Election 2021: Minneapolis City Council, Ward 11

Here’s who’s on the ballot:

Jeremy Schroeder (DFL, Incumbent)
Dillon Gherna (DFL)
Emily Koski (DFL)
Albert Ross (DFL)
Kurt Michael Anderson (Independent)

tl;dr vote for Jeremy Schroeder.

Jeremy Schroeder (DFL, Incumbent)

Jeremy Schroeder is, from what I’ve heard from friends who live in his district, progressive, responsive, transparent, and generally the sort of person you want to have representing you. This was his first term; his accomplishments include working on a lot of environmental and affordable housing initiatives and trying to lay the groundwork for a better system of public safety. I like him, and I would totally vote for him. He’s endorsed by Stonewall DFL, the Sierra Club, Take Action MN, pretty much all the area Democratic electeds, etc.

Editing to add, Robin Garwood (policy aide to Ward 2 rep Cam Gordon) had some helpful additions in a Twitter thread:.

(Robin’s absolutely right — the hazard of this project is that I hit a point every year where I’m desperate to get it done on time, and that means I’m a lot better at documenting the stuff I don’t like than the accomplishments of the people I do like. Please go read Robin’s whole thread.)

Dillon Gherna (DFL)

Dillon Gherna is currently the Public Initiatives Coordinator for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. I was curious if he was doing this under the prior Sheriff or if he came in under Hutch, so I checked his LinkedIn: he was hired by the current Sheriff. Prior to 2019, he held a variety of jobs including doing “asset protection” for Goodwill Industries and Sam’s Club.

He’s endorsed by Operation Safety Now, and like a lot of OSN candidates, he’s running on “don’t pass the Public Safety charter amendment” and not a whole lot else. Under his housing policy, he says both that “Renters should not have to live in sub-standard conditions, anywhere in our city” and also that we should change the housing code to “allow for new models of homes such as tiny homes, small homes, shipping container homes, and other innovative accessory dwelling units.” (I mean, here’s the thing about tiny houses: the ones that enthusiastic volunteers build for homeless people frequently don’t have bathrooms. The idea is that they’ll set up sort of a tiny home park with a centralized bathhouse. There are definitely housing code requirements that could be dumped to lower costs, but I’m extremely unconvinced that “residences need to include a bathroom” is a good one to experiment with. Similarly, here’s a good critique of shipping container homes. I would not rule out someone just for having been taken in by the 8 gazillion articles about cutesy tiny homes etc., but the pairing of “renters should not have to live in sub-standard conditions!” with advocating for allowing styles of housing where the substandard conditions tend to be baked in, suggests that this isn’t a topic he’s spent a lot of time on.)

He opposes the Public Safety charter amendment (of course), supports the Strong Mayor charter amendment (of course), and opposes rent control. He’s endorsed by OSN and the Teamsters.

Emily Koski (DFL)

Emily Koski is the daughter of a former Minneapolis mayor (Al Hofstede, who was mayor twice in the 1970s and apparently led the push to save Milwaukee Avenue, a legacy I approve of.) She works as a marketing consultant and tells you several times that she’s a small business owner but not what small business is that she runs: it was a hair and makeup business that did on-site work for weddings and stuff like that.

She’s opposed to the Public Safety charter amendment. She has a Public Safety platform that’s the usual list of fairly tepid suggestions that the Minneapolis Police Department will sabotage and fight tooth and nail anyway. (Minneapolis is trying to set up a mental health response unit. Responders needed background checks and MPD said they could provide them and then just did not do that.) Her Housing page does not even reference the rent stabilization charter amendment and complains that “the community was left out of the conversation when the 2040 Plan was initially put into place.”

She’s endorsed by OSN and the DFL Senior Caucus, a bunch of labor unions, and former Hennepin County Commissioner and failed mayoral candidate Mark Andrew.

Albert Ross (DFL)

Albert Ross, mystifyingly, is not the third endorsee from OSN even though his Gmail address is “fightforpolicedepartments@gmail.com.” They opted to make only two endorsements in this ward. Albert’s website is difficult to read and has some really odd choices in graphics (a blue parrot behind his “housing” goals, for some reason. Also the text of that is all a graphic, so he actually made a graphic with a blue parrot, it wasn’t the default provided by Wix or something.) He wants to establish workforce housing vouchers — this program actually sounds pretty cool but it’s explicitly for cities and towns outside the metro. (I’m not sure why and possibly the reason is bad, but it’s a state program, not overseen by the City Council.) He also has a section on schools that includes stuff that the City Council has no control over.

He wants to create an Inspector General for Minneapolis, he wants every historically marginalized group to have a designated liaison with the city, and he wants Election Day to be a city-wide holiday. He also wants same-day voter registration, which we have, statewide.

On his home page he says, “MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, WE WILL KEEP OUR MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT WITH YOUR VOTE WARD 11, BECAUSE A VOTE FOR ALBERT ROSS IS A VOTE TO KEEP OUR MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT.” For the record: “should we keep our Minneapolis Police Department” is explicitly on the ballot, and you can vote for it without voting for Albert Ross (and for that matter, if Ward 11 voted to elect Albert Ross and the city as a whole voted for a Department of Public Safety, Albert could not stop that from happening, even though he also says, “NO OTHER CANDIDATE RUNNING TO REPRESENT WARD 11 WANTS TO KEEP OUR MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT EXCEPT ALBERT ROSS; THE OTHER GUYS WANT TO RE-THINK AND RE-IMAGINE OUR MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT NOT BEING A POLICE DEPARTMENT; THAT’S WHY YOUR SUPPORT IS VERY IMPORTANT.”

Anyway. I think he’d be a bad choice for the ward.

Kurt Michael Anderson (Independent)

Kurt, instead of a web page, has a PDF hosted on Dropbox that you can peruse. He wants to double the size of MPD and to implement broken-windows policing (he calls it “Broken Windows 2.0” and says it should avoid racial profiling and adhere to legal standards regarding stop-and-frisk. If you think there is any chance that Minneapolis Police would be able to implement broken windows style policing without racial profiling and while adhering to the legal standards regarding stop-and-frisk, I don’t know what to tell you. I find it really hard to believe that a 36-year Minneapolis resident could actually believe that; I think it’s more likely that he believes it’s OK to harm one group of people in the service of making others feel more safe.)

He might be the actual worst of the available options, but fortunately I don’t think he’s very likely to win.

Anyway: I would vote for Jeremy Schroeder and I would not rank anyone else, because I really would not want either Dillon or Emily and neither strikes me particularly as a “lesser evil” (and I don’t think Albert Ross or Kurt Michael Anderson is in any danger of a surprise win.)

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 helped buy a refrigerator for the school nurse at Olson Middle School, outfitted 8th grade Algebra students at Olson Middle School with binders to stay organized, bought a 3-D printer for students at Humboldt high school in St. Paul, equipped a classroom at Whittier with an air purifier, bought a pug mill (a clay mixer that allows you to reuse dried-out clay) for art students at Andersen United, bought copies of We Are Not From Here for North High students to read in 9th grade English class, and funded snacks for kids at Jefferson and Lucy Laney. Here are some other worthwhile fundraisers for high-poverty Minneapolis and Saint Paul schools:

A teacher at Green Central Elementary would like a book/curriculum set that covers “themes such as racism, cultural identity, homelessness, immigration, gender and sexuality, and social activism.” (Your conservative aunt on Facebook who scaremongers about “critical race theory” would keel over in horror at this one.)

A first-year teacher at Bryn Mawr would like a variety of classroom supplies, including individual dry-erase boards, a big easel, a classroom rug, a selection of books, and some educational games.

Two elementary teachers at  Folwell would like help providing a mid-morning snack to their students.

A math teacher at Andersen would like to provide her students with scientific calculators.

Two science teachers at Washington Technology high school in St. Paul would like learning materials for their chemistry classes: glassware and microscopes, and equipment that will allow students to “see how adding nanoparticles to a conductive solution affects voltage.”

And a different kind of school fundraiser:

Kaytie Kamphoff is a special education resource teacher at Patrick Henry High School and the co-director/producer of Henry Drama Club. (Christopher Michael is her co-director and their full-time theater and dance teacher.) She initially asked for funds on Twitter just so the Henry Drama Club could stage a couple of plays this year. Ms. Kamphoff has now set her sights higher: she’s hoping to raise enough to run a summer theater program for Northside kids, free for participants, paid for the recent grads/Drama Club alums who work. You can donate to her by Venmo or Paypal: Venmo is Henry_DC and PayPal is Kaytie.Kamphoff@gmail.com. Note “Henry Drama Club” in the memo and if Paypal insists you need the last four digits of her phone number, it’s 5548.

Her Twitter thread is solidly worth reading if you’d like some heartwarming stories of the transformational power of theater in the lives of high school students.


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