At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, the process to get a rent stability policy ordinance on the November 2023 ballot was stopped after the council voted to not send the ordinance to a committee by a 6-4 vote. Three councilmembers were absent due to Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice Muslim holiday, which impacted the vote outcome.
Wednesday’s vote would have moved the ordinance to the Business, Inspections, Housing & Zoning Committee. The rent stabilization policy ordinance co-authors, Councilmembers Aisha Chughtai and Jamal Osman, were both absent, along with Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison.
"Unfortunately, council leadership decided against using their authority to reschedule this meeting," Chughtai, Osman, and Ellison said in a joint statement.
Councilmembers Linea Palmisano, Emily Koski, Lisa Goodman, LaTrisha Vetaw, Michael Rainville, and Andrew Johnson voted against sending the ordinance to the committee, while Andrea Jenkins, Elliott Payne, Robin Wonsley, and Jason Chavez voted in favor.
“This is and has been an absolute distraction to our City, doing meaningful work, informed and studied by experts, informed by experiences of other places, and informed by community,” Palmisano said at the meeting. “We’ve been given clear recommendations on what would actually help affordability and housing stability in our city. Let’s work on that.”
City staff did their own rent stabilization analysis in April that concluded, “A rent stabilization policy would not effectively address the problem of renter cost-burden. It does not target relief to renters whose incomes are insufficient to afford rent in the housing market.” \
Conversely, in 2022, the City’s Rent Stabilization Work Group outlined a rent stabilization policy, referred to as “framework five,” which Chughtai and Osman used in their initial policy ordinance. At the May 25 City Council meeting, Chughtai argued that the rent stabilization policy could be negotiated over in committee to allow for changes to the policy.
“We are very disappointed and angry,” said Ben Whalen with Home to Stay, a coalition of local organizations that has been pushing for a rent stabilization policy to be on the November 2023 ballot. “The council today decided to end the conversation. They decided to ignore the people of Minneapolis who are asking for action.”
Councilmember Jason Chavez voiced his concern over the City Council voting on the policy ordinance while three councilmembers were not at the meeting, due to a mix-up on when Eid al-Adha fell this year.
“I’m shocked,” Chavez said. “Because this meeting was moved, now our community members don’t have the opportunity to even have a discussion about rent stabilization.”
At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, City Clerk Casey Carl said he was notified of the scheduling error on Monday afternoon. State law says the City of Minneapolis must give the public a three-day notice of a meeting date change. The date for Eid al-Adha is typically announced about 10 days prior to its start. [Sahan Journal has a good explanation of the process for deciding the date of the holiday here] Calendars may show Eid al-Adha starting on either June 28 or June 29. City Council meetings typically occur on Thursdays but this meeting was moved to accommodate the holiday, which was originally presumed to begin on June 29.
“This unfortunately got missed," Carl said about the change in when Eid al-Adha started.
Prior to the vote, the City Council honored drag culture and performance as a form of free speech through a formal resolution. This comes at a time where other cities and states around the country are putting limits on drag performances, focusing on barring minors from attending performances.