Keeping in touch: Notes from the Mayor

Mayor Lucy VinisThis blog aims to nurture our conversation and understanding of the issues before us. Every week, I will provide a weekly update on the activities in the city government, my activities as mayor, and brief reflections on progress, opportunities and challenges. You are invited to respond with reactions, insights and questions. We do this work together.

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Apr 03

April 2, 2021

Posted on April 3, 2021 at 10:27 AM by Niyah Ross

In one respect, this was a quiet week because Council is taking a spring break and had no work sessions. In other respects, however, it was busy and multi-faceted.


First, the Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policy is continuing to work through a long list of recommended motions.  In this twelfth session, there were motions and continuing discussion about the powers of the Police Auditor’s Office and the Civilian Review Board.  They also reviewed a number of policies that are important but outside the purview of City Council; notably the role of the Interagency Deadly Force Investigation Team, which is called in immediately to investigate cases of police shootings.  These discussions, in addition to the motions that are directly actionable by the City, like hiring policies, background checks and training requirements, will paint a broad picture of the range of short- and longer-term reforms that could be implemented.  It is hard work and we owe this committee deep thanks and appreciation for their time, courage, and dedication to deliberating very complex issues.


On Wednesday morning, I joined a workshop discussing Smart Cities with a broad group of community stakeholders.  This meeting is part of a longer engagement process to determine how technology can be used to help the City most efficiently deliver services to improve the lives of everyone who lives here.  It is exciting work, and builds on work the City has already undertaken, including the high-speed fiber downtown, the maker space in the library, and the bike share program. Cities across the country have structured their Smart City initiatives in a number of ways – City led, University-led, regional partnerships, and creating a separate nonprofit.  More work and a final report are coming.


On Thursday, the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC) that oversees the use of federal and state funding discussed our next five-year Regional Transportation Plan. For the first time, we are including specific climate performance measures in that plan to align with State greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets. They include, for example, reducing GHG by 20% by 2040; and measuring progress in GHG reduction based on the percent of households within ¼ mile of frequent transit use.  The work, of course, is how to meet and accurately measure these targets, but alignment between this regional plan and the City’s climate goals strengthens all of our efforts.


Finishing up the week on Friday, I joined other members of Mayors and CEOs for US Housing Investment in a Zoom meeting with White House leadership to talk about housing.  The Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan and American Jobs Plan both direct transformative funding to bolster local efforts to begin to meet our housing shortage.  Our group of mayors took the opportunity to both thank and reinforce some specific requests, including to consider housing as infrastructure, build upon successful models like housing vouchers to help people access housing, and invest in homeless prevention programs.  It is both exciting and an incredible relief to have strong federal leadership that is committed to addressing this overwhelming challenge in our city.