After criticism, Minneapolis eases proposed rules for neighborhood groups

By Miguel Otárola - Star Tribune - April 23, 2019 -

Facing backlash from neighborhood organizations, Minneapolis officials will recommend scaling back a proposal that would have cut off city funding to groups deemed unrepresentative of their communities.

Late last week, the city released hundreds of public comments about Neighborhoods 2020, an initiative that would fundamentally change the way the 70 neighborhood associations look and operate once their current source of municipal funding runs out next year. Under the proposal, organizations could have lost out on city money altogether if they didn’t have boards that were demographically representative of their neighborhoods within 18 months.

After taking in the feedback, the city will loosen deadlines for neighborhood associations to diversify their leadership boards, said David Rubedor, director of the city’s Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) department.

Racial diversity and participation from renters in neighborhood groups has historically lacked, with the city only meeting 33% of its “owner vs. renter” and 50% of its “people of color” goals last year. In their comments, many groups urged the city to remove that requirement, claiming boards would seek people of color just to meet a quota and lead to tokenism of minority board members.

“People wanted to reach that goal but ... they weren’t exactly sure how,” Rubedor said. “We’ve taken that in and [are] looking at more of a progressive approach.”

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