Minneapolis voters will cast ballots on city leadership for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd's murder by police. Early voting began Sept. 17 and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. The historic elections drew a near-record number of candidates, with 102 people filing to run for office. The Star Tribune asked each candidate for mayor and City Council some questions on top issues:
- Voters will decide whether they want to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new agency. If they do, what services should it include, and how many police should it employ? If they don't, what other changes would you make to policing or public safety?
- Should Minneapolis have rent control and, if so, how should that program work?
- What would your budget priorities be as the city recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, and what do you think of the city's current tax rates? Too high? Too low? Just right?
- What would you do to address the impacts of climate change in Minneapolis?
- What other issues are the most pressing in the city, and what would you do about them?
The responses below are the candidates' own words, lightly edited for clarity and length.
Check out our guides to the Minneapolis Park Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation candidates and the proposed charter amendments on the ballot.
Nate "Honey Badger" Atkins
Lives in: Kenny
Occupation: Warranty manager for a local homebuilder
I do not support the ballot measure to replace the current police department with a new one. I would instead work to require that all police officers carry professional liability insurance as a condition of employment, end qualified immunity, and decriminalize drug possession & use. Requiring that police carry professional liability insurance would relieve taxpayers of the burden of having to pay for massive settlements reached by the city and victims of police misconduct & violence. In addition to this it would create a more thorough and efficient way to remove police officers who engage in wrongdoing. I also believe that we should hire more police who live in the city of Minneapolis and perhaps go so far as to provide hiring bonuses for those who do within the city. In addition to this we should work to hire more "beat" cops who work in specific areas & neighborhoods. This would create a greater and more personal connection between the police and the people who they serve & protect.
I do not believe that Minneapolis should enact rent control measures. Enacting rent control policies will only exacerbate existing issues with both affordable and available housing. Rent control measures in cities like Berlin have resulted in a decreased supply of housing. I will also add that rent control is a highly reactionary response to a problem when we should be proactive in addressing the issue. It is reactionary in that it does not address the underlying issues that cause rents to rise to unaffordable levels. The most effective and proactive way the city of Minneapolis can address the issue of rising rental costs is to ease zoning and construction regulations & red tape.
Budget priorities and taxes
I believe that the city needs to freeze all taxes while people and businesses recover from the lockdowns and restrictions imposed as a response to the pandemic. I would be supportive of increasing the budget for the MPD provided the various reforms I outlined in question #1 above are put in place. I do believe that various parts of the city government must take budget cuts as the people and the businesses in the city recover and I will go on record by stating if elected I will reduce the salary of the mayor by 30% to set the example that all city employees must be willing to sacrifice as the city recovers.
To address the impact of climate change in our city I believe we need to tap into the creative efforts and strengths of the people of this city. In order to unleash this creative power we must first reduce the various red tape and zoning restrictions that prevent the people of the city from moving forward with meaningful ways to address climate change. As an example, it is my understanding that there is a city ordinance/regulation/law that says that wind turbines cannot be installed on private property unless the building being powered by the turbine is 4 stories tall. If that is true, that needs to stop. There are wind turbines that can be installed for single family homes that would provide an alternative to fossil fuel energy but with this law in place a product like this can't be utilized.
From my perspective we are currently in the midst of another housing bubble and on the precipice of a burst similar to 2008. In spite of numerous efforts to make housing "affordable" in the past the results are ever-increasing prices for the ownership or rental of single or multi-family housing.
At the root of the problem is the Federal Reserve & the banking system. Artificially low interest rates have driven more people to purchase homes and, more importantly, financial actors such as large banks, hedge funds, etc to be able to invest the capital necessary to build or own homes, property, etc. When we look back at the various stimulus bills over the past 15 months we should realize that while the people receive some money in the form of direct payments, the vast majority of the money goes to big businesses, banks, investment institutions, etc. This should come as no shock as big business loves big government and vice versa.
The result is a grossly distorted and inequitable housing market where people are being inspired to buy a home due to the low interest rates and large investment and real estate institutions (see Black Rock) have received the necessary capital and low interest rates via the federal government that enable them to buy up property and, in turn, rent it to people at grossly inflated prices.
What is the solution? How do we properly address this? My answer is not easy - nor is it simple. But it is this: We must bring our governance back to a local level.
Lives in: Marcy-Holmes
Occupation: Executive director at Cedar-Riverside Community Council and private mediator
Any new agency must be founded in a comprehensive public safety approach and offer a form of law enforcement with policing services carried out by armed, licensed peace officers. The current Patrol and Investigations Bureaus services must carry on even if the MPD is eliminated.
I have long advocated for the "koban" model of policing we see in Japan. In a neighborhood-centric "koban" model, officers are present in local neighborhood business centers and streets — much like the DID Ambassadors in downtown Minneapolis.
Unarmed "koban" officers would be more able to respond to minor emergencies, give directions, and otherwise interact with residents on a more intimate basis than would be the case for police services in Minneapolis — and could be responsible for homelessness, addiction, mental health, and neighborhood safety response.
Other services that must be offered in any new Public Safety agency must include Victim and Survivor services (to promote safety, healing, and justice for victims and survivors of crime by meeting their individualized needs, upholding victims' rights, and enhancing community responses to harm); Violence Prevention services (using community-focused, public health approaches to help ensure that everyone can be free from violence to break the cycle of violence by preventing it before it begins; intervening at the first sign of risk; and championing healing after it happens).
As to how many police might be required, I would look to other cities the size of Minneapolis — like Kansas City (1,259 officers), Omaha (902), St. Louis (1,300) - and "right-size" the force.
I believe everyone in Minneapolis deserves a space to call 'home'. That's why I believe we need a strong rent stabilization policy in Minneapolis. The city can – and must – do more. We need another tool in our city's "housing toolbox" to address the housing needs of all. Minneapolis must rise to the challenge of making rents stable and predictable for all who chose to call Minneapolis home. We are not far from a future where your average blue-collar worker making $33k a year will find it hard to find an affordable apartment for themselves and their child. According to many economists, to remain affordable, housing costs must only be about 30% of a person's income.
I believe a universal rent control or stabilization ordinance that is properly funded and implemented in Minneapolis would allow us to protect renters from displacement; help renters strengthen their communities by allowing them to stay in their neighborhoods; stabilize our community schools by minimizing student relocation; and prevent increased homelessness.
If approved, I believe any ordinance should limit rent increases to inflation or the consumer price index or some similar formula; it should apply to properties that have a rental license; include protections against the amounts landlords can pass renovation and repair fees onto tenants; apply to the home, rather than the tenant, to avoid price-hikes when people move out. And I believe we should create a well-resourced renter protection board that empowers renters.
Budget priorities and taxes
Our broken healthcare system made the pandemic exceptionally difficult. And the city's disconnect from its neighborhoods was problematic. As we begin to reopen, we must ask ourselves what our new normal should look like – and I believe we must explore the important role for neighborhoods and community organizations in our city's future.
I believe we must put all neighborhoods back in the center of city policy. And I will champion neighborhood centers and clinics that are fully supported, funded, and accessible to everyone. This will not only help the city with future pandemics, but with addiction support, healthcare and community outreach, and improvement to the long-term health of the city.
This is tied to taxes. We don't need to increase sales tax (currently 8.03%) – or property taxes for homeowners. What we do need is new taxing authority from the state – and more funding from the state. It is long past due that the city gets more from every dollar we provide state coffers.
That's why I will advocate and seek the power for the city to tax luxury apartments and on vacant storefront properties. Today our public safety is being put at risk because of the perception by some that we cannot increase our resources. That's why folks even started having the conversation about defunding the police department – because that's where the money is.
With more revenue options available to the city, we can make the necessary investment our residents are demanding.
The greatest environmental challenge facing Minneapolis is climate change and is one that our city simply cannot afford to ignore. We must continue our ambitious goals as a city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with an emphasis on protecting those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis but are most impacted by it - our BIPOC, immigrant, and low-income communities.
For decades, the city's urban planning decisions have sacrificed the health of residents in the name of industry and economic profit, resulting in disproportionately high rates of asthma, cancer, birth defects, and cardiovascular disease.
We must take swift action to reverse the health inequities that have come as result of these policy decisions - and do our part to stop the global climate crisis. I will commit the city to charting a new course using 'Green New Deal' approaches. I will implement 'zero waste' strategies, invest in storm-water infrastructure, and plant more trees throughout our neighborhoods - and along our streets.
As mayor, I will invest in green job training and certification for workers to provide long-term career paths in the new green economy, work with Metro Transit to ensure the existing fleet of hybrid-electric busses, advocate for a clean energy grid – deploying solar, wind, and hydro options where possible, push for reductions in building energy emissions, and put social and racial justice at the center of the city's climate work and make sure everyone has the skills to participate in the green economy.
The current governing structure of the city will be on the ballot as "Question 1". Our city's government structure is a major issue facing the city. If adopted, it will ask voters if they want to define the role of mayor as chief executive officer and define the role of City Council as the legislative body.
This question was proposed after a series of interviews with city department heads and former elected officials. The "Government Structure Work Group" report summary (Dec. 15, 2020) explained in some detail that our city "lacks strong accountability, is overly complex, and highly inefficient."
I cannot imagine any business being run the way our city government is - and I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a city employee or department head dealing with multiple "bosses", all of whom could theoretically demand the exact opposite policy prescription.
When has "more cooks" or bosses ever made things "better"?
It is past time that the City Council agreed to a more purely legislative role in policy making. And it is well past time for the city to ban the City Council from purporting to direct or supervise any executive branch employee.
Let's all support "Question 1" and the change to an "Executive Mayor" and a "Legislative Council". We must have a single point of accountability within the city - and we can do this best through a strong, executive Mayoral office. Only then will residents of the city know exactly where the "buck stops"!
Lives in: Elliot Park
Occupation: Software engineer and farmer
Let me start my answer about police departments with my experience of driving on Lake Street and coming up to a large crowd of peaceful protestors in front of the third precinct, and hearing shots fired.
The police shot first.
This is not acceptable in a government that claims to be a democracy, and the first thing I'd do to reform the Minneapolis Police Department into a department of Public Safety is make sure that we make the most of ranked choice in our city to put citizens back in control of our government, rather than letting a set of elite party power brokers and campaign donors decide who's going to be considered a serious candidate.
I don't know what it's going to take to rebuild the public trust in our public servants, and I do know lots of people in this city have ideas and would be ready to take some personal action to make this city a better place, if we'd give them some freedom to act instead of endless political debate and partisan bickering.
The first change I would make is to engage our police officers in more public conversation and community engagement. I want to work with the police federation and City Employees unions to develop a bonus and incentive program based on customer service and public satisfaction. How will it change our officers behavior if they know their bonus directly depends on how good the neighborhoods they serve feel about them?
Rent is driven by policy, supply and demand. We can control the rent by controlling the city policy to encourage more neighbors, co-operative owned multi-family buildings, and re-zoning of downtown commercial-only space into mixed-used residential/commercial/co-working spaces. I would make Minneapolis housing the most affordable in the nation by working with our extensive network of co-ops, credit unions and small banks to create a new lending standard for mortgages for multi-family buildings, and lead and train community housing advocates on how to run equity crowdfunding campaigns to build new owner-occupied multi-tenant buildings.
I also understand that the long-term supply-demand situation does not address the real and immediate crisis families have with rising rents, so I want to work with housing advocates, developers, and landlords on creating an immediate incentive program so we can develop a coalition and a plan to offer immediate assistance to families who are at risk of being driven from our great city.
Budget priorities and taxes
My budget priority is to explore how a local Minneapolis Digital Currency could create a whole new economy with built-in accountability and transparency based on the same underlying technology that has built the $2 trillion cryptocurrency market capitalization. We can create new value, and new money, and keep that wealth in our local economy with a digital currency that incentivizes urban farming, and allows anyone with a garden to pay their taxes with vegetables.
If we started talking about value-added food production, and feeding our city from the green spaces and urban vertical farms in the city, the conversation about budget priorities takes on an entirely different dynamic than last century's partisan political battles.
My budget priority is measured in how many people in this city have the means to provide themselves with food, housing, and renewable energy from creative work they enjoy doing.
Some taxes are too low, while others, like the hidden costs small businesses pay a larger share of are too high. We should simplify tax processing costs for smaller business by providing digital currencies with automatic tax withholding and payment, so small business owner-operators need do nothing more than accept the city digital currency. Larger businesses with complicated ownership structures need to be evaluated with healthy public policy debate on the best way to ensure they are paying their fair share of the costs of running our city.
In 2013, I ran for mayor to make sure someone on the ballot was talking about renewable energy, and I had a plan for 100% renewables in 10 years. Today, 8 years later, the highest performing automotive stocks are the ones with ambitious electric vehicle plans, and our neighbor state to the south regularly produces more electricity than it can use on a windy day.
We have the technical, engineering, and industrial production capacity to build and install sufficient wind and solar generation on farms in the midwest to provide Minneapolis with 100% renewable energy.
We can start building small self-driving solar-electric tractors in Minneapolis, and start shipping these out to the rest of the world as the leader in regenerative agriculture production equipment, just as Minneapolis once led the world in grain milling using the renewable power from St. Anthony Falls.
We need to address the coming climate-changed induced migration that is going to happen. Minneapolis must be ready to accept, house, teach, educate, and protect half a million climate refugees over the next 20 to 30 years, for even if we are successful at 100% renewable in 10 years, we are not going to change the rest of the world right away, and there are at least 15-20 more years of climate disasters waiting to happen even if we had the political will to start paying Midwest farmers more for storing carbon in the soil than what they get for corn next year.
One of the issues that is most pressing for me personally is how do we make dense city centers livable places that parents and families both want to, and can afford to live in. We have an entire generation of young urban dwellers that have grown up hearing how they will have less resources, less income, and less space than their parents who expanded into the suburbs.
Cities provide the best chance for resilience, human creativity, and cultural diversity to thrive as climate changes in ways not seen since the last ice age. How do we get the right public policy, good governance, and public-private partnerships to expand our downtown skyway network, rebuild our infrastructure, and provide transit and opportunity for a million people living in Minneapolis, not because it was the only place to go, but because it's the best place in the world to live, and we welcome all comers, all races and all income levels to join us in making this the best city in the world.
Bob "Again" Carney Jr.
Lives in: East Harriet Farmstead
I strongly oppose the proposed Charter Amendment to replace the Police Department. Regarding staffing, eighteen months ago Chief Arradondo was saying we need 400 more sworn officers. Today we're down hundreds from the time of Arradondo's assessment. Obviously, it will take time to close a gap of 500+ officers, but I believe this is our task.
Beyond public safety changes already made by the Legislature, I favor two more major steps. First, we should establish 311, not 911, as the default option for many calls, including requests for mental health assessments and interventions. 911 is an emergency number. When George Floyd allegedly passed a counterfeit bill, that was not an emergency. There should never be a 911 call in a situation like that. This is why we need a separate number to deal with non-emergency situations. Second, we should rely on the fire department and ambulances as first responders to mental health interventions. We should not have separate personnel for this – rather, we should have more training for our existing Fire and EMS staff, and we should significantly increase EMS staffing. The police should continue with their current role – protecting Firefighters and EMS.
I'm opposed to rent control – however, we can make renting more affordable by implementing at the state level a modified version of the Senior Citizen Property Tax credit. With 30% of the appraised value in equity, seniors earning below $60,000 a year can pay 3% of their gross income in property tax – the rest is paid by the State, and a lien is placed on the property — paid when the property is sold. We should design a similar program for renters — requiring landlords to accept liens on their property to cover the difference between the property tax due and the amount a renter can pay based on the 3% income test.
This will reduce the ability of landlords to seek the greatest possible leverage by minimizing their equity. In my view that's a feature, not a bug. It may also be objected that since landlords must ultimately pay the deferred property tax, this is unfair. Again, this a feature, not a bug – the plan is designed to ensure moderate and low-income renters can share in the appreciation of real property – something only landlords can currently do. Structural incentives can be added to further reward or penalize renters benefiting from the program – based on renters doing their part to ensure the property will appreciate in value.
This approach is a good use of the state's ability to borrow at low interest. This is a better approach than rent control.
Budget priorities and taxes
Between the massive Federal money infusion – about $18 billion to state and local governments since COVID-19 hit — and the general uncertainty about what's ahead, I can't assess our current tax rates. There's just no baseline. As for priorities, our number one area of attention must be a response to the greatest area of uncertainty – what's going to happen with downtown in the coming years and decades? Again, it's simply too early to tell – but we do know this: a vibrant, economically healthy downtown is essential to both Minneapolis and Minnesota. We must assign an absolute priority to welcoming back the 60% of pre-COVID commuters who rode in and out of downtown every day on a system of about 750 AM and PM commuter bus trips. These folks must feel welcome and safe. Beyond that, far too many people have told me variants on the theme: "I won't go to downtown Minneapolis." Again, people must feel both safe and welcome. Here's one immediate fix: let's reach agreements with downtown parking ramps to make the first two hours free for anyone who comes downtown. Our competition is the Mall of America – we need to wake up and smell the coffee. We also need to look at converting downtown buildings to residential and group-work buildings whenever and however possible. We need a similar focus on Uptown and other major business-residential areas.
You'll love this. Like Nixon with his Vietnam War Plan, I have a secret plan for Minneapolis to reach ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS from transportation by the year 2030. It's in the form of a book – I have physical review copies available for journalists to review (the Star Tribune Editorial Board?) but am working on completing a patent application before making it public. But I can tell you this – the plan is based on a way of delivering and removing JIT (Just-In-Time) "energy modules" for vehicles. Each "energy module" has either a battery charge, which can recharge an EV while it's driving, or enough gaseous hydrogen to run a vehicle for a few miles. Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles can run on hydrogen and emit only water. The JIT "energy modules" can also capture carbon dioxide exhaust and re-process it into liquid hydro-carbon fuel that can fill up conventional gas tanks and run conventional ICE vehicles. The process uses heat and solar electricity, so it's 100% green. We're heading for a huge lithium bottleneck (China's grabbing for control) – we need a hydrogen alternative. I'll be carrying a review copy of my book around – happy to show it to you – but again… the patent needs to get done. After I lose this election (Republican? Yeah… right…) I'll finish up the patent (if not before), publish the book, and this will be my major project going forward. I'm convinced Republicans need new and practical ideas for solving the Climate Crisis – let's do this together.
On July 21 the Star Tribune published my op-ed commentary: "City needs annual elections, and a GOP." Google it. I've broken a big national story: Minneapolis and other Democratic-dominated cities are using a powerful voter suppression technique and we need to call them out on it. How? They simply don't hold very many elections. Minneapolis municipal elections are once every four years… the year after the Presidential election. The other three years 100% of ALL eligible voters are suppressed!
There is a huge accountability problem here. As I see it, our fundamental challenge is similar to what President Teddy Roosevelt faced – trustbusting – breaking up monopolies. For decades, Minneapolis has been controlled by a de facto monopoly machine: the DFL, activists, and special interests. I was walking around Lake Harriet recently, when a group of two bikers and a motorized scooter descended over the bike path and on to the walking path. I yelled out: "It's the BIKE SUPREMACISTS!" Ok… a little tongue-in-cheek hyperbole… but really… look what's happening to our whole street system. The current plan for Bryant Avenue is to make it one way… northbound from 50th to 46th and southbound from Lake street to 46th. If there is construction on Lyndale (where ISN'T there construction these days!?) there is no north-south route from Lake Street to 50th between Nicollet and Penn. This is insane. Things have gotten so bad I'm calling for annual municipal elections. We need a one-year warranty on anyone elected to anything in Minneapolis.
Lives in: Lowry Hill
Regardless of whether MPD is replaced, we need police to keep us safe. I want any new agency to include a robust police force.
I have spent time with MPD to learn about the current situation and I rode along with the 1st Precinct (downtown) on an overnight weekend shift that ended with a 16-round shooting at 9th and Hennepin. More than 200 police have left the force under the current mayor's leadership, our remaining officers are stretched way too thin, and gun violence is skyrocketing. Based on my experience and these facts, I firmly believe that our current police numbers are too low.
To recruit new members for a police force of the future, our next mayor must immediately reset the narrative about police and use media outreach, as well as financial incentives, to make policing an attractive career path to the critical thinking, diversity-minded kids and young adults that we want in our force.
Also, regardless of whether MPD is replaced, we need to build right-sized teams of mental health professionals and social workers to work with officers at the front end of any event tied to mental health problems and on any domestic issue.
If I am elected, we will instill a service-first mentality across the force and apply it throughout operations, and we will build an unprecedented level of community-centered programs and relationships to build trust in the community.
Home is the foundation for everything. I believe we need an equitable, sustainable, city-wide policy that balances the investments landlords make in their properties with the need for renters to have stable, fair rent prices. Rents are increasing faster than renters' incomes. Under the current leadership, rents were increasing at record levels. The harmful impact of rising rent is being felt acutely by the city's BIPOC and immigrant communities.
I am particularly interested in stratified rent control that applies to large developers and landlords but that still provides flexibility for small-scale landlords to account for changes in their own personal situations or who have little choice but to pass the costs of maintenance and improvements on to renters.
I favor the proposed Charter amendments that give the voters the opportunity to decide on November 2 whether to allow the City Council, or the people of Minneapolis by a petition process, to adopt a rent control law.
I think it is important for our next mayor to work with the City Council, housing experts, industry stakeholders, leadership from other cities that have enacted rent control, and Minneapolis residents at large to decide on a few different options. These options should be presented in an understandable format and provide a meaningful opportunity for input from the community before we create solid rules regarding rent control, given the impact and complexity of the issue.
Budget priorities and taxes
My budget priorities are for SAFE STREETS; stable, affordable, and livable housing for all; and a small businesses boom.
Regarding public safety, we need more good police officers, which means investing in recruiting, vetting, and training the right people the right way. Officers' salaries must be commensurate with the demands of the job so we do not continue losing officers to cities where they can make more money with less risk. We also need to invest in hiring mental health professionals and social workers to respond to appropriate situations.
Regarding housing, we need to do more. The mayor touts that we spend more money per capita than nearly any other city on affordable housing, but we must focus on results, not the money spent, and we have not achieved the results we need. A checkout clerk at a local store recently told me she decided to leave Minneapolis after decades as a resident because she found that St. Paul's affordable housing is better and more affordable. We cannot have that. It is bad for residents, and it is bad for business when the workforce cannot afford to live nearby.
Regarding a small business boom, our small businesses need major help, and quickly. As Mayor, I would invest additional funds from the $180 million in unallocated federal emergency relief resources into our small businesses and would cut regulations that stand in the way of progress.
I was an engineer before I became a patent litigation attorney. I am committed to science. We need only to look at global data on temperatures and precipitation to know we are in a climate crisis. In Minnesota, warming temperatures and drought conditions affect our ability to grow the crops that feed the world. Scientists' predictions for climate change are being borne out faster than anyone expected, and we need to address these problems immediately.
We need to develop an action plan that accounts for existing and future technologies. What works in leading cities could work here:
- Investing in renewable energy for all buildings
- Transitioning our public transportation fleet so it is powered by clean energy (electric, hydrogen)
- Investing in renewable energy while divesting from fossil fuels
- Installing solar panels and green spaces on public buildings
- Planting trees throughout the city that will absorb carbon, purify air, provide shade, block wind, create beauty
As the City of Lakes, we need to protect our water quality. We should consider banning lawn chemicals that pollute our lakes while investing in rain gardens that absorb excess water during storms.
I will use my knowledge and industry contacts to bring green jobs here. More specifically, I want to incentivize companies to build facilities in Minneapolis that make green technology and bring jobs to Minneapolis's disadvantaged communities. This endeavor would create jobs, move our country toward clean energy, and bring opportunity to our most vulnerable communities.
Our public schools need help. We have a billion-dollar football stadium casting a shadow over a school system that cannot afford to provide school buses for high schoolers and whose teachers must pay out of their own pocket for necessary school materials. That is just plain wrong.
Despite knowing we have huge racial disparities, we are not doing enough to provide educational opportunities for communities of color. Minneapolis public schools ranked 34 out of 44 Twin Cities school districts in a study posted on August 6.
Our next Mayor should be a zealous advocate on behalf of our city's children and the public schools that serve them. We need our Mayor to lead efforts of persuasion at the state level, where we get most of our funding. Our Mayor must be bold, vocal, and persistent on schools.
The Stable Homes Stable Schools program is a good start but does not address our school system's lack of funding nor does it help the large percentage of low-income students and students of color who attend public charter schools.
I have attended nine different public schools in my life, from kindergarten through law school, and am a huge advocate for public schools. With bold leadership, we can create a public school system that will set an example for other cities to follow.
Other pressing issues include the state of our downtown business community, rental housing habitability, and gender equity. I look forward to addressing them more broadly when space allows.
Lives in: Nicollet Island/East Bank
Occupation: Current mayor of Minneapolis
I believe in a both/and approach to public safety: we must continue advancing deep structural reforms that strengthen accountability and we need a fair, just, properly staffed police department.
This amendment moves us in the wrong direction. If passed, the City Council will be required, within 30 days, to establish a joint reporting structure, requiring the head of public safety to report to 13 councilmembers and the mayor — a structure you won't find in any other major city. In moments of crisis or day-to-day operations, residents and officers need clarity when it comes to who is responsible for public safety. The proposed amendment dilutes accountability by spreading responsibility across 14 elected officials.
I support a Department of Public Safety that provides a comprehensive, public health based approach. Not every 911 call requires response from an officer with a gun, and we can (and are) utilizing mental health responders and social workers to provide their unique skillsets. Importantly, this does not require a charter amendment. Regardless of the vote, I will push to make a Department of Public Safety a reality through the legislative process.
No matter where you live, you deserve to feel safe — that requires effective and responsive police. Presently, we have around 600 officers, fewer per capita than any major city in the country. As we rebuild staffing levels, Chief Arradondo and I are, and will continue, prioritizing recruiting community-oriented officers with ties to Minneapolis. That will remain my commitment independent of the outcome of this vote.
I oppose rent control in its classic form as we've seen implemented in cities like New York City. Economists from across the ideological spectrum agree that such an approach is counterproductive in creating affordable housing and has adversely impacted the renters the policies were designed to protect. While residents of rent-controlled units may see some benefit, the policy stymies production of affordable housing units and disincentivizes improvements.
I do, however, support local control and the ability for local governments to chart their course. The ballot proposal, if passed, grants the City an opportunity to develop a policy through the legislative process. If this amendment passes and a rent control measure is developed, I will review the specifics of that proposal, listen to the experts, and make a decision informed by the evidence on whether I support it.
Rent control is not, and should not be, our primary method for preserving or creating affordable housing. I'll explain more on this later, but we've produced and preserved record amounts of affordable housing (with a focus on deeply affordable housing), opened more new shelters than ever before, and worked with Hennepin County to meet needs that have historically been insufficiently addressed. Here again, we have delivered with record results, and we will push even harder if re-elected.
Budget priorities and taxes
My administration made the hard choices to help the city weather an enduring budget crisis brought by the pandemic. We set clear priorities of helping those who are struggling most, reigniting our economy and small businesses, and maintaining financial stability through the most turbulent times Minneapolis has ever faced. Because of our steady approach the city is primed to rebound, but we must continue on this deliberate path.
We won't rebound by taxing our most vulnerable residents out of their homes and local businesses. While property taxes are a critical source, accounting for about 50% of revenue, they are also regressive, disproportionately affecting seniors and our lowest earners. The city's other revenues are supported by sales and entertainment tax, parking fees, development fees, and other sources, many of which have been depleted by the pandemic. And so my administration has been strategic, utilizing federal aid to help those in the clutches of a pandemic or economic downturn. We replenished city deficits that could have spiraled out of control, and we prepared Minneapolis to emerge from the pandemic as a continuing center of culture and commerce.
We can't do it alone. Minneapolis provides around 3.5 times more revenue to the state than we receive. While I support a regional approach, Minneapolis deserves its fair share of services and aid.
Weathering a global pandemic and economic downturn hasn't been easy, but our holistic approach to taxation — including numerous revised budgets to account for the realities of 2020 — is getting us through.
Climate change is the issue of our generation. While we have made substantial progress, we must go further. Current data and historical trends align in indicating that those who are already underserved, especially our communities of color, will bear a disproportionate share of these negative effects.
The work is underway. We've outlined goals of getting to 100% clean, renewable electricity in our city enterprise by 2023, and citywide by 2030. We've adopted a social cost of carbon in our 2022 budget proposal so that the impact to our climate is reflected in our city budgetary decisions. We assigned fees per pound of pollution produced resulting in a reduction in tens of millions of pounds of carbon, and we've doubled down on our resiliency work, providing funding so that nearly 900 businesses can make greener choices while saving money. And we established the Rebuild Resilient program so that as Minneapolis emerges from the events of the last couple years, we make our planet a priority.
Still, we can't stop there. In the years ahead our city's fleet will be transitioned to electric vehicles, and I will double down on my work as a member of the Climate Mayors. We will double down to bring better and more sustainable public transit improvements to our city. And finally, we will go even further to incentivize, and where possible require, sustainable energy sources, reduce GHGs, and reduce consumption. Our planet depends on it.
Housing is a right. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home— a necessary foundation from which they can rise. A housing first model is essential to making progress on so many challenges our city is facing. We have taken action, investing more than three times the previous record in affordable housing (with a focus on deeply affordable), and more, on a per capita basis, than almost any city in the entire country.
My administration started the program Stable Homes Stable Schools, which has provided housing for over 3,000 Minneapolis Public School students and 900 families facing homelessness or severe housing instability. The program was such a success it has received awards and is now an ongoing mainstay in the Minneapolis budget.
This past year, we responded quickly to the economic downturn and the COVID-19 pandemic by providing emergency rental assistance to struggling neighbors, opening three new homeless shelters, including culturally-sensitive and specific shelters for our Native American community, and working with Hennepin County to provide harm reduction in the most severe circumstances. We launched More Representation Minneapolis, which provides legal assistance to countless residents facing eviction, and during the COVID-19 pandemic has assisted in expunging eviction records.
When I took office as Mayor we took clear action around housing. Those actions have, in many cases, led the country, and have given thousands of Minneapolis residents perhaps the most important foundation of all: home.
Lives in: Loring Park
I stand against the ballot referendum to replace (defund) the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Public Safety is paramount for the future of Minneapolis as a safe and vibrant city. There are a lot of different theories from candidates on how to best keep our community safe. I do understand where everyone is coming from with their respective positions on Public Safety. Frankly, I believe that everyone in the City of Minneapolis wants a safe city and an MPD that is fully accountable. The best way to achieve this goal is to do a major bottom to top reorganization of the current MPD. I will be highly focused on a significant new training regiment for our police as well as full accountability on the beat. In addition training in the field and on the beat will be ongoing even for veteran officers.
At this juncture it does not make sense to replace one of the most vital city services with an unformed and untested new department of Public Safety. As mayor I can with an intensive focus reformat the MPD and achieve the best outcome for the City. I will create a highly responsive, highly trained and highly professional police force with a much higher level of accountability to the Mayor's Office. Chief Arradondo has some good officers from which he can rebuild a community driven police force that our City feels comfortable with and who can make our streets safe again. I will commit my entire term to solving our Public Safety issues.
Minneapolis should learn from other cities which have had unfortunate experiments with Rent Control. I know I can solve the issues of affordable housing in our City. If there is one person who is the housing candidate in the race for mayor that person is me. We can use market-based levers to achieve the same results. Programs like stepping in to assist renters with below average credit. Where the City would in some cases guarantee the rent if that renter shows they are working hard to repair past mistakes. The City should look at a wider program of lowering property taxes on specific apartment buildings. This program can be very effective if there are guarantees to pass on the lower taxes by reducing monthly rent. There is only one candidate who has actually developed and built housing and that candidate is me. There is only one candidate who has spent years developing quality housing for seniors. That candidate is me. There is only one candidate who has spent his career understanding how to architecturally design, develop and construct quality housing to come in ahead of schedule and under budget. I will work hand in hand with the City Planning Staff, CPED and developers to get more quality affordable housing built for the City. It is time to get everyone in a room to work together as a team. Not as adversaries. I believe I am the one candidate who has the potential and knowledge and experience to create more housing in Minneapolis than any other mayor in recent history.
Budget priorities and taxes
The City budget is going to be of paramount importance after record settlements related to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Those settlements were paid directly out of reserve funds, not by a city insurance policy. When it comes to the City budget - I am the one candidate who actually builds and manages businesses. I have built and operated a leading senior living community and a top-ranked hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Budgets matter. We need to be better stewards of taxpayer money and spend each dollar as if it was our own. The first budget priority is to fully fund the MPD. We have seen the effect of cutting the number of MPD officers by 25.00% and it has been an abject failure. Job number one is to get the MPD back up to the strength that is mandated by City Charter. Secondly, there seems to be an appetite in the City to increase funding for mental health responders and social workers on some police calls. Determining the bright line and in what scenarios these new mental health teams should be used will be difficult. However, I believe we can come up with parameters that will work.
I also will increase funding for the Minneapolis Park system which is the crown jewel of our entire City. We have cut park funding under the current Mayor from about 8 cents of every property tax dollar to closer to 7 cents. I will restore the mayor's cuts to the Park Board by streamlining the bureaucracy.
Climate change is a global emergency that all bodies of government must take a part in addressing. As mayor I am committed to common-sense solutions we can implement at a local level to do our part to address this issue. There are a number of simple zoning and planning changes that the City can make to transform Minneapolis into one of the greenest cities in the country. One of the easiest of these is requiring green roofs on new developments. Another program is to require new road projects to be painted and sealed in heat reflective materials. We must also create a stronger financial incentive to retrofit homes in Minneapolis to use solar energy. All of these various policies will help to reduce the heat island effect in Minneapolis. Most importantly all of these environment saving projects can be done by enacting policies at City Hall. I would also favor restarting the special forestry levy that will make it possible to achieve the City's Tree Advisory Commission's goal of planting 10,000 boulevard trees per year in the City of Minneapolis.
The issue of who should be our next Mayor of Minneapolis is of paramount importance. There is unfortunately a lot of fear in the air this election cycle but don't vote out of a position of fear. There is a mainstream common sense Democratic (DFL) alternative to our current Mayor. I am a moderate Democrat who is a bridge builder with plans and solutions to solve the problems that face Minneapolis. There are many politicians in the race. In contrast I am a business builder and I am a consensus builder. This makes me a highly timely and viable candidate. I am a downtown Minneapolis resident who has lived near the Basilica/Loring Park for twenty-one (21) years. I have an operating business within the Minneapolis Downtown. I grew up in Minneapolis. I have the background and track record to reframe the dialogue with a fresh start. A vital reset. I will use my marketing background, business background and legal background to move Minneapolis forward every single day in office. I will revive Minneapolis. I will stake my reputation on it. I will steer the good ship Minneapolis on a much more safe, healthy, dynamic and progressive course.
Party: Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis
Lives in: Camden
Occupation: Writer, organizer, non-profit lobbyist, advisor, and social entrepreneur
Who would want to be mayor of Minneapolis now, the year after our local uprising?
We protested a system operating with an inherently toxic, racist, classist and probably sexist culture that cannot be cured with petty incremental reforms that never establish real accountability for abusive cops and fail to curtail the sabotaging practices of the police union and their lobbies. We protested a system of policing characterized by racial profiling, mass incarceration, reactionary, disconnected patrolling and 9-1-1 dispatched responses that typically fail to prevent or solve most serious crimes. We protested a system wherein the law enforcement paradigm erroneously measures effectiveness based on the quantity of arrests instead of the quality of arrests. We protested a system that prioritizes criminalizing poverty, mental illness, and drugs, where countless cops act as predatory bullies of poor people and people of color with impunity. No justice, no peace.
Policing as we know it must end in Minneapolis, but much of the city population is so afraid of crime that they naively demand the maintenance of the ineffective and unjust status quo. We do need a professional public safety organization in Minneapolis to do much better at working with communities to prevent violence and property crimes. We must have a radical reconstruction of the Minneapolis Police Department to create significant structural changes to become more effective and just in achieving these aims. We need as many humane and accountable peace officers as our neighborhoods require to respectfully work with neighbors in keeping everyone safe.
Some form of reasonable rent control is ideal under the right circumstances for low-income or working-class people that would balance the interests of both tenants and landlords. I am a social entrepreneur, so I believe in wealth creation, but also prioritize people over profits. I understand that private rental housing is a business that government should not be allowed to sabotage with draconian public policies that prevent fair rental property management companies from profiting, because if good rental businesses fail, tenants lose their rental housing. I believe annual rent increases should be limited to maintain rental housing affordability for tenant stability.
In the past I worked with the director of the University of Minnesota Housing Studies Department, when I asked her what the best solution was to the affordable housing crisis, she said we need to subsidize housing as much as needed. A solution as simple and bold as this is too intimidating for most politicians and taxpayers to seriously consider, but this is the direction we need to move in as a city, county, state, and nation. We need to do much more than provide low-income public housing or Section 8 housing for the poorest residents of our city. Housing justice looks like government being honest about the expensive cost of living and the reality that most people cannot truly afford it. Minneapolis should organize intergovernmental resources to establish robust funding to expand public assistance to subsidize housing expenses as much as needed, which would also end most homelessness.
I would prioritize public safety, public works, and programs to eliminate poverty and create opportunities to reduce harm and increase wellness, and I want to support innovative programs to clean areas of the city plagued by pollution and litter.
Property taxes and sales tax rates in Minneapolis are okay, but I'd need to study the issues by consulting with experts before I develop a strong position on the matter. I believe in equitable taxation, so I am always open to improving municipal tax policy.
I will collaborate with organizations that have expertise in developing cross-sector partnerships to establish policies, programs and practices that reduce carbon emissions in vehicles and buildings, commercial, residential, and governmental real estate, and increase the availability and affordability of clean energy resources for everyone who lives, works and plays in our city. We must be committed to a regional approach to combatting climate change, collaborating with other cities in the metro area to mitigate the threats to our environment and communities.
I am a young Black man from North Minneapolis who has survived the never-ending War on Drugs, the school to prison pipeline, worse crime and violence than we're witnessing today, excessive racial profiling, police brutality, the Great Recession (due to unscrupulous housing market policies, programs and practices, especially the subprime mortgage crisis), the subsequent foreclosure crisis, and gentrification. I am running for Mayor of Minneapolis, my hometown, because I believe we must Think Big, Act Courageously and Do Justice to save our city, and I believe I have what it takes to demonstrate the kind of visionary and intrepid political leadership these crazy times require. I have the intelligence, creativity, wisdom, courage, and ability to listen, learn and act collaboratively with the people to represent and serve our city in ways that will best heal and empower our city to advance public safety, justice, and opportunity for those who need it most.
The following ideas are just a few that stir my soul:
- Partner with county, state, and federal government to develop pilot programs for Guaranteed Work and a Basic Income Guarantee
- End the War on Drugs
- Decriminalize sex work
- Combat human trafficking
- Combat rape culture
We need to vote based on our hopes, not fears!
Paul E. Johnson
Lives in: Folwell
Occupation: Small business owner/Operator of RenaissanceWorks LLC
I support the Public Safety Charter Amendment. Across the United States and the world, we have seen new and better ways of providing public safety that have improved outcomes for residents, provided more resources to the community and reduced uses of force that have resulted in the deaths of people like George Floyd, Jamar Clark, Justine Damond, my friend Travis Jordan who was killed on my front lawn, my cousin Jason Barsness and too many other stolen lives. I have looked at these and will choose from the best of the best, including immediately adopting a Use of Force Policy modeled after Camden, NJ, instituting unarmed co-responder units for mental health calls and calls for assistance for our unhoused neighbors, unarmed traffic and parking enforcement, and continuing to support state and federal legislation that will improve safety for all of Minneapolis residents and visitors. In Camden in a 5-year period after the implementation of the policy, firing a gun occurred only 19 times in 3,183 instances of force used.
Regardless of if the Charter is amended, we will still need police officers to respond to calls where human life is at risk, however, a new Use of Force Policy will immediately demilitarize our police and the training provided will save lives of both officers and the community. I have already identified people who I would hire to implement this policy who are public policy experts and current sworn police officers.
I support the renter-led rent control initiative. Listening to the community and its needs should be the top priority of any government. Minneapolis leaders have long forgotten that it is the people that make a city, not landlords and property barons. Rent costs have far out-paced increases in wages making it impossible for renters to maintain their homes. Given that only 47% of Minneapolis' residential properties are owner-occupied, it is clear that landlords have the ability to profit off the backs of residents, often making it impossible to live in the City.
Rent control should be based on the idea that people are able to maintain their housing at the forefront. A flexible chart based on income, family size, individual family needs, and levels of current assistance would be more effective than your standard government binary decision of who deserves help. We must start to understand that there are too many variables in life to be addressing situations in a cut and dry manner.
Budget priorities and taxes
- Stop paying tens of millions of dollars in police brutality lawsuits. With a new Use of Force policy that demilitarizes the police, this will occur naturally. I advocate for state legislative changes that require police to carry personal liability insurance.
- Increase property tax rates on any landlord who owns more than two rental properties through a formula based on the average cost of rent in each property they own. Landlords are lining their pockets while often not living within the City and are profiting off the backs of residents of Minneapolis.
- Stop paying tens of millions of dollars on fencing and concrete barriers to protect property.
- Utilize these cost savings and revenue to provide basic services to the City. These savings and revenues would be used for providing residential internet services as a City utility (similar to trash collection), improved road construction and maintenance, increased education opportunities for youth and young adults including expanded career training in middle and high school such as building trades and other technical education.
Additionally, we must reimagine how downtown space is utilized. Because of Covid, many companies have realized that their employees do not need to work from an office and are implementing flexible working arrangements as part of their company culture. This will decrease the need of companies to use office space downtown. I envision using this space for small businesses and making these spaces more cost effective for cottage industries, as well as a solution to ending homelessness.
I would create a Climate Change Plan that focuses on adapting the way the City does business through policy and engaging the residents as well as mitigating any current issues that are exacerbating climate change.
The Climate Change Plan will focus on clean transportation, energy efficiency in buildings, and renewable power sources for all City operations as well as for industrial, commercial and residential buildings. Through City policy, I would increase alternative fuel vehicle fleets, support cleaner public transit methods, increase electric vehicle charging stations throughout the City, evaluate energy use in all City buildings and implement recommended energy saving measures including moving toward renewable power sources where feasible. Additionally, I would provide incentives to households, commercial and industrial businesses to improve energy efficiency in ways similar to what will be implemented in City buildings.
Mitigation of current industrial businesses polluting the community, particularly North Minneapolis, is a top priority. An article published by the Sahan Journal on August 9, 2021 entitled "It's been a hot dry summer in the Twin Cities, but not all neighborhoods are hit equally" outlines how industrial and low-income neighborhoods are warmer than other neighborhoods. Warmer temperatures in Minneapolis mirrors the redlined neighborhoods of the past. The solution to this is to create more green spaces in industrial and low-income neighborhoods, which will be included in my Climate Change Plan.
On a personal note, I am opposed to the construction of Line 3 and the state sanctioned violence that has occurred to water protectors.
Other issues that are pressing to the City are ending homelessness and ending community violence.
To end homelessness I would convert office space that will not be used post-Covid to provide homes for residents who are facing homelessness. These homes would be apartment homes and would provide all wrap-around services a person needs to be stable. All policies regarding living in these homes will be developed with harm reduction advocates to ensure residents are able to live as free as possible.
To address community violence, I have developed a detailed tactical plan that will utilize existing community organizations, community members, and the reimagined public safety department to reduce violence in the community. This plan includes cameras placed strategically at entrance and exit points of city neighborhoods, barriers to reduce speed and exits from neighborhoods. Additionally, community violence in Camden dropped 63% in 6 years after the implementation of the new Use of Force policy. Police violence begets community violence.
Lives in: Bryn Mawr
Occupation: Business owner, former legislator
Minneapolis is demanding a public safety system founded on one key value. Every person – regardless of race, gender, age, income, ability, or zip code – should be safe in our city. Voters are rightly asking for this vision and a concrete path toward it. I will bring both to the Mayor's Office.
I've heard the desire for concrete plans, which is why I connected with dozens of community and policy leaders to develop my plan to Build Community Safety and Transform Policing. My holistic approach includes significant investment in economic security, violence prevention, communities, and young people.
Let me be clear, my public safety vision includes police. We need to ask police to do less, so they can focus more on what we need them to do – responding to, investigating and actually solving violent crime. My vision also includes radical transparency and accountability for policing and police misconduct.
Mayor Frey's inability to lead effectively throughout this time of crisis has left us more divided and less safe. By asking us to maintain a police-centric status quo, he is asking us to take a less safe path forward. It's irresponsible.
We have the opportunity to create a better public safety system. Building this system will require us to demand both an end to community violence and to the harm caused by policing – particularly in Black, brown, and Indigenous communities. If we step forward with courage, we can transform our public safety system into one that actually works.
Everyone deserves a safe, stable place to call home. A home is the foundation of safety and security for families. But a home is becoming out of reach for too many people in Minneapolis. More than half of Minneapolis residents are renters, especially young people and people of color. These residents make Minneapolis a dynamic, vibrant city. Yet 44 percent of renters are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of monthly income in rent. In short, we are in a housing crisis.
Given this reality, I support the rent control charter amendment as part of a multi-faceted housing approach that makes sure Minneapolis is a place where people with different backgrounds and different finances can call home. I've heard pushback on rent control with the argument that it won't solve the housing crisis. It's true rent control won't address the crisis alone. That's why I will champion building more housing, more deeply affordable housing, and more public housing in our city. I will also continue to push forward on other renter protections like help to avoid evictions.
The rent control charter amendment does not create rent control in the city, it creates the ability for us to pass a rent control ordinance. In designing this ordinance, I will engage with the many impacted by it with a strong focus on renters, renter-organizing groups, and small landlords. My goal will be to create more security for renters while also making sure small landlords don't get pushed out of the city.
Budget priorities and taxes
In moving through the pandemic, Minneapolis residents, businesses and governments are going through tectonic shifts in the nature of work and our economy. The pandemic has resulted in lower fees collected and potential declines in downtown property values, which could have an impact on home property taxes. I am paying attention to these budget challenges.
At the same time, we as a city are receiving potentially transformative investments from the federal government. My priorities for investing this money align with what I have heard from residents. We need to invest in public safety, including economic security as the foundation of safety. That's why my holistic public safety plan includes housing and economic security as key investments for federal money. I will increase funding for our Office of Violence Prevention to $20 million and focus on young people and effective community safety approaches. In making all of these investments, I will center the need to undo unacceptable racial disparities in wealth, health, and income.
As a former state representative who served on both the finance and tax committees, I know our city budget relies on state funding. I will be an effective advocate for the truth that a successful Minnesota economy depends on a successful Minneapolis, and that includes state investment in our city.
Taxes are an investment we make in our shared life. We also need to be cognizant of the tradeoff of taxes getting too high for businesses and property owners on fixed incomes. I will push back against taxes reaching these levels.
We need an unabashed climate justice champion in the Mayor's office. While Minneapolis has done good work on climate change, it's not enough. Our mayor has not led. He did not mention climate change in his inaugural address. He has failed to use our Clean Energy Partnership effectively. Our city's climate action plan was last updated in 2013.
I've spent my career leading on climate. As a parent who kept my daughter inside because of bad air last summer, I know climate change is a health and safety issue. Our water infrastructure is not climate-ready. As mayor, I will make Minneapolis a national leader on climate change. Minneapolis is more than ready.
I will update the city's climate action plan in my first year, increasing our ambition to align with what science demands. I will use the tools of the mayor's office to deliver on the ambition of our city's transportation action plan. We will put environmental justice at the center, reducing pollution in neighborhoods overburdened by unhealthy air. We will create our city's first climate resilience plan, while actively undoing the racial injustice in our city's geography that makes redlined neighborhoods 10 degrees hotter than non-redlined neighborhoods on hot days.
I'll also mobilize public and private sector resources to go block by block to weatherize, insulate, and electrify homes and businesses rather than asking individual property owners to figure it out themselves. I'll prioritize creating economic opportunity for communities of color through good-paying climate jobs and clean energy ownership.
What I hear from city residents is that more than concern about any single issue in our city, people are desperate for competent leadership in city hall. Each of us can remember the fear and anxiety we felt in the days following the murder of George Floyd, when our city felt out of control and rudderless. Without steady mayoral leadership to help us find our way through.
In the months since, the absence of mayoral leadership is palpable. We've seen increased division and an inability to make real progress. Still, we are in a potentially transformative moment. We are reckoning with racial injustice, moving through a pandemic, confronting the climate crisis, all while our democracy is more precarious than ever.
This campaign has made me more certain Minneapolis has what it takes to meet this moment. Yes, the divides in our city are real. But underneath them is something we deeply share. We love this city, and we are more than willing to do what it takes to make it better.
As your mayor, my promise to you is that I will do the job with courage. And I will ask every person in the city to step forward into the joyful, hard work of building our city with this same courage. I am committed to real change and have the skill and experience in government to deliver on it. I know we are ready to bring about our best days in Minneapolis. Let's do it together.
Party: Socialist Workers Party
Lives in: Nokomis
Working people need to demand the prosecution of every cop who brutalizes or kills us. The overwhelming majority of cops always get off scot-free. At the same time, workers must be vigilant of the state running roughshod over due process. We must jealously guard protections we need against the state, no matter who is in the defendant's chair.
"Defunding" the police could only deepen disregard for the most crime-ridden working-class areas in the city – already their lowest-priority. Workers need the rule of law. Without it, gangs and vigilantes fill the gap. Workers have no interest in phony police reform schemes. Under the profit-driven system of capitalism, the police are a repressive institution of class rule. Their job is to protect capitalist property and keep workers in line, doubly so for those who are Black and other oppressed people. Workers are rightly concerned with anti-social violence within our communities. It breeds fear and demoralization. It saps our confidence and tears at social solidarity. It spreads the infection of capitalist dog-eat-dog morality.
In face of this, working people must hold ourselves to the highest standards of dignity and working-class morality. We need to do what Malcolm X advocated: wake up to our worth, which will happen as we collectively act against all manifestations of exploitation and oppression.
As we transform ourselves through class-struggle experiences, we will be able to fight to replace the dictatorship of capital with workers power, and with that their police and criminal "justice" system.
Housing should be a basic human right available to all. But under capitalism the land itself and the housing that sits upon it are commodities that are bought, sold, and rented for a profit. Under capitalism, housing is subject to the dog-eat-dog ruthlessness of the market. Millions of workers are denied decent, affordable housing.
Rent control can be a stopgap measure for a few. But it doesn't touch the heart of the problem. The solution to this problem, like every problem facing working people, starts with the recognition that it is class against class. We must begin with fighting the bosses for higher wages and giving solidarity to workers involved in strikes and other struggles. As we carry out such battles, we will become better fighters and will develop confidence in our organized power. We can be transformed into the makers of history instead of victims. Our unions need to fight for a massive public works program that will employ millions at union-scale wages building housing, schools, roads, hospitals. We will need to fight to nationalize the land and housing stock in order to take these resources out of the grasp of the capitalists and place them under the control of working people.
Ultimately, we need to bring an end to the rents and mortgages system as we bring workers and farmers to power. Only then can housing be organized to meet the needs of the vast majority of humanity instead of the propertied rulers.
Budget priorities and taxes
The Socialist Workers Party candidates believe that the burden of taxes should be lifted from working people. Regressive taxes, such as gas and sales taxes which fall hardest on the lowest-paid workers, should be eliminated. Above all workers must organize to organize and strengthen unions, higher wages, workers control of production and safety on the job, and solidarity with any workers' battle across the country and the world. We pledge to use our platform and our office to advance these fights.
Only the working classes can lead humanity to confront the causes of environmental destruction. It is the dog-eat-dog competition for profits and markets that drive the ruling capitalist families to wreak destruction on the sources of all wealth: labor and nature.
Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes wrote in Capitalism's World Disorder, "If we translate everything commonly thought of as an environmental issue into how to advance the protection of the working class, and how the working class can extend that projection to all, then we can hardly ever go wrong. With that approach, we will increase the possibilities for concrete solidarity in fighting against ecological abuses and outrages."
We must recognize that the actual source of the threats to civilization is the capitalist system itself. The working class's organization, confidence and awakening to its worth are steps along the road to building a movement that will replace the dictatorship of capital with workers power and open the possibility to build a socialist world.
Unsafe working conditions on the job, inadequate incomes, the housing crisis, police brutality, racist discrimination, attempts to pit workers against each other in the face of economic instability. All these manifestations of the way the capitalist system works point to a simple truth: It's class against class.
We must organize to defend ourselves as a class. We need to use our unions to fight for control of production and safety. Our unions need to break with the bosses' two parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Workers need our own party. Not just another electoral party intervening in their arena, but a fighting party of labor operating in the arena of real politics where the struggles of class against class take place. Such a party today could lead our class in organizing solidarity with workers' battles, from the striking Warrior Met coal miners in Alabama to the Nabisco workers on the picket lines in five states. A labor party can lead our class and its allies, millions strong, to overturn capitalist rule and take political power into our own hands.
A workers and farmers government will be a powerful instrument in the fight to put an end to exploitation, violence, racial discrimination, and the dog-eat-dog competition inherent in the capitalist system. We can open the way to building a world based on human solidarity, creativity, and the recognition of the worth of every individual, regardless of sex, national origin, or skin color. A socialist world.
Lives in: Central
Occupation: Policy organizer
When I was board president of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association, I saw that crime happens when people don't have their basic needs met through our social systems. If we want to build safety, we need to make sure everyone has their basic needs met, and we have safe options for people to call when they need help. For years, we have defunded education, healthcare, and services for seniors, while pouring money into policing, prisons, and jails. As a policy organizer, I have already helped the city establish the Office of Violence Prevention, and mobile mental health response teams.
As mayor, I will invest more in public safety than any other mayoral candidate. I support the Amendment for a new Department of Public Safety, which is a department that almost every other city in Minnesota uses. Under my administration, the department will have fully funded emergency response through 911 that includes EMS, mental health professionals, fire, domestic violence advocates, and police, if necessary. It will also include a fully funded 311 resident assistance including support on: traffic & parking, property & damage complaints, and connection to city services like housing and labor protections. We're only safe when everyone feels safe, and that's why I will push for a census-style community engagement program to craft additional services for safety that are rooted in racial justice.
We must develop a new approach to housing across the city that sets people up to succeed and stay in safe, dignified housing and supports small businesses by protecting them from the harms of gentrification. Rent control is a critical component of that new approach. Over half of our fellow Minneapolis neighbors are renters and I am one of them. I have been renting in Minneapolis for the last 12 years, and know what it's like to have to move because the rent is too expensive, or the landlord won't fix broken appliances or deal with pests. Over the past four years, we've seen an explosion in unsheltered homelessness and many people of color have been displaced out of the city due to skyrocketing rents.
As mayor, I will support rent control policies that help more people get into and stay in Minneapolis homes. I support a 3% annual limit on rent increases (in line with inflation or the consumer price index), with attention paid to loopholes, such as rent control being tied to a tenant instead of a unit. As mayor, I will also budget for a tenant protection board, and a general increase in renter protections through the tenant navigators program, HomeLine, guaranteed legal representation for evictions, and contracts with community groups that educate renters about their rights.
We need to prioritize safety, public health, and youth programs, all of which are interconnected, and will create a more resilient city. Currently, low and middle income homeowners are being hit the hardest with property taxes, while wealthier residents are paying a much smaller portion of their income. In my job, I analyze the city budget to see what we're spending money on, and how it helps or hurts the most vulnerable in our city. Through my work I know that we have enough resources, but we need to spend them better. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated problems in our city from years of unchecked racial inequality and exploitation of low-wage workers and our healthcare. We must use our resources to address the root causes of violence and harm by investing in housing, youth programming, and solutions to the opioid crisis as the scale those programs need to be successful. We currently allocate $2.1M on Stable Homes Stable Schools to help homeless youth, but spend $3.1M on the canine unit alone. I believe we should move to zero base budgeting and biannual budget cycles, which will help city staff spend more time implementing programming, and give residents more time to get involved in the budget process alongside participatory budgeting. As mayor, I will treat the city budget as a moral document, investing in life-affirming institutions and public safety.
Minneapolis should be a regional leader in addressing climate change and prioritizing environmental justice. As mayor, I will work with BIPOC communities to stop heavy industry polluters, especially those along the Mississippi River and the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, from harming our health. We can replace them with green jobs that benefit the communities that have been harmed by years of environmental racism. I support projects like the East Phillips Indoor Urban Farm, and will work with the neighborhood and council to ensure that program succeeds. I'm also interested in starting green jobs programs including municipal sidewalk shoveling, which will have multiple benefits, including reducing our use of salt, and making our neighborhoods more accessible in the winter, and encouraging transit use. Finally, I will use the 2024 energy negotiations to fight for more green energy options for Minneapolis.
Thousands of Minneapolis residents, especially Black, brown, and Indigenous people took to the streets last summer because we were tired of our voices not being heard by elected officials. That's why, as mayor, I will make changes to bring more people into the democratic process. My leadership style follows the teachings of Ella Baker, a powerful civil rights activist who cultivated leader-ful organizations. I believe that everyone should have a role in how our city is run. As mayor, I will push for $10M of participatory budgeting. And working class people and people on fixed incomes shouldn't have to choose between paying bills and having their voice heard. As mayor, I will push that the city provide stipends and free childcare for the over 700 volunteer community advisory positions at the city. From the streets to the spreadsheets, I will be a mayor who leads alongside the people.
Lives in: Powderhorn
According to the Minneapolitans I have spoken with, Public Safety means something different to almost everyone. If voters decide they want to replace Minneapolis Police Department, the new agency should include Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Public Housing, housing1st, Stable Homes Stable Schools, Sex Trafficking Outreach, Domestic Violence Outreach, Addiction Counseling, Domestic Terror Interrupters, food emergencies, public health, mental health, and general resources, Family Unification, Youth and Young Adult Outreach and Engagement, Environmental Protection, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and of course, law enforcement as well as any other service residents say they need to feel safe in our City. Everything you need to live and sustain a healthy and safe environment. I am not an expert on the number of officers needed so I will lean on our Chief/Commissioner and Community input to decide what is needed and necessary to adequately provide safety to residents across our city.
Rent control is a vitally important issue right now in the city of Minneapolis. Even more importantly is our situation with our brothers and sisters laying on our streets without shelter. We have to have an unconditional housing first initiative with wraparound social services helping people get on their feet with jobs programs and other opportunities. We also have to have real affordable housing that is individualized. What may be affordable to you may not be affordable to me. What may be affordable to me may not be affordable to you. Affordable housing has to be individualized based on the individuals income not to exceed 30%. Minneapolis is reported to have over 6,000 homeless youth which the pandemic has only exacerbated. We will fully fund Stable Homes Stable Schools to include all Minneapolis schools starting with the 100 Minneapolis Public Schools and not just the 18 MPS it currently serves. Affordable Homeownership grants will allow us to decrease the demand for rental property and as a result bring the cost of rent down so that owners can still get people to rent from them at affordable rates.
Budget priorities and taxes
Our budget priorities as our city recovers from the coronavirus pandemic would be education investments, youth and young adult outreach and engagement investments, community outreach and engagement investments, family unification investments, housing and homeownership investments, small business and small business ownership investments, environmental protection investments, and Public safety investments. We will need money to pay for all of this so I would like some of it to come from doubling our current tax rate and cutting that new tax rate in half for owner occupied homes as well as cutting it in half for locally owned businesses. The people of Minneapolis and the people that truly love and are committed to our city and its residents including our children and families must come first and that will start January 3, 2022!
To address the impacts of climate change in Minneapolis, we will deeply invest in renewable energy mainly hydrogen power. We will start with partnering with Metro transit to purchase a small fleet of hydrogen powered buses that will not only produce absolutely no CO2 emissions but it will also help clean the CO2 already in our air. I spoke with metro transit last week and they just received $4 million for electric buses from the federal government so we will petition for additional funds allotted for hydrogen power going forward. We will also partner with Toyota to bring their Toyota Mirai to Minneapolis and they have pledged for each Minneapolis resident to receive three years' worth of free fuel. They already have the program going in California, we can do it here in Minneapolis too. The electric car averages 100 miles on a single charge and the Marai is said to average 300 miles pwr single charge and it also produces absolutely no CO2 but instead helps pull the current CO2 out of our air. 200 years ago the idea of airplanes sounded crazy yet here we are! We can do this too. Let's go Minneapolis!
Current issues that are most pressing in our city our homelessness because again we have brothers and sisters sleeping on the streets, addiction counseling and resources, youth and young adult outreach, literacy with a reported 4 out of 6 students reading below grade level, violence being committed by individuals with firearms so we will partner with Crime Stoppers to offer a $1 million reward for the shooters in the cases of Prince Ladavionne Jr., Princess Aniya, or Princess Trinity and we will keep that $1 million reward in place going forward in hopes to prevent future homicides from taking place in our City. Also work to partner with gun ammunition manufacturers. They currently engrave their name on each bullet and we will work to have a serial number engraved on those same bullets that has to be bought with the state ID so when we find a bullet shell we will know exactly who bought it and be able to go directly to their doorstep.
Lives in: North Minneapolis
I don't believe that Minneapolis voters will vote in favor of that ballot amendment. I have a list of policy changes I would implement, but I would start with setting the standard of not allowing "The driving while Black" concept to be acceptable in law enforcement practices. That would be a start to more equitable law and enforcement.
I support a property tax cutting approach to enact rental measures that gives relief to renters and give property owners revenue in the form of tax credits to maintain repairs and home improvement projects.
Budget priorities and taxes
The city of Minneapolis is extremely over-taxed. I plan to cut all city taxes dramatically, from property taxes to taxes on tobacco products. I also plan to conduct a full audit of all city spending of all departments in search of added 'of'waste and fraud in the budget.
I support to continue to implement new technologies in clean energy that can meet our energy needs and make our energy needs and use cleaner.
The extreme spike in violent crime, car jackings, theft/home robberies, restoring commerce and public safety to downtown Minneapolis, the damage of city COVID-19 mandates and restrictions to small businesses, out of control rent rates, the lack of youth engagement initiatives, and the territorialism of city municipalities are all issues that are all priorities of my campaign. What I will do to address all these concerns cannot be articulated within the 250-word limit.
Kevin "No Body" Ward
Lives in: Willard-Hay
Occupation: Disabled veteran (U.S. Army, ret.)
I don't see the sense in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I would ideally like to decriminalize minor drug crimes, i.e. possession of what is deemed to be a "personal use" amount. I don't want to punish people for having a disease. As for selling, especially opiates, and benzodiazepines, and also any dealer that "spike the punch" would be charged with attempted murder, unless there is reason to believe there was an overdose, in that case they will be prosecuted for murder 2, if not 1. I would like to see an increase in funding for police in our city. I would hire more force, but without lethal weapons, i.e. rubber bullets, tasers, bean bag shotgun shells, riot shields. No cs gas, as it can melt contact lenses to the cornea, usually resulting in irreparable blindness. Pro tip: Wear your glasses or forgo corrective lenses entirely when you go to protests.
Budget priorities and taxes
Taxes are always going to catch up in the cost of paying out benefits with money that didn't previously exist prior to being deposited into an account. We could do away with taxes entirely, by coming to the inarguable conclusion: MONEY ISN'T REAL!!! You can have 90% of my salary as Mayor, back into the cities budget. I don't need much for myself. I'm only taking the 10% to cover what my potential losses for discontinuing my SSDI payments. I can imagine hearing the phrase, "Your money is no good here" in local businesses if you insist that every person in the city know that you're the mayor and you're here with us "normal people," kissing the babies, trying to remember what their Party Party, meet "your" "executive assistants," told them trying to "decide" between reality.
I believe that climate change is a natural phenomenon, part of a cycle of the Earth. I don't think there is conclusive data on the matter of the plagues and scurrying and scampering as it purifies itself of the vast majority of its parasitic, inhabitants, by hitting the button on the system.
Although the issue may seem fairly moot, I even think it to be so, the law enforcement officers could benefit to re-introduce themselves as the friendly neighborhood names. Beat cops, boots on ground 24/7 in places known for the potential of violent crimes themselves, but knowing the rubber bullet/taser that were highly unlikely to kill, they would be used without hesitation, with the lowest level of force necessary for the situation. I am of the opinion that when a law enforcement officer takes a suspect's life, they deny the perpetrator their 6th Amendment Right to a fair trial. We will also teach hand-to-hand maneuvers that can prevent the suspect from hurting them, and without even hurting a suspect and successfully restricting their mobility in a way that allows the officer to quickly apply restraints. Zip-Tie, dual ratcheting restraints not only allow for a more comfortable and better restraint while also being more comfortable for the detainee as well.
Lives in: Morris Park
Occupation: Union commercial driver
We need more police officers and reforms to the department. I would like to fully staff the MPD with officers that have been better trained in the art of de-escalation tactics, work more closely with our community, and ideally live within our city limits. Additional policing reforms should involve the use of more trained social workers and mental health experts to respond to calls that are not life threatening. I would like our officers to be more approachable, beat cops and policing on bicycles and horseback will go a long way towards reaching that goal.
Finally I would like to explore starting JR Cadet academies in our high schools so our kids can explore policing and form relationships with the officers.
As I've studied the issue for the last couple months, I've decided that it's not in the best interest of Minneapolis. I truly believe that the 2040 plan that the city is following is working and we need to continue to see if it keeps working.
Unfortunately, the city council is currently approving too many building variances, developers are not providing enough parking for these new buildings, height restrictions are not being observed and more affordable units need to be built.
I think to have affordable rent, the city needs to continue building new apartment homes and converting existing unused commercial space into affordable housing.
Budget priorities and taxes
I would do everything in my power to hold the line on our tax rate. Our current mayor and the city council have done a sub-par job of allocating our city's money. Because of their poor response to the 2020 riots, Minneapolis sustained $350 million in property damage and they've only paid out $5 million in relief to small businesses and renters. They continue to slash the budget of our police department, lowering the amount of officers and their morale, along with creating unsafe streets that have lost another $42 million in property values. To add insult to injury, the current administration is going to increase the property tax by 5.75% in 2021 to make the homeowners of Minneapolis pay for the city's mistakes.
As mayor, my priorities with the budget will be to refund a reformed MPD and to provide additional assistance to small businesses and affordable housing.
Minneapolis' climate action plan put into action back in 2013 has been a resounding success, and I plan to continue to lead that plan forward while building on to it! Greenhouse gasses dropped 17% in 2018 compared to 2006 levels, Target Field is one of greenest stadiums in America, and is the envy of other teams in the MLB, our city's buildings are producing 58% less carbon emissions compared to 2008.
My pet project would be to get the flooding under control with Lake Hiawatha and Lake Nokomis. I've met with a talented architect who has designed a structure that will solve this issue and save the historic Hiawatha Golf Course! It is called the Hiawatha project, and I'm excited to help this exciting and innovative project become a reality.
I think one of the biggest problems with my beloved city is its morale. We've been hit with everything but the kitchen sink since 2020 and it's time to move forward. As mayor, I will not allow our city to be a punchline any longer. I will refund and reform our police department, I will reenergize our business community with more financial assistance from the city and decrease restrictions. Finally I will renew our quality of life with safe streets, revitalized parks, more choices for affordable housing, more bus routes, a land back initiative to give our Indigenous people a park to build more housing and businesses on, and I'll do all that with a balanced budget that will allocate city funds properly.
City Council - Ward 1
The First Ward lies in the northeast corner of the city. It includes Audubon Park, Columbia Park, Como, Holland, Logan Park, Marshall Terrace, Mid-City Industrial, Northeast Park, Waite Park and Windom Park.
Calvin L. Carpenter
Party: Veterans Party of Minnesota
Citizens of Minneapolis defund the Minneapolis police will only cause more issues and problems. We have the right to ask for police reform and start doing a better qualification of Police officers that are living in that areas of each district. Better police training and getting the people to work together. The trust issue caused by bad apples on the force and mishandling should be reported. The answer to the problem in the community and Minneapolis Police should be working together by having monthly meetings in each neighborhood to discuss issues on hand who working in that district. The city of Minneapolis has to do better at policing our neighborhoods. Trust on both sides makes a good balance of teamwork for safety.
Minneapolis rent is out of control and nothing isn't being fixed for safety reasons. Rent owners are raising the rent for no reason at all. The reason for rent control is to stop rental places from overcharging the rental people cant afford it. Yes, it should be a cap on rental places. Most of the places rental owners the places isn't up to par nor in good shape for high rent prices. The cost of rent should go up every other 5 years. Make rent affordable for those who are in need of a place to live. No one shouldn't have to struggle to pay for a rental especially doing crazy times like this. We have to start working together to fix these issues and start communicating on both ends.
The City of Minneapolis tax rates is too high. A lot of this is uncaused for tabs shouldn't cost this much. We're being taxed on gas, cellphone bills, utility bills, goods, and services at an all-time high. Taxes should be lowered and especially property tax should be canceled. You have to ask yourself … Why aren't our roads and highways aren't being fixed on time? Taxes should be lower to fit the Taxpayer' needs in the convince of their families and communities and small business owners. Why can't we switch over to consumable tax? We have to say no to high taxes.
This pandemic has kept people indoors and stopping them from making money due to restrictions. We have to start giving the people the options if they want to work or get back into being healthy again so they can start helping their families to get back on track. This pandemic has caused a lot of stress and some have lost their lives to it. This in terms caused a lot of small business owners to lose their companies due to restrictions that have been put on them and the loss of employees etc. The citizens of Minneapolis have not been helped enough. We have to start helping everyone through these hard times.
One of the biggest subjects we don't talk about is the family structure of the Black community. Black on Black crime and the racial issues that are plaguing Minneapolis. Racial profiling and parents not being in their children's lives to build a social structure in the homes. No father in the home is the major cause of this. These are things I can fix and keep working on throughout the Twin Cities. There are no programs for fathers that are trying to be in their kids' lives for them to become better citizens. Child support is the biggest killer of the nuclear family etc. There is no program for fathers to have any part of their kid's lives. The court system doesn't help the issues that are causing this to go on.
We need a better educational system for our youth and also put the prayer back into schools. Restore faith in the citizens of Minneapolis. We have put aside the racial issues and start working together and start sharing ideas with our communities. We economics to build Minneapolis for the future and not the past. We can start the climate change we can start preparing weather issues by updating our technology. We need better resources to prepare it. We better center for mental issues for people that going through hard times. We have no help for the homeless which is beyond me. These are the things I can work on to become a city council for Minneapolis. We have to start answering to the people of Minneapolis.
Lives in: Audubon
Basic good governance requires that we establish the Department of Public Safety. When residents of our city call for help, they should get the right help, from the right professional, right away. City data shows that the overwhelming majority of residents' calls for help do not require an armed response. More often than not, residents would be better served if we dispatched mental health counselors, social workers, or addiction counselors.
As we build up the city's capacity to respond to emergency calls with other, more qualified professionals, we can reduce the number of police that we employ. As we invest more in violence prevention and alternative responses grounded in a public health approach, we can make significant reductions to the size of our police force over time. But the right number of police will be context dependent. The greater our investment in more qualified and appropriate professionals, the less we'll rely on police who are ill-suited to dealing with so many of the issues our community faces.
If the charter amendment fails, we'll be deeply constrained in the actions we can take to hold our police accountable and eliminate abusive and racially discriminatory practices. Our current charter language is just one obstacle; we also have to fight to change state laws that make real accountability nearly impossible and make changes to the contracts the city negotiates with the police union. Establishing the Department of Public Safety is the most realistic path forward we have for better public safety.
Most people who live in our city are renters. Even though renters make up the majority of Minneapolis residents, our city policies tend to reflect the interests of homeowners and especially the interests of landlords. In neighborhood organization meetings and at city hall, renters are often talked about as if they are not full members of our community—as if renting means they don't care about their neighborhoods or build lasting relationships with neighbors. This false stereotype is the justification for prioritizing the interests of property owners, and we need our elected leaders to say clearly that renters are equal participants in creating our neighborhoods.
Equal participation will mean creating strong protections that ensure renters are treated fairly by landlords and protected from arbitrary eviction and excessive rent increases that price them out of their homes. That's why I support rent stabilization (AKA rent control), just cause protection, pre-eviction notification requirements, TOPA, and city-funded legal services for those facing eviction. I favor rent stabilization policies that cap annual rent increases and apply to the property, not the renter. We need rent stabilization that doesn't incentive landlords to find specious reasons to push renters out so they can increase rents. Applying control to the property and not the renter reduces that risk.
It's important to note that rent control isn't on the ballot this November. Voters are only being asked whether the council can consider rent stabilization policies. Voting for the charter amendment only begins a conversation about rent stabilization.
Budget priorities and taxes
The pandemic, housing, climate, and policing crises are exacerbating the longstanding inequalities that have come to define our city. We're not going to make progress when it comes to any of the serious problems we're facing without dramatically changing how we're spending city dollars.
Currently, about a third of the money that Minneapolis takes in from taxpayers goes to a police department we know harms communities of color. Report after report shows they target Black folks, Indigenous people, and immigrants for unnecessary stops and searches and use violence against them at rates wildly disproportionate compared to the use of force against whites. We cannot continue to spend a third of our tax dollars on a system that perpetuates these abuses.
We need to free up those dollars and put them into programs to support small businesses, immigrant-owned businesses, and businesses harmed by the uprising. We need to invest heavily in climate mitigation strategies, to deal with the effects of climate change we're already experiencing. We need serious investments in housing, both public and affordable. Decades of redlining and racially discriminatory lending practices created a massive wealth gap in our city. We must take action to repair that harm by putting money into programs that support homeownership in communities of color. That might require some new tax dollars, but first I think we should reallocate the money we're already taking in to programs that will build a safer, more just and more equitable city.
Climate action is often portrayed as prohibitively expensive. But the truth is just the opposite –the cost of inaction is unimaginatively high. With every new report, the urgency of the climate crisis becomes increasingly clear. Inaction will result in the deaths of millions by the end of the century, and a complete collapse of our economic system as we know it. Transforming our energy, transportation, food, and industrial systems is necessary to protect human life in Minneapolis and abroad.
Fortunately, there are innumerable ways to mitigate these harms, while improving health, safety, and abundance for everyone. Adopting exclusively renewable electricity before 2030, fully funding Metro Transit to make fares free for everyone, expanding mixed-use zoning to combat urban sprawl and improve accessibility, and mobilizing rapid climate response funds to respond to extreme weather events are just a few of the policies I will champion on city council. Because every policy has a climate impact, and climate change affects the success of every policy, I'll encourage the adoption of a "climate in all policies" framework that analyzes the climate impact of every proposed policy.
The city of Minneapolis released its last climate plan in 2013, and since then the need for climate action has only increased. Decades of racial segregation have left communities of color disproportionately exposed to higher temperatures, aging infrastructure, and poor air quality. To address these inequalities, we need a new city climate action plan that prioritizes environmental justice and repairs these legacies of harm.
One of the most significant issues we're facing right now is the ongoing housing crisis. This crisis is only going to get worse, now that the eviction moratorium is ending while only a small percentage of the money available to renters to help pay their back rent has been distributed. Even before the pandemic, many of our neighbors were forced out of their homes and into encampments. As evictions ramp up, we're going to see more folks forced out of their homes and likely more encampments throughout the city.
The housing crisis demonstrates that all of the issues we're facing as a city are interconnected. We got ourselves into this mess by prioritizing the interests of developers and landlords over the interests of working-class people. Our zoning and land use policies have prioritized sky-rocketing property values for homeowners over ensuring there's housing for everyone. The folks who are most likely to be cost-burdened, evicted, or without homes are the same folks our city policies regularly fail: low-income folks, hourly workers, BIPOC communities, and LGBTQ+ folks.
We are not going to get out of this crisis by focusing exclusively on developing more affordable housing units. We need deep investments in public housing. We need to incentivize the development of less traditional housing like Single Room Occupancy and Accessory Dwelling Units. We need to invest in programs to increase homeownership in communities of color to begin repairing the harm that has led to the racial wealth gap in our city.
Lives in: Windom Park
Occupation: Current Ward 1 City Council member
I do not support the current public safety charter amendment because it was hastily created without being forged in the usual process of thorough planning, feedback, and iteration that major public policies require for sound implementation and actual efficacy to achieve the goals stated.
If the charter does not pass, I support substantial reforms to better facilitate a robust social worker and mental health professional co-responder system alongside a variety of community initiatives and fully developing a truly comprehensive approach to public safety that includes all relevant safety and health-related departments. If the charter amendment passes, we must create a truly comprehensive public safety structure that includes all safety and health-related divisions and not solely focused on eliminating or shrinking one department.
Additionally, if a health-centric approach to public safety fully coordinates all resources to those objectives; given the County's role and resources in the public health sector, the city should revisit previous discussions that would combine the two health divisions, similar to what St. Paul and Ramsey county have. The number of MPD personnel should be commemorated with the expected workload which may, to some yet to be determined degree, be reduced by other first responders. We have five precincts, three shifts, and a range of effective specialized people (co-responders, CRT, Mainstreet beat patrol, CPS, etc.) that need to be deployed based on area and call load.
I do not support strict rent control. I definitely support rent stabilization. I am committed to working on a set of policy options with a range of stakeholders to create protections that eliminate price-gauging and other undue displacements from occurring.
Budget priorities and taxes
We must invest in the communities that were hit hardest by COVID. We cannot allow this pandemic to undo years of progress in underserved communities. Many of the most impactful social programs focus on the youth. The pandemic had a disproportionate impact on these programs as children no longer were in school or extracurricular activities. Small businesses do not have the financial reserves that large corporations have and thus were shaken more so by the pandemic. Small businesses are what drive the economy of ward 1 and deserve the support of those who they serve; so here is a primary target for support. I've always held that the tax levy should be tied to inflation and if that's not the number keeping it as close to that as possible is the goal.
I started my career as an environmental activist almost 25 years ago. I was drawn to environmental work because I saw firsthand how detrimental environmental issues can be for a community. I worked to clean up the industrial waste in NE and helped clean the Mississippi. Since then, I have continued to incorporate environmentalism into everything that I do. I have pushed for green housing, green manufacturing, and green development in my community. This can be seen in the new Edison Green campus and housing initiatives such as Hook and Ladder, the nation's first Passive Certified affordable apartment. Climate change is an existential crisis, and we cannot leave this problem for the next generation. We must institute environmentally sound policy at a local level if we ever want to make a real impact on the trajectory of our climate.
Systemic inequality has plagued this city for far too long. The current conversation about inequality is rightfully centered around public safety but fails to address the underlying causes of crime and inequality. To address inequality in a substantive way we must focus on improving not only our public safety system, but also our public education system, jobs training, and youth-centered social programs, and inclusive entrepreneur and business initiatives. The future can best be determined by the skilled green workforce of the future and the city can play a leading and crucial role to foster that.
Did not participate: Thomas E. Wortman.
City Council - Ward 2
The Second Ward stretches across the Mississippi River, on the eastern side of the city. Neighborhoods in this ward include Southeast Como, Cooper, Longfellow, Prospect Park, Seward, West Bank/Cedar Riverside and University District
Lives in: Longfellow
Occupation: Director of government relations at Students United
Whether the voters decide to replace the Minneapolis Police Department or not, we need to create a comprehensive system of public safety in our city that is rooted in empathy, community, and service. We have had over a year to create a comprehensive plan for what comes next, but due to hyperpolarization and ineffective governance we are at a standstill. To move our city forward, it will take leaders who understand that compromise and collaboration are strengths, not weaknesses.
We need a public safety system that prioritizes access to mental health care, social workers, and funding for crime prevention and youth engagement, in addition to the traditional police officer role. The number of traditional police officers should be determined by need, as should the number of social workers, housing providers, and transit workers. We should not set arbitrary numbers. We need to use our resources in the most efficient way possible, using disaggregated data to create effective policy around policing, housing, transit, and other city services.
Additionally, public safety is more than just police officers and social workers. We need to expand access to education and economic opportunity. We need to invest in our communities to provide pathways out of poverty. Programs like Stable Homes Stable Schools are just the beginning, and we should be working with our schools and communities to support our children so that we can finally end the cycle of desperation and violence that has plagued our city for far too long.
We are in the midst of a housing crisis and tackling this problem at all angles is important when creating systems to eliminate homelessness, increase access to deeply affordable housing, and ensure our neighbors have equal and equitable access to meeting their basic needs.
There have been unintended consequences of rent control that we need to take into consideration. It can lead to a reduction in new housing, inconsistent property owner incentives, reduced property values, reduced mobility, and can even make accessing safe, quality, deeply affordable housing more difficult. The premise of rent control seems simple and straightforward, but behind the curtain, these among other issues need to be incorporated into a stronger, more comprehensive plan.
If we do this incorrectly, the city could see a sharp decline in single-family rentals, which will have an adverse effect on our most vulnerable, low-income families. We need to be able to address the inequitable spike in rent increases, while also closing all the loopholes we've seen this policy have in other cities it has been implemented in. We cannot take any shortcuts when addressing the housing crisis. We need strong, sustainable solutions. Until we can solve this larger issue, we should provide targeted assistance to renters who need help and continue to work with state and local partners to provide affordable housing tax credits and work with the federal government to increase funding for public housing.
Budget priorities and taxes
We need to focus on investing in the individuals and businesses that have been most harmed by the pandemic. We need to invest in local businesses, essential workers, kids, and families to build a foundation for the future. As we look forward, we cannot continue to inflate the cost of home ownership through property taxes to solve our problems, because this creates more unintended consequences. It solidifies the homeownership gap between our white and BIPOC neighbors, leads to increased gentrification, and pushes fixed income individuals and families out of our communities. Our city is strong, but we cannot solve all our problems alone. We need strong partnerships with the county, the state, and the federal government to address the deep, complex, intersectional issues our city faces, and we need leaders who understand that their role needs to extend beyond city hall if we want to build a stronger Minneapolis for generations to come.
As we address climate change, we need to focus solutions on those who are most harmed by structural and environmental racism. We must also take an environmental justice approach to sustainability and clean energy, and we need to engage our communities in the process of creating green infrastructure across our city. Shifting to green energy and investing in sustainability will create jobs and expand the green workforce.
One way I want to help address climate change and help Minneapolis reach its green energy goals is to make green energy and energy-efficient upgrades more accessible to working-class homeowners and renters. One way is to create a "pay-as-you-save" program through an inclusive financing model that doesn't require upfront capital to install green energy upgrades. We must also continue to fight against the energy monopolies as they block access to the energy grid for local community solar programs. Local programs, like community solar and inclusive financing for energy-efficient upgrades, in conjunction with state and federal investment, will help our city reach our climate action goals.
I also believe in investing in grants for energy efficiency improvements for local businesses and city departments through solar energy, lighting retrofits, and energy-efficient equipment, and pushing for inclusive financing so that everyone can access the energy-saving improvements they need. We also need to target vacant and unproductive properties for conversion to non-profit community food production and distribution centers, or locally owned, sustainability-based businesses.
Education, transportation, and supporting small businesses must be high priorities. Minnesota continues to be one of the worst states for BIPOC students. We need a sustainable solution to creating greater transportation access for residents, and our small businesses are still struggling to survive and/or rebuild following last year's civil unrest and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As a former teacher and current higher education lobbyist for Minnesota State university students, I've seen firsthand how the education disparities intersect with other disparities historically marginalized communities experience. This is why I believe so strongly in changing to a fully funded public community schools' model, in addition to establishing a Minnesota College Promise Program that will guarantee two years of tuition-free post-secondary education to Minneapolis students.
We also need more sustainable transit in our neighborhoods and across the city. We need to invest in electric shuttles, incentivize the construction of electric charging stations, and create a city that has multimodal transportation routes to connect our neighbors to their friends, jobs, parks, and schools.
My father and his brother owned a local grocery store in the small town where I grew up. Local businesses are near to my heart, and we need to do everything we can to support them. We need council members who understand the value that these businesses provide. They are not just a place to work, to get food, or to grab coffee, they are the backbone of our local economy, and they are an integral part of our communities.
Lives in: East Como
Occupation: Mental health practitioner
If voters approve the charter amendment to replace the MPD with a new Department of Public Safety, that new department should include, at a minimum, the following services:
- A law enforcement division that employs licensed police officers with an appropriate staffing level determined by something such as a workload-based assessment (versus per capita)
- An emergency communications division
- A traffic safety division
- A violence prevention division with a comparable scope to our existing Office of Violence Prevention
- A sexual and domestic violence division
- A community health and safety division that provides social service supports such as housing insecurity and homelessness response, mental health services, substance abuse services, food resources, and other resources and experts who can assist first responders with situations that require co-response, harm reduction support, short- and long-term assistance, and efforts to address upstream social determinants of crime and violence.
All the above, with the exception of a potential workload-based approach to determining police staffing, can be achieved without a charter amendment.
If the voters do not approve this year's charter amendment, the City Council and Mayor should work collaboratively to implement the same framework described above and then potentially pursue a charter amendment in 2022 to change only the per-capita staffing level requirement if necessary.
With that in mind, I do not support this year's public safety charter amendment because no clear plan has been presented therefore it has no nexus, articulated or otherwise, to better accomplish a sustainable framework for transforming our public safety systems.
I'm open to that as an option, and believe the voters have the right to decide if that tool should be available for the Council to use.
However, before we look at creating new avenues for our city, we must first address the immediate housing crises we are facing.
We need to:
- Blunt the mass eviction crisis that's looming due to the pandemic
- Ensure our housing insecure neighbors have pathways out of unsafe and unstable situations
- Preserve and produce affordable housing options throughout the city
- Strengthen renters' rights
- Create more equitable pathways to homeownership
Once we are at a more stable point, then we should look at all options available — including measures like rent control. We can and should look at cities that have tried similar measures to both identify the successes we can replicate, and familiarize ourselves with failures and unexpected shortfalls to ensure they aren't replicated in Minneapolis.
That should look like:
- Bringing community voices together — from renters to property owners and everyone in between — to find a path forward
- Listening to experts and examining all of the information so that we can understand what will work for Minneapolis
- Creating a phased approach, focusing first on prioritizing those most at risk of being taken advantage and then building out to a more robust system that won't cause unintended harm to those we are trying to help (similar to the phase-in process for the minimum wage)
Budget priorities and taxes
Our local economy has been through unprecedented turmoil over the last year and a half. Between a global pandemic and civil unrest, we need to work together to fully recover physically, emotionally, and financially.
My budget priorities for Minneapolis's economic recovery would be as follows:
- Public safety and violence interruption and prevention
- Housing and homelessness, social work, mental health, substance use, food resource, and other social services
- Small business assistance
- Preservation and production of affordable housing
- Rental assistance
- Essential worker recovery
- Infrastructure investments that will help us grow for the future such as transit, green infrastructure, development investments
When it comes to our current tax rates in the city, frankly, the money is there, we just need elected officials with the political will to maximize our taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers expect and deserve that their dollars are being invested wisely and in the ways that are the most beneficial to the advancement of our city and the prosperity of our residents.
We need to look at what our needs truly are as a city and evaluate what we currently have and how it is being used before we make decisions on raising or lowering tax rates in Minneapolis.
I would work to address the impacts of climate change by rigorously working to meet a commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 through such measures as:
- Investing in transit and green infrastructure development
- Expanding options for energy efficiency and renewable energy production targeted especially at Green Zones and BIPOC communities
- Investing in mobility hubs and other mechanisms that support increased mobility with fewer cars and less driving
- Making investments in green workforce development opportunities to provide employment and job training in coordination with partners like our incredible labor unions, especially for workers from underrepresented and underserved communities
Among the most pressing issues we need to address first at City Hall is our residents' rapidly and rightfully declining trust in our city leaders and government institutions — we must prioritize people over politics.
If we want to competently and comprehensively address the many urgent and extremely consequential issues we face as a city, we must prioritize building back trust between our communities and our institutions.
For me, that begins with creating more transparency and accountability measures within our systems and creating more accessibility to them. We need to seek out the voices of those who are the most impacted by the decisions being made at City Hall and listen to and collaborate with them — even when we may not agree — to create real and sustainable solutions. We need to put an end to the political gamesmanship and posturing we see between our current elected officials that creates extreme dysfunction and fails our residents. We also need to work with our governmental partners from the School Board to the Senate to holistically address the issues that we face here in Minneapolis but are beyond the purview of the Council.
I believe that if we start from a place of building trust and with a collaborative mindset, we will better serve our residents and move Minneapolis forward.
Guy T. Gaskin
Lives in: West Bank
Occupation: Information technology
As Minneapolis recovers and prospers, I'm for reaching the level of authorized police officers (888) whether voters decide to replace the MPD or not. Other services should be in other departments with more proficient triage, handoffs and collaboration. I would like to get a sense of the results from "Safety for All" for continued allocations to other Public Safety services.
No, Minneapolis should not have rent control. (I would take a closer look at Land Value Tax to encourage investment and home ownership, particularly in poorer neighborhoods.)
Budget priorities and taxes
My budget priorities would be for increasing safety and removing barriers to health, education, residency, employment, investment and tourism. The five year budget plan allows for a 20-32% property tax increase, well beyond typical inflation - I'd like to see projections for reductions or slowdowns in the future as recovery progresses. Perhaps a temporary sales/entertainment tax increase would be appropriate also, so that recovery funding is distributed between property owners and consumers.
There are volumes dedicated to this. Promote energy efficient buildings and enhancements (new builds, retrofit). Increase safety on the LRT/bus system. Increase shade coverage and reduce reflectivity (trees, rooftop gardens) and water retention. Rebatable tax for precaution measures for heat waves or floods (Armatage); civil engineering for flood protection. Encourage local and regional sourcing and even autonomy, reducing dependence on distant supply chains. Of course any of this has a cost. Arizona State University's "Technological, Social and Sustainable Systems" (CEE 181) is a great course.
- Ideological subversion, identity politics and intolerance. Here, ban CRT, BLM, Antifa and Feminism (not women's rights) from K-12, higher ed, government and business. They have no place in an American city of stature. The ever present threat of mob justice will have capital and talent flight to the suburbs if not out of state, and, be a deterrent to new interest.
- Tent communities. To be determined.
- Education. Arizona State University is running circles around the University of Minnesota for Innovation and accessibility. The U of MN should compete here. The Minneapolis School Board almost certainly needs some more oversight and engagement.
- Immigrants/Refugees. I'd look into the possibility of limiting numbers here as a percentage of domestic births. Minneapolis should be a great place to start and raise a family.
Party: Green Party
Lives in: Seward
Occupation: Current Ward 2 City Council member
As we all saw last year, with the murder of George Floyd and the unrest that horrific act caused, our public safety systems must fundamentally change, if they are to truly keep everyone in our city safe.
I have consistently fought to transform Minneapolis's approach to public safety, from authoring the first action that redefined violence as a public health crisis to helping craft last year's Safety for All budget, which created our new mobile behavioral health crisis teams. I was the first Council Member to call for fixing our broken Charter, and I strongly support Question 2.
Passage of Question 2 will allow us to take steps together to transform public safety. The new Department of Public Safety should include the behavioral health crisis teams, a new approach to traffic safety focused on driver behaviors that put people at risk rather than on using traffic stops as a pretext for racially discriminatory stops, a safety ambassador program modeled after the great work that union security guards have started downtown, and potentially our Office of Violence Prevention, which invests in proven public health interventions to prevent and disrupt cycles of violence. It could also include 911 and 311.
I believe we will continue to need licensed law enforcement, but with much stronger and better hiring practices, training, performance review and civilian oversight of those officers. This division of law enforcement should be demilitarized and used as needed within the larger implementation of an authentic model of community-centered safety.
Yes, Minneapolis should have a law that stabilizes rents and prevents price gouging by landlords. That's why I authored the Charter amendment that will empower the Council to adopt rent stabilization. I'm optimistic that people will vote yes, and that the next Council will quickly pass a strong rent stabilization policy. That policy should be informed by the work of the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) report that I helped secure the funding for in 2019. It clearly showed that the vast majority of landlords raise rents no more than two or three percent every year, but that there are major disparities in our rental market. Poor people and people of color are much more likely to face unexpected, unaffordable increases in rent.
This fall's ballot question is not about the details of a rent control policy, but about enabling us to consider and pass such a policy - which is preempted by state law without this charter change. Any rent stabilization law will have to pass the Council. That said, here are some details that I will be fighting for. We should not allow "de-control" at vacancy, because that has been shown in other cities to effectively trap people in their homes, even if they would like to move. We should require that any rent stabilized units that are removed for new development are replaced in the new building. Rents should be limited to a reasonable percentage increase, for example three percent per year.
Budget priorities and taxes
My budget priorities: public and affordable housing, building out our effective new system of public safety, rebuilding our city equitably, fighting climate change, investing in youth and families. We must use the public housing levy to the maximum extent to maintain, repair, and build new public housing. We must continue to invest in building new deeply affordable housing and preserving the affordable housing that already exists. We must invest in the small businesses and commercial corridors that were devastated by the pandemic, the recession it caused, and the unrest caused by the murder of George Floyd. And we should increase fees on carbon emissions, to reinvest those funds into equitably fighting climate change.
I believe that the current tax rates are about right, but that we should do more to ensure that taxes are progressive. That means that the wealthiest in our city, who have the most capacity to pay, should bear the greatest tax burden, and we should shift that burden away from low-income people, including renters. That is not as easy as just saying "tax the wealthy," because state law preempts local action on tax rates. Property tax class rates are set by the Legislature, which also sets sales taxes and income taxes. At this time the only part of the tax system the City controls is the size of the levy. Progress will require the City to make common cause with other Minnesota cities to fight at the Legislature for making our tax system more progressive.
Climate change is not coming, it is here. It is threatening the health of people all over the world, including here in Minneapolis. We must meet this enormous challenge with solutions at the same scale. That's why I authored our climate emergency declaration, created our environmental justice Green Zones, required landlords to disclose building energy use to tenants, committed the City to 100% renewable electricity, passed a Social Cost of Carbon to price in the cost of pollution, supported the 2040 Plan to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, led the City's position against Line 3 and for fossil fuel divestment, and much more. I am honored to be endorsed by environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club and MN350 Action.
I am the first Council Member and the first candidate I am aware of running for local office to call for a Green New Deal for Minneapolis. We need a massive level of investment in energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy, green district energy, and carbon-free transportation. We should pay for this by charging polluters, like our energy utilities, for the carbon they emit. We must ensure that low-income people don't see increases to their energy costs, and target the many co-benefits - in green jobs, healthier homes, and lower energy bills - to BIPOC communities, low income people, and Green Zones first. And as we take these steps to move away from fossil fuels, we must invest in resilience for our community, against the climate chaos that is already underway.
Addressing the homelessness crisis and meeting the needs of our youth are two critically important issues. As a member of the Youth Coordinating Board, I have worked with the School Board, Park Board, County and others to build programs that give our young people activities that enrich their lives, prevent them from becoming involved in violence, and help them find good jobs and fulfilling careers. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many of these programs, and I believe that contributed to the increase in youth violence over the past year. We need to follow through on our commitments to young people. We can do that through children's savings accounts and a universal basic income.
We also need to do more to ensure that every person in our city has a decent, safe place to live. I have worked hard to do this by authoring policies to limit evictions, allow shelters more flexibility to open, to allow intentional community cluster developments like the successful Indoor Villages project and Envision Community model, to re-legalize Single Room Occupancy, to respond to large-scale encampments with humane options like the Navigation Center, and to give incentives to new public and affordable housing as part of the 2040 Plan. But we must do more. We must ensure that every renter has access to an attorney when they face eviction. We must build more very low-barrier housing, build enough public housing, and embrace the housing-first model by supporting housing options designed for people suffering with drug addiction.
Robin Wonsley Worlobah
Party: Democratic Socialist
Lives in: Seward
Occupation: Labor organizer for statewide teachers union
My vision for public safety includes new city department with a large workforce of union employees: mental health workers, social workers, substance abuse counselors, and sexual violence counselors, all of whom prioritize the safety and wellness needs of residents.
As we build this new department, we must scale back our armed police force, providing mental-health and job-transition resources to former officers to reintegrate them into our communities and prevent them from causing further harm. We must demilitarize the police department, eliminate training that encourages officers to respond with deadly force to nonviolent situations, dismiss any officers with connections to white supremacist groups, and establish mechanisms for democratic civilian control of over all public safety workers.
You can read my full public safety plan on my website.
I strongly support rent control and believe a strong rent-control policy will alleviate financial burdens on renters and rein in the power of corporate developers and profit-driven landlords. To ensure that we have the strongest rent control policy possible, this new policy should include the recommendations made by Minneapolis United for Rent Control:
- Tie annual rent increases to inflation or the consumer price index;
- Apply rent control to all properties with rental licenses, regardless of age or size;
- Restrict the amounts of renovation and repair expenses that landlords can pass onto clients;
- Apply rent control to the property, rather than the tenant, to avoid price-hikes when people move out;
- Retroactively apply rent control to prices one year before its implementation to avoid price gouging;
- Ensure enforcement through a well-resourced renter protection board that empowers renters.
Budget priorities and taxes
Throughout the pandemic, residents have endured crises in housing, public safety, and public health. We've seen small businesses struggle daily. We've seen our frontline workers put their lives at risk and be denied basic protections to work for unlivable wages. Those who've been most impacted by the pandemic and these respective crises should have a say in our city's resource allocation. With this in mind, I will partner with community stakeholder groups, as I did with the People's Budget, to inform my budget priorities by holding participatory budgeting meetings. Additionally, I will advocate for leveraging ARPR funds and enacting fees upon corporate businesses to raise revenue with the goal of fully funding the New Department of Public Safety, and making maximum investments into public housing, small businesses, and frontline worker relief programs and initiatives.
When considering the city's tax rates, it's important to note that most of our city's public services are funded largely through taxes that largely come from working class residents. Many of these households have been financially crippled by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to make ends meet. That said, it's time to make sure that our city's largest corporations pay their fair share and to enact stronger tax measures on these businesses so that we can fully fund public services and programs, and lift the burden from working class resident's shoulders.
While I support Minneapolis' Climate Action Plan goals to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and 100% renewable energy by 2050, Minneapolis needs a Green New Deal. To address climate change and its effects locally, I hope to create thousands of living-wage union jobs through a major expansion of wind and solar power for Minneapolis' public utilities. I will also champion policies that will tax and enact fees on our city's most prominent corporate polluters, and use this revenue to create a Green Bank that will offer energy efficiency upgrades to all Minneapolis residents, regardless of their income or credit status.
Additionally, I will fight to massively expand Minneapolis's public transit system, make it fully electric, and eliminate fares. I will champion the creation of a publicly owned energy utility and will halt any new contracts with Xcel and CenterPoint. I will also partner with local environmental groups to permanently close he Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) incinerator and transition employees into unionized renewable-energy jobs.
Our city needs to do more to support its frontline workers. Since March 2020, these workers have risked their lives daily to keep our city functioning, and have done so while being denied livable wages, PPE protections, and other needed worker protections. To do better by these workers, I would partner with unions and worker rights centers to champion the creation of a Essential Frontline Worker Relief program and use the influx of ARPR dollars to fund it.
City Council - Ward 3
The Third Ward stretches from downtown north across the Mississippi River. Neighborhoods in this ward are: Bottineau, Beltrami, Downtown East, Downtown West, Marcy Holmes, Nicollet Island, East Bank, North Loop, Sheridan, St. Anthony East and St. Anthony West.
Lives in: North Loop
Occupation: Current Ward 3 City Council member
We should absolutely create a new Department of Public Safety, and commit to a meaningfully different approach to public safety that reflects that we've learned and grown from the shameful tragedy of George Floyd's murder. The department should include three key components: armed law enforcement, non-police emergency response, and violence prevention. The 911 workgroup we established in 2018 has been studying 911 call categories and identified an extensive list of calls for which we could produce better outcomes with a specialized or de-escalatory non-police response, starting with behavioral/mental health calls, opioid and other drug use, homeless outreach, theft reporting, and some aspects of traffic enforcement. We also need to keep investing in violence prevention strategies to reduce the number of incidents of violence. Ideally, as alternative responses reduce MPD's workload, we would reduce MPD staffing gradually to a level that reflects the lower volume of work expected of them and allows them to focus on situations that call for an armed response. Having more than 200 officers walk off the job unexpectedly this year has placed additional urgency on alternative response and violence prevention rollout, and driven home the importance of diversifying our responses so we're less at the mercy of a single department and the police federation. If voters do not approve Question 2, we'll continue investing as we have been in non-police response and prevention, hamstrung as we currently are by an arbitrary police staffing minimum and the challenges of cross-departmental collaboration with an often uncollaborative MPD.
Minneapolis should vote yes on Question 3 to empower the city to regulate rents, and the Council should pass a rent stabilization ordinance next term. Displacement and gentrification is one of the significant pressures on residents of our city right now. A majority of city residents are renters, and in the absence of rent stabilization, that means a majority of Minneapolis residents live with the steady, nagging fear that they might be forced to move by an unexpectedly high increase. Giving people peace of mind that they'll be able to stay in their homes is best achieved by a simple, straightforward cap on annual increases, somewhere in the 3% to 5% range. Even at 3%, that's higher than the average rent increase in Minneapolis, so most landlords would not be impacted. The policy should be designed to impact predatory landlords who are abusing increases as a tool to generate turnover or to extract a tax on renters who fear they might not be able to find another apartment for lack of credit or other barrier. Rent stabilization respects the value of renters' homes, protects vulnerable renters from exploitation, and helps all of our neighbors stay in our community. Everyone in Minneapolis deserves a safe and stable home, and a common sense cap on rent increases will help more of our neighbors achieve that.
Budget priorities and taxes
Our first priority must be unsheltered homelessness. COVID revealed and exacerbated gaps in our system that had been less visible, and we can't now look away from our neighbors sleeping in tents. We committed the absolute maximum dollar amount CPED staff thought they could put into action this year, and should continue to accelerate our efforts to create new shelter and transitional housing options. There is also an urgent need to fund youth programming to help kids who really suffered under social isolation get back on a positive track. Finally, we have to invest in economic development to help businesses get back on their feet that were harmed in the pandemic and unrest, and to help people who want to become business owners get their ideas off the ground to fill the gaps left by businesses that did not survive the pandemic. We also need to restore all of our city departments, which are all short-staffed following a year of hiring freezes, to full strength to ensure city services are delivered at a high level. These are investments that can't wait, and require revenue. There are significant disadvantages to relying on property tax, which is among the more regressive taxes in Minnesota. While we are lucky to have received significant Recovery Act funds to support some of these objectives, meeting the needs of this challenging year, especially for youth programming at the Parks, may require a modest levy increase.
The three most important things cities can do to alleviate climate change are reduce vehicle miles traveled, improve energy efficiency, and increase local production of renewable energy. By adding modern, dense, efficient housing in walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods, we're both eliminating car commutes and reducing our carbon footprint. Through my work on the City's Clean Energy Partnership, I've advocated for tools like energy cost disclosure and on-bill financing that would give renters greater ability to participate in decisions that impact the energy bills they pay, and reduce their carbon footprints. The city is making a substantial investment in new solar, both on our own buildings, and through our green cost share program to support private businesses and residents in generating more of their own power, and we're innovating with projects like Towerside to test new models of sustainable energy. In the meantime, we'll continue to invest in critical stormwater infrastructure, redundancies in the power grid and water systems, and more to ensure our resilience as the impacts of climate change become more extreme than they already are. I'm endorsed by the Sierra Club and MN350 because climate change has been and will continue to be a priority for me.
We won't fully achieve the city we imagine until we address the persistent, extreme racial inequality in Minneapolis. To the greatest extent possible, I have worked with my colleagues to place racial equity at the center of our decision-making on every topic. That doesn't just mean transforming a racist system of law enforcement to a new, more just system of public safety, though it does mean that. It also means making sure we're making the same quality of infrastructure investments in historically marginalized communities that we're making downtown and in Southwest. It means making sure our city's own procurement processes open opportunities for BIPOC small businesses, and it means prioritizing and targeting economic development to communities and people who are still systematically excluded from private-sector financing. It means improving labor protections for workers. It means modifying our data practices both to gather disaggregated demographic data that can help us be accountable to racial equity goals, and making sure we're not over-collecting data in a way that exposes communities of color to unwarranted surveillance. It means making sure every person in our city feels valued, has access to opportunity, and feels safe. We've made some progress in creating a more formal, consistent consideration of the equity impacts of our decisions, and we have a lot further to go. We cannot say Black Lives Matter and maintain the status quo. We have declared racism as a public health emergency, and need to sustain our commitment to closing gaps and healing past harms.
Lives in: Mill District
Occupation: Sales director, General Mills
First of all, to be clear, I am adamantly opposed to the Yes4Minneapolis charter amendment and will vote against it and urge others to do so during my campaign. If it were to pass, I would work with other council members to include the following services:
- An MPD that responds to 911 calls, conducts criminal investigations, works to reduce illegal gun possession and performs community-based patrols across the city.
- Enhance the co-responder program for mental health, homeless and substance abuse calls with specialists embedded with the MPD.
- Improve the communication and coordination between MPD and violence interrupter teams that have been deployed in the city.
- The City Council must conduct a complete staffing study in order to fully understand the number of officers that should be deployed within this new agency. It would be a dereliction of duty to set a number without performing this study.
I would propose the following changes to policing, if the amendment were not to pass:
- It is critically important to conduct a staffing study to determine the appropriate number of officers with the charter figure as the floor.
- Establish a community policing model in order to improve the relationships and effectiveness of MPD within the communities that they serve.
- Enhance the co-responder program as I outlined above.
- Enhance implicit bias and de-escalation techniques training.
- Provide financial incentives for all new officers to live in the city of Minneapolis.
I do not support either rent control or rent stabilization policies. The vast majority of economists that have studied these provisions have concluded that they do not deliver the intended results of keeping rent stable or affordable. These policies ultimately result in a decline in mobility of renters and a decline in the investment that is made in current rental units along with the creation of future affordable rental units.
There are a few different approaches that I support. The first being subsidies for individuals or families based upon a % of Area Median Income (AMI). This focuses support directly to those that are in greatest need.
The second approach to maintaining a more stable rent environment and addressing the affordable housing issue is to increase the total number of rental units in the city which must include affordable housing options. The city should provide incentives to builders focused on creating affordable housing and also consider public/private partnerships. This approach also has a secondary benefit of creating jobs within the city via the construction trades.
Budget priorities and taxes
The budget should reflect both the values and the objectives of the city and it's residents. The impact of COVID, serious public safety challenges and longer-term racial disparities should serve as our guideposts. These issues are intrinsically linked. COVID has created a new work model that includes work-from-home options for the ~200,000 people that travel downtown to work every day (pre-COVID). This will automatically reduce the number of people that return to their offices. These individuals now also have to factor in public safety which could further dampen the number of people that choose to work downtown. These two challenges negatively impact the tax base which can inhibit the investment in areas, such as reducing racial disparities.
The first priority is to ensure that essential services are fully covered – Fire, Snow Removal, Public Safety (MPD and Office of Violence Reduction), etc.
We must also invest in those who are the most vulnerable – Homeless, Mental Health, Affordable Housing
Closing the home ownership gap between minority and white communities which is the largest in the nation. This also has the added benefit of reducing the income gap between these same communities by creating long term equity.
Investing in small business, particularly within the minority community. Small businesses are the job creators and also provide the opportunities to build longer term financial equity.
Taxes in the city are too high inhibiting small business growth and impacting those on fixed incomes.
Climate change poses a substantial risk to the entire world and each of us needs to take action to reverse the impact. There isn't a silver bullet that will fix the issue, so we will need to review all options that are on the table.
Review all city owned vehicles to determine what can be transitioned to electric or natural gas.
Outline all modes of transportation to determine where we can invest in sustainable models. This also has to be balanced with the ability of residents to get around the city, the impact on businesses, the elderly and those with larger families.
Revise the electric grid to enable the utilization of electric cars
Work with suppliers to the city of Minneapolis to establish sustainability goals and ensure that they are meeting them.
In order to address one of the root causes of the rise in crime in the city is to create better options. One way to do that is to introduce younger people into the trades via apprenticeship programs. These programs eventually lead to very strong union jobs that provide a pathway to the middle class. The city should also aid those that are interested in attending trade school in the same way that we encourage people to attend a 2- or 4-year university.
The city also has to double down on closing the education gap between minority and white communities beginning with Pre-K. This investment in our children will position them to be successful in an ever-changing world no matter what career they choose to pursue post high school graduation.
Lives in: St. Anthony West
Occupation: Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association
Most voters I'm hearing from in Ward 3 believe that uniformed officers are still essential to handle most calls of crimes in progress but there is also support for additional services to those suffering from mental health crises, addiction issues and domestic violence calls. It is imperative that Minneapolis invest in more services for those with mental health and addiction issues. Part of investing in these services includes housing our unhoused neighbors by providing small, secure homes.
Regardless of how the vote on the amendment goes, I would support the reforms and initiatives that Chief Arradondo has already put forth, ensuring that police are more accountable, reassessing when an armed response is necessary and providing enough officers to keep the city safe. We must also be able to adequately respond to emergency calls, including sending unarmed officers and social workers to calls when appropriate. It is imperative that we have the necessary staffing to investigate all serious crimes in a thorough and timely manner, and reduce the amount of overtime officers put in to both prevent officer burn-out and reduce pressure on the police budget.
I am very impressed with what I've seen from the Newark, NJ model when it comes to reforming the police. They increased the number of officers, emphasizing hiring from their diverse community within the city, and saw a reduction in crime, as well as unnecessary force by their officers. In 2020, they did not fire a single shot.
The voters deserve to see a concrete plan of how this would be instituted in Minneapolis. I want to do what we can to make sure residents are not being priced out of their homes without creating more damage in the long term. I'd hate to see the types of rent control that backfired in cities like New York and San Francisco. Their efforts led to fewer affordable homes being built and fewer repairs being made to existing units, so the net effect was a stagnant supply of affordable units, a deterioration of existing housing and ultimately higher rent costs for those who had to find housing elsewhere. Rent control can work in the short term, but I am concerned about the long-term effects.
Budget priorities and taxes
I believe the rate of tax increases is too rapid. To keep tax rates low, we need to ensure that Minneapolis has a thriving economy and is bringing businesses and customers back to our downtown area. It is important to acknowledge the majority of tax dollars are generated downtown. To accomplish this, we need to make sure people feel safe enjoying downtown. Businesses are having a tough time getting employees and customers back, as they are not as comfortable downtown now. This is having a ripple effect as locally-owned businesses throughout downtown and the skyway system do not have the customer base to stay open. What we have seen as a result is less tax revenue, putting the burden on homeowners and renters to make up the difference.
I would work to make sure the city leads by example and ensure that any updates to municipal buildings include energy-saving materials. I will work to ensure that Xcel Energy and Centerpoint Energy are doing their part to make it easier for our residents to update their homes with green energy technology. We must also work with businesses throughout the city to ensure renovations and updates are done in a way that will reduce their carbon footprint as best as we can. While this is a global issue, Minneapolis can and should be a leader when it comes to policies that will protect our environment, especially with data showing that climate change affects low-income residents at a disproportionate rate. Our city must lead by example.
Ensuring that home ownership is a possibility for all residents of Minneapolis is an issue I would like to see addressed, especially for historically disenfranchised residents who have been intentionally kept out of the market. There is federal money available for first generation homeowners, ensuring equal access to a home that will build generational wealth. As a city, we must also have a strong, unified voice from our city government to urge the county and state to put resources into ensuring all of our residents have a chance to buy their home. Aside from equity in home ownership, the city needs to work to create more 3 and 4 bedroom housing that is affordable for families. We have seen a lot of studio and 1 bedroom affordable units, but we have not kept families in mind when thinking about those in need of affordable housing. Another issue the city must address the lack of well-paying jobs. There is an opportunity with the growth of the green energy economy to attract new manufacturing jobs in Ward 3. We need to provide more opportunities to learn skilled trade and construction jobs.
Did not participate: Hope Hennessey.
City Council - Ward 4
The Fourth Ward covers the northwest corner of the city. The Mississippi Rivers serves as its eastern border. Neighborhoods in this ward are: Camden Industrial Area, Cleveland, Folwell, Humboldt Industrial Area, Jordan, Lind-Bohanon, McKinley, Shingle Creek, Victory, Webber-Camden and Willard-Hay.
Phillipe M. Cunningham
Lives in: Folwell
Occupation: Current Ward 4 City Council member
Regardless of the outcome of this ballot question, the focus of all public safety efforts MUST be answering the question, "What will actually keep people safe?" followed by "Are we investing the right amount of money into what works so we are achieving population-level outcomes?"
These questions have to be answered through analysis of research, working with national experts and our frontline employees, and most importantly, centering the unique needs of our diverse communities.
If the voters pass the creation of a Department of Public Safety, it should include 911, Office of Violence Prevention, Office of Emergency Management, Mobile Mental Health Teams, Traffic Safety and Law Enforcement Services (Police). The Department would be led by a Commissioner of Public Safety whose primary job will be to keep asking - and answering - the question about how we can make Minneapolis safer for everyone. We would look to this Commissioner to analyze and propose any additional public safety services or functions to ensure the department is strong and well-coordinated. The police staffing levels for the Department should be included in the Department's ordinance and determined based on the results of the MPD staffing study initiated by the City Council in 2019.
Whether or not we have a new charter department to structurally reorganize our public safety services at the city, I will continue leading the city's work around building out violence prevention strategies and alternative responses to get people the help they need while freeing up police to focus on crime and violence.
When I am out talking to constituents who are renters, they tell me they want to see a rent control ordinance. Right now, so many renters are dealing with out-of-state investment companies with minimal commitment to providing them with quality housing while charging them maximum amounts of rent. A lifelong Northsider told me her rent has gone up hundreds of dollars year after year. Her rent is now more than if she owned the home and paid a mortgage on it. Minneapolis should have a rent control ordinance, and we have opportunities to learn from the successes and failures of other cities to make sure we get it right.
To write this ordinance, I would lean into the relationships I forged with landlord coalitions, renter advocacy groups, and community members when I wrote the Tenant Relocation Assistance ordinance and implementation plan which the Council passed in 2019. Ultimately, we all came together and made the best ordinance possible. Our goal was the same, and still is: everyone has a right to access high-quality, affordable, stable housing.
Budget priorities and taxes
My priorities have included economic recovery/development through small business supports and housing, and youth opportunities. Driving these budget priorities is our shared vision of a peaceful and prosperous Ward 4. We can get there by focusing on intergenerational wealth building through entrepreneurship and homeownership, and looking at immediate stabilization through job training/career pathways and different affordable housing types. My work around supporting small businesses in Ward 4 has been with the Commercial Property Development Fund, increasing investment in the Business Technical Assistance Program, and more. Black business owners in Ward 4 have seen millions in investments as a result of this work. Through the Minneapolis Homes program that I helped to create, dozens of new affordable homes have been built in Ward 4 and eighty percent of those new homeowners are BIPOC. More children now have access to high quality afterschool programming due to the $1M youth programming investment I led. My track record of leadership shows that I am focused on investments and policy that move us toward our shared vision of prosperity and peace.
Property tax increases have hit North Minneapolis hard over the last few years, which is why I have voted against them. We have to find fairer ways to assess taxes and provide tax relief to those most at risk, including the elderly, service level costs continue to rise with our growing city.
Climate change is the most urgent issue facing humanity today. Without a planet that sustains us, nothing else we strive for will matter. I have focused on two main strategies for addressing climate change: increasing access to clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
There is not one way to address climate change; we have to layer multiple strategies. For example, I have supported increasing the annual kilowatt-hours in Community Solar Garden subscriptions to 30 million annually. These subscriptions overwhelmingly are targeted to low-income areas designated as Green Zones like Ward 4. Through the Clean Energy Partnership - which is the City, CenterPoint, and Xcel - we are able to leverage our power (pun intended) to push for our local energy companies to use the latest clean energy technology to power our city.
One of our most impactful programs in the City is our award-winning Green Cost Share program of which I have always been an ardent supporter. I have worked closely with City staff to continuously expand this program. It now includes incentives for solar kWh production for qualifying buildings, funding to retrofit business and residential buildings with four or more units to be more energy efficient, 90% cost match on energy efficiency projects in 4d-enrolled homes/buildings, funding for businesses to invest in innovative pollution reduction strategies focused on improving air quality, and more. This work has resulted in millions of tons of garbage not ending up in our atmosphere. We need to continuously invest in scaling this program.
Aggressive driving is endangering the lives of everyone using our roads and sidewalks. A Public Works study found that Ward 4 has the highest speeding rates. Children have been seriously injured and died in my community while playing and biking due to this reckless driving. MPD's traffic enforcement unit was disbanded in 2014, but a replacement strategy was not put into place. According to state statute, only a sworn police officer can pull people over for certain moving violations. While we work with state legislators to change the laws to increase flexibility around traffic enforcement strategies, we need something in place right now to help address dangerous driving. I have proposed a targeted enforcement strategy to MPD/Public Works for the most dangerous roads and intersections in Ward 4, and plan to work with the chief and mayor to prioritize this strategy as we continue to replenish MPD staffing levels. In 2020, we faced crisis upon crisis upon crisis. This caused the City of Minneapolis to shift into high gear to cope with the deluge of increased responsibilities. But now we need to shift into our new reality that COVID-19 variants are going to remain present in our lives for the foreseeable future, and that peoples' needs are generally increased. We need to readjust to meeting these increased needs AND getting back to the basics of good city services, like clean streets by regular street sweepings, high standards for the rental property maintenance, and parking enforcement of abandoned vehicles.
Lives in: McKinley
Occupation: Founder/President, Earth Protector Companies
I support a Police Department that is fully staffed, well-funded, and superbly trained physically, emotionally, socially, and ethically. With special respect and consideration for my neighbors, many of whom have been treated very badly in the past.
I oppose current plans for the Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT), especially a liquor bar.
I support growing and processing organic food and products at the UHT to create generational wealth for Ward 4 and beyond.
My plans will benefit YOUTH, BUSINESSES, JOBS, & REDUCE HOMELESSNESS.
I ask ALL Ward 4 residents NOT TO SPEED OR SHOOT GUNS IN THE COMMUNITY.
TWO KEY ISSUES FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH ARE:
Stop The Drug War for Peace and Prosperity.
Stop allowing fluoride in our water for healthy bodies and minds.
Lives in: Willard-Hay
Occupation: Director of health policy and advocacy at NorthPoint Health & Wellness, Inc.
I don't support replacing the Minneapolis Police Department. Rather than completely wiping the slate clean, we need to invest our time into passing major reforms. I am the first to admit that the MPD is dysfunctional, but we need to work together to find an immediate solution that works for all of us. The City Council needs to partner with Chief Arradondo on his efforts to restructure the department and to increase the role of social service providers and mental health professionals in responding to calls. I support a "co-responder" model in which mental health experts join officers on 911 calls. Further, I believe in investing and expanding programs such as the Civilian Women's Leadership Academy and the EMS Pathways Academy that diversify the force and take a long-term approach to a culture shift. We need to invest resources in community policing efforts and relationship building rather than merely enforcement. We need to do more to engage community members in decision-making about the future of MPD.
I do not support rent control in Minneapolis for the following reasons:
- In cities where rent control policies have been put in place, not only has there been no improvement in accessible and affordable housing units, but the housing market and overall economy have suffered.
- Rent control disproportionately affects small-scale landlords, especially those of color, so that their ability to own and maintain rental properties becomes more difficult. This creates an uncertain situation for tenants of these properties.
Budget priorities and taxes
First and foremost we need to improve public safety in our city. If people don't feel safe, nothing else will matter. If our neighborhoods don't feel safe, new business owners won't want to invest here, young families won't want to settle down and raise a family here, and already established residents and businesses will begin to move out.
Obviously, property taxes are essential to running this city. The Council should be good stewards of our property tax dollars by investing in evidence-based and effective programs and core city services. Emphasis should be placed on making sure that core services are efficient and well-managed. Let's make sure the basics are covered, first. A lot of Northsiders I talk to are worried about property taxes. Many low-income and seniors live on a razor's edge financially, and people are scared that they are going to be priced out of their homes in the near future. Many people I talk to are resentful of property tax increases because they don't seem to go hand in hand with city services that work well for everyone and for all neighborhoods. For these reasons, any increase in property taxes should be done with great caution and care.
Climate change is a real issue that affects everyone, especially people of color, and it cannot be ignored. We need to continue to aggressively increase energy efficiency citywide, expand investments into renewable energy, and improve our public transit system so that it is the most attractive transport option. We need to elevate renewable energy to the norm, not the exception. We can do it by making solar panels and other renewable energy technologies economically feasible for businesses and individuals regardless of income and location. This is not an issue we can afford to put on the backburner. When I am your City Council member, I will make sure that the Northside is not left out of the equation. We need to invest in green jobs and infrastructure and help get people trained to do these good-paying jobs.
I remember a time when the Northside had a thriving black business community, and we didn't have to leave the neighborhood to shop for the essentials. Today things look very different. For too long, issues like redlining, predatory lending, and racist housing practices have impacted the community and held back people of color. As Ward 4's city council member, the most pressing issue that I will work on while in office is to change the Northside's economic environment and increase prosperity. We do this by: 1) partnering with community organizations already doing great work to help entrepreneurs of color access technical and financial resources; 2) promoting the Grow North program to bring new jobs to the Northside; 3) helping our business owners recover from the recent economic downturn; investing in food service and grocery businesses to increase accessibility to the essentials; and, 4) finally, by generating investments though city grants, subsidies, or necessary purchases to reduce the number of vacant Northside buildings. The Northside's economic prosperity has been pushed aside for too long and it is time for us to live in an area that we can be proud of and feel safe in.
City Council - Ward 5
The Fifth Ward covers parts of northern Minneapolis. Its neighborhoods include Harrison, Hawthorne, Jordan, Near-North, North Loop, Sumner-Glenwood and Willard-Hay.
Lives in: Ward 5
Occupation: Current Ward 5 City Council member
Law enforcement will not be "replaced", rather folded into a larger department of public safety—allowing us to de-center a police-only model and expand a public health approach to safety. This will allow for the city to have more oversight over the police and more latitude in how we provide a holistic public safety approach to ensure all of us can get home safe at the end of the night.
What is the scope of police currently and what do we want their scope to be? It has broadened year after year and now they are the catchall for every issue. Most conflicts don't end in violence and don't require forceful intervention. What we can do is employ unarmed mediators for the majority of these issues, more mental health experts, and increase the number of medical first responders for emergencies ranging from drug overdose, diabetic shock, heatstroke and asthma attacks.
Beyond the day-to-day crisis residents face that do not require an armed police intervention, we need to get real about the fact that the safest communities have the most resources. The hard fact is that under and unemployment, substandard housing and homelessness along with addiction and mental health issues create the context in which the majority of interpersonal harm takes place. If we want a safe public, we need to acknowledge that true public safety disrupts cycles of harm by addressing them at the source, and not ultimately as they are happening or after the fact. People's basic needs not being met all across the city, is a form of violence, and one which we find at the root of the question of how we keep each other safe.
Tenant rights have been the defining pillar of my first term in office, and I will continue to advocate for and fight for the dignity and stability of renters. I am proud to have co-authored the two Rent Stabilization charter amendments which give City Council permission to pursue a rent stabilization ordinance; and, Right to Counsel, ensuring all tenants have legal representation in housing court. I'm very happy to see at least one of them advance to voters this November–I urge everyone to vote "yes" on Rent Stabilization. In my first year in office, I was told this policy was an impossibility in Minneapolis, that the state law was too high a bar to clear and that the political will did not exist. We are proving that the residents of Minneapolis are more than willing to clear the state's bar, and with the passage of this charter amendment, we will finally be able to draft and pass a substantive Rent Stabilization ordinance.
Contemporary Rent Stabilization policies tend to have a simpler and broader application than the more traditional (and increasingly antiquated) "rent control board" model. I think the city would only consider writing a modern policy. Research and public input will drive how strict or lenient the policy should be. The truth is that Minneapolis is becoming increasingly unaffordable for so many of our neighbors, and rent stabilization will be one of many essential tools we need to deploy in order to ensure our city continues to be a place that welcomes everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged.
Budget priorities and taxes
The city (like the state, county, and federal government) needs to continue pouring money into people's housing stability. We need to double down on getting people back to work (with fair wages and benefits). We need to make sure small businesses are centered as we work our way through this recovery period. Especially as the pandemic continues to rage, variants continue to grow stronger, breakthrough cases continue to rise, and higher levels of government refuse to help us stave off the devastation. But the one area we need massive investment in is youth programming, development, and employment. Our youth are on the frontlines of every consequence of this pandemic—economic hardship, increased homelessness, rising violence—our kids carry a heavy burden. We need to make sure they are not ignored or forgotten during this economic recovery.
In addition to recovering from the economic effects of the coronavirus, we have to also acknowledge the amount of money the city has lost due to settlements and civil suits as a result of police violence. From Justine Damond, George Floyd and to the lawsuits of journalists and civilians brutalized during the Minneapolis uprising, our budget is missing out on tens of millions of dollars.
We should be giving our residents as much tax relief as possible to maintain core city services, but becoming too libertarian in this moment could damage recovery efforts, and undermine the very efforts we're making to protect residents.
This summer brought us one of the worst droughts we have experienced in any of our lifetimes, our air quality was severely reduced by fires in Canada and on the West coast. Air quality which disproportionately affects the elderly and working class and working poor neighborhoods across the city where there has been a historical concentration of heavy industry. We need to lead the way with green energy solutions which both support our local economy and reduce our carbon footprint. That means investing in solar energy across the city, green roofs and moving away from superfluous short trimmed lawns in public spaces which demand an incredible amount of water while their short root systems do little for and often contribute to our increasingly fragile ecosystems.
Additionally, we should be continuing to invest in public transportation to better connect our communities while lessening our reliance on cars.
We need to also invest in local urban agriculture which increases access to fresh, healthy produce for our communities, supports our pollinators, and decreases the reliance on co2 heavy shipping of produce to our city. Local organizations such as Appetite for Change, Green Garden Bakery, Youth Farm, and Spark-Y have been leading the way and should be supported by city resources and infrastructure.
It's no secret that we have had an increase in community violence this summer and last. Anyone who has worked closely with community and violence prevention organizations over the years, as I have, could tell you the instant we shut down the economy due to the Coronavirus that there would be an increase in community violence, including domestic violence, and property crimes. Mass unemployment and housing instability have predictable outcomes. We need to address community violence at its root causes as issues of mental health, addiction, housing and underemployment, but also, as mentioned, create like so many other cities across the country, a department of public safety that allows to holistically address harm, both disrupting its cycles, and more effectively responding to it when it does occur.
We were in a housing crisis when I first ran for office, and the effects of the pandemic have only exacerbated this issue. We need affordable housing. Safety begins when everyone has a safe place to lay their head at night. The number of people in our community who are forced into dangerous situations because they are unable to afford housing is unacceptable. On top of the Rent Stabilization pilot program, every new housing development in Ward 5 since I took office has had deeply affordable units. However, we cannot rely on an outdated landlord system to solve a crisis of ownership. The city must lead the way in making pathways to ownership more available to all residents, whether that be individual ownership, a cooperative model or a land trust model. We cannot continue to have the whims of an unstable market and the goodwill (or not) of a few individuals dictate the safety of so many thousands of our neighbors.
Lives in: Willard-Hay
If the voters do vote Yes, I would want to see pilot program like (Cahoots-Eugene, Oregon, STAR- Denver, CO and PACT in Edmonton, Canada, whereby law enforcements are paired with mental health therapist, homelessness, and addition experts etc.
Also, MPD introducing new innovative training and strategies so that law enforcements are supported and have enough resources to combat stress, high blood pressure and insomnia.
Bringing new and better innovative ways to build and repair the broken relationship between communities of color and law enforcement to increase transparency and accountability.
When we are on considering how many police we should have, there is more that needs to be taken to determine police staffing levels, population growth and law enforcement mental and physical health wellness. By addressing both ends that protect and serve the community.
Introducing truth and reconciliation commission, to heal the wounds, create a space to discuss the harm that has been done in the community due to police brutality and violent history that we do carry.
First, housing is a fundamental human right, we do need to advocate on behalf of low-income housing and the middle-income class. We need rent stabilizations, because it brings stability in neighborhoods, also healthy psychologically for families and children not living in a state of worrisome. I have been door-knocking and many residents are spending over half of their paycheck on rent.
Having an artificial cap on the market, means we won't meet the actual demand. We need a long-term solution, and that is increasing supply with housing. The more we build, in the long term the laws of demand and supply do apply, and enough housing will meet the demand. This might take quite a while, but numerous studies do show that rents do become affordable in the neighborhood with newer constructions.
As the city, community advocates keeps engaging voters on rent stabilization solutions, we also need to address how we can have strong laws on greedy landlords who take advantage of tenants by never investing in repairs, refusal to renew tenant controls etc.
If any rent stabilizations ideas will address the root cause of insufficient supply, I will be the first to advocate for it. Housing is very dynamic issue and is not a one size fits all solution.
Budget priorities and taxes
My budget priorities in the city of Minneapolis are first to create a guide policy that can guide leaders in building an inclusive, sustainable and an effective way to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 1,500 businesses in Minneapolis and St Paul were damaged due to the civil unrest, and only 21 Percent are back in business, most have permanently closed or relocated. My office from day one is to address and bring in new initiatives to small business recovery to rebuild and reinvest in Minneapolis.
I want to target those who faced inequities before and during COVID-19 pandemic, people with low income, Black, Latinx and the native communities, my Ward 5 communities have disproportionately experienced upheaval and distress of the pandemic.
Also, address homelessness, it is a public health crisis, we have seen, the increase of homeless people around the city, and we need to create an early intervention with our partners, rather than a late intervention and funding evidence-based housing practices, like supportive housing, stability services.
First, we have seen the impacts of climate change around the world, and the potential serious impact it can have like flooding, hotter or colder temperatures, storm surges, increase rainfall, etc.
And a resilient city is the one that is well prepared for such calamities, by limiting their severity and magnitude. This will require us to respond effectively and quick, building a social net that provides a safety net for vulnerable populations.
As a city we can identify low cost and simple actions that we can implement, to build up our resilience. With the increase of homelessness in our city, if we had flooding, it would be catastrophic. Thus, why we need to adopt new specific effort tailored to our city to be always ready.
Some specific ways we can do now is to raise awareness about climate change, and the impact on our vulnerable communities like the elderly, incorporating community-based adaptation into our city plans, offer and support organizations that are already working in climate change initiatives.
Address food desert in Ward 5, this is a term used to describe communities that have very little or no access to grocery stores. Under federal government definition, Minneapolis Ward 5 does meet the standards of food desert, by residents having poor access to healthy food and low median income. I'm proposing initiatives to address this need in our community.
Ward 5 lacks social hall centers that can train young people skills such as entrepreneurship, play sports, job training, art and culture, etc.
Minneapolis this year has been seen a surge of shootings, and this affects our reopen, reinvent Minneapolis initiatives, the fear of walking in downtown, tourists coming to our town, etc. I want to meet with all communities' leaders and come up with bold solutions to address the challenges and how to address the surge and become a safer and thriving city for everyone.
Lives in: Willard-Hay
Ward 5 by and large regrets calls to abolish or defund the police. Ward 5 wants better relationships and more transparency and accountability, not less police. I would support bringing back walking beat officers. They are a proven way to rebuild trust in the community. I also support the Mayor's effort to create an early intervention system to identify troubled officers early on.
Rent control is not a system with a successful record. I do not believe it is at all necessary for Minneapolis. I would prefer to use our licensing process to hold housing providers accountable for price gouging.
Budget priorities and taxes
1. Public Safety - I am 100% Pro Chief Rondo
2. Business/ Job support
Tax rates need to make sure they are not pushing lower income folks out. Less taxes are preferred.
I would support common sense efforts to help folks bike or walk around Minneapolis.
The next two years will be critical for the city of Minneapolis. We will either choose to come together to make our city safer for everyone or we will continue with the spikes in crime that will hurt every resident. I believe that with new leadership at City Hall, we can find consensus and make our city safer and more vibrant than ever!
Lives in: Ward 5
Occupation: Business owner, social entrepreneur
I believe that we can invest in mental health services, drug addiction services, alternative response teams, and a community-centered public safety approach while maintaining a robust and culturally competent police force. Unfortunately, the voices of a few overshadowed the masses' desires; the majority of residents want the police. Still, they want the police to treat them fairly and respectfully while maintaining some apparatus to hold them accountable when they neglect the public trust. I firmly believe that with intentionality, hard work, and dedication, we can reform the police department to reflect the values of our community.
I think rent control sounds like a good idea, but when put into practice negatively impacts renters, especially those with low incomes. In addition, I believe rent control policies are an emotional and shortsighted solution to a much larger issue: the lack of support for low-income and historically disenfranchised populations from homeownership. If the city put the same energy into providing resources and support for individuals seeking a pathway to homeownership or providing more livable wage employment for residents, there would be no need to implement a rent control policy. Residents would simply be able to access homeownership or afford to pay their rent instead of experiencing cost-burden.
Budget priorities and taxes
My main budget priorities include more funding for youth-related programs and services. Investment in drug addiction and mental health services. Evaluation of city departments to assess efficiency and effectiveness and alternative education programming. In addition, I believe the city of Minneapolis and city elected officials should leverage the relationship with state legislators to pass Cannabis legalization to stimulate the economy and create additional revenue sources through taxation of the crop.
I would rely on input and direction from experts in the environmental movements to address issues in the city related to the climate crisis.
I believe the most pressing issue in the city is activating the thousands of young people living in Minneapolis. If we don't hold the public education system accountable for ensuring that our young people are prepared to live meaningful and prosperous lives, we will continue to see high crime rates and a decline in overall productivity as a city. Until a job and an opportunity become more accessible than a gun and a pound of weed, we will continue to lose our young people to the streets. Unfortunately, we have a public education system that is content with 70 percent of Black students not reading and writing at a proficient rate. No one will even talk about it! I am aware that there is no direct relationship with the city council and MPS school board, but there needs to be some joint effort to address these disparities if Black Lives Matter, or maybe they don't?
James "Jim" Seymour
It has been 16 months since the pews in the Basilica of Saint Mary - where I returned to the Catholic Church 18 years ago - were set on fire. On the second night of the riots, I saw an inferno west of 35W near Blaisdell. Reports on the internet stated that criminals were coming to exploit Minneapolis' new-found weakness. 6 months after the riots my neighbor was car-jacked. 7 months after the riots my friend was car-jacked. 9 months after the riots my car was stolen from my worksite. In the Fourth Ward, citizens bonded together to patrol and prevent escalations.
The question ignores the inconvenient truth that the government of the City of Lakes has betrayed the trust of the people of Minneapolis and the law enforcement community by willfully encouraging racial division long after the riots by barricading intersections to disrupt traffic and restrict travel intentionally based upon racial factors. No single city council member should have the power to disrupt citizens' lives and encourage ongoing protests after so many deaths, including the shootings of three angels.
Adding counselors, social workers and violence interrupters does not require dismissing the chief of police 30 days after the election. Keep the police chief. Add an administrator for Social Services that reports to the mayor and meets with the chief to coordinate interaction between officers and social services employees. The city definitely requires more police. Trust needs to be restored. The internecine battle between council and cops needs to end. De-escalate. Reconcile. Restore.
Perhaps rent control makes more sense for the Third Ward which has a much higher density of housing units in apartments/condominiums than the Fifth Ward. An argument can be made for the necessity of more affordable housing units under $1000 per month in Minneapolis. However, it is made at the expense of the loss of freedoms of ownership. Rent control housing could be city operated, not participation compelled by property owners.
There is definitely a need for affordable housing in the city of Minneapolis. I would prefer that a 21st century solution specific to Minneapolis and tailored to each individual ward be developed. Driving down Penn Ave North alone, south of Lowry Avenue, I counted 27 lots that are undeveloped. Roughly 70K-140K of square footage on one street in the Fifth Ward. The government needs to be more thorough in its inspection of the lots available and create blueprints for development in partnership through the UofM School of Design. The city can develop the land, enter into contracts for construction of buildings and designs for housing units and offer the blueprints and properties for the housing market to add net increase in available units. Last estimate I saw, the city was short 4000 housing units. The city council can collaborate with the Rapson School of Design on the UofM campus to develop the blueprints for multi-unit housing that could be bundled with construction contracts for prospective homebuyers.
Budget priorities and taxes
Everyone knows Minneapolis taxes are always too high ;-) The budget priority is getting safety right each day moving forward.
I am a climate change skeptic. I do believe in the sustainable growth towards renewable energy, which helps move Minneapolis into a future towards net-zero emissions. My big idea was turning glass skyscrapers into solar power generators for the region. Nano-technology could convert sunlight to electricity and remove the tower from the power grid, or better, contribute non-polluting energy to it.
Globalization has been a real threat to our natural resources - Minnesota lakes have fallen victim to invasive species and the number of species has continued to grow. Milfoil has been a problem for over 40 years, and I would partner with the DNR and Park and Rec. A 21st century solution to remove milfoil, not simply tending the milfoil gardens on the lakes.
Men in the Ward need to get right with God. There are beautiful churches with wonderful architecture and artwork throughout the Ward. Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist and Evangelical. Also a mosque, though I haven't seen a synagogue. A storefront for a community of Native Americans. I love the diversity of the Fifth Ward. Prayer is free and freeing, and does not require a government program.
Community engagement with spiritual leaders, business leaders, community leaders and residents. There are great talents expressed in the Ward and the community is showing great leadership and unity to resolve the challenges facing the neighborhoods. By defending each other's freedoms and taking responsibilities upon ourselves, we can work together to restore hope, trust and confidence in the government institutions that everyone relies upon.
Part of solving inequities in education is School Choice, which I support. Neighborhoods need Civic Pride, Civic Engagement. And freedom for dollars to follow the student.
Lives in: Willard-Hay
Occupation: Executive director of MN Renewable Now; gymnastics coach of North, Henry, and Edison High Schools; Minneapolis Parks soccer coach
If the Minneapolis Police Department is replaced with a new agency, the city would have to funnel tens of thousands of dollars into mental health and education to improve the crime rate. Currently, there is a requirement of 1.7 police officers per 1,000 residents, and I would push the new Department of Public Safety to continue to uphold that number in order to make sure every 911 call receives the proper response to their emergency. The services included should be adaptable to different situations, like mental health crises versus public shootings. If they don't vote to replace the Minneapolis Police Department, I would first separate the police union between supervisors and supervisees. When a police officer abuses a civilian, the supervisors should be able to properly reprimand their officer without the fear of losing their bargaining power. Second, I would remove the process of arbitration for officers who have committed violence against a civilian or lied on a police report. Then, I would extend the number of years the city can review an officer's record, and I would increase the required number of hours between an officer's shift, meaning an on or off duty officer cannot clock into their next shift until 12 hours after they clock out. This would give officers the mental health time needed to be able to serve their community well. Finally, I would create incentives for police officers to live within our community and the funding needed for Minneapolis youth and young adults to complete the training and licensure to become a police officer in Minneapolis.
Honestly, rent control may seem like a good idea on the outside, but in reality, it is a reactive and ineffective way to help people with low income. In North Minneapolis, 80% of our rentals are single family homes. We worry about landlords selling these properties to people coming from outside our community and losing that much-needed housing. We also worry about landlords increasing the rent to market rate to prepare for rent control. We have the most affordable rents currently, with an average annual rental increase of 1%.
Instead, I would streamline a way to address problematic properties through a holistic approach. This means providing resources to renters while enforcing a strict inspection rule for rental properties with a high volume of 911 responses and property fines. I would also push the city to be more prompt in the removal of rental licenses for properties that have become a severe public nuisance and a program in place to intercept, take ownership of and work with Minneapolis residents to obtain these rental properties while receiving landlord education. This would decrease the number of absentee landlords while preventing displacement. Finally, I would also invest in local developers through subsidies to develop affordable rentals and ownership models. This would build our community from within by providing our community a pathway to homeownership, by aiding them in building wealth, while preventing the displacement of our neighbors.
Budget priorities and taxes
The only way to improve the city's current economic conditions is to support local, Black, Indigenous, LatinX, Asian, and women owned small businesses. My first priority would be to get them the capital improvements, and business technical assistance needed to sustain and succeed. Secondly, I would make it a priority to invest in public health and to ensure vaccines and masks are subsidized for everyone. This would also include making sure our medical staff and essential workers get the resources (ie. masks, sanitizer, hands-free hardware, etc.) they need to provide high quality and affordable services. If we prioritize these two fields, the city's economy and public health would improve almost immediately and be sustainable for the community in the long run.
When it comes to our city's tax rate, in comparison to cities with similar populations, the city of Minneapolis is actually behind. If we were to increase the city's tax rate, it would allow us to invest more into our schools, parks, roads, and other public spaces. I would also propose that if we increase our city taxes, it would go through public review to ensure that these captured dollars are used equitably and to benefit communities that need it the most. While representing Ward 5 as city council, it will be my number one goal to make sure these tax dollars and resources are advocated towards communities that desperately need it.
When it comes to energy efficiency, I support Inclusive Financing. If we continue our exclusive contract with energy monopolies and rely on their ability to serve our need for energy, we must demand that they provide all residents the proper tools for energy efficiency. Accepting anything less would be cosigning the perpetuation of systemic racism and economic oppression. I will write and support any and all legislation that would require Landlords to disclose to renters how efficient their rental unit is and hold them accountable to receive energy efficiency audits upon inspection, and when a property is to be sold. When it comes to natural gas, I will urge and incentivize developers to electrify their heating systems. I will utilize Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to make necessary electrical upgrades on residential and commercial properties through a revamp of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) in order to address our current climate emergency. This would allow us to phase out natural gas completely. I will also explore how we can utilize TIF to make necessary renewable energy upgrades on residential and commercial properties through an NRP revamp with a climate emergency focus. Both would include increasing power capacity for electrification and the installation of solar, and geothermal options. Then, I will push that all publicly owned property be retrofitted with solar microgrids. As our climate changes we need to commit to emergency preparedness by having publicly owned and accessible spaces where residents can access energy in the time of emergency. Finally, I will also urge all new larger developments to implement solar and smaller projects to be built solar ready such as load capability and south-facing or flat roofs.
Another issue that is important to me and impacts my community the most is the current economic condition. The only way we can address this issue without displacing our most vulnerable community members, is to first build up our local BIPOC, Women owned, Asian and LatinX businesses from within. After generations of racial covenants blocking black and indigenous communities to land equity and barricading the ability for these businesses to access permits, licensing and capital, the city owes us BIG. Economic improvement and stability has been, and continues to be a huge issue in these communities. I say we will create higher-density residential development in spaces surrounding our business corridors with a mix of affordable and market rate. AND, we can provide real incentives to attract and support these entrepreneurs so they can start and maintain sustainable businesses. By doing this, we will increase employment for our underserved residents, capture the dollars that are leaving our community, and attract patrons from outside of our communities. I would also push that we begin to invest into Business Technical Assistance programming and education for youth. By the time our youth leave high school they should know what the difference is between a Sole Proprietor, Individual Limited Liability Company, Partnership, S- Corporation, Non Profit,, etc. They would know how to obtain an Employer Identification Number and how to register for a Federal Employer Identification Number. as well as what is the best bank or credit union to open a business according to the type of business they conduct. As a result, even future generations will have the capability to successfully own a business in North Minneapolis.
Did not participate: Cathy Spann.
City Council - Ward 6
The Sixth Ward covers areas south and east of downtown, including Cedar Riverside, Elliot Park, Phillips West, Seward, Steven's Square-Loring Heights and Ventura Village.
Lives in: Cedar-Riverside
Occupation: Somali American community consultant
I believe that we need to include mental health professionals, social workers, and licensed peace officers in any model of policing moving forward. We have seen our MPD respond too often to nonviolent crimes and be overwhelmed with the volume of calls they receive. Adding more personnel like police health professionals would greatly improve the quality of law enforcement we receive, as well, preserve the legitimacy of licensed peace officers in our system of law enforcement. With regards to the number, I would like to maintain the number of officers in any future law enforcement model but try to keep the size of our department on par with other major cities.
The housing crisis in Minneapolis was here before COVID-19, but the pandemic has exacerbated the severe conditions that our communities have been battling against for years. Weak policies and inaction at City Hall has allowed rents to sky-rocket, increasing housing instability and homelessness. I believe the city must utilize rent control as a tool and support implementing a universal rent control policy.
Rent Control policies are only as effective as policymakers demand it to be. Policies in states like New York, California, and Oregon, were implemented with strong collaboration with real-estate developers and the landlord lobby, resulting in watered-down ineffective policy. As a renter who has been organizing with tenants for years, I understand and have heard and lived the issues renters face. Based on the study done by CURA that was commissioned by the City, I support a policy that would cap annual rent increases to cost of living, or no more than 3% (similar to the current proposal on the ballot in St. Paul), and would be applied universally. I would ensure we do not repeat the mistakes of other cities and states and allow special interests to flood the policy with exemptions that essentially render the policy ineffective.
Ward 6, like Minneapolis as a whole, is a majority renter ward, and as a City Council Member, I would prioritize putting forward a strong rent control policy as soon as possible, so voters would have the opportunity to vote on it as soon as November 2022.
Budget priorities and taxes
My priority is making sure to balance our budget and ensure we think outside the box while trying to increase the overall budget to better provide services to our residents. I am not in support of increasing property taxes at this moment but believe we need to think about other paths to generate a healthy tax base in our city.
With more renters than homeowners in our city, I would be interested in pursuing ways to tax rental properties, specifically those luxury apartments, which contribute to the rise in gentrification and displacement in BIPOC communities. We have to start asking our neighbors that can afford it to contribute their fair share so we can build a better city together.
Ward 6 has many challenges from housing issues to public safety and economic investment in this part of the city. Outside these issues, one of the biggest issues facing our neighbors is the rise of addiction and drug usage in our ward. That is why I am running to ensure that this ward is not left behind as we deal with the epidemic of drugs and overdoses. The city needs to provide more culturally appropriate treatment centers as well as post-treatment resources to maintain a healthy and productive life. The recovery community needs more support and advocacy and that's what I plan to bring to the city council as the new Council Member.
Lives in: Phillips West
Occupation: Resident advocate
I think we need to make sure that we break down the barriers to working across our public safety system. The Police Department, Fire Department, 911 (which isn't directly associated with MPD now), Office of Violence Prevention, Office of Emergency Management, our neighborhood Crime Prevention Specialists, Animal Care and Control are all functions that should go under the new Public Safety Department. There may even be a need to embed some regulatory staff because of the role that problem properties play in destabilizing neighborhoods.
We need to be creative with this opportunity to reorganize how we work as a city on the whole span of public safety issues. And that public safety department? It's basically what exists in a few suburbs (Maplewood for example), and in other cities around the country.
This public safety department will absolutely employ armed police officers, and it will employ as many as necessary to maintain safety in Minneapolis. It's hard to say what that number is, and it can change over time. We need more police in Minneapolis now to deal with public safety issues.
Minneapolis should consider further rent control measures. In several aspects we already have rent control, the city's 4D program is fundamentally rent control (in exchange for a property tax break owners promise to keep rent down). The proposal on the ballot this fall would allow us to consider further programs, explicitly limiting the increases in rent each year.
There are a lot of questions to be answered about how the program should work. I want to make sure that the folks who are good operators of the backbone of our affordable housing system, many of our landlords, get a chance to maintain their buildings, and make some money. Unfortunately, there are some operators out in the city who exploit our housing shortage and have gouged residents. We need to protect renters in Minneapolis from those who would exploit them and so we need to find the guardrails we can.
If the amendment passes I look forward to talking to housing experts, local landlords and renters advocates about models, opportunities, and pitfalls. From that feedback we should develop a program that works for Minneapolis.
Budget priorities and taxes
We need to focus on core services and supporting housing in the city. We need to invest in policing and in the necessary community responses to public safety. We need to invest in our corridors that have been impacted by business closures and social unrest.
We need to make sure we support the development of affordable housing throughout the city of Minneapolis to confront the housing crisis we face.
I don't think our taxes are too low and I am too new in the role (I have been through one budget season, which started weeks after I was elected) to appreciate the entire picture of the balance between the services we deliver and what it costs to taxpayers.
The city must harden and reinforce our infrastructure against the extreme weather we are already beginning to see around the world. Poor people are often affected the most in those situations and supporting things that sound boring like stormwater tunnel expansion will save lives and property.
We must also keep working with partners to do what we can to hold down the effects of climate change through making sure our city is powered by renewable energy. Many of the neighborhoods I represent are victims to generations of pollution, underinvestment, and government planning that disregards our residents. I am committed to making sure that several of the things that cause health issues in my community are envisioned differently. Our highways are huge sources of particulate pollution and a major contributor to heat island issues. We have to do whatever we can to shrink and gain efficiencies in our regional highways.
We have to address the substance abuse and mental health crises facing our East African and Native American communities. These two interrelated issues are one reflection of the inequity in our city and state, and helping our brothers and sisters get better and live better is important.
Related to that is the city's homelessness crisis. It's not really the city's homelessness crisis. It's our region and nation's housing and homelessness crisis. Unlike other cities we have not taken the decision to unilaterally close all the homeless encampments in the city. This has led to the city seeing homeless people from around the region and the state congregating here. A lot of them are in Ward 6. Coordinating services, getting folks into shelter that is appropriate, and frankly preparing for what is almost certain to get worse as the eviction moratorium ends is something we need to do more work in, but we also need a lot more help from other government partners to resolve.
City Council - Ward 7
The Seventh Ward covers parts of downtown then stretches west. Its neighborhoods include Bryn-Mawr, Cedar-Isles-Dean, Downtown West, East Isles, Elliot Park, Kenwood, Loring Park, Lowry Hill and Steven's Square-Loring Heights.
Lives in: Loring Park
Occupation: Safety and compliance
If the current amendment passes, the new department of public safety will include sworn law enforcement personnel. We need enough personnel to respond to emergency calls in an appropriate amount of time. I would also like to include teams of social workers, paramedics and senior law enforcement personnel for non-emergency mental health crisis calls.
If the amendment doesn't pass, we need to increase the number of officers in each precinct so they can respond to calls in an appropriate amount of time and have time for community engagement/education.
Due to the lack of leadership with the current city council members, we are losing law enforcement personnel to the surrounding metro cities.
No, Minneapolis should not have rent control instead Minneapolis needs to stop over-taxing the private housing sector.
Example: My rent increased by $70 this year!
Why? Because the city of Minneapolis is taxing my landlord 30% on his property and all the city utilities have increased as well and he must pass part of that increase on to his tenants.
Budget priorities and taxes
I would prioritize the city budget to help business recover from the pandemic and invest in resources to increase foot traffic for businesses downtown. The current taxation in my option is too high.
We all need to be good stewards of our natural resources in Minnesota. Minneapolis has always been on the cutting edge of the impacts of climate change and the risks associated with our natural resources. I would continue to help mitigate those risks with information provided by experts in that field and any legislative action taken in Minnesota.
One major issue of concern for me is the current increase in crime throughout the entire city. I've addressed it on my website.
Lives in: Bryn Mawr
Occupation: Current Ward 7 City Council member
Systemic change is required in how Minneapolis handles law enforcement. The proposed public safety Charter amendment does not provide that systemic change. Calling our law enforcement function the Department of Public Safety instead of the Minneapolis Police Department isn't transformational. Removing the Police Chief position from the Charter doesn't create change, it moves accountability further from elected leadership by making the Chief accountable to another department head. Having 14 bosses making decisions about law enforcement doesn't solve the problems with MPD. Under current state law with a new Department of Public Safety, Minneapolis will still have the same union, the same state laws that require binding arbitration, the same inability to require residency, and the same broken system currently used to discipline and fire officers.
Police officers are asked to do too much. Mental health and domestic calls could be handled by mental health professionals alongside law enforcement. Drug overdose calls could be handled by EMTs. Various livability crimes could be handled by public safety ambassadors, a trained but unarmed co-responder or violence interruption expert. There is still a need in our city for armed law enforcement with fast response times and increased staffing in investigations and victim services so that bad people are prosecuted when caught and victims are respected. I am not an expert on how many officers are needed right now, I hope it will be less in the future as alternative responses are developed and implemented. I do know, however, that we don't have enough right now.
Most economic experts agree, rent control has unintended consequences and I do not support it. Rent control has proven to suppress supply, discourage capital investment and encourage apartment owners to convert their units to condos. The most effective way to stabilize increasing costs of housing is to increase incomes, invest in rental assistance, and produce more affordable housing. Carefully crafted rent stabilization efforts could have a positive effect on the rental market. I could support stabilization efforts should Minneapolis voters approve them by capping excessive increases or tying increases to inflation plus 2-4 percent. The city's largest supply of affordable housing is naturally occurring, not subsidized, affordable housing. Limiting small owners, those with 1-20 apartments from increasing rents at 3-4 percent or less hinders their ability to pay increasing taxes and invest in improvements. We should exempt single-family homes for rent by the owner as opposed to investors who have bought up large numbers of homes preventing affordable home ownership and new construction. Any policy passed needs to take into account the careful balance of government intervention in the economics of the rental market and the needs of both owners and their tenants.
Budget priorities and taxes
Property taxes are inherently regressive. My priority is to slow the growth of property taxes while still bringing in enough revenue to keep high quality levels of basic services. We have seen the impact of increasing property values in Minneapolis combined with an increase in the property tax rate, hurting low-income residents. We are now facing a pandemic fueled loss in value of office buildings downtown which will put more pressure on residential properties to make up the difference. Between COVID and the civil unrest, Minneapolis needs more in terms of public services and assistance than ever before. More help is needed for small businesses to get back on their feet. Our unsheltered neighbors need intense services. Our hospitality industry needs to rebound so that workers have jobs and visitors return to the city and spend money because we rely on that sales tax revenue.
My budget priorities include ensuring high-quality basic city services like snow plowing, street sweeping, garbage and recycling collection, safe and well maintained sidewalks and streets, and a well staffed fire department. Preserving and expanding affordable housing is critical as is funding for small businesses and economic development/inclusion as we look to rebuild our commercial corridors and support BIPOC owned businesses. Ultimately we will not have an economic recovery that is equitable and inclusive if our residents don't feel safe and we don't have a well funded public safety system including law enforcement, violence prevention and interruption, and a robust emergency response system.
Climate change is one of the most significant problems the world faces. I speak with business owners who have experienced loss from flash flooding and residents who have significant health issues due to severe climate events. That's why I have been a leader on sustainability during my tenure on the city council. Representing downtown, I have seen how negative the local heat island effect has been on our city which is why I strongly support increasing our tree canopy and the level of green infrastructure downtown. I led the efforts to develop and install green roofs/walls, permeable pavement, expand pollinator habitats and the effort to install one of the largest solar arrays in the region on the Minneapolis Convention Center.
I led the passage of plans to transition our energy use to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 for all Minneapolis energy users and 100% renewable in all sectors by 2050. Going forward, we must invest in critical sustainability programs such as Inclusive Financing which will help renters reduce energy costs thus making housing more affordable. We should expand energy efficiency and retrofit programs and adopt policies that will aggressively address environmental and racial injustices, especially in identified green zones. We must take steps to reduce our carbon footprint by building out our transportation system so people have access to low-carbon and carbon-free transportation choices including expanding bus rapid transit, lightrail, biking and walking options. Climate change and resiliency should be part of every infrastructure plan that the city adopts.
There are many pressing issues facing our City right now. The one that keeps me up at night is economic inequality.
As we come to acknowledge the persistent and systemic inequalities in our society, nowhere are the consequences more apparent than in how our economy works. Racism in education, employment, housing and health care holds us as a community back from being a city that works for all of us and that must change. As a city, the level of government closest to people, we have a special responsibility to ensure our systems work and provide a quality education that leads to a living wage job, that allows for safe and quality housing families can afford in all neighborhoods and improves the public health of our residents.
My vision for Minneapolis is a city that has a large middle class. That path forward means working to lift residents out of poverty and towards hope. Supporting and investing in small businesses by helping them own the buildings they lease, low-interest lending, grants to help BIPOCI communities start their own business, vocational training, career pathways to jobs available in our community and small business navigation through processes and regulations are areas that need direct intervention and investment and will make a difference. Government doesn't need to get involved where the markets are working; we need to invest in areas where capitalism has failed.
Lives in: Downtown West
Occupation: Senior manager of movement building at Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Our city has the responsibility and resources to create safe neighborhoods for everyone. Right now, our system of public safety relies too heavily on a police department that is not equipped to respond to every situation. This past year has shown us that even when we spend record amounts of dollars on policing, it doesn't necessarily equate to more safety for everyone. That's why it's time for a new approach. I support a new Department of Public Safety so that we can prioritize violence prevention, address root causes of crime, and send the right responders to the right situations.
This new department will invest in proven, community-based violence prevention programs that provide culturally-relevant, holistic support to neighbors in need. This includes: mental health emergency response, substance use experts, outreach to unhoused residents, response to our communities facing trauma, along with other more appropriate responders to crisis.
Our new system will still include armed peace officers, but by removing the required staffing levels, it will allow us to thoughtfully plan to meet our community needs with the appropriate solutions and responses. Additionally, we still need real accountability, more community control, and real enforcement systems of discipline for misconduct.
I believe this moment requires leaders who can help us think bigger about our solutions to make real change, not double down on the same policies that don't work. I have a proven track record of making change in Minnesota and I will do the same with public safety in Minneapolis.
I believe housing is a human right. Renters comprise over 60% of Ward 7 and a majority of residents throughout the city. Right now, too many of our neighbors are being pushed out of their homes by corporate landlords who make it unaffordable for these residents to stay in their homes.
Tenant protections are integral to housing stability throughout our city and to prevent more homelessness. We need every tool at our disposal to help prevent displacement and ensure people have affordable places to live. That's why I support rent stabilization.
This year's ballot initiative does not create a rent stabilization policy in Minneapolis, however, it simply allows us to have a city-wide dialogue around the subject and for us to continue the process of designing a set of targeted pilots and policies to right-size this tool for our city. I believe that when the time comes to implement smart policy, we can use it to protect low-income renters from predatory practices of corporate landlords and prevent displacement.
What would your budget priorities be as the city recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, and what do you think of the city's current tax rates? Too high? Too low? Just right?
Budgets are a reflection of our values as a community. I will continue to engage residents and neighbors about the best tax rates to meet our needs as a city. As I talk to residents every day, however, it's clear that people are less worried about the city's taxes and more worried about our unhoused neighbors, small businesses closing their doors, and community members continuing to feel unsafe.
Budget priorities and taxes
- Making housing a human right in Minneapolis. We need to invest in a community-centered housing ecosystem for our future by protecting the rights of renters and by building and preserving deeply affordable housing, including public housing, across our city.
- Building a public safety system that is rooted in care. We must create a more comprehensive approach to public safety, starting with creating a new Department of Public Safety that still includes police, but also includes violence prevention, unarmed and mental health responders, homelessness outreach, and more.
- Ensuring we rebuild an economy that puts our people and planet first. We must build a city where our energy and resources are regenerative, that prioritizes our small businesses and local economy, and that provides living-wage jobs for all people.
As we rebuild our city, we must think about rebuilding Minneapolis for our future. As a community organizer and former Civic Engagement Director at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, I believe I have the vision and experience to do that.
We must take climate change more seriously and lead with bold and equitable solutions. The science is clear we're behind and we must act swiftly and at larger scales to address rising emissions. As the largest city in the state, we have a responsibility to lead on everything from zoning and planning, energy, transportation and waste. Minneapolis should ensure that all of our systems are regenerative at their core.
As a first step, I would spearhead an update to our city's Climate Action Plan, rooted in the latest science and prioritizing equity, environmental justice and establishing more rigorous and trackable goals.
In addition, I believe in order to meet our climate goals, we must prioritize renewable energy over oil and gas in two major sectors in Minneapolis: housing and transportation.
First, we must do more to make our homes and businesses energy efficient. I support inclusive financing as a tool for renters and low-income folks, and I also believe we need to increase the utility franchise fee to fund more energy efficiency programs to those most in need.
Second, we need to prioritize neighborhood design and transportation systems so that access to essential services is within a short distance to reduce carbon emissions from our transportation infrastructure.
Our transition to a carbon-neutral city must be equitable and create living-wage jobs that include low-income and BIPOC residents in our community. As the former HIRE Minnesota organizer, I believe I am uniquely qualified to work across sectors to do that.
First, I believe we need to strengthen our city's democracy. As the former Director of Civic Engagement for the Department of Human Rights and a lifelong community organizer, I know how important relationships and community trust are in moving us forward together. I've seen how we all benefit when those most impacted by policy have a seat at the table, and the chance to develop solutions to common problems. I will work to build improved systems of community engagement in our city so that city policies best represent the needs of all our residents. This includes participatory budgeting, better engagement with community organizations, diversifying our boards and commissions, community and neighborhood visioning sessions, and opportunities for residents to develop relationships with their neighbors. We need to be able to listen and trust each other again. I am committed to the work to make that happen.
Second, as a downtown resident, I believe there is more we can do to make sure we have a thriving and vibrant downtown. We should make it easier for small businesses to start and develop. We should legalize street food. We should contract for more street art and add more decorative lights. We should better utilize our unique skyway system, to connect our people, businesses, and streets in an engaging and intentional way. We should have green rooftops on all our downtown buildings when possible. These are all ideas that we can do right now that will create a safer, vibrant, and thriving downtown.
Lives in: Loring Park
The police must change. Should the People of Minneapolis choose to step into uncharted territory by replacing MPD with a new "Agency," that agency should pair Peacekeeping Officers with Medical and Mental Health Professionals. The agency should activate Community Leaders, Faith Organizations, and trained Boots on the Ground in the interest of maintaining strong ties to the community. This assures the involvement of impacted stakeholders. The organization must employ the number of officers that the People, by way of the Charter, require. Should voters decide not to remake the wheel it will be time for all of us to roll up our sleeves. No matter which way we go, Minneapolitans demand Community Oversight, honest engagement, and that law enforcement reflect the values of this community. Interestingly, my prescription remains the same. I have proposed the concept of Comfort and Safety Nodes. This plan utilizes existing infrastructure to house in-neighborhood first response teams composed of Peacekeeping Officers, Medical and Mental Health Professionals and Community liaisons. This is the evolution of innovations coming out of Eugene Oregon (Cahoots) and Denver Colorado (Star). I believe the CSN Plan is the way to help move our Community from aspiration to action founded in common values. The goal is to assure that every Minneapolitan has access to "Sesame Street style" public safety teams and feels safe in their neighborhood and home. There is no way that these accessory professionals will not have a long-term positive effect on law enforcement and the community it serves.
Unfortunately not enough has been done over the last 24 years to avoid the crisis we currently face. Public Housing is being privatized at an alarming rate, the Affordable Housing Trust has not been funded to the extent demanded, socio-economic disparity has only grown, and the gap between White homeowners and homeowners of Color (specifically African American) has exploded. And then there are the encampments. I think we all are aware of the growing crisis these unsheltered communities pose to public health and safety in our city. We can no longer kick the affordable housing tin can down the dusty road. Rent Stabilization is one in a suite of policy prescriptions that we must consider. I tie Rent Stabilization to historic preservation and would push for the policy to be piloted in the old Neighborhoods of Loring, Elliott, and Stevens as well as other older high-density areas housing high numbers of Working-Class, low income, and Student Renters. I advocate deep tax incentives and pathways that mirror those which Berlin and other progressive cities have enacted or attempted. Renter protections are a moral movement. It will take reimagining a Minneapolis that has been a speculator's paradise for over 100 years. Reinvestment will be key and again, incentives are the way.
Budget priorities and taxes
Programming for Inner-City Youth is central to the next Minneapolis Miracle. It is time to empower and uplift Minneapolis' Children. Not only will this foster the Change Agents of Tomorrow, it will increase a sense of civic ownership, and reduce Youth Crime. Beyond our Children, we must prioritize the protection and growth of our Local Small Business Community. We need more small businesses along our City Corridors—especially Downtown. Steve Cramer, President of the Downtown Council was quoted in MN Monthly saying "We had a roughly 10-year run...So it has been a good ride. The ride came to a crashing halt." This is concerning and should tell smart Minneapolitans that it is time to change course. I advocate building a new creative cohort in order to rebrand our City in the wake of George Floyd, multiple civil unrest and COVID-19. Business as usual was paper thin. We must radically rethink how we engage and inspire all Minneapolitans to join in the opportunities this new market can offer moving forward. Regarding Municipal Taxes: they are too damn high. Additionally there isn't any clear picture of where the money is going. Whether they be business, entertainment, or property taxes—many Minneapolitans can no longer suffer the burden alone. It is time for local government to get off its high horse, and reduce its footprint. It is time that local government takes up the responsibility of digging our community out of the hole it has created since Mid-Century last if not prior.
In office on behalf of the 7th Ward community I will work to create policy that reflects our values. I will continue to listen and learn from Local Advocacy groups leading the work of Climate and Energy innovation. I will utilize my experience in small business to start working with Energy partners in order to negotiate Green Wins for the People of Minneapolis. I have been fortunate enough to sit in on meetings of the Clean Energy Partnership and sadly walked away less than impressed. Again, it is time to move beyond aspiration to action. Coming from Small Business, I am accustomed to having to show results and bring value to those I represent. I am excited to apply this ethic and know-how to a City Hall that has for far too long been allowed to maintain a very low bar for itself.
Access to good paying jobs for all Minneapolitans regardless of race, class, age or physical ability is crucial. I will advocate for good union jobs where possible, and work towards an anti-racist Downtown when it comes to employment opportunities across all sectors—especially high paying service industry jobs. Our Public Schools deserve an advocate on the Minneapolis City Council. As the Child and Grandchild of Public School Educators, I am that advocate and have some amazing ideas to work with our Public Schools and School Board on innovative ways to encourage and reward Youth excellence. I will start by supporting the Downtown Academic Arts District and connecting my Arts Community Friends to this exciting initiative. Lastly I will continue my staunch support for our Public Housing Community. From the Council dais I will stand with Public Housing Residents against the demolition and privatization of their homes. We cannot turn out back on the bedrock of our Affordable Housing stock. Instead, we must work with County, State, and Federal agencies to shore up what we have, and explore new innovations in the Public Housing and Social Housing of the future. I am excited about the direction some European municipalities are taking. I urge Minnesota to reconnect with its Northern European roots when it comes to exploring avenues for housing all our Neighbors in dignified, modern, amenity rich Low Income Family, Student and Working Class housing.
City Council - Ward 8
The Eighth Ward covers south-central Minneapolis, including the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where George Floyd was killed. This ward encompasses the Bancroft, Bryant, Central, Field, Kingfield, Lyndale, Northrop and Regina neighborhoods.
Lives in: Bryant
Occupation: Current Ward 8 City Council member
If the amendment passes there should be an Office of Public Safety, that includes a specialized mental health response. The Office would serve to coordinate all the Public Safety operations including violence prevention, traffic enforcement that doesn't involve armed officers. I believe that MPD must operate as a part of the city governance structure, and passage of the Public Safety amendment will significantly contribute to the end.
I believe that a targeted, narrowly tailored rent stabilization program would be beneficial to low-income, vulnerable populations. I believe that "how it should work" should be determined with a broad range of stakeholders including policymakers, renters, property owners and legal advisors.
Budget priorities and taxes
I believe that we must prioritize small business owners, low-wage communities through Universal Basic Income, and making City of Minneapolis employees (essential workers) whole. I believe that the current tax rates meet the moment that we are finding ourselves in.
We know from recent incidents, Hurricane Ida, the wildfires all over the country that climate change is very real. I support training young people of color for the green economy, including solar installation, use of biochar and other alternative energy sources. We must create more sustainable communities, walkable communities that have local economies and opportunities for employment, recreation and physical activities.
There are many issues facing the City of Minneapolis. I personally brought forth a resolution declaring racism as a public health emergency. We must continue to redress the harms created by redlining, disruptive, destructive freeways going through communities of color. Additionally we have an out-of-control gun/ violence issue in our community that must be addressed. We have to continue to ensure that all students in Minneapolis have equal opportunities to learn and feel safe.
Robert "Bob" Sullentrop
Lives in: Kingfield
Occupation: Civil engineer
I strongly oppose the amendment to replace the police department. This is my number one campaign issue. I favor the amendment that was submitted by the City Charter Commission.
It is my understanding that rent control would be in violation of state law and lawsuits would result if it passed. However, I could possibly favor a system that would require landlords to document and justify their need to raise rents.
Budget priorities and taxes
Our taxes are way too high and I do not favor any tax increases. I would favor a tax reduction.
I favor having the federal government set up things like mileage standards for cars, carbon goals for power plants by switching to natural gas, or nuclear power, or both. I am open to solar panels and windmills bought and paid for by those who want to do so, but see no reason why the federal government should subsidize any of that activity. The need for zero carbon emissions has not been justified. The largest producer of carbon, namely China, is not required to do anything until 2030. They are currently the second largest economy and can well afford to start making changes now. India needs to start doing carbon reductions as well. Private industry should be allowed to be innovative in arriving at more efficient systems rather than being told that the only systems are solar and windmills or electric cars and that we have to rebuild all our buildings to make them more efficient. I don't think there should be much of a role for local governments, other than possibly implementing some system that has been approved by a national regulator or whatever that would both save on carbon emissions as well as save on costs, yet still provide the amount of energy that is needed to run our economy.
I did not favor the campers in the parks last year or putting them up in motels, or now they are talking about rooming houses. What is missing in all of this is any requirement that these people need to follow rules and will not be allowed to do drugs where they are living at taxpayer-funded facilities. They should be required to get counseling and eventually find jobs and support themselves. Homeless shelters run by charities are already doing this and have been doing so for quite a while. Parks are intended to be used by everyone. A lot of people felt intimidated by people living in parks and didn't feel safe going there with their families.
City Council - Ward 9
The Ninth Ward also covers central Minneapolis and shares the intersection of 38th and Chicago with the Eighth Ward. Its neighborhoods include Central, Corcoran, East Phillips, Longfellow, Midtown Phillips and Powderhorn Park.
Lives in: Central
Occupation: Committee legislative aide, Minnesota House of Representatives Workforce and Business Development Committee
The ballot question on the formation of the Minneapolis Department of Public Safety — an initiative supported by thousands of Minneapolis residents — is an opportunity for us to take a significant step forward in protecting our communities and preventing crime.
If the City Council establishes a Department of Public Safety, we will finally be able to move away from a police-only model of public safety. It would allow our city to offer the services of qualified professionals who can respond to a variety of situations using a public health-focused approach instead of relying exclusively on the Minneapolis Police Department. It would allow our city to expand services such as specialized mental health crisis responders and domestic violence response personnel.
To be clear, police will be a part of this new structure. The number of officers employed by MPD is dependent on community input, budget analysis, and audit of public safety needs that will be met by non-police public safety workers.
If our public safety system is not restructured through the passage of this ballot initiative, we owe it to the community to fund non-police public safety methods mentioned and explore how we can restructure our systems, because what we have today is not working. Public Safety is multifaceted, and our approach to public safety mechanisms should be multifaceted as well.
I am in full support of renter's protections that help keep Minneapolis residents in their homes. I was thirteen when my parents, both working-class immigrants, were evicted from our house in the 9th Ward, forcing my family into homelessness. Over a decade later, the struggles my family faced still harm families and members of our community.
We are facing a housing crisis, and we must put people first. A rent control ordinance is one of the policy options that we need to implement to create connected, healthy, and safe communities. I want to lead on this issue by implementing a rent stabilization program that prevents displacement, advances racial equity, and centers the needs of renters.
According to research conducted by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), about 50% of low-income households in Minneapolis are cost-burdened or have been cost-burdened in recent years. Especially in neighborhoods like my home community of South Minneapolis, the cost-burdened renters are disproportionately Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrants who are members of working-class and poor communities. Rent stabilization is a proven and effective method to prevent excessive rent increases, produce lower rents, protect naturally occurring affordable housing, and create incentives to build new housing stock.
CURA's research shows that an annual cap of 3% increases is best in advancing racial equity and preventing displacement in low wealth working communities. An effective rent stabilization program should offer zero corporate loopholes, no vacancy decontrol, and a process for landlords to request an exemption based on need.
Budget priorities and taxes
Our communities are at their best when the people who live, learn, and work in them are at their best. Our city's budget ought to reflect the value of the people who reside here, and my priorities as a city council member will be to invest in the resources and systems that enhance the lives and livelihoods of you and your neighbors. Among my foremost priorities for our budget are new or expanded investments in environmental sustainability, public safety alternatives, affordable housing options that working-class people can access, resilient green walking, biking, and transit infrastructure, assistance for small businesses, education services, and support for our large immigrant communities.
By investing in the basic needs of our communities, we can lower the rate of poverty, encourage the growth of local businesses, and address the root causes of crime so we can prevent it rather than react to it.
It is clear that if we want to deliver on building resilient and cooperative communities that are built to last, we need to make big investments in our future. I'll work to make sure the wealthiest individuals and the corporations that benefit from being in our city pay their fair share. If our budget focuses on programs that will directly benefit the everyday people of Minneapolis — specifically our most disenfranchised communities — we will see the greatest returns on safety, climate resilience, public health, and ensuring that this is a city where everyone can live, work, learn, and thrive.
Climate change is a serious threat, particularly to our working-class and BIPOC communities. As a member of the city council, I will devote significant time and resources to ensuring Minneapolis is well equipped to withstand and prevent the impacts of climate change. If elected, I will work to ensure our city is committed to a net-zero municipal carbon footprint by 2024, 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, and citywide carbon neutrality by 2040. Although the dangers of climate change are real and severe (and affecting us right now), I also believe that our response to the crisis can be an opportunity for us to improve and invest in our collective health and well-being. As we face hotter summers and harsher winters, I will invest in the expansion and creation of public warming and cooling stations and develop local emergency plans for climate disasters, which help to support our houseless community members and reduce climate-related medical emergencies. I will fight hard for major investments into green infrastructure, efficient public transit systems, retrofitting buildings, expanding green spaces in the city, prioritizing walking, biking, and green transit, and the municipalization of utilities.
Of course, the best way to solve a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place! That's why I will collaborate with local leaders, businesses, community stakeholders, and the state and federal government to secure support for unionized workforce development in a green economy designed to decrease emissions and heighten our climate preparedness.
Our city is hurting. Maybe it's a loved one sick in the hospital, your business struggling, a school without enough opportunities for your kid, or the pothole you deal with every morning.
Whatever it is, I want to address it.
To solve any given issue, we have to address the broader issue of trust. Throughout my time in public service and this campaign, I've often come face-to-face with people who've lost faith in our government. As a young, LGBTQ+ Latino, renter, and the son of immigrants who believes so deeply in the power of what this all can be at its best — I know what it's like to feel when the system has left you behind.
From a broken system of policing to a broken water fountain in Powderhorn Park, the issues facing our communities are often the product of inaction. I pledge to work hard to solve the challenges we come up against.
I can't promise that we'll agree on absolutely everything, or that we can magically fix all our issues instantaneously, but I can promise you that I will always have our community at the forefront. I'm running because I believe in a government that is community-led and community-centered. That's how I will serve our city.
I hope to earn your trust and support. And I hope we can work together to move our city forward. If you want to learn more, please visit my website.
Lives in: East Phillips
Occupation: Small business owner and journalist
If the voters do vote for a new agency, the new department should include specialized personnel who are trained to be in different types of crisis management like mental health professionals, social workers, addiction experts, guidance counselors, etc.
The number of police officers should be determined by population and should be enough to not be stretch too much, making it difficult for police officers to answer calls or their own wellness & health. Our top priority is community policing and having the right officers that can protect and serve.
Other changes would be improving transparency, accountability within MPD, I'm proposing introducing a program that tracks all officers after training, locks officers if they haven't done their trainings or training, yearly drug test, introducing new innovative trainings, practices, and incentives to combating work stress, insomnia and high blood pressure that come with the job.
There is no quick fix silver bullet, however; research from UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Studies shows that in neighborhoods rents do become more affordable with new construction, by slowing down the rising rent cost.
As a city we need to build more places, to meet the supply and demand of housing, it's frustrating that it might take too long to meet the outcome. Because high prices are a result of demand outstripping supply in the market.
Do we have greedy landlords, of course yes, and strict city ordinances & higher fine laws should be passed to address it. Housing is a complex issue, and we all must come to the table to address with a new set of tools. Subsidized housing and new well-targeted protections will always be part of the solution.
Rent control is only good for people who will never move out of their current apartment, we need to explore more better solutions like introducing modifications in zoning laws, for developers to build higher and bigger spaces for large families, creating early intervention to address homelessness in Minneapolis.
Budget priorities and taxes
My budget priorities would be reviving Minneapolis, over 50 business have permanently closed relocated from Minneapolis. Minneapolis has lost over 80% of its workers. Here is my list of priorities, investing in capital funding to new companies, especially the ones affected by COVID-19 pandemic, investing in entrepreneurship by building equity districts to accelerate innovation.
In our Ward 9 community, especially the lake street business corridor, offering business support for the small business to have support in adoption of new technologies. Creating an advisory committee for small business and entrepreneurs, to serve as a platform of new ideas, engage policy makers and promoting innovations.
As a city, we need to define all the hazards and doing proper analysis to understand the risks that are being posed to our communities. I would start by conducting a detailed analysis of how we can have risk reduction, costs, impacts and feasibility.
As a metropolitan community, I believe we can start by having simple nature-based solutions initiatives, such increase in planting trees because it does benefit in decarbonization, health and economic growth.
If we can identify the most effective and feasible action, we can be able to focus on how to execute. We need to create awareness of climate change, improving our emergency and responses and preparedness.
Health, COVID-19 pandemic did emphasize the inefficiencies and inequities that we have in the city of Minneapolis, we must collectively work to reduce the racial health gap and make the city a healthy place to live in.
Opioid crisis, we all have family member or someone we know who has been affected by opioid crisis, I'm proposing creating a community-focused interventions to find solutions to this epidemic, educating the public via different platforms on the impact and how to battle addiction. Also removing stigma of drug addiction in our communities.
Lives in: Powderhorn Park
Occupation: Retired small business owner
If voters decide to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a Department of Public Safety, the new agency must include enough sworn and armed police officers to adequately respond to the rising violent crime rate in our city. I believe our city's current charter, which requires 1.7 police officers for every 1,000 residents, is an appropriate, minimum number of cops for a city of our size.
Our police department is currently tasked with handling rape, murder and aggravated assault investigations, domestic abuse calls, opioid overdoses, homeless issues, property crimes, traffic enforcement and motor vehicle violations, and crowd control for events, among a host of other calls for assistance. Any new police model must also accommodate for these conditions.
If voters opt against abolishing the MPD, I firmly believe we must fully fund our police department to address the rising crime rate in our city. However, I also believe cops must also be held accountable for their actions on our streets so that every resident, business owner and visitor feels safe, secure and respected by law enforcement. We can only do this by giving our chief of police more authority to discipline and terminate problem officers; more police transparency through the use and review of body cameras; implementing best practices to eliminate dangerous interactions between police and the community; efficiently delegating resources when responding to calls for assistance; a stronger collaboration between police and county mental health services; and aggressively recruiting more racially and ethnically diverse officers who look like our community.
There is an affordable housing crisis in Minneapolis, but rent control is not a viable solution. While some tenants may see a short-term benefit, studies continue to show that there are more negatives than positives where rent control is concerned. For example, rent control in Minneapolis almost certainly will move more development outside of our city boundaries and reduce any incentive for landlords to maintain their properties.
Solving the affordable housing crisis will require a strategic set of intelligent policies, programs and incentives that work together to drive up supply and reduce overall demand. At the heart of this new effort must be a citywide effort to transition renters to homeowners, which is how we break the cycle of rental-based poverty and provide generational wealth opportunities to our most chronically underserved communities.
I believe we can control exorbitant rent prices by making affordable housing more available through rezoning, targeted development, increased government-based subsidies, an expanded public housing model, and through new innovations like tiny homes and modular housing. I also believe we can lower demand for rental units by transitioning renters to homeowners through low and no-down payment programs, down payment assistance, rent-to-own options, and closing cost assistance.
As someone who grew up in government-subsidized housing, making sure everyone has an affordable, comfortable and safe place to call home is not only important to me, but also a very personal issue. That's why I pledge to look at all housing bills, policies and programs through the lens of compassion, empathy and experience.
Budget priorities and taxes
My primary budget priority will focus on reinvesting in business corridors that have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and last year's civil unrest. Our small and minority-owned businesses, which are heavily concentrated in the 9th Ward and so vital to our city's economy, must be fully restored so that they not only thrive, but prosper for generations to come. As a result, I will be an ardent advocate for the lion's share of federal, state, city, and county resources to restore the 9th Ward, which has been harmed by the pandemic and civil unrest more than any other community in Minneapolis.