Government notes

Sen. Myron Orfield says he won’t seek re-election

Sen. Myron Orfield (DFL-Minneapolis) announced March 5 that he would not be seeking re-election this fall.

"I have served for 12 years in the Legislature and I felt I had made a good contribution in terms of working on land use and metropolitan equity issues, education and health care and environmental issues," Orfield said. "I have another busy job that I have to work on and I have two young boys that I’d like to spend some more time with."

Orfield said upcoming redistricting was not a factor in his decision. Some of the proposed redistricting scenarios would pit Orfield against Sen. Jane Ranum (DFL-Minneapolis) or extend Senate District 60 into the suburbs.

"I’ve been very privileged to represent the 60th District," he said. The district includes most of Southwest Minneapolis around the lakes.

Orfield teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School and heads Metro Research, an organization that studies land use and metropolitan demographics around the country. Metro Research is funded by grants from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations.

His second book on metropolitan issues — "American Metropolitics" — will be released in about a month, he said. The book looks at the 25 largest U.S. regions. His first book, "Metropolitics," examined a variety of urban issues facing the Twin Cities metro.

Orfield was first elected to the state Senate in 2000. Prior to that, he served five terms in the House.

The Linden Hills resident is married to Jeanne Farrar; they have two boys, ages 18 months and 5 years.

Report on Herron investigation released Did the corruption in City Hall spread beyond former City Councilmember Brian Herron, who pleaded guilty to extortion this past summer?

No, according to Chicago attorney Joseph Duffy, who was hired by the city to investigate the Regulatory Services Department.

Duffy, in a presentation to the Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 28, called Herron’s actions an "aberration." He said there was no evidence to suggest any impropriety by other employees.

"Our investigation has uncovered a lack of any widespread or any systematic corruption within the city’s regulatory services division," Duffy said.

Herron admitted taking money from businessman Selwin Ortega in exchange for help with licensing issues. Herron was sentenced to a year in prison.

Former MCDA director takes county post Steve Cramer, the former executive director of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency and a former Minneapolis City Councilmember, has been appointed director of the new Hennepin County Department of Housing, Community Works and Transit.

The department was recently created through the consolidation of the Transit and Community Works Department and staff in the Office of Planning and Development who support the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

"This is an opportunity to integrate our housing and transit efforts to help build strong communities — a way to address those serious problems in a more strategic, integrated manner," said County Commissioner Gail Dorfman, who represents much of Southwest Minneapolis. "We’re delighted to have Steve Cramer, with his extensive background in housing, planning and policy analysis, in this position."

Cramer was executive director of the MCDA from 1999 to Feb. 1 of this year. Previously, he was director of Project for Pride in Living, a non-profit organization, and served on the City Council from 1984 to 1993.

Four neighborhoods to meet for Lyndale Avenue planning Residents of the Kenny, Lynnhurst,

Tangletown and Windom neighborhoods are invited to participate in a discussion of a future vision for Lyndale Avenue, from Minnehaha Creek to the Crosstown.

The meeting will be March 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lynnhurst Community Center.

A group named Lyndale Avenue South Reconstruction, Creek to Crosstown — consisting of interested citizens from the four neighborhoods — has been meeting to discuss a planning vision for Lyndale Avenue. The group is now seeking participation from the wider community to further develop the plans.

Starting at 6 p.m., residents can attend an open house to learn more about Lyndale past and present, and how this planning effort aims to help the community. From 7 to 9 p.m., members of the reconstruction group will make a brief presentation and provide the opportunity for residents to ask questions, provide feedback and find ways to become involved.

"This is a great opportunity to help develop the long-term plans for a wide corridor of south Minneapolis," said City Councilmember Scott Benson (11th Ward).

Both Benson and Councilmember Barret Lane (13th Ward) said they agreed to support the plan developed by neighbors and the reconstruction group.

Rybak appoints Library Board Member Mayor R.T. Rybak appointed Laura Waterman Wittstock to the Minneapolis Public Library Board of Trustees on Feb. 28.

Waterman Wittstock is president of MIGIZI Communications, a nonprofit serving the American Indian Community with education and technology projects.

Waterman Wittstock has published two books: "Ininatig’s Gift of Sugar: Traditional Native Sugarmaking," a children’s book, and "Changing Communities, Changing Foundations," which deals with diversity and community foundations.

She chairs the Community Solutions Fund and is treasurer of the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco.

The Library Board is responsible for setting overall policy for the Minneapolis Public Library system. Additionally, the City Council and Library Board will be overseeing construction of a new Central Library.

Congressman Sabo stopping nearby Congressman Martin Olav Sabo will be stopping in the 5th Congressional District to hear from residents. Sabo will be at the Edina City Hall, 4801 West 50th Street, on March 21 from 10 to 11 a.m.