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 04, 2013

Ward 2 2012 Report

2012 was a busy year for the Second Ward.  It was a year of some intense debate, some difficult losses, and great progress in many areas.  With the New Year upon us, Robin and I recently reviewed the past year’s work.  Here is summary of major accomplishments, projects started but still underway, as well as other initiatives we supported and a few we worked hard to oppose.

Legislative Achievements:
  • Passage of the Urban Agriculture zoning code text amendments, authored by Cam, which allow commercial food growing in Minneapolis for the first time since the 1960s, among other good things.
  • Passage of an amendment to the composting ordinance, authored by Cam, which dramatically increases the composting that Minneapolis residents can do.
  • Creation of the Minneapolis Food Council, which includes Cam as a member.
  • Passage of the “Supporting Equity in Employment in Minneapolis and the Region” resolution, authored by Cam, which commits the City to tackle racial disparities in employment and join the Everybody In regional collaboration.
  • Successful application, led by Robin, to the Partnership for a Healthier America for a $50,000 grant to hold four Open Streets events in Minneapolis in 2013, and passage of a resolution declaring the City’s cosponsorship of Open Streets events and committing $50,000 of in-kind services to them.
  • Defeat of the Marriage Amendment.  Cam served on the Board of the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign, and worked to put the City of Minneapolis on record opposing the Marriage Amendment.
  • Defeat of the Voter ID Amendment, which Cam led efforts to have the City of Minneapolis formally oppose.
  • Unanimous passage of a resolution, with Cam as the lead author, that put Minneapolis on record supporting reductions in military spending at the federal level.
  • Unanimous passage of a resolution, coauthored by Cam, declaring 2012-2013 the Year of the Dakota: Remembering, Honoring, and Truth-Telling.
  • Creation of a Utility Franchise Work Group, which includes Cam, to strategize for the upcoming negotiations about the electric and natural gas franchises.
  • Creation of the Minneapolis Energy Options campaign, which will be pushing for authorization from Minneapolis voters for the City to explore creating a municipal energy utility.  Cam is the first Minneapolis elected official to endorse the campaign, and Robin has been working to help the campaign throughout the year.
  • Installation of tens of new parking meter bike racks, in partnership with local businesses and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.
  • Budget amendment, coauthored by Cam, to give Restorative Justice programs $40,000 in 2013.
  • Post-2012 Elections Report to the Elections Committee, chaired by Cam.
  • City comments on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s draft rule changes on composting, co-written by Robin.
  • Finding by the Public Utilities Commission that Xcel Energy must study how clean energy options can replace the Sherco coal plant.  Cam testified in favor of this position.
  • Victory on the Hiawatha Transmission Line, which is being buried under 28th Street rather than being installed above the Greenway, and is being paid for by Xcel’s entire rate base, not solely Minneapolis ratepayers.
  • Higher minority workforce goals for City projects.

Development and infrastructure changes in Ward 2:
  • Opening of the Spokes Bike Center in Seward.
  • Completion of the Stadium Village Small Area Plan.
  • Continuing interest by Surly Brewing in a site in the Southeast Minneapolis Industrial Area in Ward 2.
  • Significant improvements to bike lanes and signals on 15th Ave SE.
  • Installation of interim pedestrian crossing signal at 29th and University during Central Corridor construction.
  • Approval of The Station on 4th development in SEMI.
  • Rezoning to allow expansion of the Birchwood Café in Seward.
  • Rezoning to allow nighttime hours, entertainment and a beer/wine license for the Seward Café.
  • Approval of an upgraded liquor license at the Red Sea bar and restaurant on the West Bank.
  • Completion of major Riverside Avenue reconstruction activities.
  • New parking contract for City-owned parking lots on the West Bank.  Robin participated on the contract review committee.
  • Approval of the Touchstone project in Seward, and start of construction.  This is part of the Bystrom site / Seward Commons redevelopment area.
  • Approval of the Seward Senior Housing project in Seward.  This is part of the Bystrom site / Seward Commons redevelopment area.
  • Approval of an expansion of outdoor seating for the Longfellow Grill, and conditions to limit the business’s impacts on nearby neighbors.
  • Requirement that the old Rainbow Gallery / Gluek Tied House at 15th Ave S and 6th St S on the West Bank be moved to a new location, rather than torn down.
  • Approval of WaHu student housing development at Washington and Huron, with conditions to protect nearby property owners.
  • Work has begun on the University Bike/Ped Trail from Bridge 9 to the University Stadium.
  • Approval of redevelopment of old Grandma’s site near Seven Corners into rental housing.
  • Approval of the Kaah Coffee Shop, attached to the Seward Market.
  • Approval of Washington and Walnut Flats on the East Bank.
  • “On the Green Line” support for small businesses along the Central Corridor LRT line during construction.
  • Community work to define a vision for Parking Lot A on the West Bank, in advance of a City Request for Proposals.
  • Greening agreement for the new plaza space at 5th and Riverside, to be maintained by the African Development Center.
  • Redevelopment of the Boeser site in SEMI.
  • Completion of the Riverside Plaza renovation project.
  • Final design approved for the pedestrian improvements to Seven Corners.
  • More public funding secured for Currie Park Lofts project.

Work started in 2012 but not yet complete:
  • Work has begun on a Historic Conservation District ordinance.
  • A Recreational Fire ordinance amendment to ban fires on air pollution alert days has been introduced.
  • The Climate Action Plan is nearing completion.
  • Closing the Upper Harbor Terminal, to stop the spread of Asian Carp.
  • A proposal to facilitate Trap Neuter Return programs to address the problem of feral cats will be coming forward soon.

Other City initiatives supported by Ward 2 office:
  • Coal Tar sealants banned.  Led by CM Colvin Roy.
  • Solicitor ordinance improved (made constitutional).  Led by CM Schiff.
  • Single stream recycling adopted citywide.  Led by Solid Waste and Recycling staff.
  • Bicycle / Pedestrian Section staff made permanent.  Led by Public Works Administration and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.
  • Restructuring of Regulatory Services, placing health inspections in the Health Department.  Led by Mayor Rybak.
  • Study of source-separated organics collection.  Led by the Environmental Advisory Committee and Solid Waste and Recycling staff.
  • Improved state legislative agenda.  Led by Intergovernmental Relations staff.
  • Major improvements to bike lanes on Park and Portland avenues.  Led by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and Bicycle Advisory Committee, which Robin serves on.
  • Xcel required to keep Solar Rewards program, which they had attempted to do away with.  The City took a position in favor of the program continuing.  Led by Sustainability staff and CM Glidden.
  • Passage of a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to make clear that corporations are not legal persons.  Led by CM Hodges.
  • Repair of the Sabo Bike/Ped Bridge.  Led by Public Works staff.
  • Passage of amendments to the expansion of premises ordinance.  Led by CM Schiff.
  • Receipt of a $40,000 grant from the General Mills Foundation to fund the Homegrown Minneapolis Coordinator position.  Led by Sustainability and Health Department staff.
  • New program to collect and recycle mattresses in partnership with PPL.  Led by Solid Waste and Recycling staff.
  • Prohibition of the use of plastic bags for yard waste.  Led by Solid Waste and Recycling staff.
  • Receipt of a $2.5 million grant to remediate lead paint in 200 older homes in Minneapolis.  Led by Environmental Services staff.
  • Adoption of a City-preferred alternative for the Southwest and Bottineau Light Rail lines, and comments on the Southwest LRT Draft Environmental Impact Statement.  Led by Public Works staff and Mayor Rybak’s office.
  • Rental Conversion Fee reduced for owners who attend a property management course.  Led by Housing Inspections staff and CM Glidden.

Bad policy opposed by Ward 2 office:
  • Corporate welfare for the Vikings Stadium.  Passed 7-6.
  • Destruction of the Civilian Police Review Authority.  Passed 8-5.
  • Forcing taxi drivers to accept credit cards.  Passed 11-2.
  • Resolution limiting free speech on City-owned plazas.  This has stalled in committee.
  • Redistricting of Ward 2 that cuts the Seward and West Bank neighborhoods in half, despite strong opposition from Seward neighborhood.

Throughout the year many of you have offered input and guidance and we appreciate that.  Whether you contacted us in the past or not, I encourage you to call or write us anytime in the future.  It really does help us do a better job and helps make Minneapolis a better city.  By sharing your views and concerns you are helping build more vibrant, just, democratic, nonviolent and sustainable city.

We wish you success, good health, inspiration and peace in the year ahead.


At 7:57 AM, Anonymous L Hogan said...

Awesome work, Cam and Robin! Very glad and proud to have a Green official in Minneapolis.


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