Ward 9 Issues
Look here for the latest issues in Ward 9.
May 3, 2016 Update on the Sandpiper and Line 3 replacement pipelines.
Check out the letter that City Council colleagues Cam Gordon, Andrew Johnson, Lisa Bender, Jacob Frey and I sent to the Environmental Quality Board adding our voices to those of the many Tribal Nations and environmental groups, including MN 350 and Honor the Earth, who have asked that the Environmental review for the Sandpiper and Line 3 Pipelines be transferred from the Department of Commerce to the Pollution Control Agency and the MN Department of Natural Resources. Click here to view
Update regarding Parks Funding
Like many of you, my kids and I have played at Cedar Field Park next to Little Earth and Powderhorn Park. Although these parks serve the most diverse and low-income parts of our city, these parks have seen little improvement over the years. Slides have bullet holes, outdoor drinking fountains stay clogged all summer, sidewalks seem like they've survived an earthquake, chipping paint instead of bright colors is the norm, and outdated equipment goes months in a broken state as children incorporate the malfunction into their play.
So when the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board approached the City of Minneapolis to request a $15 million investment per year for the next 20 years, I've been standing up with our Ninth Ward residents to say - how will this funding improve #RacialEquity in our parks?
Today at 10:00 a.m. the City Council's Committee of the Whole will host a public hearing to hear from residents about the Park's funding request. I hope to see many of you here in the Council Chambers so we can hear your views about this matter.
Mayor Hodges has released a statement about her funding proposal as issues of "where will this money come from" and "what will it fund" become points of debate. Please read our Mayor's position in the link below to learn more.
I am still very concerned that there has been little or no attention to how we must incorporate a racial equity funding mechanism into any future investments we make into our parks and street improvement funding plan.
In today's Committee of the Whole meeting I plan to elaborate on this #RacialEquity need and one I have consistently raised with our Mayor. It is not enough to hope that these future dollars will be spent in an intentional way to prioritize our most diverse and low-income areas. Addressing the parks that have been neglected and under-invested in over decades takes intentional and public commitment. It is extremely important that we as a City Council promote and advance a racial equity funding formula in any moneys we allocated towards improving our parks and streets. I've already written to the Park Superintendent Jayne Miller asking for a list of the neighborhood parks located within the city's Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty, which is a designation by the MetCouncil, so we can begin to think about zeroing in on some priority parks.
Any process to fund the future of our parks and streets must fully engage and be guided by the community. Rushing into any plans to quickly inject moneys into our parks will only leave the people who have always been left out behind yet again.
A completely public, intentional and officially documented process to fund the future of our parks and streets through a racial equity lens is a key element to building a #OneMinneapolis - the city so many of us in elected office have promised we would build with and for you.
In other words, a racial equity funding formula must be "baked into the bones" of any funding mechanism the City of Minneapolis puts together for the future of parks and street improvements. Racial equity is no longer a question of "should we do it?" - it is a moral responsibility that demands we simply figure out how to do it.
Although this process might take a little longer time to craft a city ordinance funding the parks and our streets, it is necessary and our community should not accept any excuses for a delay or lack of racial equity language in any Council action we take on this issue.
Please check out our official Ninth Ward City of Minneapolis page to view a map of the city's Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty and a copy of my statement on this issue: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/ward9
I look forward to hearing from you on how we can help craft a funding package that will prioritize and uplift our city's parks and street improvement projects who have beared the brunt of multiple social vulnerabilities and historic dis-investment. The time to deliver for #RacialEquity is now.
If you aren't able to come to the hearing but want to stay informed. You can also watch it livestream here: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/tv/79
2014 showed us that the future of Minneapolis is about justice.
During our first year serving the people of the Ninth Ward, our city has committed to bold action to address the racial inequities that plague us. As families, students, and community residents you have organized tirelessly to tackle these disparities head-on. Your actions have ensured that decision-makers stay on course to help transform Minneapolis into the equitable community we all deserve to live in.
I want to you for your engagement with the work of the city this year. I am proud to have fought with you every step of the way. From making a motion to hear your voices at our very first City Council meeting to standing up against the #LatteLevy, which aimed to take budget resources away from investment in fighting climate change and investing in the communities in our city that need it the most in exchange for a tax break for the wealthy, my goal has been to involve you in the decisions that impact you and to engage our communities to help us solve the disparities that are holding us back.
This philosophy has guided my work on the Council and has allowed us to shape and influence a wide range of policy initiatives, programs and community-based efforts. Below I highlight a few key efforts we strategically took on to ensure we are planting the seeds of racial justice and equity:
Indigenous Peoples Day
From Time magazine to Aljazeera, this powerful resolution to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day received national attention. Even Seattle was jealous. Strengthening our democracy entails changing the narrative of race in our country and we lead this charge at the city policy level. It was an honor to work closely with the to build on the decades of organizing work in the Native community and create this change. The first Indigenous Peoples Day celebration took place in October at the American Indian Center with thousands of people, community performances and speakers, and a spread of pre-colonial food prepared by Indigenous chefs. Many of you were able to weigh in and share your ideas about how to continue to use this day to push for changes that improve the lives of American Indian families and children. Some may see this as a symbolic gesture but symbols move nations; I am humbled to be a part of the community movement to reclaim our history through this act of decolonization. This effort has opened up more opportunities to empower and elevate the voices of American Indian communities and I look forward to continued work with the Indigenous communities of the Ninth Ward and Minneapolis.
I was listening to your discussions on Ferguson and paying attention to the concerns you shared over the senseless deaths of African American fathers, sons, and brothers. Responding to both the history of Minneapolis policing issues and a burgeoning national movement for improved relations between the community and police we pushed for dialogue and engagement on this topic. Our office sponsored a public session on police-community relations with esteemed leaders Dr. Rose Brewer, Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds, author Jason Sole, Titilayo Bediako, Youth, and Council colleagues Cam Gordon and Elizabeth Glidden. We were joined by hundreds of community members committed to the work of unearthing and uprooting the inequities in our policing system. This action set off additional community forums led by our Mayor and the Chief of Police, marking an unprecedented level of attention and discussion of these challenges from both local government and concerned community members. I welcome all of the work on this issue was pleased to vote for a budget that invests $1 Million in police body cameras but this is only part of the solution. I remain committed to finding long term community-driven solutions that address the challenging relationship between the police and communities of color as well as the deep in our city.
Midtown Farmers Market
Located next to the third-busiest transit intersection in the state and noted as one of the top ten re-development projects of our city, the creation of a permanent home for the Midtown Farmers Market has drummed steadily along with our office’s support and prioritization. We’ve had a strong partnership with the who is leading the community vision of this new development and we are excited to be working hand-in-hand with our Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin on balancing the needs of the County, the neighborhood, and public transportation. With a 6.5 acre dream of transit-oriented-development our office has been busy advancing this project and grounding it in the community needs of accessibility, business development, racial equity, and sustainability.
15 years ago, Minneapolis’ first Latino public market and urban cooperative was established, igniting community revitalization efforts up and down East Lake Street. Today, with our office’s dedicated attention and full support, the Cooperativa Mercado Central has reached a huge milestone – after nearly closing its doors at the beginning of 2014, today it has democratically elected new Board Members, dusted off its management structure, and they have rolled up their sleeves to deepen and improve their membership structure. We’ve invested a lot of time to ensure the continued stability of Mercado Central and we will continue to work with them to ensure that Mercado Central remains a successful immigrant business incubator that anchors the Latino community on East Lake Street.
I want to express my gratitude for the honor of doing this work for you and alongside you. My staff and I are excited for a busy year continuing to move policy and projects forward around supporting small businesses, environmental sustainability and energy justice, supporting immigrant communities, economic justice, workers and renters rights, community art projects, and urban agriculture. As always, we are here to help in any way that we can. Please contact us if we can be of assistance or if you have any feedback about our work.
Last updated May 4, 2016