Various government-related stories

Bottom of the Ballot group explores caucuses

As Minnesota’s March 2 caucuses draw closer, some are busily preparing to watch TV, read books and talk on the phone that night instead. The folks at Getting to the Bottom of the Ballot hope to change all that by hosting a nonpartisan discussion of how to get involved in party politics on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at Southwest High School, 3414 W. 47th St., at 7 p.m.

The Republican Party will be represented by John Halvorson, the DFL by David Weinlick, the Green Party by William G. Kingsbury and the Independence Party by Jim Moore. Rather than debate the pros and cons of their respective parties, Bottom of the Ballot organizer Michelle Martin said the party representatives will discuss how people can participate in the March caucuses and become involved in the various political organizations.

The Bottom of the Ballot group is sponsored by Southwest Citizens for Civic Engagement, a coalition of the Linden Hills, Kingfield, Fulton, Lynnhurst, Kenny, Armatage and Windom neighborhood associations.

More information is available at

— Michael Metzger

City Council Actions

1/30/04 Meeting

I-35W Access: Council voted 9-3 to approve the preferred build alternative for the I-35W Access Project. Natalie Johnson Lee (5th Ward), Dean Zimmermann (6th Ward) and Robert Lilligren (8th Ward) voted no, and Dan Niziolek (10th Ward) abstained. The Council voted unanimously to approve ongoing discussions with the state, Met Council and Hennepin County on project specifics, such as design, financing and scheduling.

I-35W expansion: Council voted 13-0 for a resolution opposing I-35W lane expansion between downtown and crosstown, except for a fifth lane dedicated to bus rapid transit and high occupancy vehicles (three or more).

Planning: Council voted 13-0 to approve $1.4 million for preliminary planning and feasibility studies on 14 projects, including $3,066 for the 29th Street Corridor (Midtown Greenway).

Housing: Council voted 13-0 to approve $2.4 million for the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund’s 2002 commitment, including $10,000 for Kingfield’s Public Housing Duplex project, 23 W. 38th St.

Lobbying: Council voted 13-0 to amend city’s legislative agenda to include support for Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposal to borrow $20 million this year as part of an effort to end homelessness by.

Landlords: Council voted 10-1 to approve an ordinance to give licensing staff increased authority to revoke licenses of landlords who repeatedly violate city codes. Zimmermann voted no. Johnson Lee and Lilligren abstained.

Jungle Theater: Council voted 12-0 to grant the Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., an on-sale wine with strong beer license. Scott Benson (11th Ward) abstained.

Bike bridge: Council voted 13-0 to direct the City Engineer to get a limited-use permit from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to build and maintain a bike bridge in the I-94 right of way, connecting the Lowry Hill East and Loring Park neighborhoods.

Police chief: Council voted 13-0 to increase incoming Police Chief William McManus’s salary from $116,000 to $135,000. The city sought and received a state salary cap waiver.

Sauna and spa: Council voted 13-0 to grant a size variance to Steve and Jane Cutler, 5127 Belmont Ave. S. in Tangletown, to build a detached structure for a garage, sauna and spa. The board of adjustment had denied the variance and the Cutlers appealed.

Shop nixed: Council voted 13-0 to deny an appeal to rezone 1320 W. 28th St. to permit a gift shop.

Legal fees: Council voted 13-0 to pay $54,230 to the lawyers representing Harry Johnson and others who sued the city for inverse condemnation arising from the failed LSGI redevelopment in the 1980s. The city lost an appeal at the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court ordered the city to pay opposing counsel.

Thanks: Council voted 13-0 to honor outgoing Police Chief Robert Olson and Fire Marshall Tom Deegan.

— Scott Russell