Rent Stabilization Not Getting An Honest Analysis in Minneapolis

Back on December 14, the appointed group of volunteers serving on the City of Minneapolis’s Rent Stabilization Work Group completed their work and made a recommendation. Hours later, Mayor Frey delivered his rebuttal: “It’s not happening.” And four months later, Frey’s administration presented a report to the City Council reinforcing his opposition, recommending against enacting any version of a rent stabilization policy. Under our new government structure, even when they’re doing work in service of the City Council’s legislative function, city departments answer exclusively to the Mayor.

The analysis in the staff report is narrow, focusing on competing recommendations from the city’s work group. One side of the work group was made up largely of tenant advocates pushing for a maximal rent control policy. The other faction was tilted towards landlords and developers who recommended a more lax policy. Differences between the two sides’ recommendations go well beyond just capping rents at different percentages. It’s more complicated than that.

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Return of the Corner Store in Minneapolis? Planning Commission Approves First Land Use Rezoning Plan Since 1999

After a nearly four hour meeting Monday night, the Planning Commission voted to expand the possibility for small scale corner stores and offices across large parts of the city. They also passed an amendment to make grocery stores viable by easing square footage maximums. The City Council takes up the issue next.

It’s been a quarter century (1999!) since the city last redefined which land uses are allowed in which places. So testimony at yesterday’s public hearing on land use rezoning took note of the “once in a generation” opportunity. It’s the last big step in bringing the city’s zoning code into compliance with the city’s 2040 comprehensive plan, adopted in 2018.

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Minneapolis Election Forecast: Award-Winning Pile of Money Could Be Dumped on City Hall Again in 2023

prize winning bag of money posing in front of city hall

You might remember “All of Mpls” as the group that sent a glossy photo of our old police chief to your mailbox at an irritating frequency during the 2021 election. A recent email survey sent to Minneapolis residents indicates the group may be back to dump another large pile of money on this year’s city election. And with the mayor not on the ballot, they can focus all their attention on city council.

All of Mpls spent $2.3 million in 2021, with $1.2 million coming from a separate independent expenditure campaign called “Plan for Progress.” Most of the rest of the money was made up of $5,000, $10,000, and sometimes $100,000, donations from wealthy individuals. There are no limits to the money you can donate to an independent expenditure campaign. The money was used to defeat a public safety ballot question, boost Mayor Frey, flip the city council majority to a slate of preferred candidates, and push voters to approve a new strong mayor government structure.

It was a campaign that distracted us with a promise/threat: if you vote the wrong way, say goodbye to your chief. Then the election went their way, and the chief immediately retired anyway.

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Days Since Public Works Director Margaret Anderson Kelliher Promised Full-Time Bus Lanes in the “Very Near Future”

Politicians often talk about “embedding accountability mechanisms” into their legislation, but I have embedded an accountability mechanism right into my website. My hope is that remains a viable website for as long as it takes to get a full-time bus lane on Hennepin Avenue.


Endorsement: Jeremy Schroeder for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 11

Jeremy Schroeder was elected in 2017 and has spent his first term doing exactly what he shouldn’t have: taking a leadership role on difficult issues like housing and zoning reforms and moving towards fixing our city’s broken system of public safety. He’s gotten far less heat for his climate work, such as the city’s sustainable building and energy disclosure policies. He cares about the details and making government work better.

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Wedge Fest is October 2!

Join us this Saturday, October 2, 2021, from 2 to 6 pm for the first (annual?) WedgeFest! We’ll be at the south side of Mueller Park (2500 Bryant Ave S), somewhere in the grassy area.

WedgeFest is a celebration of authentic Wedge culture, hosted by Wedge LIVE, and soon to be known as our area’s largest root beer festival. This year’s WedgeFest will feature as many as dozens of varieties of root beer, from store brands to fancy brands. It’s also a chance to meet local candidates running for mayor, city council and other offices.

Cats are encouraged. Please bring root beer to share. The first 50 attendees will receive a limited edition WedgeFest button.

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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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:

If you live outside Minneapolis: