A coalition of local organizations sponsored this questionnaire to help voters understand where each candidate stands on issues that shape whether every person can find and afford a home in Minneapolis.
We collectively submitted, refined, and selected these questions and invited campaigns of all candidates to respond. We will continue to accept responses and thank those who have participated. Their responses are published verbatim.
The only party holding caucuses for Minneapolis races is the DFL. For more information about participating in the Minneapolis DFL Caucuses in April, see minneapolisdfl.org/. For information on the 2021 November elections, see https://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/calendar/.
- Lisa Goodman – incumbent: responded
- Nick Kor: responded
- Teqen Zéa-Aida: responded
Q1: In a city where more than half of people rent, what housing policies would you focus on to ensure that every Minneapolis resident has a safe, stable, affordable home?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: I will continue to support our record high investment in the affordable housing trust fund, targeting $15 million per year to prioritize the creation and preservation of deeply affordable housing to Minneapolis residents with incomes below 30% of area median income (AMI).
I also support preservation of naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) – I have led the City’s development of preservation tools and investment, which helped to support the Land Bank Twin Cities and tenants’ purchase of the Corcoran 5 properties in 2020.
I would continue to support the successful Stable Homes Stable Schools program, providing housing and other services and rent subsidy for families with children in Minneapolis public elementary schools and continue to support free legal services for Minneapolis renters facing eviction or habitability issues.
Finally, I will continue to promote affordable housing projects and support and expand the licensing and inspections department to get sub-standard landlords to take care of their properties and to also continue the program I initiated to have our inspectors trained to offer competent culture sensitivity.
Nick Kor: I believe housing is a human right. Right now, however, too many of our neighbors are being pushed out or priced out of their homes and deeply affordable housing is scarce. With the right policies, we can address these issues and protect our people so everyone has access to permanent and stable housing, whether they rent or own.
First, we need to prioritize building deeply affordable housing (30% AMI), in every part of the city in the next 10 years. Alongside the construction of new housing options, we can and should increase city support for naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) preservation initiatives to prevent the loss of existing affordable units.
Minneapolis can also be a national leader in protecting renters’ rights with things like the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (TOPA) to ensure those living in their building get the first opportunity to buy it, rent stabilization and requiring landlords to give just cause for eviction or non-renewal of leases. These are critical tools to use alongside promoting new development opportunities in our city.
I also believe that we must invest in a community-centered housing ecosystem for our future by supporting community land trusts, public housing and cooperative housing initiatives.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: I am interested in establishing a MPLS Tenants Union network whether that be by neighborhood, ward, or one City wide TU. I know that a strong Tenants Union is more than needed in this post Covid/George Floyd reality and I’ve been in contact with National advocates in this work. In addition to TU/s, I fully support Rent Control/Stabilization (with great attention to detail, nuance, and a format that will work for our municipal/state/regional culture).
I’m interested in finding new ways to bolster the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and making sure that those priceless dollars are reserved for actual and true affordable housing projects–as well as utilizing those funds to shore up and protect existing NOAH. Actively pursuing Livable Communities Funding for big values-based projects will be important. I have some large scale ideas for Downtown where these exact sort of funding mechanisms could be incredibly useful. It will be exciting to explore these opportunities and bring creative partners to the drawing board meetings. It’s time to think big, creatively, and proactively.
Community Land Trusts, establishing a greater number of co-ops (when NOAH may come on to the market), and advocating for the City to take a greater role in preservation, creation, and the transfer of housing to homeownership opportunity, are all areas of interest for me as it relates to safe, stable, and affordable housing.
In my conversations, I am constantly reminded of late 80s and 90s homeownership and neighborhood revitalization initiatives. These are programs that the City built and provided to community members interested and able to venture in to homeownership. These programs saved Seward, Powderhorn, NordEast and the Wedge–all predominantly White areas that continued to fall along racial covenants. As always opportunity in Minneapolis is a question of for who–therefore I am interested in seeing these programs restarted and enhanced with a strong racial/economic justice and broadened equity lens. This is a means of substantive “reparations” as we know trillions were extracted from the Black community in this town and throughout the country from 1900 through to the modern era.
Exhibit A; B; and C: Plymouth Riots; Rondo; George Floyd catastrophe
The “safe” bit is perhaps more of a Police Reform question, but can also mean rooting out predatory landlords, and property management. This town has allowed way to much of this type of abusive culture and it specifically hurts Communities of Color, Immigrants with English mastery challenges (something close to home as an Afro-Colombian), and the working poor.
As with almost every challenge we are facing in the Minneapolis of today, it is a question of redefining, reestablishing, and recommitting to a renewed idea of what it means to be a democratic FARMER LABORER municipality.
Q2: Do you support rent stabilization, just cause protection, pay or quit, city-funded legal services for those facing eviction, and other tenant protections? How will you work to pass these policies?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: I support just cause protection – landlords should have to state their reason for not renewing a lease – and a reasonable pay or quit notice – landlords should have to give notice to tenants before filing evictions so that tenants can seek emergency rental assistance and take other steps necessary to keep their housing. These rights should be in State legislation, and I fully support the City’s legislative agenda supporting these state policies. I support City funded legal services for those facing eviction and have voted for this many times.
Rent control policies vary significantly. I am looking forward to the results of the City funded CURA study of potential economic impacts of rent stabilization policies. We still do not have the full report and attachments. I have a lot of questions about the cost of rent control and who bears these costs? Are they passed on to tenants? I wouldn’t support a policy without clear benefits to low income tenants and that will not result in unintended consequences such as the sale of NOAH properties, conversion to less affordable ownership and a lack of capital investment.
I support City funded legal services to ensure that no one is thrown out of their home because they cannot afford legal representation.
With regard to other tenant protections, I authored the Advance Notice of Sale ordinance, requiring owners to give tenants and the City notice of a sale of NOAH property, and putting in place a 90-day post sale tenant protection period. I also supported the 2020 ordinance requiring landlords to pay tenants relocation assistance upon the revocation or cancellation of a rental dwelling license.
Nick Kor: Yes, I support all of the tenant protections listed above and will continue to support other measures to ensure tenants are fully protected. Renters comprise over 60% of Ward 7 and similarly a majority of our residents in Minneapolis. Tenant protections are integral to housing stability throughout our city.
The way we advance these protections, whether through charter amendment enablement or through ordinance, is through strong grassroots organizing and partnerships between city leaders and communities. City hall must continue to hear from those who are most impacted by our housing crisis, particularly renters, low-income people, indigenous and people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. We have to engage these voices and ensure that they are a part of our decision making at city hall. People and leaders all over our city need to know and understand why displacement happens and how it wreaks havoc on our communities.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: I was one of only two candidates in 2017 that ran on Rent Control. Everyone, including current proponents said “it doesn’t work.” Although I see and resent this new push as more of a political maneuver–I am still supporting this much needed policy as one in a suite of pro-renter relief.
Having said that, I am spending great time exploring the nuance, the unintended consequences and potential backlash from such a major cultural shift. I already see an enraged Real Estate Community/Lobby, and a City at large that seems against the policy. It is incredible how many allies are vociferously against RC. I find it disappointing and part of a 100 year plus war on PoC and the working classes. We need to be smarter than the opposition.
I do support just cause, but again want to spend great time exploring nuance, unintended consequences etc. I want to make sure that what ever policy movements we develop do not end up hurting those communities “we say” we are working for. I also do not want to destroy our local, small and Family owned property owners. It is often (at least on my street) these folks that house, shield, and care for our lower income, disabled, and senior neighbors. I am keenly aware of the insidious truth behind many liberal policies that have been passed. Many pilot programs and initiatives are actually long term plans to divest local ownership and transfer land to larger entities. This is not living or policymaking our values. Nor is it leading us towards the City we say we want to create.
I support funding legal aid for renters in general, but specifically for those facing unwarranted eviction. I also support assuring a direct line to our MN AG (provided of course that AG is sympathetic to our cause). There are far too many slum lords in this town. Pay or Quit is a bit unclear to me in terms of how that can be rigged in the benefit of renters. I am interested in learning more about this and how we can apply it prudently. And again, I believe the establishment of strong West/East Coast style Tenants Unions will be a great addition to the effort of protecting renters.
Making these ideas and initiatives reality will take a nuanced, steady, and humble approach. Due to the non urban nature of many of our residents, some of these initiatives seem frightening. Our job is to make sure we communicate these ideas in a straight forward, non political or rhetorical manner so that community understand the ways these policies are helpful and pro- working class/student/artist/young Family/disabled/elder/BIPOCI/other.
Q3: Encampments of unhoused people have become common on public land in Minneapolis in recent years. What will you do to protect the people who see encampments as their best housing option, to connect them to a safe and stable permanent home?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: I have a record of working to house people living in park encampments. As the city lead on the Avivo Tiny Villages project, I actively supported the creation of new, innovative, culturally specific and low barrier shelters to serve people experiencing homelessness who are not well served by the traditional shelter system. The Avivo Tiny Villages project is underway and will consist of 100 private tiny dwellings in a larger indoor setting and includes meal service, indoor showers and wrap around services. Another project that I have supported this year is Homeward Bound, a culturally specific emergency shelter for the City’s Native American population.
If I am reelected to the City Council, I will continue to support new, permanent deeply affordable housing projects, including Single Room Occupancies (SROs), to connect people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing and services. I am one of three authors of the new SRO policy in development right now, working to get the stakeholder work done and out for public feedback and adoption this year.
Living in tents is not a dignified living situation for people experiencing homelessness. It is imperative that we expand the low end options available to provide housing for folks that are finding themselves in this difficult place. This is why I worked closely with the advocates to create the Indoor Village mentioned above. This type of housing along with other “little house” options must become a greater norm to address this shortfall in the housing continuum.
Nick Kor: In 2020, Minneapolis had has an estimated 8,000 residents experiencing homelessness and we know this disproportionately affects people of color and queer and trans youth.
I believe the city needs to play a leading role working with governments, businesses, foundations, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, and faith institutions to invest resources in a better system that ensures everyone has the access and ability to find a safe place to call home.
First, we must create opportunities to engage encampment residents who are experts on their experience. Listening to those experiencing houselessness would provide the foundation to building effective, coordinated, and culturally competent outreach services.
As we saw last year, there are simply not enough shelter beds. We need to be doing as much as we can to think creatively about delivering additional short and long-term housing options that give people access to safe places to sleep and physical addresses which is so critical to getting back on their feet. Minneapolis can and should continue to pilot and expand new solutions like the Avivo Village tiny house shelter to provide immediate relief.
We also must work diligently to alleviate the problem by addressing the issues that may cause temporary homelessness in Minneapolis: unaffordable rents that temporary unemployment cannot weather, strong renter protections, workers rights and public health initiatives.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: I will first work to rid these encampments of drug pushers and sex traffickers and malicious infiltrators. This was a massive issue that nobody seemed to have a remedy nor took responsibility for the disastrous fallout. As someone who once experienced near houselessness, I have relationships with some of the City’s Faith based institutions, and Boots on the Ground who work in this area. I also have long standing relationships with Minneapolitans who work for orgs such as St. Stephen’s. I will utilize these connections to make sure that if we do have encampments, they are as safe as they possibly can be and that services are being offered to help move people to better opportunities.
Having said that, what I saw this summer was not a sound nor healthy approach to dealing with the challenge. I remember visiting the Powderhorn East side encampment in its first few days. I immediately recognized that it was not exactly what it was thought to be. I think that it is important to look at some of these challenges with a critical and 612 street savvy eye. I’ve pondered better ways to establish encampments that work. I’m not ready to speak on my thoughts, but I do believe there are better ways.
I think we all know that Housing is a Right, and that encampments are no way for any of our neighbors to have to live. They are also no real community to welcome new residents to. We need to get our priorities straight as a city and make sure that we have programs and systems in place to help assist our most at risk and housing unstable neighbors. The goal should be to get everyone in to safe and dignified housing. Avivo’s new indoor community is a great start, but is not the band aid to throw all our hopes, dreams, and cash at. It is one in a system of community needs based solutions.
In the 7th I’ve noticed the quick establishment of Goodman-coming-up-on-reelection community needs-based projects. However, it is obvious that these solutions are not full solutions and not her true priority. The developments I’ve seen are small in relation to the need, and somewhat inappropriate to the areas they are placed. Additionally, just because at risk youth get a “view of downtown” doesn’t mean their needs are met. In fact this is incredibly classist, and racist.
Over the last 23 plus years, we have lost (specifically Downtown) many of the programs and initiatives meant to catch our Youth, and at risk adults when they are in danger of falling by the wayside or into “dark habits.” This and the sink hole that is Downtown is the Goodman Legacy. It is time that a member of the community–with the connections, and cultural competency to meet these challenges head on–take the baton and help move the city forward.
Q4: SROs and rooming houses have historically been the most affordable homes available, and an important option for people transitioning out of homelessness. They were largely outlawed during zoning reforms decades ago, and nonprofits like Alliance Housing that manage some of the few remaining rooming houses say they do not have enough space. Would you vote to relegalize this housing option in all parts of Minneapolis?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: I am one of the lead authors working to implement a new SRO Ordinance. This type of housing is another rung on the continuum of housing that is needed to help our residents find a housing option that best fits their needs based on where they are at financially. SROs are a great opportunity to provide new affordable housing at a lower cost to serve persons experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness. I support the ordinance change and future City investment in SROs.
Nick Kor: Yes, I support changes to our zoning code to allow single-room occupancy and rooming houses. We need more choice and opportunity in every neighborhood in Minneapolis. SROs have been a tool that nonprofit housing providers have operated successfully as housing for people with extremely low-incomes. They can provide healthy, communal living experiences and lower rents and should be part of a diverse set of options to meet the housing needs that can be incredibly challenging to meet.
In addition to zoning changes to allow SROs, we also need to explore how we support these options through funding and partnerships with housing providers, like Alliance Housing, to ensure that these meet the needs of the community and are well-run for their tenants and the neighborhood.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: As long as this model of housing is clean, safe, and dignified–as well as not structured in any way that enriches the portfolio of some investor, or becomes fundraising ploy for a non-profit–I am interested in looking at it, and making sure it is a solution that represents our values.
Q5: Minneapolis has enacted a number of reforms recently to expand access to more housing types in all neighborhoods — including legalizing ADUs, triplexes, and apartments in some places they’d previously been banned. Do you support this work? If so, what are some ways you’d build on it as a member of the city council?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: I voted yes to move this body of work forward, however, knowing that the ultimate goal of this policy was to create more affordable housing, the spirit of this law is not being followed, therefore, I would continue to support these reforms and try to create more affordable apartments. What I see now are developers using the policy to tear down affordable single family homes and replacing them with additional units that are not affordable. I supported an affordability premium for duplexes/triplexes, allowing a FAR bonus for projects that include affordable housing. I support MPHA’s efforts to replace scattered site single family homes with duplexes and triplexes, and support the City’s overall goal to increase density through the city.
Nick Kor: Yes, I support this work. We need as many tools as possible to ensure that we can have deeper affordability in our city. Permitting for the construction of ADUs, triplexes, and apartments in more parts of our city will allow this to happen and will give all folks more options for places to live.
We also should continue to review and advance zoning changes that remove barriers to new affordable housing options from being built, like restrictions on minimum lot sizes and maximum floor area ratios.
Lastly, implementation of these changes will be critical in the upcoming years. With new housing types allowed in more parts of the city, we must ensure that we are actually building deeply affordable housing and being creative in finding the necessary incentives and funding to support the construction of them.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: To me this is nothing more than a portfolio boon for those already able to take advantage of the development/investment market. Show me examples and data that proves otherwise and I will be open to exploring how to expand such reforms. Until then, I am not impressed
Q6: Affordable housing funding is precious, and public subsidy often builds homes that are still too expensive for the people struggling the most, with studio apartment rents over $1,000, and 4 bedroom rents up to $1800. How would you use zoning, TIF, or other city-controlled tools to legalize less expensive homes so that affordable housing funding can support the lowest income residents of Minneapolis?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: Affordable housing funding is a critical part of our city’s budget, we must look at ways to produce affordable housing in an affordable way so it is open to all who want to make use of it. This is why I support innovation in construction, such as modular housing, to be able to produce affordable dwellings at an affordable cost. I typically only support the use of TIF for deeper affordability than required under state law – I’ve wanted to see at least some affordability at 50% of area median income, or even more affordable by pairing them with project based housing choice vouchers provided by MPHA. I also strongly support income averaging in mixed income projects as a good way to get 30% units in projects that have usually not included deeply affordable housing units.
Nick Kor: Affordable housing funds should be used to support our neighbors in the greatest need.
In recent years, Minneapolis has been building a record number of affordable units. But many of those affordable units are still priced for 60% of area median income. In Minneapolis, a one-bedroom apartment for $1,164 a month is still considered affordable at 60% AMI. To over 50,000 residents in Minneapolis, that is not affordable. Additionally, at the end of 2020, only 1 out of every 100 vacant rental units was priced for people making 30% AMI. Clearly, there is a dire need for housing at income levels that are not currently being produced.
I believe Minneapolis should use all options at our disposal to create deeply affordable housing and I support the use of zoning, TIF, and other city-controlled tools to meet current and future needs.
The city has a critical role in developing a community-centered housing landscape. By working collaboratively with other government, philanthropic, and industry partners, we can build both deeply affordable housing, and expand housing options across the city that residents can afford.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: To my understanding, the structure of dollars invested as it relates to actual buildout, materials, and size is rigged. We need to ensure that our true community needs and values based responses are not compromised from the gate. Too often it is a bone to the community thrown by “me and my friends” sort of racket. “Charity,” “saviorism” and “good works” are too often get rich quick, or make a bright name for oneself ventures. This is how the current CM and her friends have ruled and this is why our City has slid far beyond backwards in these last 23 going on 24 years.
Whether it is ultimately a State Legislative issue, a failure of County Government, or a lack of true leadership by Councilmembers, whatever is going on is not working. From my experience sitting in on the 2019 Affordable Housing Trust fund hearings and awards–it seems to be the true elephant in the room. Everyone is always grateful, supplicant, and fawning–but when you speak to them in private you hear that the CM was not actually helpful, was a hinderance, or that the “gift” was only the second in 20 some years!
Affordable Housing Trust Fund dollars, TIF mechanisms, Gap Funding and other city-controlled tools must be reserved for TRULY AFFORDABLE NEEDS BASED – VALUES LED housing solutions. These dollars can no longer be used for giant corporate developers based on projected affordability, third or fourth phase projects, or unclear hopes and aspirations. It’s time to do better and move beyond this toxic City Hall culture.
We also need to make sure that we are not being bamboozled into creating “affordable” housing for entry level and above corporate workforce whilst leaving non corporate workers, teachers, police and fire department personnel, and hospitality industry folks in the cold–45 minutes outside the city. We do not have the transit infrastructure to support this sort of commute or sprawling metropolitan community–especially for cost burdened folks and families. This not to mention our culture creators, and students. Everyone should be entitled to affordable, non burdening housing options in the inner city.
Q7: Our city has grown by 53,000 people in the last 9 years. Do you believe that Minneapolis should make space for more people as our city grows? If so, what is the best way to do that and also ensure that BIPOC communities and people who made Minneapolis their home before the current growth can stay in their communities if they want?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: I supported the City’s inclusionary zoning policy and led a policy change to tie City environmental pass through grants to projects that meet the City’s affordable housing policy. I supported the City’s adoption of a community preference policy, which allows the city to give preference to Minneapolis residents or former residents living in or displaced from neighborhoods with the highest rates of foreclosure. Currently the preference applies to our Minneapolis Homes affordable homeownership program but I support expanding this to the affordable housing trust fund and other affordable rental housing investments. I also support expanding preferences for populations historically harmed by past housing policy, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color residents and former residents, to the extent we can legally do this under fair housing law.
An example of the work I have done directly on this issue includes the Habitat project in the Harrison neighborhood which will allow for 18 affordable ownership opportunities/homes to be built and purchased by people living on the Northside. I worked with Chris Coleman to come up with the idea of helping BIPOC residents who have not been able to enter the ownership market but want to stay in their neighborhood to fight displacement and gentrification by leading the city effort to fund these 18 new homes. This was a leftover sliver of land from the larger Northside ArtSpace artist lofts built next door. I worked for 4 years on this project, currently under construction, building over 100 affordable artist live work spaces on the site of a former cleaning supply company, Leaf Brothers. Building affordable rental and ownership options in neighborhoods that are seeing gentrification needs to be a priority.
Nick Kor: Minneapolis must be a place that welcomes everyone.
Our first order of business must be to take care of BIPOC communities who have historically been displaced by rising housing costs and gentrification. This is why strong renter protections, preserving naturally occurring affordable housing and Tenant Opportunity to Purchase (TOPA) are so important. These tools can help prevent displacement and build wealth for low income communities that have not benefited equally from increasing home prices.
Minneapolis is growing faster than it has since 1950, and continues to build a record number of housing units. This is a good thing.
But as we build more housing, we need to ensure that we are building enough affordable and deeply affordable units in every part of the city to ensure that our neighbors can continue to live in our communities.
Part of that work will be supported through inclusionary zoning, but we cannot rely on that alone. As our tax base expands, the city must invest in deeply affordable housing, with increased contributions to our affordable housing trust fund.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: This growth and our City response is still being debated. I was present at the League of Woman Voters MPLS2040 forum where Heather Worthington was debunked by some very knowledgeable community members. She was forced to admit that if we stuck to our current (this was in 2018) plans we would hit our housing marks. I for one still believe that the crisis is somewhat of a manufactured confection but I digress.
If indeed the City is growing, I do believe we need to welcome and make space for our new community members. Having said that, I am concerned about WHO we are creating this city for. Based on public education issues, equitable employment challenges, a lack of diverse entrepreneurial endeavors, and status quo corporate workplace cultures I am very concerned. Post Covid–the direction we’re going–I do not see an equitable city beyond that of a corporate diversity and inclusion document.
In order to defend existing community, I am interested in protecting and preserving NOAH, establishing affordable co-ops for homeownership opportunities, land trusts and banks with a focus on African American and POCI community, working with institutions for opening up down payment assistance, education, and strategies designed to move neighbors towards smart first time home buying is key.
I am also interested in protecting our historic old neighborhoods via the establishment (especially in Ward 7) of conservation and historic preservation districts. This has not been the focus of CM Goodman even if she likes to pose at 300 Clifton or the Oaklands on 9th. Too many historic properties are crumbling on her watch as this benefits her big corporate developer donors. We need to save and shore up the old neighborhoods. This is important to me.
This may be unpopular, but I believe that CPED needs to be reimagined or abolished. I was incensed to see Worthington court mostly White developer/investor groups from Uptown to L.A. Perhaps the average Minnesotan is unaware that there are wealthy African American investors in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Oakland, DC, Chicago and elsewhere. I wonder why there is a hesitancy to sell the “Second Minneapolis Miracle” to these communities? Additionally, why are we leaving our wealthy Native Tribes out of broad investment in this growing Minneapolis? I will be invested in making sure that the sales pitch is marketed equitably and that we go out of our way to attract a diverse, capable gentry to our Bold North.
Finally, we need to just do right by our existing community. Especially our surviving African American Community. I am not sure people know that prior to the 1968 Plymouth Uprising (also kicked off by MPD brutality) the Northside was a vibrant community full of single family homes owned by African Americans, small businesses owned by African Americans, and public schools inhabited by African Americans and others. I am also not sure that people know that the rubble of that horrific chapter in our City history was used to fill in the Upper Harbor Terminal. I won’t even breach that mess of a project, but I urge people to look at UHT with community values focused eyes.
it is time to restore our people, our city, and our African American and Native community. This is something I am committed to.
Q8: The city has the ability to pass a public housing levy. Would you vote to use that levy to the maximum extent?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: Minneapolis public housing serves some of our lowest income residents. Preserving this housing, and ensuring its high quality, is a high priority. I am open to supporting the levy and/or other city financial investment tools to achieve this. In 2020, I supported $2.3 million investment to preserve and fully renovate 174 public housing units and build 10 new public housing units (Elliot Twins). In 2018, I supported a $1.3 million investment to develop 16 new larger public housing units for families with children (Minnehaha Townhomes). I will continue to support resources to preserve and add new public housing units.
Nick Kor: Yes. I support this. We should use all the tools in our toolbox to be able to raise the funds to build more deeply affordable housing.
I believe that we could create a plan, much like the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan developed by the MPRB to sustain and increase funding to address racial and economic inequality across the city. Through a dedicated funding source for housing for 20 years, we could make real progress towards meeting our city’s housing needs.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: Yes. However I am concerned about–and all but uninterested in–foisting yet more responsibility (for digging us out of the Enterprise’s mess) onto our homeowners. I am cautious about taxing the rich out of this mess as well. City Hall needs to own the responsibility for its decades long lack of political will. Of course I understand that the City has no other real source of income (I guess towing cars when nobody is looking and there is little to no snow isn’t that great of a money maker!) However, I do not think that in the wake of Covid, George Floyd, mass unemployment, loss of hours, and a city already economically and emotionally stretched that this is what we need. Nor do we need to give Republicans more to chew on.
I am interested in exploring other ways to structure such a levy or developing new creative ways to fund our needs. I will also say that no one really knows where all the money is going. It doesn’t seem to be going to our Public Schools, and it doesn’t seem to have made any real dent in our growing affordable housing crisis. Instead, we only see a growing City bureaucracy and a fancy new building to house it. This is not smart business.
Can the levy, or fundraising be spread among more than just our homeowners (many who are struggling under consistently higher property taxes)? Can we pass the responsibility on to our mega stadiums, and corporations? Can we somehow encourage the most able entities among us to actually do something to help take care of those that clean their halls and serve their lunches?
I also wonder if we can find creative new sources to fund our goals such as marijuana vending. As we move towards legalization and the push to make pot equitable, could we not band together to demand that that income go towards funding our way out of this affordable housing and public school crisis? I am interested in creative ways to bring relief to our burdened city whilst funding those things we know we need.
Just thinking out loud here. Much of this depends on current and unexplored systems and if these levies/funding sources are tied to HRA or EDA structures.
Q9: Given our history of redlining, exclusionary zoning, freeways, slum clearance, and urban renewal, what is your vision for an equitable and restorative way of building a better Minneapolis for all?
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: America and Minneapolis have unfortunately had a sad history of using redlining, exclusionary zoning, freeways, slum clearance, and urban renewal to remove and exclude BIPOC communities from certain housing options. I believe that inclusionary housing is one of the primary drivers of building a better Minneapolis for all people. We must use new policy and investment to prevent displacement of BIPOC residents who have lived in the city in some cases for generations. Continuing to support inclusionary zoning policy is a crucial step to ensure that our BIPOC neighbors remain in their homes and also have access to affordable dwellings throughout the city. We also must continue to make new investments in deeply affordable housing production and preservation to ensure our lowest income residents have places to live and can continue to live. Finally, we must enact policies that target residents at risk of displacement or historically harmed by discriminatory housing policy, and ensure that these residents receive preference when applying for affordable housing or when attempting to stay in affordable housing.
Nick Kor: The city has a critical role in protecting the right to housing for every resident, Black or Brown, Indigenous or immigrant, renter or homeowner. Right now, however, many of our neighbors are being pushed out or priced out of their homes and the legacy of redlining, racial covenants, and freeway construction continues to negatively impact communities of color.
Through bold policy we can put people first, we can confront this history of racism and exclusion by investing in a community-centered housing ecosystem that treats housing as a right, not a commodity. We can create more public housing, and support new experiments like community ownership, land trusts and housing cooperatives.
Most of all, we can, and must, reimagine how we do community development from the ground up. Development can come from community visioning and dreaming about what our future can look like. Our communities can, together, plan for what we want in our neighborhoods, on our streets, and in our backyards. By centering the voices of those who’ve historically been left out of these conversations, like renters and BIPOC folks, we can ensure that our neighborhoods become places that care for everyone, no exceptions.
Teqen Zéa-Aida: My vision to meet these challenges is to see myself, and others like me who actually, visibly, culturally, and socially reflect these communities (that have historically been on the negative receiving end of such policies) elected to office. I’m tired of individuals from communities that have not faced these challenges talking about miraculously changing these systems. As a Transracial Adoptee this is something visceral for me. I see through the faux progressive, savior complex truth, to broken record rhetoric that seems to flourish at election time, and during agenda battles.
I’ve seen too often the woes of the African American Community, Native Community, Communities of Color, and Immigrant Communities used as a ping pong ball between competing Liberal and Neoliberal factions only to either leave those communities behind when the fight is over or ultimately hurt those communities and set them even further back.
I remind this group that in 2017 almost everyone (but for Goodman and the SW CMs) ran on their proximity to Jamar Clark. Well, what did that do for us. I remind this group that almost everyone (but for Goodman and the SW CMs) ran on NOAH–well, we’ve only lost precious NOAH in these last almost four years. Leadership was all but silent when the Drake Hotel burned down, and they were all but hidden when it was our African American, POCI and working class communities under siege during the George Floyd Tsunami.
It was also many of those CMs that sat and did almost nothing after hearing neighbor after neighbor advocate either for the deep reform, defunding, or full funding of MPD. It’s time to end the rhetoric, the reckless policy making, and the do nothing nature of municipal leadership by actually electing bonafide members of this community to co-leadership positions.
Q10: If there are any other thoughts you’d like to add, please use this space to do so.
Lisa Goodman – incumbent: none
Nick Kor: Thank you to each of the organizations and people who put this questionnaire together and who work to advance good housing policy in our city on a daily basis!
Teqen Zéa-Aida: In closing, I want to say thank you. I know we are at a critical and complicated time in Minneapolis and I appreciate the opportunity to express myself, and share my vision. There are three of us this time–two of us of color and from the LGBTQ community even! I guess I want to highlight, and stand on my 27 years in Minneapolis–22 of which were spent at the head of my own small business. At VMG, we fought for opportunity, and economic inclusion whilst celebrating diversity. To me public service via the council is a natural and organic progression for my spirit.
I also have a baby Nephew growing up over Northside. I am running to assure a safe City for him. But I am also standing up in order to offer my unique skills, sensibility of service, and earnest desire to help our Community heal. At this trying and tricky time, I feel that we need someone who is a known member of our Downtown Community equal to CM Goodman. However, I bring even more than that.
I am an Immigrant, a Transracial Adoptee raised in Minnesota, a well known Entrepreneur of Color who helped revolutionized the market, an arts advocate, a Humphrey Fellow, a Park Board UHT CAC member, an Afro-Latino, and visibly Black Man. I have SKIN IN THE GAME and the heart, connections and track record of a true Minneapolitan. I am not in this for fame, or for agenda. I am in it because I reflect my community’s most in need and I am connected to my community’s most in need. I am also connected to those in the community with the power and means to help change the narrative. I am the candidate that can walk between all constituencies and be welcomed by friends. As I am one of us, I do not need to learn us from the ground up. I am however, ready to learn a higher level of civic responsibility and engage in a higher level of civic action.
As I say on social media, #itstimetopassthebaton612