Ward 2 Update

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Dear Community,

This week Council voted to pass the Fair Drives, Safe Rides ordinance that will improve wages and working conditions for thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers. Drivers made this happen through persistent organizing and bringing their proposals to City Hall. Thank you to the dozens of city staff who worked with my team to write a strong, data-backed policy and to six of my colleagues for supporting workers’ rights and fair wages. Read the full statement from the ordinance co-authors.

The Mayor has until 5pm on Wednesday, August 23rd to sign or veto the policy. If he vetoes it, the Council will vote on whether or not to override his veto on September 7th. 


Council Member Robin Wonsley

In this update

Updates from City Hall

Fair Drives, Safe Rides

City Council passed the Fair Drives, Safe Rides ordinance. You can read more about the policy on the Ward 2 website and the co-authors’ joint statement here. 

Key votes: Fair Drives, Safe Rides passed 7-5 with Council Members Payne, Wonsley, Ellison, Osman, Jenkins, Chavez, and Chughtai voting in support and Council Members Rainville, Vetaw, Koski, Johnson, and Palmisano voting against. Mayor Frey has until 5pm Wednesday August 23rd to sign or veto the policy. If he vetoes it, the Council will vote on whether or not to override his veto on September 7th. 

Fair drives safe rides

Open Streets

This week I received a briefing where Public Works staff informed me that they are not planning to co-host the Open Streets events in 2024. These events are an incredibly valuable part of summers in Minneapolis. Without Public Works as a contracting partner, the entire event series is in jeopardy of ending. I will be working with community partners and City Departments to ensure that Open Streets continues to exist and provide a unique welcoming community space for years to come. 

Key votes: No votes taken. A presentation about this decision will be given next Thursday, August 24 at 1:30 at the Public Works & Infrastructure Committee at City Hall and livestreamed

Support for MPHA

Council unanimously passed a resolution that Council Member Chughtai and I authored expressing the Council’s commitment to use our full budgetary, policymaking, and oversight authority to support the preservation and expansion of public housing in conjunction with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA). 

Public housing residents are organizing to demand that the city, county, and state finally step up and invest in public housing. I have been honored to follow the lead of residents and work with colleagues at multiple levels of government to take the initiative on this issue and win unprecedented increases in public housing over the last year and a half. For the past few months, I and some of my colleagues have been strongly supporting the MPHA proposal for a maximum public housing levy, which would generate $10-$12 million per year to address the $200 million capital repair backlog. Addressing this backlog is crucial for some of our most vulnerable residents to have safe and dignified housing, and to prevent catastrophic damage to existing public housing. 

Six months ago there was a lot of lip service for public housing, but just a handful of elected officials who were willing to make the commitment to funding. Then residents started organizing and showing up at City Hall with signs, testifying, and speaking to the media about their needs. Mayor Frey was not supportive of  a public housing levy until residents organized and were backed by elected leaders. Last week, the Mayor announced that his proposed 2024 Budget would include a partial Public Housing Levy at $5 million. This is a good start, and it happened because residents showed up and elected leaders supported them publicly. I am looking forward to building on this powerful coalition to win a fully funded levy in 2024. Thanks to State Representative Esther Agbaje, Board of Estimates and Taxation Chair Samantha Pree Stinson, Council Members Chughtai, Payne, Chavez, and Osman for supporting the levy, and most of all thank you to residents who are the engine of change. 

Key votes: Council unanimously supports a resolution committing to supporting MPHA. Mayor Frey proposes a partial public housing levy at $5 million. The Board of Estimates and Taxation will set the maximum levy amount on September 20th, and Council will confirm the levy amounts on December 5th. 

public housing levy

Urban Scholars

Council passed an honorary resolution celebrating the accomplishments of this year’s Urban Scholars. This internship program brings young leaders into government to explore future career paths. We loved working with the Ward 2 Urban Scholar, Umulker Ugas, this summer and will miss having her on the team! Thank you to Umulker and all the Urban Scholars for your work. 

urban scholarsUmulker and Ward 2 team

Mayor Jacob Frey delivers 2024 budget address

Mayor Jacob Frey delivered his 2024 budget address Aug. 15. Last year, the mayor proposed his first-ever biennial budget. The budget proposed Aug. 15 marks his first, full, two-year budget cycle.

Frey’s proposed 2024 budget totals $1.8 billion, with a proposed tax levy increase of 6.2%. In the coming months, the City Council will discuss and vote on amendments to the Mayor’s proposed budget. The City Council holds ultimate budgetary authority for the city. I will keep residents updated on my budget priorities and the amendment process. 

Read more about the proposed 2024 budget

Community happenings

Consent decree and settlement agreement community meetings

Over the next several months, community members are invited to attend engagement sessions regarding the MDHR settlement agreement and DOJ consent decree. These sessions will be held at different locations throughout the city and during varying hours to accommodate our work hours. These meetings are open to the public.

The feedback collected during these sessions will be anonymous and forwarded to department leadership and the MDHR as outlined in the settlement agreement.

Community Engagement Sessions – Dates and Locations:

Use of Force:  

  • Tuesday, August 15, at Public Services Building from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (1st Precinct)  
  • Wednesday, August 16, at East Neighborhood Services Inc. from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (2nd Precinct)  
  • Saturday, August 19, at Urban Ventures from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm (3rd Precinct) 

Stop, Search, Arrest:  

  • Tuesday, August 22, at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (4th Precinct)   
  • Wednesday, August 23, at Public Services Building from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (1st Precinct)   
  • Thursday, August 24, at East Neighborhood Services Inc. from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (2nd Precinct)   

Non-Discriminatory & Impartial Policing, Mission, Goals, Vision & Values

  • Tuesday, August 29, at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (4th Precinct)  
  • Wednesday, August 30, at Plymouth Congregational Church from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (5th Precinct)  
  • Wednesday, September 6, at Plymouth Congregational Church from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm (5th Precinct)  

Identity Dinkytown

I am continuing to work with city staff and student and campus leadership following the egregious behavior by the developers of Identity Dinkytown. This week, city staff shared the following update with my office:

The City is working through the process to allow for people to occupy the building.  We are aware that this building will house University of Minnesota students and the upcoming school year is fast approaching.  Our team will do our best to meet the desire to have this building open by the school year but only with complete and accurate application information and that the building passes all inspections. It is critical to the City that this building is inspected and safe for occupation prior to allowing for students to move in.

Anyone impacted by the situation can reach out to my office. 

Medical debt forum

Over the last several months, it has become increasingly clear that some Minnesotans are losing access to health care because they owe a medical debt to a clinic or a hospital. This is a source of great concern for patients who need care, doctors who provide that care, and the Attorney General’s Office.

Join Attorney General Ellison, staff of the Attorney General’s Office, and community members for a forum on these issues on Wednesday, August 23 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Minnesota Department of Revenue, 600 Robert St N, St Paul, MN 55101, Room 2000 to learn more about this challenge and share your story.

If you or someone you love has lost access to care because of medical debt, please attend and please consider sharing your story.

36th Ave Neighborhood Walk

I had a great time on the community walk focused on the history and future of 36th Ave S. The event brought together Seward and Longfellow neighbors to learn about the development of this corridor over the decades and the work neighbors are doing now to invest in the area. 

36th Ave Neighborhood walk

Open Streets Cedar

Open Streets Cedar-Riverside will give people a chance to enjoy the community in a car-free environment from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20. It will be a great opportunity to connect with neighbors, check out local food vendors and take in live performances hosted by the Cedar Cultural Center, Palmer’s Bar and Mixed Blood Theatre, among others. 

The event will be held on Cedar Avenue South from Washington Avenue to Sixth Street South, and along Riverside Avenue from Cedar to 19th Avenue South. More than 175 local organizations are registered for the event.

Other upcoming 2023 Open Streets events

  • Open Streets West Broadway on Saturday, Sept. 16. The event will stretch along West Broadway from Penn Avenue North to Lyndale Avenue North. (Note: All Open Streets events run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Open Streets Lyndale on Sunday, Oct. 8. The event will span Lyndale Avenue from West 22nd Street to West 42nd Street.

Open Streets Minneapolis is a City of Minneapolis initiative organized by Our Streets Minneapolis that gives local businesses, artists and community groups a chance to transform the streets into a place where people can gather and celebrate the diversity and creativity of the city while walking, biking and rolling. 

Seward RISE Fair

RISE: Rallying in Solidarity 4 Equity is from 11 to 3pm on Sunday, August 20th at Brackett Park. 

This event will feature HIV testing ($10 Target Gift Card for getting tested), Dental Screenings, foot care, free haircuts, vaccines (with a $50 visa gift card for getting vaccinated), as well as supply bags with first aid, toiletries, some weather gear and more. 

There will also be free meals provided and snack/ food bags for folks to grab as well as free tents and sleeping bags as supplies last. Metro transit is also offering free rides for those who complete this survey.

RISE fair

Contact Us Any Time

Email Council Member Wonsley and her staff at ward2@minneapolismn.gov

Or contact staff directly:

Policy Aide Celeste Robinson

Policy Aide Qannani Omar

Share your opinion or address an issue, use the Ward 2 contact form


For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats please call 311 at 612-673-3000. 

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. 

TTY users can call 612-263-6850. 

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-673-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.