Minneapolis/ Community & Society
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Published on April 14, 2024
Minneapolis City Council Focuses on LGBTQIA+ Rights, Rideshare Regulations, and Community Justice InitiativesSource: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Minneapolis City Council is making moves with a marathon policy session that saw action on everything from LGBTQIA+ rights to Uber and Lyft regulations. In a statement obtained by GovDelivery, Councilmember Jason Chavez said, "We passed an honorary resolution on the 50th Anniversary of the 1974 Gay Civil Rights Ordinance." He emphasized the personal significance of this ordinance, marking its place in history as a safeguard for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The council didn't stop there, approving a hefty $17 million contract with Meet Minneapolis for city tourism and convention services, and championing a Pollution Reduction Legislative Directive to tackle the urban environmental justice concerns. Despite the very real "corporate pressure" mentioned in the bulletin, the council stood firm in its decision not to rescind the rideshare minimum wage ordinance, which was notably passed with a 10-3 vote.

Aiming to further tighten regulations on rideshare giants, Council Members Wonsley and Osman have teamed up with Chavez to bring transparency and data disclosure requirements to the forefront. This is in sharp contrast to the administration's approach to a contentious 3000 Minnehaha site, which has become a focal point for community justice and safety. The site, recognized globally following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, could potentially host a voter service center amidst community calls for a space that pays homage to Black culture and serves as a memorial for victims of police violence.

Chavez expressed his reservations about the proposed usage of the Minnehaha space, which would allocate a mere 8,000 sq. feet for community use, akin to "the size of a CVS or Walgreens." His concerns echo those of citizens hoping for a more significant community impact from the development of this location. Further, there is growing tension surrounding the accountability of Smith Foundry, with the city and the State Legislature racing against the clock to address health and safety violations before the legislative session ends on May 20.

On the infrastructure front, the area of Hwy 55/Hiawatha Avenue and Lake Street is set for a much-needed facelift. In addition to the ongoing METRO B Line construction, the area will undergo intersection reconstructions aimed at bolstering pedestrian and bike safety, which is going to put on a traffic crunch from April 17 through October. Minneapolis residents should also brace for the annual street sweeping starting April 16, which comes with a flurry of temporary "No Parking" signs, and potentially, the towing of illegally parked vehicles.

Efforts to enhance community safety also continue, as city staff consult with South Minneapolis residents about the potential services for the proposed South Minneapolis and Lake Street Community Safety Centers. In celebration of National Public Health Week, the Minneapolis Health Department will host a resource fair and Local Public Health Heroes award ceremony on April 17, celebrating individuals and organizations working towards a healthier Minneapolis.

In a push for public engagement, the city calls for input on the capital budget via listening sessions. Northeast and South Minneapolis residents will have their chance to voice their priorities directly. Lastly, as the Stone Arch Bridge goes under repair, locals will need to find alternative routes, with one side of the iconic bridge closed through spring 2025 for preservation work.