Election 2021: Minneapolis Park Board, District 1

Billy Menz is the only person running. He’s endorsed by pretty much everyone, including the guy who beat him for the seat four years ago (Chris Meyer, who decided not to run again). He looks terrific and I expect he’ll be fine. But regardless, he’s the only person on the ballot.

(I went ahead and wrote a post about him because otherwise, as it gets close to the election in November, I will get a lot of confused messages from people wanting to know if I’m going to cover this race.)

Election 2021: Minneapolis Mayor

If you’ve been waiting for my Kate Knuth vs. Sheila Nezhad deep dive, that’s not going to happen in this post. There are seventeen people running for Mayor of Minneapolis, and I’m pretty sure only three of them have any chance of winning (Kate, Sheila, and Jacob). This is going to be the post where I give you an overview of all the other candidates, because you do get three slots, and if you don’t want Jacob, you should not rank him at all.

Of the fourteen I’m going to talk about today, some are real candidates with serious policy proposals. But if you look for an endorsements page, you mostly won’t find one; if you look them up on social media, they have a handful of followers. (Or they have thousands but they never interact — you can purchase Twitter followers but it’s super obvious when you do.)

Here’s who’s on the ballot:

Jacob Frey
Kate Knuth
Sheila Nezhad

(I’ll talk about those three in another post.)

Marcus Harcus (Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis)
Bob “Again” Carney Jr (Republican)
Laverne Turner (Republican)
Troy Benjegerdes (Farmer-Labor)
Paul E. Johnson (Equity in Motion)
Doug Nelson (Socialist Workers Party)
AJ Awed (DFL)
Nate “Honey Badger” Atkins (Libertarian Party)
Christopher W David (DFL)
Mike Winter (Independence-Alliance)
Kevin “No Body” Ward (Independent)
Clint Conner (DFL)
Mark Globus (DFL)
Perry, Jerrell (For the People)

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Election 2021: Saint Paul Mayor

Before we get started, I’m going to show you a picture of my new cat. First, you know: cat. But also: I’m going to include some screen shots in this post and putting in a picture of my cat first makes it easier to avoid a text-heavy screen shot turning into the featured image that shows up everywhere.

Here’s who’s on the ballot:

Melvin Carter
Paul Langenfeld
Bill Hosko
Dora Jones-Robinson
Scott Evans Wergin
Dino Guerin
Abu Nayeem
Miki Frost

The tl;dr: if Carter’s your pick, don’t worry about filling out the other four slots on your ballot, because barring something really strange, Carter’s going to win on the first ballot.

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Election 2021: Minneapolis and Saint Paul City Elections

GOD DAMMIT I NEED TO GET STARTED ON THIS.

In 2021, both Minneapolis and Saint Paul will hold municipal races.

In Saint Paul, the ballot includes the mayoral race; a school board race (3 full-term seats, 1 partial-term seat vacated by someone moving); and a charter amendment to impose rent control.

In Minneapolis, the ballot includes the mayoral race; the city council seats (all of which will be only 2 years — there will be another city council race in 2023 due to redistricting); Park Board district seats; Park Board At Large seats (3); the Board of Estimate and Taxation; and three charter amendments (one to allow rent control, one to replace the police department with a public safety department, and one to give the mayor more power).

There are 17 candidates for mayor in Minneapolis; there are 8 candidates for mayor in Saint Paul.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE IF YOU WISH TO VOTE BY MAIL: Last year, you were able to request your ballot by filling out an online form. This year you will have to submit a downloadable form — which can still be done online, but you’ll have to download a PDF, fill it in, and e-mail it back, it’s a different and somewhat more complicated process. More here. This isn’t the Secretary of State being difficult: the actual state statute allows for absentee ballot applications to be submitted electronically “for a federal, state, or county election.” If you want “municipal” added to this, talk to your legislator.

In the meantime, I’m going to remind everyone that I had a book released this April, Chaos on CatNet. Signed copies are usually available from Dreamhaven and from the current mail-order-only incarnation of Uncle Hugo’s. Books make great holiday gifts, but should be ordered early this year — supply chain issues are happening all over.

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, so if you’d like make a donation to encourage my work, I’m going to start by pointing my readers at the school nurse from Olson Middle School, who urgently needs a refrigerator for things like student medications.

Summer Update

I got my first “hey, just checking, are you going to write about the election?” e-mail of the year, so: yes, I am going to write about the election! But I’m pretty sure that neither city election has a primary, and there aren’t (yet) any special elections on the calendar that would have a primary, and filing isn’t even closed yet! I rely on the Secretary of State’s “see your ballot” feature to ensure I don’t miss low-profile candidates when I’m doing my write-ups, and sensibly enough they don’t have that up yet.

I mean, life holds no guarantees. I could get breakthrough COVID! I could get hit by a bus! But if I decide at some point to just quit doing this, I will let people know.

In the meantime, did you know I had a book come out in April? Chaos on CatNet, which is a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and is set in near-future Minneapolis. If you value what I do, it would WARM THE COCKLES OF MY HEART if you bought a copy. A number of local bookstores are carrying it, and Dreamhaven and the mail-order iteration of Uncle Hugo’s usually have signed copies.

A final note: I usually use the election-season posts to promote some fundraisers for Minneapolis and Saint Paul teachers on Donors Choose. If you’re a teacher at a high-poverty Minneapolis Public School or St. Paul Public School, and you’re considering running a fundraiser for a larger project, feel free to drop me a line so I don’t miss seeing it.

CHAOS ON CATNET is coming on Tuesday!

My new book, Chaos on CatNet, is coming out on Tuesday. This is a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet but is set mostly in Minneapolis. The publisher’s ordering page (with links to lots of miscellaneous ordering options) is here, but if you want a signed copy you can order from a number of Minneapolis and St. Paul booksellers for whom I will be signing stock (including Red Balloon, Mischief Toy, Storied Owl, and Moon Palace). If you want to order a personalized signed copy you should do that ASAP from DreamHaven Books — you can put your personalization requests in the “order instructions” blank. I’ll be stopping in at DreamHaven sometime this weekend to sign — so if you want personalized autographs, order soon! You can also order many of my other books from them, and I’m happy to sign those, too.

Catfishing on CatNet comes out in paperback the same day that Chaos comes out in hardcover — but if you would like a signed hardcover of Catfishing so your books match, you can still get one if you hurry by ordering from Don Blyly of Uncle Hugo’s. The bookstore was burned down last May; he is planning to reopen it once he finds a place (he explains what he’s looking for and where in the updates to his GoFundMe) but in the meantime he’s doing some mail-order out of his house.

Chaos on CatNet includes a number of real-world Minneapolis locations, including Powderhorn Park, Can Can Wonderland (okay, that one got some significant embellishment), Midtown Global Market, the Cathedral of St. Paul, and the James J. Hill House (temporarily); there’s also a rebuilt Uncle Hugo’s on Lake Street. CheshireCat sends Steph a robot, there’s an extreme cold snap, and Steph’s grandmother turns up, complains bitterly about the weather, and casually steals a car. There are characters from the first book (including Rachel and Bryony) as well as a new character, Nell, who grew up in a Christian cult but is now, to her intense consternation, living with a South Minneapolis polycule. I’m really excited for this book to be out in the world!

(My other writing news that I’ve mentioned on social media but not on the blog: two of my short stories are finalists for Hugo Awards this year. Monster is a finalist for Best Novelette, and Little Free Library is a finalist for Best Short Story. Both of those are online if you’d like to read them!)