Alondra Cano's Ward 9 Minneapolis City Council seat means she represents the south Minneapolis neighborhoods of Powderhorn Park, Phillips, and Central, among others.
Cano speaks on behalf of those 30,000 citizens on all matters before the city government, including, next week, their decisions on what to put into the city's annual budget.
For their sake, her constituents will hope Cano gets a better grasp on the budget next week than she did Thursday evening.
On that night, Cano and a panel of experts met with constituents, part of her regularly scheduled "Cafe con Alondra" events, with this discussion's theme labeled "Alternatives to Gentrification." After the initial talk, Cano opened the floor to questions from the audience.
Most of the 46-minute clip we've embedded below is unremarkable. Boring, even, if you don't live in Cano's district, or aren't interested in exchanges between invested, well-meaning citizens and their elected official.
One moment stands out though. (On the video below, fast-forward to about the 37-minute mark.) After an earnest man asks a question about how to keep a particular issue alive as a potential city policy, Cano explains how the audience can get involved.
"That's a great strategy," Cano begins, "and I'll look at introducing something on December 7th, which is our budget..."
Cano rises to grab a microphone. All the better to hear her jaw-dropping gaffe.
"Part of the closing statements here are going to include a call to action, asking folks to participate in an event, or effort, addressing gentrification, and preventing it. And, so, next Wednesday, December 7th, the city council will have a public hearing at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall, where we will take public testimony from residents. You sign up, you wait until it's your turn, you get two minutes to speak, and you can talk about the issues that you care about on the budget."
Perfect. Anything else, council member Cano?
"What we're doing that night is we're approving the city's $1.3 million budget, and, um--"
"Billion," someone says, correcting her.
At this point, Cano seems to have made a run-of-the-mill pronunciation mistake, transposing the "m" and the "b." Then it gets worse.
"Billion?" Cano says. "Uh, no, I double-checked it's..."
There's nervous laughter.
"So, we'll look that up and clarify. Cuz I looked it up twice, and I was like, 'What? No.' Anyway."
"It's gotta be 'billion,'" says one of her co-panelists.
"You think so?" Cano asks.
"Faribault has a $22 million budget," someone says.
"Right!" Cano says. "Yeah, yeah, billion!"
This seems like a good time to remember Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges put out her proposed budget back in August, five months ago. Cano's supposed to give input and vote on it next week.
A forgivable -- if inexplicable -- one-time flub? Not quite. Cano made the same mistake in a November 30 email to constituents.
"Dear Neighbors," her letter begins. "On Wednesday, December 7th Council Members will be casting their final vote to adopt the City's $1.3 million budget and we need your help."
You sure do.
Q&APosted by Alondra Cano- Minneapolis City Council Ninth Ward on Thursday, December 1, 2016
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