Here are the two people on the ballot:
I literally have nothing to add to the post I wrote in 2016. The candidates are the same, Jim Davnie is still awesome, I once again (seriously, it’s been three times now) temporarily got the wrong Kyle Bragg and was confused, and the correct Kyle Bragg still doesn’t have a website.
I guess Kyle Bragg filing reduces the odds that they’ll wind up with someone profoundly embarrassing on the ballot representing the GOP. So probably worth it, from his perspective.
Vote for Jim!
The Hennepin County Attorney does a bunch of stuff but here’s the aspect of the job that tends to get the most attention these days: this is the person who decides whether to file charges against the cops when they shoot someone.
Currently, the job is held by Mike Freeman, who did file charges against Mohamed Noor for shooting Justine Damond, but did not file charges against the officers who shot Jamar Clark or Thurman Blevins. His opponent is Mark Haase. More below the cut.
On the ballot:
I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed the last few days, between the coming elections and the news cycle, and this morning thought, “why don’t I do an easy one?”
This is a super easy race because I did some in-depth research on the challenger, Michelle MacDonald, in 2014. Then updated it in 2016. So really all you need to know is, never vote for Michelle MacDonald for anything, not even dogcatcher, not even if you’re a Republican. I did find some updates to the ongoing trainwreck that is her career, which I’ve put under the cut.
On the ballot:
“Court 11” seems to refer to the seat that’s open, but I can’t figure out which judge is in it right now. That person is apparently not running for re-election as the seat seems to be wide open. There are four people running, two of whom will progress to the November ballot.
I just want to note for the record that I think this is a bad way to choose a judge. Even more than any other elective seat, I’m not in a good position to decide whether someone’s going to be good at the job. The Committee on Judicial Selection, which you apply to and which recommends appointments to the governor, and which was handling two seats this year, seems genuinely more qualified to me. (I have no idea why this seat wasn’t filled that way!)
(I’d also prefer retention elections to the system we’ve got now. In a retention election, you vote “should we keep this person, Y/N” when their term expires, and if people vote N, a new person gets appointed.)
The vast majority of what judges do isn’t partisan. “Did this person steal a car?” is not a particularly political question. But of course, politics leak in in all sorts of ways. I don’t want a judge who’s going to discriminate against a gay parent in a child custody case. I don’t want a judge who doesn’t take violence against women seriously. I don’t want a judge who assumes that police officers are always telling the truth. Etc.
Anyway — somewhat frustratingly, I’m going to note — all four of the candidates for this open seat appear to be basically fine and decent people who’d probably be good judges. Here they are:
Every year I sit down to write this and think, “what am I even going to come up with this year? I have used up all possible Bad Gift Ideas and am doubtless in reruns at this point” and then I start poking around looking at what’s available for purchase on Amazon:
And I realize that I have barely scratched the surface of astonishingly terrible objects that one could give to those people to whom one is required by circumstance and etiquette to give gifts.
Maybe your office has a Secret Santa exchange, and you don’t officially have to participate except at your last performance review you got dinged for “not being enough of a team player, so you kinda do have to participate, and then you get assigned to buy a gift for that person who puts all their calls on speakerphone and leaves dishes in the office sink. Or maybe you’ve tried to talk your family into just exchanging festive greetings and this resulted in DRAMA so you’ve resigned yourself to buying gifts forever for that family member you try not to get stuck next to during the meal.
Sometimes you’re shopping for a gift because it’s worth that $15 to keep the peace and even though you know that, you resent every moment trying to figure out what would please this person. And that’s where my shopping guide comes in! Free yourself from the burden of trying to make an asshole happy, and embrace the idea of giving them something that won’t.
There are certain basic principles that apply every year. It should be cheap, but untraceably cheap. (Buying them a hand-crocheted who-knows-what for $2 at a thrift shop and pretending it came from a craft show is a terrific idea but you will need to make sure it looks new and doesn’t have that distinctive, identifiable Smell Of Savers wafting from it.) It should be easy to get, and it should look like a gift you might honestly have picked out because you thought they’d like it.
(And a final disclaimer: I don’t actually buy gifts for anyone I don’t like, so if I have given you a bad gift in the past, I promise this was not an intentional slight!)
ON TO THE SHOPPING.
A quick reminder to those who don’t know this: I actually live in St. Paul (I lived in Minneapolis for 17 years, and started election blogging when I still lived in Minneapolis, but I moved across the river in 2012.) These are the people I would be voting for — I don’t actually vote for any of them.
Cam Gordon is running unopposed.
I’ll add to this one — whichever you rank first, you should definitely rank the other second. They’re both awesome.
BOARD OF ESTIMATE AND TAXATION
BET analysis here. (Carol and David are unopposed on the ballot.)
PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS AT-LARGE
(Note: there are three open seats, but order matters.)
PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT SEATS
And, hey, was my analysis useful to you this year? Are you thinking to yourself, “wow, I wish this fine person had a Patreon link”? I do not have a Patreon link, but you could buy a copy of my latest book (a short story collection) or one of my two ebook-only collections (Comrade Grandmother or Gift of the Winter King). Or! For a limited time only (the next month), you can donate to my fundraiser for the Bridge For Youth!(Because it’s specifically my fundraiser I can see how much my fans have donated,which is pretty awesome.) The Bridge for Youth is a Twin Cities non-profit that provides counseling, support, shelter, and services (including long-term transitional services) to homeless teens (and even younger children — their shelter houses kids as young as ten.)
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to vote tomorrow!