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 31, 2014

Conservation District Proposal - background and overview

Much of the most recent discourse about the proposed Conservation District ordinance I am bringing forward has turned into a pro-density vs. anti-density debate. While I can see why and how this has happened, and how in some instances a Conservation District could be used to protect a less dense area, it doesn’t reflect my intentions. I am a strong advocate of smart growth and increasing density in the urban core especially where there are walkable communities, connections to the cultural, commercial, recreational and natural amenities people appreciate and when it is located on, or near, transit corridors.

It is, in large part, because I am convinced that having the Conservation District tool available will help ensure the harmonious, efficient and successful growth of greater density in our city that I am bringing it forward and have been working on it for over a year.

Because of the recent discourse and because I want people to better understand and carefully consider ways to improve my draft proposal, I thought some additional explanation might be helpful. This will be the first of three blogs. It will provide the background and overview, the second will be targeted at those who favor this idea and the third to those who may be opposed.  Much more below the fold.

Read more »

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Health, Environment and Community Engagement Committee

I am very excited about the new Health, Environment and Community Engagement committee that I will be chairing this term. The Committee is roughly based on the Health Energy and Environment Committee I vice chaired my first term.  I also vice chairs both the Publ and a Health Energy and Regulatory Services Committee I vice chaired my second term.

Joining me on the committee will be Council Members Andrew Johnson (who will vice chair), Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano, Jacob Frey and Elizabeth Glidden.

This term, the committee will oversee the work of a strengthened and larger Health Department which took on some functions from the Regulatory Services restructuring the Council did last year.  The key components of the Health department include:
  • Food Safety, Lodging and Pools
  • Healthy and Safe Children and Youth
  • Healthy Sexuality
  • Healthy Seniors
  • Environmental Services
  • Healthy Homes and Lead Control
  • Healthy Living
  • Public Health emergency preparedness.
The Health Department has been supported in recent years by state and federal grants including the State Health Improvement Program, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, and the Community Transformation Grant. These programs focus on policy, systems and environmental change to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, and reduce tobacco use.  The department has also been the lead on the our Youth Violence Prevention work that I have been closely involved in since 2006.

The HECE Committee will also be the Council's home for policies related to the environment.  A major part of that work this year will be on the priorities established from the Climate Action Plan and the Energy Pathways Study which will help us move towards more sustainable, affordable and reliable energy from our energy utilities.  This will also include the ongoing work of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative and the Minneapolis Food Council, and all other environmental sustainability issues.  For example, I expect that the HECE committee will consider formal City comments on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's proposed rules on composting.

We will also lead the Council's community engagement work, including the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department and the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission.

Finally, we will be the home committee for Animal Care and Control.

Several City boards and commissions will report to the HECE committee: the Community Environmental Advisory Commission (CEAC), the Public Health Advisory Committee, the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission, the Minneapolis Food Council, the Animal Care and Control Advisory Board, the Minneapolis Commission on People with Disabilities, the Minneapolis Tree Advisory Commission, the Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, the Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee and the Youth Coordinating Board.

The new committee has already gotten some well-deserved media attention.  I am extremely excited by the enthusiasm of the members of this new committee, and look forward to working with them to make Minneapolis healthier, more sustainable, and more democratically engaged.

To start that work, I am meeting one-on-one with each of the new committee members and have scheduled a meeting for early February with all of the relevant department and division heads to begin developing a common vision for our next four years of work together.









New Ward Office Hours

Because I have changed my City Council Committee assignments and will now be serving on the Transportation and Public Works committee (which meets on Tuesday mornings), I have had to find a new time to hold my "office hours in the ward."  Because the boundaries of the ward also changed due to redistricting and one of my locations, the Hard Times Cafe, was no longer in the ward and the new ward two stretches much further south, I felt the need to also adjust one of my locations.  While I have greatly enjoyed and appreciated my monthly visits at both the Hard Times and the Birchwood Cafe, after much deliberation, I have decided to change locations.  I have decided to relocate my West Bank location to the Nabo Cafe located in the new second ward on the Augsburg campus.  I am hoping that this will also be convenient to the University and to Seward residents.  I have decided to move my Seward/Cooper location from the Birchwood Cafe to the Blue Moon Cafe.  I think that this location will work well for the Cooper and Longfellow area and well as much of Seward.  Of course, people are more than welcome to venture to any of the locations no matter where they live. 

In order to open Tuesdays for the committee I have decided to set aised Thursday mornings to be in the community and in the following locations every Thursday, from 9:30-11:00am: 
  • First Thursdays: Nabo Café in the Oren Gateway Center, 2211 Riverside Avenue; 
  • Second Thursdays: Muddsuckers Coffee at 1500 Como Ave SE; 
  • Third Thursdays: Pratt School, 66 Malcolm Ave SE; 
  • Fourth Thursdays: Blue Moon Coffee Café, 3822 E Lake St. I hope to see you at an office hour soon!
Please feel free to use these hours to meet if they work for you, but also know that I am more than happy to set up alternative to meet in my City Hall office, or at a location convenient to you.  To set up a meeting you can always feel free to contact me and my office anytime at 612 673-2202 or via email at

Minneapolis Named "Healthiest City"

Minneapolis and St. Paul have together been named the healthiest city in the US by the  American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index.  Some of the assets of our community are things that I'm working within the City to improve: the number of bicyclists per capita and access to healthy foods.  We also get points for having more parks per square mile than most other cities.