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, November 27, 2012

KAAL Gets Red Sea Story Wrong

Channel 6 news, KAAL, has run what appears to be an unfortunate story about the Red Sea bar's request for a liquor license upgrade.  I know this business well and have been following this closely and want to use this blog to add some pertinent facts that didn't make it into the story.
  • The story states that "As it stands now the city isn't accepting public comment on this issue," but fails to note that this is because the formal public hearing on the license upgrade was already held, on November 5th.  Many West Bank stakeholders, both businesses and residents, came to testify on the Red Sea's behalf.  Exactly no one came to speak against the license upgrade.  (It's interesting to note that many of those who came to speak are practicing Muslims and do not generally support drinking establishments.)  Here's the list of West Bank folks who showed up to speak in favor:
    • Todd Smith, owner of the Nomad World Pub
    • Ahmed Hassan, resident and Executive Director of the West Bank Community Coalition, the official neighborhood group
    • Abdulkadir Warsame, resident and Executive Director of the Riverside Plaza Tenants Association
    • Mohammed Jama, resident and leader within the Cedar Riverside Youth Council
    • Jim White, representative of major landowner Fine Associates
    • Tsegaye Hibeshi, resident
    • Hani Mohamed, Cedar Riverside Program Manager for NRP
  • I am paraphrased as saying that the business owner "has the support of most surrounding businesses." This is true, but I also mentioned that he has the support of West Bank residents.  That isn't included in the story.
  • Russom Solomon, one of the Red Sea's owners, is a dedicated volunteer leader on the West Bank.  He chairs the West Bank Safety Committee and serves on the boards of both the West Bank Community Coalition and the West Bank Business Association.
  • The Red Sea has applied for an upgrade to their liquor license because City Licensing staff requested that they do so.
  • The majority of the 25 police calls to the Red Sea cited in the story appear to be for issues unrelated to problems at the business.  Many appear to use the Red Sea's address to identify issues at the nearby City-owned parking lot, and many are walk-throughs by the West Bank's beat officers.
  • The story states that 25 police calls are "more than comparable bars in the area."  The story shares the number of calls for one nearby business.  There are at least nine liquor establishments within three blocks of the Red Sea.  My office has not received any information that the actual number of calls to the Red Sea (and not, for instance, to the nearby parking lot) is greater than the average for bars on Cedar Avenue on the West Bank.  My office has asked for the police calls for all West Bank bars, and will analyze them.  I can state unequivocally that my office has received many more complaints about other liquor establishments in the neighborhood than about the Red Sea.  As of now, the statement that appeared in the KAAL report is indefensible.
I think that it is important for me to note that I have a long standing working relationship with Mr. Solomon and that I held a campaign fundraising event at the Red Sea in the past.  I know how upset he was about the recent incident and I have faith in his commitment to run a good business and promote a safe neighborhood. 

The Clerk's notes of the public testimony regarding the Red Sea's application are below.
Read more »

Monday, November 12, 2012

Voting Delays in Seward

I am aware of many concerns related to significant delays in west Seward, in the new Precinct 2 of Ward 6, that voted at Seward Square Apartments.

In my view, this situation was created by the Charter Commission’s decision to redistrict west Seward into Ward 6 putting the Ward 6 portion of Seward is in two different legislative districts, necessitating that the two areas be in different precincts of unequal size.  Precinct 6-2 ended up very oddly-shaped as a result, with a long "panhandle" between Franklin and I-94 that stretches all the way to 20th Ave.  More analysis below the fold.

Read more »

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thanks for Voting

Thanks to everyone for voting on November 6. And thanks to everyone who got involved in the elections, volunteering for campaigns, talking to neighbors, writing, calling, knocking on doors, putting up signs or helping out on election day as a judge, ride giver or as part of an effort to "get out the vote."

I believe that your participation in our democracy is vital to health of our city, state and country.
Turnout in Minneapolis and in the Second Ward was very high. I am very pleased that both of the constitutional amendments – to ban same-sex marriage and require voters to have a photo ID – failed yesterday. I’m proud that the City Council took a strong, unanimous stand against both amendments, and that the Second Ward voted so conclusively against them. 84% of Ward 2 residents voted against the marriage amendment, and 81% voted against the voter ID amendment

I congratulate all those people elected on Tuesday and look forward to working with them all, but especially those in our area, including Representatives Davnie and Kahn and Senators Torres Ray and Dziedzic in the months and years ahead, as well as Ward 2 resident Carla Bates who was re-elected, at-large, to the school board.

I also thank the many election judges, elections professionals and city staff who worked hard throughout a long day, and some even days later, to ensure the best election possible. Many of the judges are also Second Ward residents.

I realize that on Election Day many people waited in long lines and sometimes in the cold and rain. I thank you all who waited for your patience, and determination. Please know that in the coming weeks I will be helping lead a City effort (as Elections Committee Chair) to conduct a full review of this election, with an analysis of issues relating to voting locations including long wait times, staffing and more.

And again, thanks for all the work and energy that you put into helping our democracy this election and thank you for voting on NOvember 6th!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

New John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Report

I want to call this to your attention from the John Hopkins Center for Gun Violence and Research.  It is a report and extensive review of research about reforming gun regulations to address the serious public health problem they pose.

It opens with these sentences:

"More than 31,000 people a year in the United States die from gunshot...wounds. Because victims are disproportionately young, gun violence is one of the leading causes of premature mortality in the U.S. In addition to these deaths, in 2010, there were an estimated 337,960 nonfatal violent crimes committed with guns, and 73,505 persons treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot wounds."

I encourage folks to look it over.