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:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Repealing the Lurking Law - Public Hearing Tomorrow @ 2 p.m.

The final day of the Public Hearing on the Lurking Repeal will occur at the Public Service and Regulatory Services Wednesday, on June 11. The meeting starts at 1 and this item is listed as "time certain" to begin at 2 pm.The matter will likely be decided on by the full Council at its next meeting, Friday, June 20.

To accomplish this repeal effort, I am also proposing to add more behaviors to the loitering ordinance, making it cover crimes related to vandalism and theft.

As I have said before about the Lurking Ordinance, I believe that this poorly written, old law is an example of how our city government participates in a larger criminal justice system that is racist and criminalizes poor people. I have become convinced that the Lurking ordinance in particular, and laws like it, play a subtle, but very real, role in the criminalization of Black, Latino and Native American men in particular.

I oppose this law on practical as well as moral grounds. It is a waste of resources and does nothing to actually solve crime or livability problems in our communities. I prefer a “hot spots” strategy to community crime problem areas. Such a strategy has the flexibility and focus to actually address issues of livability and public safety for the long term rather than provide the short term, costly and ineffective kind of “revolving door” approach that lurking enforcement does.

I am asking all like minded individuals to let their voices be heard on this one. If you support this repeal, please consider letting the City Council know before Friday. At most I need people to come in tomorrow and speak at the public hearing; at least I need them to send an email to show that they support this small effort. If you do send an email (you can send an email, send it to me at and I will make sure it gets into the public record. It would be most helpful to include the ward you live in (if you are from Minneapolis) or the business address that own or work in (if it is in Minneapolis). If you don’t know the ward, list the neighborhood.

You can see the specific ordinance amendments here:

And get more details on my reasoning behind the repealing by seeing all my posts on the lurking ordinance here:

Currently this effort is supported by the following:

The Coalition to Repeal the Minneapolis Lurking Ordinance

Access Works!
African American Family Services
African American Men’s Project
American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
Barbara Schneider Foundation
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)
Church of St. Stephen’s
Council on Black Minnesotans
Communities United Against Police Brutality
Elim Transitional Housing
Homeless Against Homelessness
Human Right to Housing Committee
Integrated Community Solutions, Inc.
Jewish Community Action
Legal Rights Center
Metrowide Engagement on Shelter and Housing
Minneapolis Urban League
Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers
Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless
Myron Orfield
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
Our Savior’s Outreach Ministries
Peace House
Sabathani Community Center
Salvation Army
Simpson’s Housing Services
St. Stephen’s Human Services
The Advocates for Human Rights
Twin Cities Community Voicemail
White Earth Urban Office
Women Planting Seeds
180 Degrees, Inc.


I am concerned that even this compromise won’t pass and could really use your help. Thank you for any help you can offer.

P.S. From the Children's Defense Fund:

"Why Do 1 in 3 Black Boys End Up in Prison?

Imagine coming into this world with a prison cell already reserved in your name. That is the tragedy that awaits at least one in three Black boys and one in six Latino boys. Millions of poor American children are condemned to prison by the time they reach their teens. According to the Children’s Defense Fund’s most recent report entitled "America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline"
Today, 580,000 Black males are serving sentences in state or federal prison, while fewer than 40,000 Black males earn a bachelor’s degree each year.
A child is born into poverty every 36 seconds in the U.S.
Minority youth represent just 39% of the U.S. juvenile population, but account for over 60% of the juveniles incarcerated."


At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't buy it. Have you ever considered there is a disproportionate of blacks committing crimes, and that's why there is a larger percentage in jail.

Being poor does not make you a criminal, it's a choice. Minneapolis has plenty of programs to help people with food and shelter.

There is nothing wrong with the lurking law, there is something wrong with committing crimes and then crying foul because you got caught. The race card has been used too much too long.

Even our Councilman Don Samuals, a black man, says so.


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