Ward 2 Update

Council Member Robin Wonsley

Ward 2 Updates from Council Member Robin Wonsley

March 22, 2024

Dear Community,

Much of my office’s work this week has focused on the implementation plans for the rideshare minimum compensation ordinance. I and my colleagues continue to have confidence that Minneapolis can be a city with rideshare services that pay minimum wage. Uber and Lyft have a well-documented pattern of threatening a capital strike when legislators attempt to advance any form of regulation. Council has reaffirmed that we know that good policy is guided by data and research rather than pressure from corporations or political comfort for elected officials. There is no reason that we should exempt billion-dollar tech companies from our local minimum wage. I look forward to supporting the growth of a local rideshare industry that does not rely on worker exploitation.


Council Member Robin Wonsley

Updates from City Hall

Rideshare minimum compensation ordinance implementation

Last week’s vote on the Rideshare Minimum Compensation Ordinance was a historic affirmation of our city’s commitment to creating a fair economy for all. Here are some updates on implementation and next steps.

New rideshare companies

  • Lyft and Uber have publicly stated that they will leave Minneapolis or greatly reduce service when the policy goes into effect on May 1. We understand that this is very concerning for many residents, especially residents with disabilities, residents without cars, and other populations who rely on rideshare. 
  • Uber and Lyft are not being forced out by this policy. They are choosing to leave rather than pay the minimum wage. 
  • Several rideshare companies are getting licensed to begin operating in Minneapolis by May 1, including local startups and companies that are already operating in other cities. 
  • Council Members are working with city staff to remove startup barriers for new rideshare companies and ensure a smooth transition. 

Disability justice

  • Council is working with MetroMobility to promote their existing on-demand service, which provides riders with disabilities on-demand taxi rides for $5 for rides up to $25. Unlike standard MetroMobility service, on-demand service does not require pre-booking, and rides are delivered by a subcontracted taxi company with both standard and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles. 
  • MetroMobility has capacity to accommodate increased ridership of this service immediately and into 2025. 
  • New incoming rideshare companies will provide door-to-door on-demand service 

Minneapolis compensation

  • The rates in the ordinance were based on analysis done by city staff with the available information. The ordinance requires the city to periodically re-evaluate the rates to incorporate all available Minneapolis-specific data. 
  • Strong policy is guided by data and research rather than pressure from corporations or political comfort for elected officials.
  • The city is in contact with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) with the goal of getting any available Minneapolis-specific data that can assist us with the required ongoing evaluation of the ordinance.

Coordination with the state

  • Council continues to work with state legislators with a shared goal of a Minneapolis policy based on Minneapolis data while supporting a statewide policy based on statewide data. 
  • Council Members are alarmed by the threat of preemption looming at the State Capitol being led by Republicans. The danger this presents to solving local problems, which often require local solutions, cannot be overstated.
  • Council leadership have sent a letter to the Minneapolis delegation affirming our partnership, requesting continued conversations, and reiterating the crucial need to protect local control. 

Key votes: No votes taken. 

Contract with Wiley Reber Law PC for services related for police misconduct investigations

The city has a backlog of hundreds of police misconduct cases that need to be investigated. Council was asked to approve a contract with a law firm called Wiley Reber to help the city investigate some of these cases. Community members have reached out with a number of concerns about how this contract could contribute to existing problems with unclear lines of authority and accountability. Council President Payne, who chairs the Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree Subcommittee, motioned to delay consideration of this contract to the next meeting on April 9th to coordinate a subcommittee presentation from city attorneys about the implications and impacts of this contract.

Key votes: Council votes to delay consideration of the contract to the next meeting of the Consent Decree and Settlement Agreement Subcommittee on April 9th at 1:30.

Crime diversion presentations

The Public Health and Safety Committee (PHS) received presentations from three programs aimed at crime diversion. 

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty presented about the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) work on youth auto theft diversion. The presentation provided a great deal of clarity on the relationship between MPD and the HCAO. The HCAO receives all felony-level adult cases and all levels of youth cases for diversion and/or charging. This presentation was incredibly helpful in lessening confusion about auto theft cases. Mary Moriarty reminded the council that the HCAO can only charge individuals for cases that law enforcement agencies have cleared. HCA Moriarity stressed that her office can only charge cases in which officers have investigated and provided evidence for. If cases are not fully investigated or there is insufficient evidence to charge, HCAO are unable to prosecute. In response to a number of youth cases that were unable to be prosecuted, the HCAO has created a new pathway that connects young people exhibiting risky auto theft-related behavior and their families to existing social services. This pilot began in June 2023 and HCA Moriarty shared their data from all of 2023. The results have been impressive, with 88% of participants in the program not receiving any new charge cases since accepting the voluntary social services. 

This presentation was also a stark reminder that MPD has below-average clearance rates. This has been an issue that has been observed for years before 2020. This underscores the need to improve MPD’s clearance rates to at least an average level. We consistently hear that MPD needs more patrol staff, but this presentation highlighted that MPD needs to increase investigations. HCA Moriaty also shared that MPD has been offered resources from other governmental agencies to assist with increasing their investigative capacities, but have rejected these offers of support. I have already inquired to understand the considerations in denying assistance and what support the Council can provide to encourage more support in investigative services. Council can explore  various resource options, such as identifying what investigations can be civilianized, what investigations can be contracted out, and removing the 70/30 provision in the police contract, which limits the number of investigators MPD can have. I have a legislative directive out currently that will come back in June that will hopefully help shed light on how we can best use our resources to increase staffing in investigations. 

The second presentation was about the Urban Ventures Pathway to a New Beginning Program, a youth diversion program that the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office funds. When I entered City Hall two years ago, I was incredibly impressed by the work of the Criminal Division of the CAO’s work on this diversion program. It’s incredibly important we celebrate success when it comes to public safety initiatives and make sure to invest in what’s working. Pathway to a New Beginning embodies a public health approach that very much aligns with the Safe and Thriving Communities model. The idea of a trauma-informed cognitive behavioral approach is the most humane and effective way to orient towards crime prevention.

The final presentation was about the city’s diversion programs in the Neighborhood Safety Department (NSD): Group Violence Intervention (GVI), Youth Group Violence Intervention (YGVI), and Next Step. Each of these presentations target a specific population with supportive services and programs to prevent recidivism. Specifically, GVI initiatives aim to reduce both homicides and gun violence amongst adults, and YGVI aims to accomplish the same but with young people. Next Step focuses on interrupting cycles of gun violence by providing intervention services directly to gunshot victims at hospitals. All three programs require detailed and consistent coordination amongst a substantial network of stakeholders, and were found to deliver impressive and unprecedented results, especially between 2017 & 2019. 

As the chair of Public Health & Safety , I am excited to work with my colleagues, staff, and local and national experts in helping NSD become the leading and effective violence prevention program it once was. To make this happen, the Council will have to work to understand the nationally recognized model that helped our violence prevention programs become successful; that is the Cure Violence model. The city had a contract with John Jay College, a leader on Cure Violence, which has helped us keep our programs in alignment with national standards. Our contract with this key partner expired last year, leaving our NSD programs like GVI, YGVI, and Next Steps, without crucial technical support needed to track trends and success. I will be working with NSD leadership to make sure that this crucial contract is renewed. I also look forward to continuing the conversation on these programs as well as having a presentation by John Jay about opportunities to strengthen our programs. 

Key votes: No votes taken

Community happenings

Seward Community Meeting

Join Council Member Wonsley for a Seward Community Meeting. Council Member Wonsley will share updates on neighborhood priorities and citywide projects, answer questions, and connect residents with technical assistance. Representatives from the Seward Neighborhood Group and MPD 3rd Precinct will also share updates. 

Seward Community Meeting

Thursday March 28th from 6-7:30

Matthews Park Rec Center- 2318 29th Ave S

Meeting flyer

2633 Minnehaha Community Safety Center Public Engagement Session

What is the difference between a Safety Center and a Police Station? How should it serve the community? Join community at this public engagement session on Wednesday, March 27th at 6pm at Powderhorn Park, 3400 15th Ave S.  Hear from City staff and share your opinions about both the East Lake Street and Minnehaha Ave locations. Snacks provided! Hosted by Longfellow Community Council. Cosponsored by Lake Street Council and Seward Civic and Commerce Association.

Meeting flyer

Traffic Calming in Ward 2

One project in Ward 2 has been selected for the neighborhood traffic calming program: SE 5th St between SE 12th Ave and SE 15th Ave.

 In the coming months, here are the next steps:

  • Invitation to an open house. Safety Group staff will host an open house to discuss the neighborhood traffic calming program, present selected applications near your neighborhood, and provide an opportunity for community feedback. The open house will be on April 11th from 5-6pm at the Van Cleve Park Recreation Center. 
  • On street data collection. This will include vehicle speed and volume information that will be used to finalize locations and traffic calming treatments proposed in your area.
  • Share traffic calming treatment recommendations. Safety Group staff will provide the design of the proposed treatments based on the data collected and community feedback.
  • Implementation of recommended traffic calming treatment. This will take place through the summer, into the fall season.
  • Monitor treatments. Safety Group staff will monitor treatments and may adjust if necessary.

For updates and additional information please visit traffic calming website here.

Meeting flyer

Women in Politics Panel

This week, I had the opportunity to speak on a “Women in Politics” panel hosted by the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Not only did I have the chance to speak alongside some of the state’s most brilliant political leaders, I also had the chance to speak candidly about challenges I’ve had to navigate in my role due to my gender, race, age, and political orientation. Most importantly, I got to talk about the joys of my work and encourage the many attendees to pursue opportunities in public administration, politics, and local government. 

Women in politics panel

International Solidarity for Palestine

This weekend, I traveled to Canada to support a number of events that aimed to raise awareness about the ongoing genocide taking place in Gaza, and to advocate for more humanitarian aid for Palestine as over 1 million Gazans are currently suffering from starvation. During my travels, I also got to speak about the courageous action that Council took last month in calling for a permanent ceasefire.

I am thankful to the Canadian Muslim leaders, like Ramsey Zeid, President of the Canadian Association of Manitoba, and to Mona Abuamara, who are tirelessly working from Canada and Palestine to bring about peace in Gaza and necessary relief for Palestianians. 

International Solidarity for Palestine

Contact Ward 2

Visit: minneapolismn.gov/ward2
Email: ward2@minneapolismn.gov
Phone: 612-673-2202

We've moved while work is being done in City Hall. Our office is in:

Room 100, Public Service Center
250 South 4th St.
Get directions

For reasonable accommodations or alternative format please contact 311. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000. TTY users call 612-263-6850. Para asistencia, llame al 311. Rau kev pab 311. Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 311.

Friend us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter   Watch the City's Youtube Channel
 Contact Us  |  Unsubscribe  |  Update Profile 
Minneapolis City of Lakes