“Strong Mayor” Label Won’t Fix Weak Mayor Problem

I have tweeted a variation of this sentiment countless times over the last several months:

Because this sad/confusing/hilarious joke occupies space in my brain at all times, it’s becoming my own personal conventional wisdom. But 2021 is more complicated than your average city election year. I’m a little concerned that people don’t get it. I’m worried a “strong mayor” charter amendment will end up on the ballot with some bland, inoffensive title like “government structure amendment” and people might vote for it.

In Minneapolis, the mayor has authority over the police department. As candidate, and soon-to-be Mayor, Jacob Frey explains in the above video from 2017: “That’s the mayor’s job. The police report exclusively to the chief, and the chief reports exclusively to the mayor.”

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52 Minneapolis candidates registered by DFL caucus deadline

DFL endorsement season begins April 1 with a month-long caucus process. There are 52 Minneapolis candidates (for 25 city offices) who registered by yesterday’s caucus deadline. Four candidates missed the deadline and were added later. This is a party endorsement process and does not affect a candidate’s ability to register for and appear on the ballot in November.

If you’d like to participate in the endorsement process, which includes the opportunity to become a delegate, you have three ways to register: online, by text, or by voicemail. The Minneapolis DFL is touting it as “the most accessible in Minneapolis history.”

Noteworthy items:

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2021 Candidates for Minneapolis Board of Estimate & Taxation

Editor’s note: In the months since this was first published, Christa Moseng has withdrawn her candidacy after taking a job that precludes her from engaging in political activity.

Pine Salica is the new Wedge LIVE endorsed candidate for Board of Estimate and Taxation.

There are two directly elected members of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation. This is an obscure body of city government whose most noteworthy function is setting the maximum property tax levy that can be collected by the city to provide services that residents rely on. Other members of the BET are these four elected officials: the Mayor, the City Council President, another Council representative (traditionally the Ways & Means chair), and a Park Board representative.

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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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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/