News from Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
March 31, 2004
In this Update:
1. TRANSIT STRIKE
2. SEARS PROJECT/MIDTOWN EXCHANGE
3. MPR APPEARANCE
1. Transit Strike
Yesterday I spoke at a rally outside of City Hall supporting an end to our nearly month long bus strike. I stand behind those with the fewest advocates, our residents who are deeply dependent on transit. The situation for many is getting increasingly serious as prescriptions go unfilled and refrigerators go empty because they can't get to the pharmacy or grocery store without the bus. I also want to recognize the transit riders who are able to drive their own cars during the strike but would choose to ride the bus if it was running. This group of citizens quietly goes to the bus stop each morning and chooses to ride the bus and does us all a public service by taking their cars off the street and Governor Pawlenty and Met Council Chair Peter Bell need to start hearing from this quiet demographic. In fact the public in general needs to turn up the heat and make a bigger outcry over the strike. The message is not getting through to the Governor despite my repeated attempts to offer up ideas to him, including bringing in a fresh outside perspective to the bargaining table by assembling a group of senior business and labor leaders to help jumpstart the negotiations again, and designating a separate group of experts to tackle the health care negotiations, even utilizing advice from the City of Minneapolis contract negotiator who crafted our own highly lauded solution to rising health care costs last year.
2. Sears Project/Midtown Exchange
The Midtown Exchange Project is moving forward. Ryan Companies Development is working toward a mixed-use commercial and residential project this is designed to make the former Sears store site on Lake Street an economic and cultural hub in South Minneapolis. When complete it will anchor an area of Midtown that is ripe for redevelopment and reinvestment. I'll insist we keep listening to the community and neighborhood leaders in the surrounding area about what they want to see brought in or improved upon to continue the stabilization of this area. In addition, I'm working for strong community input in the employment and sub-contracting goals through two advisory committees to the current negotiations - a community-wide task force and an internal task force - with the clear goal of making sure the immediate community has buy-in for the employment and sub-contracting goals that Ryan will have to meet in regards to neighborhood workforce and minority owned and under-utilized businesses.
3. MPR Appearance
Tomorrow, Thursday April 1st, I will be the guest on Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning show from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. The hour will be be hosted by guest host Ember Reichgott Junge and can be heard at 91.1 FM. I will be discussing current Minneapolis issues and the program does take callers from the listening public. Hope you can tune in!
Published Mar. 31, 2004