Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano dodged the worst of an ethics complaint today following her threats to release screen captures of similar violations by Council colleagues. The complaint, stemming from Cano’s tweeting of citizen emails (including names, addresses, and phone numbers) criticizing her involvement in a December Black Lives Matter protest, was ruled unanimously to have violated the “aspirations,” but not “substantive rules,” of the city’s ethics code.
The case against Cano initially centered around the use of city email for political purposes but escalated with a September 10th email to Council President Barbara Johnson and two colleagues. In the email, Cano expressed she was “extremely disappointed in how the Council, and [President Jordan] personally, handled the discussion” in a closed session with the city’s Ethical Practices Board that was decided to be continued in public at later date. “Barb you had told me you planned to make a motion to dismiss and not make this a public issue. You never made that motion and now everything will be in public,” Cano wrote.
The email to President Jordan went on to warn that Cano had been recording other council member’s use of city email and was ready to “circulate a press release to the media… with the screenshots I’ve gathered since January of 2016.” The letter added that “my lawyer and I are ready to take this to the next level if the Council votes to approve the ethics findings.”
Following her receipt of the email, Council President Jordan said she was disappointed with Cano’s response because “it’s terrible to treat colleagues like that.” She said she shared the email with colleagues whose emails had supposedly been recorded because “I want people to think about what they want to do.”
This is not the first flare up between Cano and her fellow council members. Speaking on the condition of anonymity to City Pages, several colleagues expressed frustration with her approach.
- “She is always late to meetings. Sometimes she doesn’t show up at all. When she does, she hasn’t done her homework and has to wing it. The problem is this is stuff she’s supposed to know. It’s city council 101.”
- “Unfortunately, its not a surprise anymore. It’s been like this for three years and just seems like she never pays attention. But what should we expect from someone who’s more concerned about the number of her Twitter followers?”
- “We all know who she is. She’s lazy. She’s all about talking, not working hard.”
The sole comment prior to the dismissal vote Friday came from Council Member Blong Yang, who feared that Cano’s actions were retaliatory and showed no remorse. “Even if we as a council body don’t impose discipline, I would hope that the good folks in Ward 9 will take care of it next year,” Yang said.
Cano, the first-term representative for Ward 9, will face reelection in 2017.