Archive | Governance

Into the Weeds on Safety and Cell Phones

Recently state representatives Mark Uglem and Frank Hornstein introduced a bill to the Minnesota Legislature to criminalize talking on a handheld cell phone while driving. The benefits of this bill are sold to be increased safety, particularly from having two hands ready and on the wheel at all times, and easier enforcement of the texting […]

Continue Reading
Mosaic mural of people walking on a trail

Minneapolis: A City for Walkers

Co-written by Janelle Nivens and Sarah Tschida Cross-posted on Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition On a recent Friday morning, 30 people attended “Minneapolis, a City for Walkers? A Conversation About Prioritizing Pedestrians” at The Turtle Bread Company in south Minneapolis. Hosted by Minneapolis Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8), this program featured guest speakers Robin Hutcheson, Minneapolis […]

Continue Reading

False Choice Between Bike Lanes and Heroin on Glenwood

Minneapolis City Council Member Blong Yang would like you to choose one or the other. On Friday morning, the Minneapolis City Council voted 9-4 to approve the Glenwood Avenue North Reconstruction Project. Council members who voted against the proposed plan were Lisa Bender, Alondra Cano, Cam Gordon, and Elizabeth Glidden. Bender spoke in her best urban planning […]

Continue Reading

Intentional Communities: Racist by Default?

For over six months, I’ve been worried about an upcoming ordinance allowing “intentional communities.” Recent City Council committee discussions, at Community Development & Regulatory Services (CDRS) and then Zoning & Planning, have brought these concerns into focus. In summary, this ordinance would expand the definition of family in the zoning code to include so-called “intentional […]

Continue Reading

Seven Ways Automobility Undermines a City’s Bottom Line, from Least to Most Direct

Earlier this month, both Minneapolis and Saint Paul released their property tax levy numbers, and for both cash-strapped core cities, they went up quite a bit. Despite the recent development booms in both downtowns, the fiscal facts on the ground remain stubborn. Saint Paul and Minneapolis have a lot of needs, and funding them is […]

Continue Reading

Minnesota Property Taxes Explained, Part 2: How are Property Taxes Calculated?

In Part I I covered the basics of what property taxes are.  This time I’ll dive into how exactly property taxes are calculated, starting with (for Minneapolis) the half billion dollar question. What is tax capacity? In its simplest form, the tax capacity of a property is its taxable market value (explained below) multiplied by its class […]

Continue Reading
Arial view of downtown Rochester, MN

The Consolidation Problem

It came as no shock to me to read the Stantec report recommending major changes to the Rochester Planning Department. Rochester doesn’t have a planning department. When it comes to planning for Rochester, we have zoomed out and presently view the growth issues of our city through a countywide lens. Lost is the fine-grained detail […]

Continue Reading