Mpls. mayoral candidates tackle disparities

Racism is a problem in the Minneapolis police department, according to mayoral candidate Mark Andrew.

Andrew, a former chair of the Hennepin county Board, made the comment at a forum focused on reducing racial disparities in Minneapolis Thursday night.

"We have too many kids who are getting roughed up by the police," Andrew said. "We have too many kids who are getting stopped for no reason by the police."

Andrew said the police department could address racism through improved training. But he added that racism is pervasive throughout the city, including schools and businesses.

"The police department is probably no different from the community at large," he said.

Minorities in Minneapolis lag behind the white population when it comes to jobs, education, home ownership and many other measures of prosperity. While those gaps also exist nationwide, they are worse in the Twin Cities -- in some cases, the very worst.

At the forum, mayoral candidate Gary Schiff, who chairs the Zoning and Planning Committee of the Minneapolis City Council, said he wants to make it easier to open a homeless shelter in the city.

"We should allow organizations like YouthLink to open a shelter," he said. "We should allow places like Sabathani ... We cannot continue to make shelters just an issue for communities of faith."

Schiff and Andrew are among six candidates seeking the DFL endorsement for mayor.

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