Ward 4 City Council Candidate Q&A

Ward 4 - North Minneapolis City Council Candidate Forum

Ward 4 candidates Phillipe Cunningham, Stephanie Gasca, Marcus Harcus, Council President Barb Johnson, and Phillip Murphy with moderator Anthony Newby respond to questions during our North Minneapolis City Council candidate forum on February 16, 2017. You can watch full video of the forum here.

Instructions to candidates:

NOC is a black led community based organization with a powerful and growing multicultural base. We value the leadership, courage and sacrifice of our elected officials. We’re honored to present our 2017 questionnaire for the Minneapolis City Council.

Please answer with 150 words or less for each question. The answers to this questionnaire will be made available on our website.

Editor's note: Phillip Murphy declined to participate in our endorsement process.

Minimum Wage

Minneapolis is well known for having some of the worst racial disparities in the country. One path towards addressing that gap is to raise wages. Do you support raising the minimum wage in Minneapolis to $15 dollars per hour as a way to bridge the racial and economic divide? Should any workers be exempted from a wage increase?

Phillipe Cunningham: Not only do I support a $15 minimum wage, but I want to see it with no exemptions. We know from research not only locally, but nationally that a minimum wage increase puts more money disproportionately in the pockets of Black and latino families and single mothers. This wage increase is crucial to begin the process of permanently disrupting intergenerational poverty in North Minneapolis.

As the City Councilmember for the 4th Ward, I will work in partnership with workers, community advocates, small business owners, and other stakeholders to ensure we pass an ordinance is centered on worker rights, a long-term vision of building individual, family and community wealth, and is connected to the mission of breaking intergenerational poverty.

Stephanie Gasca: My work at CTUL has grounded me in the fight for $15. I’ve met people working full time in fast food, sleeping in their cars because they don’t earn enough to secure affordable housing. My family also struggled to make ends meet. Both of my parents worked 80 hours a week so it was up to me and my siblings to keep the house together. I know we aren’t the only ones with this story of daily uncertainty. Many Ward 4 residents are hard working parents and youth of color who need leadership on this issue.  A living wage for Minneapolis with no exceptions will go a long way to creating stability for families. There is demonstrated public support and yet the city delays. I have been leading this fight and will continue to do so because it is one way to confront longstanding economic and racial inequity.

Marcus Harcus: The fact that Minneapolis is home to some of the nation’s worst racial disparities is the reason I’ve long believed my hometown is both one of the best and worst cities. I wholeheartedly support a $15 minimum wage with no exceptions, especially for big businesses. Furthermore, given the expensive cost of living, I don't believe $15 per hour is enough to afford it and cannot provide anyone with long-term economic security, especially if one desires to retire comfortably. This is why I'm boldly advocating for the City of Minneapolis to launch a pilot program experimenting with a Basic Income Guarantee (B.I.G.), which is a tax-funded monthly grant to residents to help ensure that everyone can afford the basic needs. With population growth, digitization, automation and globalization, we need to think creatively and compassionately about the future of work in order to develop a much much cooperative, compassionate and humane economy.

Barb Johnson: I support raising the minimum wage. The City is engaged in an extensive process to evaluate the implementation of a city-wide minimum wage increase and its implications. I will wait for the process to be complete before making a decision. 

Phillipe Cunningham

Phillipe Cunningham, Ward 4 City Council candidate

Fair Access to Hours

In 2015, Minneapolis considered a policy to address the unstable work hours experienced by many hourly workers. Low wage workers in particular are often given little or no advance notice of their work schedule, others are required to work erratic weekly hours. Do you support the creation of a policy to help stabilize the work schedules of low wage workers in Minneapolis? What would your fair hours policy look like?

Cunningham: As a City Councilmember, I want to help build a family-friendly city and I believe that it starts right here with this ordinance. No one’s schedule should be why they lose their job or cannot pay their rent. Working families throughout Minneapolis make ends meet through working multiple part-time jobs that have erratic, family-unfriendly scheduling practices. Workers can be held for hours without pay. Our city needs a fair scheduling ordinance to protect workers from these unjust practices.

I feel it is not appropriate for me to show up as a Councilmember already having my fair hours policy etched in stone because I believe that vision should be led by those most affected. Instead, I will show up as a champion and in solidarity with workers and listen to hear. Additionally, I will support small business owners who want to do right by their employees in the process of rolling out said policy. Policy change alone is not enough to improve the conditions and I am committed as an ally to help change our city’s culture, as well.

Gasca: I have been on the ground organizing workers around this very issue, and the need for a fair scheduling policy is evident. At a minimum, I believe that employers should be required to post schedules two weeks in advance. Low wage workers struggle against poverty wages and a volatile schedule. We can begin to combat this cycle of poverty with an attention to predictability in pay. With more notice, workers can better account for their monthly income in relation to bills and expenses. Also, when workers don't know their schedule with anticipation, they are less available for the day to day needs of their families. Having a regular schedule means that workers can better plan their lives and be less encouraged to miss shifts to meet their daily responsibilities. A fair scheduling policy is a tangible step to creating stability for the working poor in our city and their families.

Harcus: I've had a few jobs in my life with unpredictable and unfair work schedules and it is both frustrating as hell not knowing when your shift ends and unhealthy to have to, for example, work late one night and work early the next morning, especially as the father of young children. I wholeheartedly support the creation of a fair scheduling policy for low wage workers. Anyone who isn't a part-time (PT) on-call worker should be given schedules prepared at least one week in advance. PT on-call workers should be given at least 24 hours notice or paid time and a half, double time if notice is < 12 hours notice. No worker should be required to work more than five consecutive days without a day off. All workers deserve two weeks of paid sick time annually and one day of personal time off for every five days worked. All workers who have been on the job with an employer for at least 9 months should be given at least two weeks of severance pay when they quit or are laid off or fired for non-criminal reasons.

Johnson: I have listened to both sides of this issue extensively and I don’t support the City telling employers how to manage their employee’s hours. 

Stephanie Gasca

Stephanie Gasca, Ward 4 City Council Candidate


Banks like Wells Fargo and US Bank, which have a major presence in the city of Minneapolis and downtown lobby groups, have a well documented history of Redlining communities of color. Baltimore, Memphis and Los Angeles have sued Wells Fargo, and won hundreds of millions in damages, in response to their racist foreclosure policies. How can and should the city of Minneapolis hold big banks accountable for their lending practices? What city regulations can be created to produce a more equitable lending environment and prevent the theft of generational wealth in communities of color?

Cunningham: When it comes to undoing the harm caused in North Minneapolis by Big Banks, it is first and foremost important to center the community’s voice, as well as our shared vision of equity and justice as we move through the decision-making process. As the City Councilmember representing the 4th ward, I will work with the City Attorney’s Office, community advocates, those affected, and community banking experts to explore any and all options available to hold those accountable for all of the harm they caused families in North Minneapolis through their policies and practices.

For us to become a community that is prosperous and maintains the integrity of the current community, I want to work in partnership with community and advocates and champion strategies that most effectively create an environment in which families and communities who have been historically disenfranchised from accessing wealth. Potential strategies include the City beginning a program to be an underwriter on mortgages and a City/credit union collaboration to provide bank accounts to those who cannot access traditional accounts.

Gasca: When I worked at Wells Fargo after the housing crisis I didn’t know the language of racism. I knew there was something wrong. I wondered why the majority of loans that we processed would go to white people and not people of color.

Redlining isn’t in the past, it’s current in a new form. The city's housing programs are directing resources to developers and not residents. We need to stop these practices and redouble our efforts to get North Minneapolis residents into homes through an expansion of low interest loan and downpayment assistance programs.

In my view the city is behind others that have divested from the big banks that have harmed our communities. For example the Northside disproportionately suffered from predatory lending practices that shaped the foreclosure crisis. Minneapolis prides itself on progressive values and we can live those values by pursuing divestment and forming a municipal bank.

Harcus: As a Northsider, I lived through the housing market crash of 2007/08, saw it coming several years in advance and in the aftermath I canvassed the homes of Northsiders who were facing foreclosure to help them prevent it from displacing them. If there are any organized class-action litigation efforts, the City of Minneapolis should get involved as a plaintiff or supportive witness to the victims of the subprime mortgage foreclosure crisis and help facilitate massive reinvestment in the communities most impacted by the widespread, racially disparate loss of homes and equity. The City should use the leverage of threatening divestment of government bank accounts from the big banks to negotiate the creation of fair, racially equitable opportunity zones to increase and sustain growing homeownership rates among low-moderate income people of color. The City Council should enact a city ordinance to significantly reduce the amount of upfront and overall interest on payments required of borrowers to make homeownership much more affordable.

Johnson: Minneapolis has a Responsible Banking ordinance. We evaluate each responder to our RFP’s for banking services based on their community lending, their outreach to underserved communities and their social responsibility in our city. I also think it is important that banks have physical facilities in underserved communities to provide access.

Marcus Harcus

Marcus Harcus, Ward 4 City Council Candidate

Access to Democracy

Minnesota has some of the highest voter turnout rates in the nation. Yet voter participation in Wards 4 and 5 is amongst the lowest in Minneapolis. How would you leverage your position on the city council to ensure that more people are given voting access in Minneapolis? What are some specific voter engagement strategies can you initiate as a city councilperson?

Cunningham: Reviving democracy in North Minneapolis is a priority of mine. There has been success with early voting satellite locations, and there are many opportunities to expand this work at the City. A big roadblock to folks accessing resources and opportunities is because the information about them has not effectively reached the community. Intentional, culturally-competent community outreach is vital in most effectively disseminating information like mailed information about how to register to vote and where to find the right polling place or public transportation advertisements. It needs to be more commonly known that people can vote by mail.

Too many workers have no idea they are legally entitled time off to go vote. Even more do not trust their employer not to retaliate against them if they do. I want to increase opportunities for employers and workers to learn the existing laws we have regarding employers giving workers time off to vote and I will champion an enforcement mechanism to hold employers accountable. 

Gasca: We need to meet people where they’re at. Constituency engagement is a reciprocal relationship. Ward residents should know their City Council member and their sphere of influence as well as how they can communicate their vision for the city.

Voter engagement for my campaign means interrogating how politics isn’t separate from our lives and instead deeply impacts us daily. We’re on the doors and on the street. Our campaign is meeting people where they are at, specifically for voter registration and responding to the energy of frustration all over North Minneapolis.

My campaign seeks to dispel the misconception that equates voting with involvement in community. My neighbors and friends are deeply invested in their community. The feedback I get is that they haven’t had a good reason to engage because city hall is irrelevant to them. By running an attentive and responsive campaign I plan on giving them a reason to believe that local elections matter.

Harcus: Having run for City Council in ward 4 in 2009, I am intimately familiar with the low voter turnout here. As a Council member, I will advocate for the city to mail election ballots directly to the homes of every registered voter in the city. Local elections are arguably the most important for community members, but unlike Presidential election years, the municipal elections receive the least amount of new coverage, resulting in a dire lack of awareness among the electorate.  I will work on raising money to pay canvassers to go door to door during election years to do voter registration drives among residents who are unregistered and to help increase voter engagement and mobilize Get Out To Vote (GOTV) turnout. Another key way the City can help to increase voter participation in North Minneapolis is to advocate at the state legislature for the restoration of voting rights for so-called ‘ex-offenders’.

Johnson: I have read some of the criticism of the DFL voter strategy and agree with the XXXX. We need to reach each household with voter information. Early voting was a huge success in 2016 and we need to continue that practice to make voting easier and more accessible to people and their schedules.

Barb Johnson

Council President Barb Johnson


Nationally, the cost of childcare is exceeding college tuition, and we are seeing the impacts on the local level. The ability to access high quality, affordable childcare in North Minneapolis is increasingly slim. The MN Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP, has a waitlist of 7,000 kids, and new corporate-run centers are charging twice as much as independent centers. Do you support using City resources to fund childcare services for low income residents?

Cunningham: Yes, I support using City resources to fund childcare and pre-K education for low income residents. Early childhood education is crucial for both cognitive and social-emotional development. Studies have demonstrated children who attended pre-K not only performed better on literacy and mathematics tests, but also went on to have an increased likelihood of graduating high school, attending college, and receiving a post-secondary degree, license, or certification (Bauer and Schanzenbach, 2016). Minneapolis currently offers some free pre-K programs, but only two are in North Minneapolis. I am excited for the opportunity to explore how to bring this to life in North Minneapolis as a City Councilmember.

Gasca: When my daughter was born I was working at a corporation without paid maternity leave. I only had 6 weeks with Kennedy. Sending her to daycare was more than rent at $1,000 a month. That was hard to pay and required sacrifices. When Kennedy was 3 I was at Wells Fargo. I was on the six month waiting list for day care assistance and eventually received it. However, I picked up overtime hours to take care of my family, and that uptick in earnings put me over the threshold and I was cut off. Kennedy was in after school care. I couldn’t afford it, but the wait list for assistance was three years. I found a program at a neighborhood park but it’s been an affordability struggle. My experience alone tells me that Minneapolis needs assistance program so that our loved ones can be in good care.

Harcus: As the father of two children, I have lived the struggle of paying for expensive childcare for two children in North Minneapolis, so I understand the need to subsidize it for low-income and Missing Class families. Just recently the pre-school where I had my 5 year old so enrolled last year significantly increased the cost of tuition at a rate my wife and I simply would not be able to afford. The City of Minneapolis has a $1.4 billion budget which mostly covers the costs of the police, firefighters, roads, water and sewer services, inspections and regulations, debt service, pensions, other city departments. While I'd be supportive of the City contributing to making childcare affordable for residents, I honestly don't believe the City can do it on a level that would make a difference for many families. I'd like to see the City Council work with the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners to explore options to help subsidize childcare and lobby the State Legislature to fully fund the Minnesota Childcare Assistance Program.

Johnson: The child care assistance program is a federally funded program which makes eligibility determinations by family income. I don’t think the city should use property tax dollars to replace a federal/state/county responsibility.

Phillipe Cunningham

Phillipe Cunningham

Public transportation in Minneapolis is unaffordable for many low income residents. Poor and working families pay a disproportionate percentage of their monthly income for public transportation. Meanwhile, billion dollar light rail lines are being developed and low-income residents are at risk of displacement and gentrification. How would you ensure that any new light rail development in North Minneapolis will ensure sustainable housing and job creation for local residents? Would you support subsidized or free fare options for low income riders on bus and light rail?

Cunningham: I would absolutely support free fare options for low-income riders. There are already legislators who support this and options developed by Metro Transit staff. But we need advocacy from Council Members who represent communities most in need in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park.

The 4th Ward will not be directly served by LRT, but I will work with the 5th Ward Councilmember in demanding policies that require affordability in any development that uses public land or funds (this would certainly include any development near Minneapolis’s two Bottineau stations) and prevent displacement generally.

For LRT projects to deliver on the benefits promised to most Northside residents, we MUST demand improvements to bus service (especially C-Line and D-Line aBRT on Penn and Emerson/Fremont) which would connect people to Southwest and Bottineau. Without improved connecting bus service, 4th Ward constituents will receive far less benefit than was promised.

Gasca: I support fare options that are responsive to the reality that many residents depend on public transport. Often the most ambitious and expansive transit investments are designed for suburban white commuters and overlook workers of color.

Similar to housing, new development around light rail is a tangible opportunity to build local wealth. As it relates to development we need to make sure that there are assistance programs for local residents and business owners to get first access to new retail opportunities along a light rail corridor. Regarding construction, we know that these projects often take decades from inception to the first ride. This expansive timeline offers an opportunity to position aspiring North Minneapolis contractors to be ready to take advantage of lucrative construction contracts through programs designed to advantage minority and women owned businesses. Construction is often a chaotic period for existing businesses and they will need support. 

Harcus: I grew up as a Northsider riding the city bus in Minneapolis and my elderly, low-income mother, who has never driven a car, has been transit dependent every day I've been alive. I remember she broke her leg walking from St. Paul near the Capitol building to her job at HCMC in downtown Minneapolis during a bus driver strike at the time, so public transit means a lot to me. I'm advocating for the establishment of a half billion dollar housing bond to fund affordable rental housing. I'm also advocating for a Basic Income Guarantee, which is a monthly grant for basic needs to residents to help them afford the expensive cost of living to mitigate gentrification threats of displacement. I wholeheartedly support a subsidized fare for low-income riders of the bus or light rail transit and believe that the most transit dependent neighborhoods need the best public transportation infrastructure and equitable service.

Johnson: I do believe the Met Council (who runs the bus and light rail system) is looking at using a tiered fare system and I support that concept to make transportation more affordable for those who need it.

Stephanie Gasca - North Minneapolis City Council Candidate Forum

Stephanie Gasca


During the Trump administration the Northside immigrant community will be subjected to ever increasing levels of scrutiny. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), for example, is a government program designed to profile and surveille Black Muslim immigrants - specifically Somali Americans. How will you leverage your position in the council to reject or promote programs like CVE? Please provide specific strategies to resist or support a presidential order to use local law enforcement to deport undocumented immigrants.

Cunningham: Since Trump was elected, CVE has been explicitly redefined to specifically target Muslims. Now more than ever is this program not wanted in our city and as a leader at the City, I will fight any attempts at marginalizing our Somali family through any local implementation of this racist and xenophobic program.

Our separation ordinance already clearly defines MPD will NOT do the work of federal Immigrations and Customs enforcement. No executive order will change that. I want to work with the Mayor, police chief, community and advocates to ensure this division remains permanent.

It is not enough for City Council to not only fight programs like CVE and the use of MPD for deportations. We need proactive leadership on immigration issues. Other municipalities have created public defender systems for immigration hearings in partnership with the philanthropic sector. As a City Councilmember, I will support any effort to create such a system in Minneapolis and will ensure the right partners - most importantly the immigrant community - are at the table from the start and leading the conversation.

Gasca: I am a Latina woman and identify with the immigrant experience through my family. The targeting of immigrants tears the social fabric. We cannot trust the Trump administration and the emerging policies. We should continue resisting by non cooperation and developing lawsuits. I believe in the existing Sanctuary City ordinances and look forward to conversations at the council level on improving them. My view is that a Sanctuary City isn't simply one that chooses to not cooperate with the federal government on immigration. Rather, my vision for a Sanctuary City is one that includes a living wage with access to sick time and vacation, access to homeownership, access to healthcare that is in multiple languages and culturally appropriate, and attentiveness to the emerging hostility towards people of color. To me a Sanctuary City is about articulating the experience we want every resident to have and defending it.

Harcus: I'm not an immigrant, nor is anyone in my family, but I've had many friends from around the planet. It disturbs me to see and hear how insecure, afraid and angry many of them are about the clear and present dangers of the Trump administration’s xenophobic politics with an emphasis on Minnesota’s Somali population. As a Minneapolis City Council-member, I will be a staunch advocate for our Sanctuary City status because I am running to advance an agenda for freedom, justice and equity for all, especially the most vulnerable residents. I'm not merely championing reforms, but instead a radical reconstruction of law enforcement in Minneapolis. If I have a seat at the table, City Hall will resist fascist anti-immigrant policies with all of our might as the biggest city in the State of Minnesota. The Minneapolis Police Department will not be allowed to collaborate with any presidential executive order targeting undocumented immigrants under my watch. Black and brown people and poor white people already live in an oppressive police state... We need to dismantle it, not expand it!

Johnson: We do not have control over the federal CVE program. Non-profits apply and are awarded the funding, not the city. I have not seen the presidential order and would not work to change our separation ordinance. Our city law enforcement is not in the business of enforcing federal immigration laws.

Marcus Harcus

Marcus Harcus


We believe Minneapolis must play a leading role in finding environmental justice solutions for climate change. We believe that recycling our waste is not only better for the environment, it can also create community based jobs. What do you see as the path to creating a Zero Waste city in Minneapolis? How can this be done in a way that prioritizes environmental justice? Do you support closing Northern Metals and the HERC?

Cunningham: I, too, want to see Minneapolis be a leader in fighting against climate change through local strategies rooted in environmental justice. For us to become a zero waste city, we first must begin more concentrated efforts to reduce our waste stream. Currently, the City is not responsible for commercial and large apartment building waste; all of it is going to landfills. This discrepancy needs to be addressed as we work towards becoming a Zero Waste city. Additionally, the City cannot nor should not alone carry the mission of becoming a Zero Waste city. Community education and buy-in is essential to move this work forward. As a City Councilmember representing North Minneapolis, I want to work with community organizations to inform community members the what, the how, and the why to reduce, recycle, reuse. I support closing the HERC and we can achieve no longer needing it by scaling concentrated efforts and bringing community along in this work. 

Gasca: We don’t have a complete picture of the environmental damage done to primarily communities of color in North Minneapolis. People are getting cancer, children have high rates of asthma, and all residents are impacted in ways we won't know for years! Before we think about policy we have to come to terms with the scope of the problem.

However, we can take steps now to prioritize environmental justice by organizing around polluters. There was a recent victory with news that Northern Metals will be closing. This is a model to take on HERC, and I support closing it.

Eureka Recycling is a Minneapolis based organization that is an incredible example of how a just transition is possible. Not only is the organization showing that waste is preventable and we can make strides to a zero-waste city, but they are also investing in the community with green, living wage jobs. 

Harcus: The climate change crisis is one of the biggest threats to humanity that not enough people in this country are taking seriously. I believe Minneapolis should be an exemplary city, modeling the way for other cities around the state, country and planet. Creating a zero waste city means that we send almost nothing to landfills and incinerators. In order to achieve that goal, which cities like San Francisco are striving to do, we must go door to door engaging and educating residents about the need to have full participation in recycling and composting waste, minimizing the consumption of non-biodegradable products such as plastic. Without the people buying into this goal, we cannot succeed. I'd love to see jobs created for a door to door zero waste campaign that offers recycling and compost production jobs, the expenses for which can be offset by the selling of cleaned and filtered compost products being sold to farmers and community gardeners.

Johnson: Northern Metals is closing. The city has worked with the MPCA to make this happen. The recycling industry provides a valuable service. We can not continue to landfill – a process which is increasing every year. We must get better recycling rates in underserved communities. This can happen by making recycling easy and accessible to people. The city has moved to a single sort recycling system and now also offers organics recycling. Initiatives like this can help to encourage and promote more recycling.

Barb Johnson - North Minneapolis City Council Candidate Forum

 Barb Johnson

Public Safety

What lessons have you learned from the death of Jamar Clark and the related occupation of the 4th precinct? What would you change about the city’s response to the occupation? How can Minneapolis better support needs related to mental health, employment, and youth development outside of the current punitive law enforcement model? How would you work to develop new public safety models outside the policing system to prioritize these needs?

Cunningham: The biggest lesson I learned is institutions like City Hall retract within themselves during a crisis isolating themselves from the community during the problem-solving process. Before we can get to problem solving, a space of healing and repairing broken trust needs to be created to first address the trauma that has been inflicted on communities of color for generations. An ongoing process of reconciliation put into place outside of a crisis can help ensure accountability and trust for everyone involved.

For public safety strategies to be most effective, they have to operate through a public health lens - violence and crime are symptoms of a greater systemic issue, not of an individual moral defect. Research demonstrates that punitive policing and mass incarceration have not led to increased safety. There are, however, evidence-based strategies for prevention, intervention, and reentry that help build safer neighborhoods. As a City Councilmember representing North Minneapolis, I will be a tireless champion for more investment in more restorative justice and community safety strategies that lift up, not lock out neighbors.

Gasca: One lesson from the occupation is that grieving looks different for different people. I witnessed how community created a space where everyone was welcome to grieve, love, and support. People came from all over Minneapolis to heal and that’s what community looks like. The response of the city to shut down the occupation was WRONG!

We watched in tears as community members were criminalized and property destroyed. The bulldozers were a symbol of how they always bulldoze through our communities. We cannot continue to criminalize our people as a solution to the lack of resources for the Northside. We need to identify barriers that create and perpetuate these issues and champion positive interventions. Police are not designed to heal the pain we carry from systemic racism. I’m committed to community policing that includes a focus on building relationships, trust, and respect with all residents of North Minneapolis.

Harcus: I'm running for City Council primarily because of my experiences of being excessively racially profiled as a Northside teenager and young man in my early twenties. I've been racially profiled by police literally 49 times in vehicles and on foot and I was a victim of police brutality on Plymouth Avenue just a couple of blocks away from where Jamar Clark was killed by MPD officers Ringgenberg and Schwarze. I would have liked to see all of the Minneapolis Council-members out at the 4th Precinct occupation everyday, even holding emergency council meetings or public hearings out there to listen to the community. What the occupation taught me is that even when thousands of people take it to the streets, without having the right people, a progressive majority on the City Council, in the Mayor’s and the County Attorney’s office, the people still won't get justice even when we do “shut it down.” We need to decriminalize mental illness, make sure mental health professionals work closely with the police.

Johnson: I think the city’s response to the Jamar Clark shooting and occupation of the 4th Precinct was measured and practical. People were allowed to grieve and express themselves. I felt it was necessary to end the occupation for the safety issues involved. Minneapolis is involved in many initiatives to get ahead of the situations that produce crime. We invest in our parks, libraries, schools, and non-profits that provide opportunities for positive engagement. As a community, we need to pay more attention to mental health and chemical dependency issues that underlie criminal activity. I support city initiatives that use a public health approach to public safety such as the co-responder program, the GVI initiative, and procedural justice in order to build community trust in our police department, but also to get at the core social issues that need to be addressed in relation to crime and safety. 

North Minneapolis City Council Candidate Forum


Super Bowl LII is coming to Minneapolis in 2018. How will you ensure that the multi billion dollar event will benefit the residents of North Minneapolis?

Cunningham: Much the same as the local hire and diversity efforts in the stadium construction workforce, the event staff for the Super Bowl should be intentionally recruited with systems of transparency and accountability in place. In the development of these efforts, I will be a champion for North Minneapolis and advocate for local hire pathways to recruit event staff from zip codes 55411 and 55412. 

Gasca: A CTUL leader is currently working in concessions at US bank stadium, and she has already experienced wage theft. While I will be in City Council for only a short time before the Super Bowl I will be diligently defending against wage theft.

Something synonymous with large scale athletic events is sex trafficking. This super bowl will be no different. Minneapolis already has significant issues with sex trafficking particularly for women of color. I know there is a work group on commercial sexual exploitation at the city level that should pivot to the super bowl’s impact.

I question the utility of this billion dollar stadium. The city will put in too much money that could have been used for our community. I will work to diligently review large development projects and question them on the basis of how they respond to the needs of the most vulnerable residents in Minneapolis.

Harcus: Honestly, I cannot ensure that the 2018 Super Bowl LII will benefit Northsiders because if I’m elected to the City Council on November 7, 2017, I won't be inaugurated until after the New Year. However, I am advocating now for the City to promote subleasing of Northside homes to Super Bowl tourists who will need conveniently located lodging options and I'd love to see an event or two taking place in our community that engages the youth and promotes equitable community development in the face of increasing gentrification in Minneapolis. Whatever temporary jobs or contracting opportunities arise during the Super Bowl, we need Northsiders to get a fair share of them.

Johnson: The Super Bowl will offer many opportunities for short term employment, vendor participation and volunteerism. Information on these opportunities are provided on the MSFA website at msfa.com and meet Minneapolis website at meetminneapolis.com. I will do what I can to encourage and promote these opportunities to the north Minneapolis community.

Watch full video of the Ward 4 City Council candidate forum.

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