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Advocacy Update 8-23-2021 Tags: Government Affairs

Minneapolis Residents to Decide on Three Ballot Questions  

The city of Minneapolis met an August 20th deadline to turn in any and all ballot questions. State statute sets the deadlines. The following three ballot questions were submitted by the deadline. The questions are Government Structure, Public Safety, and Rent Stabilization.  

Government Structure  

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to adopt a change in its form of government to an Executive Mayor-Legislative Council structure to shift certain powers to the Mayor, consolidating administrative authority over all operating departments under the Mayor, and eliminating the Executive Committee? 

Yes _______ No _______ 

Public Safety 

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to strike and replace the Police Department with a Department of Public Safety which could include licensed peace officers (police officers) if necessary, with administrative authority to be consistent with other city departments to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety? 

Yes _______ No _______ 

Authorizing City Council to Enact Rent Control Ordinance 

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to authorize the City Council to regulate rents on private residential property in the City of Minneapolis, with the general nature of the amendments being indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot? 

Yes _______ No _______ 

The public safety question will be the most contentious. There are now two fully organized campaigns, one that is in favor of the change and one opposing. Yes4Minneapolis is in favor of the public safety change. ‘All of Minneapolis’ has registered a PAC, been fundraising, and running ads opposing the public safety ballot question. Ballotpedia has updated stats about both groups here 

The ballot language authorizing the city council to enact rent control is simply about whether the public authorizes the council to develop, propose, and pass a rent control policy. The question itself for November 2021 does not actually contain a policy or cap amount. Policy details, repassage and another round of ballot approval would all occur in future years beyond 2021.  

By contrast, in St. Paul, the ballot question in St. Paul for November 2021 proposes a 3% cap with no exclusions or pass throughs. The St. Paul question does allow each individual housing provider to appeal their need to make a ‘reasonable rate of return’ to the city council on a case-by-case basis but there is no guarantee. Beyond, that there are no other exclusions. Minnesota Multi-Housing Association and a coalition of partners will be campaigning against ballot questions in St. Paul. The St. Paul Association of REALTORS® will be messaging against the measure as well.  

Finally, as a reminder the entire thirteen-member city council and the mayor are up for election in Minneapolis for 2021. Seventeen people have filed to run for mayor. Fifty-eight candidates have applied for city council. There are two councilmembers not seeking re-election. They are Lisa Bender and Linea Palmisano. Minneapolis Area REALTORS® takes and active role in contacting candidates, soliciting surveys, and discussing local issues with candidates. That effort is underway right now. Final decisions on supported candidates will be shared when available.   

Brooklyn Park Special Election

Last week Brooklyn Park held a recount of the ballots to elect their next Mayor. The results of the recount show that City Councilmember Lisa Jacobson received two votes more than Hollies Winston. MAR endorsed Hollies Winston in this special election. The intent of seven ballots were challenged during the recount process, which will be resolved by the Brooklyn Park City Council on August 23rd at 6:30 PM. A link to view the results can be found here.