URGENT: City council threatens cuts to racial equity and clean energy

URGENT: On Monday night, the city council voted 7-6 to make drastic cuts to racial equity and clean energy programming. They voted to severely cut racial equity programs--including a racial disparities study through the Civil Rights Department, counseling and outreach programs for new homeowners, and the One Minneapolis Fund, which provides grants to organizations based in communities of color working on reducing racial disparities and creating a more inclusive Minneapolis. They also voted to gut Minneapolis' unique first-in-the-nation clean energy partnership, which represents $450 million in citywide energy expenses annually that Minneapolis can use to drive local clean energy economic development, fight energy poverty for low-income families, and pioneer a new energy future. (For a fuller list of things they voted to cut, scroll to the end of this blog post.) This budget markup was a preliminary vote, which means we have until December 10 to change their minds.

Why did the council vote to defund these programs? They wanted to save homeowners in some of the wealthiest areas of the city an average of $2.50 annually. For the price of a latte, they are choosing to defund crucial equity and energy programs.

This city council ran on an equity agenda. It's time to hold them accountable and ask them to reverse the cuts.

First, find your ward here. Scroll down to find a phone number for your council member.

If you live in Ward 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 (CMs Gordon, Glidden, Cano, Bender, Quincy, and Andrew Johnson) thank your City Council Representative for voting against this amendment. Please ask them to champion restoring all funding to racial equity programming and the clean energy program. Here's a sample script: "Hi, my name is _______ and I live in the ward. I'm calling to thank the council member for voting against the budget cuts to racial equity and clean energy. I ask you to champion restoring full funding to these programs in the final budget. Thank you for standing for equity."

If you live in Ward 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 13 (CMs Reich, Frey, Barb Johnson, Yang, Warsame, Goodman, and Palmisano) respectfully but firmly express your disappointment with your council members for voted for the budget cut. Here's a sample script: "Hi, my name is ________. I'm calling to express my disappointment that my council member voted to cut racial equity programming and our clean energy partnership to save some homeowners a few dollars per year. As my council member knows, Minneapolis has the worst racial equity disparities in the country. We can't afford to cut funding to equity programming. Our clean energy partnership is an important part of this racial equity agenda, too. Please vote to restore full funding to these programs in the final vote."

City Council Phone Numbers 


City Council Member

Phone Number


Kevin Reich

(612) 673-2201


Cam Gordon

(612) 673-2202


Jacob Frey

(612) 673-2203


Barbara Johnson

(612) 673-2204


Blong Yang

(612) 673-2205


Abdi Warsame

(612) 673-2206


Lisa Goodman

(612) 673-2207


Elizabeth Glidden

(612) 673-2208


Alondra Cano

(612) 673-2209


Lisa Bender

(612) 673-2210


John Quincy

(612) 673-2211


Andrew Johnson

(612) 673-2212


Linea Palmisano

(612) 673-2213


Here's a partial list of things the city council voted to cut:

  • $75,000 of proposed $150,000 for the Clean Energy Partnership. The city originally recommended $500,000 for this partnership; cutting it to $75,000 will make it totally unworkable.
  • $150,000 of proposed $300,000 for a disparity study planned for the Civil Rights Department
  • $125,000 in counseling and outreach programs for new homeowners in communities of color
  • $150,000 for the One Minneapolis fund, which provides grants to organizations in low-income communities and communities of color that are grounded in cultural and/or community organizations and actively working toward building an inclusive Minneapolis. The name “One Minneapolis” is used for the fund as a challenge to create an inclusive community in which all people are valued, all communities are engaged, and leadership mirrors the great diversity of our city. This year's recipients of grants included the Lao Assistance Center, Waite House, and Conflict Resolution Center.
  • An increase in funding to diversify boards and commissions and make them more representative of our city by recruiting and training leaders of color was eliminated
  • The current proposal cuts capacity for a clean energy partnership while sustaining several programs that are more costly and have little long-term potential to create economic justice in Minneapolis. The Convention Center is still getting a $400,000 increase for marketing.  The new proposal for a "Holiday Market" downtown is also still fully funded. These or other costly programs should absorb cuts.

Edit: This post originally said that funding for specific programs at the Lao Assistance Center, Waite House, and Conflict Resolution Center would be cut. These programs received funding this year through the One Minneapolis Fund and are not at risk through these budget cuts. However, the funding pool would be slashed for future years, severely limiting available funds to future organizations that would apply.

Showing 2 reactions

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  • commented 2014-12-07 23:25:08 -0600
    Conflict resolution and restorative justice work in Minneapolis has substantial outcomes in addressing racial disparities in education and in the juvenile justice system. Let’s keep this work well- funded !
  • commented 2014-12-07 23:20:56 -0600
    Also please express your support for funding of restorative justice and conflict resolution work previously funded by the City .

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