FREE SPEECH ZONE | Mayor Rybak takes the stand

You may have missed it but something interesting happened recently. July 7th, 9:30 a.m. Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak held his hand up, swore an oath to a panel of three judges and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 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. This was at the State of Minnesota, Office of Administrative Hearings, 600 Robert St, St Paul, Minnesota. Continue Reading

Campaigns kick-off for mayor of Minneapolis

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak kicked off his campaign for reelection Saturday morning, and along with 150 supporters, discussed his plans to improve safety, opportunity, education and infrastructure in the city.But his best-known opponent in the mayoral run, DFLer Bob Miller, director of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, has some different ideas about how the city should be run, including decentralizing the power in the mayor’s office.Looking for a changeMiller has been Director of the NRP since 1992 , a program that gathers residents to create goals and strategies to improve Minneapolis’ neighborhoods.As director of NRP for 16 years, Miller is the longest-serving department head in Minneapolis city government. Under his direction, the program has received several national awards.Miller has been an outspoken critic of the city’s new direction with the program, which will eliminate the current NRP body and replace it with a department that answers to the city coordinator.“It’s an expenditure that I don’t think is going to be productive,” he said. “I would look at providing resources to residents for investment in their neighborhood…it’s going to build participation and hope in the neighborhoods and commitment to stay in the city.”The way the city manages its funds is the biggest issue with the budget crisis, Miller said.He said he wouldn’t use the entire Legacy Fund, the city’s internal $40 million endowment, to support infrastructure projects, which Rybak has proposed to do.“I think they should be retaining those dollars to help with the shortfall,” he said. “I’ve managed millions and millions of dollars in resources and done it pretty well.”Miller said he thinks there is too much power in the mayor’s office, and would like to see more power given back to the residents of Minneapolis.He also wants to increase the amount of jobs and companies coming into the city, address the housing situation and establish pre-kindergarten education for children.Miller said he would consolidate several city and county functions to save money, a move he also thinks would improve some functions.Doug Walter, associate director of the Nakomis East Neighborhood Association , said Miller has a “tremendous” understanding of the entire city after working with NRP for 16 years.“I personally don’t think our current mayor has a lot of depth,” Walter said. “He is a great cheerleader for the city, but I don’t think he has the skill set needed to manage a city of this size.”Moving forwardRybak, who took office in 2002, said he’s been through a lot with the city. Continue Reading

2010 governor’s race: Pawlenty, Rybak gain rivals—not counting each other

By Tuesday, two men had tiptoed onto Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s turf. The city’s revitalization chief, Bob Miller, says he’ll run for the mayor’s job next year, the Southwest Journal reported. And on Monday Gov. Tim Pawlenty, citing a U.S. Conference of Mayors’ study for his new economic initiative, made a move on the green jobs territory that Rybak spent years staking out. Miller brought into the open ambitions for Rybak’s office that others likewise harbor, but Rybak is still deciding whether to run for mayor or governor — if his early backing of President-elect Barack Obama doesn’t earn him an administration job offer he can’t refuse. Rybak’s partner in a green manufacturing study last spring was St. Continue Reading

Minneapolis mayor announces plans to review RNC law enforcement

Mayor R.T. Rybak announced this afternoon that Minneapolis would conduct a series of reviews into the Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) actions in Minneapolis during the Republican National Convention, including a standard “after-action report” that will look into related security measures and the development of new policies for dealing with the media. A City Council member who has urged a blue-ribbon, multijurisdictional review said the mayor’s statement was “good” but appeared to fall short of “a public, independent, transparent process.”
According to a statement from Rybak’s office (see pages 1, 2, 3), the police review — which will focus on the Critical Mass ride, the Media Party, the Liberty Parade and the Rage against the Machine concert — will assess police officers’ training prior to the RNC and identify areas for improvement. It will be completed by the end of October. Minneapolis officials will also cooperate with St. Paul in its outside review of public safety, which that city’s mayor recently announced would be conducted by attorneys Andy Luger and Tom Heffelfinger. Continue Reading