Election 2021: Minneapolis Charter Amendments, Question 2 (Public Safety)

The debate over what to do about public safety and policing is far and away the most central question in pretty much every other race this year in Minneapolis, including the Park Board races. But it’s also actually on the ballot and Minneapolis residents will be able to vote Yes or No on the question of whether to create a Department of Public Safety to replace MPD.

Here’s what’s appearing on the ballot — both a question, and an explanation:

CITY QUESTION 2 (Minneapolis)

Department of Public Safety

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove the Police Department and replace it with a Department of Public Safety that employs a comprehensive public health approach to the delivery of functions by the Department of Public Safety, with those specific functions to be determined by the Mayor and City Council by ordinance; which will not be subject to exclusive mayoral power over its establishment, maintenance, and command; and which could include licensed peace officers (police officers), if necessary, to fulfill its responsibilities for public safety, with the general nature of the amendments being briefly indicated in the explanatory note below, which is made a part of this ballot?

YES / NO

Explanatory Note:

This amendment would create a Department of Public Safety combining public safety functions through a comprehensive public health approach to be determined by the Mayor and Council. The department would be led by a Commissioner nominated by the Mayor and appointed by the Council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum funding requirement would be eliminated.

I support this amendment, and would vote yes.

Note: the post below includes embedded videos that show (non-lethal) police violence.

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Election 2021: Minneapolis City Council, Ward 4

Facebook is currently down, and has been down all morning, which I approve of in principle but it makes some candidates harder to research. I feel like I can probably do this one, though:

Phillipe Cunningham (DFL-endorsed; incumbent)
LaTrisha Vetaw (DFL)
Leslie Davis (We the People)

tl;dr vote for Phillipe.

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Election 2021: Minneapolis City Council, Ward 9

Minneapolis’s 9th Ward is currently represented by Alondra Cano, who is not running again.

On the ballot:

Jason Chavez (DFL-endorsed)
Mickey Moore (listed as a DFLer on the ballot.)
Al Flowers, Jr. (DFL)
Carmen Means (DFL)
Jon Randall Denison (Social Justice)
Yussuf Haji (DFL)
Brenda Short (DFL)
Ross Tennesson (Republican)

That is a LOT of names, but good news: you only have to worry about a few of them. There’s a candidate forum you can watch on October 7th.

tl;dr vote for Jason Chavez.

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Election 2021: Minneapolis Park Board, District 6

This has been Brad Bourn’s seat since 2009, but he’s stepping down this year. (His Facebook page has a bunch of pictures of his adorable little baby, so my guess is that he wants to spend more time with his family.)

There are four candidates on the ballot:

Risa Hustad
Bob Fine
Cathy Abene
Barb Schlaefer

(I’ll note that there is an Elizabeth Shaffer running in District 4. The Shaffer/Schlaefer thing has been throwing people. Also, Cathy’s last name is pronounced “uh-Benny.” I will be linking to a voter forum where the moderator mispronounces her name a lot, so I just wanted to let everyone know up front how it’s supposed to be pronounced, so that you can cringe along with me if you watch the forum.)

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Election 2021: Minneapolis Park Board, District 4

Having not merely gone down a rabbit hole but temporarily moved into a rabbit warren of Park Board meetings while researching District 3, I feel very prepared to just whip through this one. Let’s see how fast I can get it done.

On the ballot:

Jono Cowgill
Elizabeth Shaffer

A note: Elizabeth Shaffer is running for Park Board District 4, and Barb Schlaefer is running for Park Board District 6, and I’ve seen a number of people stumble over the Shaffer/Schlaefer similarity. There are two separate people, and only the last names are particularly similar.

tl;dr vote for Jono.

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