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New city council to majorly impact future of rent control, homelessness and MPD

With a progressive majority still unable to override a Frey veto, homelessness, rent control and police accountability could see massive changes or no change at all.
Image by Wejdan al Balushi
The Nov. 7 election was a modest win for the progressive wing of the council, picking up the Ward 7 seat.

The future of rent control, homelessness and the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) for the next two years will be decided by the newest city council following the Nov. 7 election.

The progressive coalition gained a member as the retiring Lisa Goodman (Ward 7) was replaced by Katie Cashman.

Following the election, the council is made of seven progressives who generally align against Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, five moderates who generally support Frey and Jamal Osman (Ward 6), who generally aligns between the two.

While the progressives have a majority, two more council members were needed to overcome a Frey veto.

As evidenced by Frey’s previous vetoes of an ordinance to raise the rideshare driver minimum wage and a ballot question to restructure the MPD, progressives will need to work either with Frey or the other council members.

Assuming compromise with Frey is not possible, progressives will need to compromise with Osman and the moderates, who are:

  • Michael Rainville (Ward 3)
  • LaTrisha Vetaw (Ward 4)
  • Andrea Jenkins (Ward 8)
  • Emily Koski (Ward 11)
  • Linea Palmisano (Ward 13)

Police accountability

As Minneapolis undergoes the state consent decree with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, police advocacy groups are pushing for greater police accountability.

Jae Yates, a member of Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J), said TCC4J is focused on communicating more with council members in hopes of getting more support.

“It’s less that we are nervous and more that we are trying to be as strategic as we can be about who we could flip on the council,” Yates said. “We’re really focusing on building those inroads. I’m optimistic about what we’ll be able to do in the next year.”

Greater community control of the MPD, the police budget and the police oversight board could all see major changes under a new progressive majority.

Yates said MPD and Minneapolis City Council have hesitated to institute any real changes to policing.

“We should be able to make the changes that people want to see without having to go through a police force and the judicial system that ultimately is not interested in being accountable,” Yates said.

Any policy related to policing will either need the veto-proof support of nine council members or Frey, according to Yates.

Yates said he is confident this newest edition of the city council will bring change to MPD.

“I feel really hopeful about the next year, and I think that we can really pull this off and transform the system into something that can actually meet our needs,” Yates said.

Rent control

In 2021, voters approved a ballot measure that would allow the Minneapolis City Council to craft a rent control policy. Two years later, there is no policy.

The issue of rent control in Minneapolis has been in limbo since June when advance rent control failed when three council members who supported it were away observing Eid al-Adha.

Co-Director of Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia (United Renters for Justice) Jennifer Arnold said everything has been nearly the same since the election.

“Not much has changed for renters before the election and after the election,” Arnold said. “There’s still a crisis. Rent keeps going up and folks are struggling to pay it.”

Prior to Eid, Frey vowed to veto the original bill which called for banning 3% increases on rent.

With the seven original supporters and new Councilmember Cashman, rent control still needs one vote to override a potential Frey veto.

Arnold said a compromise with Frey or the moderates would be the only way rent control reaches the November ballot.

“The only way that something passes is if the council can work with Frey to pass something and I don’t know if he’ll be willing to do that,” Arnold said. “It’s really up to the council and the mayor to figure out if they can do anything about that.”

Arnold added rent control is a key step to improving affordability, but more still needs to be done.

“Rent stabilization isn’t the one solution to the housing crisis, but it is the most cost-effective measure to keep people in their homes,” Arnold said. “When you’re facing a housing crisis, you need to use all the tools in the toolbox, and it is one of the most powerful tools.”


Toshira Garraway Allen, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, spoke outside city hall with other advocates to call for an end to homeless encampment evictions in October 2022.

While typically associated with police advocacy, Garraway Allen said homelessness is an issue everyone should care about.

“We’re out there feeding the homeless. We’re out there trying to provide clothing for the homeless,” Garraway Allen said. “Despite our titles, despite the positions that we’re in, we’re all human beings.”

Garraway Allen said the council needs to listen to the needs of the homeless and local community to find the best solution.

“We have to find a way to hear from the homeless community,” Garraway Allen said. “Otherwise it’s like we’re going to be spinning our wheels.”

As winter approaches, homeless advocates are calling for policies to protect the homeless from the cold, according to Garraway Allen.

Freezing encampment evictions, providing more homeless shelters and increasing funding for homeless resources are actions activists want the city council to take.

Garraway Allen said when so many homeless people are in danger, it is important to humanize them.

“We need people not to forget that there are people outside sleeping in a tent,” Garraway Allen said. “As it gets colder in Minnesota, we can never forget that. We have to remember each other as human beings and that’s the real way to make change.”

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