Blong Yang: Public safety, back to basics

  • Updated: December 28, 2013 - 9:41 PM

Public safety weighs heavy on the mind of Blong Yang. The council’s first Hmong-American is preparing to represent the southern half of north Minneapolis — an area plagued by crime.

TAKING CARE OF THE BASICS:

Yang said that the police and fire departments are understaffed and that they must be funded properly, particularly to prepare for population growth. “If that means that we put to the side certain projects … so that we can take care of the basics, that’s what we have to do.”

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY:

The Civilian Review Authority was a “good start,” but its replacement in 2012 didn’t make sense. The new Police Conduct Review Panel is less independent of the department. He thinks the CRA would have been more effective if, for example, it had had subpoena powers. While civilians may not understand police contracts, “At some level, I think the Police Department needs to defer to civilians because certain things are very common-sensical.”

BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:

Development of empty lots and West Broadway are priorities. After learning how many resources have been poured into the North Side, he wondered where it all went. “We probably need to slow it down and figure out what’s going to be the best bang for our buck in terms of investment.”

BIGGEST SURPRISE:

How most of the people who want to meet with him are from interest groups or have business before the city, not constituents. “Even before I am a City Council member, they want to be on my radar.”

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