Michaelson: My take on Minneapolis election results

A Wisconsinite looking into Minneapolis politics.

by Gavin Michaelson

As a Wisconsinite from the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota, I have always kept myself knowledgeable of political issues surrounding both states, as they were both always relevant to my life. Despite living primarily in Minnesota for the past few years as a student, I have continually voted in Wisconsin, as it is a swing state, and every vote counts in major elections. Now, after living in Minneapolis for a few years, the issues that voters are deciding have become important to me, despite not directly having a voice in the matter.

Being politically active has always been an important part of my life even before I could vote, and especially now that I can vote. Not being able to vote in the Minneapolis election was devastating for me because the issues at hand were huge. However, discussing these issues with people who do have a vote made up for that. Even when we cannot physically vote, we always have the opportunity to inform, educate and make our voices heard.

Citizens of Minneapolis just voted in one of the most prominent elections we have seen in a while. Not only were citizens voting for the mayor, but they were also voting on three crucial ballot measures: the “Mayoral Control” charter amendment, creating a new department of public safety and authorizing the city council to enact rent control.

The issues at hand were instrumental for the state of Minnesota, and will continue to be regardless of the election results. It is necessary to explore and understand the consequences of the election outcome and what this means for the future of Minneapolis. Honestly, before going into detail of the election itself, the results of this election were a devastating loss for achieving necessary change in Minneapolis, especially after the tragic past couple years this city has seen.

The passage of the Executive Mayor-Legislative Council could be extremely harmful to the power of democracy for the simple fact that the amendment limits the power of the legislature and increases the power of the mayor. Weakening the power of elected officials in Minneapolis is extremely harmful to the people who live here. It also limits the potential for these elected officials to fulfil the needs of their constituents and pass their policy agendas.

In my mind, the most devastating loss on this ballot was on question two: the issue of public safety. In Minneapolis, we have witnessed a devastating amount of police brutality throughout the city’s history, and 2020 truly exemplified the need for a new public safety system. For far too long, the Minneapolis Police Department has been unrestrained in their authority. The racist systems and laws that MPD is built upon continues to enable this unjust behavior with zero accountability. The initiative to create a new department of public safety in the city of Minneapolis would have been monumental and had the potential to put an end to the abusive system currently in place.

However, the third question on the ballot, which allows the city council to enact rent control, passed. This was a major step in the right direction to promote affordable housing in Minneapolis, as it allows the city to take measures to stabilize rent and combat the major increase in rent. In recent years, Minneapolis has become extremely unaffordable and has made homelessness one of the most pressing issues within the city.

This election was quite devastating. I believe that if there was any time for major change in Minneapolis, it is now, especially considering the recent events we have all witnessed. However, at the end of the day, Minneapolis citizens spoke and made their decision, and all we can do now is to continue to advocate for meaningful and necessary changes within this city.