Bob Blake is running for City Council in Ward 5. Learn more about him at https://bobblakeforward5.com.
What is your vision for safety and wellness rooted in St. Paul communities? As a city councilmember, what concrete steps would you take to support that vision? And who else would you work with to advance that vision?
We have to put people to work with good meaningful jobs and I have a a plan for that.
What alternatives to policing, arrest, criminal prosecution and incarceration would you work to support? How would you work to reduce the dramatic racial disparities and impacts of these systems?
Work and a job training center here in Saint Paul like they have in Minneapolis.
Many people who are routinely impacted by policing come from our most impoverished and disenfranchised communities, and due to systemic inequities, they are comparatively disconnected from the levers of power. How would you work to elevate the experience and insight of directly impacted community members so they can have the same impact on shaping policy as well-funded advocacy organizations?
Education and good paying jobs is to me the answer.
In partnership with the community-first safety initiative, and with leadership support from the city council, St. Paul residents have advanced the idea of a community cabinet on safety, wellness, and justice. How would you support this cabinet to ensure it has lasting and meaningful input?
Absolutely and support this initiative.
What is your knowledge of or experience with restorative justice and restorative practices? How might St. Paul become a restorative city?
I helped create a training program in the Department of Corrections. It’s a solar training program and the idea is to fight mass incarceration with climate change. The healing is in the environment.
What specific steps would you take to build stability in areas hard-hit by poverty, unemployment, and housing insecurity?
Job training center at the old K-mart site.
What do you know about the recently dissolved Joint Powers Agreement to share data to flag Ramsey County students as “at-risk”? What lessons do you think officials should take away from the political process that created the Joint Powers Agreement data-sharing plan?
The more information you can share is usually pretty good but we have to allow for privacy also.
What specific steps will you take to end the school to prison pipeline for St. Paul youth? What can you as a city councilmember do to create more opportunities for youth to thrive?
I’m a product of the Saint Paul Public School system and it really is a community effort that will need to take place.
How should the city of St. Paul welcome and support people returning to neighborhoods from jail or prison, or living on probation? What steps would you take to make housing more accessible to people with criminal convictions?
We have to offer more supportive systems for those who are returning from incarceration. The Muskogee tribe out of Oklahoma I believe has the model we should all follow.
What is a person, place, book, experience, or film that has especially influenced your vision of community-first public safety and your dreams about what’s possible for community-first public safety in St. Paul?
My brother Sargent William J. Blake of the Minneapolis Police Department.
What informs your decision-making process when it comes to community issues? Can you share a story about a specific time when you had to decide where you stood on a difficult community issue, or when you had to decide what kind of action you should take on an issue? How did you arrive at the decision you did?
Growing up in the hood, so to speak, you hear a lot about this and that but what it comes down to is what is right. To me, what is right is always the best course of action in anything.
What does co-governance look like to you? How have you implemented that vision of co-governance in your own life and work? How would you work to scale up that vision in city government?
Involve the community always. Meetings and other outreach to the community.