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ENEWS: Yes 4 Minneapolis, Build Back Better plan, and G & J 20th Anniversary

Date Published: 09/16/2021

Author: Erin Wilson

Following the Yes 4 Minneapolis charter amendment  

While many of you are likely already knowledgeable about the Yes 4 Minneapolis charter amendment, here’s a quick summary and explanation of what’s happening (as well as articles to send to those who aren’t familiar with it). The amendment would create a question on November’s ballot asking voters if they would like to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety, which would “aim to take a more comprehensive approach to public safety” and would host several types of public health professionals, a Minnesota Daily article explains. Two lawsuits have been brought against the ballot language and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has vetoed the language twice, but city council members recently approved updated language. The MN Daily article says the current question states a note saying, “The department would be led by a commissioner nominated by the mayor and appointed by the council. The Police Department, and its chief, would be removed from the City Charter. The Public Safety Department could include police officers, but the minimum funding requirement would be eliminated.” Read the full explanation in the MN Daily article linked above, or for further explanation, check out this article from MPR

Yes 4 Minneapolis is also asking Minnesota’s high court to step in concerning efforts to take the question off of November’s ballot. This request came amid a lawsuit that hopes to block any inclusion of the amendment on the ballot “until a plan exists to implement the new department of public safety,” the Star Tribune reported. Read the full version of this article for more information about conflicts over the ballot language. 

The White House’s fact sheet on affordable college and housing 

This article from the Minnesota Daily details a fact sheet released by the White House in July on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which included strategies for making college more affordable and building more public housing. 

“The American Families Plan, specifically, includes plans to make college more affordable for students. The White House said it aims to make community college completely free for all students. Biden also said he wants to increase the value of the Pell Grant from $6,495 to nearly $8,000. Finally, the White House said it would provide funding for all Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other “Minority Serving Institutions.” The plan did not include specific details on how the legislation will be paid for,” the article reads. 

The plan also aims to encourage getting rid of “exclusionary zoning” (redlining) and create up to 500,000 units of public housing across the U.S. Read more about this in the article linked above. 

Growth & Justice turns 20 in 2022!

We're starting to make plans for G & J's 20th anniversary celebration in Spring 2022 (with a heaping serving of policy discussion on the intentional and necessary intersection of growth & justice if Minnesota and all Minnesotans are to thrive sustainably). What better way to inform ourselves and others on issues in a key election year, too! Please share your ideas for programming and if you would like to help with planning by emailing jane@growthandjustice.org. We would also appreciate your financial support for this special event!  

TRUE Tuesday anniversary edition 

And speaking of anniversaries, the Transforming Rural Understanding of Equity (TRUE) Partnership is celebrating one year of TRUE Tuesdays! On September 21 at 2:30, they will host a session reflecting on the past year of sessions, introducing new TRUE partners, collecting input on topics for upcoming sessions, and discussing the future of the partnership. You can read more and register at this link. 


“Supporters argue that the new Department of Public Safety could prioritize public health approaches to safety. That could mean doubling down on programs like the ones currently run out of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention. Supporters also envision a more targeted approach to public safety, for instance, calling mental health professionals into some situations instead of armed police. Most supporters envision a department that includes licensed and armed police officers. That said, the exact structure of the new department, and the day-to-day work, would need to be figured out by the City Council if the amendment passes.” — “The Yes 4 Minneapolis charter amendment, explained,” MPR

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