Thoughts on City Council and the Mayor
Strong social democracies require strong voter participation. Vibrant communities require input from all quarters of the city. Our elected representatives should push for more voter turnout in our off-year election cycles. We should also look at synchronizing city elections with the general election calendar of state and federal offices.
There is nothing stopping the MPD from enacting the systematic and cultural reforms needed to bring about positive change. There is nothing stopping the City Council from enacting public safety reforms and building on community safety. In all cases people and institutions have the power to do what they profess to want. I support holding a referendum on the future of the MPD and a possible Department of Public Safety, but I am skeptical that adopting an administrative structure already present in many other jurisdictions, each with their own police problems, amounts to much other than a fashionable position to take, in light of the council's failure to defund the police in 2020.
We need to bring balance and stability. We have pursued law enforcement at the expense of public safety. Unprecedented challenges have destabilized our city. We have lost representation in favor of unaccountable bureaucracies, and we have paid the price. Understandably there is a reaction, to swing the other way. In the aftermath of the pandemic, protests, police brutality and more, our city needs to regain its footing while mitigating the damage of past history and policies. Some want to inject more uncertainty and randomness into an already uncertain and random process. We need to strike a balance between proper political oversight of the police and operational administration. Our policing has driven the city to flames, and we need to find a new way.
The role of the Charter Commission is troublesome and problematic. It essentially acts like an unelected shadow government. There is some question regarding the statute in state law which covers disbanding charter commissions. It makes explicit provisions for disbanding the charter commission by petition for "statutory cities", but leaves the question of Home Rule cities unanswered. We would have to look at possibly using the petition to disband the commission, or maybe find out there is no way to do that given current law.