In the February 12th City Council meeting, two Council Members stood up for the residents of Minneapolis by doing the unthinkable - insisting on being able to see the final amendment they were sending to a public hearing in only 6 days.
This proposed charter amendment to develop a new Department of Public Safety to replace the Minneapolis Police Department, could not be produced. It was not ready yet (some may refer to that as "half-baked"). According to the defunders (Fletcher, Cunningham and Schroeder) there were still some finishing touches being devised on a "technical" point that... wait for it... removed the language that defines a 3-year term for the Chief:
Sure enough, here is what we now have: a Police Chief that reports into a "Public Safety Department Commissioner" (the Mayor has no oversight) with no mention of term.
In addition, there is now NO MINIMUM head count on our police force, we could have 2, 200, 600 - who knows? They assure us "The department of public safety must include a law enforcement services division. This division must include licensed peace officers, who will perform law enforcement services, and may include others who support those services."
The experiment we are currently under - with only 638 active sworn officers - sure has had results. In 2020, we had 82 homicides (+71%), 551 gunshot wound victims (+105%) and 405 carjackings (+301%). The new year is off to a terrible start, even in subzero weather. We can not afford to have vague proposals, we need solutions right now.
Kudos to Council Members Goodman and Palmisano. Here was CM Palmisano's statement regarding the vote NO in the City Council meeting:
“Today in the regularly scheduled City Council meeting an amendment to a charter change proposal was introduced with no advanced notice. Neither the charter proposal, nor the amendment to it, are available to the public.
Council Member Lisa Goodman and I voted no on this invisible proposal. We cannot in good faith support something that is being hidden from the public.
This amendment, brought forward by the authors of the proposed public safety charter amendment, was introduced as “non-controversial” and “technical in nature.” Despite those claims the authors produced zero language about this amendment and attempted to pass it via unanimous consent. This follows weeks of Council Members raising concerns that the authors have yet to produce any official language about their proposal.
Today’s attempt to blindside Council Members was purely political and speaks volumes to their lack of desire for actual collaborative strategies around transforming public safety in our city. These authors had ample opportunity to engage their colleagues, and the public, in advance of today’s council session.
Following their failed attempt to rush through an undrafted amendment, to their own proposal, those same authors cried foul that today's action would delay their proposal so much that it wouldn’t make it to this year’s ballot. These authors had ample opportunities to put forward a complete proposal and as of last week signaled to the public it was ready; by setting a public hearing. Changing an invisible proposal, to an invisible amendment, after a public hearing is already set, is a disservice to residents whom we are asking to engage in this work, and we cannot, and should not, support that.”