NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Wednesday December 1st 2021

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City Council Candidate Questionnaire

This year, the alley asked the City Council candidates who want to represent Phillips in City Hall some questions about issues that are important to the people of Phillips. These questions were adapted from suggestions by Phillips residents and alley contributors. 

Adapted Minneapolis City Hall photograph, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Micahmn/photos

The alley reached out multiple times to all candidates running for Ward 6 and Ward 9 City Council. Candidates were given a deadline for responses as well as a word limit.

We received completed questionnaires from three Ward 9 Candidates: Jason Chavez, Mickey Moore, and Brenda Short. We received no responses from candidates running for Ward 6 City Council. Responses from candidates are presented in alphabetical order and have not been edited.

Ward 9

1. How long have you lived in Ward 9? What do you love about Phillips?

Jason Chavez: I was born and raised in the East Phillips Neighborhood located in the 9th Ward. What I love about the Phillips Neighborhoods is its diversity, culture, and perseverance despite the obstacles. Displacement, pollution, and hardship are all too familiar here, but we always have the determination to fight back to get on our feet. The people in the Phillips Neighborhoods are what the community looks like, strong, courageous, and friendly. 

Mickey Moore: I currently live on 15th Ave., across the street from Powderhorn Park, but have lived in and around Ward 9 since 1983.  I grew up in these wonderful neighborhoods and spent my formative years at the parks, along Lake St., and especially 3rd Ave.  I”™ve always been drawn to the cultures and opportunities of new experiences and have focused my business efforts around communities like Phillips because it is such a fantastic example of diverse people, all with similar goals, ideals and passions. 

Brenda Short: I have been living in Ward 9 for over 27 years. I have been a constant in the ever-changing bustle of Ward 9. What I like about the Phillips neighborhood is that the community feels like family. Ward 9 is extremely diverse and people are very respectful towards each other.

2. The Phillips community has suffered disproportionately from the interconnecting public health crises of homelessness, the opioid epidemic, and related concerns like litter and infectious disease outbreaks. What policy actions will you take to address these crises? How will you support all of your constituents, regardless of their housing status or history of drug use?

Jason Chavez: Policy can either change someone’s life for the better or worse. My approach is to improve the lives of people. We need housing first policies to support our unhoused neighbors with wrap-around services, rent control, safe injection sites & needle exchange programs to reduce overdoses & infectious diseases, and program development to end the opioid epidemic. We need to specifically support those who are unhoused and have a history of drug use with these programs. 

Mickey Moore: We have always had reasonable solutions for ALL the serious problems you list above.  What we have lacked is real leadership and the political will to prioritize the needs of the underserved.  As someone who grew up poor, relying on govt. services and social safety programs, I pledge to view all the implementation of solution-oriented policies through a lens of humanity and inclusion, that focuses on getting results, without concern over who benefits. 

Brenda Short: The first policy I would put back in place is the Needle exchange program. Minneapolis currently has this program but it has been put on hold since the pandemic. I think this program really helps clean up the area. My goal is making our neighborhood as safe as possible. I would open a smaller homeless shelter to make it more convenient to get some of the homeless people in different areas. Also, I would definitely have the city do more street cleaning in the Phillips neighborhood to get some of the litter and the clutter out of the streets and the sidewalks. Regarding the drug issue and overdoses this is a work in progress.

3. Residents of Phillips have long struggled with both the trauma and fear that high rates of crime and violence bring, alongside the historic overcriminalization and overpolicing of youth and BIPOC neighbors. How will you work to make Phillips safer for everyone? What will your approach be for reducing crime and gun violence?  

Jason Chavez:  We need to ensure Phillips residents are free from police and community based violence. The longevity of overcriminalization and overpolicing will not decrease the rising rates of crimes. I will declare gun violence a public health crisis to open up funding and program development for victims and their families, revamp our current 9-1-1 dispatch system, and fully fund and expand the Community Safety Specialist (CSS) Program to assist our community with cultural conflict resolutions. 

Mickey Moore: We need the police, but we also need significant and meaningful police reform. Hiring more officers from our community, who look like us and speak our languages.  Better resources and methodological upgrades that eliminate deadly encounters between officers and the community.  A new, unarmed division, focused solely on peace.  Instituting programs that allow for earlier, non-criminal intervention with our youth and at-risk populations. Fully funding reasonable and uplifting alternatives to gangs, crime and guns.  

Brenda Short: Declined to answer this question.

4. The four Phillips neighborhoods are entirely within the boundaries of the Southside Green Zone. A Green Zone is a policy initiative intended to improve health and economic development in communities with high levels of environmental, social, political and economic vulnerability. What actions will you take or projects will you support to ensure this policy initiative becomes reality in Phillips? What does environmental justice in Phillips look like to you?

Jason Chavez: I was proud to be a member of the Southside Green Zone Council and have learned a lot about community needs. I support the East Phillips Urban Farm Project to ensure policy initiatives become a reality in Phillips. We can have income-based housing, hundreds of jobs, fresh food, entrepreneurship, and a clean environment. To me, environmental justice looks like living in a neighborhood without asthma, cancer, heart disease and with clean air, water, and soil.

Mickey Moore: An obvious project is the East Phillips Urban Farm Initiative, which I have been championing for over a year.  In collaborating with current and future members, I have laid the groundwork to ensure that this project becomes an immediate reality, and serves as a model for future ideas around our city.  Environmental Justice means recognizing our past failures, AND allowing necessary adjustments to make up for historic unfair treatment. 

Brenda Short: The green zone is significant to me because my home was one of the houses to be affected by the arsenic in the soil. I would like to start a program for indoor gardening because I think it would be really useful during the winters for the community. I know how hard it is for our youth to receive healthy vegetables and fruits. I would like to see more of our children grow their own food. I think it’s important now to go back to our basics. It is more important now that we learn to grow our own food and to prevent food shortage.

5. Phillips has a high number of transit dependent residents. In what ways could the public transit system be improved to better serve the needs of Phillips residents? How would you see your role as Council Member in supporting or advocating for these changes?

Jason Chavez: Being born and raised in the East Phillips Neighborhood, I know firsthand how critical transit is to our communities. I will work with the Met Council to ensure we have fare-free transit while simultaneously passing low-income bus cards to ensure cost is not a barrier to ridership. We need to make sure our buses are environmentally friendly while making sure they increase routes. Funding should be prioritized for walking, biking, and transit NOT cars.

Mickey Moore: I have advocated for a complete overhaul of our transit system. Outside of peak hours, we simply don”™t have adequate ridership levels. Therefore, we must drastically reimagine both our purpose and our pricing structure.  We should have income-based options as well as significantly reduced or completely free fares for all students, young people, bike riders, the elderly, the disabled. We want more people to fairly access public transit, this is how we do it.

Brenda Short: I believe having more transit in and around the South Minneapolis area will help our elders, and disability residents get around our city better. I know due to the pandemic our bus system has slacked, but if the transit could reconsider bringing more transit in the area, so It can make it more safer due to the pandemic but also let our residents get the opportunity to get where they need to go.

6. Because Minneapolis has Ranked Choice Voting, voters have the option to vote for up to three City Council candidates. On your own ranked choice ballot for Ward 9 City Council, which other candidates would you vote for second or third, and why?

Jason Chavez: As the proud son of Mexican Immigrants, it is important to have someone on the City Council that is pro-immigrant. After doing my research, I WILL be ranking BOTH Means and Haji. I will NOT rank Mickey Moore on my ballot based on his responses to the MIRAC questionnaire that will criminalize our East-African community; he will not support undocumented immigrants, and he will not support funding for labor laws that impact immigrants.

Mickey Moore: I would vote Haji Yussef as my second choice, and Al Flowers Jr. as number 3.  Haji Yussef has the business experience, the civic commitment, and the professionalism to hold this office, and, I believe, one day he will. Al Flowers Jr. has shown a pragmatic approach to problem solving and cares about this community personally. In my opinion, our community would benefit from the leadership each of these individuals would bring. 

Brenda Short: To answer this question truthfully, I don’t know much about the other candidates that are running for Ward 9. I can only vouch for myself. I stand for public safety so we can restore Ward 9. I stand for affordable housing so we can get more people off the street and into real homes. I stand for climate change and going green. I stand firm for Ward 9.

Candidates for Ward 9 

Jason Chavez Party: DFL jasonchavez.org 

Jon  Randall Denison Party: Social Justice jon.denison@hotmail.com

Alfred “AJ” Flowers Jr. Party: DFL AJforward9.com

Yussuf Haji Party: DFL Hajiforward9.com 

Carmen Means Party: DFL carmenforward9.com 

Mickey Moore Party: DFL weneedmoore.org 

Brenda Short Party: unknown brendashort4ward9.com 

Ross Tenneson Party: Republican rtenneson@hotmail.com 

Candidates for Ward 6

A. Bihi Party: DFL abihi@hotmail.com

Jamal Osman (incumbent) Party: DFL Jamalosman.org

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