Day in the Life: May 17
A pretty busy day inside and outside City Hall today. ...After a Department Heads meeting, I went to the meeting of the Midtown Community Works, the public-private group that works together on development, public safety and other initiatives to improve Midtown.
I gave an update, with Rick Collins of Ryan, on the Midtown Exchange project (If you want to see more there is an open house Thursday from 5-7). Work is going well but the real focus right now is the Global Marketplace, to make sure we can raise the money we need to make this the very special place it can be for visitors...but also a place that will create economic opportunity for merchants.
From there I went to the Robbins Kaplan Miller Ciresi Foundation to report on the Agenda for Children and Youth. This is a great foundation that gave us the seed money to start the project.
Next came the Open House at the First Precint...the downtown command. A highlight here was to see how the public safety cameras are monitored from behind the front control desk. From that desk the person can see a series of cameras around downtown and zoom in on activity that is creating a problem. One of the important parts of the cameras is that it helps the police with evidence....so far, according to Inspector Rob Allen....every person who has been arreseted because of a crime seen on camera has pled guilty. This will continue to be a good tool to keep repeat offenders off the street.
Next was a meeting with our lobbyist Gene Raneri about actions at the State Capital, then a meeting with a group of immigrants about police issues, followed by the first meeting of the new Latino advisory committee.
A couple internal meetings and then on to the Healthy City Awards, an evening to benefit the Medicine Clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. The winners this year were V.J. Smith, founder of Mad Dads, and John Munger, founder of the City of Lake Loppet. The money raised helped pay for two social workers at the clinic, which serves uninsured residents of Philips, including many immigrants. Please remember this event for next year...It's a great cause.
Sorry I'm on late...I had a glitch in my home computer. Let's see if we have this right....Please post away. R.T.
Day in the Life: May 4
Today the Hennepin County Board voted in favor of the financing plan for a ballpark. I spoke in favor, saying it is a tremendous opportunity and a sound financing plan. I also said that in this location we can save tens of millions of dollars because all the infrastructure is in place...roads, bridges, parking ramps. Finally, as someone who got to take a bus from south Minneapolis to games at the old Met Stadium, I'm exicted about the fact tha a kid can get to a game at this site by rail on the Northstar Line from Big Lake, by LRT from Bloomington and even on a dedicated bike trail from any of the western suburbs right to the front door.
I've wanted the broadest possible tax so the cost is spread out. The county tax is broader than the previous ideas of a city tax. It's not as broad at the 7 county tax I'd prefer but the best option yet. I would also strongly prefer that we increased this sales tax...certainly to more counties...so it could fund higher priorities, ie. transit, health care, affordable housing, etc....We don't have that yet but I'm going to promise to keep fighting for those higher priorities.
Most people who read the news paper or watch the news will assume I spent most of my time on this today. Acutally I spend about 30 minutes, but this is one of the most frustrating parts of this issue....It so dominates coverage and attention that we can't get attention for other issues.....Friday, for instance, I got a slew of media calls about the ballpark but when I did a joint press conference with the Minneapolis and St. Paul Council Presidents about massive cuts to schools in both cities....no reporters showed up.
I spent much of the morning at the State Capital fighting cuts against transit, education and a really bad proposed set of cuts against local government. This last piece is a proposal from the House that would have espeically hard hits on cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth. Mayor Herb Bergson of Duluth, a great partner, was having a press conference on this up there and we were in contact several times today. Great to have his help. Mayor Randy Kelly of St. Paul testified against it, beginning by saying all the great things St. Paul is doing and then adding something to the effect: "Dont' penalize the smart spenders; Penalize the big spenders" as he launched into a negative, and not all that accurate critique of Minneapolis. I guess the idea was to say not to cut St. Paul and instead cut Minneapolis more. I've very glad that virtually all the Minneapolis and St. Paul legislative delegations, virtually all the city council members of both cities and the Minneapolis Mayor all believe cities should work together in these difficult times.
A great event in early evening...a pre Twins game picnic for Project Success, which works with Minneapolis students by exposing them to live theater and then producing their own works. Project Success works with these students over six years and does a wonderful job of developing a sense of self and purpose in the students. After the picnic, we went out on the field for a pregame presentation that included a group of Project Success students singing from their musical "Sussical" that will be performed June 3 and 4. (Save this same weekend for the kickoff of Mosaic. www.minneapolismosaic.org)