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, November 21, 2008

Pentachlorophenol Meeting December 4

There will be a public meeting on December 4, at 7 pm at Matthews Center (2701 East 24th St) for Xcel Energy and concerned Seward residents about power poles treated with pentachlorophenol. To learn more, please see the press release from the neighborhood below:


Residents of the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis have raised concerns about the offensive odor and potential health risks of new power poles being installed by Xcel Energy throughout the city of Minneapolis, and specifically in the Seward neighborhood. The new power poles are treated with a chemical mix of fuel oil plus pentachlorophenol pesticide and its by-products, including dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to science. These poles are replacing older, damaged poles in residential areas. Hundreds of these poles have already been installed. Up to 600 more are slated for installation in Minneapolis in the near future. The board of the Seward Neighborhood Group passed a resolution in July 2008 opposing the use of these poles in Seward and asking for their removal.

The Seward Neighborhood Group is hosting a public information meeting with Xcel Energy
about this issue on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 7 p.m. at Matthews Park Community Center, 2701 East 24th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406. Representatives from Xcel Energy, the national Penta Council, and the Koppers Company that supplies the Penta-treated poles to Xcel Energy will present information at the meeting and be available for questions and discussion with city residents.

Pentachlorophenol pesticide is completely banned in 26 countries around the world, and it was banned 20 years ago by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for all over-the-counter applications. Its use as a treatment for utility poles was exempted. Neighbors are concerned about the offensive odor from the special oil used to pressure-inject the pentachlorophenol into the new poles, and the potential for the release of harmful toxins like dioxin into the air and soil.
The Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) is one of the oldest neighborhood organizations in
Minneapolis. SNG was established in 1960 to make Seward a better place to live, work, and play and is recognized by the City of Minneapolis as the official citizen participation organization within the boundaries of the Seward neighborhood.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Elections Director Cindy Reichert

A very disturbing and false rumor has been circulated recently that inaccurately indicated that our Elections Director, Cindy Reichert, was improperly carting around 32 absentee ballots "in the trunk of her car for days."

You can read and see for yourself here and here that this story is not only false, but more or less invented by someone, apparently, from the Coleman campaign team. I do not know if this was the intent of the Coleman campaign and other prominent Republicans (including Governor Tim Pawlenty), but this oft-repeated falsehood serves to undermine public confidence in the recount process, and by extension the democratic process itself.

More importantly, this rumor impugns the integrity of a City employee with whom I have been honored and privileged to work for the past three years. My staff and I have had the opportunity to serve with Ms. Reichert on a number of issues, mostly regarding Ranked Choice Voting. She ran the automatic recount on a judicial primary race with great competence, accuracy and efficiency. We have respectfully disagreed on some topics, but I have no doubt that she has always based her actions and recommendations on her best judgment about what is legal, ethical, and best for Minneapolis voters. She has my unwavering confidence, and my respect.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BAC Supports Functional Yield

Yesterday, the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee formally supported Representative Phyllis Kahn's bill 4245, which would require bicyclists to stop at stop signs only when there is right-of-way that they must yield to other road users (including cars, pedestrians and other bicyclists). It would also enable cyclists to proceed through red lights, after stopping, again only if there are no other road users with right-of-way.

The Committee made some great suggestions to Rep. Kahn, including looking into an age limit on exercising this privilege, for many of the same reasons that we don't give driver's licenses to people under a certain age. They also recommended that she ensure that the language in the bill matches the existing traffic statutes.

The fact that the City group empowered to represent the bicycle community has formally supported this bill will help Cam's efforts to get it listed as a support item on the City's legislative agenda.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day

2008 marks the 90th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice.

To honor this historic event I invite to join me at a special event.

Partners in Peace
Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day
7 PM, Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Brit’s Pub 1110 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403

Please click here for more details, and to RSVP.

Veterans, family, friends and interested parties are invited. We’ll be in Brit’s Pub’s Long Room, adjacent to their main bar on Nicollet Mall across from Peavy Plaza. There will be drink specials and a complimentary buffet, as well as a few speeches and period music. This is an informal event though, so there will be plenty of time to chat and socialize. We will pay special tribute to our allies in Peace and to some of America’s forgotten veterans, the mariners of the United States Merchant Marine. Merchant mariners were first to volunteer for service after the peace in Europe was shattered in 1939. They were the first to be lost at sea in WWII, first to be taken prisoner of war, and the last to come home. Merchant mariners did not receive the benefits that military veterans did, and only received limited status as military veterans after Congressional action in 1988.

Directions - Brit's Pub Long Room on Nicollet Mall is adjacent to Peavy Plaza, near Orchestra Hall. Parking available on 11th street with parking meters - 25 cents for 10 minutes, 4 hour limit. No charge with handicap parking tag. 11th street is one-way going West, and parking garages are also nearby.

I am also in the process of drafting a resolution that I plan to present at the event provided the City Council and Mayor to approve it. Here is the latest draft:

A Resolution Celebrating The 90th Anniversary of Armistice Day and Honoring the Veterans who have Served to Make Our Country and our City a Safer More Peaceful Place

WHEREAS, World War I, referred to then simply as the Great War, ended with the implementation of an armistice between the Allies and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918; and,

WHEREAS, November 11, 2008 marks the 90th anniversary of the end of World War 1; and,

WHEREAS, President Woodrow Wilson spoke of the Armistice with the words: “victory has brought us, not peace alone, but the confident promise of a new day as well, in which justice shall replace force and jealous intrigue among the nations”; and,

WHEREAS, in 1938, Congress passed a bill to make November 11th a permanent day dedicated to the cause of world peace and known as Armistice Day; and,

WHEREAS, in 1954, President Eisenhower signed into law a bill broadening the meaning of the November 11th holiday to include all United States veterans; and,

WHEREAS, the people of Minneapolis have enjoyed the protection and service of members of the armed forces and the benefits that service has engendered; and,

WHEREAS, Minneapolis is home to a Veterans Administration Medical Center, which provided primary, specialty, mental and behavioral health, and extended care and rehabilitative care to over 80,000 veteran patients in 2005; and,

WHEREAS, an MIA-POW flag honoring those who were prisoners of war or who are still missing in action has been donated to the City Council in honor of this special occasion; and,

WHEREAS, people throughout our City will be holding special events and activities to honor Armistice Day and our Veterans, including the first annual Partners in Peace Armistice Day dinner being held at Brit’s Pub…

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Minneapolis City Council that the City of Minneapolis expresses its gratitude, appreciation, and respect for the service of veterans and members of the United States and allied Armed Forces.

Be it further resolved that the City of Minneapolis especially honors and thanks all City employees who have served in the United States and allied Armed Forces.

Be it further resolved that the City Clerks Office is directed to develop a Flag Policy to guide when and where the MIA-POW flag will be displayed in the Council Chambers.