June 2020 Board Minutes

BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, June 15th, 2020 – 7:00 p.m., via Zoom

Board members present: Brenda Anderson, Carl Arrell, Dan Williams, Brian McDonald, Heather Grovum, Dirk Nicholson, Alyssa Thull, Jon Dejong, Lori Gubrud, Kellie Hanson, Dick Fiala, Dan Treinen, Joan Staveley

Board members absent: Bernadette Tomko, Pat Collins, 

Also present: Councilmember Jeremy Schreoder, Sally Bauer, John Schewe, Erik Takeshita

Called to order: 7:04

Officer Reports:

Treasurer – Available funds balance is over $40,000. Fewer in-person events means less incoming revenue but also fewer expenses.

Secretary – Dirk moved to approve April and May minutes. Carl seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Councilmember Schroeder

Jeremy shared that Minneapolis should be in the middle of the budget approval process at this time, but the mayor has pushed the budget release back to early July, with council approval in late July. The City is $165 million short in collections than it should be as of June 1st due to COVID. Jeremy is concerned that the City is spending money it doesn’t have, and said there will have to be significant budget cuts to make up the gap. The council is actively looking for cost savings; for example they have canceled contracts and imposed a wage freeze. The City has not yet gotten any funding from the CARES Act despite other comparable cities across the country having received funds already.

The full city council voted unanimously to approve a process for transforming public safety and are reaching out to anyone and everyone for input into that process. Jeremy is one of the nine council members that called for dismantling of the current Minneapolis Police Department which he stressed is not the same as calling for the end of police. Years of effort have not changed MPD culture and there is no easy way to change the current police labor contract. Jeremy believes many reforms must happen and that MPD has many good officers, but despite past efforts nothing has changed.

Carl asked if there were specific proposals of what future policing looks like. Jeremy said he disagreed with de-funding police before a plan is in place. He said the City formed an Office of Community Prevention two years ago to handle some public safety functions and that’s been working well. The City did a 911 call study last year and found many other options would work better and be more cost-effective than sending police to those calls. He believes violent crime requires a police department but other areas like mental illness or crime report response could be done without armed officers. The City has  been sending two officers per squad car for safety reasons but that may not be required after looking at other cities procedures. Jeremy sees no change to the current force structure while changes are being planned.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights recently filed suit against the MPD for a pattern and practice of discrimination. The Council recently prohibited all forms of choke-holds and added a duty to intervene, which was part of training procedures but was not previously city law. They will be making more reforms as necessary and are working with the state government on them. Jeremy said that only 6% of MPD officers live in the city but state law prevents requiring any percentage of officers to live here. The current police contract also prevents officers filling specific assignments.

Dan Williams asked how neighborhood organizations should be involved in the process. Jeremy suggested making sure residents are aware of the process and to funnel feedback to the City. He noted there will be more public hearings as we get into budget season.

Joan asked if anything could be done about contract issues that may be preventing reform. Jeremy said he doesn’t like calling for disbanding of the MPD but he doesn’t see any other way to change the contract. The police union would have to agree to any reforms and negotiations have stalled.

Officer Elections

Carl was nominated to return as president, Kellie for vice-president, Brian for treasurer, and Dan Williams for secretary. There were no contested officer positions. Dirk made a motion to approve the slate of candidates, Brenda seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.

Board Member Introductions

Board members introduced themselves, their motivations, vision for the neighborhood, and skills they brought to the board.

Neighborhood Protest Response

Sally shared are responding to the recent protests around the murder of George Floyd. Kingfield implemented a recorded video call-in for residents to say what they will do for social justice which will be put into a video on their YouTube channel to inspire others and direct future initiatives. Other neighborhoods have taken formal stances and used NRP funds to reimburse businesses for materials like plywood. Joan suggested adopting a business so Sally reached out to neighborhoods along Lake Street; Powderhorn replied. Sally suggested a joint fund-raising campaign for rebuilding organizations in partnership for Lynhurst with TNA matching resident-donated funds. Other neighborhoods have facilitated resident conversations around racial equity and training. Dirk asked if Sally got any response from north-side neighborhoods; Sally replied she has not yet reached out. Per City requirements any NRP funds directed to rebuilding must be used for bricks-and-mortar repair costs (repairing windows, new signs, etc) along Lake Street or West Broadway. Brian replied there are similar funds for north-side groups (West Broadway Business Coalition and NEON) and there is great need in that area of the City. Brian volunteered to get more information.

The board discussed taking a particular stand on social justice as other neighborhoods like the Wedge and Kingfield have done. Sally is not necessarily advocating this approach but reminded the board that just because we have not previously been a social justice board, doesn’t mean we cannot take a stand.

Brenda thought both north-side help and/or matching funds was a great idea and asked if TNA had a Venmo or PayPal account that would make it easy to donate. Sally said to get the tax deduction donation would require donation to TNA via our PayPal account or Square.

Erik appreciated that the board was considering dedicating NRP funds and especially to the north side. He also said he loves the idea of matching funds, but that we may not want to restrict them to business rehabilitation. Erik asked if there are other funds focused on businesses or organizations owned and run by indiginous people and people of color that could be considered as well. He also said he doesn’t think simply giving money is OK and pushed the board to actively demonstrate anti-racism rather than just donating funds somewhere.

Lori suggested dedicating $15,000 now for the City’s rehabilitation fund and $10,000 for matching resident donations to specific businesses. She also advocated a statement of support for social justice and police reform. Dirk agreed. Alyssa asked that we acknowledge that TNA has not historically taken stands on these kinds of positions. Heather agreed with Erik and the need to recognize what we’re doing and why we are doing it.

Carl proposed having an educator facilitated session for the board and community about racial justice and the bigger picture of Minneapolis issues, that ties into a fund-raising campaign.

Dick suggested taking a bit of time and finding better, more direct ways to donate additional funds to north-side businesses.

Brian made a motion to support the commercial rehabilitation of neighborhood businesses along Lake Street and West Broadway Avenue that were damaged during the protests following the murder of George Floyd by contributing $15,000 from TNA NRP funds to the City general rehabilitation fund with a focus on West Broadway Ave. Dan seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion carried.

Dirk made a motion to create a task force that would consist of three board members and two or more community members to focus on racial equity on behalf of TNA. Jon seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion carried.

Sally asked how community members would be selected if many were nominated. The board discussed the size of the task force and decided that the executive committee should decide task force membership from the nomination pool. Brian suggested reaching out to committees for membership nominations.

Committee Updates

Spaces: updates postponed due to lack of time

Engagement: Dick discussed our 4th of July plan in lieu of a larger gathering, including a scavenger hunt and decorate your window/home/yard/etc contest. The board also discussed things to do since the state fair was canceled (eg Tangletown on a Stick).

Environmental: updates postponed due to lack of time

Adjourned: 9:12

Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary