May 25, 2011
A proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage will be decided by Minnesota voters next year after the Minnesota House on Saturday approved placing the amendment on the state ballot in November 2012. Minnesota already prohibits same-sex marriage, but backers say this amendment will prevent any legalization in the future. The amendment, if approved by voters, would define marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Join City Council Member Gary Schiff and guest speakers State Representative Karen Clark, State Senator Scott Dibble, State Representative Bobby Joe Champion, Outfront Minnesota Executive Director Monica Meyer, and political strategist Javier Morillo-Alicea at Breakfast with Gary this Friday, May 27th. Panelists will talk about the recent vote and strategy for the upcoming campaign.
Breakfast attendees will also get a chance to view some of the television ads that affected the debate during California’s 2008 Proposition 8 campaign, where over $80 million was spent to affect public opinion about gay marriage.
Breakfast with Gary is a monthly meeting held from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. the final Friday of the month at the Mercado Central, 1515 East Lake Street. $5 buys breakfast.
How you can help those affected by the tornado
After a tornado swept through North Minneapolis this past Sunday, Minneapolis residents and others have been quick to offer help. There are several ways to support those affected by the tornado. Funds are more in demand than goods.
The Minneapolis Foundation has established a fund, Minnesota Helps – North Minneapolis Recovery Fund, that will help with short and long-term housing and recovery related needs on the North Side. To make a donation by credit card, visit www.givemn.org or send checks to The Minneapolis Foundation, 80 South 8th Street, Suite 800, Minneapolis, MN, 55402. People can also donate to the local Red Cross at www.redcrosstc.org.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said he is incredibly proud of how North Minneapolis handled the emergency situation. “What we saw happen was just a lot of people helping each other and staying quiet and doing the best they could. It was really a good sign of what strength there is in this community,” said Rybak.
Community planting will turn Hiawatha sound walls green
After years of painting over graffiti on parts of the Hiawatha Avenue sound wall, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is teaming up with community volunteers on Saturday, June 4th to plant vines as a graffiti deterrent.
“The Hiawatha sound walls that are south of 46th Street were planted with vines years ago,” said Council Member Gary Schiff. “They work great to stop graffiti. Now it’s time to green the rest of the wall.”
Volunteers are needed to help plant 120 Engleman Ivy plants along both sides of the wall on Saturday, June 4 starting at 9 a.m. Volunteers will meet on the west side of the wall adjacent to the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority parking lot at 2121 16th Avenue South. Anyone interested in volunteering to green the wall can RSVP online, by emailing, or by
The type of ivy being planted can already been seen further south on Highway 55, south of East 46th Street. It is a durable climbing vine that attaches itself to the wall as it grows. These plants will help to prevent graffiti by partially covering the wall, creating less space and visibility for graffiti.
Help prevent crime this summer
The first four months of 2011 saw a 60% increase in burglaries in the Powderhorn Park, Corcoran, and Standish neighborhoods. “Officers have been working hard to reverse this trend,” says Third Precinct Inspector Lucy Gerold. Earlier this month, the hard work paid off. In one weekend, police arrested eleven burglary suspects and have charged eight of them.
While police hope this action will help reduce the number of burglaries in the area, police stress the importance of calling 911 immediately if there is anyone loitering, looking in windows, or acting suspiciously. “There are three factors that a criminal has when they commit a crime,” Crime Prevention Specialist Karen Notsch says, “They have ability, desire and opportunity. The factor we have the greatest influence with is ‘opportunity’. By practicing prevention, we can reduce ‘opportunity’.”
It is also important for neighbors to be aware of the activity in their neighborhoods. All the sectors are now doing regular updates and requests for impact statements about burglars and other charged criminals. Anyone interested in receiving crime alerts for their area and requests for impact statements can sign up online. If residents witness suspicious activity, they are urged to call 911 immediately. When burglars have been apprehended, it is usually because someone has called about suspicious activity.
Pension reform fails at Capitol
The bill that would have merged the Minneapolis Police Relief Association and Minneapolis Fire Relief Association into the professionally-run Public Employees Retirement Association failed to get a vote before this week’s close of the 2011 legislative session. The pension funds, which the City of Minneapolis does not control, have necessitated significant property tax increases. Minneapolis taxpayers will pay $15 million more in 2011 than they paid in 2010 to meet the obligations to the funds. Without the Legislative approval of a merger, an increase of similar magnitude in taxpayers’ obligations to the closed funds is expected in 2012.
In November 2009, Hennepin County District Court ruled that the funds had overcharged taxpayers $76 million from 2000–09. The court froze benefit levels, allowing the Mayor and City Council to immediately cut property taxes for 2010 by $10 million. In May 2010, the Court ordered the funds to develop a plan to recoup taxpayers’ overpayments and make taxpayers whole by July 1, 2010. The Court order is on hold, pending appeal.