Kristina Gronquist wants new 'voices' at City Hall

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May 8, 2013 // UPDATED 1:10 pm - May 20, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
Kristina Gronquist
Sarah McKenzie
Candidate seeking Green Party endorsement for Third Ward Council seat

Kristina Gronquist, a long-time neighborhood activist and assistant general manager of the Eastside Food Co-op, is seeking the Green Party’s endorsement for the Third Ward City Council seat.

She’s the latest candidate to join the race, which also includes newly DFL-endorsed Jacob Frey and incumbent City Council Member Diane Hofstede.

Gronquist has a lengthy track record of community service. She’s the treasurer of the St. Anthony West Neighborhood Association, a founding member of the Northeast Investment Co-op and a volunteer with AchieveMpls, the nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools.

This is her third time running for the City Council. She ran twice in the 1980s against Walt Dziedzic.

Gronquist said she believes the Council needs more “voices.” The 13-member body is dominated by DFLers with Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) the sole Green Party member.

“Democracy demands more than a one-party state, and it demands more than a one-party city,” she said. “DFLers who control this city — they talk a good talk, but they don’t walk the walk.”

Gronquist said she’s been motivated to run for the Council spot because of frustrations she’s had with City Hall. Top on the list is what she called the “whole stadium boondoggle.”

She was involved in passing the city charter in the 1990s that requires a citywide vote on stadium subsidies of $10 million or more.

“The charter was not put before the citizens — the spirit of it was bypassed, if not the letter of the law,” she said.

Gronquist is also critical of the City Council’s recent decision to overhaul the Civilian Review Authority — a move some have suggested has gutted civilian oversight of the police.

Changes to community engagement in the city have also troubled her. She said the city’s new Neighborhood & Community Engagement Commission (NCEC), which replaced the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) has been “confusing” and ineffective.

If elected, her top priorities would be to strengthen community engagement and neighborhood groups; promote green principles throughout the city through diverse transportation options, safe biking and walkable streets; and cleanup blight throughout the ward by revitalizing vacant commercial properties and redeveloping Superfund sites, such as the Superior Plating and Shoreham Yards sites.

When asked about her thoughts on the wave of new development throughout the ward, she said she’s troubled that so much of it is luxury rental housing.

“We have an affordable housing crisis,” she said.

She said she’d like to see new green manufacturing centers developed to create new job opportunities for people in the city.

While she was opposed to the financing plan for the new Vikings stadium, she said she’d work to make sure there’s strict oversight of minority hiring goals.

The 5th Congressional District Green Party has endorsed three candidates for city offices to date: Cam Gordon for another term representing the Council’s Second Ward, Annie Young for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Ty Moore for the Council’s Ninth Ward.

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At a glance: Kristina Gronquist

Neighborhood: St. Anthony West

Occupation: Assistant general manager of the Eastside Food Co-op, 2551 Central Ave.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Facebook: facebook.com/kristina4citycouncil

Twitter: @KGfromMpls