Mayor Hodges: ‘One Minneapolis and the Call of Transformation’
Mayor’s State of the City speech outlines the path to a stronger, more connected Minneapolis

May 23, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) — “Three and a half years ago we agreed we would take on the hard and often uncomfortable work of transformation: not tinker at the margins or make minor improvements, but fundamentally change how we operate in the City of Minneapolis.” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges today in her annual State of the City address, entitled “One Minneapolis: Transition and Triumph.”

The full text of the Mayor’s remarks are available here:

Mayor Hodges spoke to a crowd of about 150 at the Masjid An-Nur mosque in North Minneapolis. “We agreed to become One Minneapolis,” said the Mayor. “We also agreed to do the rewarding, exhilarating, difficult, uncomfortable work of getting us there.”

Mayor Hodges began by defining One Minneapolis as “a city that works for everyone, and a city where everyone contributes to making it work for everyone else.”

“One Minneapolis requires change, it requires connection to one another, and it requires a commitment to sitting through the discomfort of change to get to a stronger, better other side.” Mayor Hodges added, setting up a theme that served as a common thread throughout the speech: working through discomfort on the path to a better future in Minneapolis.

The Mayor offered several examples of the city overcoming discomfort to get results—the Nicollet Mall renovation, the earned sick and safe time policy, gains in affordable housing, and new approaches to public safety.

“Instead of giving up and letting discomfort win,” she said, “we moved forward through it, through hitting the wall, with our eyes on the finish line, with an unwavering focus on getting where we had chosen to go.”

“This is our strength as a city: moving forward together.”

The Mayor also spoke about her opposition to the policies of President Donald Trump, calling his election “the result of communities fearing change and resisting the discomfort that can lead to a future of more connection and more shared success.” Speaking from the podium at Masjid An-Nur—which translates to “Mosque of Light”—the Mayor called Minneapolis “a welcoming city for all who come in peace, for all who come for light and for hope. No president will make us change that.”

Mayor Hodges encouraged residents to celebrate the progress the city has made, while staying focused on our vision for the future. The Mayor outlined that vision in a number of areas, including sustainability, 21st century policing, and workforce development. “Making these investments now for the astronomical financial, social and spiritual benefits that they can return is best investment we could ever make as a city,” she said.

The Mayor concluded her speech with a quote from author Cynthia Occelli: “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

She spoke of how the quote mirrored this moment for Minneapolis, saying: “Our shell is cracked. And from that will come the full flower of our potential, whatever we are destined to be.”

“Today,” she concluded, “we are nearer to the transformation that is One Minneapolis than ever before.”

Other Highlights

Minneapolis at Home

Mayor Hodges spoke of several work streams under the “Minneapolis at Home” umbrella, aimed at taking on housing issues throughout the city—from affordable housing to homelessness.  She mentioned investing $40 million in affordable housing programs over the last three City budgets, including $14.5 million in 2017.

The Mayor noted that the 2017 budget marks Minneapolis’ first investment—$1.5 million—in preserving existing affordable units, “to help stem the loss of existing affordable units that we have been losing faster than we can replace.” Looking to the future, Mayor Hodges added: “This is our next horizon: everyone housed, and stably housed, with a range of housing options for all incomes.”

Public Safety

Mayor Hodges addressed public safety and public trust as inseparable concepts, reinforcing the need to transform policing and police-community relations. “Our success, and the safety afforded by an increase in trust, would benefit everyone: all of our residents, all of our communities, and all of our police officers.”

She spoke of the need to engage communities in creating their own public safety strategies, citing a $500,000, first-of-its-kind program supporting residents along West Broadway and in Little Earth to do just that.

The Mayor looked forward to the future of 21st century policing, outlining the many tools the City is working with to address the evolving challenges of public safety. She noted that with “sustainable systems and funding,” the new Group Violence Intervention program can help reduce shootings. She also named officer training methods and hiring practices as integral to reaching the City’s public safety goals.

Mayor Hodges also reaffirmed her commitment to keep Minneapolis police work separate from the work of federal immigration officials, saying “As long as I am Mayor, that ordinance will stand.”

Economic Development

The Mayor noted how Minneapolis’ efforts to attract investment helped the city weather the recession better than other cities, saying “we have had five straight years of more than one billion dollars in development permits in Minneapolis, and the cranes keep going up in the sky.”

She mentioned the Business Made Simple program, and its work to assist people who invest in the city, along with the Business Technical Assistance Program, which is “helping more low income business owners succeed than ever before.”

Our Genius

The Mayor introduced a collection of work called “Our Genius”—a set of policies and programs designed to prepare all of our communities for the jobs of today and of the future. “Our growth will stall and our economy will slowly wither on the vine if we do not act,” she said.

Mayor Hodges also outlined a number of programs targeted at communities of color. She listed the TechHire program as a prime example of the City’s work to diversify the tech sector in Minneapolis. She also pointed to the newly-opened Opportunity Hub as part of a “promise of reducing barriers to employment in the East African community.”

The Mayor announced plans to partner with MnSCU, MCTC and Minneapolis Public Schools to connect institutions of learning to the business community, and called on Minneapolis to transform “our ability to recognize genius in everyone, so that we see it around us every day in forms and faces that were previously invisible to us.”

“When we come to that moment, Our Genius will have completed the transformation of our economy,” she said.

Streets 3.0

Mayor Hodges reviewed a number of steps the city has taken to revolutionize street design in Minneapolis, dubbed “Streets 3.0.” She mentioned the newly created Transportation Planning Division, and their work to lead Minneapolis away from “treating streets solely as funnels for moving cars out of the city as fast as possible,” and toward a plan to “prioritize walkers, people with disabilities, cyclists, and transit riders.”

Noting that “no preventable death is acceptable,” the Mayor outlined work to reduce distracted driving, and a goal to completely eliminate traffic fatalities. She also looked toward a rapidly approaching future, saying that Streets 3.0 will help prepare the city for rapidly approaching advances in ride-sharing and automated vehicles “that will begin to transform transportation in America and in Minneapolis.”

The full text of the Mayor’s remarks are available here:


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Published May 23, 2017



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