Minneapolis is voting on two questions that would amend the city charter. Neither is a question about policing, because the charter commission decided that as an un-elected body they were under no obligation to act in accordance with the wishes of the citizenry and didn’t put any questions about policing on the ballot. I bet that some of the charter commission members read my blog, and so before going onward to talk about the amendments that are on the ballot, I would just like to take this opportunity to say to them: why, hello there, fuck 10 out of the 15 of you.
The questions on the ballot read as follows.
CITY QUESTION 1 (Minneapolis)
Redistricting of Wards and Park Districts
Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to allow ward and park district boundaries to be reestablished in a year ending in 1 and to allow the use of those new boundaries for elections in that same year; to allow ward and park district boundaries to be modified after the legislature has been redistricted to establish City precinct boundaries; to provide that an election for a Council Member office required by Minnesota law in a year ending in 2 or 3 after a redistricting shall be for a single 2-year term; and to clarify that a regular election means a regular general election?
CITY QUESTION 2 (Minneapolis) Special Municipal Elections Shall the Minneapolis City Charter be amended to comply with Minnesota election law related to uniform dates for special municipal elections and to provide that a special election be held on a legal election day under Minnesota law that is more than 90 days from a vacancy in the office of Mayor or Council Member?
You can vote yes or no. The two questions are voted on separately (and although they are both about elections, they’re unrelated.)
Well, the good news on this race: despite the presence of four candidates, it’s going to be pretty quick to write up. Shout out to the John Edwards and his “hyperlocal news empire,” WedgeLIVE, which has this race as covered as anyone could ask. (Here’s an article on the origins of WedgeLIVE in 2014. If you like my commentary and you live in Ward 10, you should absolutely start following this guy on Twitter, because he’s super-local, heavily focused on Ward 10, and he has a gift for finding the sort of bizarre moments that make local politics so surreal. That gum story made the international news, apparently — I mean, down in the “weird random shit that happened this week among those wacky Americans” tidbits — and he was the first to report it.)
This is one of those races where my opinion seems to be out of step with the opinion of a lot of people I respect and generally think of as sensible, and I’m honestly not sure if they simply have a different attitude about what constitutes a deal breaker, or if they missed the news story about Alondra Cano doxing a bunch of her constituents, or if there’s some EVEN WORSE story out there about Gary Schiff and Mohamed Farah and I just missed it?
This is the sort of straightforward race that’s almost as easy to write about as an uncontested seat. Vote for Andrea Jenkins! A long-time policy aide to Glidden, Andrea is sufficiently popular and beloved that despite the open seat, she was unopposed for endorsement.
Lisa Goodman has been on the council as long as Barb Johnson, and is such a staunch ally that their names tend to run together in a whole lot of articles. She represents what the city website refers to as “beautiful, stable, in-demand residential neighborhoods like Kenwood, Lowry Hill, Cedar-Isles-Dean, and Bryn Mawr.” If you’re reading from out of town and thinking, “oh, is that where the rich people live?” that would be a YES. (They are rich Democrats, however.) Lisa also represents part of downtown and the Loring Park neighborhood.
Lisa is kind of a mixed bag. There’s stuff she’s done that I genuinely like and approve of; there’s stuff she’s done that’s unfortunate; there’s stuff that’s just gross, like “WTF WHY” levels of gross. (LIKE THE GUM THING.)
If Ward 5 was the most baffling overall, Ward 6 has the most baffling political candidate: an immigrant Muslim woman who’s running as a Republican on a Democratic platform and who went to a Trump rally. She’s not going to win (I mean, come on, she has “Republican” after her name on the ballot and this ward includes Seward) but I’m probably going to spend more time than is really warranted because of the “wait, hang on, what?” factor here.
When you’re running for office (and it’s not, you know, Soil & Water Board), there are certain things you should plan to do if you’re actively campaigning. Typically, if you get a questionnaire from a group, you fill it out and send it back for their voter guide. This is a good idea even if you don’t think this group is going to endorse you, because that voter guide goes online and will be read by people from all over the political spectrum. If you get invited to a forum where you’re going to get questions about your positions, you go and participate. You hold events where voters can meet you, and organize events for your volunteers to doorknock and drop lit.
My usual bare-bones test for “is this person even running for the office, or are they just hanging out on the ballot?”) is, “Do they have a website with information about them, a donations link, and a way to volunteer?” All four of these candidates pass this test.
But only two of them are filling out questionnaires, going to forums, and holding events. And neither one of them is the incumbent.