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

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Future of NRP

Unless policymakers do something, the Neighborhood Revitalization Program will cease to exist after 2009.

This program has helped create the Minneapolis we know today, jump-starting a generation of community empowerment, decentralized decisionmaking and neighborhood involvement. It has strengthened and in some cases helped create neighborhood groups, now commonly accepted as the cornerstones of most Minneapolis communities. Many of the political leaders now in City Hall have come up through the ranks of NRP neighborhoods - myself included.

There is a bill that has been introduced at the Legislature which, if enacted, would take what I consider a small first step: requiring a study about the future of NRP.

Earlier this week, the City's IGR Committee voted to ask the Legislature not to take any action on this bill. They wanted a year to take a look at the issue and engage in a discussion with all the jurisdictions involved before turning to the legislature. This morning, I was unable to convince my colleagues to modify that position somewhat by starting to work on the difficult question of NRP within the City.

However, I'm happy with the results of this morning's meeting. The Council has had what I consider a watershed moment on NRP - we are now openly, publicly talking about the future of this immensely successful and important program. Should it continue in something like its current form? If not, what should be changed? Should the focus continue to be housing, or should it be more flexible to other concerns like crime and safety, environment, etc? And underlying all of these questions is the 800-pound gorilla: how do we pay for it, and is any amount of money we spend in NRP (or a similar program with a different name) better spent than on other priorities?

I believe that our neighborhood groups offer a wealth to our City that we would be foolish to let slip away. NRP has allowed them to build incredible capacity that we (both residents and policymakers) too often take for granted. They help the City find creative solutions to the confounding problems we face together, they help pilot novel ideas.

When we look across Minneapolis today, there are thousands of examples, in block club organizing, housing improvment programs, Community Benefits Agreements, community policing, restorative justice, improvemnts to schools, libraries and parks as well as environmental policies and projects, traffic calming, and much more.

I believe that the City will be healthiest in the longterm if we find a way to create a permanent system of community empowerment, funding neighborhoods to find their own solutions to common problems. We need to have strong measures of accountability as well, of course, to make sure that the money is not misspent and that neighborhood groups represent all constituencies within their neighborhoods (one of the most common and legitimate criticisms of current NRP neighborhood groups). We need to take a thoguhtful and critical look at what has and hasn't worked with NRP, how it can be improved and how it should be changed. NRP has proven to me that a system of decentralized investment, decision making and, yes, power can offer opportunities that keeping all the control in City Hall cannot.

I will be working on this for the rest of this term, and I realize that it might be an uphill fight, but there are few opportunities and challenges less important than this one.

This is what I moved at today's Council meeting. Although it was defeated 10-3, with CMs Schiff and Lilligren voting with me (after the last "resolved" clause was amended to send the subject matter to Ways & Means, not Committee of the Whole), virtually all Council Members agreed that it was important that we begin to have the conversation about the future of NRP at the Council level. I also committed to return with a second effort, that will likely be the creation of a City Council appointed work group to return early this summer with recommendations.

Here is my first effort that was defeated today, for your consideration. I expect better results at the next Council Meeting.

"Motion by Gordon

Whereas, the Minneapolis City Council enthusiastically supports and is proud of the achievements of the City’s neighborhood organizations and their contributions to improving our City;

Whereas, the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) helps these organizations develop and implement their Neighborhood Action Plans;

Whereas, the originally designated funding source for NRP is due to expire in 2009;

Be it Resolved, that the Minneapolis City Council recognizes the need for continued investment in Minneapolis neighborhoods,

Be it Further Resolved, that the City Council recognizes that NRP develops and supports the civic infrastructure for our neighborhoods and has been a primary vehicle for resident involvement since 1990,

Be it Further Resolved, that the City Council directs the City Coordinator and Finance Director staff to work with the NRP Director to identify and assist with the examination and assessment of possible future funding options.

Be it Further Resolved, that the City Council refers the subject matter of the examination and assessment of possible future funding options for NRP to the Committee of the Whole. "

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spray Paint Ordinance

I support Council Member Gary Schiff’s Spray Paint ordinance changes, which respond to the needs of hardware stores while better regulating the sale of spray paint, paint sticks and broad-tip markers to minors in our ongoing effort to fight graffiti. Under the new ordinance, these materials must either be under continuous supervision or inaccessible to the public.

In addition, a $42,000 grant from the National Council on Prevention of Delinquency (a hardware retail industry group) will be used to conduct one-time checks on establishments selling spray paint, similar to our tobacco compliance program.

It's my hope that these tightened regulations will help decrease vandalism by reducing young people’s access to graffiti materials.

Downtown Transportation Action Plan open houses

The City will host a pair of public meetings in April to discuss recommended changes to Downtown streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and bus routes. The meetings will include a chance to give feedback on a draft of the Downtown transportation action plan.

Among the changes proposed in the draft: concentrating bus lines on key north-south and east-west corridors, opening some one-way streets to two-way traffic, and expanding bike and pedestrian paths.

The meetings will be on Wednesday, April 11, 11:30-1 in the Central Library’s Doty Room, and Thursday, April 12, 5-7pm in the gathering room at St. Olaf Catholic Church, 215 S 8th St.

Dining Out for Life

Please join me for a Dining Out for Life lunch at the Cliquot Club, 2929 East 25th St, on Thursday, April 26, 2007. A percentage of the proceeds of your meal will go to benefit all the services for HIV-infected individuals offered by the Aliveness Project.

The Cliquot Club is one of Seward's many great neighborhood restaurants and one of many that are participating in the Aliveness Project. It is a very successful program that brings needed funds to provide needed services.

Window Replacement II

I testified at the State Legislature this month in favor of a bill creating a Window Replacement Revolving Loan Fund (see my previous post on this issue for more information).

The bill is SF1015, authored by Minneapolis Senator Linda Higgins. As far as I know there is not yet a companion bill in the House. Please contact your legislator and urge them to support this effort.

Rain Barrels

The City has received a $100,000 grant from the EPA to provide 2,000 rain barrels at a reduced cost of $45 (or half of standard retail price) to Mpls residents.

Starting in late March, you can order one here or over the phone at 612-724-2608.

Check out the press release here for more information.

Tree Trust

Tree Trust, the nonprofit that Minneapolis works with to plant trees on private property, is providing 1500 trees to residents of Minneapolis.

For $15, participating residents will receive a tree, mulch, and information about proper planting and energy conservation. You can find a list of things to consider and workshop dates and times here.

If you’re interested in greening your city by planting a tree, or know anyone else who might be, please go here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Morningstar 2% Loan

Morningstar Coffee has applied for a Minneapolis Neighborhood Small Business Revolving Loan fund loan of $100,000, to install a larger coffee roaster and an afterburner. The City will be putting $40,000 towards that total. This is clear evidence that the company is moving forward on their commitment to Minneapolis Environmental Management to install an afterburner to effectively mitigate their offensive odors. Pending final approval, this loan will be closed within three weeks. I hope that Morningstar will move quickly after the loan is received on installing the afterburner, to give neighbors a pleasant, odor-free summer.

I’m pleased that the City can help Morningstar become a more responsible neighbor without endangering their business. I believe that they can be successful without negatively impacting the neighborhood, and that this loan will help realize that shared goal.

Thanks again to the neighbors, whose active engagement has made this happen.

Library Merger Op-Ed

Library Trustee Laura Waterman Wittstock and I wrote a commentary on the library merger. It may be published elsewhere, but in the meatime, I offer it here.

***

The decision to consolidate the Minneapolis Public Library System into the Hennepin County system is moving at a fast pace.

The library system is something people throughout the city care about deeply and while we have engaged in a community discussion about the libraries over the past years, previous conversations have never included transferring $500,000,000 worth of City assets to the County, dissolving the Minneapolis Public Library system and amending the charter to do away with both the elected Library and Estimate and Taxation Boards.

We think this decision is serious enough that it deserves broader community conversation.
Many of the people we talk to are only beginning to understand the proposal and figure out the questions to ask. They deserve to know the facts and understand the consequences.

According to the best information we have been able to gather from City and Library accounting, the assets break down like this:

$200,000,000 in land, buildings, books, furniture and other materials,
$200,000,000 in city funds to be transferred to the County from 2007 to 2017, for future operating expenses, ongoing building improvements and to pay off debt for past improvements,
$100,000,000, from property taxes, between 2017 and 2032, to pay off debt.

While city taxpayers will still hold a percentage of these assets, as County taxpayers, for years they will be paying a disproportionate amount into the library system and there will be no corresponding disproportionate ownership interest. Minneapolis ownership and control will effectively end, financial responsibility will continue.

Shouldn’t we explore ways to maintain some ongoing control over the future use or sale of those assets?

The current proposal moves the power and control of public assets not downward into the hands of the people but upward and further away from them.

The current elected library board will be gone.

We believe that our independent library board has brought considerable benefits to the people of Minneapolis. The 80-plus year history of the board has given us the system we have today: 15 neighborhood libraries that provide people of all ages and stations with access to information, and the second most extensive collection in Minnesota, following the University.

The County park system includes a mix of members, some elected from districts and some appointed by the Commissioners. The library merger proposal calls for no districts, no elected members and no guarantee that anyone from Minneapolis would ever sit on the board after the first years. Isn’t a more thoughtful discussion of a new governance structure in order?

Not only are we moving the assets and their control further away from the hands of the people, but we are moving the decision itself outside their influence.

Minneapolis elected officials have voted to ask the Legislature to alter our City’s Charter outside the established, more democratic process of a referendum. Last year, Minneapolis saw a successful campaign to change our charter to use Instant Runoff Voting in local elections, arguably a smaller change than doing away with the Library Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation. We studied the issue at length and put it before the voters. That was one path to changing the constitution of our City. The library merger is following another path.

If merging the system is the alternative that will be chosen, it is very important that we make certain that the people of Minneapolis, as well as the County, get the best deal possible in the transaction. If this is a good idea now, it will still be a good idea six months or a year from now. If it is a bad idea, then we need time to consider the issues involved, and make this bad idea better. At the very least, let’s find out before it is too late.

It is unknown if the new consolidated library system will succeed. Those who say they know are expressing their hope. We share this hope, and the conviction that the status quo is clearly not an option. But before it goes forward, let’s take the time to address the community’s concerns, answer their questions and make sure the new system is the best one possible for all the people of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.


Cam Gordon
Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 2

Laura Waterman Wittstock
Minneapolis Library Board Trustee

Truth to Tell - Central Corridor edition

I will be appearing on the KFAI brodcast of Truth to Tell on the subject of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line. Here's some more info:

SUNDAY, MARCH 25th, 9:00–10:30PM on KFAI: A 90-minute special broadcast of Truth to Tell examining the issues around the Central Corridor light rail line connecting Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The program will also be recorded for televising by Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN). Confirmed panelists: Mayor Chris Coleman’s office, Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Minneapolis Councilmember Cam Gordon, University Vice President Kathleen O’Brien and several members of the Twin Cities communities affected by the construction and operation of the next major light rail transit line to be built in the Metro.

Tuttle School

Residents and supporters of the Southeast Como neighborhood were shocked and dismayed recently to hear that Tuttle School, the only public school in SE Como, will likely be closed by the Minneapolis School Board. This after the recent closing of the neighborhood's only nearby public library sends the message that the city is disinvesting in SE Como, which is exactly the wrong message to send. It also runs contrary to the findings of the recent Univeristy Neighborhood Impact report. Strong public assets like libraries, parks and schools are essential to maintaining and improving community overall health, investments in homeownership and the success of areas businesses.

Neighbors have also pointed out that the SE Como neighborhood group SECIA made significant NRP contributions to upgrade the Tuttle science lab, investments that may be lost if and when the school closes.

I share neighbors' concerns about losing this community asset. I will be attending the meeting on the possible closure and I invite all interested people to do the same. The meeting will be held in the Tuttle School theater, 1042 18th Ave SE, on Wednesday March 28th at 7pm.

The short notice makes it even more difficult. For example, if Tuttle neighbors and parents wanted to organize a charter school (as Pratt School parents and neighbors were planning to do when Pratt was threatened a few years ago), the deadline to apply for funding is already passed. If the School Board gave Tuttle a year to organize, parents and neighbors would be much better able to prepare a plan for how to retain the building as a community resource and adjust to any future changes.

The decision will ultimately be made in Early April by the School Board.

While it is a Board decision and it will primarily impact the families enrolled in Tuttle and Pratt and the surrounding neighborhoods, I believe that we all need to pull together as a larger community and as a city to help plan for the future and to find ways to support the needs of our schools, our families and the neighborhoods who will be most affected by these changes. To help get this discussion started, I will hold my April Roundtable Discussion in SE Como:

The Future of Our Schools

The School Board is proposing significant changes to our neighborhood schools, including merging Pratt and Tuttle, and closing Tuttle. What can we do as communities and a City to better support our schools, and how should we prepare for these proposed changes?

April 16, 7-9 pm
Van Cleve Park
901 15th Ave SE

Bedlam Theater occupancy

Bedlam Theater, a Cedar Riverside asset since 1993, recently moved to a new venue - the old Baja Grill at 15th Ave & 6th St, right on the Cedar Riverside LRT stop, and on the Hiawatha bikeway.

On Wednesday, my office started hearing complaints that customers were being turned away from the premier of the first show Bedlam is putting on in their new home, Inflammato. The reason? The maximum occupancy of their space was set at 80 people. I heard that one of the performer's mothers was unable to get in.

Amusingly, another one of the people who was unable to buy tickets to the opening was my very own Aide, Robin Garwood.

I soon learned that the Fire Marshall had declared the space safe for up to 200. My staff and I contacted the Regulatory Services folks to help get this sorted out. City staff, especially Inspector Linda Roberts, worked collaboratively and flexibly with the theater to get the occupancy changed. I heard from Linda that today, as of 2pm, the occupancy will be set at 200 people. The Fire Marshall has also stated that the theater can increase occupancy to 350 by doing a little work, and I hear that Bedlam is working on it.

I'm thrilled that the City was able to let this happen, and I wish Bedlam great success on Inflammato and all of their future shows.

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Least Favorite Argument

I don't often do this, but I thought I'd take a moment to discuss of the arguments that I've heard on the circus reform issue since it was on the front page of the Star Tribune. Here's the argument, paraphrased:

"With all the other problems we haven't yet solved, you're wasting your time on this?"

I have now had this argument used against several initiatives I have initiated or supported: the arsenic right-to-know ordinance, the Civilian Review Authority reforms, the resolutions opposing the Iraq war and supporting a Department of Peace, the Council effort to "ban the box," the Condo Conversion ordinance, etc.

I have heard this very rarely from Second Ward constituents. More often, it has been residents of other wards or other cities. I have also heard it from some of my Council colleagues.

I disagree with the basic assumptions of this argument, on the following points:

- Policymakers can and must do more than one thing at once. This is one of the skills that campaigns teach. The publicity afforded to a given topic is not in any way related to the amount of time it takes to work on. On the circus reform ordinance, my office has spent a tiny fraction of the time and attention we give to a larger, obviously much more important initiative such as the Youth Violence Prevention Steering Committee.

- Other issues that we currently understand to be very important have in the past been derided with this same argument: global climate change, environmental policy, civil rights, etc. You name it, and someone has probably said "why on earth are they wasting their time with that?"

- Policymakers are here to make policy, not to carry it out. It is not my role, nor is it my colleagues', to personally be out on the street fighting crime. If people have ideas that policymakers can be putting our time into, I always want to hear them.

- The big, difficult problems in our society (crime, poverty, homelessness, environmental degradation, etc) do not lend themselves to quick, easy fixes. Minneapolis puts a large percentage of our resources into these problems, and no one is pushing to change that. On the other hand, no one expects to find the magic cure for violence and poverty that will solve all of our woes. These endemic problems are therefore qualitatively different from small issues like circus reform, which have a start date, an end date, and a final result. And because these more important problems will likely never be fully solved, this argument can become a permanent exuse for inaction.

- In my experience, this argument is chiefly used to stifle discussion and dissent. Rather than debating a proposal on its merits, this argument aids those who seek to attack someone's right to even raise the issue. I do not think this is democratic or healthy, and that's the chief reason I don't use this argument. Last year, my colleague Robert Lilligren brought forward a proposal to ban walking down any alley but one's own. I strongly opposed the ordinance, but I did not question Robert's right to bring it forward. Democracy means people bringing up ideas for change - even those someone else might find wrongheaded or silly - and having them debated in a respectful and deliberative manner.

A related argument that I have heard from some of my colleagues is even worse: "why are you wasting our time on this issue if you don't have the votes to get it passed?"

I say this argument is even worse, because the above objections add a presumption that policymakers should be doing our work behind closed doors, out of the public's gaze, and only bringing something forward when we're sure we have a majority vote in favor. This is not how we are supposed to craft public policy in Minneapolis, and could constitute a violation of the State's Open Meeting Law.

So what do you think? Are these good and defensible arguments? What are your least favorite types of arguments?

Waiting on "lurking" repeal

After talking with my Council allies on the "lurking" repeal, I have decide not to introduce the change right away. While I expect some Council Members to fight against these efforts, I am hopeful that more time to address concerns and educate people about the issue will increase our chances of success. Not only is this law likely unconstitutional and discriminatory against the poor, but it is also not smart policing. It an ineffective and wastes valuable resources that we should be putting into preventing and elimiminating crime.

I realize that a number of supporters of the repeal will be disappointed that this effort will be delayed. But if it's a choice between taking a little longer to succeed or pushing forward right now and failing, I'm definitely going to choose the former.

Friday, March 16, 2007

More on our "lurking" ordinance

I want to take a moment to explain why I am proceeding with efforts to repeal Minneapolis’ “lurking” ordinance.

This is a small part of a larger effort to improve public safety practices in our City; to address the root causes of poverty, homelessness and crime; to promote fairness in our criminal justice system; to better respect and value diversity; and to improve confidence in our City’s public safety services.

Even before I took office the lurking ordinance had been reviewed and recommended for possible repeal or reform on several occasions.

In 2003 the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness recommended that “the City repeal its lurking and disorderly conduct ordinances, or amend them so that they give specific guidelines and criteria for illegal conduct.”

In November of 2004 the Council on Crime and Justice completed a report on “Low level Offenses in Minneapolis: An Analysis of Arrests and there Outcomes,” that found dramatic racial disparities in citations and arrests for lurking and high (nearly 80%) dismissal and acquittal rates.

In a Council Study Session in June of 2005 the findings of a City Task Force on the Decriminalization of Homelessness indicated that dismissal rates for lurking, loitering and trespass over 2003-2004 stood at 69%, and that dismissal rates for lurking were the highest of the three.

After I took office in 2006, I reviewed these reports. In May 2006, at my initiative, the City Council unanimously voted to remove its ordinance making it illegal to dance in the streets. It was clear that it had been used in discriminatory ways to target people with mental illness or suffering from homelessness.

In June of 2006 the Council on Crime and Justice published a report, “Reducing Racial Disparity While Enhancing Public Safety,” that examined the complex, sometimes subtle but often far reaching effects of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Lurking was again highlighted: “The racial disparity is larger for low level offenses where police officer discretion is greatest. In 2001 the equivalent of one out of four Black residents were cited for such low level offenses as disorderly conduct, loitering and lurking. For whites, the number was one in 60.” The report articulated the connection between arrest records (even when charges were dismissed or people were acquitted) and the long lasting barriers to employment and housing that can be created.

The report recommended a new approach to addressing the problems of “livability” crimes that relies on “multi-pronged strategies to address low level offenses thereby reducing the ineffective over-reliance on the criminal justice system.” It laid out a process for developing “community based problem solving strategies at identified hotspots,” working with schools and communities on intervention strategies and reforming the “tab charge” process.

· In December of 2006, the City/County plan to end homelessness was unanimously approved by both the City Council and the County Boards. It calls on us to evaluate and recommend changes to ordinances that are determined to discriminate against or criminalize homelessness. The Ten Year Plan to end homelessness points us in a new direction and calls for us to:

"Change the paradigm from managing homelessness to ending it, from funding programs to investing in the community, from serving people to partnering with people to achieve self-sufficiency…

“Eliminate panhandling and other livability issues through providing prevention and outreach services…

It was within this context I decided to take a closer look at our city ordinances.

It soon became apparently that of our low level offenses, “lurking” was the most unusual, ineffective, unnecessary and potentially discriminatory.

Here is our “lurking” ordinance: ”385.80. Lurking. No person, in any public or private place, shall lurk, lie in wait or be concealed with intent to commit any crime or unlawful act.”

On its face it is vague, unclear and there is little to no direction on how to infer intent.

While some see it as an effective tool, all of the evidence that I have seen leads me to believe that the “lurking” ordinance is not an effective law enforcement tool, overlaps with other applicable statutes and ordinances, and offers nothing but an opportunity for discriminatory enforcement.

Before I reached that decision I looked at some of the current information.

Even recently, the outcomes of lurking arrests show serious racial disparities. There were 167 people arrested or cited for “lurking” in the City of Minneapolis in 2006, 133 of these people, or more than 80%, were people of color. An African American is four times more likely to be charged with “lurking” than a non-African American, and an American Indian is three times more likely. Someone experiencing homelessness is fifteen times more likely to be charged with “lurking” than someone with adequate housing.

I believe that the “toolbox” of the Minneapolis Police Department includes enough useful tools. More than a third of those charged with “lurking” in 2006 were charged with another, more serious offense. I remain completely convinced that law enforcement officers have the legal right to stop and question a person they suspect of committing an actual crime. If an officer sees someone trying to open multiple car doors, for instance, this can constitute “articulable suspicion” that the person is attempting to violate statutes and ordinances ranging from Theft to Tampering with a Motor Vehicle. The same is true for every illegal act I have heard used as a reason to have “lurking” on the books. Additionally, the Supreme Court of Minnesota said, when upholding the Minneapolis “loitering” ordinance, that “‘lurking’ is not significantly different from ‘loitering’”.

“Lurking” has a very, very high dismissal rate. This means that very often when folks are charged with this crime, it does not carry consequences. The ordinance therefore has little to no deterrent effect in itself. It is a way to move someone out of a given area for a few hours, not any sort of long-term solution.

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights put a priority on individual liberty and I think make it clear that government should criminalize acts, not thoughts. I believe that the “lurking” ordinance crosses that line. Our police officers are highly competent professionals. I believe that they can appropriately develop articulable suspicion and probable cause to charge persons engaged in actual illegal activity with crimes that bring real consequences.

My philosophy is that we should put our resources into effective investigations and consequences for actual criminal activity that harms people and into preventing crime by addressing its root causes. The “lurking” ordinance is the clearest example of where too much time and money are being spent with little positive effect and potentially far reaching unintended negative effects. Resources that would be better invested in investigating real crimes and convicting real criminals as well as addressing root causes of crime and developing community based strategies are instead wasted on an ineffectual criminal justice “revolving door.”

Additionally, the use of the “lurking” ordinance has been waning in recent years. I believe this is an additional sign that it is ineffective and unnecessary. It is clear that most large cities also find it unnecessary. We are one of only four of the largest 100 cities in the nation with distinct “lurking” ordinances.

I believe it is time to repeal the “lurking” ordinance, and I am not alone. So far this effort is supported by the Barbara Schneider Foundation, The Minneapolis Urban League, The NAACP, Jewish Community Action, The Council on Black Minnesotans, The African American Men Project, MICAH/OPAAC, Office of the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota, American Immigrant Lawyers Association, Chicano Latino Affairs Council, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Community Justice Partners, Woman Planting Seeds, The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, African American Family Services and St. Stephens Human Services.

I plan to bring this forward to the City Council on Friday March 30 to introduce the subject matter for referral to the Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee for a public hearing and recommendation. In order for it to go to the Committee a majority of the Council Members must vote in favor of the subject introduction. Your support could be very helpful.

Minneapolis can be a national leader by following the lead provided by our Ending Homelessness report and the Council on Crime and Justice. We can create a system of community centered policing that deals effectively and constructively with the underlying causes of crime. We can address and attack the racism and discrimination that continue to plague society and we can (as our City Goals state) make our city “One Minneapolis” with “Equal Access, Equal Opportunity and, Equal Input” for everyone where “diversity will be welcome, respected and valued” and “all residents will have confidence in public safety services.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007

City Pages article on "lurking"

There's a good article on "lurking" in the most recent City Pages here.

Here's some other "lurking" data my office has put together based on 2006 Police Department data on "lurking" and 2005 US Census data:


- Eighty percent of those cited for “lurking” in 2006 were people of color.

- A homeless person is fifteen times more likely to be cited for lurking than a non-homeless person.

- An African American is nearly four times more likely than a non-African American to be cited for “lurking.”

- A Native American is three times more likely than a non-Native American person to be cited.

- 37% of those cited for "lurking" were cited for another primary offense.