Election 2018: Minneapolis City Question

There is a City Charter referendum on the Minneapolis ballot this year, asking the following question:

City Question

Remove Area and Spacing Requirements for Liquor Licenses

Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to remove from the City Charter the area and spacing requirements pertaining to liquor licenses?

You vote either YES or NO.

Coverage I’ve found:

Referendum may expand restaurant liquor licensing, Southwest Journal

Ballot Question #1 on November 6 City Ballot, Fulton Neighborhood Association

YesOn1, from the restaurant owners who would like to be able to serve cocktails

Minneapolis neighborhood restaurants fight for the right to serve cocktails, Star Tribune

Basically, right now, if you are a restaurant owner whose building is on quaint little street corner that’s not a large commercial district, and you would like to serve wine, beer, and cocktails, you have to hire a lobbyist to get you an exemption from the state legislature in order to serve the cocktails. You also have to get a liquor license from the city for all this stuff.

This will remove the step where you have to go to the legislature. (Licensing will work basically the same otherwise.) This does not affect retail establishments such as grocery stores and liquor stores — just restaurants.

This is a ridiculous thing to even have in the city charter and can definitely be handled by the licensing board. Vote yes.

 

 

 

 

 

Election 2018: Judge, Court of Appeals 2

This is a state-wide race: it is on everyone’s ballot. I almost didn’t notice it was contested, because the challenger didn’t have a website up in time to get it linked from the voter info portal site I use to see what the races even are.

Running:

Lucinda Ellen Jesson (Incumbent)
Anthony L. Brown

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Election 2018: Governor of Minnesota

This was a genuinely hard choice in the primaries but now that we’ve arrived at the general election, it is SUPER easy.

On the ballot:

Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan (DFL)
Jeff Johnson and Donna Bergstrom (Republican)
Chris Wright and Judith Schwartzbacker (Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis)
Josh Welter and Mary O’Connor (Libertarian)

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Election 2018: US House, 5th Congressional District

As I started up a video to watch Jennifer Zielinski talk at the State Fair along with Greg Ryan, it occurred to me that I could maybe devote a little less perfectionistic attention to the races where (a) nothing I find is going to change who I’d vote for and (b) nothing I write is going to change who wins.

This seat hasn’t been held by a Republican since 1962.  Keith Ellison’s lowest total was 56% the first time he ran, when the Republican and the Independence candidate more or less tied with 21%. The most impressively unbalanced result was in 2012, when Keith got 75% to the Republican’s 25%.

Given this, I’m sure it was a huge relief to the Republicans that Jennifer Zielinski stepped forward to run and the Republican slot didn’t go to Bob “Again” Carney, who published a book calling for Trump to be impeached, or Chris Chamberlin, who ran for President in 2016 under the name Vlad Draculea. Their best case in a race like this is a friendly, hardworking, basically normal person who will campaign and turn out the vote because it’ll help them in statewide races.

On the ballot:

Ilhan Omar (DFL)
Jennifer Zielinski (Republican)

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Election 2018: Hennepin County Attorney

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:

Mike Freeman (Incumbent)
Mark Haase (DFL-endorsed)

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Election 2018: Associate Justice Supreme Court 2

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:

Michelle MacDonald
Margaret Chutich (Incumbent)

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Election 2018: Minnesota State Auditor

This is a statewide race. The Minnesota State Auditor’s office audits local governments and counties. They have a FAQ but it’s pretty technical. The office has existed since before Minnesota was technically even a state; despite being fairly low-profile, it’s been a springboard to higher office for a number of people who’ve served in that role, including Arne Carlson and Mark Dayton. Judi Dutcher ran for Lieutenant Governor after serving as auditor, as Mike Hatch’s running mate, but lost; current Auditor Rebecca Otto tried for the governorship this year but dropped out after not receiving the DFL endorsement.

I think that this job may have worked so well for Arne and Mark (and Judi came really close — if Hatch hadn’t called a reporter a “Republican whore” after Judi muffed a question on E85, she’d probably have gotten to the Lieutenant Governorship, although arguably Auditor is a better job anyway) in part because done right, it’s really apolitical. We can argue across party lines about how tax money ought to be spent, but none of us — I hope? — is going to defend graft and blatant waste, which is what auditors are generally looking for. So you get to spend 4+ years doing things that basically everyone in the state, if they notice you’re doing it, is probably going to approve of.

Weirdly, Rebecca Otto managed to really piss me off. My older daughter used to do Junior Roller Derby, which for years had practice space at the Minneapolis National Guard Armory. They abruptly lost their practice space when (I found out quite some time later) Rebecca Otto told them they could no longer rent out the facility after normal business hours. Why? I still don’t know! I sent her two e-mail messages and got no response at all, ever. (It’s still not 100% clear to me why this was even something she oversaw.)

This is also one of the jobs where in the past I voted for a Republican. I quite liked Judi Dutcher and voted for her in 1998. (She then switched to the DFL in 2000, sensibly enough.)

To add to the overall confusion about what this person actually does, in 2015 a law got passed saying that counties could opt to hire private auditing firms instead of using the State Auditor. This makes me nervous, although the larger counties have been allowed to hire private auditors for years. More than half of Minnesota counties opted for private firms to do this in 2016 (probably in part because it’s cheaper.) Rebecca Otto sued over this and lost. So what’s even going to happen with this office? Are they likely to ditch it completely, like they ditched the office of the State Treasurer? Do we actually need a State Auditor overseeing all this stuff or is it reasonable to just require counties to have an auditor come in? Several candidates talked about this but I did not come away feeling exactly enlightened.

Anyway. On the ballot:

Chris Dock (Libertarian)
Pam Myhra (Republican)
Julie Blaha (DFL)
Michael Ford (Legal Marijuana Now)

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