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

Monday, May 21, 2007

Minneapolis Sustainability Report

The City of Minneapolis has released our 2007 Sustainability Report, Minneapolis: Living Well. This report incorporates the earlier-released Minneapolis Greenprint, the report on the ten clearly environmental sustainability indicators.




We have made some significant progress in some areas, but it's also clear that we have far, far more to do.




I am especially interested to see what we accomplish over the next year, with our first-ever Energy Manager hired and working on both reducing the total amount of energy the City uses and increasing the percentage of renewable energy we use.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Interns

My office will be hiring up to three interns to do outreach and organizing work on block clubs, crime & safety committees, and community events, including a “welcome to the neighborhood” event for new student renters this fall.

Here's the Community Outreach and Public Safety Intern Scope of Services:
  • Attend neighborhood Crime and Safety committee meetings for the second ward neighborhoods
  • Work with community volunteers, Community Crime Prevention Specialists and neighborhood staff to help organize community crime prevention efforts
  • Assist in organizing for community meetings and forums, block clubs and walking groups through door knocking, phone calls, distributing notices and attending community events
  • Assist block clubs in organizing for meetings and National Night Out events
  • Lead a “welcome to the neighborhood” campaign to greet incoming University and Augsburg
  • Help organize and increase participation in other selected community meetings, especially those convened by the City Council Member
  • Other tasks, including some data entry and research, as assigned.

Interns will be paid $12.09/hour for 10-20 hours per week, from June 4th through September 14th. Hours will be primarily evenings, with some weekends. More hours/week and employment later in the year are available.

Fluency in Somali, Oromo, Eritrean, Spanish and/or Vietnamese preferred.


If you know anyone who might be interested, please have them contact my office.

McMansions

There is a Planning Commission public hearing on Council Member Betsy Hodges' proposed ordinance to address “McMansions” on Monday, May 7, at 4:30 PM in the Council Chambers.

The last public hearing was packed with opponents of the proposed ordinance, led by the Realtor’s Association.

I believe that it is extremely important that some Southeast residents attend this public hearing to counterbalance that opposition and make clear that this tool will not only help address McMansions in Southwest Minneapolis, but will help prevent small single family homes from being torn down and replaced with oversize de-facto “dorms.”

If you live in Southeast (or anywhere) and are concerned about existing housing stock being replaced with monstrous houses (like the 9-bedroom gargantuan on 23rd Ave SE in Como), please come to this public hearing and let the Planning Commission hear your concerns.

Southeast Homeownership Work Group

I am initiating a Southeast Como Homeownership Working Group to explore strategies and identify resources to promote homeownership in the Como neighborhood.

An initial group will be meeting in the SECIA offices on May 21. The group includes Elizabeth Ryan and Mark Anderson from the City Community Planning and Economic Development staff, Jim Roth from the Minneapolis Consortium of Community Developers, Carol Lansing from the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, Deanna Foster from Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Jan Morlock from the University and Katie Fournier and James De Sota from SECIA. Arvonne Fraser from Marcy Holms will also be attending.

We will discuss the possible creation of a Southeast Community Development Committee, as well as working with other established CDCs in town. The goal of this group is to come up with possible strategies and resources for protecting and increasing homeownership in Southeast Minneapolis.

Maximum Occupancy Work Group

The group I set up to talk about possible reforms to the Minneapolis Maximum Occupancy codes has met four times. We have reviewed the current codes, laid out our goals for “ideal” maximum occupancy regulations and studied how Minneapolis has regulated occupancy in the past and other municipalities regulate it today.

The consensus of the group was to move towards regulating the maximum number of adults, regardless of their “relatedness,” who can share a dwelling unit based on the habitable square footage of the unit.

I will also be putting together a package of other reforms to help deal with the concerns that I do not feel the current maximum occupancy code is effectively addressing, including:

  • limitations on increasing the maximum occupancy of a unit by increasing its size
  • more regular inspection of all rental units; a system of rental license classifications, which would reward good landlords and direct more City resources to dealing with bad landlords
  • targeted grants and loans to increase homeownership in Southeast
  • clarifying and strengthening the definition of “impervious surface," to prevent yards from being effectively paved
  • the creation and distribution of “welcome packets” to all new student residents, informing them of the resources available to them and expectations of them in our neighborhoods