Focussed on Community, Environment, and City Services
The pace of change in the world and in our city requires the most experienced and forward-thinking candidate possible. I will continue to diligently engage with the citizens of Robbinsdale about their concerns and ideas.
I believe all members of our community deserve responsive, transparent government. That is why I have pushed for direct public access to elected officials. This means allowing space for residents and business owners to speak at meetings, a practice I helped start when I first joined the Council. It also means meeting people where they are - over email, on the phone or over a cup of coffee. I am committed to continuing an open dialogue with all residents and will always follow-up and provide solutions as quickly as possible.
I am a long-time environmental and public safety champion. I have been highly involved in the development of our residential neighborhoods and vital downtown. I want to build on the momentum I have been a key part of and continue to improve our city. I will focus on promoting increased diversity and inclusion, protecting our small businesses and upgrading our city’s parks and trails.
Maintain my environmental leadership role within the City Council
Despite our progress, I believe we have a moral duty to do more, and do it now! There is no Planet B. I need your vote in the primary to enact earth-sensitive policies.
I have been a critical and passionate leader for city environmental action since the 1980’s, when I was a founding member of the highly successful Environmental Cities Organization (ECO) and when I proposed the first Robbinsdale Recycling Rebate, a small credit that can still be found on your bill today! I pushed Robbinsdale to be an early adopter of city ordinances to prevent certain fertilizers from being sold in local stores to reduce negative environmental impacts. More recently, I pushed the city to build a new water treatment plant at Lee Park in an eco-focused manner by powering it with solar panels.
Foster a thriving city that is inclusive and welcoming for all
I will build on the momentum I have been a key part of and continue to improve our city.
I have worked hard for decades to make sure Robbinsdale neighborhoods and business districts continue to grow and thrive. I am proud of the work that we have done as a community to enhance Robbinsdale’s Authentic, Human-Scale Downtown feel while attracting a wide variety of small businesses and residents from different backgrounds. My experience as an attorney has helped me suggest innovative ways to achieve these goals. For example: I suggested the financing technique that allowed Travail to purchase the real-estate for its architecturally-innovative new building on West Broadway; and which allowed RSI, now Robbinsdale Middle School, to open in Robbinsdale, rather than in Plymouth or Golden Valley.
Attracting a mixture of independent businesses that are the envy of surrounding suburbs is a key to success. I will continue to work tirelessly to build a strong Robbinsdale that welcomes and embraces all.
Inclusivity is a core lifetime value of mine. My personal commissioner appointments have included people with perspectives that were under-represented in our city leadership, including women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. For decades, I have understood that recruiting voices with different perspectives than my own can strengthen our city. I recognize that I have biases and I strive to overcome them by having conversations with and appointments of people with backgrounds and life experiences that are not the same as mine.
Robbinsdale is a microcosm of the United States and it is home to so many unique, hardworking and caring people. I enjoy hearing what people love about our hometown, what we can improve upon and how their opinions differ from mine. Everyone must be supported and included in our laws, policies, procedures and events.
I do not want to tear down our caring, hardworking, but not perfect police department. The police department occupies more than 50% of our General Fund Budget. Of course Public Safety must be re-imagined from time to time, and now is a great time to do so.
I am open to working with the city and RPD to re-imagine the best way to do Police work within our community. The most critical point to understanding where we are at and where we should go is listening to the feedback and concerns of community members that reflect a wide variety of people and families. Some ideas I have read about and think we should explore for Robbinsdale are:
Collect data regarding traffic stops and police calls to understand if there is racially biased policing in Robbinsdale
Review current positions within the RPD and determine if our community would be better served with some specialized roles such as a mental health expert based on the types of police calls that are most common
Evaluate training to be sure there is enough focus and rigor around implicit bias and de-escalation trainings
Review the process to report and investigate suspected police misconduct
Increase transparency regarding police incidents in which there was use of force
Improve the recruiting process to ensure the RPD officers are representative of our community members and values
Assess police engagement within our community and ensure we have positive relationships between all residents and the RPD
Finally, I published a letter condemning the murder of George Floyd and offered additional thoughts on how we can improve the city of Robbinsdale. LINK TO LETTER
Continue to celebrate and improve Robbinsdale’s excellent Public Works, Parks & Rec, Police & Fire Departments, while keeping taxes low
Public services such as police and fire protection, street maintenance and plowing, parks & rec and utilities utilize the vast majority of your tax dollars. I will continue to focus on both the big picture and the small nuances to keep what works well and improve where we need it most.
A strong fiscal plan is difficult in a city with little industrial tax base. When I was first elected to the city council we had about a 4% budget reserve at the end of the year. Now, with a great staff, a cooperative city council and policies that I often first suggested, we have enough money saved at the end of the year to fund more than 57% of next year’s budget (the reserve fund). Long ago when we had a weaker balance sheet and reserve fund, I suggested that unusual windfalls, such as administrative fees for Industrial Development Revenue Bonds and Hospital Bonds be put in to reserve funds to improve our credit rating and to benefit future taxpayers. We did. It worked. This fiscal stability helps keep our taxes as low as possible in a city with a small tax base and many real estate tax exempt institutions.