Letter To Elected & Appointed Leaders: Safety & Livability
Our community needs your leadership to become and remain healthy. Yes, neighborhoods across South & North Minneapolis have a wide range of assets. This includes rich cultural diversity, vibrant traditions and businesses, and a welcoming spirit to folks at different points of health in their life. And yes, these assets exist alongside well documented disparities across areas where large populations of people identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). These have been described at length by designations like the Minneapolis Promise Zone, Federal Opportunity Zones, and the Metropolitan Council’s ACP50.
In the coming weeks, months, and years, we need your help, will, and commitment to support and fully fund solutions that significantly reduce disparities. These changes are needed across the criminal justice system, unemployment, housing ownership, healthcare access, and persons experiencing homelessness to name a few. PPNA believes our community’s health, livability, and safety are tied together. The lack of adequate structural investments to reduce disparities in communities with significant BIPOC populations not only helps maintain centuries of inequities but ensures neighborhoods like Powderhorn remain under-resourced to navigate existing or new challenges. This is certainly the reality today.
Residents, business owners, community-based organizations, are all sounding the alarm about the growing needs across Powderhorn. This includes the need for immediate solutions that can ensure fewer people become victims of violent crime, which is on the rise. PPNA is calling on elected and appointed leaders to align on and communicate a coordinated response that meets immediate needs. Currently, the association is aware of numerous residents who feel they are being left to figure out their own solutions to prevent violent crimes or disrupt perceived illegal drug transactions and persons being prostituted. Community members need a plan that at minimum answers the following:
What approach and funding can disrupt and prevent illegal activity on a block-by-block basis?
How can community-based groups and organizations that support various forms of outreach aid this aspect of the plan?
What message, direction, and training can the City provide to ensure resident-led block groups function inclusively, remain aware of implicit bias, and in a manner that does not jeopardize any person’s physical safety?
How can services within the Department of Public Works be increased to support current needs?
Can community insight drive the deployment of traffic calming tools, increased lighting, and residential parking restrictions at no incremental costs to residents or businesses?
Can the framework that anchors the Great Streets Program in Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) be adapted across other departments, namely Public Works, as a means to ensure adequate resources are deployed to specific City blocks and corridors?
Can the Mayor, City Council, and MPD align on a statement affirming the current role of MPD?
Does elected and appointed City leadership recommend that residents call another number other than 911 in case of an emergency?
What message, direction, and guidance can elected and appointed City leadership provide regarding when a resident should or should not contact 911?
Can the County and State work together to improve existing diversion programs and resources?
What evidence-based results exist around current utilization of diversion programs and resources accessible through various Treatment Courts?
Can access to stable, accessible, and viable housing options become a fully funded and essential resource provided to anyone who enters into a diversion program?
PPNA understands the current tools and resources available to improve the health, livability, and safety in our community over the next 60 days, will and should look materially different after the next 365. There are numerous reasons for this belief, including the current review and conversation regarding the role, extent, and approach to policing in Minneapolis.
As one point of insight into this regard, PPNA is administering a rolling one-question five-part survey related to improving community health. The question centers around the role of MPD. The question measures degrees of agreement on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The two-parts of the question with the greatest degree of alignment include:
93.7% of respondents strongly disagree that “No changes to MPD are necessary to improve community health.” When including those who responded disagree, the percentage increases to 95.27%.
[Note: 126 of 127 respondents answered this part of the question]
79.37% of respondents strongly agree to “Reduce the role that MPD plays in current oversight of livability and safety by adding investment in non-lethal response and service organizations.” When including those who responded agree, the percentage increases to 92.07%.
[Note: 127 of 127 respondents answered this part of the question]
Within your leadership roles, we need your support to devise and communicate a strategy to support community health, livability, and safety now, and in the future.
This open letter includes requested action from the following elected leaders:
Mayor Jacob Frey City of Minneapolis
Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo City of Minneapolis
Council President Lisa Bender City of Minneapolis
Council Vice Pres. Andrea Jenkins City of Minneapolis
Council Member Alondra Cano City of Minneapolis
Council Member Kevin Reich City of Minneapolis
Council Member Cam Gordon City of Minneapolis
Council Member Steve Fletcher City of MinneapolisCouncil Member Phillipe Cunningham City of Minneapolis
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison City of Minneapolis
Council Member Lisa Goodman City of Minneapolis
Council Member Jeremy Schroeder City of Minneapolis
Council Member Andrew Johnson City of Minneapolis
Council Member Linea Palmisano City of Minneapolis
Chief Judge Toddrick Barnette MN Fourth Judicial District