Elections 2021: Minneapolis City Council, Ward 3

There are four people on the ballot in Ward 3.

Steve Fletcher (DFL, incumbent)
Michael Rainville (DFL)
Merv Moorhead (DFL)
Hope Hennessey (Independent)

tl;dr vote for Steve Fletcher.

In Ward Three, you can choose between a solid, thoughtful, committed incumbent OR either of two OSN-endorsed cop fanboys OR a woman who has not put together a website. (I linked to her Facebook page but it has two posts, neither of substance.)

I was trying to come up with more to say so I watched the North Loop Neighborhood Association forum, and it’s totally worth watching. Tane Danger (the moderator) kept things lively and moving. Hope Hennessey does show up on a website I’m not linking to called “AntifaWatch” or something along those lines, because apparently she got arrested at the protests in Brooklyn Park last spring, so that’s a point in her favor, and she put in a reasonably decent showing at the NLNA forum, so if you are unhappy with Steve but don’t want to vote for someone opposing meaningful police reform, you could list her first and Steve second, and if you want a second person on your ballot you could list Steve first and her second.

Other takeaways from that forum:

  • Michael Rainville and Merv Moorhead are solidly in the camp of, “pay lip service to the idea of reducing emissions, while remaining firmly committed to the idea that no one anywhere should ever have to give up driving a car.” Michael says a lot of stuff about “no one size fits all solutions” when asked about bike lanes (which is to say, “maybe other people should have to give up parking for bike lanes, but my constituents definitely shouldn’t”) and Merv wants to solve everything with electric cars (which he repeatedly called “electronic” cars). Hope Hennessey revealed herself kind of solidly not ready for prime time by suggesting that the problem of balancing bike lanes and parking is to require all developers to install a big underground parking lot.

    (Here’s the thing about parking requirements and development. Do you want more affordable housing? Have you ever thought to yourself, “you know, there are a lot of requirements on new multifamily housing, and of course some of them are stuff like “fire safety systems so we don’t have horrifying fires where lots of people die horribly,” and I want to keep those, but are some of them less critical than that? Have we considered eliminating some of THOSE requirements?” Because at the top of the list of those sorts of basically-optional requirements for housing: PARKING. Building some specified minimum of parking spots for an apartment building adds significantly to the cost of every unit. There’s no getting around that. Saying the parking needs to be underground raises the price even more.)
  • There was, about a half hour in, a truly hilarious exchange between Michael Rainville and Steve Fletcher where Michael demanded to know why Steve had not personally passed gun control laws. Steve, somewhat dumbfounded, told Michael that it was not legal to pass them as a municipality. Michael then insisted that a Ward 3 City Council rep who had truly shown leadership would have gone to the State Legislature, “developed relationships,” and demanded gun reform from the legislature. “It’s your argument that you could go to the capitol and win gun reform?” Steve asked. “Yes. I could do that,” Michael replied.

    So, uh, returning to the real world for a moment: the State Legislators from Minneapolis would love to pass gun control. There are a lot of reasons why it’s been hard to get that done in Minnesota and “leadership” from a City Council rep in Minneapolis is not going to be the key here. Michael’s misplaced confidence is hilarious.
  • Near the end, they got asked about listening to constituents and Steve Fletcher had a terrific response on that, which is that it’s critical to listen to people but that there are absolutely people in Minneapolis who think that if they’re not getting what they want, that’s because someone isn’t listening. If we do nothing until we have consensus, we are giving the most conservative voices a complete veto. He is absolutely right about this.

I Tweeted about Michael Rainville (I keep wanting to combine the two conservatives in this race into a single guy named Michael Moorville) and his hilarious conviction that Steve Fletcher’s failures are all that’s standing between us and meaningful gun control, and someone pointed me toward this Tweet from last December:

That would be a PAC from Anoka County that’s showing their support for Michael Rainville by parking in a bike lane and blocking the curb cut with a truck. Really showcases who that guy is, to be honest.

Anyway. I was hoping to have an answer on whether Rainville or Moorhead is a lesser evil for slot #3 and I really do not have an answer there. They seem largely indistinguishable to me except that Rainville has more money. They’re both endorsed by Operation Safety Now (Rainville 1, Moorhead 2), they’re both endorsed by the DFL Senior Caucus. Michael is also endorsed by Sharon Sayles-Belton (now there is a blast from the past) and Don Samuels — Moorhead seems to be the general second choice of Minneapolis conservatives, but I don’t think he’s any less bad, I think he’s just been less successful. If I get any information that makes me rethink this, I’ll add it, but my advice at this point is, don’t rank either Moorhead or Rainville, even as your #3.

Absolutely rank Steve Fletcher #1, and if you want to case a second vote, rank Hope #2.


Did you know that I had a book released this April? Chaos on CatNet is a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and takes place in a future Minneapolis. 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 — Tubby & Coo’s bookstore explains why.

I do not have a Patreon or Ko-Fi, but you can make a donation to encourage my work! I get a lot of satisfaction watching fundraisers I highlight getting funded. My readers have now bought a refrigerator for the school nurse at Olson Middle School, outfitted 8th grade Algebra students with binders to stay organized, and equipped a classroom with an air purifier. Here are some other worthwhile fundraisers for high-poverty Minneapolis and Saint Paul schools:

An art teacher at Andersen United middle school is starting a ceramics program and needs a pug mill to recycle dried out clay back into usable clay. (Over time, they’ll save a lot of money on clay if they have this!)

The North High School librarian would like copies of We Are Not From Here for students to read in 9th grade English class.

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