Minneapolis Connects: elections updates and opportunities to serve on critical City boards and commissions


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Oct. 20, 2020

Apply by Nov. 1 for current and upcoming vacancies on crucial City boards and commissions

Why I Serve 2018 boards and commissions, commissioner Jerome Evans quote

Six major boards and commissions are seeking applications this month. Don't miss your chance to apply and help shape important City decisions. Most of the boards and commissions below meet between one and four times per month. Applications are due by Nov. 1. View full list of openings.

Charter Commission 

The Charter Commission oversees proposed amendments to the City Charter, the local constitution for the City of Minneapolis. Applicants must be qualified voters in the City of Minneapolis. The district court appoints commissioners through its chief judge. Download the application form and read more here.  

Two recent examples of proposals the commission has reviewed include: 

  1. A proposed charter amendment related to the creation of a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention and the elimination of the minimum funding requirement for the Police Department.
  2. A ballot question for the 2020 general election for a charter amendment related to the timing and process of redrawing City wards and park districts after each census.

Read more examples. 

Civil Rights Commission 

The Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) spreads awareness about the City's civil rights policies and occasionally serves on panels to review complaints of discrimination from Minneapolis residents. Anyone who lives in Minneapolis can apply for this commission, although one of the open seats must be filled by an attorney.  Download the application form and read more here. 

Police Conduct Oversight Commission 

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission (PCOC) is a volunteer body of Minneapolis residents from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Commissioners identify potential topics for study related to Minneapolis police policy and practice, make policy recommendations shaped by research and engage the community in discussions about police procedure. Commissioners typically commit 10 hours of their time per month. Download the application form and read the full eligibility requirements here. 

Examples of studies completed on behalf of this commission

Planning Commission 

The Planning Commission is responsible for the City’s comprehensive plan, which envisions the development and improvement of Minneapolis. As an extension of that work, the Planning Commission makes planning decisions and decisions about how properties and buildings are used, reviews proposals, interprets the City’s zoning code and weighs in on public land sales. Download the application form and read the full eligibility requirements here

Some examples of Planning Commission activities from 2019 include: 

  1. Reviewing 156 project proposals and over 500 applications related to zoning.
  2. Approving six zoning code changes, including one to allow up to three units in residential buildings in low-density areas and another to allow innovative new affordable housing options like intentional community cluster developments by nonprofit, healthcare or government agencies.

Read more examples of the Planning Commission's work in the annual reports posted here. 

Heritage Preservation Commission 

The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) preserves historically and architecturally significant buildings, districts, and sites with accommodations for modern day use. Applicants should have knowledge of historic preservation, reside in a landmark property or historic district or be a registered architect. Download the application form and read the full eligibility requirements here. 

Some examples of the Heritage Preservation Commissions work include: 

  1. Submitting letters of support to add Dayton's Department Store and Pioneer Hall to the National Register of Historic Places.
  2. Approving or rejecting proposals to make changes to buildings located within historic districts or to historic landmarks.

Read more examples of the HPC's work in the annual reports posted here. 

Zoning Board of Adjustment 

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) hears requests for exceptions to zoning rules, appeals, and requests for properties or buildings to keep their original use if the zoning code changes around them. Any Minneapolis resident can apply to join the ZBA. Download the application form here

Some examples of decisions that the board members make include requests for exceptions to the rules for setbacks, fence height, and other zoning rules as well as appeals of the zoning administrator. Read more examples of the Zoning Board of Adjustment's work in the annual reports posted here

New early vote centers and ballot drop-off locations opening before Nov. 3 election

Ballot drop-off site for 2020 general election voting

We’re just weeks away from Election Day, Nov. 3. The CDC recommends voting by mail this year, but you can also vote early in person or on Election Day. As of Oct. 19, over 100,000 early votes have been received for the 2020 election.

Because mailed-in ballots will be received through Nov. 10, election results on Election Night will be partial, unofficial results.

Ballot envelope with cloth mask 2020 election voting

Vote by mail or drop off your ballot at one of 13 drop-off locations

The City recommends applying for a mail ballot by Oct. 20. In Minneapolis, you can mail back your ballot or drop it off at one of 13 drop-off sites starting Oct. 19.

Voting by mail video guides

Voters voting early in person at an early vote center

Voting early in person

  • Starting Oct. 19, the Early Vote Center at 980 E Hennepin Ave. will have extended hours, including Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Starting Oct. 27, the City will open two additional Early Vote Centers at Longfellow Park Recreation Center and the Twin Cities Urban League.
  • View all 4 early vote centers and schedules here.
Your polling place may have changed image

Voting on Election Day, Nov. 3

To make voting safer during the pandemic, 50 polling places have changed locations. Use the online polling place finder to look up your polling place before you head out to vote.

All polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and until all voters in line have been served on Election Day. There will be COVID-19 safety protocols in place at each polling location.

Register to vote at the polls or by mail

If it’s been more than four years since you last voted, or you’ve moved or changed your name since you last registered, you’ll need to re-register. Minnesotans can check their voter registration status at mnvotes.org.

Although pre-registration closed on Oct. 13, you can still register to vote when you request your mail-in ballot, at early vote centers or at your polling place on election day. Register to vote at the polls.

Voter guide 2020 for Election Day

Informational materials

Look for your 2020 voter guide in the mail. We're sending a guide to every household to help you make your voting plan.

Questions about voting?

You can email your question to elections@minneapolismn.gov – make sure to include a good phone number to call you back at — or you can call 311.

Find more information about voting in Minneapolis at vote.minneapolismn.gov.

Neighborhoods 2020 next steps and timeline

Neighborhoods 2020 Wordmark

Now that the public comment period has closed on the Neighborhoods 2020 draft program guidelines, the Neighborhood & Community Relations Department is reviewing the 244 public comments received and creating a summary. The comments and summary will be available on the Neighborhoods 2020 webpage before the City Council takes action.

Next steps

  • Oct. 22: Public Health and Safety Committee makes notice of intent for public hearing.
  • Nov. 5: Public Health and Safety Committee public hearing and presentation.
  • Nov. 13: Full City Council vote.
  • Nov. 16: Budget Committee presentation to discuss the program allocations.

By voting on the program guidelines before the budget, the City Council can discuss the funding needed to implement the program as designed.

Read more about Neighborhoods 2020 here.

2019 Neighborhood Programs Annual Report preview image

2019 Neighborhood Programs Annual Report available now

The 2019 Neighborhood Programs Annual Report is now available. The annual report shares stories from neighborhood organizations that received Community Participation Program (CPP) funding in 2019. This year especially, we have seen the tremendous impact of community supporting community. The report looks back at the many neighborhood celebrations, programs, events and gatherings that took place in 2019, an important reminder that as a community, we are strong, and we are resilient.

Neighborhood organization job opening

Stevens Square Community Organization is hiring a part time safety coordinator.

October immigration updates

Immigration filing fee increase halted by federal injunction

A federal court injunction issued has stopped U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from increasing filing fees and eliminating most fee waivers for immigration petitions filed with the agency. The planned start date for fee changes was Oct. 2. While this injunction is not a permanent halt, it does mean that the fee changes did not begin on Oct. 2. Read more.

Citizenship Day Informational Session

Citizenship Day information session

The City of Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations Department's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and the City of Saint Paul Immigrant and Refugee Program held a Facebook Live event with The International Institute of Minnesota to celebrate Citizenship Day.

The information session discussed the benefits of becoming a US citizen, both for the individual and for the community, and addressed barriers to obtaining citizenship and how we can work together to eliminate those barriers. View the Facebook Live video here.

New research informs immigrant-inclusive COVID-19 relief measures

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter highlighted new research for Minneapolis and Saint Paul from New American Economy (NAE) as part of Citizenship Day on Sept. 17. Read more.

The 2020 census count has concluded

Thank you Minneapolis We Count Census 2020

On Oct 13, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the 2020 census. This ruling suspended a district court’s order which had allowed the 2020 census to continue through Oct. 31. Consequently, the U.S. Census Bureau issued a statement that the count would end at midnight, Oct. 15.

Despite numerous challenges in 2020, Minneapolis managed to exceed our 2010 census self-response rate, and Minnesota had the highest state self-response rate in the nation.

Our census response rate will impact our political representation, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, funds for affordable housing, emergency assistance resources, educational opportunities, Head Start, transportation, bus stops, public safety, healthcare, Medicaid, SNAP benefits, jobs, economic development, small businesses and much more.

MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative seeks to decrease violence in the city

MinneapolUS Street Outreach Team group photo

The City of Minneapolis is piloting a new initiative to decrease violence with “violence interrupters” on the streets in neighborhoods now. Outreach workers for the MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative de-escalate situations before they become violent, support behavior change for people at the highest risk for violence and help communities heal. By identifying and interrupting conflicts and working to promote community healing, the initiative is intended to break the “contagious” aspects of violence such as retaliation. Read more.

Community engagement updates and opportunities

Office of Violence Prevention presents community engagement timeline

The City Council’s has approved an outline for community engagement on how to improve our public safety system in Minneapolis. Community members will have opportunities to weigh in on policing, violence prevention, law enforcement reforms and more. Phase One (from Oct. – Dec. 2020) will include a community survey and public forums. Read more.

City Council begins review of proposed 2021 City budget

Public hearings on the proposed 2021 City budget are planned for Nov. 16, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9. Visit the City’s website to learn more about the mayor’s recommended budget, key dates in the approval process, FAQs and more. You can also watch this series of videos explaining the City’s budget process.

City seeking comments on proposed rules, FAQs on freelance worker protections ordinance

The City of Minneapolis has drafted frequently asked questions and rules documents about the City’s freelance worker protection ordinance, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2021. Public comments can be submitted online by Dec. 31. Read more.

Online community meetings for Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network

Learn more about the new Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network by attending online community meetings, or share your input and suggestions through this online survey. The network will include electric vehicle charging hubs and a new electric vehicle car sharing service. Read more at www.stpaul.gov/EV..

COVID-19 updates

House for Rent Blue Icon

State executive order suspending evictions extended until Nov. 12; rental assistance available through Hennepin County

The governor's latest extension of the peacetime emergency means that the suspension of evictions and landlord-initiated lease terminations remains in place until Nov. 12. The executive order does not relieve a tenant's obligation to pay rent.

While the eviction moratorium continues, housing providers can still evict a tenant when the tenant violates a lease by endangering the safety of others, engaging in certain illegal activities, or significantly damaging property. Evictions can also proceed if the homeowner or their family member needs to move into the premises or if a writ of recovery was issued before 5 p.m. March 24.

Emergency rental assistance

Hennepin County offers emergency rental assistance for residents with low incomes who have been financially harmed by COVID-19. Residents can learn more and apply at www.hennepin.us/rent-help.

COVID-19 Resources

Free COVID-19 tests and flu shots coming up

The City of Minneapolis is offering free COVID-19 tests and flu shots. All are welcome. You do not need insurance for the test. The flu shots are covered by insurance. If you have insurance, bring your insurance card. If you don’t have insurance, the flu shot is free. Read more.

Free meals for all families with children available at school sites

Free meal boxes are now available at 29 school sites. All families are invited to participate in this free program and do not have to have a student in Minneapolis Public Schools. Visit the Minneapolis Public Schools website for more information.

Resources for job seekers

Dislocated Worker services are designed to help workers who have been laid off. Eligible workers may receive counselor-approved training, placement services and more. Visit Minneapolis Dislocated Worker Resources for more information.

Thinking you might need training to prepare for your next job? Contact staff at a CareerForce location near you for help. Visit Minneapolis Employment and Training for locations and assistance in Minneapolis.

Grants awarded for creative community healing

Creative Response Fund grants. Image provided by Creatives After Curfew, photo credit Leslie Barlow.

The City of Minneapolis has approved 10 projects for urgently needed artist-led creative healing in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the subsequent community uprisings. Current and former Creative CityMaking artists will lead the 10 selected projects as they respond to this historic moment in Minneapolis. Read more.

Image provided by Creatives After Curfew, photo credit Leslie Barlow.

Fall street sweeping begins Oct. 20

street sweep

Crews will sweep streets across Minneapolis next month to clean the streets before winter to keep leaves and debris out of the storm drains and ending up in our lakes and rivers as much as possible. Anyone who parks on the street will need to follow posted parking rules or their cars may be ticketed and towed. Read more and find ways to stay informed about the parking rules.

Minneapolis Connects is published by the City of Minneapolis Neighborhood and Community Relations department (NCR). If you have stories or community events that should be included in next month's edition, email rebekah.tedrick-moutz@minneapolismn.gov.

For questions, accommodations or alternative formats, please contact Neighborhood and Community Relations at 612-673-3737 or email us at ncr@minneapolismn.gov. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 agents at 612-673-3000. TTY users can call 612-263-6850.

Para asistencia, llame al 612-673-2700 •  Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 • Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.