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:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

I will work for a Minneapolis where everyone has decent housing, meaningful career and employment opportunities, high quality schools, rich cultural experiences and a safe, healthy environment within which to enjoy our lives, raise our families, and find happiness for ourselves and others. I will work for a Minneapolis where each of us has the freedom and opportunity to reach our individual potentials while caring for one another, improving our environment and promoting social well-being.

I will focus not only on our immediate needs, but also on the future we want for ourselves, our children and for generations to come.

I will strive to make Minneapolis demonstrate – to ourselves and the world – how the people of a large city in a large metropolitan area can live, work and play in harmony with nature and with each other.

I will take responsibility for the decisions I make and the actions I take to fulfill my commitments and responsibilities as an elected officer holder and I will listen, communicate and cooperate with others to solve problems and pursue shared goals. I will strive to ensure that we have a city government that responds to the needs and hopes of the people and empowers everyone to make wise choices and to plan and work together to create the more just, peaceful, democratic and sustainable city we want for our future.

Core Values

  • Ecological Wisdom
  • Social Justice
  • Grassroots Democracy
  • Peace and Nonviolence
  • Community-Based Economics and Development
  • Respect for Diversity


  1. Make Minneapolis an international leader in environmental sustainability and fighting climate change while creating green jobs and cleaning up our soil, water and air.
  2. Close the racial disparities in poverty, employment and health by raising the income and employment levels of more people in Minneapolis.
  3. Make Minneapolis a great place to raise children and a city that welcomes and supports children and youth.
  4. Strengthen and establish a more permanent community involvement system in Minneapolis that empowers and builds the capacity of neighborhood organizations and enfranchises everyone.
  5. Value and support small businesses in Minneapolis.
  6. Improve the cooperation between the work of the City Council and City staff and the work of the Met Council, County, School, and Park Board.
  7. Support and guide growth and development to serve the present and future needs of the city, while protecting what is best about our city and improving our natural and public assets, infrastructure and amenities.  

Strategic Initiatives

Environmental Sustainability

  • Reduce greenhouse gas pollution to levels that meet or exceed the goals of the Climate Change Action Plan (reductions of 15% by 2015 and 30% by 2025, from a 2006 baseline) and define a long term goal to reach towards zero emissions
  • Establish more democratic control of our energy future, by creating a municipal power utility or using our utility agreements to share energy decision-making with them, fight climate change and invest in renewable energy
  • Support more successful and thriving urban farms, community gardens, and small food producers
  • Set a zero waste goal and put a plan in place that will move us towards that goal through a citywide organic waste collection system, improved recycling and elimination of packaging that cannot be composted or recycled
  • More fully realize a comprehensive multimodal transportation system with commuter and light rail transit, streetcars and enhanced bus routes - as well as better standard bus service
  • Built at least 30 miles of new protected bikeways and improve pedestrian infrastructure
  • Stop the spread of invasive carp and other species
  • Clean up past pollution
  • Reforest and plant over 30,000 new trees in response to Emerald Ash Borer

Social Justice

  • Close the racial disparities in wealth, income, health and educational achievement
  • Ensure that every resident and visitor to Minneapolis has access to fresh, healthy food
  • Invest in our parks, schools, libraries and small business, not stadiums and other massive private developments
  • Preserve and create more affordable housing options, allow more shelters as needed and end homelessness with targeted investments
  • Fight gentrification, foreclosures and evictions through existing programs and new, innovative tools
  • Review, and when appropriate repeal unjust laws that do more harm than good by criminalizing poverty and homelessness
  • Fully implement a Racial Equity toolkit to dismantle institutional racism in city government and end racial profiling in all police, regulatory and other city practices
  • Implement work place protections and establish a livable minimum wage
  • Fund and strengthen the Civil Rights department to more proactively identify and end discriminatory housing and employment practices in Minneapolis

 Peace and Nonviolence

  • Implement an authentic and workable model of community policing that empowers neighborhoods
  • Hold police officers accountable through a strong, civilian-led police review process
  • Promote safety and reduce violence through a public health approach
  • Enhance controls over handguns
  • Have a healthy and robust system of restorative justice
  • Implement effective re-entry policies and programs for those returning from prison and other institutions

Grassroots Democracy

  • Implement a robust system of participatory budgeting
  • Build and fund a stable community involvement system that empowers residents and strengthens diverse neighborhood organizations
  • Amend the city charter to allow for resident lead ballot initiatives to be put before the voters for consideration
  • Respect the Charter, and never again devote millions of taxpayer dollars to a private entity without the required referendum
  • Fund and distribute to every household a Voter’s Guide for each municipal election
  • Continue to use Ranked Choice Voting, and use our new voting machines to increase voter choice and reduce counting time in 2017
  • Tighten local campaign finance and disclosure rules
  • Work to amend the state constitution, statutes and ordinances to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections

Community-Based Economics and Development

  • Work with the Park Board to protect, preserve and improve our nationally recognized park system, complete the Grand Rounds and add programs, services and green space where they are needed
  • Revitalize and redevelop commercial corridors and areas like East Lake Street and the Southeast Minneapolis Industrial area (SEMI) in neighborhood-serving ways
  • Work with the University to support U-area neighborhoods through a strengthened and more effective the University District Alliance
  • Focus smart density near existing and planned transit corridors
  • Preserve and improve our livable, walkable neighborhoods, and make every neighborhood a “complete neighborhood”
  • Encourage local community self-reliance where more needs can be met close to home
  • Value and support creative arts as essential to our social-emotional well-being and quality of life, as well as to our economic vitality

 Second Ward Priories

Preserve what is best about our Ward while supporting and appropriately guiding future growth and development.

I believe that in the years ahead there is great potential for growth and development in the Second Ward both in terms of more people coming to live here and more buildings being built here for housing, as well as for commercial and industrial uses. Near the University campus, this growth has already been dramatic. With the Light Rail Green Line opening later this year, the continued success of the Midtown Greenway, the nearby Hiawatha Line and the revitalization of Lake Street, we will need to get better at anticipating as well as attracting housing and business development and helping guide and support the kinds of development that will best serve the present and future needs of the area. We will need to accommodate growth while preserving what we most value about our neighborhoods and ensuring that we maximize the community benefits.  We will also have to continue to balance the needs and interests of the diverse stakeholders in the second ward, where sometimes the expansion needs and plans of a well-liked business, institution, or much needed housing project must be thoughtfully balanced with the needs and concerns of current residents and businesses.

To get there it will take a clear and understood community-wide vision for what we want the Ward and neighborhoods to be like in 5, 10 and even 20 years.  This vision, hopefully incorporated in and consistent with the City’s master plan, will then inform a set of shared values and goals.  These then in turn can drive more detailed planning efforts, many of which are already in place or are being developed in the area. Finally, we will then need to employ targeted, inclusive and community-based approaches to individual projects with an eye on present and future community benefits.

Key to these kinds of efforts will be healthy and effective neighborhood organizations with actively involved residents and community-oriented and engaged city staff.

Maintain and improve existing public assets in and around Ward 2.

As we see more growth and development, pressure on both our natural and human made public assets will be enormous. Given all the great public amenities we find in and around the Second Ward, we must constantly be making sure we are maintaining, supporting and improving them for the future.

Our natural assets include the air, soil, water, and water bodies and paramount among these, for our Ward, is the Mississippi River. One of the most important things we need to do for the river is prevent the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species.  I believe we can do more now to address the threat of Asian Carp. In Minneapolis there only two places where this invasive species can be stopped: the Ford Dam and the Saint Anthony Dam. The clearest action that falls within the City’s purview is to close the City-controlled Upper Harbor Terminal, to reduce the number of lockages through the dams.   We also must do more to promote best practices in landscaping and maintenance as well as in managing our stormwater to prevent unwanted nutrients and chemicals from entering the river and other water bodies. The City has done a lot to reduce stormwater runoff, but, especially since the loss of ash trees will negatively impact stormwater quantity and quality, we must do more.  Additionally we need to address the loss of trees and our tree canopy due to the devastation of Emerald Ash Borer. We must aggressively plant and care for new trees, replacing ash trees on boulevards and incentivizing residents to plant trees on private property

In addition to attending to the natural environment we also need to do our best at maintaining, operating and enhancing the human made infrastructure and other public assets that we have in our ward.  Indeed, the Second Ward is home to some of the most treasured parkland and parkways along the Mississippi. In addition to the parks along the river, the new Ward 2 is home to parts of two greenways (Midtown and Dinkytown) at least 7 city parks (and additional smaller tot lots and playgrounds), 5 public schools, one public library and the largest campus of our state university.  The critical resources and connections that these provide to residents, as well as workers and visitors, cannot be overstated.  These are civic treasures that provide vital educational, recreational, employment training, youth development, cultural and community building opportunities.  In order to reap the full potential benefits of these civic investments it will be important that various government jurisdictions, institutions, neighborhood, business and community groups work together to support, improve and maximize what we can have.  As a City Council member I will continue to work closely with the community and with the parks and schools to support the facilities and programs that are provided and to assist efforts to re-use, expand and renovate buildings in ways compatible with community plans and priorities, including those that have gone unused or underutilized

The ward is also home to some of the most significant public works infrastructure in the city, with eight bridges that span the river, a new light rail line, the Midtown and Dinkytown greenways and a number of commercial corridors that cross through the ward.  As Council Member I will work to make sure that we are making the investments we need to maintain, renovate and improve our infrastructure as needed.  Some roads in the ward are in dire need of reconstruction and some, like those north of University in Prospect Park, have yet to be built in the first place.  I am excited about the new Minnehaha Ave, a new “Green 4th St.” near the Prospect Park LRT Station in southeast, a new 4th and 15th (Riverside Extension) on the West Bank and improved bike connections to the University from downtown, including completion of the bike tunnel under the 35W bridge. Additionally there is the renovation of the 10th Avenue and Franklin Avenue Bridges, completion of the Grand Rounds and the Dinkytown Greenways and more.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Second Ward December 2016 E-newsletter

2017 Approved Budget. On December 7, the City Council passed what I believe is a responsible, responsive and future focused budget for next year. It was passed (12-1) with several small but noteworthy changes from the budget proposed by Mayor Hodges earlier this year. I thank the Mayor for presenting us with a good proposal, and my colleagues for the thoughtful, cooperative work they did to improve it. The total budget is $1.3 billion, a 7.7%, or $94.7 million increase from the 2016 adopted budget of $1.2 billion. This includes our general fund, water, sewer, and storm sewer utilities plus convention center, and other special revenue funds. As part of the budget we approved a 5.5% increase in the total amount of property taxes we will collect in 2017. This brings the total property taxes to over $310 million dollars. This funds 24% of the overall budget. Looking at the big picture, of the total 1.3 billion, roughly 26% goes to Public Works, 14% to capital improvements, 12% to Police, 10% to the City Coordinator (including 311, 911, Human Resources, Property Services, Information Technology, Intergovernmental Relations, Emergency Preparedness and Neighborhood and Community Relations), 10% for debt service, 7% to Community Planning and Economic Development, 5% for Fire, 4% to the Convention Center, 2% for Health, 2% for Regulatory Services, 1% for the City Attorney, 5% divided among general liability and contingency funds and pensions, and 2% for smaller city services and departments (including the Assessor, employee benefits, City Clerk, City Council, Mayor, Civil Rights, Internal Auditor and Workers Compensation). In addition to a number of budget actions highlighted later in this report, significant budget items include: $1.3 million for 15 new police officers, including 3 for the police/mental health co-responder pilot program; ongoing resources to manage and operate the police body camera program; a new Civil Rights complaint investigator to respond to complaints of discrimination and hate crimes; an additional civilian investigator at the Office of Police Conduct Review; $400,000 for 5 new firefighters; funding for implicit-bias training for all City staff; and, a new appraiser in the City Assessor’s office. All the details of the 2017 Budget and related materials can be found at:

Parks and Streets. Some of the most significant parts of this budget reflected decisions made earlier in the year to invest in neighborhood parks and city streets. As part of this first year of a 20 year investment plan, we approved spending roughly $10 million to support improvements at neighborhood parks and nearly $20 million to build and improve local streets. There is also $3 million (or 1% of the tax levy) going to increase funding for Park operating costs. For Second Ward residents the most noteworthy near-term street improvements include the reconstruction of a new Southeast 4th Street (Green 4th) in the Prospect Park North area, east of the Gopher Football stadium and funding to support rehabilitation of the 10th Avenue Bridge should additional state or federal funding be provided to make that possible.

Affordable Housing. Another significant investment that did not receive a great deal of conversation among Council Members is the $14.5 million in affordable housing development, including a new strategy to preserve so called "Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing" as well as the Family Housing Initiative and additions to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Key Budget Conversations. A few interesting issues surfaced in the testimony at the two public hearings, and in the Council's deliberations. They reflected three deeper conversations the people of Minneapolis have been having over the course of the last year. The first came to be called Safety Beyond Policing and concerns the roles of police and non-police approaches in addressing crime and violence in our City. The second focused on Small Business Support and how the City should do more to support the valuable small businesses that bring jobs, services and character to our neighborhoods. The third conversation challenged us to think more carefully about how we spend public dollars and focused on the three ideas: getting Better Banking Options, monitoring the Viking Stadium costs better, and considering Participatory Budgeting in the future. Further elaboration follows.

Safety Beyond Policing. While we are investing significantly more in policing in this budget, with the aim of diversifying the force and creating new opportunities for community-based policing, we are also investing significant dollars in new community and health-based initiatives to prevent crime and violence. These include the Group Violence Intervention program; funding for collaborative, community-driven, public-safety strategies; and a co-responder model I strongly supported that pairs mental health practitioners with officers. Before the final budget passed, we increased the funding to several “safety beyond policing” strategies. Council Members Bender, Glidden and I made one motion to move $400,000 from the increase to the Police Department to fund several Domestic and Youth Violence Prevention strategies. Although that motion failed, it helped open up a more thoughtful conversation about the value of these proactive investments and led to several additional amendments. These, combined with those innovative strategies already in the Mayor's proposed budget, resulted in an interesting group of new non-police public safety investments as follows:
- $150,000 to be allocated for programs related to domestic violence prevention with the goal of serving families that have experienced domestic violence, prioritizing families with very young children, young adolescent males, and non-English speaking families.
- $600,000 for community-led safety strategies in three locations with high levels of youth violence: West Broadway between Lyndale and Girard, Little Earth, and Chicago and Franklin. This will provide technical and financial resources for residents and business owners of these areas, and the community-based organizations that serve them, to determine what interventions would be best.
- $290,000 for a Group Violence Intervention strategy, a collaboration among the Health Department, the police, and the community that offers support and resources to offenders who leave violence behind. These resources are in addition to a $250,000 federal grant to help implement the program.
- $62,000 to enhance “Next Step,” the hospital-based intervention strategy, to reduce youth violence by offering outreach, evaluation and services for a young victims of violent assault injury.
- $200,000 for the mental health co-responders program where mental health professionals are paired with sworn officers to respond together to emergency calls that are likely to include a mental health crisis.

Small Business Support. We also heard from people asking for more targeted small business support through a new small business office. This could be especially important as we continue to work on better protections for workers like the earned sick and safe time ordinance, fair scheduling and a local minimum wage. No one wants any of these improvements in the lives of workers to harm our treasured small, entrepreneurial, independent businesses. So the Council approved a budget amendment, spearheaded by Council Member Andrew Johnson, to establish a small business support team of 3 staff people to directly help small businesses navigate city processes. This team will identify and implement strategies to make the City friendlier for small businesses. I was happy to support this new office, and to support expanding it, at the request of so many great local businesses.  I will note that most of the small businesses who testified in support of this small business office also expressed their strong support for better workplace protections for all Minneapolis employees, especially the most vulnerable low-wage employees.

Better Banking Options. In response to growing questions and concerns about who the City contracts with for financial services, Council Member Cano and I moved, and the Council approved, to have Finance staff explore alternatives that would allow us to stop doing business with financial institutions that invest in the fossil fuel industry and projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline and the possibility of establishing a municipal bank or participating in a publicly-owned banking operation (like a credit union). Staff has been instructed to report recommendations to the Ways and Means Committee by July.

Vikings Stadium Money. With colleagues Cano, Andrew Johnson, Glidden, and Reich, I was able to pass a budget amendment that requires staff to monitor and report on an annual basis on the costs for the Vikings Stadium, its operation and management, and the adjacent parking ramps and park. The motion also directed them to limit the ongoing city subsidy for operations and capital maintenance to the amounts provided for in statute and to report back to the Community Development and Regulatory Services committee on the desirability and feasibility of reopening the Park Use Agreement between the city and the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority. This was offered in large part because of concerns raised in a detailed letter provided by former Governor Arne Carlson and former Council Member Paul Ostrow that can be found here

Participatory Budgeting. Building on research our offices had been doing and a recommendation from our Capital Long-range Improvement Committee (CLIC), my colleague Elizabeth Glidden and I successfully moved to direct the City Coordinator and City Clerk’s offices to develop a plan for a participatory budgeting program. They will use input from community stakeholders and City advisory committees such as CLIC, the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission, community and neighborhood organizations, and report back to the Ways & Means Committee no later than June 10, with a plan for a participatory budgeting program. I am very excited about this initiative and expect the report to include best practices form other cities, recommendations for a Minneapolis participatory budgeting process. This should include, among other things, strategies for outreach to the City’s 70 neighborhood organizations, cultural and community organizations, and under-represented groups, including youth, and potential funding sources for an annual participatory budgeting process.

Young Male Health Initiative. I voted against one budget amendment, which unfortunately passed, which took $100,000 out of the mayor's proposed budget that would have funded a new program through the health department focused on preventing sexually transmitted diseases. While the amended use of the funds to support Summit Academy's contextualized GED program appears to be worthwhile, I felt addressing the problem of sexually transmitted diseases was more important and responsive, due to a disturbing report the Council heard earlier in the year. The rate of chlamydia infections among 15-19 year olds in Minneapolis is more than double the rate in Minnesota as a whole, and the rate of gonorrhea for city 15-19 year olds is more than four times higher than the state rate. I will be attempting to find alternative sources to provide this funding to tackle this important problem.

Clean Energy Vehicles. The last budget related issue I want to mention, is a motion Council Members Andrew Johnson, Kevin Reich and I successfully passed directing staff to report back by September 1, 2017, on the benefits, feasibility, reasonable exceptions, cost/benefit analysis, timeline, various alternatives, and a recommended approach to eliminating fossil fuel vehicles in the City. I am especially interested in how we can move more quickly to having more of our City-owned cars and trucks running on electricity, which I will work to ensure is generated by clean energy sources.

Election 2016. I am disappointed and worried by some the results of this year’s election, especially at the federal level.  It is hard not to see the results as setbacks to so much progress we have been making on so many important issues in recent years.  It is a source of comfort to live in a city, community and neighborhood filled with caring, open-minded, accepting, supportive, and engaged people who share a commitment to making this a more just, inclusive, and loving place for everyone.  It is more important than ever that we commit to continuing to make progress where we can, at the local level. I sincerely thank everyone for voting on November 8th and to everyone who ran for office, volunteered to support candidates and got involved in campaigns of all kinds. Your participation in our democracy is both inspiring and vital to the health of our city, state and country. I offer special gratitude to our elections staff.  This year we saw many improvements to our voting processes. I commend our elections department, the many election judges and all elections professionals who worked hard not only on Election Day, but also throughout the year, putting out our voters’ guide and during the early-voting period leading up to the election to ensure the best election possible. Turnout in the second ward was very high as usual. I congratulate all those who ran for office and especially those who won. I look forward to continuing working with Congressman Keith Ellison, State Senators Patricia Torres Ray and Kari Dziedzic and State Representative Jim Davnie. I also look forward to working with the newly elected and returning school board members and with newly elected State Representative Ilhan Omar, whose historic victory as the first Somali–American elected to the state house is one uplifting bright spot in this dark election. Another bright spot is the passage of the Vote Yes for Kids ballot initiative, which will help ensure that our schools have the resources they need. I will do whatever I can to assist all of those elected this year in serving you and to work cooperatively with them to make sure we are all doing everything we can to benefit the city and the communities we represent.  Clearly we have a great deal of work ahead of us. I am committed to work harder than ever to make this a better, healthier, and more peaceful, just and sustainable city for everyone.

Standing Together. At our first Council meeting following the election, the City Council unanimously passed a resolution drafted by my office entitled, "Standing With All Members of Our One Minneapolis. The first "resolved" clause reads: "Now, Therefore, BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Minneapolis stands with all members of our community. We reject the politics of division, bigotry, hate, and fear. We will fight for the rights, freedoms and interests of all of the members of our community, no matter the color of our skin, our gender, the way we worship, where we were born, our sexual orientation, or any other identity. We are and will continue to be One Minneapolis." Another clause reaffirms our commitment to be a sanctuary city. You can read the resolution here: That morning we also adopted a strong resolution "Condemning violence and hate speech, and expressing solidarity with Muslims and all those targeted for their ethnicity, race, or religion," authored by Council Members Warsame and Glidden.

Discrimination in Public Accommodations. The City is addressing discrimination in businesses through education, investigation and enforcement. All people have the right to receive service, free from discrimination, from any business that obtains or solicits customers from the general public. Minneapolis bans discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, marital status, and status regarding public assistance. Public accommodations are establishments that provide goods and services to the general public; these include taxicabs and on-demand ride services; restaurants, bars and food vendors; theaters; hotels; health and fitness clubs; hospitals; libraries; gas stations and retail stores. Investigations into possible discrimination may include using “testers” to act as patrons. Businesses that do not cease discriminatory practices are subject to fines, damages and penalties; prolonged monitoring and ultimately license revocation. You can learn more here

Opposing National Registry. In December the Council passed a resolution opposing the creation of a national registry or surveillance based on ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation. The unanimously approved resolution affirms the City’s commitment to honoring all people.

Syrian Refugee Resolution. In light of the war and devastation in Syria, in January I plan to bring forward a resolution, modeled after one recently approved in St. Paul, that will support resettlement of Syrian refugees in Minneapolis and call on other Minnesota communities to support a stronger national effort to resettle the most vulnerable Syrian refugees. You can find a draft here:

Responding to Hate. If you witness hate-motivated speech or actions, the City has several options for filing complaints. You can call 911 to report a threat in progress, contact the Police ( to file a police report online or in person, call 311 to report any non-urgent actions or contact the Civil Rights Department. The Civil Rights Department enforces the City’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws. If you or someone you know is the victim of harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, LGBT status or other protected classes, please contact 612-673-3012 or visit Click here for more information and fliers

Immigration Statement and Videos. The Police Department has issued a statement and videos on its role in immigration. Police use the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 2, Chapter 19 to govern its actions. It states:  “Public safety officials shall not undertake any law enforcement action for the purpose of detecting the presence of undocumented persons, or to verify immigration status, including but not limited to questioning any person or persons about their immigration status.” The Police  policy known as “Police Authority in Immigration Matters,” states: “The United States Code empowers the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security, as the sole authority in immigration matters. This means that state and local law enforcement agencies have no authority with respect to immigration violations. Officers shall not independently undertake to approach, interview, interrogate, detain or arrest any suspected illegal alien or refugee when potential violation of the federal immigration law is the principal issue. Neither shall any officer independently seek to ascertain a suspected illegal alien’s status.”  For English and Spanish videos see For English and Somali videos see

Intentional Communities. Earlier this month, the Council passed my proposed Intentional Communities ordinance. I view this as a major win for people who want to share housing in Minneapolis. Once the ordinance is fully implemented, a group of people will be able to approach the City, fill out an easy registration form, have their house inspected (to establish the maximum safe occupancy of the house) and register.  I am hopeful that this will allow many of the existing intentional communities we hear are out there to "come into the light," and will allow the formation of many more, including more housing cooperatives. This will allow our existing, historic housing stock to be used more effectively, help reduce housing costs, build community, and in many cases help build wealth for people who form coops rather than renting.  Before the ordinance passed, it was amended by Council Member Jacob Frey on a 7-6 vote of the Council to remove some of the specific definitions I had developed with staff and the community to identify intentional communities. I opposed this amendment but still feel that this is a strong ordinance because the definition of intentional community still exists in the zoning code, and the other, more important, safeguards in the ordinance remain in place. 

Northern Metals. After a briefing from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) about their two lawsuits with Northern Metals and a request from them that the City join the lawsuits, I helped push forward a motion, made by Council member Yang, that the Council approved in December, to have the City join the lawsuits. According to the MPCA, Northern Metals is now interested in settling the lawsuits in a way that could be a big victory for cleaner air in Minneapolis. Things being discussed as part of the settlement include closing the metal shredder in Minneapolis and moving it to a new, non-metro location; paying a civil penalty and reimbursement of MPCA costs; paying mitigation money to the communities that have been directly affected by the company’s emissions; and, engaging community members and the City of Minneapolis for input about how best to leverage the money for immediate community benefit near the facility.  I commend the MPCA staff for their work on this.  I regret that it has taken so long for this to be resolved.  In recent months, and years, elevated lead levels in blood and asthma rates among children who live in the area (the Hawthorne neighborhood) have been alarming. Elevated blood lead levels in Hawthorne are the highest in the city at 519 per 10,000 children. The highest rate of asthma hospitalizations in Minnesota occurs in 55411 (which includes Hawthorne) at 37 per 10,000 residents. This has been a long time coming, but it is better news that I expected and I am hopeful that the full settlement, as outlined, will be agreed to within the next few months. You can find some more information here 

Youth Violence Prevention Report. In December the 2015 Youth Violence Prevention Results Minneapolis report was issued. It tracks, graphs and analyzes 26 indicators over 9 years (2006 to 2015). While the 9 years trend lines show a general decrease in youth violence, a few key indicators show a disturbing increase between 2014 and 2015.  This includes an increase in gunshot victims under age 25 from 104 in 2014 to 130 in 2016 and homicides going from 11 in 2014 to 24 in 2015.  The full report should be available on the City website soon and I plan to have it presented to the Health Environment and Community Engagement Committee in January, when we will likely have some 2016 data available as well.

Legislative Agendas. The Council has approved our 2017 Legislative Agendas and Policy Positions. These reflect those state and federal legislative things we will prioritize and support. They can be found at Advancing Racial Equity is our first legislative priority for next year and our top capital projects and the Lake Street/35W Access project and the 10th Avenue Bridge rehabilitation. The most noteworthy changes to the Policy Positions are found in our section on Policing. With my strong advocacy, we join those calling for the establishment of an independent entity to investigate incidents when police use of force results in death or serious injury. I was disappointed that two issues I have been pushing for did not make it into this year’s legislative agenda: 1. removing the preemption the state has placed on the city, preventing us from enacting any campaign financing regulations of our own; and 2. amending the state constitution to permit cities to allow non-citizen immigrants to vote in local elections.

Safe and Sick Time Ordinance Lawsuit. I was disappointed to learn that the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Twin Cities Chamber of Commerce, Graco Inc., and Otogawa-Anschel General Contractors and Consultants LLC have brought a lawsuit against the City asking the Court to declare that our Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (40.10) is invalid. They are also seeking an immediate injunction that would block enforcement of this ordinance that was passed earlier this year.

Joy Stephens. I was delighted to see Joy Stephens, our Manager of Equity and Inclusion, featured recently in a national publication. In it, she offers a great interview outlining the efforts that she is leading and coordinating to address institutionalized racism in city government. I am so glad and proud to see this work moving forward based on the 2011 resolution I authored and the subsequent budget amendment to create the equity division (and Joy’s position) the mayor proposed and I fought so hard to preserve in 2013. If you are interested in this, the interview is worth the read -

Minneapolis Public Authority Director. The City Council unanimously supported the designation, brought forward by the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Broad, of Gregory Russ as the new Director of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.  Although I did hear from some people who have concerns about his designation, I ultimately supported it because I believe he is qualified, he had the strong support of the search committee and MPHA board and I think that I can work with him to ensure that the interests of the Glendale Townhomes, and other Public Housing, residents are protected. I met with him prior to the vote and discussed the situation at Glendale and stressed that displacement, privatization and gentrification there were unacceptable and that any rehabilitation plan for the homes needed to include and gain the support of residents to be successful.

Weatherization at Glendale.  I have been working with the Sustainable Resources Center (SRC) and the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority for months on a plan to have SRC help with weatherization needs at the Glendale townhomes. I believe that both entities have been working to bring something forward, and I expect an announcement, including a timeline for the work, within the next few weeks.

Community Solar Gardens. In December the Council approved entering into a second Community Solar Garden subscription and beginning work on a third proposal. We authorized staff to enter into a Community Solar Garden subscription agreement with SunEdison for City of Minneapolis operations for a term of 25 years, for an estimated cost of $65,700 annually, offset by estimated annual electrical utility credit of $64,570, providing an anticipated overall first year loss of ($1,100).  But over the 25 year term of the agreement, the subscription should generate savings between $100,000 and $160,000.  We also directed staff to report back to the draft, by March 31, 2017, another Community Solar Request for Proposals incorporating the following criteria for evaluation: 1. Availability of subscriptions for Minneapolis residents and businesses; 2. A significant proportion of subscriptions for low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers, and potentially incentives for LMI customers, with the City of Minneapolis acting as a backup subscriber to facilitate service to LMI customers; 3. Location of the garden within the City and potentially on a City-owned site; and, 4. Potential ownership of the garden by Minneapolis residents, businesses, and property owners.

Resident Survey. The results from this year’s survey are in. This year we contracted with Wilder Research to conduct our resident survey, which we do every two years. The full report can be found at While generally positive, I was concerned about the small sample size (2,320) and some of the results. I was disappointed to see that fewer residents this year appear to feel that they can influence city decisions. I was also concerned with the notable differences by race and income with regard to experiences of discrimination in Minneapolis. While 93% of white residents said that they had not experienced discrimination, people of color and Native American residents were much more likely to report experiencing discrimination. For example, the report states, “African American and African –born and American Indian respondents were much more likely to report that they had been discriminated against in housing compared to respondents overall….[R]espondents whose household incomes are less than $35,000 a year were somewhat more likely to report that they has been discriminated against in housing.” Of those people reporting discrimination, 44% indicating they were discriminated against while encountering police services.

Neighborhood Programs Annual Report. In November the Council received the 2015 Neighborhood Programs Report that summarizes the work of the 70 recognized neighborhood organizations funded in 2015. More than seven hundred volunteers serve as volunteer board members on neighborhood organization boards. Thousands of residents participated in neighborhood sponsored events, projects and initiatives throughout the year.  In 2015, $6,842,050 was expended through Community Participation Program (CPP) and Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) contracts to neighborhoods that used the funds to communicate with and organize residents and act on neighborhood identified priorities.  Find the report at

Neighborhood Board Diversity. I was delighted to see a dramatic increase in the response rate to our second diversity audit of our neighborhood boards and I thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey. One of the things I look for in the surveys is how closely the demographic make-up of the boards matches demographics of the neighborhood and city as a whole.  Not surprisingly, the areas that showed the biggest discrepancy were the number of people of color and the number of renters on our neighborhood boards.  So, following a review of the results, I moved to direct Neighborhood and Community Relations Department staff to work with the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission to recommend a way to dedicate at least a portion of future One Minneapolis funding to fund organizations that will work with and support neighborhood organizations to increase the number of potential neighborhood organization board members who are renters and people of color. You can read the report at

Appointed Board and Commission Diversity. Every other year, since 2009 when I first introduced the idea, the City conducts a voluntary survey of seated board members of 18 of the City’s development and general advisory boards. This year, for the first time, we saw noticeable progress in seeing more people of color on our boards and commissions. One glaring deficit, however, is youth representatives on our boards and commissions. Because of this, and my long standing concerns about a lack of youth on our advisory groups, I successfully moved to direct Neighborhood and Community Relations Department staff to work with the City Clerk’s office, the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission, and the 18 advisory boards and commissions surveyed as part of the 2016 Diversity Survey to develop recommendations for setting aside a seat on these boards and commissions for persons under age 25.


Small Business Contracting Opportunities. On January 1 the City will launch a new program expanding opportunities for small businesses to compete for City contracts. As part of the Target Market Program, qualified small businesses will have the ability to bid for City contracts up to $100,000 alongside other similarly situated small businesses instead of larger, more established companies. Key goals of the program include increasing competition for contracts, expanding opportunities for historically underutilized small business and stimulating the local economy. Businesses must meet certain criteria to be eligible. For more info visit, or email

Resilient Minneapolis. I was happy to participate in a day long Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop in December that kicked off our Resilient City planning process. Minneapolis is one of 100 designated Resilient Cities (RC) along with London, New York, Bangkok, and Rio de Janeiro. We were selected by the Rockefeller Foundation to receive funding to hire a staff person and draft a resiliency action plan. At the workshop a group of over 50 stakeholders began to identify and prepare for threats to our health and welfare as a city. In the next 12 months, the City will use the grant funds to hire a “Chief Resilience Officer” to lead the effort to draft a comprehensive resilience action plan. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100RC  programs is intended to help cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. For more information about it, visit:

Appointments. In December the Council approved appointments to the Commission on Civil Rights, the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, the Police Conduct Review panel and the Community Environmental Advisory Commission.  I thank everyone who applied and those whose term ended, and those who are newly appointed. The work of these boards, and others, make a real and positive difference in the City.

Top City for National Night Out. For the fifth year in a row, Minneapolis was ranked No. 1 by National Association of Town Watch, Inc., among all similarly sized U.S. cities for participation on National Night Out.

Peavey Plaza Landscape Architecture Firm. The City Council has approved a contract with Minneapolis-based Coen+Partners to rehabilitate and revitalize Peavey Plaza at 12th Street South & Nicollet Mall. They will focus on improving the plaza while preserving its historic assets. Priorities include refurbishing the fountains and reflecting basin, concrete repairs, utility upgrades and making the plaza accessible to people with disabilities. The goal is to have construction work done by the end of 2018. Peavey Plaza was built in 1974 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Sidewalk Shoveling. When it snows, make sure to clear your sidewalks of snow and ice to keep them safe. You and your neighbors will appreciate it and you could avoid a possible fine from the City. There may be resources for people who need help clearing their sidewalks. People can call 311 for a list of resources that might be available. Find more information at

Board Members for Minneapolis Telecommunications Network. Board applicants are needed for the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN). MTN operates the public access channels for the City of Minneapolis on Comcast’s and CenturyLink’s cable communications systems. Board members participate in regular board meetings and serve on at least one committee. Applications will be accepted until the open position is filled. The application review process will begin February 3. Find more information or apply at

Impound Lot Survey. The City has launched an online survey to gather feedback for the Impound Lot Facility Improvement Project. Planning is underway so construction can begin in the summer of 2017. It will take about a year to complete. The survey is available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali. Take the survey at

Snow Emergency Alerts. To effectively plow the 1,500 miles of streets and alleys compliance with parking rules is enormously helpful. Vehicles parked on the street in violation of Snow Emergency rules can be ticketed or towed and make plowing inefficient, so it’s in everyone’s interest to help drivers follow the parking rules. To learn when Snow Emergencies are declared and what to do when they are, you can call the automated 612-348-SNOW hotline, you can go to where there is a street lookup feature which lets you put in an address or a neighborhood to see where you can park during a Snow Emergency; you can use our phone alert system and can add your cellphone or unlisted landline number to the alert system by signing up at; you can sign up to get Snow Emergency alerts automatically emailed or texted to you at; you can also download an App for smart phone – android device or iPhone that will tell you the parking rules for that day and has a street lookup feature; you can “Like”; follow; and check out videos in various languages at Minneapolis Snow Emergency Parking Rules (English), Reglas de Estacionamiento de las Emergencias por Nevada (Spanish), Xanibaada Goobaha Baabuurta La Dhigto Xilliga Gurmadka Barafka (Somali), Kev Cai Li Choj Txog Kev Kub Ceev thaum Daus Tau Lo (Hmong).

STEP-UP Youth Employment Program. STEP-UP applications for 2017 summer internships are now being accepted. Eligible Minneapolis youth ages 14-21 who are interested in participating in the 2017 STEP-UP class have until February 10, 2017, to complete an application at Prior to being placed in their internships, youth receive work readiness that prepares them for a professional work environment. Throughout their internship, they gain valuable on-the job skills, make strong professional connections, and become exposed to careers they may have not otherwise accessed without STEP-UP. Businesses, public agencies and nonprofits interested in employing interns in 2016 can find information at

Open Streets 2017. In December the Council approved 8 routes for Open Streets in 2017: East Franklin, downtown, West Broadway, U of M, East Lake/Minnehaha, Nicollet, Lyndale and Northeast. Big changes to two routes near Ward 2 include the East Lake route going east from Eliot and turning onto Minnehaha Ave and going all the way to Minnehaha Park; and the U of M route that will go along University Ave from Oak to 10 Ave (without cutting through campus) and then crossing eh 10th Ave bridge to go down Cedar Ave. You can see all the routes and more information at

Malcolm Yards. I recently met with land owners and developers John Wall and Steve Minn recently about future development they are considering north of the University Transitway at the old Harris site along Malcolm Ave. They are calling it Malcolm Yards and so far it includes a proposed climbing wall building and business, a “Food Hall” in part or all of a rehabilitated Harris building, and two potential mixed use apartment buildings with commercial and residential uses. The city’s comprehensive plan prohibits residential development on the site which sites within the SEMI Employment District. So, the developers intend to apply for a comprehensive plan amendment to take a portion of the area, where the mixed use apartment buildings will go, out of the employment district, so that it could potentially be rezoned to allow for a mixed use apartment buildings. The City Council and the Met Council would both have to approve the amendment before it would go into effect.

World Expo in Ward 2. With full city support ( an application has been submitted to have Minneapolis be a host city for a 3 month World Expo in 2023.  Large, six-month Expos are organized every five years with one smaller, three-month version held in-between. The location that has been identified includes the University of Minnesota and area known as Prospect North, or Towerside, north of University Avenue in Prospect Park. To learn more about the proposal see and

Local Historic Nomination of Glendale. Later this winter, I plan to send a letter to all residents of Glendale, seeking input on the proposed historical designation of the site.  This is the result of requests, earlier this year, from the Defend Glendale Campaign and Prospect Park Association to consider nominating the area for local historic designation.

Green 4th. The Council has approved the layout, funding, and assessments for the reconstruction of 4th St SE, or Green Fourth, from 25th Ave SE to Malcolm Ave SE.  The cost of the reconstruction project is $2.4 million, and the lighting is $152,000.  I continue to work with property owners and the Prospect North Partnership to get the above-standard improvements the Partnership has designed and obtained funding for incorporated into this project.

2618 Essex St SE. The Council has approved the land use applications for Micro Apartments at 2618 Essex St SE.  This project will produce 25 new units, each of them 360 square feet in size, with rents 20% below market rate.

Hiawatha Academies. The Charter School, Hiawatha Academies, has a purchase agreement to buy the former Canada Dry building at 3530 E. 28th Street. There, they hope to start construction of a new High School this June for occupancy in June of 2018.  They plan to reuse close to half of the existing building, including the iconic entry on 36th Ave and 28th Street. The plans also include new construction, totally 93,800 Square feet on much of the site. In my meeting with school leadership I appreciated learning about the potential for shared gym space, greenway beautification, historic preservation, quality jobs and a well-regarded school in the area. I encouraged them to reach out to the neighborhood groups soon. You can learn more about the school here

Tax Increment Districts Decertified. In November the Council approved decertifying 11 special tax increment financing districts and two special Hazardous substance subdistricts. Several of these are in Ward 2, four in the Southeast Minneapolis Industrial area (SEMI) that were established in the 1990s and one in Southeast Como called Van Cleve Redevelopment that was established in 2007 for an anticipated development that never occurred.

Seward Bicycle Boulevards.  The Council has approved the layout and grant acceptance for the Seward Bicycle Boulevards along 24th St E and 29th Ave S to improve access to and from Matthews Park and Seward Montessori School. You can find the layout and more information here While the layout does not include the treatment at 29th and the Midtown Greenway, I am working hard to see that the pilot closure to motor vehicle traffic at the Greenway is made permanent and see it as a critical element to the success of the bike boulevard. Prior to approving the layout, the committee approved the motion I made to direct Public Works staff to return to the Committee no later than January 31, 2017, with design options for the intersection of 29th and the Greenway, including a design option that will close 29th Ave S both northbound and southbound.

Open Office Hours in the Ward. I usually hold open “Office Hours” in the ward every Thursday morning from 9:30 to 11:00 am.  Please feel free to call the office at 673-2202 to reserve some time when I will be there or just stop by.
First Thursdays at the Oren Gateway Center, Nabo Café, 2211 Riverside Avenue;
Second Thursdays at Black: Coffee and Waffles, 1500 Como Ave SE;
Third Thursdays at T Rex Cookie Café, 3338 University Ave SE;
Fourth Thursdays at Blue Moon Coffee Café, 3822 E Lake St.

Cam Gordon
Minneapolis City Council Member, Second Ward
673-2202, 296-0579

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