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:

Friday, October 02, 2020

Minneapolis City Charter Questions on the 2020 Ballot

There are two amendments to the Minneapolis Charter on the ballot in this election.

Question #1 is the best option we could find of several bad options to respond to a state law that requires Minneapolis (and Minneapolis alone) to hold a Council election in years that end in a "3," after each census. It will set up the following election schedule in Minneapolis. There will be an election for the Mayor, Council, Park Board, and Board of Estimate and Taxation (BOE) in 2021. Then there will be an election two years later, in 2023, just for Council. Then there will be another election in 2025 for Mayor, Council, Park Board, and BOE. I do not believe that this is a good outcome, as it puts the people of Minneapolis through three local elections in four years. If the charter amendment #1 is approved it will align our local election cycle back to its current pattern as soon as possible but having the Council Members serve an additional 2-year term. This will mean that we will have 2 2-year terms for Council Members which is not what the City is used to, but the alternative is probably worse. If this Charter amendment does not pass, we will face an election every two years, going back and forth between elections just for the Council, and elections for the Mayor, Park Board, and BOE. I think that would be bad for turnout in all local elections and set up some strange and unhelpful dynamics. Question #2 is a technical fix to bring the Charter into alignment with state law, regarding the timing of special elections to fill a vacancy. I plan to vote "yes" on both of them. If you would like to read another reflection on these questions, here is one from local writer Naomi Kritzer.