Issues and Positions
Each month I work with hundreds of residents to help resolve problems that affect their lives. Some are simple and easy fixes, such as getting Public Works to go back and plow a street that was missed. Others are complex and involve years of painstaking work, such as restoring peace to a block reeling from a problem property. Compared to some of the citywide issues we are dealing with, these may not seem like big issues, but I know that they are big issues in the lives of those they affect, and collectively add up across our ward. That’s why I take pride in providing a high-level of constituent service and directly advocating for our residents.
This extends into my accessibility and responsiveness. Since being elected, I have hosted hundreds of weekly open office hours at local coffee shops, where residents can stop by unscheduled to discuss whatever they’d like (temporarily paused due to the pandemic). I love attending block-level gatherings, and am happy to join you and your neighbors if you’re ready to schedule a time. Our office responds to virtually all emails. And I send detailed newsletter updates in my own words. This might not sound revolutionary, but it takes real dedication, and it makes a difference.
Public safety is a core role of any city, and everyone deserves to feels safe, both in community and when interacting with law enforcement. The past year though has proved that the status quo approach is not producing good enough results on either of those fronts. That’s why transformational change is needed.
Such change includes a public health focus on addressing the upstream causes of crime and interrupting cycles of violence, alternative ways to respond to public safety needs where safe and appropriate, and ensuring every city employee serves with compassion and professionalism. Yes, we still need police as part of our public safety system, and we need appropriate staffing levels, but we also cannot continue to expect every problem to be solved by a police officer, nor dysfunction within the institution of MPD to be solved via minor reforms.
I've been leading on this work, such as my efforts to establish the 911 Workgroup which directly resulted in our plans for a citywide mental health responder program and other alternative responses beyond policing.
Overall this is a big topic, which is why I’ve written an extensive blog post on my position and work, which you can read here.
You can read how I voted during the recent budget process here. I also support the public safety charter amendment and you can read my thoughts on it here.
Before the first major encampment formed, I was fighting to create housing for unsheltered residents right here in Ward 12.
Those efforts led to the first new public housing project in Minneapolis in a generation,
which is exclusively for families transitioning out of homelessness (Minnehaha Townhomes).
And most recently we broke ground on the Amber Apartments, which will create dozens of deeply affordable units,
including for those experiencing homelessness. Beyond working to create affordable housing in the ward, I have used my role as Intergovernmental Relations Chair to
advocate for greater funding to address the crisis; brought colleagues together to pursue new housing models (Envision Community); and led
the push for more transparency over our response through the launching of a website. I will continue
fighting for safe and dignified housing.
First I want to recognize what we’ve done over the past few years: record levels of funding for affordable housing,
prohibiting income discrimination, inclusionary zoning, allowing more supply creation, the 4D program, deepening affordability levels,
moving forward several innovative new housing models, and more. I've also led efforts to create hundreds of units of affordable housing in Ward 12
and to restore funding that helps seniors live independently in their own homes for longer.
Beyond what we have done, I support the rent stabilization charter amendment which will allow us to develop a rent stabilization policy, legalizing single room occupancy, passing a just cause eviction protection ordinance, more support for those facing eviction, restoring the public housing levy, and passing a tenant opportunity to purchase ordinance.
I’ll also continue in my role as Intergovernmental Relations Chair to lobby partners at a state and federal level to increase funding for affordable housing.
Climate change is a threat to the human species (and many other species); it also disproportionately harms marginalized communities, particularly communities of color.
I am proud to be working on bold action to address climate change on multiple fronts.
On energy, I am leading efforts to electrify our city's fleet of vehicles and have supported aggressive goals for reaching 100% renewables.
With land use, I've fought for policies that reduce the environmental footprint of residents and am advocating for more sustainable building standards.
On infrastructure, I've successfully pushed for pilot projects to localize stormwater retention/treatment and make it easier to produce food locally.
For transit, I've been leading efforts to make our sidealks more accessible year-round (snow/ice clearance), using my role as Intergovernmental Relations Chair to secure more funding for transit projects, and support policies that reduce dependence of cars.
I'll continue pursuing and supporting initiatives that move us towards a net-zero emissions economy, as well cleaner water and air.
The civil unrest during the uprising destroyed access to essential goods and services for some of the most vulnerable and marginalized residents in our state, along with jobs and housing that many individuals and families relied on to survive. We must build back stronger than before, and in doing so, ensure that those who want to return are able to without being displaced.
I led the effort to waive city fees and expedite approvals to aid in recovery efforts, worked to bring together a coalition of community partners and provide formal recognition and support for community-led rebuild efforts, and worked with our Intergovernmental Relations team to pursue aid to help our small businesses and corridors rebuild. I will continue fighting for aid and working hand-in-hand with the community in this work.
One of the things that makes city life so great are all the unique local businesses that provide goods and services, as well as memorable experiences. Behind these destinations are entrepreneurs with interesting stories who are passionate about what they do and serving our community. They also create over 80% of new jobs in Minneapolis.
I have been a champion for small businesses at City Hall. This includes leading the efforts to create the Small Business Office, the small business portal, and cleaning up dozens of regulations and ordinances. I have worked to actively recruit local businesses to Ward 12 and will continue to bring their voices to the table, along with my personal experience having been a small business owner.
Racial Justice and Equity
We know local government actions over the past 150+ years have contributed in significant ways to the racial disparities of today.
The first step in addressing this is to be more mindful over new actions so that they do not cause future harm,
which is why I was proud to support requiring a racial equity impact analysis on all legislative actions.
We also passed a strategic racial equity plan to produce better outcomes; this means being more intentional about diversifying the city’s workforce, utilizing diverse suppliers, leveraging data, and better engaging communities of color.
Advancing racial equity also requires investing more in communities that have historically been disinvested in as a way to help correct harms from past actions.
Such external action takes the form of job training, business support, affordable housing, and public health and safety initiatives in communities of color.
I am proud to be leading on this work, from co-authroing our Green Zones resolution, to expansion of restorative justice initiatives that help disrupt the criminalization of young children of color.
I will continue to build on our strategic racial equity plan, ensure equitable funding in our investments, and advance legislative action to address disparities.
2040 Comp Plan
The city is required by state law to update its comprehensive plan every ten years, which happened in 2018. During that process I brought forward more amendments than any other Council Member. It’s not a perfect plan or panacea, and I don’t agree with everything in it, but on the whole it will help address a number of issues we are facing as a city. I will continue to monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary to improve outcomes. For more details, please check out my official blog post here.