After a week filled with budget negotiations and the swearing in of the new police chief, there wasn’t much new work left for the Minneapolis City Council to do at its regular Friday meeting.
So, they tackled a big issue: whether to ask the federal government to cut back on war spending and keep those dollars at home.
“It’s such a shame to see billions and billions of dollars going for military efforts when it could be better used here creating jobs and housing,” said Council Member Cam Gordon, who labeled the military spending “ridiculous.”
Gordon is the chief author of a council resolution calling for a change in the focus of the federal spending, moving it away military and back to local communities.
St. Paul has passed a similar resolution, and Duluth and Des Moines are expected to follow with similar resolutions.
“There is no better day than Pearl Harbor Day to voice a very loud call for peace,” said Council Member Betsy Hodges, who chairs the Ways and Means/Budget Committee. “There is no better week than when the Council is grappling with its budget to talk about the high cost at home for such astronomical defense spending.”
Minneapolis has seen a 30 percent cut in federal Community Development Block Grants since 2002, according to figures from the Minneapolis Finance Department. Prior to 2002, Minneapolis received $16.8 million in those grants, compared with the current $10.7 million.
“The United States will spend more in Afghanistan next year than the entire food stamp budget for the country — and way more than the federal government will contribute toward education,” said Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternative Project, which joined the City Council in support of the resolution.
The council approved the resolution 12-0, with Council Member Kevin Reich not in the room at the time.