Dear Mayor Jacob Frey and Community Planning and Economic Development Interim Director Andrea Brennan:
As you are aware, a majority of Minneapolis voters chose in 2021 to authorize the Minneapolis City Council to enact a rent control ordinance in Minneapolis. In June 2022, the City Council established the housing/rent stabilization work group to study and make recommendations for a policy framework to address housing/rent stabilization. Twenty-five individuals representing a wide variety of perspectives were appointed to this group and met during fall and early winter 2022 to fulfill this charge.
We are writing as the working group members who each voted in support of the sole rent stabilization policy framework that emerged with majority support from this process. We are a diverse group – including renters, developers, tenant organizers, property owners, and service providers who assist those experiencing housing instability. While we commend the work done to lead and facilitate the working group process, we are writing to express our concern about the subsequent treatment of our work and recommendations.
As appointed members of the working group, we took seriously the responsibility given to us and engaged fully in the working group process. We spent three months researching and discussing the housing market and an array of intricate rent stabilization policy options. We attended ten meetings during workday hours and spent many evenings reviewing materials and preparing for these meetings. Each of us engaged in these discussions with an open mind, a genuine interest in learning from other working group members, and a desire to fully contribute our own knowledge and perspectives. Throughout the process, our foremost goal was to design a policy framework that would be best suited for Minneapolis’ complex housing market. After many months of diligent work and consideration of options, we each chose to vote for a policy recommendation that we felt best suited the city’s needs. That policy framework, often called “Framework 5,” emerged as the majority recommendation from the working group, garnering support from 56% of its members.
After investing considerable time and energy into the working group process, we were then surprised and dismayed by the subsequent reactions to our work. Only hours after the working group released its recommendation and the results of its vote, the mayor expressed his unqualified opposition to our recommendation. While we understand that not everyone will agree with our recommendation, we expected our work to be given a more thorough and thoughtful review, particularly given the complexity of the policy issues involved, as well as the time and effort we invested in this process.
More recently, we have been similarly dismayed by the representation of the working group’s decisions in the draft rent stabilization work group report. During the second meeting of the working group, members were informed by the facilitators that a policy framework receiving 51% or more of the group’s votes would be considered the “consensus” recommendation. Framework 5 was the only framework that reached the threshold of support to be considered a “consensus” recommendation. However, the draft final working group report does not accurately reflect this decision. Instead of presenting Framework 5 as what it is – the sole consensus recommendation – it is instead given equivalent treatment to a minority recommendation, a confusing and misleading representation that fails to reflect the decision-making standards that were clearly established.
We have no regrets about investing our time and energy into the working group process and are honored to have been able to contribute to the charge given to the City Council by Minneapolis voters on rent stabilization. However, we do ask that our contributions and work be treated with respect and that our decisions be reflected with accuracy. We ask that the working group report accurately reflect the decisions that were made by that body and clearly elevate and distinguish Framework 5 as the sole framework recommendation that received majority support. We further request that more thoughtful and deliberate consideration be given to the working group’s majority recommendation and the details it contains. We strove to do our work in this process with diligence, thoughtfulness, and a spirit of open-minded collaboration. We ask that our resulting work and recommendations be treated with the same spirit and open-minded consideration.
We would be happy to continue to offer our knowledge and expertise as the city continues to deliberate on its approach to rent stabilization. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if our perspectives or assistance would be useful in any way in that process.
Rico Morales, Hennepin County Lived Experience Advisory Group
Dan Suitor, HOME Line
Kadra Abdi, Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers
AsaleSol Young, Urban Homeworks
Maura Brown, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
Jennifer Arnold, Inquilinxs Unidxs por Justicia
Mary Kaczorek, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
José A. Zayas Cabán, Renter
Peggy Clark, Minneapolis Public Housing Renter
Yolanda Roth, Landlord
Jimmy Harris, Renter