A COUPLE OF addenda to last week's item about the Minneapolis city budget: Documents from the city's Department of Health indicate that over the past year, staffers spent what one calls "huge amounts of time" developing goals for mothers' and children's health, only to find out that city services to those mothers and kids would be eliminated--and that at least some of their superiors knew about the plan all along. Mayoral spokeswoman Mary Pattock notes that the city will still be funding health services, just not out of its own soon-to-be-closed clinics: "Someone will be using that information. It just won't be the people who put it together." That's small consolation for the health workers, who also note that they've been told not to let patients know about the planned changes quite yet because "we don't want to panic anyone."
Another curious line in the budget: a $977,000 request from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to buy scattered-site homes around the city. Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, who has made "deconcentration of poverty" one of her top goals, recommended not appropriating the funding. Since the MPHA is all but required to disperse the people now living in the north side projects, it probably will have to find other sources--the feds, perhaps, or its own budget.
And finally, our reference to the mayor not renewing funding for the Aliveness Project was based on incomplete information. It turns out that a 1994 appropriation of $61,000 to the AIDS survival group was meant to be a one-time deal from the start.
NEVER TOO LATE: Some Minneapolis pols are still trying to pass an ordinance that would put the city's police force under the jurisdiction of the Civil Rights Commission. This may sound logical to outsiders (after all, citizens' dealings with police are one of the more common sources of civil rights complaints), but politically it's been a hot subject for more than two years now. Cops aren't happy with the civilian oversight they've already got, and they're dead-set against any more outside interference (though it's worth noting they probably would get little trouble from a department that's long had a reputation as less than fierce). Besides, civil rights enforcement isn't the most popular campaign slogan around these days; that may help explain why only six of 13 city council members are on record in favor of the ordinance. Arguments against the measure include duplication (complaints could theoretically be handled by the state's overloaded human rights department); and cost (already, the civil rights department is a regular target of would-be budget cutters). City Council member Jim Niland (6th Ward), who's been spearheading the effort to pass the ordinance, says potential swing votes include the 10th Ward's Lisa McDonald, the Third Ward's Joe Biernat, and the Thirteenth Ward's Steve Minn.