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, April 03, 2019

Second Ward March 2019 E-newsletter

News from Cam Gordon
Council Member, Second Ward


New City Vision. The Council and Mayor have adopted new and powerful vision and mission statements that clearly reflect the aspirations and priorities of the current Council. The vision states that:
Minneapolis is an intentionally compassionate city where each of us can reach our full potential while caring for one another, eliminating racial disparities, improving our environment and promoting social well-being. We lead in innovative and creative ways, focused not only on our present needs, but also the success of future generations.” 
The mission statement says,
“Our City government takes strategic action to address climate change, dismantle institutional injustice and close disparities in health, housing, public safety and economic opportunities. In partnership with residents, City leaders help to ensure all communities thrive in a safe and healthy city.”

Transportation Workshops.  The City will be holding a series of community workshops throughout April to begin refining ideas and strategies that could be included in our new Transportation Plan. The open house style workshops will take place on April 9 at Richfield Lutheran Church from 4:00-6:00pm; April 11 at Longfellow Recreation Center, 3435 36th Ave S, from 5:00-7:00pm; April 22 at the Central Library from 4:00-6:00pm; April 23 at the Northeast Rec Center from  4:00-6:00pm and April 24 at Fairview Rec Center, 5:00-7:00pm. Visit http://go.minneapolismn.gov/ to learn more about the plan goals, topics and how to get involved.

Youth Master Plan Ward 2 Meeting. Please join me on April 8 from 5:30-7:30pm at Matthews Park for a youth-led meeting with the Minneapolis Youth Congress. The meeting is open to everyone and intended to help youth (aged zero to 18 but also those up to 24) share their ideas and help develop a set of recommendations that will go in a Youth Master Plan that will be considered by the Youth Coordinating Board in August. The Youth Master Plan seeks to make Minneapolis the best city for youth and children, and will encourage collaboration across city, county, school, and parks systems in accordance with the voices of youth in our city. For more information visit www.ycb.org/wardmeetings.

Youth Violence Prevention Week. This week, March 30-April 6, the City is participating in national Youth Violence Prevention Week. Activities and events this week call attention to the issue of youth violence, identify strategies to combat this public health epidemic and promote the positive roles young people and adults can play in making their communities and schools safer.  For more info see http://www.minneapolismn.gov/health/youth/yvp/WCMSP-216904

Mayoral State of the City Speech. Mayor Frey will be holding his 2019 State of the City Address on Thursday, April 18, starting at 10am at Bio-Techne, 614 McKinley Pl NE.

New City Values. The Council has approved the following set of values and statements to help guide what we do the way we work in City government:
Equity: City government works side-by-side with community members to engage all voices, creatively problem solve, and build trust, particularly with those who have been most impacted by inequities. This helps to ensure that opportunities are accessible to everyone. 
Safety: People have a strong sense of security and can live peacefully in safe neighborhoods, knowing that City government is accountable for responsive and proactive public safety services.
Excellence: To achieve the best outcomes and the highest quality service, we are forward-thinking and exhibit competence, professionalism, and integrity, and strive for personal growth.
Welcoming: All individuals are welcome, regardless of race, ethnicity or place of origin, gender identity or religious affiliation. This enhances Minneapolis’ cultural fabric, economic growth, global competitiveness and overall prosperity for current and future generations.
Stewardship: We serve as trusted stewards of financial, environmental, social, and physical resources, recognizing that resources are for the common good today and tomorrow. We seek solutions that reflect our long-term commitment to end suffering in our city.
Transparency: People can trust City government and hold them accountable for making and communicating decisions grounded in accurate information and integrity. We build credibility by accepting feedback, owning our actions, and providing reliable follow-through.
Health: To achieve physical, emotional and mental health, we all work to ensure equitable access to healthy food, recreational opportunities, natural amenities, positive   

Street Sweeping. Our annual spring street and alley sweeping will start on Tuesday, April 16th.
Street sweeping usually takes about four weeks to complete and you can watch for signs and the interactive Street Sweeping Schedule Lookup map to see when your area is scheduled for street sweeping.  The schedule will be updated by the Friday of the week prior to the start of the sweep. For more information and to find the lookup map visit:  http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/publicworks/streetsweeping/index.htm

Public Housing MOU. In April the Council will considering entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to clarify provisions for public ownership and control, post-development safeguards, and resident consultation and protections required before any city financial support will go to any Public Housing Authority renovation or development project. In order to better understand public and resident concerns about this I will be convening a listening session in mid-April at the Cedars, after this MOU is presented to the Housing and Policy Development Committee on April 10 and before it is considered by the Council on April 19.

Renters First Housing Policy. In March, the Council approved a Renters First Housing Policy to guide City procedures, services, and programming related to housing inspections and code enforcement, including renter engagement and legal actions. Among other things, the policy sets a vision of a city where all residents who rent their homes will live in safe, dignified, stable, and healthy housing and calls on staff to strive to minimize harm to renters resulting from the City’s efforts to hold property owners accountable, which has been a problem in recent years. You can find the full policy at https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2019-00282

Housing Committee Workplan.  The Housing Policy and Development Committee Work Plan has been approved. Highlights include developing policies and programs on anti-displacement, long term affordable homeownership, and development of “missing middle,” 5-10 unit buildings on city-owned land. We will also be considering adding or amending ordinances on tenant protections, occupancy, the Public Housing Authority and right of first refusal/option to purchase. You can find the full workplan, which can be amended as needed throughout the year, at https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2019-00283.
  
Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. In March the Council received a report of the activities of our new Minneapolis Office on Immigrant and Refugee affairs that opened last July.  I am excited to see how the small division (of one staff person) is helping connect city departments and staff with federal, local government, community members and organizations with legal services and other organizations serving immigrants and refugees. 

Bring Your Own Bag Revisited. This spring I am renewing my efforts to amend the City's Bring Your Own Bag ordinance. As you may recall, the first Bring Your Own Bag ordinance was adopted by the City Council in 2016 that included a single-use plastic bags and a $.05 fee on paper bags. A day before it was to take effect, however, the state legislature and governor passed a law prohibiting any Minnesota city from banning plastic bags. In 2017 I drafted an amendment to the passed ordinance to make it consistent with state law, by replacing the ban with a fee on plastic bags as well as paper.  To gather information about this the City is doing an online survey you can fill out at  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeCtNAimY3h-_L9IlcZP04KFNr360Z22L6mPxAEQPEgqR5Ngw/viewform.   You can also learn more about the ordinance at http://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2017-00817.

Green to Go. After April 22, Polyethylene (PE) lined paper hot and cold cups and containers for liquids (soup, etc.), and Rigid polystyrene lids marked with a #6 will no longer be allowed to be distributed in Minneapolis as part of our Green to Go ordinance. If you have Green to Go questions, contact the Health Department by calling 311 (612-673-3000) or emailing health@minneapolismn.gov. www.minneapolismn.gov/GreenToGo

Lights Out Campaign. The Council has voted to support the Audubon’s Lights Out campaign that encourages building owners to turn off their lights during spring and winter bird migration. This is especially important because Minneapolis is part of the Mississippi Flyway, the primary navigation corridor for an estimated 60 percent of North American migrating bird species. We were also recently ranked one of the worst areas for migratory birds. To learn more, see https://www.audubon.org/conservation/project/lights-out.

Property Value Notices. Homeowners should have received their property value notices in the mail in March. The estimated market values of homes in these notices are used to calculate 2020 property taxes. You can review the values of their homes with an appraiser, ask questions and, if so desired, appeal your value at the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization. Each notice includes the name and phone number of the appraiser assigned to the property. Contacting the appraiser is the most efficient way for homeowners to get answers to questions or to start the appeals process. The local board convenes April 23 and begins hearing cases May 7. More information about the appeals process is available at minneapolismn.gov/assessor/marketvalues/LBAE. For more information, visit minneapolismn.gov/assessor.

Sexual Assault.  April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I was glad to see that the Police Department has unveiled some new policies and procedures about how they will do a better job of investigating sexual assault cases. The new policy prioritizes the safety, privacy and well-being of the victim and aims to create a supportive environment in which victims’ rights are respected. It protects individuals reporting sexual assault from facing other charges like underage drinking and prostitution and emphasizes the importance of investigators maintaining contact with the victims regarding the investigations. While I would have appreciated seeing the Council included in the development and approval of this policy, I commend the Mayor and Chief for changing the sexual assault policy based on the recommendations from the task force convened by the Attorney General’s Office last year.  The police also hired a full-time sexual assault survivor advocate last year to assist survivors through investigation and legal processes, added a prosecutor from Hennepin County to assist with investigations and provided special training to all officers.   I will also be exploring the possibility of the City of Minneapolis making some kind of gift the Memorial to Survivors of Sexual Violence (https://www.survivorsmemorial.org/) the Park Board Commissioners have approved to be built in Boom Island Park.

2018 Election Report. This month, the City Clerk presented a complete report on the 2018 election. The numbers of people voting early by mail, using the early vote centers and registering to vote at the polls continue to increase. Compared to the state and country, voter turnout is high overall in Minneapolis where 67.7 percent of the City’s estimated voting-eligible population, or 207,114 people, voted in the general election. The turnout of registered voters was 76% city-wide. A challenge for the future will be to find ways to close the persistent disparities in turnout that still exist between neighborhoods and wards in our city. The highest turnout, for example was in Bryn Mawr with 89.4% of registered voters compared to the lowest of 49.6% in Hawthorne.  You can find the full report here https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2019-00410.

Student Election Judges. Congratulations to Election staff, and Second Ward resident Caryn Scheel for her leadership of the nationally recognized Student Election Judge Program. It recruited 400 students from 38 schools to work in 131 of the 132 polling places across the city. Student judges are integrated alongside adult judges, attend the same training and perform all the same duties, except those requiring party balance. Many students provided translation assistance for voters on Election Day as well.

Neighborhoods 2020. The public comment period for the draft recommendations on the Neighborhoods 2020 work ended on March 31. I thank everyone who took time to comment and those who hosted community meetings and met with me individually about the draft.  While the formal comment period to inform the next staff recommended revised has ended, I am still open to meet and hear from people while I prepare my potential amendments. I will be working closely with community members and my colleagues to prepare for the final policy recommendations. There will be a public hearing held and the revised Framework draft is expected to be discussed at the City Council’s Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights and Engagement (PECE) Committee on Monday, May 6 at 1:30pm. For more details visit http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/ncr/2020.

Food Action Plan Gathering. You are invited to join Homegrown Minneapolis, and its food council for a community gathering and facilitated discussion about the food systems in Minneapolis and the launch of their new Minneapolis Food Action Plan. The event will be held on Wednesday, April 17 from 5-7:30pm at the Minneapolis Schools Davis Centerm 1250 West Broadway Ave. See http://www.minneapolismn.gov/sustainability/homegrown/WCMSP-217472 for more information.

Scooter Sharing.  Last month, the Council received a report on the 2018 Shared Scooter Pilot program and authorized proceeding with license agreements for an extended program that would go through March 31, 2020. Last year there were a total of 243,587 rides by over 74,000 different users. There were fewer than 100 formal complaints registered through 311 or Council Offices and most of the had to do with parking of the scooters (47) or riding (34). There were 4 reported crashes but no severe injuries. You can find the full report and recommendations here https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/RCA/3920.

Bike Sharing. In March the Council received a report from Nice Ride on the bike sharing system they are operating in Minneapolis. It includes information about expanded dockless bike share model and electric assist bikes that will be available this summer at some docking stations that will also be charging stations. They will electrify its dock-based bike fleet over the course of 2019, introducing 1800 Class 1 pedal-assist electric bikes. For more information visit https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2019-00355.

2020 Census Kickoff.  The Minneapolis Complete Count Committee officially kicked off the year-long 2020 Census complete count campaign: We Count Minneapolis on April 1. We Count Minneapolis will promote awareness and participation in the 2020 Census to better ensure everyone is counted and fairly represented, regardless of immigration status, age or income level on Census Day, one year from now on April 1, 2020. For more information see minneapolismn.gov/census.

Navigation Center Update.  On April 12 the Council will have a study session on homelessness and, as part of that, get an update about the status of the Navigation Center.  The Center is set to close in May and we are anxious to see how we can help to ensure that all the residents at the Center find more stable housing before then.

James Clark Lawsuit. On Friday, March 29, the City Council and Mayor met in a closed session to get a report on the litigation matter of James Clark, as trustee for the family of Jamar Clark, referred to as “decedent v. Officer Dustin Schwarze, in his Official Capacity as a Minneapolis Police Officer, and Officer Mark Ringgenberg, in his Official Capacity as a Minneapolis Police Officer.” For more information see https://lims.minneapolismn.gov/File/2019-00436 

New Met Council Appointee. he Governor has appointed Abdi Muse to ne the new Metropolitan Council Member to represent District 8 on the Metropolitan Council. District 8 includes Ward 2 and of parts of south eastern Minneapolis.  I congratulate Abdi, who I know from his time working for Mayor Hodges, and I thank Cara Latofsky for her service on Council these past years.  The Met Council is the regional policy-making body, planning agency, key partner with the City government and provider of transportation, park, waste water treatment, planning and other services. I encourage people to reach out to Abdi include him in communications and invite him to get to know you and your organization, abdirahman.muse@metc.state.mn.us.

Capital Long-Range Improvement Committee (CLIC) Appointments. At my recommendation, the Council has approved the appointment of Claire Haskell, from Prospect Park, for a 2-year term to be one of the two Ward 2 representatives on the CLIC.  She will be joining Martha Rogers, from Seward, to serve as the Second Ward representatives on this important panel that reviews and recommends public infrastructure and building improvement projects to be funded.

Tierra Encantada Child Care Center Parking Variance. Residents have appealed the decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment to grant a variance to Tierra Encantada to reduce the minimum off-street parking requirement from twelve parking spaces and two drop-off spaces to eight parking spaces and two drop-off spaces for their planned day care at  2504 35th Ave S. I expect that this appeal will likely be heard at the Zoning and Planning committee on Thursday, April 11th. I suspect that this appeal reveals a desire from area residents to have a fuller conversation about traffic and parking issues on 25th St E, near 36th Ave to 33rd Ave.

Truck Parking in South Seward. My understanding is that both the Community Development Committee and the Seward Civic and Commerce Association have taken actions calling on the City to apply the proposed no truck parking signage pilot to the entire south Seward industrial area. I agree with that position and will work to get it implemented that way later this year, but additional funds to cover the costs involved may be needed.

Seward Commons Phase III. In March the Council approved accepting $302,800 from the Met Council to support this project and then voted to postpone a decision to give preliminary approval of the proposed Tax Increment Financing for the third phase of the Seward Commons. Phase III of the Seward Commons project consists of 160 units in two five-story buildings that will be completed in two sub-phases. The first, the Bessemer at Seward (2200-2218 Snelling Avenue South) includes 128 market rate units and is expected to break ground in Fall 2019. Wadaag Commons (2115 Snelling Avenue South and 1912 East 22nd Street) includes 32 units targeted to families with income limits at 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or below and will likely break ground 2020-2021. Seward Redesign and its development partners, Schafer Richardson and Noor Companies, are requesting approximately $4,311,000 of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to support Phase III of the redevelopment project, with $3,707,400 requested for Bessemer at Seward and $603,600 requested for Wadaag Commons. Before it returns to the Council for reconsideration on April 19 I will keep working with staff and Council Members to answer questions and address concerns in hopes of getting a majority of the Council to support for this important project for Seward.

Memory Lanes Block Party. Memory Lanes has applied for and is scheduling their annual block party to be held in their parking lot from 3-10pm Saturday and Sunday on May 25 and 26. The event, as usual, will include live music with amplified sound. Any complaints or concerns about it can go to 311, or people can call the event coordinator, Rachel Bell, directly at 612 721-6211. As always, people are also welcome to me as well.  

Glendale Historic Nomination. The Glendale Townhomes Historic Designation nomination will be before the Heritage Preservation Commission on Tuesday, April 9 at 4:30pm in Room 317 of Minneapolis City Hall. You can find the completed nomination application at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@council/documents/report/wcmsp-216312.pdf. Built in 1952, the townhomes are the oldest property the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) owns. I am convinced that the district is worthy of a nomination study because it potentially meets criteria 1, 3 and 5 for local designation as outlined in our Historic Preservation Regulations:  1) The property is associated with significant events or with periods that exemplify broad patterns of cultural, political, economic or social history; 3) the property contains or is associated with distinctive elements of city or neighborhood identity; and 5) The property exemplifies a landscape design or development pattern distinguished by innovation, rarity, uniqueness or quality of design or detail. Glendale is significant not only because it was the first public housing project undertaken by the Minneapolis Housing Redevelopment Authority (now the MPHA), but also because it provided a blueprint for family-oriented living that the authority replicated. The design of Glendale—its green spaces, the orientation and style of the structures, and its relationship to the surrounding community—fostered a sense of community and helped catalyze the various programs that emerged out of Glendale over the decades. Glendale retains the integrity of this design and continues to communicate the pioneering and family- and community-focused vision for public housing. Planning staff have determined that they will not be making any recommendation, either for approval or for denial. The nomination and study are being opposed by MPHA. Given the strong potential that this area qualifies to become designated an historic district, it seems wise and responsible to allow the nomination and study to go forward. If the nomination is approved, a study will be completed within 18 months, and the matter would return to the commission for final consideration as a locally designated historic district. Any HPC action could be appealed to the City Council. The meeting agenda and staff report is available at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/meetings/hpc/WCMSP-217994.  

Roti Mediterranean Restaurant. Roti Modern Mediterranean has applied for licenses to serve beer and wine and operate a sidewalk café at the property they are leasing at 614 Washington Ave SE where they plan to open full service new restaurant with outdoor seating.  The license will be considered by the Council and a public hearing on the matter will be held on Tuesday, April 23, at 1:30pm in City Hall, Room 317.

Wall’s Prospect North Food Court Project. The Council has approved the site plan and rezoning for the properties located at 445 Malcolm, 419-504 29th Ave SE and 501 30th Ave SE. The property will be rezoned from Industrial to Community Activity Center (C3A). This will allow the planned unit development of a renovated historic structure into a food court and construction of a 7-story mixed use building and a 6-story apartment building to go forward.

Street Resurfacing in Longfellow and Seward Area. The Council has approved work to go ahead and properties to be assessed for what we are calling the “Sanford Area Residential Street Resurfacing” project. Sanford is in the 2019 Street Resurfacing Program was included in this designation. The Sanford  area is bounded by 34th St E on the north, 42nd Ave S on the east, 38th St E on the south and Minnehaha Ave on the west as well as 36th Ave S from 34th St to 38th St S, 31st Ave S from Minnehaha to 35th St E, 31st Ave S from 35th St to 34th St E, 31 Ave S from 34th Street to Lake Street E, and 36th Ave S from 34th St to 25th Street E. The resurfacing program cost estimate total is $7,431,263. This project has $1,836,806.73 in proposed special assessments.

Alley Resurfacing in Ward 2.  Three blocks will get their alleys resurfaced in Ward 2 this summer: the block surrounded by 36th and 37th Aves and 33rd and 32nd Streets; the block bordered by 37th and 38th Aves and 34th and 33th Streets; and the block surrounded by 38th and 39th Aves and 33rd and 32nd Streets. All residences of the blocks will be mailed more details about the project which should be completed within one to four days this summer. You can find more information at http://www.minneapolismn.gov/cip/currentprojects/alley-renovation.

City Update Sign-Up. You can subscribe to get City updates on a variety of topics by email or text  at https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/MPLS/subscriber/new

Jobs with the City. The City has several job openings among more than 900 different job types. To learn more and view current openings see http://www.minneapolismn.gov/jobs

Openings on Boards and Commissions. Several board and commission positions are open for City Council and mayor appointments this spring. The City seeks applicants with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to strengthen the work of the City. Translation and interpreting services are available on request so all residents can participate. People can apply through the open position pages linked below and stay up to date on vacancies, position descriptions and timelines by visiting minneapolismn.gov/boards/openings. Potential applicants can find more information at 612-673-2216 or OpenAppointments@minneapolismn.gov.
There are 77 open positions on the following 10 City boards and commissions:
Census Complete Count Committee. Open until filled.
Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Apply by April 19.
Workplace Advisory Committee. Apply by April 12.

Open Office Hours in the Ward. My Community “Office Hours” in the ward occur on 4 Monday mornings month from 10:00 to 11:30am.  Please feel free to call the office to reserve some time when I will be there or just stop by.
First Mondays at the Birchwood Café, 3311 E 25th St;
Second Mondays at Black: Coffee and Waffles, 1500 Como Ave SE;










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