Candidate Forum – Mayoral

Mayoral Candidates

The Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis, Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds and the Friends of Roberts Bird Sanctuary sent the following questionnaire to all the Minneapolis mayoral candidates –

Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire

1.  Where do environmental concerns fit in the range of challenges facing Minneapolis? What are your top three environmental priorities if you are elected Mayor?

2.  Research shows that millions of birds are killed annually by building collisions in the U.S. Would you support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations in Minneapolis? Why or why not?

3.  The Minneapolis City Council amended the zoning code in 2016 to require bird-safe glass in new skyway construction. Do you support extending this requirement to existing skyways when glass is replaced? Why or why not?

4.  City leaders have set a goal to increase population in Minneapolis, which will further strain the city’s natural resources. As Mayor, how would you ensure that water, air, and soil quality are protected and improved when development occurs?

5.  The Minneapolis City Council passed a Pollinator Resolution in 2015 to protect pollinators from pesticides and other known causes of pollinator decline. What would you do as Mayor to educate residents about key provisions of the Resolution, specifically the provisions urging residents not to use pesticides or purchase treated plants?

Here are their responses in order received –

C. J. Sparrow –

1.  Where do environmental concerns fit in the range of challenges facing Minneapolis? What are your top three environmental priorities if you are elected Mayor?

My response to question #1: Climate change and other environmental issues are the third highest priority after eliminating poverty and violence prevention. https://occupirate.blogspot.com/2013/08/captain-jack-sparrow-campaign-committee.html

I am in favor of eliminating private automobiles in the inner city of Minneapolis. I am also in favor of exploring the possibility of building underground to save on heating and cooling. https://occupirate.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-plan-to-llmit-automobiles-in-central.html

2.  Research shows that millions of birds are killed annually by building collisions in the U.S. Would you support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations in Minneapolis? Why or why not? 

My response to question #2: Yes, I would support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations in Minneapolis because I think birds deserve to be spared the pain, injuries and death cause by these collisions. As sentient life forms, we must have respect for all animals. 

3.  The Minneapolis City Council amended the zoning code in 2016 to require bird-safe glass in new skyway construction. Do you support extending this requirement to existing skyways when glass is replaced? Why or why not? 

Would you support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations in Minneapolis? 

My response to question #3: Yes, for the same reasons as stated above in response to question # 2.

4.  City leaders have set a goal to increase population in Minneapolis, which will further strain the city’s natural resources. As Mayor, how would you ensure that water, air, and soil quality are protected and improved when development occurs?

My response to question #4: I would insist on Environmental Impact Statements for all new developments followed by community meetings to discuss the results before moving forward. 

5.  The Minneapolis City Council passed a Pollinator Resolution in 2015 to protect pollinators from pesticides and other known causes of pollinator decline. What would you do as Mayor to educate residents about key provisions of the Resolution, specifically the provisions urging residents not to use pesticides or purchase treated plants?

My response to question #5: I would support a city ordinance prohibiting such products as well as providing educational materials to city residents by mail and on the Internet. I would support classes in environmental science in our schools. 

Gregg Iverson

Thank you—I agree with your positions.

Charles Gers

Hi,   Unfortunately, I do not plan on participating. Thank you anyway.

Raymond Dehn

1. Where do environmental concerns fit in the range of challenges facing Minneapolis? What are your top three environmental priorities if you are elected Mayor?

1.  2030 Carbon Neutral: The city is not on track to reach this goal. As Mayor, I will be the chair of the Clean Energy Partnership. In 2018, the partnership will be renegotiated and commit to ensuring energy companies are held accountable, and put us on track to meet our Climate Action Plan.

2.  Environmental Justice: As a lifelong Northsider, I’ve seen first hand how racist environmental policies negatively impact my neighbors. Polluters have left our air toxic and our kids in poor health. My approach to environmental sustainability will be based in justice.

3.  Zero Waste City: Minneapolis needs to better fund our single-sort recycling and municipal composting programs and invest to inform residents how the programs work—we incur cost when there is inefficiency.

2. Research shows that millions of birds are killed annually by building collisions in the U.S. Would you support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations in Minneapolis? Why or why not?

Yes. Minneapolis is placed along a migratory route for birds. We need to ensure we are protecting our city’s and our state’s ecosystem. I have worked at the Capitol in the past to pass policies around bird-friendly building design, and will continue to support them as Mayor.

3. The Minneapolis City Council amended the zoning code in 2016 to require bird-safe glass in new skyway construction. Do you support extending this requirement to existing skyways when glass is replaced? Why or why not?

Yes. With this methodology, over time, Minneapolis will replace all panes with bird-safe glass.

4. City leaders have set a goal to increase population in Minneapolis, which will further strain the city’s natural resources. As Mayor, how would you ensure that water, air, and soil quality are protected and improved when development occurs?

Minneapolis is growing at a faster rate than any period since 1950. We are also seeing a development boom across the city. As a LEED-certified professional, I understand how development and design can be used to design our city to be more climate resilient. As a member of the mayor’s Great City Design Team, I helped advocate for improving storm-water runoff systems.

Every major development presents us with an opportunity to increase water, air, and soil quality. By increase stormwater fees slightly, we can invest in building green roofs, prairie restoration, and improving our water infrastructure. Additionally, we can require development sites with large amounts of impervious surfaces to have a system to treat stormwater on-site.

My community, North Minneapolis, has the highest asthma-hospitalization rates in the seven-county metro. We must shut down industrial polluters and invest into communities disproportionately harmed by air pollution. I support phasing out the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), which contributes to poor air quality. Over two-thirds of what is put into the HERC can be recycled or composted. By becoming a zero-waste city, Minneapolis can also ensure that our city’s air quality is protected.

5. The Minneapolis City Council passed a Pollinator Resolution in 2015 to protect pollinators from pesticides and other known causes of pollinator decline. What would you do as Mayor to educate residents about key provisions of the Resolution, specifically the provisions urging residents not to use pesticides or purchase treated plants?

The city needs to adjust how we conduct outreach. As mayor, I would work to partner with organizations such as the ACM, Friends of Roberts Bird Sanctuary, and Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds, in addition to other environmental organizations and neighborhood organizations to do outreach and education at the grassroots level.

Tom Hoch

1.  Where do environmental concerns fit in the range of challenges facing Minneapolis? What are your top three environmental priorities if you are elected Mayor?

Our climate is changing due to the impact of humans. This is one of the most pressing issues facing us as a species. The problems that cause climate change are systemic meaning that environmental concerns need to factor into every decision we make as a city. My top three priorities are:

  • Continue to progress to 100% renewable energy usage by 2030. Recent reports show that efforts are reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, but we’re behind. We need rapidly increase usage of renewable sources of energy, especially solar, if we’re to reach this goal.

  • Expanded organics recycling and compost programs to commercial businesses. These programs have performed well with residential customers, though there is still much room for expansion. It’s time to take the best practices we’ve learned and make this service available at scale.

  • Increased environmental and lead testing in high-vulnerability areas. Environmental justice concerns continue to be under addressed on the northern and eastern portions of our city. The settlement with Northern Metals and accompanying analysis shows that we must do more to support residents in high-risk areas. I also support increased funding for healthcare for affected residents.

    2.  Research shows that millions of birds are killed annually by building collisions in the U.S. Would you support a policy that requires bird-friendly building design in all new buildings and renovations in Minneapolis? Why or why not?

Absolutely. New construction and rehabilitation projects give us the opportunity to make necessary upgrades without having to burden property owners with the expense of remediation. I believe businesses should also have multiple options that would satisfy the requirements. Whether it’s a fritting, UV coating, or silk-screened design, businesses should have the ability to make decisions about compliance. I believe one of the biggest errors with the US Bank stadium was the decision not to use bird-safe glass in the original construction. Making the switch will now be substantially more expensive that including it in the original design.

3.  The Minneapolis City Council amended the zoning code in 2016 to require bird-safe glass in new skyway construction. Do you support extending this requirement to existing skyways when glass is replaced? Why or why not?

Yes, though I believe skyway owners should have a range of options that would comply with the policy.

4.  City leaders have set a goal to increase population in Minneapolis, which will further strain the city’s natural resources. As Mayor, how would you ensure that water, air, and soil quality are protected and improved when development occurs?

Growth does not need to compete with our climate goals. Research shows that increased density is preferable to urban sprawl in reducing emissions from traffic and preserving environmental quality. Neighborhood organizations can also play an invaluable role in both monitoring and compliance. As we expand, we need to include input from residents across the city to ensure these goals remain in balance. In addition to strict standards, the city must devote sufficient resources to inspections programs. Right now, inspections tend to be inconsistent and inspectors strained by workload.

5.  The Minneapolis City Council passed a Pollinator Resolution in 2015 to protect pollinators from pesticides and other known causes of pollinator decline. What would you do as Mayor to educate residents about key provisions of the Resolution, specifically the provisions urging residents not to use pesticides or purchase treated plants?

My husband and I maintain multiple community gardens. All of them, along with our home, are pollinator friendly and use no pesticides. To spread awareness of this issue, the city should encourage best-practices in community gardening activities and engage with neighborhood organizations for residential properties.

 

The following Candidates for Mayor have not responded –

Betsy Hodges

Jacob Frey

Al Flowers

Troy Benjegerdes

Jeffery Olson

David Rosenfeld

Nekima Levy-Pounds

David Wilson

L I Scheid

Ian Simpson

Aswar Rahman