Steve Fletcher, 3rd Ward Council Member – October 16
Ward 3 Friends –
This election is important, and I’m encouraging everyone to vote early. Learn about all of your options at https://vote.minneapolismn.gov
Here’s my voting story:
I’ve voted in every election since I was eligible except one. One year, a close relative had a medical emergency the night before election day (we thought at the time it was a heart attack), and my wife and I rushed out of town to the hospital.
Luckily, he was OK. Also luckily, the election I missed on that harrowing day was a primary without any competitive races in my district. I still didn’t like the feeling of missing my chance to vote. I would never risk missing this election.
I always used to vote on election day. Now I vote early, so that if the first week in November doesn’t go as planned, my vote will still be counted. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should be prepared for things to not go as planned.
I voted by mail this year. It was easy, and I received confirmation within three days that my vote has been received and will be counted. It’s a great option!
What’s your voting plan?
City Council Approves $3 Million Investment in Low-Barrier Housing
This year, the COVID pandemic has deepened the crisis of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in our city, and the City Council has received urgent pleas from across the city to do everything we can to address this crisis.
Last month, I shared info in my newsletter about an initiative called Indoor Villages, a pilot project that was created to meet the urgent need to for shelter and supportive services for people in Minneapolis experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Today, I’m pleased to share that the City Council approved a little over $3 million in funding for low-barrier, supportive housing, including nearly $2 million in CARES Act funds for operations for the Indoor Villages project, to be operated by Avivo.
The Indoor Villages project will be a low barrier shelter for people experiencing homelessness. The model is unique in that it will be comprised of 100 tiny shelters located inside a warehouse building. Each resident will have their own individual living space. The program is intended to create a safe, secure and service-rich environment where residents can connect with wrap-around services designed to connect people to permanent housing.
The City Council previously approved the use of CARES Act Emergency Solutions Grant funds for a 50 bed culturally specific shelter for Native Americans, a 30 bed women’s shelter, and a 30 bed medical respite shelter.
We also authorized a loan of up to $1.25 million from the Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) Preservation Fund to Avivo to support the acquisition and preservation of two properties with 103 transitional housing beds, and another 10-unit NOAH property.
We know that these projects alone do not match the scale of the crisis, and there are many more people who will still face a lack of shelter with winter approaching. We will continue to work with Hennepin County and the state to provide shelter for everyone in our community, and encourage the creation of more low-income housing across Minneapolis.
MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative Seeks to Decrease Violence in City
The City of Minneapolis is piloting a new initiative to decrease violence with “violence interrupters” on the streets in neighborhoods now. Outreach workers for the MinneapolUS Strategic Outreach Initiative de-escalate situations before they become violent, support behavior change for people at the highest risk for violence and help communities heal. By identifying and interrupting conflicts and working to promote community healing, the initiative is intended to break the “contagious” aspects of violence such as retaliation.
The interrupters wear bright orange “MinneapolUS” t-shirts highlighting the initiative’s purpose: to address the root causes of violence together as a community. The Minneapolis Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention initiative complements existing outreach organizations’ work already on Minneapolis’ streets, employing a specific approach built on the idea that violence is a public health issue. This approach is rooted in the power of Minneapolis communities. At the same time, it draws from strategies like Cure Violence, which has been effectively implemented across the globe.
New Community Safety Page on City Website
City staff have created a new page on the City’s website to gather and share information on our efforts to reimagine and transform Community Safety, as we committed to do with our resolution in June.
The new site can be accessed from the City’s homepage, or directly using this link:
The content on that page is just the beginning — staff are hard at work on a much more expansive version that will consolidate content from across the City, including plans, reports, data, visuals and other materials related to this high-priority work. That should be ready very soon, so keep an eye on that page for more, soon.
Community Meeting on Surveillance Technology and Facial Recognition — Thursday, October 22
This summer, I introduced ordinance work to increase transparency and accountability in the City’s use of surveillance technology, in partnership with the ACLU of Minnesota and other privacy advocates. As part of that work, today, I introduced a separate ordinance to address the use of facial recognition technology.
On Thursday, October 22 at 5pm, I will be co-hosting a public forum to share information about the policy options under consideration, take questions with a panel of experts, and hear your input on the use of facial recognition and other surveillance technology in our city.
You can RSVP for the event on Facebook here.
You can learn more about this effort and the coalition advocating for it at https://postme.mn/.
My community office hours are now at 5:00 p.m. on Thursdays on Microsoft Teams or by phone. Drop in to ask questions, discuss any issues you see in the community, or just have a chat with your neighbors.
Thursday, October 29, at 5:00 P.M.
Thursday, November 5, at 5:00 P.M.
Thursday, November 12, at 5:00 P.M.
Click to join in Microsoft Teams or by phone: 612-276-6670, 933 303 746#
Anyone can join a Microsoft Teams web meeting. A free software download may be required, depending on how you join the meeting (computer, Android or Apple device).
If you have questions or a topic to discuss, please email Mikayla.Smith@minneapolismn.
Election Day is November 3: Make Your Plan to VOTE
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. Early voting began on September 18, and more than 90,000 voters have already cast ballots! The City has issued more than 155,000 requested ballots out to voters.
ALL Minnesota voters are encouraged to vote by mail this year, but you can still vote in person, either early or on Election Day. Voting early can help people avoid lines and crowds at polling places on the day of the election.
Early Vote Locations
Now through Monday, November 2:
Opening on Tuesday, October 27:
The hours for these locations will be as follows:
Vote By Mail
Staff recommend that you apply for a ballot no later than 14 days before Election Day. This gives you the best chance to get your ballot in the mail and still have time to mail it back or drop it off.
Return your ballot in person
Locations open now through Election Day:
These nine additional locations will open on Monday, October 19:
Hours are available on the Elections & Voter Services website here. Important items to remember when returning your ballot:
Return your ballot by USPS (postal service)
Use the postage-paid envelope to return your ballot. We recommend mailing your completed ballot back at least 7 days before Election Day to ensure your vote counts. Your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (November 3) and received in the mail within 7 days (by November 10).
Return your ballot by package delivery service (UPS, FedEx, etc.)
You may also return your ballot using a service of your choice. You will be responsible for any additional charge. Please note: If you return your ballot using a package delivery service, your ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day (November 3).
For more information, go to https://vote.minneapolismn.gov
Free COVID-19 Tests and Flu Shots Coming Up
The City of Minneapolis is offering free COVID-19 tests and flu shots. All are welcome. You do not need insurance for the test. The flu shots are covered by insurance. If you have insurance, bring your insurance card for the flu shot. If you don’t have insurance, the flu shot is free.
You can expect to get your test results in about two business days.
City Seeking Comments on Proposed Rules, FAQs on Freelance Worker Protections Ordinance
Earlier this year, the City Council passed and Mayor Frey signed into law a Freelance Worker Protections ordinance to help prevent the exploitation of freelance workers, including many self-employed entrepreneurs who work as independent contractors. Under the ordinance, businesses that hire certain freelancers for their work in the City of Minneapolis must confirm their agreement in writing. This is an ordinance I spent a lot of time on with my colleagues in collaboration with the City’s Workplace Advisory Committee.
The City of Minneapolis has drafted frequently asked questions and rules documents to provide general guidance to freelance workers and those who hire freelancers about their rights and responsibilities under this ordinance, which takes effect January 1, 2021. Public comments about the clarity and substance of information in the FAQs and rules documents can be submitted online, and are due by December 31st.
For more information about the freelance worker protections ordinance, visit the City’s website at http://minimumwage.
Neighborhoods 2020 Next Steps and Timeline
Now that the public comment period has closed on the Neighborhoods 2020 draft program guidelines, the Neighborhood & Community Relations Department is reviewing the 244 public comments received and creating a summary. The comments and summary will be available on the Neighborhoods 2020 webpage before the City Council takes action.
By voting on the program guidelines before the budget, the City Council can discuss the funding needed to implement the program as designed. Over the next few weeks, NCR will send out more information as it becomes available.
Find City Council meeting calendars, agendas and decisions on the City of Minneapolis’ Legislative Information Management System (LIMS).
University Ave & 4th St. SE Resurfacing Next Week
Minnesota Department of Transportation crews will resurface University Avenue and Fourth Street between I-35W and Central Avenue in Minneapolis.
Motorists should watch for lane closures between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, Monday, Oct. 19 through Thursday, Oct. 22. The lanes will reopen each day after work is complete.
The bike lanes and parking areas will be closed. Bicyclists and motorists will have to share the road during resurfacing.
3rd Ave. Bridge Scheduled to Close in January
MnDOT also continues its work on refurbishing the Third Avenue Bridge.
The bridge will close in early January so crews can replace the driving surface and make other repairs. The bridge is scheduled to reopen in November of 2022, and the project will be complete in spring of 2023.
Residents can learn more about the project and the bridge at two virtual open houses next month.
To register and learn more about the project, please visit the project web page: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/
Online Community Meetings for Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network
Learn more about the new Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network by attending online community meetings, or share your input and suggestions through this online survey. The network will include electric vehicle charging hubs and a new electric vehicle car sharing service powered by renewable energy and available to community members. Input received from the community will help shape the design of the service.
Online community meetings To join an online meeting, please RSVP before the event at www.stpaul.gov/EV. Both meetings will be recorded and uploaded to the project website if you can’t attend.
Additional insights from community members will be collected through an online survey through Nov. 13 at www.stpaul.gov/EV and through engagement activities hosted by local community organization partners.
The Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network (TCEVMN) is a project being developed by the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, HOURCAR and Xcel Energy. The EV mobility network is anticipated to launch in 2021.
More information can be found at www.stpaul.gov/EV.