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: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Critical Mass meeting

The meeting between Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) administration officials and Critical Mass participants that I organized and I facilitated was, in my opinion, extremely successful. It seemed to be very fruitful for the MPD and CM riders to sit down at the same table and simply talk.

Among the outcomes of the meeting, everyone was in general agreement that if the MPD committed to the following it would be helpful:

  1. To gather information about the route of Critical Mass and incidents within it by means other than helicopters.
  2. To task bicycle police to Critical Mass, to understand where it is going and be on hand to deal with issues that come up (confrontations between drivers and riders, for instance).
  3. To keep squad cars following the mass at a safe and respectful distance from bicyclists, 10-15 feet rather than the one-and-a-half feet many riders report from the last Mass.
  4. To refrain from the regular use of sirens by the squads following the Mass.
  5. To share the contact information for the Incident Commander with participants.
  6. To focus enforcement on acts of violence towards people or property.
  7. To possibly be available in Loring Park before the ride to answer questions, share MPD plans, if any, and begin constructive communication between officers and participants.
  8. To work towards ensuring that future events like Critical Mass are more peaceful and avoid, to the extent they can, a repeat of the confrontation of August 31.

The police were very receptive to these ideas and I will continue to clarify what we can expect in the days ahead.

Additionally, many of the Critical Mass participants present committed to help the group 'self-police' behaviors that the majority of riders find antithetical to the purpose of the event, such as riding into oncoming traffic, running red lights at the front of the Mass, intimidating drivers and/or damaging property. A number of riders agreed to share their cell phone numbers with the MPD's incident commander, to be a liaison between the group and the officers tasked to respond to it.

I hope to ride at least in the beginning of the next Critical Mass, to see firsthand how the MPD and CM participants deliver on their commitments and to help keep the peace. I encourage others who want to help make this a positive and peaceful event to also consider attending.

3 Comments:

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous anthony thompson said...

Councilman Gordon wrote:
"I hope to ride at least in the beginning of the next Critical Mass, to see firsthand how the MPD and CM participants deliver on their commitments and to help keep the peace. I encourage others who want to help make this a positive and peaceful event to also consider attending. "

...So our own city council members will be out there: (a) blocking their constituents from traveling, (b) clogging our streets/intersections, and (c) violating traffic laws?

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Robin Garwood said...

Anthony,

Your concerns notwithstanding, Cam will indeed be joining at least the beginning of this Friday's Critical Mass. In so doing, he joins other policymakers who have joined the group (CMs Lilligren and Schiff, Mayor Rybak, former CM Zimmermann) on an occasional basis in the past.

It's interesting that you object so strenuously to Cam blocking traffic and clogging intersections by participating in Critical Mass. Do you have the same concerns about policymakers adding their single-occupancy vehicles to the congestion following Twins games? You also voice concerns about Cam violating traffic laws (which he need not necessarily do in order to participate in CM, for what it's worth). Are you as concerned about policymakers speeding and coming to incomplete stops in automobiles?

If not, I'm interested in why not. If so, then yes, I'm certain that City Council Members regularly contribute to congestion of our streets and intersections, thereby temporarily delaying constituents on the same roadways, and regularly violate traffic laws - while driving automobiles. Just like other residents of Minneapolis.

This will be the second time Cam has ridden CM. Like his first time on the ride, his participation this month is driven by an unfortunate and unnecessarily confrontational incident. As he said, he's participating this Friday to help keep the peace and prevent a repeat of the events of 8/31, in which a) people got hurt and arrested, and property was destroyed, b) city streets were shut down for quite a bit longer than in a normal CM, and c) 48 police officers were forced to stop patrolling our neighborhoods to respond to a situation that did not have to get out of control in the first place.

I'm biased, of course, but I think that's a perfectly defensible activity for a Council Member.

 
At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The meeting may have gone to everyone's liking but the city is still pressing charges. Find out more at http://cmsupport.wordpress.com/

Pass the link along to any who might be interested.

 

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