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Minneapolis to let voters decide on two-year terms for city council

Plus: Minneapolis council declares racism a public health emergency; Minnesota unemployment rate down; 500 face charges related to protests after killing of George Floyd; and more.

Minneapolis City Council
MinnPost file photo by Jessica Lee
Minneapolis City Council
An election about elections. The Star Tribune’s Liz Navratil reports:This November, Minneapolis voters will likely be asked if they want to add a City Council election in 2023, normally the middle of their four-year term, to conform to a state law that is scrambling the city’s election cycle. … The City Council unanimously voted on Friday to let residents decide how to proceed, and Mayor Jacob Frey will likely sign off on the effort as well, according to his office.”

Also from today’s council meeting. KSTP reports: “Friday, the Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency. … The city says the resolution notes that racism leads to discrimination in areas of life like housing, education, health employment, public safety and criminal justice. … The resolution adds these issues are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Unemployment down. Twin Cities Business’ Burl Gilyard reports: “How weird is the Covid-19 pandemic economy? Here’s the latest example: A Minnesota unemployment rate of 8.6 percent for June is now considered ‘good news.’ That’s because it’s notably down from the May unemployment rate of 9.9 percent. … The latest statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development offer some encouraging signals that many people are starting to return to work.”

Legal backlog. In Mother Jones, Julia Lurie reports: “While the protests have died down in Minneapolis, their effects linger: According to data from the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, more than 500 people still face charges from the days of unrest after Floyd’s death. … A fraction of those are felonies. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office is prosecuting roughly 15 people—mostly for alleged burglaries from businesses including Foot Locker, AT&T, and Target. …The US Attorney’s Office has so far charged 13 people with federal offenses, including three men for allegedly burning down the city’s Third Police Precinct.”

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Another Minnesota protest movement. For Sahan Journal, Jaida Grey Eagle reports: “On the evening of Thursday, July 2, hundreds of people from the Oromo community took to the streets and shut down the westbound lanes of Interstate 94 in St. Paul. A few days before, musician and activist Hachalu Hundessa had been shot and killed in Addis Ababa. Reports of further killings and prosecutions followed, until the government shut down the internet, plunging the country into turmoil and choking off news from home. … The highway protest made news broadcasts and headlines in Minnesota. More than that, it amplified the calls for justice and reform in Ethiopia from Minnesota’s substantial Oromo community. One more notable thing about the growing political movement? The relative youth of the leadership.”

In other news…

Stopping PPE profiteers:3M files lawsuits to halt fraudulent sales, price gouging of N95 masks” [Pioneer Press]

Awful:Raccoon nailed near Black Lives Matter sign in Roseville; police investigating” [MPR]

Yikes:White heritage religious group takes root in Minnesota” [Star Tribune]

Congratulations:Ellison appoints longtime advocate for racial equity to top spot in attorney general’s office” [Sahan Journal]

Notable dining losses:Bellecour, 508 Bar Announce Permanent Closures” [WCCO]

The butter sculptures must go on:Finally, Some Good News (Carved From 90 Pounds of Butter)” [New York Times]