CITY COUNCIL WARD 7 // voter's guide 2009

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October 26, 2009
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes

Ward 7 has been Lisa Goodman's ward for 12 years.

The veteran City Council member has been a key player on issues such as underground parking Downtown and the development of condo towers. She helped create the Community Planning and Economic Development department. She worked to make Minneapolis a more welcoming city for dogs. (Those dog parks Downtown? Goodman is vice president of the group, Dog Grounds, that built and maintains them.)

While Goodman has achieved every goal she set out to reach when first elected in 1997 — the two-way conversion of Hennepin and 1st avenues was the last, she says — she wants to stick around to help guide Minneapolis through the current economy. Now more than ever, she says, the city needs to collaborate with the private and non-profit sectors. She wants less duplication of government, especially when it comes to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Goodman’s tough governing style has long put her under a lens, and a recent ruling from a district court judge that she was biased when considering a proposed condo tower in Loring Park has led to more criticism. However, she and supporters say she has always worked to best represent her constituents — even if she doesn’t always agree with their views.

Michael Katch doesn’t see eye to eye with that. The active citizen journalist and watchdog says Ward 7’s residents have long not been appropriately represented on the City Council, and he wants the city to do more than focus on what he calls pet projects of well-connected council members.

Almost always at or watching government meetings, Katch has long been tuned into city politics. What he’s seen is a lot of behind-closed-doors policymaking, as well as decisions that don’t always seem to represent neighborhoods correctly, he says.

While Goodman says there is no way for the city to be able to do more without taxing more — and that cuts to state-fed Local Government Aid are a big reason taxes keep going up — Katch focuses on preventing annual property tax increases. Homeowners can’t afford any more 8 percent bumps, and state cuts are smaller than those increases, he says. The city seems to be living outside of its means, he says.

Jeff Wagner, meanwhile, just wants City Hall to lighten up.

A recent transplant to Loring Park, Wagner says he’d try to make Downtown’s nightlife more interesting. If he could, he would turn the city “into a 5 a.m. kind of town,” he says.

A baggage handler at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Wagner is active in the local music scene. He produces music videos under the flag Modern Rock Twin Cities.

More than in any other council race, money could be a big factor here. Goodman has the largest campaign war chest of any candidate in the city, with more than $116,000 as of Sept. 1. Katch’s campaign balance on Sept. 1 was $91.57. Wagner didn’t file a report.

Ward 7 covers almost all of Downtown, as well as the Kenwood, Lowry Hill, Bryn Mawr and Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhoods.

This article features content from replies to a League of Women Voters of Minnesota questionnaire. For full candidate responses, go to vote.lwvmn.org.

A forum featuring two of the above candidates was held Oct. 26. Click here for an overview of candidate responses.

THE CANDIDATES

Lisa Goodman
Age: 43
Occupation: City Council member
Neighborhood: Loring Park
Experience: three terms on the council; chairwoman, Community Development Committee
Endorsements: DFL, Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus, WomenWinning, DFL Feminist Caucus, DFL Stonewall Caucus, Teamsters Joint Council 32, Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, and more
Phone: 227-9102
E-mail: cmlisa07@yahoo.com

Michael Katch
Age: 48
Occupation: futures trader; citizen journalist
Neighborhood: Downtown West
Experience: frequently attends city meetings; reports on government budget and finance for MPLSmirror.com; 1st Precinct block captain; three years on Citizens Budget Advisory Committee; social action committee, Families Moving Forward at Temple Israel
Endorsements: Republican Party, Independence Party
Website: neighborsforkatch.org
Phone: 332-1108
E-mail: michael.katch2009@gmail.com

Jeff Wagner
Age: 42
Occupation: baggage handler; music video producer
Neighborhood: Loring Park
Experience: first run for office
Endorsements: not seeking any
Phone: 763-781-5999
E-mail: modernrocktwincities@yahoo.com