Say Yes to Rent Stabilization in Minneapolis

A rent stabilization charter amendment could be coming to this year’s ballot in Minneapolis. You may be tempted to begin debating policy specifics — but that’s not what’s on the ballot. Because state law says Minneapolis can’t enact rent stabilization without voters first giving permission, the first step is simply saying yes to the concept. Developing the policy comes later.

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Minneapolis Business Group’s “New 612” Logo Depicts Houston Skyline

A newly formed political coalition called “A New 612,” led and funded by downtown Minneapolis business interests — including the Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce — has unveiled a logo depicting the skyline of Houston, Texas. Readers may recognize “612” as the area code for Minneapolis. If you place a phone call to Houston, you are likely to use the prefix “713.”

To make Houston appear more Minneapolis, icons like the Witch’s Hat water tower, the Capri Theater, and a sailboat were pasted on top of Houston. A few of Houston’s buildings appear to have been rearranged. One Houston building appears twice.

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Agenda 2021: Public Safety, Expanded Mayoral Power, Rent Stabilization, and Parking

Here’s a brief guide to the issues you may see on your ballot this November, as well as a few ordinances the City Council is working on.

Keep in mind the distinction between the city’s code of ordinances (laws) and the city charter (constitution). The charter is a framework for how city government is structured and sets the boundaries for what can be put into ordinance. For example, a rent stabilization charter amendment allows a future rent stabilization ordinance.

Charter amendments on the topics listed below are currently on track (though not certain) to be included on the ballot for voter approval this November. Ordinances on renter protections and parking minimums would not go on the ballot, but would need to be approved by the City Council.

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Who’s running in 2021? Here’s a list of Minneapolis City Council and Mayoral candidates.

This post was written in consultation with David Brauer’s breaking news spreadsheet that’s taken Minneapolis by storm. This post will be updated — though at a slower pace than the sheet. For live updates, and informed speculation, check the spreadsheet.

This page will only include candidates with a website of some kind or some official registration. I will strikethrough incumbents who confirm they are not running.

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The Great Winter Sidewalk Debate

A city election year is almost upon us and people are getting upset with each other on Twitter over who’s got the right solution for safe sidewalks (I had previously assumed 2021’s biggest political conversations would happen on crime-themed Facebook pages). As someone who’s been raising hell about winter sidewalks for many years, hoping for anything that would work, I want to interpret this as good news. People are showing they care about the problem of snow- and ice-covered sidewalks.

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Brief Guide to Ensuring Your Vote is Counted in Minnesota

A federal court ruling less than a week before the election has put in doubt the instructions that Minnesota voters have been given about mail-in ballot deadlines. While the decision is ambiguous, here’s the bottom line: an election day postmark may no longer be good enough to have your vote counted.

Republican judges (and USPS delays engineered by the Trump administration) are creating unnecessary confusion and an additional burden on voters, but here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your vote is counted.

Don’t return your ballot in the mail. Drop it off at a location designated by local elections officials. In Minneapolis there are 13 drop off locations. Here’s ballot drop off information for those outside Minneapolis.

If you have already returned your ballot by mail, track it using the Minnesota Secretary of State’s ballot tracker website. If the website says your ballot has been received, you can be sure it will be counted.

If you mailed your ballot, but it has not been received by your local elections office, all Minnesotans still have the option to vote in person — either at an early voting site or on election day. Likewise, if you still possess your absentee ballot and don’t wish to vote by dropping it off, you can still vote in person. In both of the above cases, your mail ballot will be voided and your in-person ballot will be counted instead.

Find an early voting or election day polling place

If you live in Minneapolis: https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/vote-early-in-person/

If you live outside Minneapolis: https://iwillvote.com/

An Opportunity of a Lifetime on Hennepin Avenue

It was a moment that forever shaped the way I think about street reconstructions. A mom speaking at a public meeting, holding her child, asking the city’s public works department for a street with sidewalk space to push a stroller. Even more than that, she wanted a street designed with aspiration for the future — because whatever we decide today, we’re going to be stuck with it from now until the time her little baby is middle aged.

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Mapping the 10 Landlords Suing the City of Minneapolis Over Renter Protections

There are 10 landlords (spread across 43 legal entities) suing the city of Minneapolis over tenant screening restrictions passed by the City Council last year. The ordinance limits how far back a landlord can look into a tenant’s criminal or eviction history. It also prohibits the use of credit scores or insufficient credit history as a criteria to eliminate prospective tenants.

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