“The political realities we face at the State and Federal level mean that cities will be counted on, now more than ever, as the driving force for progressive change.”
Four years ago said I would work to build a more progressive, prosperous, sustainable, and connected city. I listened to your hopes about a safer city for everyone, for a more connected city through better transit, for a focus on affordable housing and equity initiatives, while keeping an eye on city services and property taxes.
And this is what we’ve done together:
- I am proud that we’ve expanded our Affordable Housing Trust Fund and passed a minimum sick time ordinance to ensure that if you work in our city, you won’t risk losing your job if you become ill. And we’ve worked with the Department of Justice to improve how our police do their work, and increased funds for public safety.
- One of my first acts in office was to set new rules of engagement around tear downs and residential redevelopment. We gained approval for sixteen zoning code changes, improving consideration for neighbors and increasing housing reinvestment across the city
- We’ve achieved a definitive plan for improved transit in West Calhoun. We now have a 20 year investment plan set in place for both our parks and our roads to increase maintenance and repair faster than we were doing before, while avoiding a costly referendum. Finally, we’ve rolled out compost collection service to residents across the city, and set ambitious goals for multi-family housing and commercial waste collection.
“The next few years won’t be easy. We face real challenges. I’m energized as we begin 2017 to witness so many people exercising our right to free expression by speaking out and assembling in protest of hate, racism, bigotry, xenophobia and misogyny.”
This is what I plan to work on in the coming years:
- I will continue to advocate for renters, holding bad landlords accountable and expanding access to affordable housing.
- I will continue my work as a government watchdog, ensuring that tax dollars are spent efficiently and government services are deployed in an equitable and efficient manner.
- I will work to protect and support our Muslim, immigrant and refugee neighbors through community-building and our Sanctuary City status.
- I deeply value the need for everyone to be able to earn a living wage. To do that, I support a pathway to a minimum wage increase.
- We must do all this while maintaining our focus on and innovating core city services like public safety, public works, and parks.
Protecting Public Safety
Linea has worked to ensure our police force is at the budgeted headcount of 860 sworn officers. As a member of the Public Safety, Civil Rights & Emergency Management Committee, she pushes for funding and recruitment of new sworn officers in the Police Department and promotes hiring practices that can improve the diversity of our force. Additionally, Linea supports policy and work practices that improve the relationships and trust that our officers seek with those they serve.
Invigorating City Audit Function
Recent audits in the news highlight the importance of ensuring the wise use of our tax dollars. As the Chair of the City’s Audit Committee, Linea led a detailed review and revision of the City’s internal audit function and its processes. We now have a wider scope of what audit can do, and we have attracted top talent to lead the department. This rebuilt function will enhance our ability to manage risk, optimize efficiencies, reduce costs and strengthen accountability within the City enterprise.
Managing Airplane Noise
We all know that MSP airport is integral to our local economy, yet the noise impact on Southwest Minneapolis continues to be especially frustrating. Linea supported filling the city Government Relations Representative position with an experienced staffer who is dedicated to working on airport issues. As a member of the Minneapolis Airport Working Group, Linea and her staff have lobbied the Metropolitan Airports Commission and Federal Aviation Administration, and participated in the Airport Working Group and MSP FairSkies Coalition, to lessen the airport’s impact on 13th Ward residents and businesses. Linea presses MAC and FAA leaders to adhere to the Runway Use System (RUS) that is designed to use runways to send planes over less populated areas that have land use more compatible with air traffic, thereby reducing departures and arrivals over Minneapolis. She has also lobbied to reduce late night and early morning operations and noise from cargo planes, and has encouraged the Met Council to include a more robust review of the health and environmental impacts on adjacent residents. She also continues to oppose implementation of Area Navigation (RNAV) departure tracks, a navigation method that results in planes taking the same narrow paths consistently.
Maintaining Neighborhood Integrity
Living next to residential construction sites in Southwest Minneapolis has unfortunately sometimes been very difficult. Linea worked hard to pass the Construction Management Agreement, which detailed the expectations of developers doing work within the City and encoded 25 regulations, such as requiring contractors to meet with neighbors before construction starts and to post a sign outside the property during construction, listing an address and contact information. This agreement has been praised as causing a “night and day” improvement when it comes to residential construction. Linea also sponsored a Toolkit for Neighbors of New Construction, a guide for those living near residential construction projects. She successfully pushed for zoning changes addressing height and setback and other issues that will better assure that new homes fit within the character of the neighborhoods.
Building Southwest Light Rail
Linea voted with the majority to grant municipal consent for Southwest Light Rail because she believes we need to continue building a transit network, and Minneapolis needs to be at the table in these discussions. As Vice-Chair of the Transportation and Public Works Committee, Linea focused on maximizing the benefit of Southwest Light Rail for city residents. The southwest segment is the next step in giving our entire region a better transit system, and it can be designed to serve our urban neighborhoods if strong transit connections are made to our region’s urban core. Linea also co-authored measures to protect our City’s environmental resources in this corridor.
Designing West Lake Multimodal Transportation
The intersection at Lake Street and Excelsior Boulevard, west of Lake Calhoun, is one of the highest-traffic corridors in the city and remains a real challenge to bikers and pedestrians. The potential to have a Southwest LRT stop located here has brought much needed attention to the area. Linea and other stakeholders will lead a Multimodal Transportation Study to assess opportunities to improve safety, access, connectivity, and mobility for all modes of travel surrounding the West Lake Station area, with an emphasis on bicycles and pedestrians. Making our streets safe, inviting and accessible for all users is critical for those who live there, for those who rely on that corridor for transit, and for those who use our city lakes.
Promoting Safe Bikeways
There is growing interest in Minneapolis to create more protected bikeways, which are areas for bicycles physically separated from motor vehicle traffic. Off-street bike trails are the most common type of protected bikeways. However, protected bikeways may also be located along street corridors as long as they are separated from traffic lanes by parked cars, curbs, medians, flexible traffic posts, planters or other vertical features. Linea supported amendments to the Bicycle Master Plan to establish a network of protected bikeways in the near term and to achieve 30 miles of new on-street protected bikeways by 2020. In the 13th Ward, Linea worked with Public Works staff to extend the Upton Avenue bikeway from 50th Street south to 62nd Street, then east to Penn. This will enhance the existing bicycling grid, create a connection to Richfield, and offer a calmer alternative to cycling on north-south arterial streets.
Making Clean Energy Partners
Linea supported a first-of-its-kind Clean Energy Partnership with city utilities to help make energy affordable and reliable for everyone while increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases. In renewing the City’s franchise agreements with its utilities, policy will be made by a joint committee of energy company decision-makers and our city’s Council Members and Mayor, and will be shaped by Minneapolis’ Climate Action Plan. This partnership will consider ideas such as increasing residential and business use of energy-efficiency and renewable-energy programs to help consumers control energy costs and reduce greenhouse gases, supporting the development of renewable energy in the city and in Minnesota, and exploring ways for the City to reduce its own energy use and increase its use of clean and renewable energy.
Implementing Organics Collection
Linea was a strong supporter to implement City-wide curbside organics (compost) collection. The significant lead time to order and receive new trucks and the importance of conducting a public educational campaign contributed to the decision to employ a two-phase (August 2015 and spring 2016) roll-out of organics collection. In August 2015, Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling is starting the city’s new curbside composting pickup for residential customers. Rollout for the entire city should be complete by spring 2016. The new program is an opt-in system that will include many items that are not recyclable and not able to be composted in conventional backyard compost piles.
Salvaging Construction Waste
As we take a big step forward environmentally with the introduction of city-wide curbside compost collection, we continue to grapple with what happens to our city’s construction and demolition waste. What can we do to divert construction materials, such as the Douglas fir framing from our area’s older homes, from the landfills? Linea has been looking at ways to expand the City’s relationship with deconstruction service provider Better Futures Minnesota and seeks to pilot local residential deconstruction projects to gather information. Investigating the next-life opportunities for these salvaged materials locally is the key to developing this initiative. Linea also requested that the city’s Department of Community Planning and Economic Development study of possible incentives related to sustainable construction and demolition of residential development.
Preserving Urban Forest
One of the elements of the residential zoning code that Linea made sure to address was protection of trees. Under the old residential development “points system,” builders could clear cut all trees on a property but still get a point toward their design if they planted one new tree in the front yard. Under the new code, builders will receive four points if the total diameter of trees retained or planted equals three caliper-inches per thousand square feet of the lot. Because this is a much higher bar to meet with only new trees, builders will have greater incentive to retain old growth trees across our city.
Supporting Working Families
Linea supported the Working Families resolution to address some of the biggest issues facing Minneapolis workers. Linea helped pass earned safe and sick time and wage theft prevention in Minneapolis, a stakeholder engagement process that includes workers and businesses, recommendations for studying the effects of establishing a regional and local minimum wage, and strategies for gaining regional and state support.
Combatting Sex Trafficking
For the last year, Linea has served on the Juvenile Sex Trafficking Work Group. The group received input from Minneapolis police that it was important to deter demand as a key component of preventing trafficking of juveniles. Minneapolis successfully lobbied for a new state law making it a felony to solicit any person who the defendant reasonably believes to be under the age of 18 for prostitution. The new law also allows law enforcement to conduct sting operations using adult police investigators to pose as underage victims through on-line ads, text messages and the like.