Fourth Ward Report: March 2016

4th Ward Report from Council President Barbara Johnson

March, 2016

Contact Information

Council President Barbara Johnson
350 S. 5th St.
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
612.673.2204
barbara.johnson@minneapolismn.gov

Jennifer White, Senior Policy Aide
jennifer.white@minneapolismn.gov

Dawn Snow, Associate
dawn.snow@minneapolismn.gov

Neighborhoods

Cleveland
Folwell
Jordan
Lind-Bohanon
McKinley
Shingle Creek
Victory
Webber-Camden
Willard Hay

Community Public Safety Forum

City Council Member Blong Yang will facilitate a community conversation around public safety and community and police relations. 4th Precinct Inspector Mike Friestleben and his officers have been invited to share their experience working on the Northside. Community members are invited to come and participate in an open dialogue with MPD officers. This event is free and open to the public. Food will be provided. 

WHAT: A Public Safety Forum hosted by Councilman Yang

WHERE: North Commons, Gymnasium, 1801 James Avenue N, Minneapolis, MN

WHEN: Tuesday, March 8th (Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Program starts at 6 p.m.)

Please RSVP to Yer Yang at 612-673-2205 or yer.yang@minneapolismn.gov.  

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Northside Housing Fair Sat. March 12

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The Northside Housing Fair will be your one-stop shop for all things housing related, whether you’re a renter, a homeowner, or anything in between. They’ll have housing resources from contractors to financing opportunities, housing organizations to renter resources, neighborhood organizations, community groups and everything in between. Visit tons of vendors, participate in mini-workshops, and find answers to your housing related questions all in one place. The Northside Housing Fair will be held Saturday, March 12 from 10am – 3pm at Lucy Craft Laney School (3333 Penn Ave N). You can even enter to win a $25 gift card to a local restaurant (registration closes for gift card raffle on Thurs. 3/10). Volunteers are also needed for two-hour shifts. All volunteers will receive a free t-shirt for helping out!  Sign up to volunteer here 

For more information, visit the Northside Housing Fair website at http://northsidehousingfair.com/ or Facebook page


Seasonal Employment with Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Division

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The City of Minneapolis is looking for election judges to work the polls for the primary in August and on Election Day in November. In addition, there are a number of long-term seasonal (temporary) positions that help with the planning, organization, and coordination required to carry off a successful election event. These positions work primarily in the Elections headquarters here at City Hall or at the Elections Warehouse in northeast Minneapolis, sometimes moving between both locations.

Here’s a brief summary of the seasonal positions we hope to recruit for April 1st:

1 Assistant Election Judge Trainer – this person will train/teach/give instruction on election laws, procedures, polling place operations, etc., under the supervision of our full-time administrator. Those with teaching/training backgrounds are preferred for this specialized position.

1 Recruitment Assistant – this person will assist in all recruitment and hiring processes, including identifying and developing potential community partnerships that help increase/expand the pool of eligible election judges and then work to assign training schedules and deployment for Election Day work. This is a very detail-oriented position that demands someone who really enjoys tracking and completing multiple steps, but also someone with good interpersonal skills and works well with people.

3 Office Assistants – these positions will be housed in the EVS headquarters at City Hall (Room 201) and will staff the front desk, triage calls and requests, support coordinated efforts between EVS and our partners at the County and State levels. They will perform a near-endless variety of administrative tasks to keep the day-to-day plans moving along. Individuals capable of effectively juggling multiple tasks/projects, people who thrive on variety, who enjoy detail-oriented work and who especially work well with people in a team environment are highly desired.

1 Warehouse Technician – this position will primarily be housed at the Elections Warehouse, working as part of a specialized team responsible for the logistics of the election: precincts/polling places; purchasing, organizing, and packing supplies for the 125+ precincts; programming and testing election equipment; handling physical set-up needs at the warehouse; and coordinating the deployment of all supplies, equipment, and materials to the precincts/polling places for the primary and general election. This is a very physical job.

Keep in mind: ALL of these workers must be trained as election judges and must meet the state-prescribed qualifications to serve as an election judge; those criteria are:

Must be a U.S. citizen who is eligible to vote in Minnesota;

Must be able to read, write, and speak English; and

Must complete the mandated election judge training course (minimum of two hours).

For more information and to apply, visit the City’s website

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/jobs/opp/WCMS1Q-074686


Low Level Offense Policy Considerations in City Attorney's Office

There has been some misunderstanding about some of the changes the City Attorney is looking at with regards to low level offenses. I wanted to provide more information and clarification. 

The obstruction of justice diversion program has a limited scope. It is only for first time offenders and then only when that person did not threaten any officer or individual and was not the reason for the call. This is not an invitation to do whatever you want; it is not the City going soft on crime. The purpose behind this program is to give individuals who may be in the middle of an intense situation with the Minneapolis Police Department an opportunity to communicate with the police, to understand why the police operated the way they did and to develop a better relationship between the community and the police. We will be carefully screening these cases.  

The driver program is a state program and it is only for unpaid traffic tickets that have resulted in loss of a driver license for failure to pay fines. The participant still has to pay all fines, but they are allowed to get a conditional driver’s license while they are on a payment plan. If they fail to stick with the payment plan, their conditional license is revoked. This policy does not apply to anyone who has caused an accident or injury.

Minneapolis Police continue to enforce driving offenses such as driving without insurance, driving after suspension, etc. but are unable to tow the offender’s car due to court rulings. 

With regard to carrying without a permit cases, the City Attorney's Office is only in the process of exploring more effective post-conviction sanctions. This would NOT be a diversion program. It is an effort to find a more effective consequence than 90 days in the workhouse. It will be a post-conviction sentence. Right now we have a 70% recidivism rate for these offenders and all too often the subsequent offenses are violent felonies. If we can devise something that might alter this trajectory and prevent future felonies -- that would be the goal. We take all gun-related crimes very seriously and prosecute these offenses vigorously.  


Help Shape Our City - Apply for Openings on Minneapolis Boards and Commissions

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Applications are now being accepted for a number of open boards and commissions positions that the City Council and mayor will appoint this fall. Board and commission members in the City of Minneapolis provide valuable insights, help shape key policy decisions and provide community-based input into administration of services. The City is seeking applicants with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences to strengthen the work of the City.

Applications will be reviewed beginning April 29. The positions will stay open until filled. There are 55 open positions on the following nine City boards and commissions:

    Capital Long-Range Improvements Committee

      Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Aging

        Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People With Disabilities

          Minneapolis Public Housing Authority

            Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN)

              Minneapolis Workforce Council

                Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission

                  Pedestrian Advisory Committee

                    Skyway Advisory Committee

                      Visit the City’s website for a list of appointment opportunities, position descriptions and the applications.

                      The City of Minneapolis has more than 50 volunteer-based boards, commissions and advisory committees that advise the City on issues and help with policy development and administration of services. Boards and commissions fall into a handful of categories: appeal boards, development boards, general advisory boards, and special service districts, which are defined areas within the city where special services are rendered. Appointments to board and commissions are made twice a year — in the spring and fall.

                      This streamlined appointment process makes it easier for folks to learn about volunteer opportunities, ensures a more open and understandable process for residents and staff, and increases the diversity of the applicant pool.


                      Community Residents and Business Leaders Needed for Green Zones Workgroup

                      The City of Minneapolis is looking for interested stakeholders to be a part of the City of Minneapolis Green Zones Workgroup. Green Zones are a placed-based strategy that is grounded in community planning processes and community led solutions to transform neighborhoods overburdened by pollution and other social and economic stressors into healthy thriving neighborhoods. The goal of Green Zones is to prioritize these neighborhoods to reduce pollution and to develop new planning strategies that are both equitable and sustainable. The Workgroup has been tasked with analyzing data, developing Green Zones selection criteria, and developing community-based solutions aimed at improving health and supporting economic development using environmentally conscious efforts.

                      The Workgroup will meet approximately once per month for at least two hours between March and December 2016. Workgroup members will be responsible for attending meetings, reviewing materials between meetings, and making a recommendation to City Council in 4th Quarter 2016.

                      For more information or if you are interested in participating, contact Kelly Muellman at kelly.muellman@minneapolismn.gov or 612-673-3014 by March 13, 2016. Find more information here.


                      Landlords Now Must Provide Voter Registration to New Tenants in Minneapolis

                      Know any renters moving to a new place? Owners and managers of rental properties must provide new tenants with information on how to register to vote. Even registered voters need to re-register under their new address if they move. This change in the City ordinance will help encourage residents to participate in elections.

                      Registration is among the biggest barriers in voting, and it disproportionately affects voters who are young or voting for the first time, who move frequently, have a lower income or are people of color. More than half of all Minneapolis residents rent their homes, and renters tend to move more frequently than people who own their homes.

                      When renters move in to their new homes in Minneapolis, property owners now must provide each new tenant a voter registration application and an information sheet. These documents can be either printed or given to tenants electronically. The documents can be found in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong at vote.minneapolismn.gov/resources/TNVR. Printed ones will be made available at no cost to property owners and managers.

                      More information is available at vote.minneapolismn.gov.


                      Discounted Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

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                      Xcel Energy is offering discounted energy efficient light bulbs at local retailers through April. Save up to $5 on select models of LEDs or buy CFLs for as little as $1 per bulb. LEDs and CFLs are the most energy efficient bulbs available. They use 75 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 22 years. They come in all shapes and sizes and can save you energy and money.

                      Visit xcelenergy.com/LightingDeals to find discounted bulbs at stores near you.


                      Order a Compost Bin or Rain Barrel Now, Pick it up in Spring

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                      Get a jump-start on gardening by ordering a $59 compost bin or a $74 rain barrel for your home. (These regularly cost $105 and $139).

                      By using a compost bin, you can keep more than a quarter of your household waste out of the garbage while making valuable compost for your garden. A rain barrel will help you save water and money by using rainwater rather than the faucet for your garden and trees. Rain barrels are also a way of trapping the stormwater that runs toward the storm drains – picking up pollutants along the way – and into our lakes, streams and rivers.

                      Order now and you’ll be able to pick up your compost bin or rain barrel at 3607 East 44th St. in Minneapolis Saturday, April 30. To place your order, find more information or see other dates and locations, go to www.recycleminnesota.org. 


                      Register Now for Community Connections Conference

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                      Think big about the future of Minneapolis with neighbors, community members, nonprofit organizations, business leaders, members of Minneapolis’ design community, developers and City officials. Free to all participants, registration has opened for the fourth annual Community Connections Conference.

                      Big Ideas: Your Minneapolis
                      8 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, April 2
                      Minneapolis Convention Center

                      The conference features three tracks: 

                      Your city: The Community Connections Conference will kick off Minneapolis 2040, a three-year planning process for the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Minneapolis 2040 will be the City’s 20-year vision to direct the physical development of the city into the future. Discuss the big ideas for the direction of the city on such topics as growth, equity, resiliency, economic competiveness and civic technology.

                      Your neighborhood: The current neighborhood structure of the Community Participation Program is set to end in 2020. This is an opportunity for neighborhood organization staff, board members and residents to help plan for the future of neighborhood organizations and their roles in communities beyond 2020.

                      Your voice: Community engagement plays a crucial role in shaping City policy. This track will focus on ways residents can connect with City leaders, find out how to serve on City boards and commissions, and engage Minneapolis’ diverse communities. Find out more at www.minneapolismn.gov/ncr/conf.


                      Bring Your Own Bag Ordinance Public Hearing

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                      The City of Minneapolis is considering a ban on plastic bags. The ordinance change is being sponsored by Council Member Cam Gordon and Council Member Abdi Warsame and will encourage consumers to bring their own bags when shopping. The ban will be targeted on single-use plastic bags and there will be a proposed fee of $.05 on paper bags. There are some exceptions – reusable plastic bags over 4mil in thickness, produce bags without handles, dry-cleaner, newspaper and door-hanger bags,  pet waste bags, and bags without handles used to safeguard public health and safety during transport of prepared take-out foods and prepared liquids. There is a public hearing scheduled for Monday, March 21 at 1:30pm in Room 317 of City Hall during the Health, Environment & Community Engagement Committee meeting. If you are unable to attend the public hearing, but would like to share comments, please email councilcomment@minneapolismn.gov and put “Plastic Bags” in the subject line.  


                      Police Body Cameras

                      In February the Council approved authorizing a contract with Taser International for the purchase of body worn camera equipment and for providing a video storage solution, in an amount not to exceed $4,000,000, through March 14, 2021.  A motion passed to direct the Police Department staff to return to the Public Safety Committee on March 2, to present a plan for community engagement and outreach on the proposed body-worn camera policy, and also to return to the Committee no later than April 6, 2016, to present the final proposed body-worn camera policy. The engagement plan MPD has proposed is available here. The plan is to ultimately have all patrol and SWAT officers equipped with cameras, totaling approximately 600 sworn officers.  Implementation will begin in the First Police Precinct (Downtown) with full implementation to all precincts completed by the end of October.  Two civilian staff members are being added to aid in records management for the video produced by officers wearing body cameras.  Each camera costs approximately $400, while data storage costs for each individual officer will range between $80 and $100 per month.

                      MPD Body Camera Policy. The Police Department has released a preliminary draft of its body camera policy. It will be reviewed in the weeks ahead and a final policy published in May. The MPD, reportedly, reviewed at least 18 other law enforcement agency policies and considered recommendations from the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, American Civil Liberties Union, International Association of Chiefs of Police, League of Minnesota Cities, Fraternal Order of Police, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association before writing the draft policy. To share ideas, concerns or comments about the draft policy, please attend one of the soon-to-be-announced meetings and/or send an email to police@minneapolismn.gov, with “Body Camera Policy” in the subject line. You can learn more and find a copy of the draft policy at: www.insidempd.com/bodycams.