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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Priorities for 2016

What Should the Ward 2 Priorities be for 2016?

I believe that 2016 offers enormous potential for the city to show leadership in addressing some of the most pressing and serious issues of our time, including environmental degradation and climate change; racial disparities in health, education and employment; criminal justice and police reform; the widening income gaps and shrinking middle class and much more. 


Below, in alphabetical order, is our working draft of 16 priorities for 2016.  Please take a moment to read through and think about them.  Then, let me know what you think is missing, what’s there that shouldn’t be and which of the ones remaining you think should be top priorities for next year.


  • Affordable, Fair, Decent Housing for All – Support preservation of existing affordable housing and construction of new affordable housing. Explore ways to better support public housing that serves those most in need. Regulate the inclusion of affordable housing into more new development; make our housing occupancy regulations flexible enough to accommodate more people living in intentional communities.
  • Children and Families – improve cooperation within all city departments and between the city, county, parks, schools, and neighborhood organizations as well as the city’s Youth Cabinet, Youth Congress and the multi-jurisdictional Youth Coordinating Board to make Minneapolis a healthier, better place to raise children that welcomes and supports all families, children and youth.
  • Clean Air, Water and Soil and Healthy Homes – Continue and expand efforts to measure and clean air, water and soil. Draft and approve a strong Green Zone Policy to help address past environment injustice. Invest in our tree canopy. Work with the MPCA and local businesses so businesses adopt more clean practices. Work with the parks, schools and private property owners to encourage adoption of pollinator-friendly, pesticide-free practices.
  • Clean Energy – Leverage the Clean Energy Partnership to further implement our Climate Action Plan and see the city conserve more energy. Participate in community solar and invest in our own power plant(s) to get more of our energy from clean, renewable sources.
  • Community Based Economics – Facilitate creation and growth of small independent and cooperatively owned businesses that provide good jobs and serve the needs of neighborhoods, with a special focus on redevelopment in Ward 2 commercial nodes and corridors like Como Ave SE, E Lake St. and in the Prospect North/ University Avenue Innovation District.
  • Complete Streets Approve and begin implementation of a Complete Streets policy that prioritizes pedestrians, bikes and transit users, and begins to correct for past transportation planning decisions where preference for the single use automobile was paramount, while also making sure the overall network accounts for and works well for all modes.
  • Crime Prevention and Public Safety – Support block club organizing, cooperative police-community relations and better policing practices to prevent crime and ensure public safety.
  • Criminal Justice and Police Reform – Repeal unjust laws that do more harm than good. End “broken windows,” over policing - over prosecution practices. Reform and improve community oversight of the police. Establish a Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform steering committee to guide the work and make policy recommendations to the City Council, City Attorney and Minneapolis Police Department to help address and eliminate racism in the city’s criminal justice system.
  • Effective and Equitable Neighborhood & Community Engagement- Approve and implement a strong plan for neighborhood organizing that will help organizations enfranchise more people, while strengthening, empowering and preserving a healthy, open, democratic and effective system of grassroots neighborhood-level planning, prioritizing and investing into the future.
  • Local Foods and urban agriculture – support urban farms, community gardens and small food producers.
  • Preserve and Invest in our Public Assets –Ensure that we are making wise investments now to sustain and protect our land, river, lakes, public park system, public schools, trails, roads, bridges and other public buildings and infrastructure to ensure that they serve the present and future needs of our city.
  • Racial Equity work to close the racial disparities in poverty, income, employment, educational attainment  and health by implementing a Minneapolis Racial Equity Tool Kit where all city decisions are evaluated using a racial equity framework, progress is tracked carefully through our Results Minneapolis community indicators and support the work of the Everybody In regional collaboration.
  • Thoughtful Growth and Development Both locally (on a project by project basis) and through the redrafting of the Comprehensive Plan, work to ensure that development is done in ways that preserve what we value most about our communities and serve the present and future needs of residents. Improve our livable, walkable neighborhoods and make every neighborhood a “complete neighborhood” while focusing smart density near existing and planned transit corridors.
  • Working Families and Economic Justice – Pass meaningful local reforms that will fight wage theft. Pass a strong paid sick time ordinance and continue efforts to regulate fair scheduling and set a higher minimum wage that is also a living wage.
  • Youth Violence Prevention – Implement the Blueprint to Prevent Youth Violence; bring to scale promising efforts, like the BUILD program, to provide resources for children and families at highest risk for violence. Work to reduce gun violence, homicides and injuries for 0 to 24 year-olds. Support youth re-entry services; tailor employment opportunities for high risk youth; provide chemical dependency treatment, mental health support, community healing and trauma informed care and promote alternatives, like restorative justice, to detention.
  • Zero Waste Adopt a comprehensive Zero Waste plan; fully implement the citywide organic waste collection system eliminate packaging (like the single use plastic carry-out bags), that cannot be effectively composted or recycled; and find ways to better organize and regulate waste from commercial properties and large apartment buildings to keep it out of landfills and the downtown garbage burner.


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