Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Monday, October 02, 2017

Letter from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Cooperation with ICE

In September I received a very disturbing letter dated September 21 from the Hennepin County Sheriff, Richard W. Stanek outlining the County's close cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division. It appears to confirm some of our worst fears about what has been happening at the County Jail for decades now and I believe it should give us cause to reconsider, renegotiate and potentially terminate the contract we, the City of Minneapolis, has with them to serve as our jail.


September 21, 2017

City Hall, Room 331
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Dear Mayor Hodges and Councilmembers,

A number of representatives from cities in Hennepin County have made inquiries about immigration issues and about proposed sanctuary city resolutions. I welcome the opportunity to address these issues and write to provide information about the Sheriff’s Office operations and a county law enforcement perspective on the question of sanctuary cities.

Immigration is a federal issue, and immigration violations are civil in nature, not criminal. Accordingly local law enforcement officers in Minnesota do not enforce immigration laws­ only federal law enforcement officers are empowered to enforce immigration laws. The Sheriff's Office makes no determination of a person's immigration status during resident contacts, at the time of jail booking, or while an inmate is in custody.

And because immigration violations are civil and not criminal, the Sheriff’s Office has no legal authority to detain an inmate once their criminal charges have been resolved by the Courts. This is why we cannot honor ICE detainer requests- the Courts have been very clear: to do so would violate an individual's 4th Amendment Rights. Accordingly, there is not one inmate in the Hennepin County Jail being held solely on immigration violations.

I'm sure you may have heard me say it: there is no sanctuary for criminals anywhere in Hennepin County. Here's specifically what I mean by this, especially in the context of a proposed sanctuary resolution:

Every arrestee brought to our Jail is alleged by a law enforcement officer or judge to have connnitted a criminal act, so we are required to book and maintain custody of the arrestee until they are released or transferred pursuant to an order of the Hennepin County District Court, or
some other court.

RooM 6, CouRTHousE             350  SoUTH S111 STREET             MINNEAPOLIS  MN  55415                 www.nENNEPINSHERIFF.ORG                              612-348 3740

The vast majority of the arrestees who come to our Jail prior to criminal charging have been arrested by local police departments, and not the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Please see
the enclosed chart which shows the 2016 arrests made by law enforcement agency and by type of arrest. The Sheriff’s Office made approximately 26% of the arrests leading to booking in 2016, and 90% of our arrests were made pursuant to a court order. The other 74% of arrests leading to booking (23,247 of31,537) came from other agencies operating in the County.

At the point of booking, Minnesota law requires that we ask each arrestee their "place of birth." Every inmate also is fingerprinted, the prints are sent to the BCA, which sends them to the FBI and then to the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. ICE's District Office in Bloomington conducts an independent review based on the information from booking, based on interviews,
and based on its own records and databases. We do not assist ICE in this process, but we do cooperate with ICE officers to the fullest extent of the law. If an arrestee voluntarily discloses that they were foreign born, or a non-U.S. citizen, HCSO makes this information available to ICE, arranges a call to ICE, and offers the arrestee the option of speaking with an immigration agent. In 2016, we arranged approximately 2700 of these phone calls, and the majority of the calls resulted in inmates voluntarily speaking with ICE agents. For most (80%), this call assisted them in resolving questions concerning their legal status.

We notify ICE when an inmate is released only when ICE previously has served a Request for Notification. In 2016, we received 267 "Requests for Notification" (for 0.85% of inmates) and ICE actually picked up 68 inmates after their release (0.2% of all inmates booked in the Hennepin County Jail). We do not decide which inmates ICE picks up, and ICE never reports back on the status or result of their immigration proceedings.

The above process is followed every time an officer in your police department makes an arrest and brings an individual to our Jail. Should your city decide to adopt a sanctuary city policy, the process at our Jail will remain unaffected, because the state and federal mandates for our Jail will continue. The only way to adopt a true sanctuary would be to instruct your police
department to either not make arrests, or to cite and release all suspects.

While I take no position with respect to a sanctuary city policy for your city, and respect your authority as a policymaking body, as the chief law enforcement officer in the county, I hope that you will consider the public safety consequences of any policy adopted in a city that would limit in any way the law enforcement officers in your police department from fulfilling their duties and abiding by their Oath of Office.

Finally, because immigration is a federal issue, please consider joining with me in calling upon our Minnesota Congressional Delegation to address the many concerns of our constituents and work toward making the policy reforms that can only be addressed at the federal level.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these matters or any other. Thank you for your public service to the residents.


Richard W. Stanek
Hennepin County Sheriff

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Police Chief Approved

The City Council has unanimously approved Mayor Betsy Hodges’ nomination of Medaria “Rondo” Arradondo as our new Chief of Police, our first African American police chief. Arradondo joined MPD in 1989 as a patrol officer in the 3rd Precinct. He has served as a school resource officer, a northside beat officer, internal affairs investigator and property-crime investigation experience. More recently he has served as 1st Precinct inspector, deputy chief and chief of staff.  

Following the vote, Ronda made this statement to the Council:

Statement by Chief Medaria Arradondo
Confirmation vote by Minneapolis City Council
Friday, August 18, 2017

“Madam Chair, Council Members, Mayor: I’m humbled and I’m also honored on this day to be before all of you; community; the wonderful, talented, professional men and women—both sworn and civilian—that make the Minneapolis Police Department truly one of the greatest in the country. I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the historical importance of today. And while I went through my twenty-eight years, and quite frankly even last month, never knowing I’d be before all of you today in this position, I meant what I said: in my twenty-eight years, I have never felt for one hour that my community was not supportive of me and the work that I was doing.

I stand on the shoulders of both heroes and “sheroes” that through their trials, tribulations, sacrifices and fights have allowed me—and others—to be at the place and have the opportunities that I have today. I’m so blessed that when I mention “sheroes” to have someone like Dr. Josie Johnson be with us today, and certainly Miss Deb Montgomery, who has been a leader and pioneer in so many aspects, too. But also, just to have had the friendship and relationships with someone like Elder Bellecourt, Mr. Moss, and others in the room today, I’m truly grateful of that.

When I was asked by the Mayor to go ahead and lead this police department there was not a hesitation. And the reason why there wasn’t a hesitation is because I’ve had the ability to see and work with, truly, some of the greatest men and women, both our sworn and we have an absolutely phenomenal civilian partnership that are committed. You may not hear a chief use this four-letter word, but you cannot truly believe in service without love. And I love this city; continue to love this city, and all the communities that we serve. I will continue to treat the men and women of this department with the respect and dignity that I would want to have, and that I expect our community members to be treated with.

And while I know that we have done many tremendous things with this Minneapolis Police Department, I do know that there are pockets in our communities that have felt no trust, where that trust has been shaken. And it’s important, for me, to inspire the men and women that we have to restore that. We will never succeed if we do not have the trust of our community. And so there will be dark days, and there will be difficult days, and I will call upon all of you to help support us in doing the work. But we must—in terms of the Minneapolis Police Department—we’re responsible for doing that work. I do plan to have a shift in our culture. It’s been one hundred fifty years for the Minneapolis Police Department. We have done some tremendous things. But I also know that our history has been marked with times where we have harmed communities, and that takes time to change that pain. But I’m dedicated and obligated to making sure that we do that.

I want to make sure that we are also accountable to ourselves. That’s important. For the communities to have trust in us, they must know that we are holding ourselves accountable.

I also want to focus on outcomes. Not so much just for the police department, but what are the outcomes that our communities feel are important to them.

And I want to wrap all of that under the blanket of procedural justice. That the men and women of this police department know that we must give our community members voice; we must give them respect; we must treat them with the dignity they deserve; and all of this in terms of building a trustworthiness and being neutral and non-judgmental at the same time. It’s going to be a heavy lift, but I’m ready for it.

As someone had said before in a public meeting, I’m short and bald, and I’m ready and up to the task. I’m up to the task. But, I truly want to thank all of you. All of you are part of my four hundred thousand bosses that I’m responsible for. And this is not an easy task, and—for your consideration to have me stand before you to lead the Minneapolis Police Department, was not an easy one. And you have to take into consideration the concerns of all your constituents. I will tell you that there will not be a day that I show up to work and put on this badge that I’m not thinking about all of your constituents. And I’ll continue to try to make them feel safe and be safe in this wonderful city of ours.

So, with that, I just want to thank every one of you. Thank you.”

— Chief Arradondo

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Goals & Priorities for 2018 and Beyond

Goals & Priorities
for 2018 and Beyond


1.       Fight climate change while sustaining our environment, creating green jobs and cleaning up our soil, water and air.

2.       Dismantle institutional racism and close the racial and economic disparities in health, housing, education, wealth, employment, and the criminal justice system.

3.       Forge a more just and durable local economy that supports small, independent and cooperative businesses, enhances human dignity and promotes the common good by providing people with meaningful work, economic security, fair compensation, decent working conditions and the right to organize at the work place.

4.        Make Minneapolis a safe and healthy city where we prioritize people’s well-being and make sure that our public spaces, housing, institutions and transportation system work for all ages, birth to death, 8 to 80.

5.       Establish an equitable civic participation system that enfranchises everyone and builds people’s long term capacity to organize to improve their lives and neighborhoods.

6.       Support and guide growth and development that provides real community benefits and serves the present and future housing, educational, employment, recreational and cultural needs of our city while protecting what is best about our communities and improving our natural and built public assets.

7.      Reject the politics of division, bigotry, hate, and fear, reaffirm our commitment to be a sanctuary city, and fight for the rights, freedoms and interests of all members of our community, no matter our color, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or status as a refugee, citizen or immigrant.  
Strategic Priorities

Environmental Sustainability
1.       Climate Action. Aggressively fund and implement our Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to levels that meet or exceed the goals of the plan for reductions of 15% by 2015 and 30% by 2025 and define a long-term goal to reach zero emissions by 2040.
2.       Healthy Air, Water, Soil and Homes. Continue and expand efforts to measure and clean air, water and soil. Invest in our tree canopy. Promote cleaner business practices, encourage adoption of pollinator-friendly- pesticide-free practices and prohibit the use of toxic and hazardous products and materials. Incorporate inspection for health hazards more effectively in to home energy audits and rental license inspections.
3.       Clean, Renewable Energy. Leverage the Clean Energy Partnership to further implement our Climate Action Plan. See the city conserve more energy, participate in community solar and invest in our own power plant(s) to ultimately get all of our electricity from clean, renewable sources.
4.       Local Foods. Support urban farms, community gardens, and small food producers. Ensure that every resident and visitor to Minneapolis has access to fresh, healthy food.
5.       Zero Waste. Set a zero-waste goal and adopt a comprehensive, community supported Zero Waste Plan. Organize and regulate waste from commercial properties and large apartment buildings to keep it out of landfills and the downtown garbage burner and expand organic waste collection to apartment and commercial buildings. Eliminate packaging that cannot be effectively composted or recycled.
6.       Comprehensive Transportation Network. Utilize our Complete Streets policy that prioritizes pedestrians, bikes and transit users while also making sure the overall network accounts for and works well for all modes. Keep working to realize a comprehensive multimodal transportation system with commuter and light rail transit, streetcars, enhanced bus routes and better standard bus service. Build out a system of protected bikeways.  Improve pedestrian infrastructure and maintain sidewalk access all year long. Establish and implement policies to accommodate more car-free streets and zones where appropriate and desirable.
7.       Green Zones. Draft and approve a strong Green Zone Policy to promote racial equity and sustainably revitalize communities and repair past environmental injustice. Identify at least 2 Green Zones in communities that face the cumulative effects of environmental pollution and implement plans and strategies to improve health and support economic development in those areas using environmentally conscious efforts.  

Social Justice
1.       Racial Equity. Work to close the racial disparities in poverty, income, employment, educational attainment and health throughout Minneapolis. Push the city to lead by example by using a racial equity framework to evaluate all city decisions. Root out racial bias and end racial profiling in all police, regulatory and other city practices. Provide implicit bias training for all city staff and push the city to lead by example in hiring, retaining and promoting people of color at all levels so that the make-up of our workforce reflects the make-up of the city as a whole.
2.        Economic Justice. Implement our paid sick time ordinance. Pass reforms that will fight wage theft. Continue efforts for fair scheduling regulations. Set the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour within 5-7 years and tie it to the cost of living. Strengthen the City’s Living Wage ordinance and extend worker protections and the right to organize to contract, gig and on-demand workers. Establish new regulations that create a local Health and Wefare fund for taxi and for-hire drivers through a small surcharge on rides.
3.       Affordable, Fair, Decent Housing for All. Support preservation of existing affordable housing and construction of new affordable housing and pass other policies to combat gentrification. Find effective ways to support the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority that serves those most in need by making it eligible to receive Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars and restore the Minneapolis Public Housing levy for targeted rehabilitation and new construction. Regulate the inclusion of affordable housing into more new development. Support the establishment of overnight and emergency shelters to meet unmet needs and carefully monitor recently passed more flexible housing occupancy regulations that permit intentional communities.
4.       Criminal Justice. End “broken windows,” over policing, over prosecution practices and eliminate racism in the city’s criminal justice system. Reduce or eliminate altogether the forced detention of juveniles and invest in anti-racist, community-centered alternatives to incarceration for people of all ages. Work with our community and county partners to provide more chemical dependency treatment, mental health support, community healing, trauma informed care and promote alternatives, like restorative justice, to detention.
5.       Civil Rights Protections. Fund and strengthen the Civil Rights department to fight against sexism, racism, hate crimes and discrimination of any kind while doing more to proactively identify and end discriminatory housing, employment and business practices in Minneapolis.
6.       Socially Responsible Spending. Draft and pass a comprehensive Socially Responsible Procurement policy that makes an analysis of social and environmental benefits part of every city spending decision.
7.       Immigrant and Refugee Protections. In light of certain actions taken at the federal level, strengthen city ordinances, policies, programs, and resources to protect and defend immigrant families and refugees from unfair deportation, acts of bigotry and hate, and unjust persecution. Support the creation of a local immigration legal defense fund, and explore litigation strategies to protect the rights of the City and its residents.

Peace and Nonviolence
1.       Police Reform. Implement an authentic model of community policing that empowers residents and neighborhoods to direct public safety resources. Continue and accelerate efforts to diversify the police force at all levels. Require thorough and ongoing training on implicit bias, procedural justice, relationship-based policing, crisis intervention, mediation, conflict resolution, youth development and de-escalation. Require current and prospective police officers to undergo implicit racial bias testing, and develop a clear policy for considering an officer's level of racial bias in the hiring process, performance evaluations and decisions about whether an officer should be deployed to communities of color.
2.       Police Accountability. Reform or restructure our Police Conduct Review system so that it is an all-civilian entity that receives, investigates and resolves all civilian complaints against police in a timely manner. Empower it to question officers and witnesses immediately after an incident where deadly force is used, access crime scenes, subpoena witnesses, and to make disciplinary and policy recommendations. Amend the Minneapolis Charter provision that puts the supervision of the police department solely in the mayor’s hands, distancing it from the City Council and thus the electorate, unlike any other City department.
3.       Youth Violence Prevention. Fund, improve and continue to implement the Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence and reduce overall crime and violence by using a public health approach, as well as a public safety approach, to crime and violence prevention. Invest and engage in effective non-police, public health strategies like the Next Step emergency room program, BUILD Leaders, the mental health co-responder program, and Group Violence Intervention strategies as well as a robust system of restorative justice and efforts to identify and provide resources for children, woman and families at highest risk for violence.
4.       Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault. Build community and City capacity, expertise, accountability and transparency to effectively combat domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking in Minneapolis. Use the work of the Hennepin County Sexual Assault Multidisciplinary Action Response Team, the Sexual Violence Center, the Domestic Abuse Project, the City’s Coordinating Committee to Prevent Juvenile Sex Trafficking, and other partners, to bring to scale identified and new strategies to reduce and eliminate this hidden, but far too common and devastating violence in our city.
5.       Gun Violence Reduction. Push the state and federal governments to pass, and get the state to allow the City to pass, stronger gun regulations and identify funding options, like an increased fee on ammunition, to fund anti-gun violence efforts. Support effective gun by back, or recovery programs and educational efforts to reduce gun ownership, use and injuries in Minneapolis.
6.       Re-entry Policies. Promote and support housing, employment, education and other social support services for those returning to the community from prison and other institutions.
7.       Youth Opportunities. Support mentoring, programs, career counseling, out of school activities, the Step Up program and tailored employment opportunities for high risk youth. Provide youth who are at risk for violence with case managers and chemical dependency treatment, mental health support and trauma informed care as needed.

Grassroots Democracy
1.       Equitable Civic Engagement. Fully implement the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement plan to enfranchise more people. Support inclusive, vibrant and durable neighborhood organizations that strengthen a healthy, open and democratic system of grassroots neighborhood-level planning and activity. Expand community engagement strategies to get more diverse and otherwise disenfranchised people involved and ensure that the City Council and City departments more effectively utilize public participation.
2.       Participatory Budgeting. Develop and implement a participatory budgeting program that provides democratic processes through which community members directly decide how to spend portions of the city’s budget. Support strong, vibrant, inclusive and functional neighborhood organizations
3.       Ballot Initiative. Amend the City Charter to allow citizen initiated ordinances to be put before the voters, while not allowing referendum and restricting its use in some areas, like budget amendments.
4.       Improved Voting. Establish more early voting centers, promote elections and distribute an enhanced Voter’s Guide for each election to increase voter participation. Continue to use Ranked Choice Voting, and use our new voting machines to increase voter choice and reduce counting time in 2017.
5.       Public Financing for City Elections. Work to strengthen local campaign finance and disclosure rules through state law changes and develop a system of public financing for city elections.
6.       Non-citizen Voting. Work to amend the state constitution, and changes as needed statutes and ordinances to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.
7.       Better Banking Options. Develop democratically-controlled, socially responsible public financial alternatives to the current system of for profit corporate dominated banks. Pursue initiatives like the creation of a municipal bank, credit union, or investment agency, to prevent public dollars from supporting socially irresponsible investments in things like fossil fuel extraction and distribution and increase public investments in community beneficial things such as affordable housing, public infrastructure, and targeted economic development.

Community-Based Economics and Development
1.       Maximized Public Assets. Make wise investments to preserve and protect our land, river, lakes, public park system, schools, trails, roads, bridges and other public spaces, buildings and infrastructure to ensure that they serve the present and future needs of our city. Reclaim and repurpose underutilized land taken and used as part of the federal interstate highway system, and the private railroad network, to spur economic development, housing and greenspace.
2.       Multi-jurisdictional Cooperation. Improve the cooperation across jurisdictions and institutions, especially between the work of the City and the work of the University of MN, Met Council, County, Schools, and Park Board to benefit the people of Minneapolis. Improve cooperation within all city departments and between them and neighborhood organizations. Utilize the city’s Youth Cabinet, Youth Congress and the multi-jurisdictional Youth Coordinating Board to make Minneapolis a healthier, better place to raise children that welcomes and supports all families, children and youth.
3.       Small Business Support. Leverage city and community resources, including the newly created small business navigator division and the Workplace Advisory Committee, to facilitate the creation and growth of small independent and cooperatively owned businesses that provide good jobs and serve the needs of neighborhoods where they are located.
4.       Thoughtful Growth and Development – Both locally on a project by project basis and through the redrafting of the Comprehensive Plan, work to ensure that development is done in ways that protects what is valued neighborhood character, history and amenities, prevents and, when needed reverses, gentrification, preserves a healthy mix of commercial, industrial and residential uses. Formalize a policy and practices, for incorporating meaningful Community Benefits Agreements into development project that meet real community needs for quality jobs, good housing, public infrastructure improvements and environmental benefits.
5.       Complete Neighborhoods. Improve our livable, walkable neighborhoods and make every neighborhood a “complete neighborhood,” encouraging local community self-reliance where more needs can be met close to home while focusing smart density near existing and planned transit corridors.
6.       Commercial Nodes and Corridors. Focus on the potential for promising, community supported, development along commercial and transit corridors, in Light Rail Station areas and along the Greenway. Work with neighborhood and communities to revitalize and redevelop commercial corridors and nodes like East Lake Street, Como Ave., and the Southeast Minneapolis Industrial area (SEMI) in neighborhood-serving ways.
7.       Arts. Value and support creative arts, artist and artistic expression as essential to our social-emotional well-being and quality of life, as well as to our economic vitality.