Traffic Cameras & Enforcement

Our Streets believes that we are morally obligated to create a safe, fair and just transportation system that works for everyone. Automated enforcement can reduce unsafe driving behavior while simultaneously worsening racial disparities and perpetuating dangerous and inaccessible street design. Instead of fast-tracking traffic cameras, elected decision-makers must commit to urgently addressing the root cause of the traffic safety crisis, which is unsafe street design.

Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Agreement (TOPA)

TOPA is a policy tool to stabilize neighborhoods, permanently preserve affordable housing, and create shared equity by giving tenants an opportunity to take collective control of their buildings through group ownership when the property is sold.

A tenant opportunity to purchase ordinance is about providing all tenants with the power to decide what happens to their housing regardless of how long they’ve lived there, how much they earn, or what type of housing they live in – a power that does not currently exist for thousands of renters across our city.

It is critically important that Minneapolis and Saint Paul pass a tenant opportunity to purchase policy. One of the most important features of a TOPA policy is that, at its core, it is a tenant empowerment tool that seeks to address the power imbalance between property owners and the renters who pay the mortgage. It gives tenants the right to collectively purchase their buildings when they go up for sale and gives them some leverage in a deeply inequitable housing system. Furthermore, the policy creates pathways for tenants to become first-time homeowners and facilitates democratic resident ownership and grassroots community development.

This policy must empower tenants with the right to purchase their building OR assign their rights to another entity. In the event that tenants choose not to exercise their rights, they should have the power to assign their rights to another buyer. Assignability of rights is key to a successful TOPA policy. In our current housing system, and in the absence of a TOPA ordinance, tenants have no leverage when their home is sold to a new owner. 

Ownership changes often lead to rent increases but rarely result in significant building improvement, displacing entire buildings of tenants at a time. Displacement is irreversible, and the formerly affordable units are permanently lost. Tenants who are considering assigning their rights to a buyer should be supported in making the most informed decision possible. 

Potential buyers should follow a code of conduct that requires them to be transparent with information that could impact the tenants’ decision, such as eviction history, rental license tiering of properties in their portfolio, and other relevant information. This will ensure that tenants are fully informed in this important decision-making process. This also allows tenants to work with a potential buyer who may not have had the time, resources, or knowledge to become a qualified buyer previously but is still interested in working with tenants in good faith. Lastly, it will prevent tenants from getting taken advantage of by unscrupulous bad actors.

Zero Fare Transit

We have a duty to pilot zero-fare transit, or fare-free transit, to encourage ridership, eliminate transportation barriers, and address inequities in fare enforcement. Fare enforcement is often used as a pretext to stop and harass Black, brown and Indigenous transit riders. Data has shown that Metro Transit police issue citations at a higher rate to people of color, while white transit riders are much more likely to receive a warning.

Transit fare enforcement costs far more than the value of the fines issued. Eliminating fares is a far better use of tax dollars than criminalizing the access of those who cannot afford it. The new transit and connecting lines should be fully accessible and designed to close the gap in public transportation access for people with disabilities.

Right to Cure Policy

With a “right to cure” policy, tenants are given a reasonable opportunity to remedy their lease violations instead of being evicted immediately. While the window of opportunity “to cure” varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, our current economic conditions necessitate, at the very least, a pre-eviction filing period of 60 days in order to allow tenants a reasonable opportunity to catch up on back rent payments, or remedy violations of their lease agreements so that they may remain in their homes. Establish a pause on eviction if tenant is pursuing a discrimination complaint regarding the violation of lease agreement. 

Rent Control

In November 2021, St. Paul voters approved a strong rent control policy that caps annual rent increases to no more than 3% for all rental units. Minneapolis voters also gave the Minneapolis City Council the authority to enact a rent control policy. Strong rent control policies will help to ensure that our community members are not priced out of their homes by infrastructure investment that is intended to improve their quality of life. 

We advocate that the Minneapolis City Council follow Saint Paul’s lead in passing a rent control policy that caps annual rent increases at no more than 3%, applies universally to all units regardless of age or size of the building, and prohibits vacancy decontrol.

Property Tax Transparency

Property tax impacts should be publicly disclosed and available. We need to create a program to prevent burdens from property tax increases on residential and commercial properties within the broader project area.