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:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Civil Rights Investigations

I agree with the cautious tone of last weekend's Star Tribune editorial on the proposed elimination of the Civil Rights office of investigations. They raise some good points about why local Civil Rights investigations are important and not necessarily a function that the State can adequately take on:

- Minneapolis has our own Civil Rights ordinance. Our investigators are trained to work with it. Will state investigators understand it and effectively enforce it? If not, is there any reason for us to retain our ordinance, or should we cede not only investigations but the definition of Civil Rights violations to the State?

- Minneapolis has a long history of leading on Civil Rights that goes back at least to Hubert Humphrey in the 1940s. If we give up our position of leadership - as the most diverse and one of the most progressive communities in the state - and instead follow the State's lead, what effect will that have on the future of Civil Rights for all Minnesotans?

I oppose scrapping Civil Rights investigations. If there are concerns about the quality and timeliness of our investigations, we should both raise our expectations and increase the support for the department.

The City of Minneapolis has gone through hard budgetary times before. For decades, through these fiscal tribulations, our Civil Rights has survived. Let's not let this crisis be its last.


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