(The Center Square) – On Tuesday, Minneapolis voters will turn out to vote and answer three questions; one of which will decide the future of the city’s law enforcement protocols.
Violent crime has spiked in the city since 2020, and the police force has since dwindled by 33%.
The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The first question asks whether the Minneapolis City Charter should be amended to switch structure to “an Executive Mayor-Legislative Council structure to shift certain powers to the Mayor, consolidating administrative authority over all operating departments under the Mayor, and eliminating the Executive Committee?”
If voters approve the question, administrative power over many city departments would shift to the mayor.
Question 2 is the culmination of efforts more than a year after the City Council pledged to reform the police department after the death of George Floyd. The question has divided the DFL Party. The proposal will ask voters if they want to approve a plan to replace the police department with a new public safety department focused on a “comprehensive public safety approach” that would include police officers “if necessary to fulfill the department’s responsibilities.” Question 2 would remove the minimum funding requirement for police (0.0017 per resident) from the Minneapolis Charter.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison backs Proposal 2.
“Fundamentally, communities across Mpls need & want the possibility for reform & accountability, which the current Charter blocks by locking us into an outdated model for law enforcement and safety,” Ellison tweeted in August. “They want to end the cycle of inaction.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo opposes the question.
He cited increased violent crime as a reason to boost MPD funding. Between Jan. 1, 2021, and Oct. 11, 2021, there have been 530 gunshot wound victims, a 137% increase from 2019’s 223 victims. The city counted 75 homicides in 2021 in that time, up 114% from 2019’s 35 homicides. Also, the 1,569 robberies counted so far in that period was a 50% increase from 2019’s 1,041.
“This is too critical the time to wish and hope for that help that we need so desperately right now,” Arradondo said. “And again, I was not expecting some sort of robust, detailed word for word ‘plan.’ But at this point, quite frankly, I would take a drawing on a napkin.”
Arradondo has pointed out that 87% of victims of violent crime in the city are people of color and said the question wouldn’t stop tragic incidents between residents and police.
“I will tell you what this ballot question does not address: For every 187 Black residents in our city this year, one Black person has been shot,” Arradondo said. “Just this year alone. A Black resident in Minneapolis is 480-times more likely to be shot in the city than to be involved as a victim of an officer-involved shooting. A Black resident in this city is 62-times more likely to be shot and murdered in this city than to be shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting,” Arradondo said.
Question 3 will ask voters if the City Council should be authorized to enact rent control on private property within the city. The explanatory note says it would:
1. Authorize the City Council to regulate rents on private residential property in the City of Minneapolis by ordinance.
2. Provide that an ordinance regulating rents on private residential property could be enacted in two different and independent ways:
a. The City Council may enact the ordinance.
b. The City Council may refer the ordinance as a ballot question to be decided by the voters for approval at an election. If more than half of the votes cast on the ballot question are in favor of its adoption, the ordinance would take effect 30 days after the election, or at such other time as provided in the ordinance.