Election 2021: Minneapolis City Council, Ward 13

With this post, I’m done with the City Council races! Still to come: the Minneapolis Mayoral race, the Board of Estimate and Taxation, the Strong Mayor charter amendment, the Rent Stabilization charter amendment, St. Paul School board, their Rent Stabilization charter amendment, and … possibly another post on public safety? ::checks calendar:: better make this one fast, I guess.

On the ballot for Ward 13:

Linea Palmisano (incumbent, DFL, DFL endorsed)
Mike Norton (DFL)
Kati Medford (Green)
Ken Salway (Republican)
Bob Reuer (Independent)

That’s kind of a startling amount of party diversity for a Minneapolis City Council race.

tl;dr: #1 Mike Norton, #2 Kati Medford.

Linea Palmisano (incumbent, DFL, DFL endorsed)

I would probably like Linea Palmisano just fine if she were a DFL incumbent state legislator in a swing district where Democrats have to pander endless to anxious suburbanites just to have any sort of chance at holding the seat. She kind of specializes in reassuring anxious suburbanites. It’s just a shame that it’s Minneapolis residents who are playing the “suburbanite” role here. I think everyone here deserves better.

Also she doesn’t even own it? Like she touts her support for violence prevention when she was the one person who voted against the creation of the Office of Violence Prevention (she also claimed on a questionnaire she’d supported it). She “deplores” the use of rubber bullets but refused to support a non-binding vote condemning their use. She was already sort of crap on policing issues (aside from the time the police killed one of her own constituents) four years ago but her only opponent was Bob Reuer. This year, she has an opponent who’s a Democrat and an opponent who’s a Green! So I’m super excited to recommend someone else. (WedgeLive has more on Linea’s generally disappointing record.)

Mike Norton (DFL)

I really, really like Mike Norton’s responses to the Reclaim the Block questionnaire (which he linked to from his website). Some highlights: “In my Lynnhurst neighborhood, we rarely see officers on patrol. If police are what keep people safe, then Southwest Minneapolis should be the city’s biggest crime hot spot. It’s not, because it’s largely access to resources一not police一that creates the foundation for safe neighborhoods.” “When many people think about the value of the police, they think of the officers who respond to emergency situations or investigate violent crimes. That’s just one part of the work our dollars are supporting. When the MPD got a call that George Floyd may have used a counterfeit $20 bill, four officers responded. Was that the best use of our resources? What about the salaries of MPD Spokesperson John Elder and his team, who worked tirelessly to cover up any wrongdoing by Derek Chauvin and the system that enabled him?” “I can envision a public safety system that transfers many of the current responsibilities of the Minneapolis Police Department elsewhere.”

Mike’s background information includes that he’s on the Board of Directors for the Transportation Club of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, which is apparently a professional organization for the transportation industry (and I think more “the transportation of stuff” than, like, travel agents)…”club” made me picture, like, a fan club. WRONG IMAGE. Much less entertaining.

Anyway: thoughtful, analytical, and more progressive than Linea. He’d be my #1.

Kati Medford (Green)

Kati Medford also looks cool. Like Mike (and unlike Linea) she’s in favor of the Public Safety charter amendment. She has some good, unique ideas. She suggests that as a starting place, all 911 calls could ask, “Do you require an armed police officer?” (She specifically suggests they start that way. Right now they start with, “what is your emergency?” — part of the problem with the way things work now is that police get dispatched to things where OBVIOUSLY no one was asking for an armed police officer, like medical emergencies.) She’d like the city to offer an “incentivized therapy program for those who are most at risk of committing violent acts” — the city would provide free therapy and a cash payment if you go, “in exchange for a commitment to work closely with a mentor and to not engage in violent crime.” She wants incentives for pollinator gardens.

Kati is endorsed by the Green Party, Our Revolution, and Ward 2 City Council rep Cam Gordon. I would list her as my #2 but if you’re looking at Mike Norton and thinking, “he’d be better than Linea but wow, is there anyone in this race who even has police abolition as an aspiration?” then Kati is your candidate! Rank her as your #1 and then Mike as your #2 (because he’d be a huge improvement over Linea).

Ken Salway (Republican)

All you really need to know about Ken is that his platform includes a stance against critical race theory. FYI: the City Council doesn’t set the curricula for the public schools. (He also wants to increase funding for the police and throws in a photo montage of the unrest in May 2020 for good measure. Don’t vote for Ken.)

Bob Reuer (Independent)

Bob Reuer also ran in in 2013 (as a Republican) and in 2017 (as an Independent). I think he’s hit “perennial candidate” status. His fairly minimal website once again says “we need to end political interference with the police department, while holding them accountable for reducing crime, re-establishing safe neighborhoods, and regaining the trust of Minneapolis residents,” which is word-for-word the same as what he said four years ago and continues to not address the question of how we’ll hold them accountable for literally anything at all without actions he would undoubtedly consider to be political interference. I thought maybe he was holding some events but based on the dates I’m pretty sure these events are from 2017. Don’t vote for Bob.


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, provided a book/curriculum set to students at Green Elementary that would thoroughly upset a lot of pearl-clutching Republicans, 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 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.

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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