Minneapolis - Government

Government

Minneapolis is a stronghold for the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL), an affiliate of the Democratic Party. The Minneapolis City Council holds the most power and represents the city's thirteen districts called wards. The council has twelve DFL members and one from the Green Party. R. T. Rybak also of the DFL is the current mayor of Minneapolis. The office of mayor is relatively weak but has some power to appoint individuals such as the chief of police. Parks, taxation, and public housing are semi-independent boards and levy their own taxes and fees subject to Board of Estimate and Taxation limits.

Citizens had a unique and powerful influence in neighborhood government. Neighborhoods coordinated activities under the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), which ended in 2009. Minneapolis is divided into communities, each containing neighborhoods. In some cases two or more neighborhoods act together under one organization. Some areas are commonly known by nicknames of business associations.

The organizers of Earth Day scored Minneapolis ninth best overall and second among mid-sized cities in their 2007 Urban Environment Report, a study based on indicators of environmental health and their effect on people.

Early Minneapolis experienced a period of corruption in local government and crime was common until an economic downturn in the mid 1900s. Since 1950 the population decreased and much of downtown was lost to urban renewal and highway construction. The result was a "moribund and peaceful" environment until the 1990s. Along with economic recovery the murder rate climbed. The Minneapolis Police Department imported a computer system from New York City that sent officers to high crime areas. Despite accusations of racial profiling; the result was a drop in major crime. Since 1999 the number of homicides increased during four years. Politicians debated the causes and solutions, including increasing the number of police officers, providing youths with alternatives to gangs and drugs, and helping families in poverty.

Under chief Tim Dolan from 2006 to 2012, the crime rate steadily dropped, and the police benefited from new video and gunfire locator resources, although Dolan was criticized for expensive city settlements for police misconduct. While violent crime dropped (from 6,374 in 2006 to 3,720 in 2011), homicides rose by 105% and rape was at the highest rate among large cities. U.S. News & World Report said in 2011 that Minneapolis tied with Cleveland, Ohio as the 10th most dangerous city in the United States.

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