Minneapolis Ward 6 Candidate Survey – Special Election, August 11, 2020

Due to a vacancy on the Minneapolis City Council (created by Abdi Warsame’s appointment as executive director of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority), Ward 6 is having a special election. Though the election falls on primary day, it’s not a primary. The winner will fill the rest of Warsame’s term on the City Council through 2021. Election day is August 11. Voters are already casting early and absentee ballots.

A few weeks ago we sent some public safety related questions to all the candidates. We also pestered them with reminders. Five of the 11 candidates responded with answers:

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Minneapolis Council Committee Approves $58 Million in Phase I Budget Cuts

On Thursday, the Minneapolis City Council’s POGO Committee took the first step towards closing a projected $156 million budget shortfall by approving $58 million in cuts across all city departments. A final vote will happen at next Friday’s City Council meeting. To put the cuts in context, the city’s total budget for 2020 was approved last December at $1.6 billion.

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Minneapolis CPED Reappointment Gets Contentious, Despite Unanimous City Council Vote

On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to reappoint David Frank as director of Community Planning & Economic Development. Despite the consensus, the issue managed to spark the most contentious city council meeting of the last two years.

Last Wednesday, the Council heard public testimony on Frank’s reappointment. Some, including the Mayor, praised Frank’s performance; others expressed a desire for the department to do even more to address the city’s racial and economic disparities.

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Minneapolis City Council considers response to proliferation of tobacco shops

[This local news coverage made possible by readers like you.]

Following menthol cigarette restrictions approved by the Minneapolis City Council in August 2017, the number of stores selling menthol cigarettes decreased from 354 to 82. This is according to a staff presentation to the City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee last week.

The city’s updated flavored tobacco ordinance, which took effect in 2018, restricted availability of menthol products to tobacco shops and off-sale liquor stores. According to the city, “These changes are to prevent youth tobacco use, lifelong addiction to nicotine, the negative health effects of tobacco use and the tobacco-related health disparities between white populations and people of color.”

But as a result of these restrictions — with convenience stores looking to recover a lost profit center — the number of tobacco shops in Minneapolis increased from 25 to 52.

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Power Grab Hits Roadblock at Charter Commission

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A plan to alter the composition of the Minneapolis City Council had no support at the Charter Commission on Wednesday. This means the Charter Commission will not take up this issue again. The group behind the proposal will now need to collect and submit the required number of voter signatures if they want to put the charter amendment on the ballot.

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Seward Commons sparks debate about city-financed development in Minneapolis

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The Minneapolis City Council’s most contentious development debate since last year’s comprehensive plan has nothing to do with building height or parking, and everything to do with how it could be financed.

Last Friday, the council agreed to delay a vote to authorize an analysis of whether “tax increment financing (TIF) assistance is appropriate and justifiable” for Bessemer at Seward Commons. The delay was intended to give Ward 6 Council Member Abdi Warsame a chance to be present for an issue affecting his ward.

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Plan to eliminate City Council seats and overhaul district boundaries would empower wealthier, whiter south Minneapolis

March 6, 2018 meeting of the Minneapolis Charter Commission

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On Wednesday the Minneapolis Charter Commission was presented with a proposal to cut the number of city council seats from 13 to 9. The plan would also replace 3 district-based ward seats with at-large members elected by a citywide vote. This would reduce the number of wards (districts) by more than half — from 13 to 6.

Minneapolis City Clerk, and top elections official, Casey Carl, spoke bluntly about the “wealth of research” showing the racist effects of such a radical change to the way voters elect members of the city council.

According to Carl, “research and practice in other jurisdictions” shows that “at-large elections do tend to favor white, wealthier, homeowning, property owning, higher educational status people.”

Carl added: “Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg stated that along with racial gerrymandering… at-large elections are the primary means of diluting the power of the vote and denying equal opportunity for minority voters and candidates.”

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