Community Power 2017 Minneapolis Candidate Questionnaire
Community Power invites all candidates to complete the following questionnaire to inform Minneapolis voters on positions shaping Minneapolis’s energy future:
1. What role do you feel energy infrastructure, sourcing, and decision-making play in shaping livability, affordability, economic resilience and community health for Minneapolis residents and businesses? How do you propose to fulfill that role?
Energy infrastructure should be a commonly owned, municipally operated, socially beneficial asset. If we were to democratize the energy decision making power in Minneapolis, we would simultaneously empower the collective wealth of Minneapolis residents and grow the public health in our city and region. Coal and nuclear energy create toxic by-products that require enormous human energy to deal with and present incredible, almost unimaginable consequences.
Due to the enormous power that energy decisions and infrastructure hold in American life, it is an absolute necessity that we democratize the grid in order to start bringing collective economic and public health into every decision making equation that has anything to do with energy production or distribution.
It’s time for companies and individuals to stop profiting off our commons and for people to take their own power back to restore communities and regrow the damaged ecosystems of our only home, planet Earth.
As a candidate for Park Board at large, I will prioritize the creation and implementation of a parks climate action plan. As a park system we can do things like putting community solar gardens for low-income resident access on all of our park and maintenance facility buildings, composting all of our waste to grow carbon-sequestering soil fungi to inoculate all park soils, supporting municipalizing of the electric grid, send MPRB lobbyists to support community solar gardens and Inclusive Financing at the PUC and state legislature, and deep engagement with climate activists to guide a smarter and healthier decision making process at the Minneapolis Park Board for decades to come.
All of this can be possible if we work together to bring climate issues forward and prioritize them at the Park Board. With a 64 Million dollar annual budget, 6500 acres under management, 600,000 trees in their inventory, and one of the larges municipal work forces in the state, it’s time to shine the light of climate and clean energy action and democracy at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
2. Do you think Minneapolis is adequately prepared to respond to climate change? If yes, how? If no, what do you think Minneapolis should do to become prepared?
No, not at all. We need to:
- Immediately invest in 100% renewable energy via purchasing community solar gardens and wind power from outstate MN.
- Municipalize all energy infrastructure in Minneapolis.
- Democratize all energy making decisions.
- Developed dispersed energy generation via mandates for rooftop solar, all homes, garages, and other buildings.
- Force the Vikings owners to pay for their stadium roof to be covered in solar panels.
- Develop financing for low income residents to participate via community solar gardens and home improvement grants to install rooftop solar and ground source heating.
- End the ban on residential wind turbines.
- Ground source heat requirements for all new buildings.
- Test and pilot innovations in solar collection in order to spur market development, ex: solar roadways, solar siding, solar roof shingles.
3. Do you support a policy of 100% renewable electricity for city operations by 2021, 100% renewable electricity by 2030 for all Minneapolis energy users, and 100% renewable energy in all sectors (electricity, heating, transportation, industry) by 2050 for all Minneapolis energy users?
Yes, by those timelines. The sooner we switch the better.
4. What do you intend to do during your time in office to help achieve the Minneapolis Energy Vision (established by City Council in 2014) and the goals of the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership?
- Prioritize the development and implementation of a Minneapolis Parks Climate Action and Clean Energy Plan
- Work with staff to collaborate with the city to achieve the Minneapolis Energy Vision.
- Partner with Community Power and other organizations who work on climate to develop a parks Climate Action Advisory Committee for ongoing system wide changes to continually develop within the Minneapolis park system.
5. Do you support securing universally-accessible financing that allows all Minneapolis energy users to make energy efficiency improvements and switch to clean energy with no upfront cost, no debt or credit checks, and monthly payments on utility bills that are overall lowered due to the energy saved?
YES, absolutely. It makes sense to include all parts of the energy purchasing market in the transition to clean energy. This will further drive excitement for and adoption of cleaner, more democratically controlled energy sources and distribution networks.
6. Do you support using the rooftops of Minneapolis public buildings to host community solar gardens that create access for low-income families as well as train and hire Minneapolis residents of color to install and maintain them?
Yes, and the Minneapolis Park buildings too! This is an area where parks, schools, and the city need to learn to partner together. The combined resources of our parks, schools, and city can be brought to bear to grow healthier outcomes for Minneapolis residents. We need leaders who can work together across municipalities to tackle the big problems we face like climate change with new ways of thinking and operating that result in democratic energy generation and distribution.
7. How would you advance equitable access to energy resources for renters and low-income families to ensure that all Minneapolis families have healthy, comfortable homes, affordable energy bills, and the choice to shift to clean and efficient energy?
A part of the way we get towards Minneapolis families having a healthy, comfortable home where they can afford to live is by ensuring livable wages and union jobs for municipal employees. As a park commissioner I will prioritize the adoption of a $15 minimum wage and the reinstatement of recently lost union jobs at Minneapolis parks.
The parks can and must also work with the city to develop rooftop solar gardens for low-income residential access on all of our largest buildings and to pilot innovations in solar energy collection and storage within the 6500 acres and 49 neighborhood park facilities under management.
8. Would you support an increase in utility franchise fees of 0.5% of Minneapolis energy sales to be re-invested in dedicated long-term funding for local energy solutions?
Yes, while the park commissioners won’t likely have any decision making power in relation to the utility franchise fee, we can and should use our lobbying power to advance funding for local energy solutions.
9. How should the City of Minneapolis evaluate the effectiveness of the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership as its second two year work plan ends in late 2018? What criteria or thresholds would convince you that the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership is succeeding (and should be sustained and expanded) OR is failing (and the city should pursue a different route)?
Currently the Minneapolis Park Board isn’t included in the Clean Energy Partnership Board. A part of the evaluation I will work for is in relation to the partnership between parks, schools, and the city of Minneapolis. The more we engage together across municipalities and enterprises in order to partner toward common clean energy and climate action goals, the sooner we will meet those goals.
As a candidate for Minneapolis Park Board I will work to have a board member from the park board and the school board be included in the Clean Energy Partnership Board and I’d work with the Energy Vision Advisory Committee to engage the park board in a timeline for adoption of a Parks Climate Action and Clean Energy Plan.
10. If Xcel Energy and/or CenterPoint Energy refused to agree to the measurable outcomes you defined in question 9, or failed to achieve them, would you support active exploration of other options by the City of Minneapolis, including: terminating the franchise agreement, securing Community Choice Aggregation, or pursuing energy municipalization (check one)?
Yes, it is time for municipalization of the Minneapolis energy grid. I don’t need to see another report or study to see what is plainly in front of my eyes. Energy is crucially important to peoples lives, it must be democratically managed. Companies including X-cel Energy have profited from what should be a commonly owned asset for far too long and they’ve made short sighted energy purchasing decisions that the people of the world will bear the burden of paying for in decades to come.
There are only 3 things that can turn our energy grid from a social and environmental nightmare into a commonly owned asset that benefits working class Minneapolis residents.
Learn more about Community Power: http://www.communitypowermn.org