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: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Monday, April 28, 2014

Funding for Trees

This afternoon, the Council's Health, Environment and Community Engagement committee received a very informative presentation from the Minneapolis Tree Advisory Commission.  Their recommendations for the City and Park Board are on the second to last page, and include replacing ash trees as quickly as possible, increasing funding for the CityTrees program, creating a new "Tree Preservation Coordinator" in the Park Board, and better caring for young trees.  I want to thank the Tree Commission for consistently giving one of the best reports of any of our many City boards and commissions - it's thoughtful and pragmatic, but still communicates the urgency of the needs of our urban forest.

The committee directed the Commission to come back to us in June with recommendations for how to best spend $443,140.34 that is currently in the City’s Capital Improvement Program for "City Property Reforestation."  These dollars are currently in the Property Services budget, but that's not really the right place for them.  There isn't enough demand for trees on the land around City buildings (which is what Property Services deals with), but there is incredible need for trees in other places: boulevards, parks, and private property.  We are about to face the loss of tens of thousands of ash trees in Minneapolis, so it is a critical time for us to plant as many new trees as possible.  I look forward to hearing the Commission's recommendations for these dollars and getting this funding out where it can make a difference.

I also want to thank Council Member Bender for her offer to connect the Tree Advisory Commission to the Minneapolis Planning Commission.  This is a great idea, and we should make it happen.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Council Passes Long-Term Carbon Reduction Goal

This morning, the Council adopted a new long-term carbon emission reduction goal for the City of Minneapolis: we will strive to reduce carbon emissions by 80% or more by 2050, from a 2006 baseline. 

This is in line with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommendations and the 2050 goals already adopted by the State of Minnesota and Hennepin County, and was recommended by the City’s Sustainability staff and the Community Environmental Advisory Committee.  I want to thank both our staff and CEAC for their quick work and thorough analysis.

The work to draft this recommendation was in response to a staff direction I made back in February of this year.  I enthusiastically supported setting this goal, and hope that we can push well past reaching it. 

However, we need to be clear that this is a very aggressive goal.  Reducing our carbon emissions by 80% will require a fundamental transformation of the way we use energy in buildings, in our transportation system, and how we deal with waste.  This new goal underscores the importance of the action we're already taking on climate, through our work to create new partnerships with our energy utilities and the highest priority strategies from the Climate Action Plan that we've already started to implement.

Indigenous People's Day Resolution

I was honored to coauthor Council Member Alondra Cano's resolution Recognizing the Second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples Day.

I see this resolution as another step in the healing process that we began with the "Year of the Dakota" resolution in 2012.  It was incredibly moving to see the outpouring of excitement and support from our community - especially, but not only, the indigenous community.

As I said during teh council discussion, we can't move forward as a whole, healthy city until we face and address the unjust and brutal parts of our history.  The genocide of American Indian cultures has effects - on indigenous and non-indigenous people alike - that ripple down to this day.  Only by owning and acknowledging this history can we move forward, in peace and cooperation, together.

2320 Colfax Ave S

This morning, I voted with a large Council majority (11 to 2) to allow the demolition of the rooming house at 2320 Colfax in Ward 10.  This was a difficult decision, so I wanted to take the time to explain my vote.  See more below the fold.

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