Jacob Frey

Jacob Frey

© Image Copyright: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Overview

* Was elected Mayor of Minneapolis in November 2017
* Seeks to greatly expand access to “affordable housing” in Minneapolis
* Favors the elimination of single-family residential zoning
* Views America as a nation with a long history of racism and white privilege
* Characterized the “sadness and anger” underlying the George Floyd riots of 2020 as “understandable” and justified
* Claims that policing practices in America must undergo “massive, structural change”


Background

Jacob Frey was born on July 23, 1981 in Oakton, Virginia. He was raised in northern Virginia and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2004, with a bachelor’s degree in Government. Frey subsequently earned a J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law in 2009. After completing law school, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to pursue employment as an attorney. Starting in 2009, Frey worked for a firm called Faegre & Benson before joining Halunen & Associates in 2011.

Community Organizer Promoting Gay Marriage

Around that same time, Frey also began to work as a “community organizer” in the Minneapolis area. In this role, he raised nearly $500,000 through a 2011 event called the “Big Gay Race,” whose aim was to help defeat a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage solely as a union between one man and one woman.

Minnesota City Council

In 2013, Frey ran for a seat on the Minneapolis City Council, where he sought to represent the city’s Third Ward. With the endorsements of various left-wing entities — including the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is the Minnesota affiliate of the U.S. Democratic Party — he captured 61% of the vote and easily won his race for a Council seat.

As a City Council member, Frey authored an amendment that dramatically increased funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in the city’s 2015 budget. In 2016, he authored an ordinance requiring polluters to pay fees based on the amount of pollution they produced — fees that, in turn, were used to fund a variety of “green” business ventures.

Councilman Frey also worked to expand “voting access” by means of early voting and mail-in voting. Further, he supported ordinances requiring landlords to provide new tenants with voter-registration forms and information. “Between the age of 19 and 25,” Frey explained, “you’re moving practically every year sometimes. Even the most civically engaged people can easily forget to register.”

Advocating for an increase in the minimum hourly wage that could be paid to Minneapolis workers, Frey was involved in drafting the City Council’s 2017 minimum-wage ordinance. He also helped draft the Council’s 2016 paid-sick-leave ordinance, which required employers with six or more workers to provide the latter with a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Mayor of Minneapolis

Choosing to serve only one term as a City Council Member, Frey launched a campaign for Minneapolis Mayor in January 2017.

Emphasizing his reputation as a fierce critic of the Minneapolis Police Department, Frey wrote on a candidate questionnaire: “I am [a] strong proponent of instituting implicit bias training for police officers. I also favor hiring practices designed to recruit additional officers of color and those who live in Minneapolis.”

The 36-year-old Frey won the November 2017 mayoral race, and he formally took office on January 2, 2018.

Huge Focus on “Affordable Housing”

Near the end of his first year as mayor, Frey, arguing that “housing is a right,” touted his new budget proposal which called for spending $40 million to expand “affordable housing” as a means of addressing the city’s homelessness problem. He portrayed such expenditures as a mechanism by which “to push back on intentional segregation and redlining of the past and embrace a holistic vision for our entire city, where [everyone] holds a right to live in a great city.” To demonstrate his administration’s “compassion” and its “recognition of the dignity of every single human being,” Frey spearheaded the opening of a government-sponsored “emergency center” designed to temporarily house homeless individuals in heated tents that were accompanied by beds and trailers for showers and dining. This initiative was carried out with the help of a local Native American group known as Red Lake Nation, which owned the land on which the emergency center was situated. Frey’s objective was to keep the emergency center open until such time as “culturally-sensitive affordable housing” could be made available.

Frey & Minneapolis Police

On November 30, 2018, CBS News reported: “Two police officers are on paid leave after images of a Christmas tree in north Minneapolis’ 4th Precinct station went viral…. [P]ictures appeared on social media of the tree decorated with items such as empty Takis bags, cans of malt liquor, menthol cigarette boxes and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen cups. The items are considered derogatory in nature to the black community.” Upon learning of this story, Mayor Frey responded with outrage: “This behavior is racist, despicable, and is well beneath the standards of any person who serves the city of Minneapolis. Racism and intolerance is absolutely unacceptable, and that should especially be the case amongst our city employees.”

In a December 2018 interview with TCBmag.com, Frey discussed his record on police reform and his relationship with law-enforcement in Minneapolis. Specifically, he lamented the “trauma and distrust that has occurred” between nonwhite minorities and police officers, and voiced his hope that the release of police body-camera footage would help minimize public outrage and suspicion in the wake of police shootings of civilian suspects.

Seeking to End Single-Family Zoning

In 2018 as well, Frey supported the passage of the radical Minneapolis 2040 plan, which aimed to make Minneapolis the first city in the United States to end single-family zoning — a growing, Democrat-led initiative founded on the premise that single-family neighborhoods exacerbate racial segregation, wealth inequality, and air pollution.

In April 2019, Frey delivered his second annual “State of the City” address in which he outlined a staunch leftist agenda for the coming year. Specifically, the mayor:

  • pledged to create more bus-only lanes on the city’s streets, in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions
  • issued a rallying cry to “end the prohibition” of marijuana at the local and state levels
  • announced the elimination of what he called the “fear-based” or “warrior” training methods that teach police officers to act under the assumption that there is always a potential threat around them – a mindset that Frey said was “in direct conflict with everything that our [police] chief and I stand for”
  • emphasized the need for “specific solutions that undo the legacy of institutionalized exclusion of black, indigenous, people of color, and immigrants”
  • underscored the 2019 city budget’s allocation of $21 million towards the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Program, a pool of federal and city money intended to help developers build or maintain low-rent apartment units
  • touted the success of a program that gave property-tax breaks to Minneapolis landlords who agreed to keep rent prices low for tenants earning less than 60 percent of the area’s median annual income, which was approximately $39,660 for a single person

Frey’s Contempt for Donald Trump

When President Donald Trump was planning to host an October 10, 2019 re-election rally at the Minneapolis Target Center, Frey stated emphatically that Trump was not welcome there. “Our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city — and this country — great,” the mayor said in a statement. “While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the President from visiting,” Frey added, “his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis.”

On October 7, 2019 – just three days before Trump’s scheduled rally — Frey tried to block the event by charging the Trump campaign an additional $530,000 security fee plus other miscellaneous costs. “This is an outrageous abuse of power by a liberal mayor trying to deny the rights of his own city’s residents just because he hates the President,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement to the press. Noting that the Secret Service was officially in charge of all security for the President, the campaign threatened to sue the Target Center for a breach in contract if the aforementioned fee were not dropped. “This last-minute squeeze seems to be nothing but a pretextual political effort with serious First Amendment ramifications,” read a letter from the Trump campaign’s lawyer to the Target Center’s management firm.

On October 8, 2019, Brad Parscale announced that the dispute had been resolved: “The arena in Minneapolis has been fully approved. The Target Center has backed off cancelling the contract, which means President Trump’s Keep America Great rally will go on as scheduled.” “Consistent with our original agreement with the venue,” Parscale added, “the Trump campaign has not agreed to pay any additional funds. We look forward to seeing everyone Thursday night [October 10].”

Characterizing the Rage Underlying the George Floyd Race Riots As “Understandable” & Justified

After George Floyd died during his infamous encounter with a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, Frey defended the explosion of street violence and rioting that subsequently engulfed his city, as a justified expression of rioters’ psychic pain. Said the mayor on May 28:

“What we’ve seen over the last two days and the emotion-ridden conflict over last night is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness, anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community, not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years. If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable, it’s right.

“It’s a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived. While not from lived experience, that sadness must also be understood by our non-black communities. To ignore it, to toss it out, would be to ignore the values we all claim to have. That are all the more important during a time of crisis.

“This could be the marker. This could be a point in time, when several years from now we can look back to know that we rose to right the wrongs of the past. Not just with words, but with action.”

Frey’s Weak & Disastrous Response to the Riots, and His Relationship with Police

On May 28, 2020, Frey instructed members of the Minneapolis Police Departfment to evacuate their Third Precinct station and surrender it to the rioters who were ravaging the city to protest the recent death of George Floyd. A short time after the officers had abandoned the station, the rioters burned it down. Minnesota’s liberal Democrat Governor, Tim Walz, referred to Frey’s handling of the situation as an “abject failure.”

On June 4, 2020, Frey issued a plea for federal aid to help Minneapolis recover from the riots that already had caused an estimated $55 million in damage to what the mayor said were “hundreds of structures” throughout the city. He also stated that the total cost of damages across the Twin Cities could eventually reach the “hundreds of millions” of dollars.

At a June 4, 2020 memorial service in honor of the late George Floyd, Frey made a spectacle of himself when he knelt in front of Floyd’s casket and appeared to be sobbing. Notwithstanding COVID-19 protocols that restricted virtually all large public gatherings, the service was attended by some 500 people including numerous Democrat politicians, celebrities, and activists like Al Sharpton.

At a Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally on June 6, 2020, Frey told a massive crowd of George Floyd protesters that the city’s police department was in serious need of “structural reforms” designed to “revamp” the existing “systemic, racist system.” While Frey stood before the demonstrators and confessed, into a microphone, that he was “coming to grips with my own brokenness,” one female protest organizer with a microphone said to the mayor: “We have a yes or no question for you.  Yes or no, will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department? We don’t want any more police, is that clear? We don’t want people with guns in our communities, shooting us down. Do you have an answer? It is a yes or a no.” “If he says ‘no,” the woman then told her fellow protesters, “guess what the fuck we are going to do next year” – a clear reference to Frey’s upcoming re-election bid slated for 2021.

“I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said in response to the aforementioned woman’s question about police defunding. This prompted that same questioner to shout at the mayor, “Get the fuck outta here!” A large number of the protesters then began to boo Frey loudly and chant, “Go home Jacob, go home!” Video footage of the incident showed a downcast Frey departing, at that point, amid thunderous booes and chants of “shame!”

Shortly after his humiliating departure from the June 6 BLM demonstration, Frey stated to the press: “If you’re asking whether I’m for massive structural reform to revise a structurally racist system, the answer is ‘yes.’ If you’re asking whether I will do everything possible to push back on the inherent inequities that are literally built into the architecture, the answer is ‘yes.’ If you’re asking whether I’m willing to do everything I possibly can throughout the rest of my term to make sure that the police union, the police contract, the arbitration system, and some of these policies that have resulted in problems for specifically Black and Brown people and murder over series of generations, I’m all for that. [But] I’m not for abolishing the entire police department, I will be honest about that.”

On June 7, 2020, A veto-proof majority of the Democrat-dominated Minneapolis City Council announced that it planned to entirely abolish the city’s police department and create a “police-free future.”

During an MSNBC town hall on June 30, 2020, Frey called for a “full rethinking and reshaping of the way that our police department does business.” Claiming to be “on the side of massive, structural change,” he added: “[R]ight now, we need to be heeding the calls of George Floyd’s family. And they said, clearly, that George Floyd is going to change the world. This can’t be half-measures. This can’t just go halfway. This can’t be minor policy changes. This needs to be a full rethinking and reshaping of the way that our police department does business that has, for decades, harmed black and brown people.” Frey also voiced his support for “decriminalizing addiction,” increasing access to “affordable housing” and subsidized health care, and “being open to other strategies beyond policing” – such as dispatching mental health professionals and social workers in certain instances of interpersonal conflict or crime. “But if we’re talking about just abolishing all law enforcement, no,” said the mayor. “Cities around the country, including Minneapolis, need law enforcement. We need to abolish the behavior. We don’t need to be abolishing the police.”

In August of 2020, Frey stated: “The approach that we took in the days and weeks following George Floyd’s killing was to center our black and brown communities as much as possible.” He also claimed to have read a book entitled My Grandmother’s Hands, in an effort to better understand the enduring psychological effects of societal racism.

After former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April 2021 for the murder and manslaughter of Floyd, Frey took to Twitter to honor Floyd’s memory: “George Floyd came to Minneapolis to better his life. But ultimately his life will have bettered our city. The jury joined in a shared conviction that has animated Minneapolis for the last 11 months. They refused to look away and affirmed he should still be here today.”

Combating “Systemic Racism” by Promoting Special Privileges for Minority-Owned Businesses

In February 2021, Frey touted the Minneapolis Climate Action and Racial Equity Fund, which, in the name of pursuing an “inclusive” approach to combatting climate change, distributes public funds exclusively to businesses owned by BIPOCs (Black and Indigenous People of Color) and immigrants.

In March 2021 he promoted yet another initiative, this one administered by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, that also was designed to enrich only BIPOC-owned firms.

The goal of Minneapolis’s post-COVID recovery, Frey explained in 2021, “has never been to return to the way things were. A more equitable economy means specifically lifting Black businesses.” Referring to this approach as “inclusive recovery and transformation,” he boasted that “equity has been the driving force behind allocating the limited funding we have” to carry out the battle against “systemic racism.”

Re-Elected As Mayor of Minneapolis

In spite of challenges from two leftwing candidates backed by Democrat U.S. House Member Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Frey was re-elected as mayor of Minneapolis in November 2021. His campaign garnered endorsements from such notables as Governor Tim Walz, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

George Perry Floyd Square

In April 2022, the city government of Minneapolis decreed that the area in the immediate vicinity of the spot where George Floyd had died, should be officially called “George Perry Floyd Square,” dedicated to honoring the memory of its namesake. “[This place] has international significance,” said Mayor Frey. “This needs to be a place of racial justice and healing. This needs to be a place that honors the legacy of George Floyd and the surrounding community here …” Toward that end, Frey and fellow city leaders advocated in favor of infrastructure improvements to sidewalks, pavement, lighting, and other utilities within that area.

In May 2022, Time magazine described how, under Mayor Frey’s watch, activities within the general area of George Perry Floyd Square had evolved since Mr. Floyd’s death two years earlier:

“In the aftermath of Floyd’s death, the area around Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street was barricaded, transforming what had once been an ordinary pair of streets into what some called an ‘autonomous zone,’ a self-ruled site of protest and commemoration, a gathering space to recognize the magnitude of what had happened here. […]

“After the barricades went up—first hand-painted signs propped against sawhorses and chairs; later, concrete defenses much like the ones stationed outside the White House—most vehicles were barred from the area. At one barricade was a sign that delineated the rules developed by activists who at the time convened nightly in a gas-station parking lot there. Another simply declared to the reader, ‘YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE FREE STATE OF GEORGE FLOYD.’ On Chicago Avenue, where most of the memorial sits and where Floyd drew his last breath, an artist hand-painted the names of 169 Black, Latino, and Asian people killed in the United States by vigilantes or police. Residents and even city officials have reported that, for a while at least, police kept their distance. In the first year after Floyd’s killing, cruisers were sometimes seen in the surrounding area but would not enter the square, several told TIME. […]

“By February 2021, the city announced plans to reopen the area after [Officer] Chauvin’s trial concluded … [on] April 20, 2021. Then, on June 3, city work crews arrived early in the morning to begin removing concrete barricades from the four corners of the square, eventually placing smaller ones in an irregular semicircle around the offerings left at the spot where Chauvin killed Floyd. A citizen-made roundabout, centered on a nearly two-story-high sculpture of a brown clenched fist, remained. […] By the end of July, traffic was back to the corner of 38th and Chicago.”

Frey’s Wealth

As of 2022, Frey had a net worth of approximately $9 million.

Additional Resources:


Racist Mayor: Jacob Frey
By Bruce Bawer
June 23, 2021

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