Civic beat

Council committee looks at repealing lurking ordinance

City Council Members are considering repealing a city ordinance addressing lurking because some feel it targets minorities and the homeless.

The Council’s Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee held a public hearing May 21 to consider wiping the ordinance off the city’s books. It states: “No person, in any public or private place, shall lurk, lie in wait or be concealed with intent to commit any crime or unlawful act.”

Council Member Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) introduced the motion to repeal the ordinance. He has been working with the Coalition to Repeal the Lurking Ordinance on the issue.

An independent study of arrest data from 2003–2007 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota found that a black person is eight times more likely to be arrested for lurking than someone who is white, and a homeless person is 20 times more likely to be arrested under the current ordinance that someone who is not.

Housing funding approved

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved $4.4 million in federal funds for families seeking housing and transportation.

The county’s Consortium 2008 Action Plan includes U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entitlement funding from Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership, and Emergency Shelter Grant programs.

The county is the lead agency for the consortium, which includes 44 suburban cities and the county, according to a news release.

Funding will assist more than 480 affordable housing units; provide home-finding and stabilization assistance to homeless families; and provide housing and transportation services to seniors, families and youth.

The Board and HUD approved funding priorities in 2004 as part of the Five Year (2005–2009) Hennepin County Consortium Consolidated Plan.

A message from RNC: ‘Let’s Party!’

In 1892, Benjamin Harrison and
Whitelaw Reid received the Republican nomination when the convention was held in the Twin Cities. It is safe to say that this year’s convention, planned for Sept. 1–4, at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, will be a much more lively and commercial affair.

On May 13, local officials and media personalities modeled Republican National Convention (RNC) clothing and accessories at the Mall of America.

A part of the $148 million expected to be spent by those attending the RNC will be on RNC-related apparel. Aside from the usual RNC T-shirts, hoodies and Zubaz, those interested can find a number apparel options at www.co-store.com/rnc. Items offered by the RNC logo include: baseball hats, key rings, golf balls, a “Loon Toon” duck call and a party bag, which sports a logo featuring an elephant and a donkey holding a sign reading: “Let’s Party!”

It is not uncommon for official business at conventions to go past midnight. When RNC-goers are done conducting official party business, the party bag and other items might come in handy if they decide to catch a drink in the wee hours.

Legislation allowing licensed on-sale liquor establishments to stay open until 4 a.m. from Aug. 31–Sept. 5 passed May 18 and was expected to be signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Local jurisdictions can issue the RNC late-night drinking license and charge up to $2,500.

Approximately 45,000 people are expected to attend the convention, many of whom are expected to stay in Minneapolis or surrounding suburbs.

DFL BBQ June 14

DFL Senate District 60 will hold its second annual “Blue BBQ” on June 14 from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at Linden Hills Park, 43rd & Xerxes.

The mixer will be a networking opportunity for DFLers and give party members a chance to meet candidates.

Senate District 60 includes Southwest and Downtown neighborhoods. For more information, go to www.sd60dfl.org or call Joel Bergstrom at 926-8889.