News from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
March 24, 2004
In this Update:
1. POLICE INVESTIGATIONS
2. TRANSIT STRIKE
3. AIRPORT STRATEGY
1. Police Investigations
Minneapolis police officer Duy Ngo was shot by an unknown assailant over a year ago, and the case remains unsolved. When Chief McManus looked into the status of this case, he discovered troubling information that led to the criminal investigation recently completed by the Minnesota Department of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and reviewed by the office of the City Attorney in Bloomington.
While the BCA report and Bloomington review exonerated the individuals under investigation of criminal wrongdoing, it did not determine whether non-criminal violations of department policy or procedure have occurred during the investigation of the Ngo shooting, or whether changes in current policies, procedures or training are suggested by what occurred. That is why the criminal investigation will now be followed by an administrative investigation into these questions. This is a standard City procedure, and I support it.
Statements taken during the BCA investigation include unsubstantiated comments that have raised concerns within City Hall and in the wider community. Chief McManus has appropriately requested that our Human Resources department conduct an investigation into any conduct referenced in the report that may have had a negative impact on anyone's work environment.
I support the Chief's request. No one should make judgments based on one side of a story, but I am troubled by some of the comments alleged in the BCA report, and so calling for an investigation is the right thing to do. I am more troubled that others are using these comments to diminish the importance of finding out how and why the investigation of the Ngo shooting was mishandled. It's time to resolve these issues and get on with solving this case.
2. Transit Strike
As the bus strike enters its third week, I know you're frustrated, and I am too. Two points that I have been stressing:
First, I am constantly advocating for how important public transit is to Minneapolis and the region. Those of us who understand the need for mass transit need to stand up to the rhetoric from groups like the Taxpayer's League.
Here's something I wrote in the Star Tribune, which is similar to the comments I have been making as I try to tell the stories of those who are suffering:
Second, I have made myself available to work with the officials who have a role in settling this, including calling Governor Pawlenty last week. I extended an offer to the Governor to help in any way that I could. I've talked to the union reps and Met Council Chair Peter Bell and retierated what I told the Governor - how important it is to get back to the negotiating table.
I realize that in most cases it is the citizens of this City who are least able to arrange and afford other methods of transportation who are being hit the hardest by the strike, not to mention our senior citizens and disabled communities. I have been encouraging the media to cover the full true impact of the strike and to understand the personal stories of people struggling to keep jobs, doctor visits, and schooling on track with no transportation.
3. Airport Strategy
Last week I testified at the State Senate on a bill authored by Senator Jane Ranum and Representative Paul Thissen, that would direct the Minnesota Department of Transportation to develop a statewide Airport Authority Board to review and update the state aviation system plan.
The goal is this: Use the entire statewide aviation network to increase capacity (especially cargo) but lessen the flights over deeply impacted Minneapolis neighborhoods. MSP Int'l will be out of capacity in 10-20 years and that's even if we continue to truck 90% of our cargo to Chicago. An economic and environmental win for the state would be to build capacity for more cargo flights but have that cargo expansion take place at a hub in St. Cloud, Rochester, or other outstate location.
St. Cloud Mayor Ellenbecker testified with me, and together with the Mayors of Rochester, Duluth, and Mankato we've been making real progress in addressing this idea of a statewide aviation strategy. We received a friendly hearing at the Capitol and the bill moves next to the Senate Local Government Committee this week.
Published Mar. 24, 2004