7th Ward News from Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Goodman
Visit us at minneapolismn.gov/ward7
City of Lakes


Lisa Goodman
350 S. 5th St.
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: 612-673-2207

Patrick Sadler, Aide

Zach Schultz, Associate  zach.schultz@minneapolismn.gov


In This Issue:

CenterPoint should share burden of winter storm price spike

Mayor, interim police chief announce MPD reforms for officer accountability, wellness

Weekly Events at Peavey Plaza June 19 - June 25, 2022

Keep yourself and pets safe during extreme heat

Celebrate Juneteenth, honor the emancipation of enslaved Americans

Give your feedback on updated plan for Hiawatha Campus Expansion Project designating 3 acres for community use

High school students: free media, news and technology summer camp

Friday, June 17th, 2022 Newsletter

Dear Neighbors, 

Yesterday’s vote to approve a new alignment for Hennepin Avenue is clearly a disappointment.  It seems as though the concept of a win-win isn’t something a majority of activists or council members are willing to consider anymore. This plan makes some great improvements on Hennepin including a better environment for pedestrians and transit users, however, it comes at the expense of small businesses, people who need to drive for various reasons, and neighbors on surrounding streets who will feel the impact of this for years to come.

As much as we would like to believe that we have a transit system that works for most users we simply do not right now and with the gridlock with regards to infrastructure investment at the state legislature it doesn’t seem that’s going to be a fulfilled vision in the next decade either. Yet the pandemic has taught us the importance of small businesses and those they employ. They have been through much with business closures, civil unrest and crime and two years of construction followed by the elimination of 90% of the parking on Hennepin Avenue itself has become too much for many of them to bear. I have spoken to and heard from dozens of small businesses who are very upset about this plan.

There is a bike lane on Bryant just blocks to the east of Hennepin. I’m not sure why we would use valuable space on Hennepin, a commercial corridor, for a bike lane when the Bryant Ave Bikeway could be easily improved. There is off-street parking in a variety of locations along the corridor but most of these are private lots and businesses are reluctant to share, due to liability and insurance concerns and the view that they need parking for their own customers. The way that the city is implementing this plan is putting these businesses in a bad situation forcing them to share parking with the businesses that lose their own parking throughout the corridor and creating a situation that will further exacerbate the parking deficiencies for businesses and residents. The idea that limiting lanes of traffic and eliminating parking is going to force people to give up their cars is just simply unrealistic. It’s going to lead some businesses to close and some people to move. At least a dozen businesses have told me they would not renew their leases so this isn’t just a concern it’s a reality. Some people are good with that and encourage it, I do not.  All we need to do is look at Hennepin Avenue between Lake Street and 31st, a redesign that many staff and business owners have called a mistake which has resulted in the loss of eight or more retail businesses. We know what this alignment will look like we can see it first hand on the southern part of Hennepin now.

But perhaps most concerning is the last minute addition of banning parking in the bus rapid transit lanes which are not used 24 hours a day. In fact, there are many hours when there are no buses running at all or hours when there are buses running infrequently. The determination of the operations of these lanes should be made by professional staff informed by specific data about the needs for dedicated lanes based on transit usage going forward.  Because COVID has changed how people get from all over Minneapolis and the suburbs into downtown and back, old data which was the basis of this decision should not be used to inform future decisions. These bus lanes could be dynamic and dedicated to bus usage during rush hour and there could be other times during off-peak hours where buses merging into the traffic lanes wouldn’t cause a backup or congestion and these lanes could be used to fulfill other curbside uses including parking.

We operate in an environment where the perfect is getting in the way of the good. Many good things are happening with this plan but many concerns remain. These concerns include: managing the projected overflow of traffic through neighborhoods, the limited parking for businesses and residents, parking spillover into neighborhoods, and the increased idling that is sure to happen when you go down from two traffic lanes in each direction to one.

I have heard from hundreds of people about this issue. Many have expressed frustration about how this process was managed by the city. People question who is being served by this massive change in layout and whose voices matter the most. In the end my job is to analyze all of the information and come to a decision which best serves and represents my constituents. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, I’m doing my best to listen to my constituents, immediate neighbors and the small businesses many of whom believe this is an enormous mistake. I agree, and that is why I am encouraging the Mayor to veto this alignment until changes are made.

Secondly, I want to share the op-ed I wrote that was published yesterday in the Star Tribune.  The piece is about making the case that CenterPoint should be liable, not customers, for the Texas weather event back in 2020. I have copied the opinion piece below, but you can also read it on the Star Tribune website.



CenterPoint should share burden of winter storm price spike

Opinion piece by Lisa Goodman: 

Have you noticed that your CenterPoint gas bill is up this year? You're not alone. In addition to CenterPoint's rate hike, some of those higher costs are from a five-day period in February 2021 when wholesale fuel prices spiked 4,000%. If the utility prevails, customers will be paying for those five days of fuel costs for the next five years.

As a follow-up to the Star Tribune article from last year ("Xcel, CenterPoint make millions while customers get stuck with bills after February storm") I want to provide more background about why the city of Minneapolis is demanding that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) make CenterPoint Energy share the burden of excess wholesale gas costs from Winter Storm Uri that hit Minnesota and crippled Texas in February last year. After rejecting some costs early on and spreading any remaining costs over 63 months to ease the impact on customers, the PUC plans to decide this summer how much of the $466 million still in question customers will have to pay. Last month the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings recommended that customers pay the full amount. Minneapolis disagrees.

Minnesota law requires utilities to charge "just and reasonable" rates and puts the burden on utilities to show that they acted prudently when incurring costs that they want to pass on to customers. Any doubts to the reasonableness of a rate increase must be resolved in favor of the customer. Fossil gas utilities are expected to act prudently and reasonably to protect ratepayers from risk. In this case, CenterPoint did not protect customers, and therefore the increased rates are neither just nor reasonable.

Intense regulatory scrutiny is necessary because Minneapolis gas customers do not have a choice in obtaining service, as CenterPoint is a fossil gas monopoly in our city. In this case, the costs requested by CenterPoint for the February 2021 storm are not justified and will hit our poorest and BIPOC communities the hardest. We rely on utility companies to do everything they can to mitigate the impact of wholesale market volatility. In fact, I believe that as a public utility, CenterPoint's healthy 2021 earnings at 8.5% per share are only possible because of the public it serves as a government-granted regulated monopoly. If this rate increase is not reversed, we run the risk of similar pricing events occurring in the future.

Meanwhile in 2021, as customer bills went up, CenterPoint's CEO enjoyed a raise and total compensation of $38 million, up from $12 million before the pandemic, something the utility's own shareholders objected to.

And, an in-depth report from the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota reveals how CenterPoint made more than $1 billion from its sale of equity in Energy Transfer, which it had acquired through a merger involving a CenterPoint affiliate. Why does this matter? Because Energy Transfer is a wholesale gas provider accused of price-gouging during Winter Storm Uri and exacerbating the price spike that CenterPoint wants customers to pay for.

During an earnings call with investors in May, CenterPoint's CEO bragged about how "Within four months of the merger … we sold 100% of our common units at a 20% premium to Energy Transfer's unit price when the transaction was announced last February. Not a bad outcome for those shareholders who thought we would never get out of this investment, let alone receive approximately $1.3 billion of net after-tax proceeds from it."

The city of Minneapolis experienced firsthand how CenterPoint could have done more to control costs during Winter Storm Uri. Minneapolis has 16 accounts with "interruptible" gas service, meaning the utility should have asked us to reduce our gas use at these locations when it saw prices spiking out of control, saving the city money and reducing wholesale pricing pressure for all customers. The impact on our city enterprise alone is expected to be $500,000 for those five days — and many millions more for our residents and businesses.

Minneapolis was denied the opportunity to curtail energy use and reduce cost based on pricing information that the utility had access to but the city did not. Further, its decision to ignore interruptible customers and not offer the opportunity to conserve resources is proof that CenterPoint mismanaged the pricing event thus contributing to higher wholesale prices.

These are just a few reasons the excess fuel costs must not simply be assigned to customers and why Minneapolis asked the PUC to hold CenterPoint financially responsible for excess costs related to the February 2021 winter storm.

Without question this is a very complicated issue. But what's not complicated is the fact that climate change is upon us and regulated utilities continue to assert that fossil gas investments are affordable and reliable. This weather event has exposed the risk of relying on an energy source whose costs can swing sharply, whose leadership seems to be more interested in stock price increases than consumer costs and the incredible and undeniable need to decrease reliance on fossil fuel.

If you feel strongly, too, the PUC welcomes comments by e-mail to consumer.puc@state.mn.us.

Mayor, interim police chief announce MPD reforms for officer accountability, wellness

Mayor Jacob Frey and Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman announced new officer health and wellness initiatives and an updated discipline matrix June 13. The reforms reflect the City of Minneapolis’ commitment to continued reform in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) with a focus on transparent and accountable practices to best serve the city.


As of June 1, MPD officers are accountable to the updated discipline matrix. Huffman led the implementation of this refreshed tool, which was last updated in 2018. The updated matrix reflects a new framework that guides disciplinary decisions in support of a system that is fair, consistent and transparent. The updated matrix also reflects both the values of the MPD and the expectations of the community for MPD accountability.

Health and wellness initiatives

Effective May 22, the MPD has a new policy governing how many hours an officer may work in a given week or any given shift. The policy limits the number of hours an officer may work in a week to 74 hours. It also limits the number of hours an officer may work in a day to 16 hours. An emphasis on rest and wellness was a key component in building out this new policy, which also requires at least eight consecutive hours off for every 24 hours worked and requires employees to have at least one full 24-hour day with no work shifts in any capacity each week.

Learn more about the policy updates on the City website.

Weekly Events at Peavey Plaza June 19 - June 25, 2022

Green Minneapolis is excited to host these events, free and open to all!

YWCA Minneapolis Yoga on the Plaza

Tuesday, June 21 from 6-7:30am and 5:30-6:30pm

Flow into summer with FREE yoga classes at Peavey Plaza (weather permitting). Bring a water, mat and towel. Members and nonmembers are welcome to attend. Nonmembers that attend receive a FREE three-day trial fitness pass to any of our three fitness locations. Plus, join YWCA Minneapolis as a member for just $15!

Registration recommended: greenminneapolis.org/events/2022-06-21/

Westminster Bluegrass Evening Prayer
Wednesday, June 22 from 5:45-6:30pm

Join Westminster Presbyterian Church for a bluegrass-style evening worship on Wednesdays in June in Peavey Plaza. Come at 5:45pm for a hymn sing-along, followed by worship at 6pm, and an outdoor cookout at 6:30 pm across the street at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

MNspin Musician of the Week: Mother Banjo
Thursday, June 23 from 12-1pm

Featuring Ellen Stanley on banjo and vocals, Mother Banjo is a New England-raised, Minneapolis-based songwriter. Her new album Eyes on the Sky artfully mixes her signature blend of folk, bluegrass and soulful Americana that has become a hallmark of her live shows. Whether performing solo or with her award-winning band, she is an engaging performer that brings a playful energy to the stage even when singing the saddest of songs.

Cantus Performance
Thursday, June 23 from 6:30-7:30pm

Cantus performs highlights from its popular Covers concerts, along with audience favorites drawn from its concert season. Join the Minneapolis-based eight member vocal ensemble for an upbeat mix of a cappella hits. Learn more at cantussings.org.

YWCA Minneapolis Pride Circuit
Saturday, June 25 from 8:45-10am

Celebrate your strength and solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community at a special Rainbow Pride Circuit Class on Peavey Plaza. Please bring a mat or towel and a water bottle.

Registration recommended: greenminneapolis.org/event/ywca-minneapolis-pride-circuit/.

Children’s Theatre Company Story Theatre
Saturday, June 25 at 12-12:30 & 12:30-1pm

Join Children’s Theatre Company for summertime fun at Peavey Plaza! Through imaginative play, collaborative storytelling, music, and family engagement, we’ll explore beloved children’s books together. Laugh, dance, and discover along with your family and friends.

For a complete calendar of our Peavey Plaza Performing Arts Series, visit greenminneapolis.org/events

See you at Peavey Plaza!

Keep yourself and pets safe during extreme heat

With extreme hot temperatures in the forecast, Minneapolis City officials want to remind everyone how to handle the heat. Heat-related illness happens when the body can’t cool itself. Seniors, small children, people with physical disabilities and pets are the most vulnerable to heat-related illness, but everyone should take steps to stay safe in extreme heat.

The Minneapolis Health Department works closely with other local jurisdictions and the Minnesota Department of Health to help people prepare for extreme heat events. Minneapolis has an emergency plan that is used to respond when extreme heat is in the forecast. The plan is coordinated with a metro-wide notification plan that reaches out to agencies that serve vulnerable populations.

Tips for preventing heat-related illness during extreme heat

  • Drink more fluids. Drinking fluids helps the body cool itself. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Avoid drinking liquids with caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar. Those can actually cause our bodies to lose more fluid. Remind anyone you’re responsible for to drink more water.
  • Never leave any person or animals in a parked vehicle. The temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise, even if the windows are cracked.
  • Wear light colored, lightweight, loose-fitted clothing. Light-colored clothing reflects heat, and clothing that fits loosely keeps our bodies cooler by allowing air to pass over.
  • Check on neighbors who may be at risk. Visit seniors and other vulnerable neighbors at least twice a day and look closely for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. For people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, you can call, text, video or meet them and keep a 6-foot distance. Seek medical advice immediately if you notice nausea, weakness, disorientation, rapid pulse and dry skin.
  • Take an air conditioning break. Air conditioning is the best defense against heat-related illness. If a home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles.

Find more tips to protect people and pets on the City website.

For a map of public, air-conditioned buildings for those who don’t have air conditioning in their homes, visit the Hennepin County website.

Celebrate Juneteenth, honor the emancipation of enslaved Americans

In recognition of the Juneteenth holiday, the Lowry Avenue Bridge will light up in red, black, green and gold, and the I-35W Bridge will be lit red, white and blue overnight June 19. City offices will be closed Monday, June 20.

Observed June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when the last of enslaved people in the U.S. received news of their freedom and entitlement to natural born human rights under the law, which had actually been bestowed upon them two and a half years earlier with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Last year the Minneapolis City Council approved making Juneteenth a new City holiday. Because June 19 falls on a Sunday this year, the City’s Juneteenth holiday observance will take place Monday, June 20.

Community celebrations

You can join in community celebrations including:

Give your feedback on updated plan for Hiawatha Campus Expansion Project designating 3 acres for community use

The City of Minneapolis is seeking public comment on an updated proposal for the Hiawatha Campus Expansion Project in south Minneapolis. This collaborative plan would consolidate City water distribution operations at one central site, create a job training facility, and designate 35% of the site for community use and development.

The proposal comes after months of collaborative work among the City of Minneapolis, the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute (EPNI) and the broader community.

If the final proposal is approved by the City Council, the City would take care of environmental remediation of the entire site. EPNI would receive two years of exclusive development rights for 3 acres of the total site. The City is committed to lobbying support from other government agencies to ensure the success of the community site and centering environmental sustainability in the planning of this project.

The Hiawatha Campus Expansion Project will support the City’s ability to provide essential services to residents and businesses. The expansion relocates and consolidates the Public Works Water Distribution Maintenance and Meter Shop operation from three sites to a centrally located facility next to the existing Hiawatha Maintenance Facility at 1901 E. 26th St.

The job training facility allows collaboration with community and labor organizations to provide pathways to high quality jobs with the City and partner organizations. The opportunities will prioritize applicants living within 2 miles of the site. Other final details are currently being negotiated with EPNI.

Read more about the proposed site plans.

How to comment

You can submit a comment online or email councilcomment@minneapolismn.gov by June 29, or come to the community meeting June 22.

Next steps

  • Community meeting 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22 Phillips Community Center, 2323 11th Ave. S.
  • The City Council is scheduled to vote June 30 on the updated proposal.

Learn more about the Hiawatha Campus Expansion Project.

High school students: free media, news and technology summer camp

RYSE MPLS (Representing Youth Stories and Experiences in Minneapolis) Summer Media Camp is a free immersive two-week program in August for high school students interested in pursuing careers in media production, news reporting and storytelling. Students will work closely with local media and news professionals and collaborate with peers in small groups to produce video stories that will premiere on the big screen and on TV.

Applications from current eighth graders entering ninth grade, and the graduating class of 2022 will also be considered.

Find out more on the SPEAK MPLS website.


or call at 612-673-2207