot wait to NOT vote for this horrible woman!!

anthonasty
anthonasty

@Kevin Aldwaik

Right. Which is why we lack so many fortune 500 companies.....

really_cool_guy_6669
really_cool_guy_6669

 @ElizabethC Yo Liz, where do you werk in UPtown???  Do you work at a bank?  Do you werk at a SPA?  DO you werk at an Alt. Bar???  I wish we could hang and pretend it's cool to live in minneapolis.  DO you werk at Chipotle???  DID U know Fargo Does not have a Chipotle???  HOW LAME R THEY!!?  LOL.

really_cool_guy_6669
really_cool_guy_6669

 @ElizabethC LOL, me too. HEY GUYZ!  I hate HIPSTERZ 2!  lolz.  Like whatever, they are so not cool and that band Police is not cool.  Lol.

ElizabethC
ElizabethC

 @Um...

 If Blogs are Journalism... then Fox News must be journalism... NOT

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

 @Um... No, in any academic sense, they are not. They are by their nature opinion or editorial. Journalism still means something, though admittedly not much to most.

 

If they were journals, they would have an editor or editorial board (like the model the Village Voice employs) who oversaw their content. They are more typically the work of one person giving a point of view...which, considering the writing on CP, I can see where you might be confused.

really_cool_guy_6669
really_cool_guy_6669

 @DavidFoureyes Gawd, you are hopeless.  It's city pages.  It's crummy ol minneapolis.  You make me sad. Who do you think cares? bleep bleep bloop.  

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