Ballot Question Takeaways
Minneapolis & St. Paul 2021 Elections
Minneapolis voters decided: “yes,” “no,” “yes.”
“Yes” to Ballot Question 1: Government Structure: Executive Mayor-Legislative Council – Approved. Administrative and executive power over the departments, hiring and firing department heads, transfer away from the city council and to the mayor.
The Executive Committee will no longer exist.
Why did the Charter Commission propose this in the first place? The Charter Commission’s proposal says the goal is “to centralize executive and administrative responsibilities through a single chain of command under the Mayor, and to distinguish the Mayor’s executive functions and responsibilities in contrast to the legislative functions and responsibilities of the Council.”
“No” to Ballot Question 2: Department of Public Safety – Failed. The City will continue with the work of attempting to reform the Minneapolis Police Department.
Many people erroneously believed the Council had 30 days to develop a plan for creating a full, newly functioning public safety department. Pro-police groups, the chief of police himself, and the media largely pushed this narrative. However, a City memo, initially circulated on social media last month by Council President Lisa Bender, clarified that the only major change required within 30 days was to appoint an interim Public Safety Commissioner to head the department.
Wards where the Public Safety charter amendment passed: Wards 2, 9 and 10 (by a margin of 1000+ votes); and more narrowly in Wards 1 and 8.
Wards where the Public Safety charter failed: Wards 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13. The margin of “no” votes is the widest in Wards 13, 11 and 7 – respectively, these are the first, third and fifth wards, out of thirteen total, with the highest voter turnout.
J. Deebaa Sirdar
Guest Editor, Black Votes Matter MN
“Yes” to Ballot Question 3: Authorizing City Council To Enact Rent Control Ordinance – Approved. Rent stabilization research has been completed and presented to the City Council, but an ordinance has not been developed.
An ordinance could be enacted in two different and independent ways. Therefore, if the council does not approve a proposed ordinance, there is another option to refer the ordinance as a ballot question for approval at an election.
So, what is the likelihood a rent control ordinance that centers stable housing for the lowest income households will be approved by this new City Council body? If the wards with the highest margin of “yes” votes is any indication, we might expect council members representing Wards 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, and 10 to support an ordinance proposal like this. Additionally, we can infer that the returning council member representing Ward 5, who is one of the original authors of this charter amendment ordinance, will support such a proposal at the council.
St. Paul votes “yes” on rent control ordinance
Ballot Question: Whether to adopt a Residential Rent Control Ordinance – Approved. An ordinance to limit residential rent increases to 3 percent annually, regardless of inflation rate or tenant turnover, will take effect by May 1, 2022. Exemptions and pass through costs by landlords may occur.
Wards 1, 2, and 4 had the highest “yes” vote margins.
The ordinance is already approved by voters.
The ordinance allows exemptions and exceptions for a variety of reasons, including “the right to a reasonable rate of return.” Landlords could appeal, for example, due to dramatic property tax increases or if costly improvements are required to bring the unit into compliance with city code.
Visit www.electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/20211102 for certified data on election results.