By Charles Hallman
“I’ve grown up in Minneapolis my entire life,” says mayoral candidate Bob Fine, who pledges to reduce property taxes by five percent. “I’ve always been a big promoter [of North Minneapolis, where he grew up]. My intention is that [West Broadway] be a major focus of economic development because if you are going to bring jobs, you have to change what Broadway is today. You are not going to change the climate in North Minneapolis without providing a better environment and a place where there’s businesses and jobs.”
The Southwest LRT and Bottineau LRT both “are hitting through North Minneapolis, which is on the edge of downtown,” explains Fine. “Light rail is important hopefully for economic development for the city. But I think [the planners] forgot about having stops in the city… If I am mayor, I definitely will push that if light rail is coming into the city that we have to include everyone in the city, but especially the North Side.”
He opposes the downtown streetcar plan, “which I think [is] a mistake because it is a luxury we can’t afford. We need to enhance bus transportation. They don’t really have a lot of access coming to the North Side… I think it is real important that the mayor get involved or become an advocate for that.”
He adds that compliance monitoring is important and that hiring as many Blacks and other people of color on the Vikings stadium construction “can’t be ignored. I feel real strongly about including not only the Black community but also all minority communities,” Fine points out.
Fine says that trust is currently missing between city residents and police. “You got to establish trust within the community, especially the African American community in North Minneapolis. I don’t [think] police can be effective without some kind of trust. I’m not saying that every police officer is bad, but there are people who are creating real problems.
“When police officers have multiple issues and they are not being disciplined, [it] is absolutely wrong. The mayor should be making sure that the police chief’s focus is clearly on what [officers] should be doing and also the ability to discipline officers. If they feel that they cannot discipline officers because of contracts made with the police [union], I believe that is a major subject in negotiations of future contracts between the City and the police.”
The City’s civilian review board “doesn’t have subpoena power. It doesn’t have the ability to discipline. The record of police officers being disciplined is terrible,” Fine says.
“I feel if the police chief can’t discipline, then the mayor should be able to. If not the mayor, then the civilian review board should have the ability to recommend, if not take some action of disciplining officers to the point of firing ones that deserve to be fired,” concludes Fine.
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