Support the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership on December 10th

Update: The Minneapolis City Council voted 13-0 on December 10th to restore the full $150,000 for the Clean Energy Partnership into the final 2015 budget.  The City of Minneapolis adopted Goals and Strategic Directions back in March which reads “We sustain resources for future generations by reducing consumption, minimizing waste and using less energy.”This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Restoring the full funding for the Clean Energy City-Utility Partnership in the city budget this Wednesday will be a great step toward that strategic direction goal. City Council took an unexpected 7-6 vote on December 1st to cut the Clean Energy City-Utility Partnership budget in half from $150,000 to $75,000, before its board meets for the first time early next year.  Already, hundreds of community members have voiced their support for the Partnership, and called on the Council to restore this cut because they realize the following:Minneapolis residents and businesses spend $450 million annually on electricity and gas, and national research shows that at least 30% of our energy use is preventable waste. This Clean Energy Partnership is a long-term effort to move tens of millions of energy dollars annually back into the pockets of Minneapolis families and businesses, while creating local jobs with a special focus on neighborhoods suffering the worst effects of energy poverty. This Partnership has the potential to transform energy management for Minneapolis energy consumers enough to meet very aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and produce very significant savings to Minneapolis residents and businesses.  These benefits could amount to tens of millions of dollars per year. We don’t want to nickel and dime this work.  Important Opportunity! Take Action!We have a chance to restore funding for this crucial investment in long-term energy prosperity for the city’s residents and businesses! Continue Reading

Minneapolis and utilities establish unique “Clean Energy Partnership”

On Oct. 6 a public hearing took place at City Hall to review tentative utility franchise agreements reached between the City of Minneapolis and utility companies Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy. The agreements, if approved by the Minneapolis City Council on Oct. 17, would set in motion a first-in-the-nation, public-private “Clean Energy Partnership.” Proponents said the partnership between the city and utility companies would aim to meet the city’s goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and make energy more affordable, reliable, efficient and renewable, as laid out in the city’s 2013 Clean Action Plan.Franchise agreements are negotiations to determine conditions in which private utility companies can use public property to provide services in the community. Fees are negotiated and paid by utility companies to the city, in exchange for the use of public right of way, such as streets and alleys.The previous franchise agreements between the City of Minneapolis and utilities were made 20 years ago, and are set to expire at the end of 2014; the agreements mostly covered public right of way issues. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Dismissal of Lawsuit for a stadium vote in Minneapolis appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court

         On July 16, 2013, I filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court to enforce a provision of the Minneapolis City Charter that requires a referendum for the use of more than $10 million in “city resources” to build and operate a professional sports facility. In May 2012, the Minneapolis City Council, on a 7 to 6 vote approved Article 3 of the Stadium Act, a piece of special legislation which authorized the City to impose local option sales taxes to raise money for the Vikings Stadium project. The local sales tax revenues will be used to repay $150 million in state issued appropriation bonds for construction of the stadium, plus at least $7.5 million dollars per year for capital and operating funds.        The City attorney argued that the sales tax revenues were not “city resources,” and even if they are, the legislature can enact laws that over-ride the City Charter.  The Stadium Act, Article 3, section 4, states that the sales tax revenues are deemed to not be “city resources” within the meaning of any law or charter provision that requires a referendum. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | A party insider’s take on the Minneapolis DFL Convention

*The following post reflects my own opinions and has not been revised, approved, or endorsed by any campaign, committee, or party officer.Last summer I was asked to run to fill a vacant director spot on the Minneapolis DFL Executive Committee. I had never attended a city DFL meeting, but I knew it would be a great way for me to get more involved in citywide politics this side of the river. After a brief speech to the Minneapolis DFL Central Committee, I was asked instead to run for the vacant role of Outreach Officer. I don’t know how long the position had been vacant, but the only other person who volunteered to run for an Executive Committee role was uninterested in being the Outreach Officer. I said, “OK,” and I was elected with the Central Committee understanding I was new to Minneapolis politics but willing to learn and work hard. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Civilian oversight of police and attempts at satire

Oh, the perils of attempting to be satirical. Twenty-two months ago I posted a letter I had sent to the Minneapolis City Council, asking them why they kept apppointing incompetent or delusional people to the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) board. I had written that the board members must have been one or the other because 1) they kept sustaining citizen complaints alleging police misconduct, but the Chief of Police regularly disagreed with their findings; and 2) they seemed to think the Chief would discipline officers against whom they sustained complaints. Incompetent or delusional, maybe both. I thought my letter was satire. Apparently, the City Council did not agree. Last September, the CRA was replaced by the Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR), which has two separate citizen boards. One is the Police Conduct Review Panel, from which two citizens are selected to make recommendations, along with two police officers, on each complaint. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | With deafening silence, City Council fails to reappoint Dave Bicking to Civilian Police Review Board (CRA)

Original article from Twin Cities Indy Media Submitted by smiley on Fri, 04/02/2010 – 12:06 Despite widespread community support and a history of fighting for better police accountability, Dave Bicking failed to be reappointed to the CRA at the April 2nd City Council meeting.  Dave Bicking was seeking a 4-year term to the board that deals with issues of police accountability and investigates complaints against the Minneapolis Police Department. For his dedicated work, Bicking has the support from over 314 community members who signed a petition online or offline. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 1st, the council listed four names for recommendation for the open spots: Arlene Santiago, Dean Kallenbach, Pramma Elayaperumal, and Mary Pargo. These candidates included two of Mayor Rybak’s pre-emptive choices. Dave Bicking was absent from this list along with other qualified candidates who also applied for the open positions.Free Speech Zone The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Continue Reading

Minneapolis council members call for investigation of RNC police

Minneapolis City Council Members Gary Schiff and Cam Gordon issued a call this afternoon for an independent investigation of police actions during the Republican National Convention (RNC). Read their full statement below the jump. Today’s call follows two earlier statements on RNC policing statements from city council corridors in Minneapolis and St. Paul. On Tuesday, Gordon and City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden decried police intimidation that chills free speech and called on authorities to provide a safe space for political expression. Continue Reading