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:

If you live outside Minneapolis:

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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Where is violent crime on the rise in Minneapolis?

I get a lot of crime notifications on my phone (2020 was the wrong year to install the Citizen app). I think it’s warping my perception of crime in my neighborhood. I’m very good at ignoring everything my phone sends at me. Don’t expect me to answer your emails or text messages. But I will read all the crime notifications. If a man is stabbing the McDonald’s drive thru window with a knife, or a car is overturned on Lyndale Avenue, I’m very interested to know.

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Minneapolis Charter Commission acting to stall City Council’s public safety priorities

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Charter Commission voted 8-6 to reject a ballot question that would have let voters decide whether to remove minimum police staffing requirements from the city charter. The vote against this scaled back compromise — which was put forward by Commissioner Giraud-Isaacson — suggests the Commission will likely reject (by delay tactic at their meeting next Wednesday) a ballot question advanced by the City Council. That proposal would allow voters to remove the Minneapolis Police Department as a required charter department and replace it with a new department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

(Worth pointing out that MPD could go on existing for an indefinite period of time even if not explicitly required by city charter. Both of the charter amendments simply give the Council varying degrees of flexibility to withdraw funding from MPD in order to fund public safety alternatives.)

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Charter Commission LIVE Spreadsheet

Just like last week, we’re covering today’s Charter Commission public hearing using the purest form of journalism ever invented — the live spreadsheet.

The previous two hearings were to solicit comment on the City Council’s version of the public safety charter amendment. Today’s hearing is about the Charter Commission’s significantly scaled back alternative proposal. Read about the differences here.

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