Michelle Hill posted about the MPI/AMPCO two weeks ago. The issue piqued my interest enough to go back and watch the Dec. 2 Council Meeting. Following are much abbreviated notes I took on that, as well as the Time Warner cable franchise transfer to Comcast.

Colvin Roy presents issue, talks about how involved business community was in crafting RFP.

Zimmerman, Lilligren, and Barb Johnson spoke in favor of MPI, local ownership, and minority-run companies.

Zerby said he is torn, but he believes that the employees will all be offered jobs by AMPCO, as was the case when AMPCO took over the airport ramps. MPI's employees are represented by the Teamsters, but their maintenance and security workers are not unionized. AMPCO's workers are represented by SEIU, which sent a letter to council members in support of AMPCO. Zerby thinks MPI employees may be better represented and treated when they are AMPCO employees. Notes that 40 % of AMPCO stock is owned by employees. Says the staff recommendation is deserving of respect.

Benson is "highly satisfied with the work done by MPI" and he recognizes that MPI was never asked to do marketing. Yes, we (the City) are the owners of the ramps, but we don't have any experience running parking systems, so we would not be able to help with marketing. We need AMPCO's marketing experience. Ditto on respect for staff recommendation.

Samuels says the relative benefits are difficult to quantify, particularly around issues of employee ownership and hiring minorities. But Minneapolis is trying to be an exemplary city "not just in the human factors, in how we treat our citizens, but in how crisp and attractive our community is and how streamlined our systems are." His values will not be violated by voting for AMPCO.

Colvin Roy reiterates how well staff has served the council on this.

Ostrow reflects on how important this is, the first RFP under "project excellence", drawing on the expertise of the business community. Everyone thinks AMPCO has done a great job, but the RFP called for marketing experience, and AMPCO has more experience.

Passed 9 to 4

Time Warner/Comcast
Motion to conditionally approve transfer to Comcast.

Benson says it's true that the council has not been kept up to date on this, but council members have to vote for it, otherwise the city has no negotiating rights.

Zerby says the staff report indicates neither company has provided requested information. They haven't come to the negotiating table. Voting no will send a message that the City wants that information, and wants its conditions met.

Niziolek says there should have been more briefings, but the best approach is to approve the staff recommedation. If we deny the transfer, we can't protect our interests.

Zimmerman asks why we should agree to turn over the contract to someone who won't even come to the negotiating table. Says all this could have been avoided it the city owned the cable network and contracted out for the management.

Goodman says this isn't about too few staff briefings, it's about not having any briefings. Doesn't feel she has enough information to vote.

Benson says he wouldn't fault Time Warner for not coming to the table. We sued them, there isn't any table to come to. The transfer is going to happen. Voting no would mean the transfer will happen without the conditions we want.

Colvin Roy says if we approve with conditions it gives us time to work out the conditions. Voting no on the transfer means it would go ahead, and the city would have to go to court to stop it or to get any conditions put on it.

Zerby says it's to everyone's advantage to have these conditions worked out with full disclosure of data.

Passed 9 to 2, with 1 abstention

Becca Vargo Daggett
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