Hodges defends fundraising trip in Facebook post

- Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges spoke about one controversy Thursday afternoon at a press conference, but clearly was looking to avoid another.

A recent dinnertime shooting that struck an innocent bystander at the Mayo Clinic Square in downtown Minneapolis has raised tensions about the state of public safety in the city's heart, with the mayor and new police chief scrambling to ramp up measures in the area.

At a conference of American mayors Thursday, Hodges talked of adding more bike and beat officers, as well as a variety of security cameras are being installed downtown.

What she wouldn't address, however, was a recently disclosed fundraising trip to Los Angeles just four days after the police shooting of Justine Damond last month, saying her recent Facebook post on the topic summed up her thoughts on the topic well enough.

"While traveling, I spoke with neighbors, City Council members, school district officials and community leaders," she wrote in the post. "I did exactly the same work I would have done had I stayed in Minneapolis. And during those 27 hours, I also spent a few hours at a campaign event."

Her opponents in this year's mayoral race jumped on the opportunity to attack Hodges over her inability to finish the city's full $1.4 million budget by the August 15 deadline, with many insinuating that her trip was a factor in that delay.

Hodges, for her part, says the big money being raised by her opponents forces her to proactively fundraise while dealing with crises, something she also said was just a part of being mayor.

She plans to give her full budget address Sept. 12.

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