Barb was first elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 1997 to represent the Fourth Ward in the northwest corner of Minneapolis. She has served as President of the Minneapolis City Council since January of 2006. Barb serves on the Public Safety & Health, Executive and Zoning & Planning committees of the City Council.
She also serves on the Board of Estimate and Taxation, Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, and the Mississippi Riverfront Partnership. Governor Mark Dayton recently appointed Barb to the Board of PERA, the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association.
Barb is a registered nurse. Her background in health has spurred her support for health sector growth in Minneapolis. She has a strong interest in parks due to her 18 years of service on the Metropolitan Parks & Open Space Commission. She also served on the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area Commission, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. Barb was a founding member of the Victory Neighborhood Association (VINA) and was the Chair from 1994-1997. She is a former Girl Scout leader and community volunteer.
Barb and her husband Duane, an attorney, have three adult daughters and five grandchildren.
Public safety is a serious concern for 4th Ward residents. While the number of property crimes has dropped significantly, the incidents of shootings, shots fired, and aggravated assaults have become intolerable. Barb has met with judges to help them understand the impact of gun crimes on our neighborhoods. She is also a member of the Hennepin County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, which consists of judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, public defenders, and senior staff from the city and county. This group meets to discuss issues within the criminal justice system, and recommend changes and improvements.
Barb supports increasing the number of officers in the Minneapolis Police Department. More officers on the streets means decreased response times. She is also supportive of the extensive training Minneapolis police officers receive, including Mental Health Crisis Intervention, Implicit Bias training, and training in Procedural Justice. She feels that all residents should receive respectful, prompt and helpful service from our police and follows through when she receives complaints about officers who treat neighbors in an unhelpful manner.
When Minneapolis residents were asked what they value about their city, our park system ranked near the top of the list. In fact, Minneapolis’ Convention and Visitors Association has the slogan, “City by Nature.” When the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board did an assessment of the needs for operating capital for the system and recommended going to the voters for a levy increase which would have fallen heavily on homeowners, Barb led the charge to find a more practical solution. The result was a 20-year agreement between the City and the Park Board that increases spending for our parks. Northside park facilities will be the first to see improvements due to the equity measurements the Park Board uses in its decision making.
The opportunity to plan and implement the conversion of nearly 50 acres of publicly-owned lands on the banks of the Mississippi River from industrial use to a community-oriented mix of housing, jobs, and great green space, is our most challenging adventure. The Upper Harbor Terminal redevelopment offers a great opportunity for increased green space and aggressive storm water treatment. The developer selected for the Upper Harbor project has extensive experience in storm water management and we will see innovative proposals for a green redevelopment. Please help support the conversion at the Upper Harbor.
Shingle Creek has benefited from active work by the Single Creek Watershed Commission. This year several projects are planned to improve the water quality of this natural resource that winds its way through our neighborhoods.
After hearing complaints about pollution control violations at the site of Northern Metals, Barb worked with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to craft a legal solution that will close the facility and reduce pollution on the Northside.
The 4th Ward is experiencing a housing rebound! We have had much new construction, from the Humboldt Greenway to Green Homes North. Private investment is strong, but the City has been an important partner in supporting this new construction. We also have a new policy that offers incentives to people who build on the vacant lots available on the Northside. New homeowners can receive a subsidy of $20,000 to build homes on the vacant lots. If homebuyers are public safety employees of Minneapolis, or are teachers, they can qualify for $25,000. The City has also supported the renovation of many existing homes, preserving the charm of our wonderful, older housing stock. Housing values are increasing, and we are seeing many new homeowners!
Successful businesses are the lifeblood of neighborhoods, but the Northside can be a challenging place to start or expand a business. The City recently passed a measure which will increase support for small business by hiring “navigators” to help entrepreneurs through the City’s regulatory process. However, your support and neighborhood spending are also important to the viability of our business community. We are on the cusp of seeing a new grocery store open in our community, but it will only succeed if we shop there. The 4th Ward has benefited from the private investment of many entrepreneurs, including the owners of The Goddess of Glass, Roots Birthing Center, Webber Mart, and NewHorizons Childcare Center.
The citizens of the 4th Ward are the most frequent users of the City’s 311 system. The most frequent calls are to report housing issues. Neighbors want to see properties maintained to neighborhood standards. We have a challenge with a few landlords who do not care for their properties and/or rent to people who have a history of being challenging tenants. Barb has been successful in dealing with a number of these properties and will continue to work with Regulatory Services, Minneapolis Police, and the Hennepin County and Minneapolis City Attorney Offices. Additionally, Barb strongly supports block clubs and encourages residents to start and maintain active communication with their neighbors.
The 4th Ward is benefiting from the opening of the County’s first natural swimming pool at Webber Park, and will soon enjoy a beautiful new Hennepin County Library fronting on the refurbished Victory Memorial Drive.