Published in the Twin Cities Daily Planet
A campaign to secure Minneapolis DFL support for the Minneapolis Energy Options resolution has been building momentum for months. Winning the endorsement at the City convention on June 15th will require at least 60% of the attending delegates voting yes. While Minneapolis Energy Options is non-partisan, the campaign encouraged supporters who identify with any party to attend their precinct caucuses and ward conventions with the goal of the securing endorsement of the ballot initiative. As the DFL is the only party that has not already endorsed that has had caucuses and conventions this year, and as 12 of the 13 City Council members identify as DFL, the convention coming up on June 15th is pivotal.
If Minneapolis voters pass the Minneapolis Energy Options ballot initiative it would authorize the City to form a city-owned power utility if it can prove that a municipal system can deliver energy as affordably and reliably as the existing utilities. The authorization to form a municipal utility would provide city council more leverage to negotiate more localized renewable energy from Xcel and Centerpoint in time for the expiration of their franchise agreements in 2014.
Getting the DFL endorsement would be a big strategic victory for Minneapolis Energy Options via the DFL sample ballot that is distributed widely to Minneapolis voters. This will provide the campaign a key counterweight to the corporate advertising blitz Xcel and/or Centerpoint are expected to generate in opposition to the initiative. The DFL endorsement would also encourage mayoral candidates and other big-name trusted public figures and to endorse the ballot measure. Of mayoral candidates, Gary Schiff and Betsy Hodges have endorsed Minneapolis Energy Options, but other candidates have not yet committed to a position.
Minneapolis City Council is expected to vote yes to officially place the Minneapolis Energy Options resolution on the ballot for the 11-05-13 municipal election sometime between July 9th and September 4th. While City Council approval to put the initiative on the ballot is required by state law, the voters of Minneapolis will have the ultimate say on passing the resolution.
While the incumbent utilities will spend millions of our energy dollars to campaign to take our energy options away, legal restrictions prevent the city from using tax revenues on the campaign to keep our options open. Minneapolis Energy Options relies on public support and volunteer energy to ensure Minneapolis has the opportunity to secure a clean, affordable, reliable, and local energy future.