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, January 15, 2010

Recycling in Multifamily Buildings

This morning, I introduced subject matter of two ordinances around recycling in multifamily buildings.

Minneapolis already has a requirement on the books that managers of any building with more than two units provide recycling service to the residents of the building. Unfortunately, I have heard from our Director of Solid Waste and Recycling that this ordinance has no teeth, and that it is therefore impossible to enforce.

I'm looking to change that. There seem to be multiple options, and I don't yet have a strong preference between them. We could authorize Solid Waste and Recycling to levy fines, authorize our inspections department and Fire department (which inspects all buildings of four or more units) to levy fines, or make the existing ordinance a licensing standard. That last option would allow us to revoke or not renew licenses based on repeated violations of the ordinance.

I view this as a first step towards my larger goal for this year of requiring recycling in commercial uses.

Charges Filed in Seward Market Murders

As you can read here, the suspects in the Seward Market tragedy have been charged with first degree murder. The young men, named Mahdi Hassan Ali and Ahmed Abdi Ali (no relation), are both 17 years old.

I commend the Police Department for making these arrests so quickly, and enabling these charges to move forward. I also thank the Somali community for working collaboratively with the police. We could not have made so much progress so quickly without the active cooperation of the community.

Now that arrests have been made and charges have been filed, I will be working to put together an after-the-fact deconstruction of this tragedy, to find the areas in which our society - City, schools, families, everyone - failed both the victims of this crime and the perpetrators. This is a model that I have been advocating for some time as an integral part of our youth violence prevention work. A deconstruction of this sort will attempt to answer vital questions such as: where did these young people get guns? Was the educational system working for them? Was there a point at which the City or some other unit of government could have intervened, and did not?

This horrific act of violence has led me to rededicate myself to the cause of youth violence prevention as one of my top priorities for this term in office. We simply must, as a City and as a society, find ways to raise whole, healthy people who do not perpetrate such tragedies.

Seward Resident Leaves Money to City

Lifelong Seward resident Bob Olson has left $100,000 to the City of Minneapolis, in addition to gifts of $50,000 to two of his neighbors and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the University library. I thank Mr. Olson for his generous contribution. It sounds like he was an avid cyclist, and I'm looking for ways to put his donation towards bicycle infrastructure - a fitting memorial for a good and generous man.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hiawatha LRT Stations Reopening

My office has heard from Metro Transit that they will be completely reopening the Hiawatha LRT stations that have been partially closed for construction for the past year or so. This construction was to lengthen the stations so they can accomodate 3-car trains, because the line has been so successful that it's hit the maximum 2-car ridership.

There are two stations in the Second Ward, both of which are reopening soon. The Franklin Avenue station is slated to reopen on Saturday, Feb 13, and the Cedar Riverside station is to reopen on Tuesday, Feb 16. These dates are subject to change.

Tragedy in Seward

As you've likely heard, there was a terrible tragedy in the Seward neighborhood last night. Three men were shot and killed in the Seward Market at the corner of 24th and Franklin. You can read more here and here. All of the details have not come in, but it appears that the owner of the store may be among the victims.

I know that great efforts and investment had been put inot this corner store. The owner was active in the business association. This is a tragic blow to the Seward Community and the Minneapolis Community as a whole. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to the families of the victims.

I have asked the police to keep me updated as new information becomes available. I've also asked that we make this incident a major focus of the next Seward Crime and Safety committee, which will be next Monday, January 11, at 7pm.

This morning we changed the focus of the press conference planned for today to share the great news about last year's tremendous reduction in crime, to talk instead about the tragic shootings last night. We can talk about our successes at another, more appropriate time. Now is a time to come together to support these families and eachother in this time of tragedy and to focus on seeking justice and preventing more violence in the future.

Here is a statement that I was proud to join others in making this morning:

"Dear Neighbor,

Last night, our community was struck with tragedy. An integral business along Seward’s main street, Seward Market, was inflicted with exceptional and inexplicable acts of violence that ended in the murders of three people.

This violence is not indicative of our community and will not detract from our vibrant, diverse, and welcoming neighborhood. In the wake of tragedy, our best response is to come together to further solidify our community’s foundation and extend our support to those most deeply connected to and affected by this loss.

Join us for a Candlelight/Flashlight Vigil tonight, January 7th at 7:45 p.m. outside of the Seward Market (2423 E Franklin Ave). Bethany Lutheran Church will open their doors for warming. Also, a memorial fund has been established at Wells Fargo bank.


Sheldon Mains, on behalf of the Seward Neighborhood Group
Jim Welna, on behalf of the Seward Civic and Commerce Association
Katya Pilling, on behalf of Seward Redesign
Pastor Justin Lind-Ayers, on behalf of the Bethany Lutheran Church
Cam Gordon, Ward 2 Council Member"

I invite you all to join the neighborhood for a vigil tonight at the corner of 24th and Franklin, at 7:45 (the approximate time of the shootings last night).