As people ask me questions about the BET and about my campaign, I will share some of the most interesting or common questions along with my answers. Previous Q & As: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Q. In general terms, what is your plan to address the crisis of unaffordable housing across Minnesota’s major cities?
A. The Board of Estimate and Taxation sets the City’s property tax levy and authorizes borrowing. In particular, the BET’s decisions affect the budget of the City’s Public Housing Authority. As a BET member I will support budget decisions that will promote desperately-needed investment in public housing, and facilitate other city-policy priorities that will enhance affordable-housing availability for people who want to live in Minneapolis.
Q. The city has the ability to pass a public housing levy. Would you vote to use that levy to the maximum extent?
A. Yes. I would support a levy request for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. The MPHA has well-known and long-deferred capital maintenance needs, and public housing is a critical component of comprehensively addressing the affordable housing crisis. The long-term benefits of investments in community like this far exceed their short-term costs.
Q. In 75-100 words, please outline your vision for LGBTQ equity and justice.
A. The LGBTQIA+ community’s values of inclusivity and recognizing the essential human dignity of each of us should underpin every public policy and priority decision. These values bring about greater equity for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and they also serve to strengthen communities by building resilience and compassion for others. LGBTQIA+ leaders advancing and modeling these values reshape their communities to facilitate ending the historic harms community members experience, particularly those at the intersection of several axes of oppression.
Q. Speak to the intersections of the LGBTQ+ community and one of these issues. How are these connected? How will you include the perspectives of our community when considering this issue? 1. Gun violence 2. Climate change 3. Equitable development and gentrification 4. Planning, zoning, public space, and transit 5. Accessibility, accommodations, and disability inclusion
A. I have strong feelings about all of these issues, they are virtually all connected to one another, and I have written about many of them on streets.mn. Focusing on just one: Planning, zoning, public space, and transit are significant for the LGBTQ+ community. There is a need for safe, affordable places to live near where people work and where people can get around affordably. When these things are unavailable, community members can find themselves forced into less-safe or climate-harmful living conditions. Economic precarity threatens members of our community uniquely. Many of us may have been cut off from family or other sources of support, so it is critically important that we reduce the barriers to basic life necessities and make urban planning decisions that support the reduction of these barriers. Making better use of space within the city is integral to this effort. As a BET member I will make decisions that foster the city’s ability to make needed investments and make policy decisions that will serve this goal.
Q. LGBTQ+ people on average earn less than cisgender heterosexual persons, and have tended to migrate to cities like Minneapolis specifically for a safer and more inclusive community. How will you use your role on the Board of Estimate and Taxation to ensure Minneapolis can be an affordable home for LGBTQ+ people?
Minneapolis should be prepared to welcome all those that want to live here. As I alluded to above, I support City efforts to address market failures and end historic exclusionary practices that have contributed to our ongoing affordability crisis. The market is not going to fix this problem on its own. The MPHA, together with City-council led initiatives to strategically identify and address market failures, are likely integral to successfully addressing the affordable housing shortage. Guiding and facilitating investments to improve the availability of a diverse range of housing types and affordability levels will promote the continued growth of the city’s tax base, benefitting everyone. As a BET member, I will support those efforts.