Monday, November 04, 2013

2013 North Minneapolis Ballot Requirements

Minneapolis Mayor 

1st choice - Cam Winton

Winton has run a principled, consistent campaign as the candidate in favor of limited government. While the other legitimate contenders offer varying shades of the same ideology that has brought us billion dollar trolleys and stadiums, Winton has made a compelling case that this sort of central planning has wasted taxpayer dollars.

I'll take him one step further. These luxury items come at a cost. Our spending on sports facilities and recreational transportation has further compartmentalized one of the most demographically imbalanced cities in the nation. Every candidate acknowledges our police force is understaffed, and it is literally killing the north side. Winton is the only candidate to offer a roadmap to putting more cops on the streets. He deserves your vote.

2nd choice - Dan Cohen 

Cohen's candidacy is a bit of a lark. Once a major player in Minneapolis city politics (he received both the Republican and DFL endorsements in his initial mayoral run) he was the victim of vicious hit pieces in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press. He successfully sued both papers in a landmark Supreme Court case, which speaks to his tenacity, if nothing else. On the merits, he offers a limited government alternative to the more recent city council retreads, and deserves a look here on the ballot.

3rd choice - Christopher Clark 

Clark earned the Libertarian Party's endorsement for reasons that helpfully explain the party's continued irrelevance at the polls (Winton was the party's third choice... because party fidelity trumps common sense?) At any rate, a vote for Clark, who has previously run un-endorsed under the LP banner, is essentially harmless and if he somehow taps into a heretofore silent groundswell of fiscal responsibility, he'll make a decent enough mayor.

Fourth Ward City Council

1st Choice -  Barb Johnson 

Ideological qualms aside, Johnson works diligently to engage and improve the north side. Her opponent, Kris Brogan, has a compelling case as one whose (excellent) pizza parlor fell victim to Minneapolis' inhospitable business climate but has failed to make a compelling distinction between herself and the front runner in this regard. At this stage, the most sensible decision is to keep Johnson's work ethic and influence in place on our behalf.

2nd Choice - Dan Niesen 

A protest vote against single-party rule. Seriously, though, the candidate doesn't even have a Facebook page.

Board of Estimate and Taxation 

(note: the top two candidates will be elected to the board)

1st Choice - David Pascoe 

Carrying on with the fiscal responsibility theme, Pascoe is the obvious choice here. While the DFL endorsed candidates talk about admiring Rachel Maddow's glasses (viz. tongue-in-cheek dog-whistling) and how the government can approve people's lives (vomit), Pascoe talks about PAYGO. Easy choice.

2nd Choice - Doug Sembla 

This is a good place to register a protest vote in favor of what the Pirate Party is trying to accomplish, namely improving transparency and, well, and bunch of traditionally lefty causes. Either way a vote for Becker or Wheeler is a vote for the bureaucratic status quo, and this is one of the boards that impacts your life in more ways than you think. Yarrrrrgh!

Minneapolis Park Board - At Large

(note: top three candidates will be elected)

1st Choice - Mary Lynn McPherson

McPherson's emphasis on the nuts and bolts of park maintenance, while nebulous, at least speak to a modicum of common sense as it relates to priorities. Is a proposal to repair basketball hoops groundbreaking? No, but consider the alternatives:

Hashim Yonis (backed by RT Rybak) was fired from his job and faces potential criminal charges over $3,800 in lost soccer field rentals. John Erwin wants to see Yoga Areas and Lacrosse fields (not on the north side, presumably). Casper Hill cites as his principle qualification his work on the response to the Minneapolis Tornado (I kid you not). Ishmael Israel thinks parks are going to address health disparities (scope creep costs money)... The rest is a hodge-podge of political lifers and Sierra Club activists.

2nd Choice - None

3rd Choice - None

Minneapolis Park Commissioner - District Two 

1st Choice - Jon Olson 

Helped oversee the Wirth Beach renovation, which is one of the more cost-effective, attractive park upgrades Minneapolis has seen. Challenger David Luce's platform lacks balance between his environmental advocacy and the essential utility of the parks themselves.

Charter Amendments 


Most of you are probably unfamiliar with the brouhaha over the proposed modernization of the city's charter. Here is a quick rundown:

Basically, the Minneapolis city charter is novel-length, written in archaic language, and loaded with turn of the century frivolities about swimming holes and the weight of bread. The proposed update would, theoretically, modernize the language, while relegating the swimming hole-type business to city ordinances where it belongs. For whatever reason, changes regarding the sale of liquor and wine require a 55% majority, so this is a separate ballot issue for accounting reasons.

All well and good, maybe. But the ballot language is utterly opaque. For example, provisions are to be removed for "possible" enactment as ordinances. Which provisions? Who decides what ought to be a provision, and what ought to be an ordinance? A small handful of people, it turns out. That is problematic.

Having a small group of unelected officials rejigger the city charter and asking voters to rubber stamp it, sight unseen (the new language is available, but who has had the time to read it?) is extremely risky. The city attorney's office opposes it for this reason, and sensibly so.