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:

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Look Back at What We Have Accomplished So Far

When I first I ran for office, I identified five aspirational values that I believe the people of Ward 2 share: social and economic justice, environmental sustainability, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, and community-based economics. I use them every day to guide my work.

I want to share with you some of what we have accomplished together, so far, by using them to make this a better city:

I have led on justice for all, by:
·         Making us address our history of institutional racism, by authoring the Equity in Employment Resolution in 2008, establishing a task force, drafting an action plan, setting City goals to reduce racial disparities in employment and income in 2012, passing a subsequent Resolution declaring institutional racism a serious problem and continuing to push for racial equity since. This has included repealing racist, antiquated ordinances like those on “lurking” and spitting, requiring the police to better track information about the people they stop, creating and staffing a new Office of Equity and Inclusion, getting the City to hire and contract with more people of color to accomplish new hiring and retention goals, and more.

       Calling for workplace protections for workers, including a $15 minimum wage for all, earned sick time, fair scheduling, an end to wage theft, and standing with unions as they organize in the Ward.

       Standing up against unnecessary subsidies for billionaires like the Vikings Stadium.

       Ensuring that all people in Minneapolis have access to healthy food by requiring staple food in grocery stores and allowing new mobile grocery stores.

       Addressing our affordable housing crisis, from flexibility for overnight and short term emergency homeless shelters to allowing intentional communities, and from supporting hundreds of new transit-oriented residences to policies like accessory dwelling units and parking reform.

       Protecting the health of our kids by prohibiting flavored tobacco except at tobacco-only retailers, setting a minimum price for cigars and cigarillos, and prohibiting e-cigarettes in all indoor places where smoking is prohibited.

       Protecting the residents of the Glendale Townhomes area by stopping an alarming redevelopment plan and preventing gentrification and the loss of their homes.

       Bringing forward an updated, improved and necessary Americans with Disabilities Action Plan.

       Protecting renters from unscrupulous landlords and unhealthy buildings with an updated low-heat, no-heat ordinance, an ordinance prohibiting landlords from having unpaid legal judgments against them, an ordinance establishing guidelines for lead abatement in rental properties, and requirements for disclosure to tenants of known soil or other contamination like arsenic and Trichloroethylene (TCE).

       Reaffirming our City as a welcoming place, authoring the Standing with All Members of Our One Minneapolis and the Supporting the Resettlement of Syrian refugees in Minneapolis resolutions in the aftermath of the 2016 election.

I have led on environmental sustainability by:
       Pushing the City to do more about climate change in a host of ways, including approving a strong, comprehensive Climate Action Plan, forming the Clean Energy Partnership between the City and our energy utilities, ensuring that our energy franchise agreements are shorter and allow the City more flexibility to raise franchise fee revenue for clean energy, adopting and modeling an 80% carbon emission reduction goal, signing the City up for two community solar gardens, authoring a fossil fuel divestment resolution and supporting divestment by our banking partners, advocating for a district energy system for Prospect North.

       Making it easier to walk, bike and take transit in Minneapolis.  That means many miles of new bike paths and trails, a strong Complete Streets policy that prioritizes people over cars, ensuring that the Green Line and Blue Line are successful and have spurred transit oriented development, passing a plan for at least 50 miles of new protected bikeways, ensuring City sponsorship of Open Streets events, and pushing for better winter maintenance of bikeways and sidewalks.

       Investing in Parks and Streets through a funding package that provides $10 million to parks and $20 million to streets annually for the next 20 years.

       Protecting the environment right here in Minneapolis by adopting a new Urban Forestry Policy that protects boulevard trees from construction damage, authoring the Managed Natural Landscape ordinance to let residents have purposeful plantings over eight inches in height, supporting the planting of thousands of trees through the annual City Trees program, making all new skyways bird-safe, and calling for the Vikings Stadium to be bird-safe, and making Minneapolis a pollinator-friendly city.

       Reducing waste and increasing recycling by requiring recycling in commercial buildings, calling for single-sort recycling and compost collection by the City, establishing an aggressive recycling and waste diversion goal, winning state funding for a commercial recycling and waste diversion study, passing the Bring Your Own Bag ordinance to reduce plastic bags, requiring recycling chutes in new multifamily buildings, supporting a recyclable or compostable packaging requirement through the Green to Go ordinance, and significantly increasing the amount of composting that can occur at community gardens, market gardens and urban farms.

·         Fighting for environmental justice by authoring a resolution to create a strong Green Zones policy to focus on neighborhoods that have faced more than their share of pollution and the Green Business Program that has removed more than 30,000 pounds of air pollution.

       Embracing the local food movement by creating the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council, authoring Urban Agriculture policies to legalize urban farms, allowing more flexible rules for farmers markets, allowing mini farmers markets, allowing limited production and processing in commercial areas, supporting seed sharing libraries, allowing urban farmers to make much more use of farmstands to sell directly to their neighbors, opening up more City-owned land for food growing, and supporting reforms to make it easier to keep honeybees and chickens.

       Reducing toxins by authoring a resolution calling for the phase-out of triclosan from cleaning products, responding to the arsenic contamination in Longfellow and Seward and the trichloroethylene plume in Southeast Como, supporting revising the City’s pollution control fees to tie them directly to emissions, supporting legal action against Northern Metals, supporting a ban on the toxin perchloroethylene (or “perc”) in new dry cleaners, and more.

I have led on grassroots democracy by:
       Spearheading the process to put Ranked Choice Voting on the ballot in Minneapolis, working for its adoption, and ensuring that our first ranked choice elections have been a success.

       Leading the effort to produce and distribute a Voter’s Guide to every Minneapolis household every election cycle.

       Pushing for an Early Voting system for elections, including 4 early voting centers and increased hours, and supporting mandatory provision of voter registration information by landlords.

       Protecting funding for neighborhood groups and recently restoring $9 million back to neighborhoods for neighborhood revitalization plans.

       Building off the foundation of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program towards a more permanent, inclusive and sustainable system of civic participation through creation of the Community Engagement Taskforce and report in 2010 that resulted in the creation of the Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission and the new city Neighborhood and Community Relations department as well as continued funding to support the work of neighborhood organizations.

       Putting more accountability and support for diversity into our community engagement system through the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement, an external evaluation of the Neighborhood and Community Relations department, a language access plan for better serving people with limited English proficiency, and regular diversity audits to better track the demographic makeup of the people who serve on City boards and commissions and neighborhood groups.

       Helping to create community-based stakeholder groups to advocate for the interests of Ward 2 neighborhoods, like the University District Alliance, the Prospect North Partnership, and the Cedar Riverside Partnership.

       Doing what I can to communicate well and be present in Ward 2 neighborhoods by attending monthly neighborhood group meetings, distributing monthly reports online and in each neighborhood, creating the City’s first Council Member blog, holding office hours in the Ward every week, and responding to your calls and emails.

I have led on nonviolence by:
·         Redefining youth violence as a public health crisis, and being the City Council lead on passing a ground breaking Blueprint for Action to prevent youth violence, as well as leading implementation efforts through the creation of a steering committee, hiring of dedicated staff and creation of programs including the Inspiring Youth program that supports youth identified to be at greatest risk of involvement with violence, the Next Step  hospital-based program aimed a youth who are victims of violent injuries, the work readiness Build Leaders program, three parent support and education programs and the more recent Group Violence Intervention program.

·         Facilitating better collaboration with schools, parks and the county as Chair of the Youth Coordinating Board, which supports the Minneapolis Youth Congress, created and expanded our Youth Are Here youth outreach worker program, developed the Afterschool Network (What’s Up 612) program finder for youth, and more.

       Reducing police violence by creating a mental health co-responder program that pairs police officers with mental health professionals to respond to people experiencing mental health crises, pushing for implicit bias and de-escalation training for all officers, standing up for strong civilian oversight of police, supporting a safer police Use of Force policy, and investing in body cameras for police.

       Taking livability concerns seriously by passing a strong Social Hosting ordinance, strengthening the noisy and unruly assembly ordinance, updating the City’s noise ordinance and more.

I have led on community-based economics and development by:

       Facilitating the construction of hundreds of new units of housing along transit corridors, while protecting the character of our neighborhoods.

       Creating the conditions for small businesses of all types to thrive, leading to a boom in business on our commercial corridors and nodes like Lake Street, Franklin Avenue, Stadium Village, University, Washington, and Como/15th.

       Assisting in bringing larger employers like Surly Brewery to the Ward and being personally engaged in the transit-oriented development of the Prospect North/Towerside area.

       Pushing to start and expand citywide initiatives like the Great Streets program, Business Made Simple, the new Cooperative Technical Assistance Program and more, while working to make sure our treatment of businesses is fair, equitable, open and transparent.

       Advancing community led planning and development initiatives like the Como Blueprint small area plan, several Light Rail Station Area plans, the University Avenue Innovation District, the University Area Overlay District, safe routes to school, plans for the Dinkytown Greenway, the Big Picture Project and the Seward Longfellow Greenway Area Land Use and Pre-Development Study.

Without community support, and the work of residents, advocates, staff and colleagues, as well as institutional and organizational stakeholders and partners, none of these accomplishments would have been possible. I am grateful for all the collaboration and cooperation that has made these accomplishments possible, but there is much more left to do.

We are living in challenging times and it is vitally important that we commit to continuing to make progress where we can, especially at the local level. Clearly, we have a great deal of work ahead of us. I am committed to working as hard as ever to help make this a more democratic, peaceful, just and sustainable city that works well for everyone. I’m all in and I hope that you are too. It’s up to us.


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