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Empowered Youth

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken people. 

 

With 20,000 youth under the age of 18 on the Northside, that's 35% of our population! It's essential that we invest in activities and resources for our young people. They are the future, they are our best investment.

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Public Safety- AccountabilityHelp Troubled Youth Bring Back Business 
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Create Jobs

People want quality jobs with a living wage in their own community. In my 17 years in North, I've heard leaders call for jobs, but we still lack employers.

I want to attract job creators to North Minneapolis so our residents can work where they live. Ample employment is another hallmark of a healthy community. I have a plan to do it. I commit to bringing West Broadway together to make it clean, make it safe, and have 100% of our storefronts activated. 

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Safer Communities

What does a safe community look like? Adults and children using the parks, walking on sidewalks, and engaging with their neighbors. It looks like police who protect and serve ALL residents.

Safety is not a luxury! It's a natural by-product of a functional community and it's something you should demand from your city leadership. City leaders need to bring together all levels of government together to support the community. This is what I plan on doing on day one.

Local Businesses

Let's create an environment where local business thrives!

 

To encourage entrepreneurialism, we'll cut through red tape and create tax incentives to help people within our communities and beyond build businesses in North. I have a plan to help usher in the new Broadway, one that is growing and is safe for everyone. We struggle to attract business because of out-of-control crime. If we make North safer, particularly around Broadway, we can make sure our business can thrive. 

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This is how I plan to accomplish my goals for the Northside

I can't do this without you.               Call 612-567-7657 to volunteer

What to know more? 

  1. Why do you seek this public office?

I believe I offer a refreshing and uniting vision for our Ward and City. I bring skills and talents that are well-suited for our diverse community. We need someone that will be present to listen and act on our quality of life issues. I can do just that. Not only does my faith-based background bring a unique set of perspectives, but being a person of color has allowed me to uniquely understand how Ward 5 has been impacted by the issues we face every day.  I believe our Wards current direction is not good. I feel we are losing all the gains we have made in the last 10 years. Our elected officials continue to make knee-jerk policy decisions that are hurting our community. Police are not our enemy. We need to work better together to bring true public safety. It takes everyone to take responsibility.

  1. What knowledge, skills, and abilities would you bring to the public service position you seek?

Listening is an art form that takes years and discipline to master. As an inner city pastor for decades, I bring a servant's heart that also works very hard for those I serve. I am uniquely gifted to understand those most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our community. Growing up in poverty and Section 8 housing my entire childhood life, I have a heart and compassion for those that few take into consideration. I know that people respect honest and straightforward answers. Even if we disagree you'll understand my logic and my thought process because every voice needs to be respected and listened to. I am uniquely gifted with the ability to raise leadership all around me with character and transparency,  and to build up the next generation of leaders to keep progressively making Ward 5 the best place in the city to live.​​

 

  1. If elected, how do you plan to interact with and receive the views of all your constituents? With what regularity?

I will go to them, the current status quo is you come to us. I will come to your barbecues and backyard meetings. I will never be afraid of your voice but be an example of respectful and cordial interactions. I will never attack you or slander any person that wants to meet with me. Respect will be given at all times. 50-hour weeks will be a regular thing in my office, you will see me so often that you'll get tired of me. Even now I have community members say, "Oh it's you again" as I smile at them and wave. Even some of my critics support me because they know I'll be consistently updating and engaging the community. Those who follow me on social media or my emails know that I engage on a regular basis.  I accept that one of the keys to being a public official is always being accessible and always visible, and I intend on making that a key part of who I am as an elected official. 

 

  1. How do you plan to serve under-represented and marginalized communities? 

As a member of one of these underrepresented communities (Latinos), I feel my perspective and experience with the issues that affect us the most allow me to have some voice in what solutions will work best to serve my communities and the rest here in Ward 5. Our seniors, African American, Hispanic,  and young constituents constantly struggle to meet with our current leadership. This is why it's important for us to go to them. I have personally knocked on every door in our Ward, most of them two or three times. I constantly email, post on social media, and make phone calls to my community members with updates. I will be one of the most engaging council members we've ever had.

 

  1. What is your view as to how the City should ensure the safety of all of its community members?

Building trust and changing culture. This takes everyone. My fusion zone vision, I believe will do exactly that when it comes to law enforcement! Finger-pointing, demonizing, and attacking any member of this fragile ecosystem hurts everybody and does nothing to bring us together. Public safety takes every sector of our city, county, and state. Everything from better street lighting, culturally competent peace officers, and proactive Hennepin County services, to good old-fashioned neighbors meeting neighbors.

What existing programs or new initiatives would you support to promote community safety?

My Fusion Zone idea comes from a proven background. The city of Juarez in Mexico was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world not too long ago. Faith between law enforcement and the community was at its worst. But Faith leaders came together to heal the relationship between the community and law enforcement. They engage the community to provide safe spaces for officers to take breaks and eat their meals within the community. They also trained community leaders to be motivational speakers that would consistently share at roll call meetings. Effectively creating a bond between law enforcement and community members. There has been a huge turnaround with trust in law enforcement and community members, and crime has come under control. The program is now being considered at the State Police level.

 

  1. What short-term and long-term strategies do you have in mind to address the police staffing shortage? 

We need to bring the community around our law enforcement, publicly showing our support and value for them. We want good honest and culturally competent officers to serve us. We need them and we can't have public Safety without an adequately staffed police force. I would support a strong public recruitment campaign, billboards, radio announcements, and engaging influencers. Everybody in our state should know that we are serious about having good officers. For the short term, I think we need to continue to work with community groups providing security assistance as well as faith groups. 

 

  1.  How do you envision assuring police accountability? 

Nothing ever worked without transparency and honesty. I support police chief Brian O'Hara's vision to take into consideration every complaint no matter who it comes from. In the past, complaints have often been ignored. But I believe there needs to be an adequate way of tracking complaints and their resolution. It does nothing for accountability when community members are making complaints and are kept in the dark.

I also believe that making body camera footage available to the community is important and needs to continue.

  1.  How do you envision making policy and structural changes to build and improve relationships between the Minneapolis City Government and the BIPOC communities in Minneapolis? 

It starts at the top. Appointed leaders must be intentional about attracting high-quality BIPOC staff and assuring that they properly service their distinguished communities. If appointed leaders can't make that happen then we need to give others a chance to make it happen. It also involves giving a seat at the table to BIPOC people, as a member of this community understanding the issues and bringing more staff from inside the ward who are BIPOC helps to not only have experience with the issues specific to our community in Ward 5 but also how to address them through the lens of a BIPOC person who has an understanding of the greater issues we face and the inequity we need to solve across the city. 

  1.  If elected, which strategies would you support related to affordable housing?

Preserving older housing stock is important for long-term affordable housing. I support helping those housing providers continue to keep their buildings naturally affordable. At the same time, there needs to be accountability and real enforcement of our rental license process, this is something we have failed at as a city. 

  • Reducing the shortage of deeply affordable rental housing, implementing a housing developer-focused renters’ tax credit, and reversing restrictive local zoning practices;

  • Preventing the loss of existing affordable housing;

  • Investing in tribal communities’ housing needs;

  • Removing barriers to homeownership; and

  • Reforming project-based housing programs to encourage higher-quality housing.

 

 

  1.  What is your strategy for increasing services to vulnerable populations?

Increasing services? We're struggling just to have the basic amenities in my Ward. It seems to me that single-parent households and senior citizens are some of the most vulnerable in our community.

I have spoken to countless seniors and single-parent households in my community. And their two biggest issues in Ward 5 are access to drive-thru services.  Our streets need to be clean, loitering and crowding our sidewalks and small businesses by those that continue to harass and intimidate our families and seniors needs to be addressed. This is not acceptable. We need to reverse the no drive-thru policy as well as look to bring back loitering laws. We need to work on cleaning up our business intersections with those the harass and hinder are most vulnerable for moving around our community.

 

Increased funding and efficient spending are going to be what will lead to increased services for vulnerable populations. Meaning we need to spend the right amount of dollars on the most efficient programs. Along with this comes increased awareness, the more exposure people have to all the tools available to them the more they will be utilized and the more services become available as the need grows. Meaning investing in more after-school programs, programs for struggling single-parent homes, access to clean and healthy food, spending money on making sure small businesses can stay afloat, etc. 

 

 

  1.  What is your strategy for addressing the issues related to homelessness?

Homelessness is a complicated yet simple issue. There are those that are struggling just to make ends meet and find themselves without a home. There are those with mental illnesses and then those that struggle with addictions. Each group deserves its own strategy.

For those struggling to make ends meet, the reality is that historically speaking Hennepin County has been one of the best places in the country for people struggling with poverty. As a Pastor, I've recruited countless folks to move into Hennepin County simply for this reason. We need to make sure that the current services are not only valued but continue to be supported at every level. We need to build stronger partnerships with our County officials to make sure we have the resources to meet the demand.

Those struggling with mental illnesses need to be shown true and pure compassion. I believe that the country needs to help these folks connect with family members, and resources for them so they can help take care of their family members. I have a couple of family members that rely on a PCA for their care due to mental illnesses.

The hardest group to work with are those dealing with drug addictions because, at the end of the day, it takes their personal decision to seek support. We can provide them with all the resources in the world but it's for nothing if they're not ready to make that change. Increasing access to these rehab centers, addiction support lines, and much more will help kick-start our way into tackling homelessness caused by addiction. Again, increasing awareness will increase the need which funding will need to follow and we plan to do that. 

 

  1.  What are your views on steps the City Council may take to reduce conflicts between housed and unhoused neighbors in the city? 

Rules, laws, and ordinances need to be followed. If there are rules, laws, and ordinances that there is a disagreement on, we need to change them. We cannot do enforcement and mediation based on the political winds. I think conflict resolution starts at the top by changing how the city responds. we need to find a more compassionate way to address their needs. If we are compassionate as a council and mayor, then the housed people who have issues will see that and I believe will follow. On a policy level, I support increasing funding for winter housing.

 

  1.  What are your views on rent control in the City of Minneapolis? 

I do not support rent control. There is no proof that it works. And if we look at our neighbor to the east, we see that it stifles new housing development in our cities. I rather use our licensing procedure to deal with those housing providers that are abusing renters with steep increases in rent. We have failed to use our licensing procedure to address this issue. Why even have a renter license in the first place, let's not put more rules and regulations when the current ones that we have don't work.

I think New York, and Saint Paul are good examples of how the rent control programs in their current form are not efficient in continuing the production of affordable housing. Some policies that might work instead (which were mentioned above)  include: 

  • Reducing the shortage of deeply affordable rental housing, implementing a housing developer-focused renters’ tax credit, and reversing restrictive local zoning practices;

  • Preventing the loss of existing affordable housing;

  • Investing in tribal communities’ housing needs;

  • Removing barriers to homeownership; and

  • Reforming project-based housing programs to encourage higher-quality housing.

 

 

  1.  What are your views on the city implementing and operating public housing?

I grew up in public housing and welfare. If it wasn't for this safety net my mom and my six siblings would have been homeless. With that said I do not believe the city should be operating public housing. Public housing is greatly underfunded by the federal government. I do not believe it is wise for the city to take on that burden. Some of the issues that I see come along with public housing, especially on a local level are low-quality housing and poor management of the resources to keep the housing up to date. A better idea would be to engage the federal government and county for more funding to already public ran housing and to increase options to include housing that is not built by the government and give renters credit towards partial rent to help lower out-of-pocket costs

  1.  Tell us your views on the balance between new development versus preservation of existing housing. How might the city mitigate displacement which may be caused by new development? 

We need to make sure that those going through displacement have the full resources available from the city, county,  state, and nonprofit. Density is needed particularly in my Ward. Our business corridors need a combination of business space and housing development.

Solutions to mitigate displacement and keep current housing stock within reach: 

  • Inclusive development: High-quality training programs for residents of these areas to participate in the development of new projects through apprenticeship programs

  • Local Hire Mandates: Residents within the city of Minneapolis should have first dibs on claiming jobs on these development sites, policy initiatives mandating the hire of residents will also help to increase the economic stability of the same members of these communities 

  • PLAs and CWAs: Project labor agreements and Community workforce agreements can uphold safety standards for workers and the community members where these new developments are. It can also ensure better wages and guarantee to prioritize the local hire of members of historically disadvantaged communities

  • Community Land Trusts: Local governments supporting and investing in land where there can be preserved space to develop and prioritize low to moderate-income housing for rent or to own. 

  • Right of first refusal: Minneapolis should develop a right-of-first-refusal or tenant-opportunity-to-purchase policy, which provides tenant groups the right to purchase an apartment unit that is being put up for sale or being transformed into a condo by the owner before it hits the market. 

 

  1.  What are your views on the city funding neighborhood groups?

John Jamison and I ran the Northside Residential Redevelopment Council for many years. We took the organization from almost folding to being the most diverse and purposeful organization in the city. At the same time, I found out that other neighborhood associations were run by dictatorship leadership. Instead of attracting neighbors to join, they pushed them out systematically. We need accountability in our neighborhood associations, we need a way to take complaints and address them as a city council member. The quiet and most vulnerable can no longer be run over by those that know how the system works. Funding neighborhood groups can be a good idea if we put strict guidelines in place to make sure that it does not become a political catalyst for members, and also to make sure that there is fair and equal representation of under-represented groups.

 

  1.  How would you support businesses and economic development in the city?

We need to curb criminal activities in our businesses. Businesses have told me that they welcome walking beat officers. 

We can no longer work hard to attract businesses only to not work hard to keep them. Aldi and Walgreens at the time of this writing announced that they were leaving the north side. All our elected officials threw their hands up and said I wish I would have known ahead of time instead. I would have instead quickly brought all parties to the table and figured out a solution, at the very least in the short term. Things such as grants for small business owners, hardship loans with low-interest rates, exposure to financial services, tax breaks, and entrepreneur classes, and more access to space will allow businesses to grow. Minneapolis is built off the backs of small businesses and we need to find ways to make them directly able to compete with large corporations and we aren't drowning out the access to financial success for low and medium-income people. 

  1.  What strategies would you employ to address businesses that receive multiple complaints?

I would bring together all stakeholders.  I would listen to them, connect them with MPD about strategies and ideas that they could implement, and come up with a plan. If stakeholders do not follow through on the plan, then I will address it personally. At this point, all options would be on the table. 

 

  1.  What are your suggestions for addressing the challenge of businesses and corporations leaving the city?

Public safety, public safety, public safety. The Lawlessness must end. If we need to in the short run we must help subsidize security measures for our business corridor. After we are able to address the issues with safety and that being the main deterrent for business, then we can come up with economic plans that address the burden inflation causes to small business owners and find a way to ease costs on a local level. 

  1.  Do you support workers forming and maintaining unions and associations? If so, describe any support for union activity. 

Yes, I support unions and associations. I have for years tried and recruit folks in the Latino community to join Unions. Unions are one of the best ways to get folks out of the poverty circle. 

 

  1.  Please address your position on public transportation.

We not only need more public transportation, but we need safe public transportation. It does no one any good if we get the light rail coming through the northside but riders are harassed and robbed.  A stable and more accessible public transportation system can help to address systemic issues such as climate change and economic instability. The larger we can grow our public transit the more access to jobs, opportunities and new parts of the city people will have, creating a boom of new jobs and income. We also need to make sure that our public transit system is affordable and incentivize more riders through discount programs. 

 

  1.  Would you promote evidence-based program evaluation of existing city programs? Are there any initiatives or programs that you would propose to adjust or eliminate? 

If programs don't have evidence of working, we need to reevaluate them. I would propose using some of the money the city spends on youth and creating a youth development Grant targeting the most at-risk youth. I want to see our programs work better with other existing programs. Many times our programs work in silos, creating a lot of waste.

 

  1.  What are your views on the 2040 plan?

 

Our Council Member at the time Blong Yang at the time I believe was the only council member that voted against the 2040 Plan. He did so because he believed it would not benefit the northside. I stand on that same belief. I stand against making it harder for families and seniors to move around our city in cars. This is one aspect of the 2040 Plan that I believe is against Ward 5 interest. If we can address the inequities that the 2040 plan brings to north-side residents, and change some policy points to be more fair to north-side residents I would be open to making further strides on this plan and discussing the policy positions. 

  1.  Do you support the right to bodily autonomy and other privacy rights, if so, how?

Yes, every person has autonomy and privacy rights so as not to affect or harm any other human life. At the city council level, such policy is already determined for us by the courts and should not affect the crime-addressing measures for safety and security, economic infrastructure, and budgeting needed for the flourishing of our city. As a council member, I don’t foresee myself making any votes or choices that would be in direct conflict with the DFL agenda on these issues.

  1.  How will you make Minneapolis a safe haven for transgender people?

I believe people should be treated respectfully and equally. No one should be treated less no matter what. As a Pastor, I teach my church that everyone deserves love and respect. I will be an open door to the transgender community. I will listen and empathize with pains and struggles, and find ways to address any policy issues that might make our community a more understanding, and safe place for that community to live and thrive.

 

  1.  How will you promote accessibility for disabled constituents? 

Many of our sidewalks are in such bad condition that it is almost impossible for folks in wheelchairs to get around. This issue is even made worse when property owners including the city and county do a terrible job maintaining their sidewalks. This will end as your council member. The Livability issue will be a top priority for my office. I will raise hell to make sure our Ward is treated with dignity and respect. One of the first things I will look into is side street and shoveling programs that might be more effective in holding property owners accountable in making sure sidewalks are accessible and safe during the winter season specifically.

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