Ethics Complaint Against Mpls Councilwoman Alondra Cano Dismissed

Photo credit: City Pages

The Minneapolis City Council dismissed an ethics complaint against council member Alondra Cano, despite finding that she violated the aspirations of the city code, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The controversy began last December during a Black Lives Matter protest held at the Mall of America.  Cano was a participant in the protest.  She had tweeted messages that people had sent via the city’s website, criticizing her involvement in the protest and she included their contact information in her tweets.

cano-tweet-2Alpha News reported in December 2015 that a petition had been started to recall Cano by those who were outraged by Cano’s attempt to publicly shame her critics.

Last month, as Alpha News reported, the controversy escalated when Cano was facing an ethics violation for unauthorized use of city property.  She threatened to reveal similar ethical violations by her colleagues if they approved the city’s ethics boards findings.  In an email published by the Star Tribune, Alondra Cano lashed out at her fellow council members, stating:

“I disagree with the findings and have kept screenshots of the ways other Council Members, including CM Frey (Ward 3), Bender (Ward 10), Glidden (Ward 8), Abdi (Warsame, Ward 6) and others have used city property for ‘political purposes.’” She goes on, threatening to “speak out against the vote and circulate a press release to the media about the issue with the screenshots I’ve gathered since January of 2016” if the Council went forward with approving the Ethics findings.

On Friday afternoon, the council passed a resolution that found Cano in violation of “ethical aspirations” (ethical conduct that will not be enforced by the ethics commission) of the city’s ethics code, but “not the substantive rules sections.”  According to the Star Tribune, the aspirations included not engaging in retaliation or harassment and not using public property for personal purposes.

Before the vote was taken, Cano, who represents Ward 9, declined to address the council.

Council member Blong Yang issued the only comment from the council saying he was disappointed that Cano had “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 told the Star Tribune.

During the meeting, the council separately acted to require all employees and elected officials to watch a video on “political activity ethics.”  According to an accompanying resolution, it said that the video would provide refresher training related to the ethical issues of political activity.  City Clerk Casey Carl said that the training addressed issues like making photo copies, sending e-mails and taking phone calls relating to political issues.  He also stated that the presence of both the Cano ethics violation and the video at the meeting was merely a coincidence.  “It is not at all related.  We did this simply because there’s a presidential election coming up,” Carl said.

Donna Azarian