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:

Friday, May 26, 2006

Blog resolution

In other good news from the meeting today, this blog you're reading has now been officially authorized by a resolution of the City Council.

Robin and I (with Robin really playing the more active role to be sure) have been working on this since January, when I took office. I promised in last year's campaign to blog, as part of my commitment to communicate with residents of the Ward, thinking that it would be easy. Someone on the Council must already be blogging, I thought. Some system must exist.

Wrong. We had to invent the system ourselves. Robin took part in a number of meetings starting in late January with the City Clerk, Merry Keefe, (who was extremely helpful throughout this process) and staff from the Attorney's Office, the City's technology folks, the Communications department and sometimes representatives from the Mayor's office. That group decided that Elected Official's blogs would have to be authorized by a resolution, which Robin and the Attorney's office then wrote. The group also wrote a preliminary set of policies and procedures.

Then we brought it to the Council, and it was much more difficult getting my colleagues to sign on than I ever would've expected. Some Council Members were worried about costs and liability. At least one was concerned that Elected Officials' blogs would be used to bash people, having just lived through a very rancorous reelection fight. CM Ostrow needed an extra check-in in 60 days (in addition to the already-scheduled report to Council in 6 months) in order to support the resolution.

We ended up winning 7-4, after a lenghty and interesting discussion. (CMs Glidden and Lilligren, both of whom agreed to co-author the resolution, were not present for the vote.)

We were quite surprised at how difficult it was to do this, but I'm happy we did the work. It's important to be able to share my thoughts with you in this way and read your responses.

I do encourage you to comment. Now that we have passed this hurdle, let's make the most of this new tool.

Thanks for reading and responding. You make it worth the trouble.


At 6:37 PM, Blogger BJHokanson said...

I too am surprised you guys are the first on the council to blog. Hopefully it will catch on, but I kind of have my doubts. Anyway, I've been subscribed here for a while and certainly intend to keep on reading. Not being a person who easily drags myself out to meetings all the time, it's good to have these forms of communication.

And congrats on IRV today, Cam!

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Art Morris said...

Is Cam Gordon anti- [Jew}? sorry for the controversial title. But I heard Cam Gordon at the City Council meeting Friday say that we need to get Guns off our streets and out of our homes. He didn't say we need to get criminals off the street. He's engaging in classic Nazi-style propaganda...
A) Telling a Big Lie: (Jews/Guns/Mexicans/white fiil in the blank... are the source of our problems.)
B) Scapegoating: Guns are the problem, not criminals.
Future threats to our freedoms are not going to come from the right but from the Socialist Kook-Left. When I hear Gordon blame "Guns" instead of criminals for crime I hear echos of the Scapegoaters of the fill in the blank.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Robin Garwood said...

In response to Art,

First, thank you for giving our office our first test of when to allow someone’s comment to be posted. You are very, very close to the line. For future reference, it’s best not to use ethnically inflammatory language to make your point.

Now. No, Cam is not “anti-Jew.” The answer to your rhetorical question is as obvious as I think you intended.

Your main concern seems to be that Cam voiced an opinion in a Council meeting that he was not in favor of having guns on the street. Cam stands by this opinion. Last week in the Cedar/Riverside neighborhood we had two shots fired incidents. A bullet was shot through the wall of a woman’s home, lodging itself in an interior wall. Say what you want about “criminals,” that bullet would not have entered her home if the gun that shot it hadn’t been in someone else’s home.

In your list under “A”, I can’t help but note that “Guns” is the only item that does not refer to a group of people, but a technology, a group of inanimate objects. Stating that technologies and inanimate objects are a problem is not at all similar to stating that groups of people are a problem. The former is legitimate, the latter is racist.

Cam is supportive of “Project Cease Fire,” the gun buy-back program of the African American Men’s Project, and is thrilled that they have organized another round. (For more information, look here: Every gun that comes off the street is a potential tragedy averted.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Art Morris said...

I may be wrong but I'm getting the impression that Cam Gordon is a "Socialist Kook"...I don't get that impression about Gary Schiff when he's chairing the development committee meetings. The "Guns off the street" statement tells me that Gordon is against the ability of individual citizen to protect their lives and dignity. If Michael Zeburh, Dru Sjodin, and Katie Pourier were carrying Firearms...they'd be alive today. Cam Gordon is for a state where these women would be defenseless against career sexual predators. If he's not...then what the hell is he doing about it? He'd rather be dreaming about some solar powered Nirvana. Hearing him say "guns off the street" tells me his "Socialist Kook" ideology is more important than the lives and dignity of the real women who live in our city. Cam should be playing patty-cake in the sandbox with 3 year olds instead of voting on the City Council. :)

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Jay Pond said...

Robin and Cam - way to lead! Excellent, excellent, excellent. On my 9th month working at the Birchwood - your hood has got it together.

Jay Pond

At 11:02 AM, Blogger Robin Garwood said...

In response to Art,

First, again you are very close to the line. For future reference, namecalling (such as "Socialist Kook") tends to put you close to defamatory speech, which violates the ground rules of this forum. The purpose of this forum is to discuss and debate public policy issues. Please frame your comments in terms of policies, not whether someone is "kooky" or should be playing in sandboxes. We can disagree strenuously while still behaving respectfully towards one another.

As to the substance of your comments, here are some responses.

First, Council Member Schiff does not chair the Community Development Committee, but the Zoning and Planning Committee.

Second, tell the woman on the West Bank with the bullet hole in her house about "protecting her life and dignity" with all those helpful handguns on the street.

Third, if guns weren't so easily accessible, how many of the young people who've been murdered so far this year in Minneapolis would still be alive?

Fourth, Cam is not advocating banning guns in this country. He does support voluntary gun turn-in programs like Project Cease Fire and getting unlicensed firearms out of circulation.

Fifth, "doing something about" crime and violence means more than guns or policing. We must address the root causes: economic injustice and disparity, lack of opportunity, hopelessness, etc.

Finally, if you believe that a strong pro-gun stance is what the people of Ward 2 are looking for in a Council Member, you're welcome to run for Council in 2009.


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