St Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board, August 2021 meeting 

August 12, 2021, 6pm-7:30pm MS Teams meeting Audio only: 612-315-7905  Conference ID: 999 671 592# 

Land Acknowledgement: The city of Saint Paul is located on traditional, ancestral, and contemporary lands of Indigenous Dakota people. CJAB is committed to ongoing efforts to recognize, support, and advocate for American Indian Nations and peoples. 

Board members: 

  1. Adri Arquin * 

  1. Alice Wagner-Hemstad  

  1. Audel Shokohzadeh  

  1. Cheng Vang  

  1. Dominique Diaddigo-Cash  

  1. Janiece Watts *   ** 

  1. Kathleen Bacigalupi  

  1. Kristen Poppleton  

  1. Louis Offstein  

  1. Marlon Batres  

  1. May Yang-Lee  

  1. Melissa Wenzel *   ** 

  1. Nick Martin * 

  1. Patty Selly  

  1. Paul Barral  

  1. Robert M Blake 

  1. Vacancy: union representation 

* Executive Committee Member  

** Co-chair 

City staff: 

  • Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer 

  • Carlos Albornoz, Constituent Service Outreach Coordinator 


  • Melvin Carter, Mayor

    Daunte Wright Statement 

  • Prior to May meeting board drafted and sent statement to Mayor Carter regarding the curfew that took place after the killing of Daunte Wright.  

  • A vote was held via e-mail, and the statement passed unanimously.  

  • Introductions 6-6:15  

    6:10-7:20 Mayor’s Comments and Q & A 

    Mayor Carter Comments: 

  • When we are violent with our planet, the consequences fall onto our communities of color.  

  • Saint Paul was acknowledged as most improved city in the country when it came to climate sustainability last year. 

  • Janiece commented that she is glad to hear that Mayor Carter acknowledges the importance of the intersection of climate and racism. 

  • Janiece also commented thanking the board for supporting her and the statement drafted regarding Daunte Wright Killing 

  • Mayor spoke about growing up and getting pulled over frequently 

  • Mayor spoke about his rage over murders of Daunte Wright and George Floyd and channeling it into something productive, similar to how Janiece channeled her feelings into the statement. 

  • First 100 days of Mayor Carter’s administration the City of Saint Paul revised use of force policy which was renamed to officer response to resistance and aggression.    

  • Bob commented that he grew up in a law enforcement family as well. Bob’s brother was hired into Minneapolis PD and tried to push them to hire more people of color and more people from the city. Community policing. Hopes Saint Paul can implement a plan to directly hire law enforcement officers from our community.  

  • Mayor Carter responded highlighting how important it is to police in an environment that is familiar to you. It would require a state constitutional change to have a residency requirement for officers. But there are some ways to make progress  

  • One such way is the Law Enforcement Career Pathway which helps create ways for people from City of Saint Paul to become police officers.  

  • Community First public safety framework could act as another way to increase police officers who come from our community. 

  • Mayor chimed in on how everything is interconnected from a racial justice/climate justice perspective.  

  • Melissa commented that CJAB will be asking for a lot of strong goals related to climate justice and that hopefully Mayor Carter and his administration will be receptive to this. 

  • Mayor responded that he believes in being bold and taking the steps necessary to make systematic change.  

  • Mentioned book called “We the Possibility” by Mitchell Weiss, highlighting how “probability government” based on doing what people have done in the past so we know it works but won’t change much. We should shift to “possibility government” which is more about trying to create real change but acknowledging the fact that failure is a strong possibility and an opportunity to learn.  

  • Mayor highlighted how difficult it can be to look at things differently and realize that change is possible.  

  • Our community votes with more than just their voices they also vote with their bodies and decision making, we just must be aware of that and be receptive to it.  

  • Mayor Carter finished comments by asking for CJAB to please bring him  their ideas and use Russ and Carlos as a conduit. No matter how bold or how difficult they may be to accomplish. 

  • Patty asked how “do we convey CJAB ideas to Mayor and City of Saint Paul?” 

  • Mayor responded that formal recommendations and input directly from Russ are best ways to accomplish this. 

  • Patty followed up by asking what Mayor Carter’s Wishlist for CJAB is.   

  • Mayor responded by saying: 

  • First by connecting climate and racial injustice and then figuring out ways to address these issues. 

  • Second is asking for board members to bring in input from their circles so CJAB recommendations reflect community.  

  • Third is asking that recommendations are about big picture issues but also include the incremental steps required to get there i.e. “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. 

  • Lastly to celebrate the small victories and use that to build momentum in our community.  

  • Alice commented thanking Mayor and regarding petition related to asking for Solar Power at public schools. 

  •  Kathleen commented saying that she was working on helping implement this.  

  • Kathleen asked, “what percentage of police officers work in Saint Paul live in Saint Paul?” 

  • Mayor responded saying that number is not nearly high enough, less than half. 

  • Kathleen asked as “City grow’s should the SPPD budget also grow?” 

  • Mayor responded on how we need a balanced portfolio which supports all parts of the city. Set up a system in which SPPD is focused on what they are best suited to respond to and allow others to focus on other aspects.  

  • Adri asked about risk assessment for minors and if that issue has been looked at the city level. 

  • Mayor Carter Stated that being in a juvenile detention center increases likelihood of  incarceration as an adult. He helped create alternatives to juvenile detention. JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative) is in place to minimize incarceration of young people. Incarceration only occurs if they are deemed violent or a flight risk. 

  • Bylaws 7:20-7:40 

  • Patty commented that maybe we try something different when it comes to CJAB structure, instead of having hierarchy instead having something more lateral.  

  • Russ mentioned that goal of having a hierarchy in place is not to give anyone more power, but to instead allow board to function better as a group and set agenda ahead of time. 

  • Nick Commented on how bylaws have two-year terms which could possibly be too long. 

  • Kathleen commented saying maybe instead of having one person do each role instead having it in groups. 

  • Russ mentioned possibility of committees which would meet without city staff. 

  • Bob commented thanking Janiece’s leadership when Daunte Wright murder occurred  

  • Paul commented on maybe having an overall facilitator who would serve as leader but then a couple of sub-leaders as well. 

  • Patty commented mentioning anti-oppressive meeting facilitation and sharing some points on this. 

  • Janiece commented thanking everyone for nominating her. Likes idea of lateral leadership.  

  • Melissa commented that she doesn’t mind structure. 

  • Goal of getting Bylaws completed by June Meeting was put into place. 

  • CJAB then decided to have work group meeting May 27th to discuss board structure. 

  • Meeting Ended 7:40 

Last Edited: January 12, 2022