Well, the good news on this race: despite the presence of four candidates, it’s going to be pretty quick to write up. Shout out to the John Edwards and his “hyperlocal news empire,” WedgeLIVE, which has this race as covered as anyone could ask. (Here’s an article on the origins of WedgeLIVE in 2014. If you like my commentary and you live in Ward 10, you should absolutely start following this guy on Twitter, because he’s super-local, heavily focused on Ward 10, and he has a gift for finding the sort of bizarre moments that make local politics so surreal. That gum story made the international news, apparently — I mean, down in the “weird random shit that happened this week among those wacky Americans” tidbits — and he was the first to report it.)
On the ballot:
Bruce Lundeen’s website starts by calling himself an “Urban Republican” and then lurches into this tangent about King George and gets increasingly incoherent, like I’m seriously not even sure how to interpret this bit:
The expectations of young people, Gen X’ers, Millennials, and Gen Z’ers, are diminished by Progressives who build and incentivize bicycles, mass transit. and high density housing.
I think he hates bikes, transit, and housing, but I’m not 100% sure. He goes on to say that the cost of Southwest LRT is $145 billion. I have no idea where he got that number. This article from 2015 thinks it’ll cost $2 billion. And that’s a lot, for a light rail line that everyone (especially the people it’s supposed to serve) seems to hate, but the entire annual budget of the state of Minnesota is $38 billion. He also says that it is “DIABOLICAL” to characterize the police as racist or not accountable, and that “Provocateurs who inflame populist scrutiny of Police use of force events will cause the public to be underserved or worse.”
Finally, in what would probably be the most eye-popping moment of the campaign if not for Lisa Goodman’s gum thing, at a forum he started talking about the “urban plantation,” then said (regarding Black people) “they don’t even come to hear this chatter anymore,” then said, “okay, we have one,” and pointed at Lisa Bender’s policy aide, Ron Harris, who’s a Black man and was in attendance, and THEN asked, “are you in the trades? …a pipefitter, an electrician?” and then started rambling about how he knew the first Black electrician in Minneapolis. The clip is worth watching for Lisa Bender’s epic facepalm and to confirm for yourself that I’m not making any of this up.
Despite Bruce’s desire to defend the police, it was David Schorn who apparently got the Police Federation’s endorsement (I mean, he doesn’t have an endorsements section that I could find, but he’s got their logo on his website down at the very, very bottom, if you scroll.)
His main issue (via his Facebook) seems to be bike lanes, and how much he hates them. He linked to, then attended, a protest of bike lanes, which had people holding signs calling them “Nazi Lanes,” decorated with fake blood. (Apparently the protest was originally organized as a joke by a well-known troll/prankster but people got excited about it, showed up, and actually marched. Including David Schorn.)
He also showed up at a forum on housing and couldn’t answer a question about inclusionary zoning. Apparently he also regularly insists that there are loads of apartment vacancies and all the talk of a housing shortage is just lies made up by landlords to justify high rents.
Saralyn Romanishan is one of the founders and organizers of the “Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition.” One of the major fights in both cities right now is density vs. anti-density, YIMBY vs. NIMBY. (NIMBY = “not in my backyard.” YIMBY = “yes, in my backyard.”) The pro-density groups want to allow more multifamily housing of all kinds, they want to ease parking requirements (which means that it will often get harder to park, at least in the short term), and they are often pro-bike-lane even if that means it will take cars longer to get where they’re going. In St. Paul, you can see this in the fight over the Ford site; in Minneapolis, Ward 10 has been the site of a bunch of smaller fights over basically this same issue.
MRRDC is anti-density, and some of the fights in Minneapolis have gotten particularly weird. (That’s a link to a post with video of someone letting the air out of the tires of a guy who was at a house to remove the appliances. I thought it was Ward 10 but it was Ward 13. Still: WEIRD.) Over the years, Saralyn has compared city development to ISIS, Hitler, and and pogroms; she’s described easing of parking requirements as catering to the “Cult of the Carless“; and she got really indignant at people objecting to the phrase “cat lives matter.” (I remember a “cat lives matter” argument on Facebook, except my recollection is that it was someone associated with science fiction who was passionately comparing murdered Black children to mistreated cats, and I’m not sure if this made it into my feed somehow and I thought she was a writer, or if there are multiple white people out there who’ve made this particular hill theirs to die on, or if I’m misremembering a different Facebook fight.)
John Edwards of WedgeLIVE has had some particularly nasty run-ins with her, like one time he linked to her Facebook page (to a public post!) and she sent him a furious letter demanding that he delete the Tweet, and when he declined, a message threatening his girlfriend showed up a few days later. So, let’s assume that it was a friend of Saralyn’s who sent the threat and not Saralyn, but going back to the original irate furious e-mail — if you post something public, in a public space, on an Internet site, that means people can share it. You don’t get to flip out because someone shared a link to the thing you put up publicly on the Internet! If you don’t want them to be able to see your stuff, you can block them! (And if you don’t want people sharing your stuff, Facebook lets you friends-lock stuff!)
My conclusion from all this is that she’s a whole lot weirder than her candidacy website makes her look.
I like Lisa Bender and was really pleased four years ago when she beat Meg Tuthill, who is the sort of asshole who shows up at a protest against bike lanes that features signs calling them “Nazi Lanes.”
I think Lisa’s done a fine job. She supported legalizing Granny Flats and tried to allow protesters speak to the City Council after the Jamar Clark shooting (and participated in the 4th Precinct protests.) She’s worked on bike lanes, pedestrian safety, walking routes to school. She shares my priorities and principles for the city. If I lived in her ward, I imagine there are some things she’s done that would have annoyed me. (Possibly I’d be super annoyed by the bike lanes on 26th and 28th, though I can give you an iron-clad guarantee that NOTHING could get me to show up for a protest full of signs comparing bike lanes to Nazism. I might have sent her an irate letter, though, depending on how much worse traffic got and how often I had to slog through it.) But disliking a certain percentage of decisions made by your representatives is inevitable! (I find it so weird how many people think that if their representatives do not go along with their preferences 100% of the time, that means that the representative isn’t listening. Maybe they listened, but still disagree with you. Sometimes you’re probably wrong. I can guarantee you that some of the time, I am totally wrong.)
Also, all three of her opponents would be — at best — an embarrassment to the city. I would unhesitatingly list Lisa Bender as my #1 choice in this ward; there’s no one else on the ballot I’d want as a #2 choice. Possibly I’d write in John Edwards (who is running a write-in campaign but for a completely different job.)