Voter's Guide: Q&A with the ‘minor’ candidates for mayor

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October 17, 2013 // UPDATED 10:30 am - October 27, 2013
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Editor’s note: We reached out via email to the Minneapolis mayoral candidates who have remained more or less under the radar as most of them haven’t participated in the dozens of debates that started in late March. We wanted to learn more about what’s motivating their campaigns. Here are responses from the candidates who answered our questions. 

12 responded (Bob “Again” Carney Jr, Abdul Rahamim, Capt. Jack Sparrow, Gregg Iverson, Chris Clark, Mark V Anderson, Merrill Anderson, Jeffrey Wagner, Doug Mann, John Wilson, Christopher Zimmerman & Bill Kahn)

 

Bob “Again” Carney  Jr.

Platform: Demand transit revolution
Website: www.bobagain.com
Neighborhood: East Harriet 

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

Let’s start with a question for you — my reader: of the half dozen “major” candidates — I call them “regime candidates” — does it matter who wins? Would there be any noticeable improvement in your daily life — or for most Minneapolitans? I submit it wouldn’t matter who among that bunch won. The budget is pretty much on cruise control going forward.  A few dozen more police officers — let’s hope potholes get fixed faster!  The “regime candidate” money and support is from interest groups: unions, government employees, nonprofits — sprinkle in some lawyers. The “regime” will fight any significant cutback anywhere. Gridlock is the default result. Let me be frank about two things. First, leaving aside the achievement gap and housing issues (more on those later) things are going pretty well in Minneapolis for most people.  Second, if elected Mayor, my ability to break the gridlock would be very limited — except in one area. That area is Transit. 

My political principle is “Demand Transit Revolution.”  I have a 150 page e-book on my website. I’ll be telling you more about it in much of my following answers.  Here are the two main features:

— First, during peak hours (16 hours a day for core routes, 10 for other routes) Transit Revolution will provide five-minute service using smaller vehicles — Metro Mobility size buses (24 passengers and one wheelchair,) and 15 passenger vans.  When your average wait is two or three minutes, you don’t worry about schedules, getting out the door, or missing a transfer.

— Second, the system treats Transit as a utility — everyone will pay a monthly charge, and every Minneapolis resident will get a Go Card. Everyone’s marginal cost for Transit Revolution service is zero.

“Demand Transit Revolution!” — that’s the mainspring of my motivation. 

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

Again: among the “regime” candidates it wouldn’t matter who won.

Mayor Carney (that’s me!) will use the bully pulpit to Demand Transit Revolution for We the People of Minneapolis — bringing a significant positive difference to our daily lives.  We’ll get around faster. Many household will choose to own one less car, or no car. 

That’s the difference — and let me add this: many of our Mayoral Council support my Transit Revolution.  We’re working together — supporting a platform of issues that have the same common thread: each plank will make a significant positive difference in the daily lives of We the People. This sets all of us apart from the “regime candidates — visit www.mayoralcouncil.com to learn more.

Back to the Transit Revolution: The system starts out “on top of” the Metro Transit system — we won’t change anything people rely on now. 

The Transit Revolution Core Service Area is south from downtown to 46th Street, and between the Chain of Lakes and the Mississippi. 

The south half of the Greenway will be paved and will have five minute service from Hennepin to Hiawatha — with elevators connecting to north south routes. 

Each Minneapolis neighborhood has its own neighborhood routes — these are detailed in my “Demand Transit Revolution” e-book.

This is a jobs program — starting with 3,400 part time jobs — at $15/hr W-2 plus mandatory employer paid benefits.

The cost is amazingly, resolutely low — $47 per vehicle hour, compared to $130 per vehicle hour for big city bus systems.

Transit Revolution won’t start without voter approval by referendum.

To sum up: Transit Revolution will be a major, positive change in the daily lives of most people who live in Minneapolis.  That’s what sets me — and the Mayoral Council candidates — apart from the “regime” candidates. 

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

Transit Revolution is my number one priority — I will be devoting as much time and energy to it as possible. By the way, whether elected or not, I’m organizing and launching a for-profit business to promote it.  I would love to be able to leave office in mid-term — with a referendum passed and implementation on the way.  My goal is not to be Mayor of Minneapolis — that is a means to an end. 

The end is organizing peaceful but revolutionary change in America — such change can and must involve both the public and private sectors. Transit Revolution is a logical starting point for many reasons. 

I can do a lot more for Minneapolis and Minnesota by kick-starting the Transit Revolution at the Legislature and City Council, then leaving office and working full time launching a global Transit Revolution business that will bring thousands of jobs here.

Here are two additional priorities for my first few months:

— Second: “Stop Foreclosures Now” — Jaymie Kelly’s political principle.  Here’s our Mayoral Council position on this, approved unanimously by nine candidates at our Sept. 18 meeting: “Resolved:  The Minneapolis Mayoral Council calls on the Minneapolis City Council to immediately implement eminent domain purchases of foreclosed homes currently or last occupied by people who apply to the City and can demonstrate they have enough income to remain in their home.”  I will work to implement this immediately.

— Third: “Stop the Wilfs—No Vote No Deal.” That’s the name for the Mayoral Council’s petition.  Even if Minnesota,  through the MSFA (“Authority,”) signs a contract with the Vikings and Wilfs, I will continue to fight this, and demand a full review by the Legislature.  We cannot and must not do business with the Wilfs — not because they don’t have enough money, but because of their business practices.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

Our park system.

However, nerd-wonk that I am, I can’t help but considering the parks in an analytic, historical context.  If you want to just enjoy the parks, and not worry about this stuff, you might skip to the next answer — but here it goes.

Minneapolis was a milling boom town for decades. In 1883 a voter referendum established the Park Board, which promptly hired Professor Horace Cleveland, who put together an incredibly ambitious park plan for Minneapolis, with a one century time frame. 

The City Fathers were committed to good stewardship of the Earth, but let me be blunt: this was combined with a gigantic real estate scheme.  Electric street car technology was brand new — real estate appreciation near the lakes was an economic foundation for both acquiring park land around the Chain of Lakes, both sides of Minnehaha, and the Mississippi — and for building a system of electric street cars — all done within a decade. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul were literally designed from the ground up for my Transit Revolution system — the routes are virtually the same as the early streetcar system.  The grid structure of roads, and the level of density, were planned with the knowledge of how a transit system based on a maximum walk of two city blocks would serve the entire area.

The building of our park and street car system is the mother of all public private partnerships. It put the ability to coordinate public and private work in to the DNA of Minneapolis and Minnesota. It’s the wellspring of our quality of life — and the Transit Revolution’s foundation. Minneapolis has a parks and transit model that can work world wide — let’s make it our business to make that happen.

But try not to think about this when you’re out enjoying the park system. 

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

Fiscal restraint: B, but now trending rapidly towards F.

Overall economic development: B, but our current rate of development is coming mostly from the private sector and regional economic dynamics.

Financial controls and accountability: F, the internal audit function is still an understaffed disaster. It was wrong to move the audit committee from the BET — a Management Analysis unit was eliminated. The Budget and Evaluation staff has dropped from seven to two.

Streetcar plan: F, great for construction unions; brings in federal dollars; overall a disastrous waste of transit resources.

Cars on Demand: A

Pothole management: F

Bike boulevards: F, and here’s why: bikes and cars do not mix — the bikes slow down the cars (and the buses,) and you increase the danger of fatal accidents.  Bike commuter routes should be one block on either side of major car routes. I’ve biked downtown and back for years on Colfax — there is no rush hour on Colfax. Rush hour is partly an illusion caused by stop lights, which cause cars to move in packs.  Put some tunnels on the bike routes under the major intersections and we can have bike commuter routes with no rush hour. The “bike boulevard” system design is dangerous to the point of being immoral.

Police accountability: F.

Help for the 15,000–plus Minneapolitans who have suffered through foreclosures: F.

Here’s the big one: Transparency, Citizen involvement, and accountability: F.

Mayor Rybak supported NRP — now it’s gone.  Why? It was a way for citizens and neighborhoods to organize and manage programs at the neighborhood level.  But that would be an independent base of citizen power. If you’re trying to make sure a regime of special interests can control everything, that’s the last thing you would want. 

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

The “Achievement Gap” is definitely one, but I think it has more to do with an accurate, realistic perception by youth that our whole system is broken — it’s unable to provide jobs for everyone. My Transit Revolution plan is designed to address this and Mayoral Council plans to make housing more affordable are designed to address this. Our system needs to adjust so people can get by with a shorter work week — it’s coming.

Police accountability and reform is a big issue — there is currently no realistic way to remove bad officers from the force — and there needs to be. We need to review procedures and tactics to make sure when a person is trapped in a building they can be arrested safely, instead of killed by unnecessarily aggressive tactics.

But there is an overarching issue.

Things are going great for many people in Minneapolis; we have a multi-unit housing boom that should last at least a few years. People are moving in, not out; I’m glad that most people are prospering.

But many people are hurting, and being left behind. Most people don’t vote in local elections because they know that the “regime” will win. It doesn’t matter who is elected; there will be no significant positive improvement in their daily lives.

Demand Transit Revolution is my solution for starting to break up this gridlock.  But we have a more fundamental need. 

We need a political system that is designed to provide continuing, real improvements in the daily lives of our citizens.  To do this, we need to eliminate — not strengthen — the grip of money and special interests. 

Ranked Choice Voting, and political principles, can be one way to do this.  Campaign finance reform is another way.  I’m laying out detailed plans for both on my web site.

 

Abdul Rahamim
Platform: We the people …
Neighborhood: Phillips

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

The U.S. Constitution preamble states “We the people”... The founding fathers wanted this country to be run by the good, free citizens from the ground up. The people. Clear our minds, stop arguing with one another and run this country as the good citizens that we are supposed to be. As Red Green says, I’m rootin’ for you. We are all in it together.” Be a clear thinking, healthy, morally sound fellow citizen.

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

I am the most mentally and physically fit. I know that the only way to get the change and do the right thing for America is for us to change.  I am not going to do something for you, you are going to do for you. I am not the mayor you are the mayor.  But are you worthy? Do you know and love yourself? So that you can love your fellow citizen.  And we can become the powerful, free United State family of wonderful, strong in individuals that no evil can overcome...

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

Remind all civil servants that they took and oath to uphold the United States Constitution, outlaw the poisonous, floridated and over-chlorinated waters.  And outlaw poisonous GMO and otherwise tainted foods. Eat the pure foods of God. Nutrition, including clean water are the keys to good health.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

The independence and vitality, Gene McCarthy carried this state in his presidential bid. Bob Dylan wrote from here. Wirsbo in-ground heating was developed here. The hydroelectric St. Anthony falls project, and the hydroelectic Ford Plant in Highland park.  

Upton Sinclair,  Prince, In line skating, Group Health systems, the Bobcat , Winter wheat, mobile air conditioning. I do not want that spirit to be squashed by the Globalist Cartels who fear the real Americans. They have to use the water and poison food to dumb us down so we will argue with each other, because they know that they cannot beat a unified good (blessed) people. and the world needs us. This election will change the world.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

Doing the best he knew how but did drink the Kool aid and was happy to get into the servant class for the globalist.  Sacrificed the principles for the Federal funds. Played the role. Very average.

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion? 

Us citizens realizing that we are the power and we are at the controls and we do not realize what as JFK said, “...we can do (we must do) for our country.”

The world is now in a battle of good and evil and evil is about to lock their sick plan into place. We cannot let that happen. Clear your mind and your buttocks will follow. When Jesus told the Pharises, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. He was telling us that is reason why we must always do to morally correct thing.  If we keep the love in our hearts, are not jealous, greedy, selfish, etc.  Then we can be srong enough to truly cast the first stone and “strike down evil wherever you find it.. Peace and Love , baby...Who loves you.  The Rock and that’s all you need to know......

Capt. Jack Sparrow

Platform: Count all rankings

Website: www.occupirate.blogspot.com

Neighborhood: Bancroft

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

I have a plan to eliminate unemployment and poverty, to reduce global warming and reduce the chances of a terrorist attack or an attack by a hostile government with weapons of mass destruction. If elected I would have a chance of having these plans implemented. 

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

I have real solutions that benefit everyone, not just the well off.  I am a Christian communist like the 1st century christians (Acts II, 44-45). 44. “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” They did this without the government being involved. I am not a large c Communist which is actually Bolshevism and communist in name only. It advocates for the state controlling the economy. I believe in voluntary collectivism and I am apposed to any kind of forced collectivization which I believe is tantamount to slavery.  

I am not for any organized religion and I am not spiritual. I am a Christian in the cultural sense as some people identify as Jews culturally but not necessarily spiritually. More specifically I am a monotheist in that I have been brought up in a culture most heavily influenced by Christianity, Judaism, a Muslim religions. My son is a practicing Muslim. I have a lot of respect for most religions and I don’t think our civilization would be possible without them but spiritually I am an Agnostic.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

 I would make the elimination of  poverty my first priority. I would use eminent domain to buy the 500+ vacant foreclosed properties in Minneapolis and create cooperative, communal, co-housing and intentional communities to house our homeless and under housed populations.  

I would create collective businesses built around the skills and interests of the participants while taking into account the market for the products or services. I would prioritize housing and employing the most vulnerable populations such as homeless youth, the mentally ill and the elderly.

I would lobby the federal government to adopt a Guaranteed Minimum Income to bring everyone above the poverty level.  This has been proposed by Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King Jr, John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Freedman, Richard Nixon and Senator Moynahan. With technology such as computers and robotics and outsourcing of jobs brought on by free trade agreements there simply aren’t enough full time jobs to go around. 

I think everyone has to work on global warming and the environment as that is the main problem facing our planet after poverty. In addition to the collective housing and businesses mentioned above which are much more ecological than traditional arrangements I would build businesses around energy efficient buildings and renewable energy.

I think terrorism or an attack by another country or elements within this country with weapons of mass destruction is the third  most important problem facing the planet. I would lobby the federal government to adopt a fair position to both the Israelis and Palestinians and not side with the Israelis when it is not warranted. I would apologize to Iran for helping to install the Shaw but insist that they not develop nuclear weapons.  

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

The people. 

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

Rybak was just another “regime” candidate.  I would give him an F+.  He seemed to be well intentioned but he failed to accomplish any of the things that matter to me or the regular people of Minneapolis. 

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion? 

Poverty, global warming, the threat of terrorism or an attack by a nation state with weapons of mass destruction are the three most important problems facing Minneapolis, the United States and the world.

 

Gregg Iverson
Party: DFL
Neighborhood: Keewaydin

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

 I have been in Public service since 1967–2006: Military, Education and State of Minnesota Employee.

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

See above.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

Crime, Taxes, Stadium.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

The beautiful women. This is no joke.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

Rybak gets an “F”. We wanted a vote on the Stadium. Now we

deal with crooks like the Wilfs. May God deliver us.

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion? 

Stop crime or we wind up like Chicago.

 

Chris Clark


Party: Libertarian
Neighborhood: Mill District

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

I’m running for mayor due to constant spending of taxpayer money on foolish projects. It’s time to change course before we end up like Detroit in 10 to 15 years. Currently, we’re overbuilding more luxury rentals. There are at least 15 structures going up in or around downtown Minneapolis. Isn’t this a de ja vu from eight years ago with all the condo projects? In that case, they could be rented or sit empty until economy was better. In case of apartments, who will pay the price for overestimating? The leaders in charge of city have too much power. We need to focus on basic services first before spending us into more debt.

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

I am not an insider or have the connections like most career politicians these days. I am a leader who isn’t afraid to speak my mind. I listen and work from the bottom up as in any grassroots effort. Back in my college days, I participated in various organizations to better life for glbt and other minorities living in Nebraska.

 If given the opportunity to prove myself, I shine through and dedicate myself. In 2009, I was a recipient of the University of MN President’s Award for Outstanding Service. The award acknowledges faculty and staff who have provided exceptional service to University, its schools, colleges, departments and service units. Such service must have gone well beyond the regular duties of a staff member, & demonstrate unusual commitment to the community.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

If elected, my priorities consist of cutting costs. Reduce the number of council from 13 to 11. Suggest term limits and allow referendum. Cut salaries of council and mayor by 15 percent. Use those tax dollars for basic services: police, fire, clean water and air. Create a program similar to NRP (neighborhood revitalization program). More input from neighborhood groups rather than select few.

Tired of taxpayer money being spent on programs such as city wide wi-fi, photo cop red light enforcement program which was unconstitutional by MN Supreme Court, no more $400 a month car allowances for council members, no more projects like Block E or street car proposal which will affect small businesses who will pay good portion of the $200 million price tag or Viking stadiums without a public vote.

 Mayor should select school board members. No accountability since school board elections staggered every few years. Letting down our city and its children. Put kids first, not seniority of teachers. If mayor selects school board, he or she will fail or succeed. Then the mayor is responsible for his or her re-election based on results.

 Attract new companies and start-up businesses by getting rid of the red tape measures. No interest rates the first 3 years on loans through city. Repeat the same success as “the Alternative Finance Program” does for a select few businesses since April 2007. No increase in city payroll tax and or no more income tax. Let consumers keep more of their money and spend as they like. They’ll help jumpstart the economy. Block E would have made a nice destination for a casino. 

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

I love so much about Minneapolis. The lakes, transportation options, neighborhoods, the four seasons and skyways.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

 I’d give Rybak a B minus for his three terms. The first few years were a challenge due to governor’s office and those controlling legislator. He faired pretty well. After that, he had no one to blame but himself and council for out of control spending. Look at list of disaster projects listed above such as city wide wi-fi, photo cop red light enforcement program, those 10 artistic drinking fountains etc....

 He and the city council disappointed so many went they even bothered with a vote on the Vikings stadium a year ago. They knew the city charter said a vote had to take place. Yes, it may have passed with 7 to 6 vote. All thirteen are guilty are participating in that particular process. It’s the principle of the matter. I’m being kind with a B minus.

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

 Most pressing issues facing city is affordable housing. All the new housing around downtown is luxury living or expensive rents out of control. Congestion! Daycare costs for working family members, Insurance costs and good paying jobs with benefits, not some low paying position. Share the wealth and put money back into the community. We all benefit from investing. Education is still and will be a concern.

 

Mark V. Anderson

Platform: simplify government
Neighborhood: Bancroft

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

Our city government has gotten out of control. Our city officials and other candidates talk about many idealistic solutions to every problem under the sun.  One barely hears any words about the services the city is supposed to provide, such as police, roads, and water.  With so much money and effort being spent on ancillary activities, our basic services do not have the resources required to create the city we need.

At the same time, it appears that the public is starting to recognize that so much attention devoted to areas outside the proper scope of the city government is making it more difficult to provide the services the city must provide.  At least, there has much negative discussion about several huge projects city officials have proposed, such as the Vikings stadium last year, and the Downtown East parking ramp subsidy and streetcar line this year.  Minneapolis citizens are starting to realize the extravagant costs of these projects, which may look good on a politician’s resume, but are great losers for the city.

This realization of excess costs being spent also gives me an opening to talk about the ongoing costs of TIF projects, where the city spends $50 million per year.  In the long run these costs are greater than any of the large one-time extravaganzas, and they are just as bad for Minneapolis.

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

The other candidates try to appeal to the electorate by telling it how they will solve every problem that exists in the city.  Every voter knows this is exaggeration and can’t be achieved, but they expect such boasts from every candidate.

I will not be making these claims, because I know the city can’t solve every problem.  In fact, our city officials attempt to solve so many problems has hurt services as it increases taxes.  The city government needs to simplify its profile by solving the problems within its scope very well, instead of poorly addressing every potential problem of Minneapolis residents.

The problems within the scope of city government are police, fire, other emergency services, water, sewer, garbage, roads, and park.  Without the excess effort and money spent on issues outside that scope, city officials would do a much better job on those within the scope. 

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

1) Stop every “economic development” project that I can.  I will stop the Vikings stadium if that is still possible, and also stop the Downtown East project and the streetcar project. TIF projects will only happen with strong proof that they will benefit the whole city, and not just one district at the expense of the rest of the city.  In the future, all projects will have tough questions asked, and not given a buy because someone believes it will result in Minneapolis growth.  The mayor and council have delegated their economic thinking skills to their financial advisors, and that will cease.

2) Every business and occupational license will be examined to see if they make sense, and ended if they don’t. Many of our current licenses make it more difficult to be an entrepreneur in the city, as well as raise the cost for living or doing business in the city, with minimal protection to consumers. Advocates for licenses will be given a fair hearing, but they will need to make a good case for every license that survives.

3) Add transparency to the city.  My position will be that every piece of paper and electronic record in City Hall will available to the public, unless a case can be made that it should not. Of course some files will not become available, for legal reasons and to keep communication free and open, but the bias will be towards the release of all data.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

1) The grass and greenery of so many residences matched with enough density to be a city. 2) The University of Minnesota, which raises the city’s intellectual level. 3) Nice people. I moved here from New Jersey when I was 18, and never considered moving back.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

Mayor Rybak came into office as a reform candidate to eliminate the excesses of the ‘90’s, when city officials saw good economic times as a license to try out new and expensive projects on the city’s dime.  Rybak did a good job in his first term cutting back on these projects.  In his second term he backed away from some of this reform, as exemplified on his strong support for extending many TIF projects.  In his third term he seems to have completely forgotten why he was elected in the first place, with his strong support of the Vikings stadium, the Downtown East ramp, streetcars, and of course the infamous golden water fountains.

In his first term, property taxes continued to increase dramatically, as the city continued to pay for the excesses of the ‘90’s. His second and third terms have seen these increases gradually go down, as we have benefited from Rybak’s initial reform movement. But he is now setting the stage for many more increases in the near future, unless we now elect reform candidates who will reduce the scope of city action.

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

1) The city government is running amok trying to solve every issue that occurs within the city limits. The biggest issue in this regard is obsession many city officials have with “economic development.”  These officials work in government, not business, and yet they believe they can predict future business directions and manage the process of business development better than the business people who live and die in this world.  The more money poured into economic development, the less that is available for basic city services.

2) Minneapolis government is closed against its citizens.  It is difficult to find out when committee hearings will be held, financial details of its operations, and details about what is happening in the police department.  Minneapolis needs more transparency at every level, from explanations of its policy all the way down to every-day financial transactions.

3) The police department.  The police are about average for the country in terms of its effectiveness against crime, and its behavior toward citizens.  The department needs to improve its professionalism and its transparency.  Management needs to treat incidents where police cause death or serious injury with the same care and objectivity as they treat non-police incidents.  Police need to wear cameras on their chests.  This will protect citizens from brutality as well as police from frivolous claims of brutality.  The police need to become part of the community and not treat the community as the enemy.

 

Merrill Anderson


Platform: jobs and justice
Neighborhood: Elliot Park 

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

I have always gravitated toward employment which allowed me interaction with my community and opportunity to be of service. I’ve accumulated a few grey hairs along the way, but my years spent in problem solving partnerships with individuals, families, neighborhoods, businesses and government, have given the ability to bring disparate elements together for good result and are still very sharp.

My daughter gifted me with some additional years of life by donating a kidney 4 years ago....and now that I have clearance from my doctors to be active, I want to use that gift to serve a city that I love and make my daughter and my family feel their generosity led to some level of accomplishment on my part.  I’ve been paid forward....I feel the need to pay back. 

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

I have more than 50 years boots on the ground community experience in Minneapolis.  I have worked as a partner to individuals, families, community organization and businesses as they dealt with myriad problems.  I have been greatly rewarded by the opportunity to see firsthand what people can do for themselves, or in a group, when they finally realize that  “  problems are just opportunities in disguise”. I have developed a trained eye for those opportunities.  Because I am running a very independent zero budget (so far) campaign,  no one and no special interest has any strings on me.  I am free to pursue opportunities for the people of Minneapolis without violating any quid pro quos like the other candidates may have set up with their money handlers.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office? 

1) EDUCATION

 Foremost and basic to any effort to improve any facet of life in a community or in any country is good solid basic education.

My ideas how to make sure we are working from a stable platform would probably challenge the academicians standard pro forma, but let me give just a short outline.

I strongly voice my concern over the fact that Minnesota, as it has the last few years, again shows the highest ACT scores in the nation. Yet, even with that high level of performance statewide, our Minneapolis system shows clusters of low performing students with concentrations on the near north and near south sides of the city.

Part of this problem is systemic as I believe the educators assume in advance that these will be low performing students and work ( or do not work ) with them accordingly. That combined with a peer pressure from others who disdain education as a tool of the elite combines to bring these young people down. Part of our difficulty is in providing courses (and practicums) of interest to this population....In New York, they have had good success in bringing back vocational and mechanical arts training, even architectural and engineering classes (both boys and girls).We once had a nationally recognized vocational school in this city, but foolishly closed it, while also taking shop classes out of our High School curriculum. I believe we need to return practical subjects to the system.

I also believe the Mayor’s office should have a two person representation on the School Board to coordinate city and school district resources in favor of students and families

 2) JOBS

City Development /Job Creation depend strongly on the aura presented to businesses/investors. Perception is not everything, but is the most powerful denominator in financial decision making. Population moving into the city and supporting the businesses depends on whether existing/future residents see the city as a safe and hospitable place. I want us to be an attractive and exciting business/ industrial and residential venue for everyone from the lemonade stand to the major company, from the student to the corporate officer. We have a unique mix of highly intelligent workers, numerous small business startups and the highest per capita location of Fortune 500 companies in the country. I believe I can help polish up our aura, knit together vital resources and bring in the jobs.

3) JUSTICE

In the not distant past, Minneapolis Police and Fire were highly rated nationally and internationally, recognized among their peers and among the public as highly professional and effective organizations. I believe we can regain that reality and that recognition. One of the major obstacles to best service from both organizations is that, despite a 1.2 billion dollar budget, the city has, for indefinable reasons, run staffing levels below generally accepted recommendations, bade on population density, street triangulation and building heights.

Street cops who feel they do not have sufficient backup and fireman who do not have manpower to have their back in dangerous fire scenarios are going to perform their duties in ways that do not always put the public interest paramount. We need to release the negative pressures on the individual police and firemen by bringing both to full staffing levels as quickly as possible.

Serious heart to heart conversation by the Mayor and his administrators with the personnel about attitudinal adjustment is probably also in order, but that should be balanced by equally frank discussions about personal responsibility with the serviced communities.

And, as in any paramilitary organization, high grade leadership is key to accountability within the ranks. The Mayor, should be accountable to the citizenry for administrative and line management assignees and for general force performance.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

 We are daily becoming a more cosmopolitan city....all to the good...but we have maintained that uniquely Minneapolitan “  Hail fellow, well met.  “ attitude, which means people are pretty much free to live on their own terms until they  ( literally ) step on someone else’s toes.  I think it’s why so many different ethnic groups have focused on Minneapolis  as their first home before spreading off into the larger Diaspora after a couple decades.  I have worked with all of them, in one way or another and it is a joy to see our city as a welcoming haven for newcomers as our old timers go about their daily business without getting bent out of joint about the fresh arrivals.  Though as Midwesterners we do expect our newest guests to adopt certain decorum.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

Three wasted terms.   Go along to get along kind of guy.  Getting out before the financial storm hits. 

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

Pockets of crime, poverty housing problems ( including about 500 pending foreclosures ) and low educational performance among both white and minority residents....which seems to be driven more by neighborhood than by complexion.

Spending beyond our means vies a vis the stadium and the proposed streetcar line.

Minneapolis has, over time, thrown out its elected City Comptroller, gradually removing safeguards and ending up with one internal auditor, when the national standard for a city with a 1.2 billion dollar budget and 4,000+ employees would be a minimum of 5.  I believe we need a forensic audit of the city’s books going back at least six years and an actuarial review, both done by independent consultants, to determine what we have actually been doing with taxpayer funds....and whether the city actually has the capacity to indulge in stadiums and toy trains.

 

Jeffrey Wagner
Platform: DFL
City: Columbia Heights

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

Stop the inside dealing and wake up Minneapolis

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

I’m just a pissed of guy that will fight for the people of Minneapolis not the moneyed folks

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

Rent Control, Renter Rights, Education for our kids

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

The people 

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

Education and money spent stupid things (A Trolley).

 

Doug Mann


Party: Green
Website: http://mann4mayor.blogspot.com
Neighborhood: Folwell

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

 No one identified as a Green Party member or sought the Green Party endorsement for mayor in 2009. And there was no announced Green Party candidate in 2013 until I decided to run for mayor in early May. The steering committee of the Minneapolis Green Party decided to not reopen the Green Party endorsement process to endorse a mayoral candidate this year. I am endorsed by the New Progressive Alliance, which also endorsed Green Party endorsed city council candidates Cam Gordon (ward 2) and Kristina Gronquist (ward 3). In 2012 I got 31,300 votes as a candidate for the citywide school board seat, and had the endorsement of the Green Party, Democratic Socialists of America, and New Progressive Alliance. 

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

On July 16, 2013 I filed a lawsuit to compel the City Council to refer approval of local taxes and spending for a new Viking Vikings stadium to the voters in a referendum at the next general election or in a special election. I contend that the City Council’s approval of the deal is illegal and not binding on the City of Minneapolis. None of the elected officials who opposed the deal went to court to enforce charter provisions that require a referendum. In addition, I am probably the only candidate to have written a memoir about experiences as a labor union agitator and organizer, Diary of a Nursing Home Agitator, which is published online. I was an active member of the Minneapolis NAACP for about 7 years, regularly attending monthly membership meetings, serving on both Minneapolis branch and Minnesota-Dakota state conference education advocacy committees, and on the Minneapolis NAACP branch executive committee. As an NAACP member, I worked with and learned from others who were dedicated to the cause of eliminating barriers to achieving full racial equality in this society.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

My top priority is closing racial gaps in access to employment, housing, and K-12 education. Covert discrimination in employment and housing is a big obstacle to eliminating these gaps, yet no government agency is empowered to detect and prosecute those engaged in covert, illegal discrimination. I demand an end to non-enforcement of fair employment and housing laws. The Minneapolis Civil Rights Department should be empowered to use any means necessary to gather evidence of covert, illegal discrimination, and to prosecute the discriminators. 

I demand a quality, public, K-12 education for all on an equal basis. We must no longer tolerate inferior conditions of learning for students of color, who are much more heavily exposed than white students to inexperienced teachers, alternatively licensed teachers, and watered-down curriculum. I also stand with teachers in defense of their job protections, including seniority, tenure, and due-process rights that are now under attack by the leadership of the Minneapolis School District.

 I am opposed to “The Shift” in policy related to the education of students in “struggling” and “priority” schools announced by the Minneapolis Public schools superintendent in May 2013. The Shift does not include a plan to eliminate racial disparities in exposure to inexperienced teachers and watered-down curriculum. The Shift includes the elimination of tenure, seniority, and due process rights for teachers in schools where students of color are most heavily concentrated. The shift allows the school district greater freedom to use inexperienced and alternatively licensed teachers. The school day and school year are to be greatly increased for both students and teachers. And there shall be a shift toward the Direct Instruction model, a teacher centered, end-of-the-year-test-prep curriculum, with a greater emphasis on drill-and-kill methods.  

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

Minneapolis is my home town. I grew up in the eastern Twin Cities metro area, but have been a resident of Minneapolis for the past 30 years. 

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

On issues of greatest concern to me, R.T Rybak gets a failing grade. The City of Minneapolis is more racially segregated and unequal than it was when R.T. Repack took office in 2002. About half of all homeowners on the Near North Side faced foreclosure in the past 5 years, where the official unemployment is nearly 30%, and those with jobs are heavily concentrated on the lower rungs of the income scale. We need to dedicate more of the city’s resources to make housing affordable to all, to reduce the stock of vacant, bank-owned housing by imposing special assessments and using the power of eminent domain to empower homeowners facing foreclosure to retain or regain ownership of their property on affordable terms. I advocate passage of an ordinance to immediately increase the minimum wage in Minneapolis to $15.00 per hour. I support the right of workers to organize unions. 

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

The persistence of systemic racial discrimination that is a result of laws and public policy with a disparately negative impact on people of color, non-enforcement of laws against racial discrimination, and unequal enforcement of laws, especially drug laws, that serve to criminalize, disenfranchise, and marginalize people of color.  This is the New Jim Crow, which is nearly as effective as the old Jim Crow regime in promoting racial segregation and inequality, The Old Jim Crow not only allowed, but even required discrimination against people of color. This is not a good thing for poor whites, either. If you have to work for a living, you’re poor. In the best tradition of the Civil Rights Movement, as exemplified by Martin Luther King near the end of his life, I am promoting a poor people’s agenda, a human rights agenda. I am also opposed to a social and political order based on the exploitation of human labor-power and nature, a system that puts profits before people and protection of the natural environment. 

 

John Wilson
Platform: Lauraist Communist
Neighborhood: Whittier

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

A desire to see this city made better while having a bully pulpit to propound my ideas.

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

My belief that Laura Ingalls Wilder is God. 

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

A) Appoint decent people to appointed city positions. B) Eliminate police harassment of the poor and the socially unacceptable. C) Preserve our sacred street grid while improving the transportation system.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

A) The transit system. B) Minneapolis is my “Zion”.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

I would give him an A+ in phony liberal glad-handing, an A+ in metro sexual appearance vanity, and an F in representing the poor and working class.

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion?

A) Poverty. B) Transportation. C) Civil liberties.

1) What is motivating you to run for mayor?

 

Christopher Zimmerman

 

Party: Libertarian 
Neighborhood: Prospect Park

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

When the filing period started on July 30, I had already become so sick and tired of the folks who had been "running" - the talking points, the disingenuousness, the speeches coming from both sides of their mouths, the different faces for different audiences, the pandering, the fundraising, the corruptness...and on and on, so I could continue to complain about it, or I could join them on the ballot and try to do something about it instead.  By the time the filing period ended and the roster stood at 35, I did start to have some doubts that this race still needed me in it, but over the last two months, as I have come to know all of my opponents, I still believe there may not be three candidates I would rank ahead of myself when it comes to who I'd like to see in this job.  I encourage everyone reading this to not only read the rest of the statements here and on the Star Tribune site, but also to visit my own page at www.facebook.com/CRZforMayor, where I've posted my own research on every candidate in this race.  After you've learned all you can about all 35 candidates in the race...I hope you will share my opinion that as a common sense administrator beholden to no special/moneyed interests, I would be the best choice for mayor for those who know what our government's role should be and, more importantly, what it shouldn't be.

 What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates? 

I'm spending as little as possible.  I won't accept a dime in contributions because I believe that money is a corrupting influence; nobody offers money to a politican without expecting to collect a favor later.  I believe that at all levels, the government has a strictly defined, minimal (or as minimal as possible) role in society and, barring catastrophe, should never go beyond it.  I strongly oppose the stadium deal which was passed without the consent of the voters in accordance with our City Charter.  I'm doing most of my "campaigning" online - you won't be bothered by my robot calling your phone and you won't have to get up for my knock at your door...unless you want to invite me over first.  I want every piece of data gathered by the city to be public unless it's illegal to make it public - and even then, we might want to revisit the laws and see if they need to be updated for this century.  I want to pester the state legislature until I can buy booze on a Sunday in a grocery store.  Each of these things is probably something I share with several other candidates, but I'm not sure any of the other candidates would say they agree with me exactly on all of these points.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office? 

First, I want to start a completely open data policy and foster a culture and climate of openness and transparency which can be viewed as a model for every other municipal government on the planet.  The default will be "sunshine everywhere" and it's going to take a really compelling, valid reason to move from that default.  This issue is very important to me and I encourage you to check out the Open Twin Cities mayoral questionnaire to learn more.

I intend to lead from the top in this area, remaining accessible and responding publicly to everyone who emails, tweets, posts to the Facebook wall, calls or FAXes.  I want everyone to feel like they have a stake in the future of Minneapolis and to join me in making things happen.

My second priority for the first three months would be to meet with as many of my opponents as would care to and see if they are still interested in having a role as unpaid advisors, find out what common ground we have if any, and invite them to help me move Minneapolis forward.

Third, if possible and still feasible come January (the last Vikings game is 12/29 but I reckon they won't immediately start tearing down the dome), I want to pull Minneapolis' participation from the stadium boondoggle until the City Charter can be followed and a vote can be held for our $150 million dollars (which will balloon way beyond that after interest payments are taken into account) - and I will encourage a "No" vote...although if the will of the voters is to waste this money, I wouldn't stop them.  (I might send some nasty tweets...people seem to go nuts when Mayor Rybak writes one of his rhyming tweets.)

What do you love most about Minneapolis? 

Minneapolis is a great, great city.  It's not too big, but it's more than "big enough."  It is incredibly diverse in many ways - geographically, demographically, each neighborhood has its own personality, the parks are everywhere, there's music of all kinds on seemingly every corner, you could go out every day and every night but nobody's going to get on your case if you want to stay home.  If you need help, there are plenty of people who would like to offer it to you.  Everyone is awfully nice.  There may be a lot of cities like this, but Minneapolis is the one I've come to love, live in and want to serve as mayor, and except for my adopted home town of Modesto, California, there's no other city I could ever see myself feeling this way about.  But to answer the question, selfishly, the thing I love most about Minneapolis is something I don't think I'd ever have because of the city government: it's the friends and family I have been so fortunate to find, make and have here. !

 Also, I'm looking forward to Surly opening up just across the street from my neighborhood and will try to hold regular office hours there...no matter which job I'm holding at the time.

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him? 

I've only been here for nine of his 12 years, but I'm going placing the highest percentage of his grade on the finals, so I must assign him an "F" for his complete and utter failure to lead from the correct position when it came to Minneapolis' participation in the new stadium deal.  A lot of us saw this coming when he failed to stop the Target Field deal without a similar vote.  He has not acted in the best interests of the people by going along with these terrible wastes of taxpayer funds.  I expect he'll put a rubber stamp on the Target Center renovation before he leaves office, which will be outstanding for me personally as a Timberwolves season ticket holder but another misappropriated tens of millions of dollars.  Sooner or later you'd hope that the people would rise up and say "hey, maybe we should stop closing libraries and delaying road repair because we're spending that money catering to the whims of the board rooms of sports franchises" and elect some representatives who feel the same way.  Maybe that day will come in November.  I have hope.

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion? 

Minneapolis has a lot of projects they shouldn't be involved in.  The city's essential services aren't the best they can be and part of that stems from misplaced priorities, misguided ideals and misdirected funds.  Instead of finding fancier, more expensive ways to move folks from one neighborhood to another, let's try to figure out how to help people closer to where they live.  Let's see if we can allow people to live as they want to live without encroaching on their individual freedom to do whatever they like, so long as they're not causing harm to others.  Let's streamline processes and cut red tape to help people spend less time haggling with the government and more quickly open the businesses they want to run, in Minneapolis, in their own neighborhood.  Let's work with the Council and the Boards to accomplish all these things and make Minneapolis even better!  I don't want to add to the BS with more empty promises but I can promise you this: if I am elected, I will do everything the mayor is capable of doing to achieve these goals - and where the mayor can't directly do anything, I promise to be a major pest to the folks who can.  What I would ask from you, no matter who is elected mayor, is to stay vigilant, question authority, demand accountability, and if you don't see our government taking the action you feel you deserve...think about taking some action of your own.

Bill Kahn


Party: DFL
Neighborhood: Prospect Park East River Road

What is motivating you to run for mayor?

A year ago, I made a threat on the Minneapolis forum of E-democracy.org to run on the "Last Mayor of Minneapolis slate," something I made up with when I realized that for day to day operations of our city barring statutory duties of the Council and Mayor for some budget matters, a mayor is pretty much unnecessary. I said I wasn’t going to support any candidate who did not adopt the slate, but I relented and decided to support Gary Schiff; when no one was endorsed at the DFL convention this year, I found myself embracing the slate even more.

The idea evolved given my understanding of municipal government through my undergraduate studies in planning and human behavior, through continuing research about the forms of municipal government across the country, and I realized that what we have all been observing in government from our city up the federal ladder to Congress and the White House, was either ideologues pushing through a ridiculous agenda or compromises that give us one set of incomprehensible and useless laws after another. We basically elect folks who will tell us what we want to hear and once in office do what they or folks other than us here in Minneapolis, want, then convincing us they did their best when it was time for reelection.

Our municipal and county governments are where things really have to work yet they have been reduced to gimmicky methods to find or shift revenue to pay for the bare minimum of service needed for this city and those local governments in the rest of the county to work for residents and visitors; so I decided we should not only abolish the office of mayor and adopt a Council-manager system of government, we should also reorganize the Council so that we have better balance between issues of local and citywide importance. Concentrating local power into five wards with decentralized control put in the hands of constituents similar to our lost Neighborhood Revitalization Program helped by Council members and their staff will be balanced by eight at large CMs and staff working on citywide and regional issues of importance to those who elected them.

In short, I want things to work better. Our government was meant to change from the beginning to adapt to the times and challenges that we face. Those holding back and preventing that change would have us remain helpless. We’re not helpless. Hopefully this election will prove that we’re not helpless in the face of those who would make money the basis of our campaigns and of our very lives instead of the ideas, new and old, that will bring us solutions to our problems. 

What sets you apart from the other mayoral candidates?

I don’t really want the job; I want us to consider possibilities that most politicians would avoid like the plague.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities for your first few months in office?

Work with the Council or registered voters in Minneapolis to pass a charter amendment to reorganize city government as described above, call an election for a new Council, and step down when the new Council hires a city manager.

What do you love most about Minneapolis?

Ethnic food. When I used to visit here from my native California, I was underwhelmed by the food choices, but now we’re on par with the best. 

If you had to issue a report card to Mayor R.T. Rybak assessing his three terms in office, what would you include and how would you grade him?

D+ for getting finances somewhat under control, but F's on everything else. His work habits and cooperation with others are still unsatisfactory all around. 

What are the most pressing issues facing the city, in your opinion? 

Getting a fair balance between the needs of business and those of residents and keeping revenue within city limits and most definitely not going towards that which has never shown any return on investment for cities, e.g., professional sports stadiums.