2017 Budget: Foundational Investments to Build a 21st Century City – Overview

Today, after several months of work, I released my budget for the City of Minneapolis for 2017: I am investing in public safety, accommodating the great growth of our city, equity, and the fundamentals of good government. Now the City Council gets to look over the budget in detail, and votes to approve it in December. I look forward to cooperating and working with them closely on that process.

Writing the City’s budget is my favorite part of this job. Some people spend their summer at the lake or a cabin, some people play ultimate or softball or midnight basketball: but in my summer, there is little I look forward to more than sitting in conference rooms poring over the minutiae of sprawling spreadsheets.

#budgetnerd. #greeneyeshade. I own it. 100%.

At the end of the day, after all the spreadsheets, it turns out that meeting the three fundamental needs of public safety, growth, and good government in the 21st century is increasingly one and the same thing.

These are just some of the highlights of my proposed budget for 2017:

  • Improving public safety with nearly $1 million for downstream, community-based strategies, including: an often-requested mental-health co-responder pilot program with three new police officers working with mental-health professionals; and resources for community to develop collaborative strategies in two locations with high levels of youth violence.
  • $14.5 million for affordable-housing development to help everyone afford to live in Minneapolis.
  • More support for body cameras: police officers are now wearing them Downtown and in North Minneapolis, and by mid-October they will be in every corner of our city. MPD is now one of the largest police departments in the country to have body cameras on officers.
  • Building trust between community members and police officers by adding 12 new officers for community policing, a pillar of 21st-century policing.
  • Support for the Trans* Equity Summit, and for accelerating gender-inclusive bathrooms in City-owned buildings.
  • 5 additional full-time sworn firefighters, raising the authorized strength of firefighters for the first time in many years.
  • Support for outreach and education about our new Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance, which means that workers in Minneapolis will no longer have to choose between getting paid and getting well.
  • More than $1 million annually for a new, ongoing Community Service Officer class in the Police Department. The CSO program has proven to be an effective pathway for people of color to become police officers, and our department must look like the city we serve.
  • Investments to help small businesses, including a full-time position — one person, with one email and one phone number — who will make it easier for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to navigate City systems, get up and running, and prosper.
  • Targeted investments for youth and people with disabilities in the East African community.
  • Support for my “Talking Is Teaching” initiative to close the “Word Gap” and help stop racial disparities in small children before they ever arise.
  • More resources for the fundamentals like Animal Care and Control, fairly assessing real estate, training and diverse career pathways for City employees, enhancing sustainability, and maximizing our return on big events like the Super Bowl, Final Four, and the X Games.

(You can read a summary of my budget and how we pay for it, read the full text of my budget speech, or watch the speech. In future posts, I’ll discuss all these investments and questions in more detail.)

Public safety

The investments I make in public safety — which represent more than 70 percent of all the new ongoing investments that I  propose for next year — build on the great work we have been doing, surely and sometimes quietly, over the past several years: getting body cameras on police officers; accelerated procedural-justice and crisis-intervention training for all officers; an Early Intervention System; implicit-bias training; enhancing and measuring community policing; more pathways for people of color to choose public-safety careers; an innovative municipal criminal-justice agenda to divert low-level and first-time offenders when possible; restorative justice; youth violence prevention; and more.

I make these investments because we are going to have a police department. What we get to have, however, is a 21st-century police department that is rooted in 21st-century policing, built on a foundation of trust, and dedicated to transforming police–community relations.

Managing growth

We have worked very hard for the problems that are accompanying growth in our city, and we should take them as a sign of success. If I got in a time machine today and traveled back to the depths of the last recession in 2009 and explained to people that in 2016, some of the challenges we’re facing are traffic delays caused by so much construction in downtown Minneapolis, and keeping up with restaurant inspections because there is a restaurant boom, they would have been ecstatic. But still, they are problems, and in my budget, I invest in solving them.


I ran for mayor on a pledge to tackle the many racial disparities that threaten to hold our city back from its greatest future, and every day since I’ve had the honor of serving as Mayor, I’ve worked on it. In the previous two years, we’ve made significant investments in equity that are slowly but surely transforming City government, and I propose more of them for next year. I am proud that increasingly, we are building equity into the very DNA of our work as a city.

How we pay for it

Earlier this year, the City Council, the Park Board, and I passed a landmark agreement to restore and enhance neighborhood parks and City streets for the next 20 years. When the cost of that agreement was added onto the natural growth of the cost of current services, we anticipated a property-tax increase of 4.9 percent for next year.

What we did not expect was that the State would not enact into law a tax bill with the increase in Local Government Aid that we anticipated.

Most, if not all, of the difference between the anticipated 4.9 percent property-tax increase and the proposed 5.5 percent increase could be made up by the additional Local Government Aid that we anticipated but which did not materialize. If the Legislature passes a corrected tax bill with the increase that Governor Dayton can sign later this year, I recommend that we use it to cut the proposed 2017 tax increase back to the 4.9 percent increase that we originally anticipated.

I also took a hard look at our budget and am proposing $2.7 million in strategic, significant cuts. These cuts allow for some of the significant investments in public safety that I am proposing.

Three questions, one answer

I have often spoken about the three questions on the white board in my office that I ask myself every day: How does this make the city run well? How does this move the dial on growing the city? How does this move the dial on equity?

These are good questions and I continue to ask them — and increasingly, we are behaving in the City of Minneapolis as if those three questions on my white board are just one. The budget I’ve proposed shows that more and more, all three of them can be answered with the same investments in good government, growth, and public safety.

I look forward to a great conversation this fall about next year’s budget, and about our goals, priorities, and direction as we move forward together as a city and a people.

2017 Budget Address: “Foundational Investments to Build a 21st Century City”

Earlier today, August 10th, 2016, I delivered my 2017 Budget Address, entitled “Foundational Investments to Build a 21st Century City.” You can read it below, and you can watch it here.

This budget makes significant investments in Public Safety, Managing Growth, and Good Government. As I say in the speech, Minneapolis is leading the way in transforming the fundamentals of city government in the 21st century. Today, we get to take the next steps along this journey together.

Council President Johnson, Council Members, thank you for calling this meeting. Department heads, City staff, guests, and residents, thank you, and welcome.

Writing the City’s budget is my favorite part of this job. Some people spend their summers at a lake or a cabin, some people play ultimate or midnight basketball: but in my summer, there is little I look forward to more than sitting in conference rooms poring over the minutiae of spreadsheets. #budgetnerd. #greeneyeshade. I own it. 100%.

As you can easily imagine, putting together the budget is often a long, sprawling exercise in trade-offs. If we want X, should we cut Y, or should we scale Z? How should we balance one-time expenditures with ongoing, or borrowing with cash? If revenues are up, how should we meet years of backlogged needs while controlling the tax impact? If revenues are down, how should we balance cuts with the need to maintain critical services? The trade-offs go on and on.

At the same time, the budget is not always the exercise in trade-offs that people think it is. Do we have to choose between investing in the basics of good government and investing in managing our growth? Must we trade off investing in community trust if we are investing in public safety? This budget argues that we do not.

This budget necessarily makes trade-offs, like all budgets do. In this budget in particular, we have had to trade off or balance among several pressures: the decline in some revenues; our historic commitment earlier this year to invest in our streets and parks for the next generation; increasing costs in some areas; declining costs in others; the natural growth in the cost of doing the work that we do; and holding down property taxes. Some of the trade-offs I have gotten to make are good ones, between worthy bodies of great work. Others were tougher, and involved some difficult choices, including cuts.

In this budget, I propose that we invest in good government, accommodating our growth, and public safety. We cannot have everything that we want. At the same time, this budget shows that in the 21st century, rising to the imperatives of good government, growth, and public safety serves to help meet our deepest challenges well.


Collecting solid waste and recycling. Records management. Street sweeping. Accounting. Enforcing building codes.  Making sure the streetlights are on. These are some of the fundamentals of city government, and a significant part of putting together the budget is making sure that we do them, and continuously improve on them, transparently, responsibly, and responsively. And when we do, they can transform our communities.

Here’s a great example of what I mean. ?Right now Animal Care and Control has an Animal Control officer working at the front desk, answering the phone. That means one officer is not out caring for missing dogs and cats and protecting the community from dangerous animals. I propose hiring one administrative staff member in Animal Care and Control so that our animal control officers can do the job they were hired for. Thank you to the MACC staff for raising this issue: I heard you.

Another example is paying attention to our audits. In 2015, an internal audit of our information governance found that the City had room to improve. I propose a new records specialist to work in the City Clerk’s office based on the audit’s recommendation. In addition, we are directing the Clerk’s office to use existing resources to implement information-governance training across the City enterprise. I also recommend adding another auditor in the City Auditor’s office, capably led by Will Tetsell. I appreciate Council Member Linea Palmisano’s keen interest in ensuring that we pay close attention to the good work of the our Auditor’s office.

A further example of good government is capitalizing on the large events that we have won in recent years: Super Bowl LII, the Final Four, and two years of the X Games. This budget invests in strategies to get the best possible return on these events, including by turning first-time visitors into repeat tourists and conventioneers, and to ensure our investments in managing these spectacular events live on after the events have concluded. Council Member Jacob Frey has been an enthusiastic partner in promoting Minneapolis as a great place to visit and have fun.

I am incredibly proud every day to work with some of the best, most committed employees a city could ask for: folks who could choose to make more money in the private sector, but who have committed themselves to the public good. One of the smartest investments we can make on behalf of the residents of Minneapolis is in our employees. We can do this through investments in training, hiring, and giving them better tools with which to serve our residents.

  • For example, I propose the employees in our City Assessor’s office get the required training they need to bring fresh skills and innovative solutions into the department.
  • We are implementing an improved 911 call processing system next year to improve the quality and consistency of our 911 response. Accordingly, I propose funding for new training and certification for our 911 operators.
  • Inspired by Chief John Fruetel’s successful work in creating pathways for careers into the Fire Department, particularly for young people of color, I propose creating similar pathways in other departments. We know that we are facing a wave of retirements across our city enterprise, and we know that the young people who are available to fill these openings are increasingly diverse. We get to develop the best talent our city has to offer. I thank Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden for her leadership in ensuring we set ambitious goals for hiring, retaining, and promoting women and people of color at the City of Minneapolis.

Business support

Entrepreneurs are at the core of the growth of our City. Our many small and mid-size businesses add vitality and create employment opportunities in our neighborhoods, and this budget will invest in their success.

When I became mayor, I launched Business Made Simple to simplify City processes and make it easier for entrepreneurs — particularly immigrants, women, and people of color — to invest in their businesses and in our city. Since 2014, we have eliminated unnecessary licenses and modified or repealed ordinances that were barriers to that investment. We are also doing great work through Business Made Simple, our Innovation Team, and in CPED in removing unnecessary barriers to business development and investment.

On the recommendation of the Workplace Partnership Group, and the advocacy of Council Members Lisa Bender and Andrew Johnson, I propose that we use existing resources to create a full-time position in Director Craig Taylor’s CPED — one person, with one email and one phone number, who will make it easier for smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to navigate City systems and prosper.

I also recommend renewing funding for the Health Department’s Green Business Cost Sharing Program, and funding a new contract-compliance certification specialist in the Civil Rights Department to accelerate the certification of new women and minority owned businesses so that they can more quickly access the assistance they qualify for.

Earlier this year, I was pleased to sign the groundbreaking worker protections in our Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance, which the Council passed unanimously.  I first proposed it in 2015 and I am proud of it: it will protect public health by ensuring that families no longer need to choose between getting paid and getting well. Making sure that we implement the ordinance well and fairly is our next task. I am investing $50,000 in the Civil Rights Department to support outreach and education to workers and businesses, especially small businesses. I share Council Member Abdi Warsame’s concern that we do this right.


Good government also means doing what we must to keep our residents healthy. Globally, 2015 was the hottest year on record, and experts have told us that Minneapolis will feel the effects of climate change more intensely than most other cities. This makes it even more important that we are prepared and working toward solutions.

In May, Minneapolis was selected to join the global 100 Resilient Cities network, based in part on the great work we have been doing for years. One of the benefits of this designation is funding from the Rockefeller Foundation for a Chief Resilience Officer. Our CRO will work across departments and with the community on our city’s ability to survive shocks and stresses – be they climate change, natural disasters, infrastructure failures, or disasters like inequality and a lack of affordable housing. I build into the budget the acceptance of the CRO that we approved this past spring.

Our first-of-its-kind Clean Energy Partnership with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy has been a success: through our first year, we have seen a 68 percent increase in homeowners receiving a Home Energy Squad visit to improve energy efficiency. That has meant more money in homeowner pockets and fewer pollutants in our air. I propose to continue funding this valuable work. I also recommend funding to implement longstanding plans to reduce commercial building energy use in Minneapolis, an aspect of our Climate Action Plan of which Council Member Cam Gordon has been a longtime, consistent champion.


Back 2009 and 2010, our economy was in a deep recession, we were slashing our city budgets yet again, and folks were extremely worried about their own futures and the future of our city. If I got in a time machine today, traveled back to those years, and explained to people that in 2016, some of the challenges we’re most vocal about now are the traffic delays caused by so much construction in downtown Minneapolis, they would be ecstatic. If I told them that we need to accelerate the pace of restaurant inspections, not because we have too few inspectors but because we’re experiencing a nationally-recognized restaurant and hospitality boom, they would be thrilled.

We have worked very hard for the problems that accompany growth in our city, and we should take them as a sign of success. Still, they are problems, and we get to solve them.

One of the basic responsibilities of a city in 2016 & 2017 is managing our growth – and we are growing. Our population grew eight percent in five years, to 412,517. We are on pace for our fifth consecutive year of exceeding $1 billion in construction permits. We have more people using our parks and our streets. We have more people taking advantage of all Minneapolis to offer. Therefore, managing the growth of our city requires more resources.

Take, for example, our City Assessor Patrick Todd and his team. The work of the Assessor is the front line of our growth. They are responsible for appraising all of Minneapolis’ real estate so we know its market value, which enables us to capture fairly the financial benefit of our growing city. Our growth means they have a lot more work than before, so today I propose a new lead appraiser in the City Assessor’s office.

Or take downtown traffic. Between the cranes dotting the skyline and our countless road improvements, you may have noticed that this can be an especially challenging time to drive in downtown. Reminder: we worked very hard for this problem.

But it is a problem nonetheless, so I propose one-time funding for five more traffic-control agents in the Regulatory Services Department that Noah Schuchman now leads so well to help us ease the transition to modernized downtown streets, a more developed downtown, and the big events that we have reason to believe Minneapolis will continue to attract.


 As we continue to grow, our success has resulted in a tightening of our housing market, threatening to create a city in which only those in the upper incomes can afford to live. The Minneapolis I envision includes a range of high-quality housing options affordable to people at all incomes, in every neighborhood in our city.

Over the past several decades, we have invested millions of dollars in the construction of new affordable housing units.  But as successful as those investments have been, we are losing affordable units faster than we can build them. Across our region, existing affordable units are being bought by investors and rents are being raised. Since 2000, Minneapolis has lost 10,000 units affordable to households with incomes below $43,000 a year. To meet this need, I propose investing more than $14.5 million in affordable housing development.

We must continue to invest in the construction of new affordable units, but if we choose to create a city where everyone has a place to call home, we have to preserve the affordability we have. It’s time to invest in the preservation of Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing, or NOAH. Leaders in the housing and philanthropic community have been developing innovative ways to invest in the acquisition of existing affordable market-rate properties to preserve their affordability. I propose the City invest $1.5 million in a NOAH strategy, with the goal of leveraging these regional opportunities to preserve up to 280 affordable units in Minneapolis.

Last year, I invested in a new family housing initiative focused on developing affordable units for large families at the lowest incomes, particularly those coming out of shelters. Both Heading Home Hennepin and my Cradle to K cabinet identified this as one of the most urgent needs facing low-income families in Minneapolis. This strategy has already resulted in the seeding of a ground-breaking project in the 12th Ward, partnering with MPHA and Hennepin County. When fully funded, the Minnehaha Townhomes will provide high-quality units with services for 16 families experiencing homelessness. This year I propose we build on the success of our new strategy by investing an additional $1 million in the Family Housing Initiative.

Council Member Blong Yang has been working to find a solution that will help us develop housing on our portfolio of vacant lots, with an eye toward rebuilding the wealth in communities hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis. I applaud that work and propose investing $250,000 toward the eventual recommendations of that work group.

I also recommend adding $1.6 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. All told, as I said, this budget invests more than $14.5 million in affordable-housing development.

Earlier this year, other local leaders and I partnered with HUD Secretary Julián Castro to launch the Prosperity Playbook. We convened regional leaders to begin aligning housing policies and investment in order to promote housing mobility throughout the region. The investments I propose we make in housing today are a step toward fulfilling Minneapolis’ commitment to that vision.


The Minneapolis Fire Department is also deeply affected by our growth: even as fires have declined nationally and locally, our firefighters are going on more emergency medical and rescue calls.

We already ask much of our firefighters. They do a difficult and dangerous job. I know personally what it means to know your loved ones are out there on a rig, putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure we all are healthy and safe. Our firefighters sign up to rush into burning buildings and put their lives on the line. They do amazing work and I thank them.

In years past, we have had challenging conversations about the right staffing levels for a department like ours. Unlike Saint Paul and other cities around the country to which we usually compare ourselves, Minneapolis doesn’t do paramedic runs. We structure our department differently. So we have had a leaner team than others and still been hugely successful.

But now, we have hired up to the authorized strength of 406 sworn firefighters, and still, we are spending more in overtime than we should be.

As a result, I propose hiring five additional full-time sworn firefighters. This will allow the Fire Department to reduce overtime and better handle our growth. This is the first time in many years we have increased the authorized strength of the department.


We cannot say often enough that public safety is the most basic of the basic services that a city provides. But while it is basic, it is also a dynamic site of transformation.

The transformation of public safety for the 21st century is not new work for the City of Minneapolis: we have been at it for some years now. We have a progressive, forward-looking police chief in Janeé Harteau who has been working on it, in the form of MPD 2.0, every day in the three and a half years that she has been our chief. We have a fire chief in John Fruetel who is passionate about new pathways to create firefighters who look like the city they serve. We have a city attorney in Susan Segal who is constantly on the lookout for ways to innovate. And 911, led by Heather Hunt; the Health Department, led by Gretchen Musicant; the Office of Police Conduct Review and the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, both supported by the Civil Rights Department that is led by Velma Korbel; and the Office of Emergency Management, led by Barret Lane, round out this progressive team that is leading the country in delivering 21st-century public safety. I am grateful for the service of all of them.

In this budget, I invest in community to improve public safety, and I invest in the Police Department to improve public trust.

Enhancing safety

First, enhancing public safety. Community members have told us for years that they want to be a full partner in the work, and it is a fundamental tenet of 21st-century policing that community capacity to do collaborative, downstream crime prevention must be strengthened.

This budget takes up the community’s call and invests in a number of community-based strategies to enhance our public safety.

To start, I propose a pilot police/mental-health co-responder model based in the Police Department. This centralized unit of officers who have received advanced Crisis Intervention Training will be paired with two full-time mental-health professionals. To staff it, I propose three new police officers ongoing.

This pilot is designed to keep people who are experiencing mental-health crises from being arrested and entering the criminal-justice system, where often they do not belong, and to provide people in crisis with greater access to treatment and resources. When they are met by officers and professionals who are trained to respond to them with sensitivity, understanding, and compassion, potentially dangerous situations can be defused, safety can be restored, and lives can be transformed.

Of all the community-based safety innovations that community members have asked for, a mental-health co-responder model is the one most often requested. It is also a recommendation of our Police Conduct Oversight Commission, and I am excited to propose it today.

This budget also proposes one-time and ongoing funding for a Group Violence Intervention strategy in the Health Department. This community-based strategy has proven in other cities that violence can be significantly reduced when a partnership of community members, law enforcement, and social-service providers directly engages with a small number of people who are actively involved in violence, and says to them, “We will help you and provide resources for you if you are willing to change. If you are not, we will hold you accountable.” I am eager to collaborate with community to pilot this in Minneapolis.

I also propose resources so that people in areas heavily affected by violent crime can decide for themselves how to address it on the ground and not rely only on policing.

In the City’s budget, we make many investments in upstream strategies that help improve public safety in the medium and long term: workforce development, stable housing, support for education and training, and a number of others. Here, however, I propose resources for community members to choose how they want to intervene downstream in improving public safety in their own neighborhoods, and to implement those strategies.

These resources will be for residents and business owners in two locations in our city where violent crime, driven by youth up to age 24, is high – West Broadway between Lyndale and Girard, and Little Earth – and for the community-based organizations that serve them.

City departments and outside partners will make the resources available and will collaborate with community members, but the strategies will be shaped and driven by residents, business owners, and community-based organizations. Community gets to decide.

These strategies can take different forms. For example, in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, people who live, work, or go to school near five specific locations serve on a community task force: they identify the conditions that contribute to youth violence there, decide what interventions they want to make to stop it, and monitor how they are working. In the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, community members, including mothers and grandmothers, collaborate with police officers on the Community Safety Partnership to identify threats of violence and prevent it before it starts. This work has led to significant, double-digit declines in both violent crime and arrests.

These sorts of community-based and place-based strategies are the kinds of interventions community members could consider in the initiative I am proposing.

The resources available are both technical and financial. I am a member of Cities United, a coalition of mayors of 86 cities whose focus is to reduce violence. Cities United is eager to offer technical assistance to lead community members through the process of developing collaborative, downstream strategies at these two locations. I also propose $500,000 one-time in the 2017 budget to implement the strategies that community members select.

Again, these resources are exclusively for residents and business owners at the two locations, and the community-based organizations that serve them. While other cities are experimenting with collaborative public-safety strategies, I know of nowhere else in the country where community members get to choose how to deploy the resources that the city and its partners make available.

I have heard clearly and repeatedly from community members – sometimes loudly, at close range – that they want to decide how to improve safety. Research also shows that community-driven strategies, when coupled with community policing, are effective in increasing public safety and public trust.

Building trust

Enhancing public safety for everyone through partnership with community is one set of public-safety investments that I propose in this budget. The other set of investments I propose is in building trust between community members and police.

First, this budget invests significantly in community policing. At its most basic, community policing is about police officers building trust through building relationships. What this looks like is officers getting out of cars and into community meetings, businesses, houses of worship, barber shops, and beauty parlors. It looks like officers spending more time on calls, really getting to know people and communities, and building real relationships of familiarity, friendship, and trust.

The measures of success of community policing are not officers’ making more arrests or writing more tickets. Rather, measures of success are officers’ abilities and track records of community engagement, including the numbers of positive contacts they make.

For a number of years, a broad swath of community members have asked for more resources for community policing. Chief Harteau has been reorienting MPD toward community policing, and I have fully supported her. Over the last two years, we have invested in it: the 12 officers that we have added to our authorized strength over the last two years have entirely been for the purpose of community policing. The data show that we are getting results: positive contacts are up 30 percent over this time last year, and 92 percent over this time two years ago.

Council Member Alondra Cano will appreciate that the beat officers who are doing community policing on Lake Street are providing a great example of what it looks like to build trust and transform police–community relationships. They make chalk art with kids, sing karaoke at neighborhood gatherings, and build relationships with everyone: residents, business owners, and even the people who cause problems. Folks around Lake Street trust these officers and know that when they call on them, they will be there.

In the wake of this success, and with the imperative of building trust that everyone in Minneapolis recognizes, today I propose adding 12 more officers ongoing for community policing, in addition to the three designated for the mental-health co-responder pilot project, for a total of 15 new officers in 2017. This will raise the authorized strength of the Police Department to 877 next year.

I also propose that by 2021, we reach an authorized strength of 901 officers. I have built this level of strength into this budget’s five-year financial direction, including my proposed tax policy.

Now more than ever before, we have the opportunity to transform police–community relations. This long-term level of investment in community policing, when coupled with community-driven strategies to improve in public safety, will accelerate the transformation of MPD into the 21st-century police department that residents, businesses, community members, and officers all want.

My budget also provides the resources needed to support this strength: additional training, more cadets and recruits, and yet another ongoing class for community-service officers. As I said two years ago, when I funded our current ongoing CSO class, we continue to need effective ladders for people of color into our Police Department, because it is imperative that our officers reflect the communities they serve. CSO classes provide that ladder: our recent classes have been as high as 61 percent people of color. I am particularly pleased to enhance funding for this critical tool.

I propose other investments in building community trust as well.

In the Police Department, for the third year in a row, I invest resources in officer-worn body cameras. Officers have been wearing body cameras for more than a month, and by mid-October, they will be on officers in every precinct in the city. We are now one of the largest departments in the United States to have them.

I thank Council Members for your support over the last two years of our landmark investments in body cameras, which respond to years of community requests. I also thank everyone who participated in developing our body-camera policy, which we released recently after much community consultation.

Community trust in policing is also built when complaints against police officers are submitted easily, investigated thoroughly, and resolved fairly and in a timely fashion. This budget invests in an additional civilian case investigator at the Office of Police Conduct Review, and in improvements to the process of filing a complaint about police misconduct.

All told, this budget’s investments in 21st-century public safety are significant: when relevant investments in the Police, Fire, Civil Rights, Health, and City Attorney’s office are combined, more than 70 percent of all the dollars that I propose in new, ongoing investments in this budget are for public safety.

These investments build on those of the past several years — not only for body cameras, but for accelerated procedural-justice and crisis-intervention training for all officers; an Early Intervention System; implicit-bias training; more positions for community policing; more pipelines to bring people of color into public-safety careers; an innovative municipal criminal-justice agenda to divert low-level and first-time offenders when possible; restorative justice; youth violence prevention; and more.

I know that there are those in the community who, rather than have us invest more in policing, even for community policing, instead want us to disinvest in the Police Department.

We need a police department. We are going to have a police department. What we get to have, however, is a 21st-century police department that is rooted in 21st-century policing, built on a foundation of trust and dedicated to transforming police-community relations. This investment in more officers for community policing goes hand in hand with the investments that I propose in enhancing public safety through community collaboration. Indeed, in order to be effective, these strategies require collaboration and true partnership with law enforcement.

I also acknowledge that we in Minneapolis have not always policed in accordance with these principles. I acknowledge that our policing has sometimes done harm and sown mistrust, particularly in communities of color. To acknowledge this is not to single out individual police officers. It is to say that for too long, we allowed a culture of policing to persist that sometimes caused harm. This culture hurt everyone, including police officers.

I also know that these conversations about police-community relations, race, and trust provoke discomfort – more specifically, provoke discomfort among white people. For us white people, these conversations feel stark, new, and raw. I posit that this discomfort – more specifically, the more equal distribution of the discomfort that people of color have disproportionately felt about policing for a long time – is a good sign that we are on track to transform systems and relationships that are in need of transformation, and that we are on track to do it together.

Let me also be clear: Minneapolis is leading the way in this conversation. I have talked to researchers, mayors, law enforcement, youth, and community members from around the country: they assure me that no other city in America is putting more resources on the line, changing more policy, and transforming itself more fundamentally than we are. In Minneapolis, one of our greatest strengths as a people is that we put aside our differences and our fears to come together for the common good. This is why I know that we can have these difficult conversations, feel this discomfort, and come together through it all to find solutions that benefit all of us. Yes, change is hard and yes, there is more to do. But we are sticking with it, for the good and the humanity of all of us. There is no going back.

And so I say to our residents of all neighborhoods, races, religions, backgrounds, and genders: join us. Become a Minneapolis police officer. At this dynamic moment of change and transformation, now more than ever, we encourage people who are from and dedicated to the communities we serve to step up and join us in serving, to be part of this transformation in partnership with community on the ground every day.

A final word to our current police officers: I believe in you. I deeply appreciate the work that you do. We ask you to respond with wisdom and courage to situations where lives can be at stake. We ask you to respond with compassion and sensitivity to people who are at their most scared and vulnerable. We ask you to respond humanely and bravely to crises whose root causes are far bigger than any of us. With this budget, I am investing in you, too: I am investing in the resources, collaboration, and support that you need to do your jobs more effectively, more safely, and with more fulfillment. Thank you for your service and for all that you do and all that you and your families sacrifice to guard our city and keep us safe.


So far, you have heard me speak of investments in good government, in managing our growth, and in building public safety and public trust. You have not heard me say much explicitly about equity. I’m sure this seems odd in a speech of mine. The reason is simply that investments in equity are woven through this entire budget.

So for example, training for our own staff; career-pathways programs to diversify our workforce; support for businesses as we implement the Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance; our pursuit of community-based strategies to improve public safety: all of these are investments in equity.

This budget builds on and continues a strong foundation of equity investments in recent years that are transforming the work of our enterprise: the office of equity and inclusion in the City Coordinator’s office, TechHIRE, our Bloomberg-supported iTeam, and many others. I thank the Council for making these investments. We are building equity into the DNA of our work as a city.

This budget does make some fresh investments in equity.

In our East African community, I propose investing in engaging Somali youth and creating access to good jobs and youth programs for them, and in reaching out to and engaging East African folks with disabilities, who face multiple challenges in participating in the life of our city as they would like.

I will pause and name again for our East African community members, particularly for people who are Muslim, that these times in our country are challenging times for you. The hateful national rhetoric unfairly blames all of you for things over which you do not have control and for acts committed by fringe elements which you also decry and deplore. I as your Mayor and we as your city stand with you. I know that it is our charge to work with you to make sure your community is thriving in Minneapolis.

I propose funding to advance the work of My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s initiative to lift up boys and men of color as core assets in our community. Minneapolis has been a leading MBK Challenge city for two years now. Among our current MBK work is the job-training and anti-violence BUILD Leaders program, with sites at partner organizations in North Minneapolis and Little Earth.

We know that disparities among children start early and widen over time. Children from language-deprived environments hear fewer words early on which can lead to significant learning gaps. The good news is that we have a solution and we can make our children not only smarter but healthier by talking, reading, and singing to them from day one. That is why I launched the “Talking is Teaching, Talk, Read, Sing” campaign as the first initiative of my Cradle to K cabinet. We are working in partnership with the Clinton Foundation‘s Too Small to Fail Initiative and The Opportunity Institute, as well as with local partners that include the Reach Out and Read program, Greater Twin Cities United Way, and new partners like Twin Cities Public Television. I propose resources to continue this important work. Many thanks to my Cradle to K Cabinet, chaired by Carolyn Smallwood, Executive Director of Way to Grow, for your great work in preventing disparities before they even begin.

Finally, I don’t want to give a major speech without recognizing the challenges our transgender loved ones and neighbors are facing. So much has moved forward for the LGBTQ community these last few years, and we celebrate that. And yet our city’s Transgender Issues Work Group rightfully points out that for transgender people in particular, we still have much work to do to make our city and our City services truly welcoming and inclusive to all. Thank you to all the members of that group for your work and your recommendations.

I want to say once again to my transgender and gender-nonconforming constituents: I see you, I hear you, I honor you, and I stand with you. I also invest in you and your success. This budget proposes funding for the fourth-annual Trans* Equity Summit in 2017. It’s a gathering that has broken ground in bringing together the transgender community and allies to talk about how we as a city can remove barriers that transgender people face through policy and other changes, in order for transgender and gender-nonconforming residents to reach their full potential. I know first-hand that this event can change lives: one of my policy aides began his journey to my office from attending the first Trans* Equity Summit. I have also made sure that the Work Group’s recommendations about providing access to gender-inclusive bathrooms in City buildings have been moved up the list of priorities in our work, so that it can be completed more quickly. It does not require new funding; it does require willingness and action.


So, now you’re asking – OK, Hodges, that’s some good stuff. How do we pay for it?

First, this budget is built upon and continues to follow sound, responsible principles of financial management. It pays for ongoing needs like personnel costs with ongoing revenues and one-time needs with one-time dollars.  It looks forward into the next five years and beyond to make sure that the impact of the decisions we make today are accounted for in future budgets.  I believe the foundation for any investments we make, whether in core services like public safety and infrastructure, or in the work we do to ensure everyone shares in our collective prosperity, is principled budgeting.

And though we have been responsible, we have borne pressures on our budget we cannot control. We weathered years of cuts in our allotment of the revenue-sharing agreement we have with the State. This year, were it not for an error in the State Legislature’s bipartisan tax bill, the City would have seen the $1.7 million increase in Local Government Aid that we had anticipated in our 2017 revenue projections. Because we cannot count on receiving this increase, we I have chosen to budget without it.

If the Legislature passes a corrected tax bill that Governor Mark Dayton can sign to restore next year’s planned $1.7 million increase, I recommend that we apply it to reducing our property-tax levy.

I also would like to take this opportunity to remind us all about the enormous impact of our hard-fought 2011 reform of closed pensions. Because we won reform, the levy I will propose for 2017 is nearly $50 million lower than it would have been without reform.

Now, for the 2017 math.

At the beginning of this year, In order to fund just the increased costs of our current services, we planned to increase the property-tax levy by 3.75 percent in 2017. Since then, the City Council, the Park Board, and I reached a landmark agreement to fund the infrastructure and operations of our neighborhood parks and streets for the next 20 years, transparently and equitably.

I cannot stress enough the historic nature of this agreement. For many years, we knew that the tipping point was coming at which our parks and streets would be astronomically more expensive to repair, if not beyond repair. We responded by investing in our streets and parks so that future generations will also enjoy our city’s most basic infrastructure. Under the leadership of new Public Works Director Robin Hutcheson and Council Member Kevin Reich, we get to make sure that this historic investment in City streets is not only about rebuilding what we have, it is also about building 21st-century infrastructure for all users.

I especially thank Council President Barbara Johnson, Council Member John Quincy, and Council Member Lisa Goodman for their role in sealing this agreement, as well as former Park Board President Liz Wielinski, current Park Board President Anita Tabb, and Parks Superintendent Jayne Miller for their partnership. My gratitude also goes to City Coordinator Spencer Cronk and Chief Financial Officer Mark Ruff for moving the process steadily forward. At a time when Congress is paralyzed and the State Legislature cannot pass the most fundamental of bills, together we showed once again that in Minneapolis, we put aside whatever differences we may have to come together for the common good.

That historic parks and streets agreement in May increased the baseline levy increase for 2017 from 3.75 percent to 4.9 percent.

I have made the case to you today for the investments I propose in this budget; in good government, in managing our success in growing Minneapolis, in equity, and in public safety. As I said earlier, more than 70 percent of the new ongoing investments that I propose are in public safety. These investments are needed, and they have a cost.

To pay for them, I have made significant, strategic cuts of nearly $2.7 million in this budget in order to fund the work we need to do. Two million dollars of these cuts come from lower-than-anticipated costs for providing healthcare for our employees. I have also made an additional $700,000 in targeted cuts to five departments to offset the cost of new investments in those departments. This $2.7 million in cuts represents nearly a full percent point on our property-tax levy.

As a result, today I propose a 5.5 percent levy increase for 2017.

The 0.6-percent increment over the anticipated baseline levy increase of 4.9 percent pays for a portion of the public-safety investments that I propose. Most, if not all, of the difference between the 5.5 percent levy increase that I propose and the baseline 4.9 percent increase that we planned on could be covered by the increase in Local Government Aid that we had expected for next year. If the Legislature passes a corrected tax bill that Governor Dayton can sign, our levy increase for 2017 could return close to or at the baseline 4.9 percent. Once again, if the LGA increase becomes law, I recommend we apply our share of it to reducing the levy.


You have heard me speak before and often – I think the whole city has at this point – about the three questions on my white board that I ask myself every day: How does this make the city run well? How does this move the dial on growing the city? How does this move the dial on equity?

These are good questions and I continue to ask them – and increasingly, we are behaving in the City of Minneapolis as if those three questions on my white board are just one. This budget shows that more and more, all three of them can be answered with the same investments in good government, growth, and public safety, investments that all work together to move the dial on equity, growing the city and managing its growth, and running the basics of it well. We need not make trade-offs between them.

Madam President and Council Members, Minneapolis is leading the way in transforming the fundamentals of city government in the 21st century. Today, we get to take the next steps along this journey together.

Thank you for allowing me to address you today. I submit this budget to you and I ask you for your support.


Explaining the Minneapolis Body Camera Policy

July 14, 2016

To the residents and communities of Minneapolis:

For a number of years, residents and community have repeatedly asked for Minneapolis police officers to wear body-worn cameras in order preserve video evidence of interactions between police officers and residents. Body cameras are now a recommended best practice for 21st-century policing. They can be a tool for building and enhancing accountability, transparency, and public trust. In other cities, the adoption of body cameras has also resulted in fewer use-of-force complaints.

Officer-worn body cameras are merely a tool for improving police-community relations; they are not a solution in themselves. But body cameras are an important tool, one that will help us continue to transform the relationship between police and community for the better. They are not the final step in transparency, but they are a big step toward it.

We have heard residents’ requests and concerns. For more than three years, we in Minneapolis have been studying, testing, evaluating, and funding body cameras for our police officers. In doing so, we have been in the forefront of cities across the country.
Now body cameras are finally here. Earlier this month, officers in the 1st Precinct in downtown Minneapolis began wearing them. Later this month, officers in the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis will be wearing them, and over the course of the summer and fall, officers in all parts of Minneapolis will be wearing them.

Body cameras can only achieve the goals of accountability and public trust if they are accompanied by clear policy governing their use, accessibility, and storage. Today, we are releasing a detailed explanation of the considerations that went into the key points of interest and concern about body camera policy that community and the public have repeatedly raised. The document attached here lays out the considerations that were brought to bear on these key issues; it explains where the policy landed on them, and why.

We worked to create a policy that strikes a balance between transparency and privacy, while ensuring that accountability remains the central focus. We also worked to balance those goals while complying with new Minnesota state law governing body cameras.We used much feedback from community to draft the policy (which is available here, at section 4-223: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/police/policy/mpdpolicy_4-200_4-200).

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission (PCOC) held four community meetings to discuss body cameras, and the Minneapolis Department of Neighborhood and Community Relations (NCR) held six more public meetings earlier this year. We took the public feedback from those sessions and from other public comments, studied body camera policies and best practices from peer cities around the country, evaluated the results of the 2014-15 MPD body camera pilot program, and sought recommendations from The Leadership Council on Civil & Human Rights. We weighed heavily the recommendations of the PCOC and the conclusions of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, took input from the City Council, and made sure that the policy is in line with the goals of the National Initiative for Building Trust and Justice, of which Minneapolis is the leading participating city.

We do owe the community an apology. It was our intention to release the attached document before the body camera policy itself was made public; however, the policy was posted before we were able to explain fully to the community the considerations that went into the policy. We apologize for this mistake.

As body cameras continue to make their way onto officers, the Police Department will be meeting with community and neighborhood organizations across the city to explain the policy and demonstrate how body cameras work. We look forward to continuing to engage with community around this important step toward 21st-century policing.

There are many people to thank for the long-awaited launch of body-worn cameras, including all those officers involved in the body camera pilot program, the Department of Justice, and everyone who has provided feedback on the policy. We thank you as well, and we encourage you to review the policy and the explanatory document attached to this letter. Together, we are entering the age of 21st-century policing, and together, we will transform police–community relations in Minneapolis.


Mayor Betsy Hodges, City of Minneapolis

Chief Janeé Harteau, Minneapolis Police Department


Community concerns raised about body camera policy and explanation of the considerations that went into addressing those concerns

Backgrounder providing overview and history of the body camera program

City of Minneapolis statements regarding federal decision in Jamar Clark case

City of Minneapolis statements regarding federal decision in Jamar Clark case

U.S. Attorney Luger announced results of Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division investigation

June 1, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) – Today, U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger announced the results of the independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) into the November officer-involved shooting death of Jamar Clark. Luger announced that the DOJ will not bring charges against police officers based on the investigation conducted by the Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Chief Harteau and I asked for this independent federal investigation by the Department of Justice because we believed it would be the best way to build confidence in the process and in the outcome for everyone concerned,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said. “The community wanted a federal review, and so on Nov. 16 we asked the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation. Now that the investigation has concluded, I want to thank the Department of Justice for its independent investigation. At this time, the City will move forward with its own internal investigation.”

“This has been a difficult time for all of Minneapolis,” Hodges continued. “I understand this decision has struck at the heart of a painful tension in the community. What we can do now is move forward together to build a city that is safe and equitable for everyone.”

“Two investigations into the shooting death of Jamar Clark have now concluded, with an internal investigation still ongoing,” said Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson. “Nothing can change the fact that this case is a tragedy for everyone involved. That includes, of course, the family of Jamar Clark, but it’s also tragic for the two officers who have been the subject of the investigations and those officers’ families. It’s a challenging time for our community, and the City will continue to support the safety of everyone as we move forward.”

“Very early in this process, many community members asked for this federal investigation, which the mayor and I supported and requested,” Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said. “I have full faith in this independent investigation. We have had two thorough investigations into this matter that arrived at the same conclusion. I am satisfied with the thoroughness of these investigations, am confident in their results, and I hope the public will accept their conclusions. I will continue to support the officers involved as the MPD moves forward with its work building trust and legitimacy with the communities we serve.”

Now that the federal investigation has concluded, the Minneapolis Police Department will continue its Internal Affairs investigation into the matter to determine if the actions of the two officers were consistent with departmental policy and procedure. MPD is committed to a fair and thorough investigation. The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act dictates the information that the City is allowed to share regarding internal investigations. At the conclusion of the Internal Affairs investigation, MPD will release as much information as State statute allows.

# # #

Celebrating Adoption of Earned Sick and Safe Time

Mayor Hodges Celebrates Adoption of Earned Sick and Safe Time for Minneapolis Workers

Mayor Proposed Earned Sick and Safe Time in 2015; Will Sign Ordinance

May 27, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Today the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that would establish a municipal earned sick leave policy in Minneapolis. The ordinance, which the mayor proposed in her 2015 State of the City Speech as part of her Working Families Agenda, will guarantee workers across the city the ability to earn paid leave to care for themselves and their immediate family members, and to protect public health.

“Today, Minneapolis has recognized that no one should have to choose between being healthy and being paid. This is a landmark day for Minneapolis,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges.  “I proposed earned sick and safe time more than a year ago to improve public health for everyone and provide greater opportunity for low income families. I want to thank the Workplace Partnership Group, the diverse group of stakeholders that the City Council and I appointed to listen to stakeholders and offer recommendations to us on this issue. I thank the City Council for their thoughtful work and for passing this ordinance. And I thank the members of our community who fought so hard to get to this day.”

The ordinance passed today reflects a compromise that resulted from the Workplace Partnership Group process. Collectively, the Workplace Partnership Group invested thousands of hours to engage a wide range of businesses, economic sectors, non-profits, and workers. More than 500 people attended their many listening sessions and provided advice, perspective, and feedback.

Paid sick and safe time is intended to:

  • Ensure that workers can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families.
  • Reduce public and private health care costs by enabling workers to seek early and routine medical care for themselves and their family members.
  • Protect workers from losing their jobs while they use sick days.
  • Safeguard the public welfare, health, safety and prosperity of Minneapolis’ residents, workers and visitors.

In Minneapolis, 42% of workers lack access to earned sick and safe time. Research shows that lack of access disproportionately affects women and people of color. For example, 63% of white workers in Minneapolis have access to earned sick and safe time, compared with only 32% of Latino workers.

Every year in the United States, workplaces lose $250 billion in productivity due to illness — but 72% of that amount, or $180 billion, is because people come to work sick. Research shows that on average, one sick employee on the job will create one sick employee.

A 2015 Minnesota Department of Health report shows that 79% of workers in the food–preparation and food-serving sector lack paid sick time – and that from 2004–2013, there were nearly 3,000 cases of food-borne illnesses traced to 200 food workers who were ill or had recently been ill on the job.

The ordinance is posted here.

Preventing Gun Violence in Minneapolis

In my 2016 State of the City Address, I talked about gun violence, especially on the north side. I spoke directly to the people of North Minneapolis, especially those most affected by this violence, and here I say again: I hear you and your city hears you. No resident in any neighborhood should have to endure gun violence. I condemn it. It has no place in North Minneapolis or anywhere else in our city.

We have, over the past few months, released information about what we are doing – proactively and reactively – to combat violent crime. All of this information has been publicly available, and here I want to collect it and share it here.

Chief Harteau and the Minneapolis Police Department are working constantly to prevent violence on the north side. For example:

  • The Minneapolis Police Department has significantly increased police presence and focused enforcement in known hotspots in North Minneapolis. Increased patrols have been happening seven days per week.
  • Joint Enforcement Team (JET) patrols have been in operation on the north side as well, combining MPD Officers, Hennepin County Sheriff Deputies, Metro Transit Police Officers, and Minnesota State Troopers.
  • The MPD Violent Crime Investigations Team, Weapons Unit, Gang Interdiction Team, Safe Streets Task Force, and Shotspotter Investigators have been working together to prevent and solve violent crimes.
  • More officers are joining the police force, and we anticipate being at full authorized strength by mid-year. As that happens, I have supported Chief Harteau’s direction to deploy the lion’s share of new personnel to the Fourth Precinct and the First Precinct.
  • MPD is working with probation officers, the Hennepin County Attorney’s office, and community stakeholders to combat violence.

Chief Harteau has also focused on community policing, which I have supported in my budgets. In North Minneapolis, as across the city, this has meant officers’ spending more time on calls and more time getting to know people. Positive police contacts in the neighborhood are up 63 percent over last year and 231 percent over two years ago. This work of building community trust has a long-term deterrent effect on violence.

Minneapolis police officers have vitally important jobs to do all across our city, including in North Minneapolis. Chief Harteau has my support in her efforts to ensure that they are as productive and effective as possible in keeping people safe and in building trust. Community policing is an important part of that effort.

The Police Department is not the only City department responding to gun violence. Our Youth Violence Prevention Initiative and Youth Coordinating Board are also spearheading innovative work to help stem it. For example:

  • We are working with Hennepin County Medical Center on a program to intervene with young people treated for violent injuries. Through bedside intervention and post-discharge community-based services, this program will support holistic healing for youth and interrupt the cycle of recurrent and retaliatory violence.
  • The Inspiring Youth program. Upstream, early intervention is an essential strategy for stemming violence in a sustainable way. Funded largely through my budget, Inspiring Youth is a trauma-informed, strengths-based program that connects primarily African American and American Indian youth to the positive aspects of their communities and increases protective factors that shield them from involvement with violence.
  • The city is currently providing funding and training to eight youth serving agencies in Minneapolis communities most impacted by violence. Agencies will utilize grant award from the city to design and implement youth led violence prevention activities in neighborhoods most impacted by youth violence in summer and fall of 2016. Seven of the eight agencies are in North Minneapolis.
  • We are working to keep people out of the criminal justice system to begin with. In the past 18 months, we have increased the numbers of juveniles involved in diversion, which has led to fewer youth entering the system. City Attorney Susan Segal’s office also is innovating to keep people from getting too far into the criminal justice system and prevent more serious offenses.

Many organizations and individuals in our community are working hard to reach the youth and young adults involved in and affected by this violence: faith leaders, community members, advocates, neighbors, and youth workers from Youth Violence Prevention and the Youth Coordinating Board.

The YCB’s Youth Outreach Team is doing particularly good work: whether downtown, in our schools or parks, or at special events, youth workers are reaching our young people where they are, connecting with them in meaningful ways, and making a difference in their lives and ours.

We have seen time and time again that when community comes together to fight violence and lift up peace, safety, and healing, we are all safer. We at the City are continuing to identify ways to collaborate with and lift up this crucial work.

There is more work to be done, and we will do that work. As additional components are rolled out, we will continue to adapt and be flexible and collaborate with all of our partners to prevent gun violence.

The Deep Truths of Minneapolis

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges
State of the City Address
May 17, 2016

“It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth.” — Niels Bohr

“The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth
may very well be another profound truth.”  — Niels Bohr

Deep truths

Nobel Prize laureate and physicist Niels Bohr said this about his idea of a deep truth, a truth whose negation is also true: “The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.”

One of our many undersung assets right here in Minneapolis is the public-radio program and podcast “On Being,” whose offices are on Loring Park. Recently, host Krista Tippett was talking with scientist Dr. Frank Wilczek. He said this about deep truth: “You have to view the world in different ways to do it justice, and the different ways can each be very rich, can each be internally consistent, can each have its own language and rules, but they may be mutually incompatible. To do full justice to reality, you have to take both of them into account.”

This is relevant in science for something like light: it is true that light is a particle. It is also true that light is a wave. But we must research separately the properties of light within each of those truths if we are to fully understand light as a whole.

Deep truth is also a useful construct when thinking about ourselves as a people.

In Minneapolis, we get to take into account two of our own complementary and deep truths:

Minneapolis is a remarkable and wonderful city.
Minneapolis is a city of deep challenges, particularly regarding race.

From this first set arises another set of deep truths about Minneapolis:

We come together for the common good.
We strain to come together as people and we are divided.

And I posit this: that our ability to come together is our greatest strength, that it is the source of the best things about our community, and that when we do come together as One Minneapolis, there is no stopping us.

Nowhere is there better evidence of this than the group assembled on stage here today. Each person sitting here on stage with me is a community leader, a person who has made a measurable, positive difference in the quality of our city. Let’s thank them with our applause for all they have done for Minneapolis.

More important, each leader on stage with me here today has successfully worked to get a good outcome with people with whom they disagree, sometimes including me. Each person on stage has pledged to a brighter future for all of us. Each person was willing to be here, even though we haven’t always agreed, because they share a vision for a bigger, better future for Minneapolis.

We stand here together in the midst of these dualities:

Minneapolis is a remarkable and wonderful city.
Minneapolis is a city of deep challenges, particularly regarding race.


We come together for the common good.
We strain to come together as people and we are divided.

These statements seem contradictory. All of them are true.

This duality? It is the state of the city.

•  •  •

Public safety and gun violence

I must begin by addressing the very serious challenge we are facing in North Minneapolis right now.

Gun violence is up sharply. The intensity of this violence is shocking and entirely unacceptable, and I condemn it. No resident in any neighborhood should have to endure this kind of violence. It has no place in North Minneapolis or anywhere in our city.

To the people of North Minneapolis, especially those most affected by this gun violence, I say: I hear you and your city hears you. In response, Chief Janeé Harteau has increased police presence and focused enforcement in known hot spots in North Minneapolis.

As more officers join the force and we anticipate being at full authorized strength by mid-year, I have directed Chief Harteau to deploy the lion’s share of new personnel to the Fourth Precinct and the First Precinct.

Minneapolis police officers have vitally important jobs to do all across our city, including in North Minneapolis. Chief Harteau has my support in her efforts to ensure that they are as productive and effective as possible in keeping people safe and in building trust.

Chief Harteau has also focused on community policing, which I have supported in my budgets. In North Minneapolis, as across the city, this has meant officers’ spending more time on calls and more time getting to know people. Positive police contacts in the neighborhood are up 63 percent over last year and 231 percent over two years ago. This work of building community trust has a long-term deterrent effect on violence. The fact that we measure it at all is a sign of change in how we approach policing in Minneapolis.

Another long-term way to deter violence is to keep people out of the criminal justice system to begin with. In the past 18 months, we have increased the numbers of juveniles involved in diversion, which has led to fewer youth entering the system. City Attorney Susan Segal’s office also is innovating to keep people from getting too far into the criminal justice system.

Many organizations and individuals in our community are working hard to reach the youth and young adults involved in and affected by this violence: faith leaders, community members, advocates, neighbors, and youth workers from Youth Violence Prevention and the Youth Coordinating Board. The YCB’s Youth Outreach Team is doing particularly good work: whether downtown, in our schools or parks, or at special events, youth workers are reaching our young people where they are, connecting with them in meaningful ways, and making a difference in their lives and ours.

We have seen time and time again that when community comes together, sometimes despite differences, to fight violence and lift up peace, safety, and healing, we are all safer. We at the City are continuing to identify ways to collaborate with and lift up this crucial work.

Police–community relations

It’s been several tough, emotional months in Minneapolis. For all of us.

The death of Jamar Clark on November 15, and the occupation of the Fourth Precinct for 18 days after that, was hard on everyone: family members, demonstrators, neighbors, community members, police officers.

It is true that police-community relationships have been in need of transformation since long before that, especially in and for communities of color. Perhaps on no other issue are we so divided from each other.

It is also true that Minneapolis is leading the country on reforming and transforming policing and police–community relations. We have been coming together with many partners to do much work on this front.

  • Since I became Mayor, I have been working to get body cameras on our officers: in 2016, it will happen. As part of this work, we have sought out meaningful feedback from community about our body-cams policy, which we are taking into close consideration. We will report back to the community.
  • We are close to implementation on an early intervention system. An EIS is not discipline: rather, it is a tool to help officers who may be struggling to correct course before little problems become big ones.
  • One of the best ways to build community trust is for officers to look like the community they serve. To this end, I have funded more permanent classes of Community Service Officers. The most recent class is 61 percent people of color. I thank Chief Harteau for the time she took to interview each candidate in that class personally.
  • We are also significantly adding to officer training:
    • By the end of last year, every Minneapolis police officer had received Fair and Impartial Policing training.
    • In February, police officers began procedural-justice training to improve the interactions between officers and residents; all will complete it this year. I thank Council Member Blong Yang for partnering with me to fully fund the training and accelerate the implementation of it.
    • By the end of this year, all patrol officers will have completed 40 hours of crisis-intervention training, which will help them de-escalate situations that involve a mental-health crisis.
    • In addition, the Police Department is assessing policies and training around use of force to make sure that they are current and consistent with best-practice standards.
  • Finally, as many of you know, Minneapolis is one of only six cities in the country to participate in the ground-breaking National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice. The National Initiative has been on the ground for over a year in Minneapolis, working on the three pillars of reducing implicit bias, improving procedural justice, and promoting racial reconciliation. This work involves true partnership with community, and I am pleased that community leaders have embraced it and support it.

It is true that we have done and are doing much. It is also true that there is much, much more to be done, and that in order for this work to succeed, community and government must enter into true partnership. Community-based organizations and advocates have brought forward a number of intriguing proposals for building trust at which I am looking closely and on which I hope we can partner.

In the immediate aftermath of the Fourth Precinct occupation, Chief Harteau and I requested that the Department of Justice conduct an independent after-action review of the City’s response to the Fourth Precinct occupation. We asked for this review because we need to know what went well and what we could have done better. We anticipate that report in the fall.

As we move forward from those 18 days and into the future of transformed police–community relationships, we can be proud that we as a people and a city are sticking with this difficult conversation around policing, community, and race: engaging with each other, challenging each other, challenging me, listening to one another carefully and respectfully. It is hard and it can be painful, but it is necessary and we will be a stronger city and a better people for it. Thank you, all of you, for being part of it.


Much of my State of the City speech last year was about the urgent need for inclusive growth, the idea that everyone must be able to contribute to and benefit from our growth and prosperity if we want to actually have on-going growth and prosperity. It is no less urgent this year.

It is great news to be celebrated that we are fast-growing city. The Metropolitan Council has just announced that Minneapolis’ population stands at 412,517, the highest in around 40 years. This means we have added just under 30,000 residents since 2010, for nearly 8 percent growth in just six years.

The news is just as great that we are a booming city. Last year, for the fourth year in a row, the value of our building permits topped $1 billion. This does not come from just one sector: this is a broad-based boom.

I will speak about three different components of growth: infrastructure, business, and jobs.

First component of growth: infrastructure

It cannot be denied: Our infrastructure is the envy of many cities in the country. I met recently with a delegation from Nashville, a great city itself: to them, our parks and bikeways are a marvel.

And why not? It’s true. We have the #1 parks system in the country. (That’s right, you should applaud.) We are not only the #1 bike city in in America, we are #18 in world — the only North American city on that list. Just look at the city rising up in front of you: the Wells Fargo towers up and open, cranes all over what used to be the dead zone of Downtown East, more construction on Hennepin Avenue that is soon to include the Nicollet Hotel Block, the Midtown Greenway flush with new housing, new hotels going up in the North Loop and Downtown East: the list goes on and on. The built environment of our city and the infrastructure that supports it are growing up and out rapidly.

I look forward to a future Minneapolis that includes things like:

  • The Downtown East Commons. When it opens later this year, it will be a jewel in the transformation of Downtown East. Imagine, in just a few months you’ll be able to walk out of this great venue and over to the Commons to enjoy a walk, a lunch, a game of bocce, or a concert. Thanks to Council Member Jacob Frey and Council President Barbara Johnson for their partnership in turning this complex project into reality.
  • A beautiful new 29th that has been reclaimed for all users, a project that Council Member Lisa Bender has shepherded.
  • A wonderful example of transit-oriented development at 38th and Hiawatha, championed by Council Member Andrew Johnson.
  • A redesigned Nicollet Mall that will be a destination in itself.
  • An Upper Harbor Terminal transformed into a world-class amenity for North Minneapolis, a vision that both Council President Barbara Johnson and I share.
  • A University Avenue Innovation District that is a world-class jobs and research center and urban village, a vision that Council Member Cam Gordon has moved forward for years.

Just weeks ago, the City Council, the Park Board, and I collaborated to pass an historic, once-in-a-generation agreement to fund a good deal of the capital and operating needs of our city streets and bridges, and neighborhood parks, for the next 20 years, transparently and equitably.

It was neither easy nor obvious. I have long supported our parks’ need for long-term capital dollars, but earlier versions of the ordinance would have met the need for parks alone and left our streets for another day. However, we had already clearly laid out the urgent need for significant long-term capital investment in streets, before the cost of repairing them became unaffordable. I stood for a global solution that included one dollar for parks for every two dollars for streets, and for sources of funding that are reliable in the long term. I’m pleased that that’s the agreement that we struck. We can be very proud that we came together unanimously to accept our responsibility to restore our parks and our streets to good shape for future generations.

Many people deserve thanks for this resolution: the City Council, including my co-author John Quincy; the Park Board, and parks advocates, including Mark Andrew, who is joining me today.

Also, more needs to be done: specifically, by the State Legislature. At a time when we here in Minneapolis have come together across jurisdictions and put real dollars on the table to fund our infrastructure needs sustainably, and when even Congress can come together to pass a long-term transportation bill, there is no excuse for the State Legislature not to act, and act this year. I strongly support the efforts of Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Scott Dibble, and Representative Frank Hornstein to pass a comprehensive, long-term, sustainable roads- and transit-funding package that will allow us to meet our residents’ many, diverse needs. Our city’s impressive growth could be choked off if our roads decay and our transit system remains inadequate.

Second component of growth: Business

Minneapolis, we have one of the most thriving business sectors anywhere. From our Fortune 500 companies to our start-ups, from our small businesses to our not-for-profits, from our restaurants, tap and cocktail rooms to our many emerging social enterprises, we are diverse, resilient, and ever expanding.

Our business sector is not only thriving, it is community-oriented. I receive endless compliments from mayors around the country — and no small measure of jealousy — for our business community’s civic-mindedness. They come together for countless acts of good for the city: like the downtown businesses and property owners that come together to invest in the Downtown Improvement District, the business support of Super Bowl LII, the NCAA Final Four, the RiverFirst initiative, or the Downtown East Commons.

It is also true that it is still too difficult to do business here.

Two years ago I launched Business Made Simple in order to make it easier for anyone to start and run their business. We’ve made good progress in that time:

  • As of today, we’ve repealed about three dozen anachronistic ordinances that got in the way of creating successful businesses in Minneapolis. One required a license to operate a jukebox — but I’m pretty sure your very own jukebox is in the phone in your pocket right now. Special thanks to Council Member Andrew Johnson for his persistent focus on stripping away these cumbersome and outdated ordinances.
  • We’ve made a significant investment in our new Enterprise Land Management System that will increase the ability of City departments to review and approve requests and applications faster than ever before.
  • We are developing a new online portal that in 2017, will allow businesses to apply for and renew permits online, submit plans electronically, and better track the approval process.

I have also challenged the City’s Innovation team, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, to focus on how we can help increase businesses ownership in communities of color. In a city that is nearing 50 percent people of color, only 23 percent of small businesses are owned by people of color. Yet we know there is great entrepreneurial vitality in these communities that is ready to be unleashed.

In addition, CPED, led by Craig Taylor, continues to provide needed technical assistance to small and mid-size businesses, primarily ones owned by people of color through the Business Technical Assistance Program, B-TAP.  Last month, CPED added the new Cooperative Technical Assistance Program, C-TAP, to our business-development toolbox. It will offer assistance to groups interested in forming new co-ops in Minneapolis.

In addition to this work to help small businesses thrive, I have convened, with the help of U.S. Bank CEO Richard Davis, what we call the Mayor’s Business Leadership Roundtable, a group of leaders from some of the most well-known corporations in Minneapolis and the region, in order to make sure that I can draw on a wide range of business perspectives. I appreciate their willingness to offer their candid experience and advice. Archie Black, CEO of SPS Commerce who is with us today, is one of the members of the roundtable.

This is one aspect of One Minneapolis in practice and it is represented so well here on stage: small businesses, labor, corporations, advocates, social enterprises, and nonprofits, who in some contexts strain to come together, all contributing to the well-being, vitality, and prosperity of our city. Thank you.

Third component of growth: Jobs and employment

It is true that our vibrant, diverse economy makes Minneapolis a top big-city job market. Our unemployment rate is just 3.5 percent, far below the national average. In good news for our immigrant communities, 75 percent of foreign-born residents of the region are working, ranking us tops among competitor regions.

It is also true that we suffer from huge racial disparities in employment. The unemployment rate for African Americans in Minneapolis is higher by about factor of four. Jobs are harder to come by, and harder to keep, for low-income people, who in Minneapolis are also disproportionately people of color.

We have been warned over and over again by everyone — from racial-equity advocates to academics to corporate CEOs — that if we do not close our race-based gaps in skills and employment, our thriving economy will stall, then decline. We cannot say we do not know. We must take action, and we are.

  • TechHire. Patrick Chou is a Loring Park resident. He had been working in the mortgage-servicing industry when he decided to make a career change. He had wanted to learn software development for some time, and found that the 12-week, immersive, web-development course at the Software Guild, a TechHire partner, was a better fit for him than going back to college for a computer science degree. With the help of the Software Guild’s employer network, Patrick will be interning with General Mills as an application developer. Patrick and another TechHire graduate, Chelsea Obey, are here with me today. Congratulations to you both!

   TechHire is an Obama Administration initiative to close the skills gap in the high-          tech economy by training and supporting women and workers of color. It is one of          the great ways we have come together as a community to transform our job market.      Our investment in it is paying off: as of February, 201 graduates have been placed in      full-time jobs that pay well.

  • Cedar–Riverside Opportunity Hub. I was pleased to work with Council Member Abdi Warsame to fund the Cedar–Riverside Opportunity Hub in this year’s budget. I appreciate his commitment to closing the skills gap and seeing young men and women of color getting good jobs through career pathways and other employment programs that are geared especially to the East African community.
  • Earned sick and safe time. In my State of the City speech last year, I proposed a Working Families Agenda that included earned sick and safe time for workers in Minneapolis. I proposed this as a public-health measure: 42 percent of all Minneapolis workers lack access to paid time off to care for themselves or their families, and a large percentage of them are in low-wage food-service or healthcare professions. With more and more jobs opening up in the hospitality, restaurant, and healthcare sectors, this public-health crisis is likely to get worse unless we come together and lead with action.

Earned sick and safe time is a jobs measure as well as a response to a public-health crisis: as I have repeatedly said, no one should have to choose between getting well and getting paid. Racial disparities are at play here, too, with low-wage workers in jobs that lack earned sick time being disproportionately people of color. These are all significant problems.

For these reasons, I am pleased that the City Council is considering the adoption of an ordinance that will allow workers in many businesses to earn sick and safe time. I want to thank the Workplace Partnership Group, a diverse group that the City Council and I appointed to listen to stakeholders and offer recommendations to us. Collectively, they invested thousands of hours to engage a wide range of businesses, economic sectors, non-profits, and workers. More than 500 people attended their many listening sessions and provided invaluable perspective, feedback, and advice: many workers told stories of pain and hardship, and many business owners offered practical solutions. I appreciate them all.

I particularly would like to thank my appointees to the group: Jim Rowader of Target Corporation and Liz Doyle of TakeAction Minnesota, both of whom served as co-chairs, and Danny Schwartzman of Common Roots Café, all of whom are here on stage with me today. I would also like to thank U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Pérez for his and the Obama Administration’s support.

Here again, people from different backgrounds and sectors who do not always agree have come together to take a stand for the health of the public and to transform the workplaces of tens of thousands of low-wage workers.

I know that this measure would prove an adjustment or a challenge for many in the business community. I hear that and appreciate it, which is why a year-long runway before enforcement is proposed. I am confident that Minneapolis’ experience of this policy will be as positive as that of other cities and states. We at the City will do everything we can to help the transition be successful for everyone.

Children and Youth

One of the best parts of being Mayor is that I get to meet and be inspired by the amazing youth of our city. I’d like to introduce you to one such young man.

I met Payton Bowyer just three weeks ago at South High, where Superintendent Michael Goar and I co-hosted Minneapolis’ first College Signing Day, an event launched by First Lady Michelle Obama. The event is meant to celebrate all our youth for choosing the college that they will attend, not just star athletes. There, Payton told me his story.

When he was just four years old, his family moved him and his brother from Chicago to Minneapolis to seek a better, safer life. His family had struggled with homelessness for most of his life until then. Payton struggled a lot when he was younger, until he connected with the Boys and Girls Club, where staff invested in his success and inspired him always to drive for excellence.

This fall, he will attend University of Northwestern – Saint Paul on a full scholarship to pursue a degree in youth ministry. He told me that he wants to be able to change lives the way that staff at the Boys and Girls Club, along with pastors, teachers, and coaches, changed his.

He is here today with South High Principal Ray Aponte and his mentor from the Boys and Girls Club, Stephanie Siegel. Congratulations, Payton. We are all so proud of you.

Stories like Payton’s remind us that we need to hear more positive stories of boys and young men of color in the media: I highlighted this need in my State of the City speech last year, when I encouraged all of us to share these stories, and I encourage us again to do so. I know firsthand the level of genius these boys and young men of color offer our city. As I said in last year’s State of the City, we cannot afford to leave any genius on the table.

Another place that we get to lift up boys and young men of color and transform employment and opportunity for them is in our groundbreaking BUILD Leaders program. BUILD Leaders is an innovative, community-based, job-training program for youth of color who are facing the most systemic barriers to educational and economic opportunities. Our $362,000 ongoing investment in it is supporting cohorts in South Minneapolis at the American Indian OIC and Little Earth, and in North Minneapolis at EMERGE. I am very excited about the transformative potential of this approach. Please join me in saluting my friend Isaiah Hudson, one of our BUILD Leaders, who is here today.

Young men like Payton and Isaiah, who face long odds and have shown they can succeed, are sometimes called opportunity youth. So I say to everyone in this room: hire an opportunity youth. We know that our region is poised to run out of workers: we may be 100,000 short in five years, and nearly 200,000 short by 2030. Attracting workers from other states is a fine, albeit expensive, strategy, but when we have youth here who are ready to succeed but have not yet had the opportunities to do so, let us include them in our growth and prosperity. Or more accurately, we will not have growth and prosperity without them.

Our youngest residents are just as important. Securing their futures is the work of my Cradle to K cabinet.

I formed the Cabinet to develop a plan not only to eliminate, but to prevent, racial disparities from before birth to age 3. Last summer, the Cabinet released its final recommendations. I thank Cradle to K Cabinet chair Carolyn Smallwood and then-co-chair, now-State Representative Peggy Flanagan for leading this groundbreaking work. I am pleased to report progress on all three recommendations.

The first recommendation is that all children will have a healthy start that will prepare them for successful early education and literacy. To address it, we are targeting the “Word Gap.” Research shows that by age 4, children from middle- and high-income families hear 30 million more words than children from low-income families. I am very pleased that the Clinton Foundation is supporting and partnering with us to launch our “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” initiative this summer. “Talking is Teaching” is a public-awareness campaign designed to get parents and caregivers talking, reading, and singing to very young children.

All of us can participate. We instinctively already talk and sing to babies and small children, all of them. Now science has told us that by doing so we can make our kids smarter.

The Cabinet’s second recommendation is that all children will be stably housed. I am proud to have worked with the City Council and housing advocates to invest $1 million for large affordable units for extremely low-income families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Thank you to Council Member Goodman for helping make sure this investment is positioned well to get the results we need.

The third recommendation is that children have continued access to high-quality, early-childhood education. To that point, allow me to acknowledge Chad Dunkley, CEO of New Horizon Academy, who joins me on stage today. New Horizon operates three facilities in Minneapolis, all nationally accredited and rated four stars by Parent Aware. Last November, I toured their newest facility on Penn Avenue North. I got to see firsthand what child development centered care looks like: it has all the attention and love you expect, and it has a focus on words and learning and singing at every age. It was fun to see.

Here is one more place that we in Minneapolis can come together to support our children and youth: supporting the Minneapolis Public Schools referendum on the ballot this November. I am proud to announce today that along with Congressman Keith Ellison, I am co-chairing the campaign to pass it. The referendum funds 40 percent of Minneapolis teachers. Without it, class sizes would balloon up to 48 students per class. At a time when our public-school students are 70 percent students of color, when our economy is facing a workforce shortage, and when graduation rates are rising, pulling the plug on our 36,000 students is pulling the plug on the future of our city. Please join me in supporting our public schools in November.

Our city’s deep truths — that we are awesome and we are challenged, that we come together for the common good and strain to come together through our divisions — are nowhere more evident than in the lives and prospects of our children and youth. It is an inspiration to me to watch our city put aside our adult divisions and fears and come together to support our children and youth.

And I must take a moment to acknowledge especially our trans youth and, frankly, all of our trans Minneapolitans.

There are politicians right now who seem to take perverse delight in finding false pretexts for discriminating against you. I am disgusted by it. Those are not Minneapolis values.

Rather, in Minneapolis, we started the Trans Issues Work Group in 2014. It has been quietly leading the country in building City-led work that seeks to confront the discrimination that the community faces, and tackle topics like healthcare and employment. This year, we will be holding the third annual Trans Equity Summit.

Thank you to our community partners in this work: Roxanne Anderson of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, Andrea Jenkins, trans oral historian at the University of Minnesota, here with me today, and Phil Duran of Outfront Minnesota. And thank you, Council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, for your ongoing leadership in this work.

To lift a powerful line directly from Attorney General Loretta Lynch: “We see you, we stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you.”

And to our Muslim young people – to all our Muslim brothers and sisters.

For some people in this country right now, questioning your humanity is a pasttime.

Not in Minneapolis. Here in Minneapolis, we know you are a strong, valuable part of our community. We know we aren’t great without you. And we know Islamophobia is wrong – we will not stand for it, and we will stand with and for you.

Coming together in the Promise Zone

Nearly everything that I have talked about up until now related to youth, growth, and safety comes together in our Promise Zone, a group of nine neighborhoods in North Minneapolis. The Promise Zone is a 10-year commitment from the federal government to help align public, private, and nonprofit efforts in high-poverty and high-opportunity neighborhoods by providing preference for federal funding, as well as staff assistance. I thank HUD Secretary Julián Castro for all the support he has provided for our Promise Zone.

In our first year of full operation, we have already brought in $3.8 million in federal grants due to the Promise Zone designation, and are tracking $11 million in applications for federal funding.

The Promise Zone is designed to be a marathon, not a sprint. I am hopeful that the next White House Administration will continue and expand upon the Promise Zone. We look forward to the next nine years of this work.

Climate change, sustainability, and resiliency

2015 was the hottest year on record since record-keeping began more than 115 years ago — and 2010, 2013 and 2014 are all in the top five with 2015. As climate change continues, our city will feel its effects more keenly than most other cities: our summers and winters will be warmer, heavy rains will happen more frequently and be more intense, and allergy season will last longer. The Weather Channel ranked Minneapolis second among American cities likely to feel the greatest impact of climate change — after only New Orleans.

We are doing everything we can as a city to make sure that we are part of the solution — and that we are resilient to whatever change may come.

For example, we have now completed the first full year of our Clean Energy Partnership with Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy; appointed a community-led Energy Vision Advisory Committee; and adopted a work plan and metrics to move in concert with the utilities toward the City’s climate goals. We will also soon launch a pilot to help more residents benefit from utility energy-efficiency programs — especially renters, low-income families, and communities of color.

Climate change is not our only risk. Air pollution is one of many components of the cumulative health impacts that disproportionately affect communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods. In some zip codes in Minneapolis, the hospitalization rates for children with asthma are four times higher than the statewide rate.

Minneapolis is a leader in addressing air pollution. We conducted a neighborhood-level air-quality study so we can better understand our air-quality challenges.

Finally, we are moving forward on our commitment to Zero waste. I thank Council Members Kevin Reich, Cam Gordon, Alondra Cano, and Linea Palmisano for their ongoing work to help us craft a Zero Waste plan. We are already making great progress.  The rollout of the residential curbside organics recycling programs will be completed early this summer. As of yesterday, 37,000 households, including mine — or 35 percent of the city — have signed up for the service. This program, along with our single-sort recycling, once again makes us the envy of our neighbors.

Coming together through the arts

Minneapolis has, bar none, the best arts scene anywhere — I mean anywhere — and we come together through the arts in unique and powerful ways.

If I started a litany of the Minneapolis artists, arts organizations, and spaces that enrich us, we would never leave here. That said, I am going to take the risk of mentioning at least one: our hosts today, the MacPhail Center for Music. MacPhail, born and headquartered right here in Minneapolis, is the largest community music center in the country, with 14,500 students. Founded by Minneapolis resident William MacPhail in 1907, the Center teaches students ranging from 6 weeks old to over 100 years old. More than half of those students participate in programs supported by financial assistance and program subsidy.

Please join me once again in thanking CEO Kyle Carpenter and the entire MacPhail family for welcoming us today. And thank you to my friend, Timothy De Prey, for his beautiful piano playing.

The arts make us stronger as a people: they are where the best of us as human beings shows up. They also make our economy stronger: our just-released Minneapolis Creative Index shows that creative sales pumped $4.5 billion into our economy in 2015. Creative jobs are 5 percent of all jobs in our city. Our arts scene is one of the most vigorous in the country: Minneapolis ranks 6th in the country in creative vitality, with a score 3.6 times higher than the national average.

It is also true that artists and arts organizations in our neighborhoods and communities are sometimes struggling, especially in communities of color. We can acknowledge and be grateful for the incredible artistic and musical institutions that we have, and recognize that not all artists are benefitting equally or equitably.

We recently suffered a big loss in our community with the tragic death of Kirk Washington. Kirk was a gifted poet who co-authored the One Minneapolis group poem that was written for and performed at my inaugural. He also served Minneapolis as a member of our Energy Vision Advisory Committee. He was passionate about our city, our people, our challenges, and our strengths, and about making art out of all of it. His passing leaves a hole in the life of Minneapolis.

Kirk’s wife, Aster Nebro — a City of Minneapolis employee in Business Licensing — and their two daughters, Azalea Washington and Keah Spurgeon, are with us today. Please join me in honoring them and Kirk’s life.

It is wonderful that our creative economy is so strong and growing. It is a testament to who and what Minneapolis is that one of the most elemental ways human beings have of coming together as people is something in which we excel so much. We sometimes do strain to come together — but when we do it, we do it beautifully.

For me personally, experience of the arts is a daily flow and habit in my life. I read poetry every morning and every evening. I listen to music throughout the day. I read novels, mostly written for young adults; for that matter, I have written a young adult novel. I am on the board of Mia, and when I go to meetings I take an extra 20 minutes to walk through a gallery or two. When I bike or walk or drive down our streets in Minneapolis, I appreciate the beautiful murals our artists have painted in so many places.

And I make sure to find ways to laugh: laughing is a requirement for happiness, and as an art form, comedy helps us jump over dividing lines faster than almost anything else.

Stand-up comedy is itself an undersung art form. Here in Minneapolis, Acme Comedy Company is an undersung arts gem. In the last 25 years, Louis Lee has created a venue that treats comedians as artists rather than product, artists who are doing good and interesting work and help expand our notion of what comedy is. Usually when I buy tickets to go to Acme, I don’t even ask who the headliner is. I just show up knowing I will see some good and interesting and very funny work. I have never been disappointed.

I asked comedian Cameron Esposito — her special “Marriage Material” is now streaming online — what she thinks about Acme. Here’s what she said: “As a city, Minneapolis has an open-minded nature that is hard to beat. Not that everyone has experienced all things, but that folks seem open to learning, changing and connecting as a unit. That’s what Acme offers a comic: the close seating, the audience facing one another and surrounding the stage on three sides. It’s a feeling of unity and being in it together to muddle through life that makes that place a special venue for stand-up.”

That feeling of being in it together to muddle through life: exactly. Comedy is great at that, and Acme Comedy Company is especially great at it. Minneapolis is great at it, too.

I will say, though, that the best part about comedy is that it is funny.

•  •  •

Today I have been talking about the deep truth of Minneapolis: that we are a remarkable and amazing city, and that we are a city of deep divisions. I have been talking about the truth that we are strong when we come together, and the truth that even so we struggle to come together. I have been talking, again, about One Minneapolis — that to which we aspire, and that which, when we head toward it, makes all our other aspirations possible.

I talk about these things often. I am guessing no one is surprised by the theme.

The history of race would have us white folks believe that the issues we face as a city — disparities in education and employment, rifts between the police and the community, opportunity for young people — are issues of and about people of color. The history of race often leaves us white people thinking that this isn’t about us.

As a result, when I speak about it — today, or any other day — it is a challenge to speak of it in a way where we white people can see we are in this picture, that this is about us, too.

It is about us. Race and racism is a system that we are part of, like it or not. To carry on in the face of a world set up so differently for us than for people of color, at some level we have had to shut down our awareness of that difference. As a result we are less present to our own humanness, we are less connected to the real web of interconnections that bind us all to each other, and we are diminished as a result. The price of our continued participation will be our children’s futures, and their children’s futures.

Is there a deep truth here? Perhaps. The deep truth is, we must be fully dedicated to our neighbor’s humanity in order for us to achieve our full success. The negation of that truth is also true: we must be fully dedicated to the fullness of our own humanity in order for us to achieve our full success. The end point of that is One Minneapolis, and we are in that picture.

•  •  •

Minneapolis, it is profoundly true that we are a great, wonderful city. It is also profoundly true that we are a city with many challenges, especially regarding race.

The deep truth, Minneapolis, is that we are divided and strain to come together. The deep truth is also that we come together for the common good. But what is the ground on which we come together? How do we do it through the division and strain?

In the poem printed on your program, the wonderful poet Elizabeth Alexander, who read at President Obama’s first inaugural, asks a simple question: “Are we not of interest to each other?” (Gratitude and respect to another artistic gem of Minneapolis, Graywolf Press, for their kind permission to share this poem with you today.)

Are we not of interest to each other? I submit that fundamentally, we are. That fundamentally, to be human is to be curious about each other’s humanity, to share openly the depth and complexity of our full humanity with one another. That exploration is what we all recover when we seek, even a little bit, to create an equitable city.

I submit that in this amazing city of great challenges, we have everything and we are everyone that we need to come together through the strain of doing so. We have everything and we are everyone we need to hold our profound truths in deeply creative tension. We have everything and we are everyone we need to undertake the work of transformation. Looking at and moving out from this stage we can see that it’s true.

When we acknowledge our profound truths, when we come together through the strain of doing so, when we encounter each other’s humanity, and show true interest in each other — in that moment, we are able to take what Kirk Washington called at my inaugural “a unified breath that electrocutes fear and misunderstanding.”

Let us show interest in each other. Let us come together. Let us take that unified breath. Let us do the good, hard, and necessary work, together, to transform Minneapolis into One Minneapolis. We have everything and we are everyone that we need. That is our profound truth.