2014: A Look Back at Mayor Hodges’ First Year

When I think back over Mayor Betsy Hodges’ first year in office, it’s mostly a blur. I remember the bitter cold on the day of her inauguration ceremony; I recall the sorrow on Valentine’s Day morning when five young children died in a fire; I remember celebrating outside City Hall when we learned we won the Super Bowl; and I still think daily of the community members who shared their struggles with us at public forums and protests, through letters and emails, through the news media and on social media.

I smile when I think of the intelligent and talented team she surrounded herself with, whom I have been lucky enough to work with, and I laugh when I think about some of the more interesting events we experienced, like Comic Con and meeting Garth Brooks.

As I looked back to try and compile what we did during the first year, I realized it would be impossible to capture everything. Instead, I offer for you this year in review.

We were lucky to spend a lot of time out and about in the community, for celebrations, events and more.

  • Met incredible women from the Death to Life healing group
  • Door knocked to get out the vote with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC)
  • Cut the ribbon for the Cookie Cart re-opening
  • Joined the Teamsters Local 120 for the Remember 1934 Picnic
  • Became a bone marrow donor for Be the Match; kicked off the annual Run/Walk
  • Attended dozens of events including Uptown Art Fair, Tour de Camden, FLOW, Camden Farmer’s Market, and more
  • Joined Mayor Coleman for a national day of recognition in honor of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members
  • Attended the Minneapolis Brag Week Improv Comedy Show hosted by the Theater of Public Policy
  • Proclaimed October 8, 2014 as Latino Heritage Day
  • Hosted a regional Racial Equity Convening with Mayor Coleman, including community leaders from across the region
Cookie 1

Cookie Cart Ribbon Cutting

Door knocking with NOC

Door knocking with NOC

Tour de Camden

Tour de Camden

Death to Life Healing Group

Death to Life Healing Group

Minneapolis Brag Week Improv Comedy  Show at the Theater of Public Policy

Minneapolis Brag Week Improv Comedy Show at the Theater of Public Policy

Back ceremony with local Hmong leaders

Baci ceremony with local Hmong leaders


One of Mayor Hodges’ major priorities is making our city more sustainable as we work to become a Zero Waste Minneapolis. On this front, there was a lot to celebrate.

Touring the Eureka Zero Waste Lab

Touring the Eureka Zero Waste Lab

Sustainability Round Table

Sustainability round-table at Tiny Diner

Signing the Clean Energy Partnership

Signing the Clean Energy Partnership


We spent a lot of time and energy working on improving public safety and police-community relations. There is still a lot of work left to do.

National Night Out

National Night Out

National Night Out

National Night Out

Minneapolis Police Department cadet graduation

Minneapolis Police Department cadet graduation

EMT class at Roosevelt High School, first Minneapolis Fire Department Explorer class

EMT class at Roosevelt High School, first Minneapolis Fire Department Explorer class

We Win Institute at a Public Safety forum

We Win Institute at a Public Safety forum


Together, we worked to advance civil rights and advocate for justice.

Fast Food Strike

Joined CTUL at the Fast Food Strike

Protest of the Washington football team name

Protest of the Washington football team name

Fast for Families press conference for immigration reform

Fast for Families press conference for immigration reform

Mayor Hodges focused on our youth as a place to reduce violence, improve outcomes, and increase equity.

Cradle to K Cabinet Press Conference

Cradle to K Cabinet Press Conference

Dr. Josie Johnson Day Celebration

Dr. Josie Johnson Day Celebration

Minnesota Urban Debate League

Minnesota Urban Debate League

Mayor Hodges and Cara, her Step-Up Intern

Mayor Hodges and Cara, her Step-Up Intern

Reading to children at a Minneapolis Public School

Reading to children at a Minneapolis Public School


Minneapolis Urban Scholars


La Creche Early Childhood Center Graduation


2014 brought many moments of celebration about the success and growth of Minneapolis, while presenting more opportunities for economic development and inclusive growth.

  • Hosted business listening sessions as part of Streamline Minneapolis efforts to review licensing and business regulations
  • Applied for a Promise Zone application, including one of the largest gatherings of stakeholders around equity
  • Hosted and celebrated the first ever Best Week of Bragging About Minneapolis Ever, raising the visibility of Minneapolis
  • Included funding in the 2015 budget for the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal
  • Led the Racial Equity Policy Work Group established by the City Council
  • Completed the Somali 100-Day Plan, which included a meeting with Somali women entrepreneurs
  • Included funding in the 2015 budget for two new positions in the City Coordinator’s office to focus exclusively on the City’s racial-equity work
  • Broke ground on the new Vikings stadium and Downtown East development
  • Won the 2018 Superbowl bid
  • Hosted a successful MLB All-Star Game, bringing thousands of visitors to the city
  • Won the Final Four bid
  • Celebrated hitting $1 billion in building permits in August, much earlier than in previous years
  • Secured funding from the state legislature for Nicollet Mall renovations; included final funding from the City of Minneapolis in the 2015 budget
  • Assembled and met with the Somali Advisory Council to focus on issues affecting the Somali community
Business listening session at Holy Land

Business listening session at Holy Land

Somali women entrepreneurs

Somali women entrepreneurs

Watching the MLB All-Star Game Parade

Watching the MLB All-Star Game Parade


We also saw major progress in our efforts to expand transit options and keep our city running smoothly.

Dinkytown Green opening celebration

Dinkytown Greenway opening celebration

Opening of the Green Line

Opening of the Green Line


Mayor Hodges celebrated the typical milestones and built a solid foundation for the future.

Mayor Hodges and the City Council at inauguration

Mayor Hodges and the City Council at inauguration

Spencer Cronk's swearing in ceremony

Spencer Cronk’s swearing in ceremony


In addition to all the work, there were a lot of fun and exciting moments we never quite expected.

Minneapolis Comic Con

Minneapolis Comic Con

Egart Run for Girls Health

Egart Run for Girls Health

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

First Lady Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama

All in all, it was an exciting, challenging and rewarding first year. Here’s to 2015 and the many milestones yet to come!


A few days before the November 4th election, I took a photo with an organizer while doorknocking to get the vote out. In that photo, the organizer and I pointed at one another (after, it has often been remarked, an awkward moment of set-up). A local news station ran a story that the pointing of our fingers constituted gang signs, that the photo undermined the morale of the officers in the Minneapolis Police Department, and that participating in the photo constituted poor judgment on my part. The head of the Minneapolis Police Federation — the union that represents Minneapolis police officers — made a comment publicly to that effect. He said, “She should know better” and asked, “Is she on the side of the cops or the gangs?”

As one of the two people pointing in the photo, I’ve tried to understand what the head of the police union thinks I should do, or not do. There seem to be four options.

First, maybe the head of the police union would like me to stop pointing altogether for the safety of the community. If that were truly his concern, that my pointing constitutes gang activity, then his outrage would have been sparked long, long ago. Because as the internet has documented in great detail, I point. I point a lot. Lots of people point. The President. Bill Clinton. Stephen Colbert. Babies. It is the earliest form of human communication.* I’m not going to stop pointing.

That option doesn’t make sense.

Second, maybe the head of the police union wants me to refrain from being in the presence of people whose criminal history I don’t know. In other words, maybe the head of the police union doesn’t want me interacting with the public. When I meet people, I don’t know if they have ever been arrested for or convicted of embezzlement, or domestic assault, or shoplifting, or murder, or burglary, or driving under the influence, gun or drug possession, or too many parking tickets. I have no way of knowing, nor do I ask. Frankly, if I did know that someone had a criminal past, it wouldn’t prevent me from talking with that person. It certainly wouldn’t prevent me from working on a Get Out The Vote drive with that person. That’s the kind of mayor Minneapolis chose.

That option doesn’t make sense, either.

The third option may be that the head of the police union doesn’t want me standing next to young African American men. One frightening implication of the KSTP story and police union President Delmonico’s support of that story is their implicit assumption that I should use stereotypes to assess with whom I should or should not meet or stand or talk. As The Onion once satirically wrote, “Stereotypes are a real time saver.” It is not a good basis for decision-making, however. It blunts the humanity of the person making the judgment and creates unnecessary separation between two people in a world where more, rather than less, human connection is needed for us to move forward as a community.

This is yet one more option that doesn’t make sense.

Which leaves one final option. It could be that the head of the police union wants me to stop working to raise the standards of police culture and accountability. It could be that he objects to the community policing and relationship-building measures that I am acting on, and attempted to use this non-story to discredit this work.

I share the public’s speculation that this is the real option.

If that is the case, he has failed on two levels. First, the people of the internet have called out this story over and over with outrage and humor, shining the light of day on the ridiculous premise on which it was based.

Second, and more significantly, I am undaunted in my commitment to making sure that police–community relationships are as strong as they can be. I am undaunted in my desire to support and develop police officers who serve respectfully and collaboratively every day to keep people safe and make all our neighborhoods stronger. I am undaunted in my plans to increase accountability for consistent bad actors in the police department.

Let me be clear on this final point. There is a critical difference between our good officers who have a bad day on the job, and officers, however few, who have a standing habit of mistreatment and poor judgment when relating to the public, particularly people of color. I am as concerned with the negative effects of this conduct on the police department as a whole as I am with its effects on our community. I am convinced that we can change it, even if it takes years.

If the fourth option is correct, my commitment to this work means that the head of the police union or other detractors will pitch more stories that attempt to defame that work and its leaders to various media outlets. So be it. I know the charge that I have been given by the people of Minneapolis and by my own conscience. I will continue to follow that charge.

*UPDATE: My apologies to The Daily Show, whose research was instrumental to my understanding of pointerology. “The President. Bill Clinton. Stephen Colbert. Babies. It is the earliest form of human communication.”

My commitment to public arts

This past week a one year change in my proposed budget has raised questions about my commitment to the arts. I know that for Minneapolis to be a thriving, growing city our arts and our creative culture are key components to our success. That’s why I have proposed significant new investments in the arts for 2015 and beyond, and why I have ensured investment in public art moving forward. I am and will continue to be a strong supporter of the arts in Minneapolis.

The new and continued investments are in on-going support for our creative vitality. In fact, my 2015 budget includes funding for new initiatives such as Creative City Making, the completion of a Creative City Index, and funding for a Creative Economy Study and Report. The arts and our creative economy are important to me personally and for the city’s future. These initiatives will support the expansion of the arts in the City in addition to funding for public arts.

So why are people under the impression that I have ceased supporting public art? I believe first, because I made decisions about cash flow that have been interpreted as lack of support and second, because I have not done a good job communicating those decisions. For the latter, I apologize. I will do my best here to explain them.

In the big picture, the City of Minneapolis has a Five Year Capital Improvement Plan that includes planning and resources for Arts in Public Places. Every year decisions are made about what projects the Arts in Public Places program supports in the near and long term and the mayor and council ratify those decisions. Those decisions are used as a guide for allocation of bonding authority. Bonds are not tied to any specific project, however. While the Five Year Plan and our plans for bond issuance are related to one another they do not depend on one another. For example, bonds that we issue in 2015 might be used for projects prioritized in 2011 for which bonding authority was set aside. There is a limit to how many bonds the city can issue in any given year. That means if we authorize but don’t issue bonds this year, we are foregoing other opportunities for public investments that are paid for with bonds, including streets and bridges.

Through the end of October, the City had only utilized $115,709 of the $605,000 made available in the 2013 budget and none of the 2014 budget of $480,000. This leaves $890,000 in funding available from now until the end of 2015. These funds are sufficient to provide for any needed resources through 2015, and likely into 2016 when an additional amount of $545,000 is planned to be added to the program.

Bond authority and how to manage that cash flow are distinct from our planning activities, however. The AIPP Committee has done great work proposing a vision for public art and a long-term plan for making it real. That plan is still our guide, and those projects will be made real. Cash flow for the program and support for the program are distinct from one another, and I am committed to seeing the plan through. That’s why I have made sure increased bonding authority is included in the proposed five year financial direction for the city. We can proceed with the plan we have, and continue to plan for the future, knowing that the $545,000 of bond authority not proposed in this budget will be available in future years. We will be able to make real the plans we have in place now and for the future. I am committed to matching resources with the need to execute these plans – including continuing the commitment of 2% of overall bond allocation to support the plan.

To recap: the only implication of a one year pause in bond authority for public art is providing an opportunity to allow utilization to catch up with available resources and ensure that resources will be available in the future. For now and the foreseeable future, all of our plans for public art investments and planning remain steady as she goes.

Why did I make that choice? If we authorize bonds this year that we know we will not use for arts this year, we will be asking taxpayers to forego resources that would pay for street and bridge repair while simultaneously asking them to pay taxes for bonds for arts that we will not use this year. Since we have the resources needed to move forward on our public art plan, I decided to make sure we could move forward on other fronts as well.

This is a complicated issue to explain, and I realize that more information on the front end could have prevented unnecessary concern about the future of public art funding in Minneapolis. Please know I am and remain committed to arts funding as a crucial part of what Minneapolis needs to grow and thrive.

Our clean energy future

Today marks a new era in how Minneapolis can work on achieving its clean energy goals. With the passage of new franchise agreements with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy, and the creation of a City-utility Clean Energy Partnership, Minneapolis is forging a new path to work jointly with the utilities to address one of the greatest challenges we face – climate change.

This would not be possible without the tireless advocacy of members of our community that have kept the issue of our energy future on the forefront. Because of your efforts, we now have a groundbreaking platform to work on ensuring that as our city grows, our impact on the environment doesn’t.

So, what’s next for the Clean Energy Partnership? City and utility staff are already working out important details, such as a two-year work plan and the formation of the Energy Vision Advisory Committee. Our goal is to hit the ground running in early 2015 for the first meeting of the Clean Energy Partnership. As we begin our work, the continued involvement of our community matters and will bring accountability to make sure we reach our goals. Please stay tuned.

IMG_4822 IMG_4827 IMG_4828

An open letter from Mayor Betsy Hodges to the communities of Minneapolis

Thank you for the open letter of September 26 that you sent me. I welcome the series of respectful, thoughtful requests about how to move forward together and I very much appreciate the constructive ideas that you have put forward. I was encouraged to note that text accompanying a request for signatures on the letter referred to the letter’s “pragmatic approach” to “improved police–community relations,” calling it “something that we can all get behind, so we can get onto the same page and work together for a better Minneapolis.”

I thank you for your commitment to that goal. I share it wholeheartedly.

Allow me to begin with my vision for Minneapolis.

My vision for Minneapolis is of a city where every harmful gap in outcomes that are worse for people of color than for white people is eliminated. Every one of them.

My vision for Minneapolis is of a city whose growth includes everyone and every community, not just some communities.

My vision for Minneapolis is of a city that runs well for everyone and every neighborhood, not just some neighborhoods.

The three pillars of this vision — eliminating gaps based in race and place, growing inclusively, and running the city well for everyone — guide me every day.

Running the city well for everyone means making sure that every resident of Minneapolis feels safe and is safe, in every neighborhood. Hundreds of police officers serve respectfully and collaboratively every day to keep people safe and make neighborhoods across our city stronger. But not all do: some officers abuse the trust that is afforded to them, and take advantage of their roles to do harm rather than prevent it. Minneapolis has, and has had, officers like that. These officers do not represent a majority of the department, but their behavior disrupts community trust for all officers in the community. When left unchecked, their behavior fosters a culture inside the department that gives a shove downward to police and community relationships. When that culture exists, good cops face even more hurdles to fostering a positive culture and bad cops have even more room to maneuver, and the downward spiral continues. This is why it is so important to check bad behavior and end it, once and for all.

Every leader must acknowledge that this history and this culture in Minneapolis have made the goal of true community safety a challenge to reach. We must also acknowledge the pain and anger in community about it. If part of our community does not feel safe calling the police, if people do not report a crime or come forward as witnesses because they do not feel safe in relationship with the police, then nowhere in our city, and none of us, is safe.

This is why over many years, including eight years on the City Council, I have worked to improve police accountability and police–community relations. I have fought to strengthen civilian review of police misconduct and to create accountability measures for police chiefs that include racial equity, the incidence of misconduct, and effective discipline. While on the City Council, I voted against the reappointment of former Chief Dolan, based on issues of community relationships and management. I called publicly for early intervention systems for cops, and for the legal and contractual authority to impose stronger sanctions on officers who engage in misconduct. And as mayor, I have proposed to invest several million dollars next year and beyond to improve accountability and trust. My budget puts our money where my and our city’s values are.

Below is the vision and platform for police accountability that has guided my work over time, and guides me as mayor. It reflects my values, my history, and my determination to eliminate racial disparities, to transform the parts of police culture that perpetuate disparities, and to continue to build a department that looks like our city and is responsive to and respectful of all our cultures and communities.

My vision and goals are to:

  • Partner with Minneapolis schools, community-based organizations and others to actively recruit a diverse and engaged pool of applicants for Police Department positions.
  • Make sure that the criteria that we use to hire new officers and form Community Service Officer, Cadet, and Police Recruit classes reflect our community’s deeply-held values around public safety and respect, among others.
  • Not tolerate racist speech and actions on the force.
  • Support the Chief’s work to enforce that expectation and build community trust.
  • Improve the Police Department’s early-warning systems to identify and help officers address problems before they turn into officer misconduct.
  • Strengthen the City’s ability to track and punish poor conduct and proven patterns of misconduct, including by negotiating changes to the contract with the Police Federation that will make it easier to enact appropriate discipline swiftly.
  • Improve citizens’ and police officers’ ability to file complaints about misconduct without reprisal.
  • Charge and empower City staff to work with the police and the community to increase positive relationships and root out systemic problems.

This has been for many years the core of my views and actions about police accountability. Last year, I was the one who put these issues at the center of the campaign for mayor, and I had the privilege of engaging with people in communities across our city about them for a full year. And since January, when I have had the privilege of serving as mayor, I have been able to work every day on closing gaps and increasing equity, including by making significant investments in the City’s budget to accomplish that goal. Honest and healthy police–community relations, a police force that looks like our community, and conduct that rises every day rises to our collective standards, is at the heart of making Minneapolis a truly equitable city.

As I said earlier, your letter offered constructive ideas that I am pleased to respond to and build upon below.

Culture change in the department

The letter asked that “drastic steps be taken to address the culture within MPD that leads to negative police/community relations.” As I have said, I agree that culture change is essential. It will help end the disparities and behaviors that hold community, and all of us, back. It will encourage and bolster the many positive actions and attitudes that a majority of police officers already bring to the work. Culture change will turn a downward spiral into a virtuous cycle. Even though by definition, culture change is long-term work, we must act on the urgency that we feel now to bring it about.

Chief Harteau herself — as a woman and a person of color who has made a career in the Minneapolis Police Department, who once won a discrimination complaint against the department and won changes in policy and training as a result, and who has risen against long odds to set many firsts in leading the department — knows from deep personal experience about the urgent need for culture change. I support the chief who shares our commitment to and vision for it.

Below are some of the steps that are already in progress to create culture change, in the areas of community accountability, training and people. While there is more to be done, and I welcome your feedback on that score, these measure mark a strong commitment to change.

Accountability to community

Body cameras for officers. I am proud to support body cameras for all officers: they are an essential tool for holding officers accountable for their behavior, making corrections when necessary, and building community trust. When there are questions about an interaction, a body camera can exonerate or indict either party, and evidence from other cities bears that out. For this reason, I have proposed spending more than $1 million over the next two years to purchase and implement them, keeping a campaign promise that I made.

Below, I will provide more details about the status of body cameras, and will respond to the letter’s request for community input on them.

Firing officers who do not meet our standards for their behavior. Since becoming chief less than two years ago, Chief Harteau has fired six officers for misconduct, These are officers who have not met our city’s standards for behavior. This is a remarkable number for such a short period, especially considering that firing officers for misconduct is very challenging legally and contractually. But it is good for community and it is good for the hundreds of officers who do their jobs well every day. I support the Chief’s firing officers when their behavior warrants it.


Chief Harteau has required training in Fair and Impartial Policing for every member of the Minneapolis Police Department. This training teaches officers how inherent biases can affect decision-making and strengthens their skills to do their jobs in an unbiased and impartial manner. She has also required training for commanders and supervisors on how to help officers develop practices of accountability.


Commitment to a department that looks like our community. Currently, the Minneapolis Police Department is slightly over 20% sworn officers of color, including Chief Janeé Harteau and several of her top command staff. That percentage is higher than it has ever been — and it is not nearly good enough in a city that is 40% people of color. I am committed to increasing dramatically the percentage of officers of color. To that end, I have committed about $1 million more per year on an ongoing basis to hire more community service officers (CSOs). In recent years, classes of CSOs have been 50% people of color or more, and they have proven one of the best pipelines for people of color to become sworn officers.

Community policing. I have also committed $1 million more in next year’s budget to support community policing, which is centered around building personal relationships of trust that foster respectful behavior and interactions. To support this goal, Chief Harteau has restructured police patrols across the city to get officers out of cars and on foot in community.

Officers’ treating residents as they expect family to be treated. In Chief Harteau’s first two months as chief, she instituted her MPD 2.0 initiative, which is a stem-to-stern revamping of standards of conduct, training and accountability in the department. In meetings that every sworn and civilian employee of the department was required to attend, Chief Harteau personally laid out her expectation that Minneapolis police officers operate by one guiding principle in every encounter with the public, no matter how seemingly small: “Did my actions reflect how I would expect a family member to be treated?”

These are among the steps to create culture change that are already underway. There is more to do, and your input and ideas are essential: I encourage you to share with me your ideas for how we can support, amplify and improve on this work.


The letter also asks for “an audit of MPD by a credible, third-party entity to review departmental structure, the effectiveness of internal affairs and the civilian review process, along with departmental policies.”

This is a request that we have taken to heart. In the fall of 2013, in response to the community, Chief Harteau asked the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) of the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct an independent review of the Minneapolis Police Department’s oversight and discipline process. The goal of the review was to improve standards of police accountability, better manage police oversight and discipline, and prevent misconduct. The independent review process began in January of this year, during which OJP conducted in-depth interviews with 23 community stakeholders — half the total of those interviewed — along with elected officials and leaders in law enforcement, and reviewed department policy and history.

Following a 9-month-long review process, the Department of Justice previewed their draft findings to City leaders and community stakeholders earlier today.

OJP noted several strengths in our police department:

  • Chief Harteau’s realigning and reorganizing the department is moving in the right direction, and is shifting department culture toward accountability and transparency.
  • Increased collaboration between residents and police is improving the police conduct review process, and bringing more accountability and transparency to it.
  • The department’s new community-outreach strategies are starting to prove effective.
  • There is alignment around these goals between elected leaders and department leadership that is unique among cities of our size.

OJP stressed that it takes time in any police department for changes like these to take root in the department and be felt in community.

At the same time, OJP found that the most commonly reported types of officer misconduct are lack of respect, unprofessional language or tone, and lack of cultural competence and sensitivity.

The draft recommendations are that MPD should:

  • Develop a new, prevention-oriented Early Intervention System, in partnership with community, for officers who show signs of going down the wrong path, and provide a broad range of interventions.
  • Strengthen coaching for officers about their behavior and integrate it with the new Early Intervention System.
  • Heighten transparency in the complaint process, and make more data about it available to community.
  • Improve community relations by integrating model practices into community policing and expanding community engagement.
  • Improve communications about the police conduct and oversight process.

The next step is that the Department of Justice will take the feedback that they heard from community stakeholders earlier today and will return with final recommendations in 4-6 weeks. Once we have received those final recommendations, we will begin the process of working with stakeholders to implement them.

Quarterly progress reports

The letter also requested “quarterly progress reports to the community on issues such as increasing diversity within MPD, the rates of low-level arrests, the number and types of police misconduct complaints, and the number of police misconduct lawsuits being settled along with dollar amounts.”

This is a good idea, and I am pleased to commit to regular reporting on these or related issues. We are doing our homework to determine what information is currently available. I commit to giving you an answer in a month about how we will move forward, and welcome concrete suggestions about content and format.

Input on body cams

The letter also asked for “community input about policies, implementation and practices about officer body cameras by MPD.” This is another good idea that I would like to implement. Allow me first to provide an update on the current status of officer body cams.

Last month, the City Council and I approved contracts with two vendors to purchase police body cameras for the testing and evaluation phase of the body camera project. The pilot is expected to begin in November and last at least six months. It will allow us to select one vendor as well as gather information needed to ensure effective implementation of the full program, starting in 2015.

The department is in the process of acquiring the cameras and installing the supporting hardware and software. The 36 officers from the First, Fourth and Fifth Precincts who have volunteered to participate in the test phase will receive training for these new devices and software before the pilot begins. The standard operating procedure is also being developed and will be made public. Chief Harteau will present on status and plans for body cams to the Police Conduct Oversight Commission (PCOC) on October 14, just before one of our upcoming community forums.

Going forward, we will work with community to establish an input and engagement process that would begin once we have collected and are ready to review the data from the pilot program. Those data are what will be used to create policies and procedures for the full roll-out of the program, and community input at the stage will be the most effective and have the most impact.

In the meantime, I welcome your comments and feedback. My email address is betsy@minneapolis.org and my phone number is (612) 673-2100.


Finally, the letter asked for an apology from Chief Harteau or me for her not attending the last forum, and for language she used to describe her decision. On September 26, Chief Harteau offered an apology, saying, “When I described my decision not to attend last week’s listening session, I have learned some people were offended by my comments, and I apologize for them. As a Chief of Police who has worked for decades to help make our city stronger, it was never my intent to imply anything less than my full respect for all of our City’s diverse communities, and the great value that they create every single day in Minneapolis.” I welcome these words to the community, and know that the Chief intended no offense.

Steps in progress

To summarize, these are the steps in progress:

  • Body cameras
    • Pilot program to begin this fall
    • Standard operating procedure being drafted, to be made public
    • Chief Harteau presenting to PCOC on October 14
    • City Council to vote in December on Mayor’s proposal for $1 million in funding
    • Community input on data from pilot program
  • Department of Justice audit
    • Receiving stakeholder feedback on draft recommendations for implementing early-intervention system, better officer coaching, greater transparency, enhanced community engagement and improved communication
    • Final recommendations delivered in 4–6 weeks
  • Community policing
    • Underway; City Council to vote in December on Mayor’s proposal to fund more officers for community policing
  • Fair and Impartial training for officers
    • Underway
  • Quarterly progress reports
    • Draft outline of content and format within one month
  • Hiring officers that look like community
    • Ongoing
  • Chief empowered to fire officers who do not meet standards for behavior
    • Ongoing

Now the work continues. I know that the recent conflict is partly about the police chief’s not attending a forum or the language she used to talk about it — and I know it runs deeper than that. It is about the hurt around other incidents involving police and community in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. It is about a history in this department of sometimes harmful police-community relations that I have worked to improve for years, and that now, as mayor, I am determined to shed as we move forward into something new and better. It is about the people — mothers and fathers, neighbors, and children — that we all know who have suffered from this history. It is about communities made less safe as a result. It is about Rodney King, about Trayvon, about Ferguson, about deep outrage and sorrow that we have all felt. It is about the deep inequities in our city, and about who we choose to be as a community in response to it. It is about all of us.

I have outlined above many of the tools that I have as mayor to make the change we all wish to see regarding the police department. These tools include the platform that has guided me for years. They include the investments I have made in my budget and the progress that we have made on several fronts this year. They include the will, skill, and talent of hundreds of police officers who do want to do right by the community. They most especially include community: the progress-focused ideas you have communicated, the grassroots energy and ideas you have shared with me for many years, the resiliency and determination to build better relations and a better city. We have much of what we need to move forward together.

In short, we share a common goal, and we share the will to get it done.

In addition to sharing the goal and the will, I also ask that we share good will. If you see me, or the chief of police, or anyone else in a position of responsibility, taking steps with which you disagree — steps that you think will not work as intended, or may unintentionally set us back — I invite you to assume first that I have misunderstood or made a mistake along the road to the goal that we all share. Out of that assumption, I invite you to approach me first in that spirit of good will, connection, and conversation. I offer the reaching out of my hand, an open ear, and an open inbox as a way to the outcomes that we all want to see. As mayor, and as a human being, it is my intent to assume good will and common purpose in you. I invite you to assume the same in me.

Thank you for your thoughtful letter and your deep commitment, which I share, to the city that we all want. Together we can, and will, create a stronger Minneapolis.

Betsy Hodges

10-8-14 Open Letter from Mayor Betsy Hodges to the communities of Minneapolis

Proposed budget investment: growth

Last month I shared with you my proposed budget investments in public safety. These investments help us move the dial on running the city well, while also advancing equity. Those are two of the three goals I focus on each and every day. The third goal I focus on is how to grow our city.

My budget delivers on all three of these goals, with intentional and deliberate investments. Budgets are where we get to have the most impact on our goals and priorities, where we get to deliver on what we voted for. This week I’d like to share with you a bit about my proposed budget investments in growth.


As we grow as a city, we must ensure there is an adequate supply of affordable housing for families, particularly larger families. My budget invests 1 million more city dollars into affordable housing, with the intention of using it to leverage state dollars and spur investment into family housing.

The foreclosure crisis hit our city hard and we are still seeing the impacts today. Minneapolis already has down payment- and closing-cost-assistance tools in place to help promote home ownership in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. To that tool box, I am adding an initiative that will specifically connect qualified residents from communities of color with those tools in order to move them into home ownership, and to rebuild community wealth in north and south central Minneapolis.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs

As we promote growth, we need to make sure that everyone can participate in our city’s growth. For years, the City has invested in low-interest loans and other tools for small businesses. I propose investing additional resources in our Business Technical Assistance Program, a groundbreaking strategy where the City contracts with local non-profit organizations focused on entrepreneur training and economic development to provide direct services to new and existing businesses. It expands its scope of work to support initiatives that link women and minority owned businesses with buyers. This effort will also contribute to the city’s goals of increasing diversity in our own procurement practices. At the same time, I propose adding an additional position to the Contract Compliance Unit in the Civil Rights Department.

Nicollet Mile

Perhaps one of the most exciting upcoming projects is the redesign of Nicollet Mall into Nicollet Mile. This project will provide an economic boom for the entire state of Minnesota. The State Legislature and Governor have invested in this project, as has the downtown business community. We as a city are doing our part, and my budget includes the promised $3.5 million to fully fund an investment that will bring additional dollars, jobs, and economic vitality to our city.


A key element of any successful 21st-century city is a 21st-century transportation system. Not only does it make us more attractive to the increasingly large population of people who want to live without cars, it also helps guide and plan our development and growth. Minneapolis has made great strides in recent years to catch up with our peer cities, and we must keep moving forward. My budget includes a reorganized and reimagined transportation planning division, to ensure we are out ahead of future transportation projects rather than running to stay caught up.

A major part of our transportation planning is the expansion of our infrastructure for bicycling. Minneapolis needs to continue to be a leader when it comes to a bike system that encourages recreation and exercise, but also commuting. I am including $750,000 toward the network of protected bike lanes called for in our Climate Action Plan. This includes investment in some of the most diverse and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis. It also provides for snow management of these lanes in winter so they can be used year-round.

My budget also provides investment in a project the City has talked about for many years – the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal. Now that the lock and dam will be closed for good, we have an opportunity to invest in North Minneapolis. This budget provides planning dollars so we can map out a future where North Minneapolis finally has its own valuable riverfront amenities.

Safe development

Right now, Minneapolis is in a building boom. You can see it from the cranes that dot our skyline, you can see it from the ongoing developments happening all across the city. With more development and more buildings, we need to ensure our services can match the rising demand to keep the people inside those buildings safe. My budget includes funding for additional fire inspectors in our Fire Inspection Services program, as well as additional resources for construction code services, to keep the buildings – and the people inside those buildings – safe.

Something in it for all of us

The growth of our city is crucial to our successful future – and it cannot be said enough that inclusive growth will lead the way to maximizing prosperity for everyone.

Growth depends on us creating the city people choose to invest in. The foundation of that is a city run well, that provides opportunities to succeed to all residents. As people across the country continue to move into our urban cores, I – we – welcome them with open arms and the promise of a future together.

When we are intentional and deliberate, investments in the growth of Minneapolis can help accelerate our pace of growth, they can help increase our quality of life while inviting more people to share in it. In coming weeks, you’ll learn more about other proposed investments in health and sustainability, and running the city well. You can also learn more about the budget process, including dates for council hearings by clicking here.

A Clean Energy Partnership

I am pleased that the City of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy have reached tentative agreements that would establish a first-of-its-kind City-utility Clean Energy Partnership. This partnership is the result of residents voicing their ideas and concerns to me and members of the City Council about how we can achieve Minneapolis’ energy goals, including increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gases, and building a more equitable energy system. The partnership – along with agreements with both utilities that build in a strong framework for accountability and results – will help Minneapolis make progress toward its goals for sustainable energy, improved air quality, equity, and green jobs. These agreements and the Clean Energy Partnership could be a new model for municipal climate action for other communities across the country. Addressing climate change through making changes to our energy system is a part of running the city well.

You can read more about the tentative agreements here. A public hearing to discuss the tentative agreements is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 6, in Room 317 of City Hall, 350 S. Fifth St. The hearing will take place during the City Council’s regularly scheduled Health, Environment & Community Engagement committee meeting.