Civic beat :: Election hand count

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November 23, 2009 // UPDATED 8:30 am - November 23, 2009
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes
Hand count confirms Goodman, Tabb wins

Lisa Goodman and Anita Tabb have all but officially won their respective Downtown races for City Council and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board seats.

Results from the post-Nov. 3 election hand count began trickling in mid-month, and upsets so far have been nonexistent throughout the city. Goodman, who had the largest incumbent cash flow of anybody besides Mayor R.T. Rybak, received 2,997 of 4,392 first-round votes, or 68.2 percent. Michael Katch came in second with 1,042 votes and Jeff Wagner third with 321 votes.

In other wards, incumbent council members Cam Gordon (2nd Ward), Barb Johnson (4th Ward), Don Samuels (5th Ward), Robert Lilligren (6th Ward), Sandy Colvin Roy (12th Ward) and Betsy Hodges (13th Ward) are set to return. Newcomers Meg Tuthill and John Quincy were confirmed as the new 10th and 11th ward representatives, respectively.

Samuels was the first candidate to win in a runoff; the contest took two rounds’ worth of counting. Johnson also needed two rounds to win after missing the necessary 50 percent threshold by 3 percent in the first round.

At the Park Board, newcomer Anita Tabb was confirmed to have received 5,012 of 5,143 first-round votes, or 97.45 percent. Tabb ran unopposed for the District 4 seat and will succeed outgoing Commissioner Tracy Nordstrom.

No other Park Board race results were available when this edition of the Downtown Journal went to press.

Hand counting is occurring in this order: Ward 13, 12, 2, 11, 6, 7, 5, 10, 4, 3, 1, 8 and 9. Until counting is complete and the results can be certified, all winners remain unofficial.

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Decision on parks superintendent contract delayed

The current Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will not decide whether to extend Superintendent Jon Gurban’s contract.

On Nov. 4, the day the board was set to decide to keep Gurban through June 2011 — he currently is employed through June 2010 — commissioners abruptly voted to instead pull the issue from their agenda. Commissioner Jon Olson introduced the postponement idea because, he said, the superintendent’s fate really should be decided by the new board.

Two weeks earlier, it had been a different story. The board then said they didn’t feel confident in letting fresh commissioners take a stab at the superintendent issue. Several reasons were offered, including that the search for a new superintendent would take at least a year — beyond when Gurban’s contract would be up.

The decision to postpone, Olson said, shouldn’t be seen as a statement on job performance. He called Gurban a great superintendent who has tackled big issues head-on.

Gurban’s contract was a frequent Park Board campaign topic. Some candidates, including possible new commissioners Brad Bourn and John Erwin, said they would support opening up a nationwide search for superintendent. While Gurban has been praised for steering creation of the Comprehensive Plan and improving diversity in the parks system, he also has been faulted for his relationship with the public.

Anita Tabb, the newly elected District 4 commissioner, said she appreciated having the contract decision delayed. She said the current board’s action was what’s best for the democratic process.

“We really don’t know what the makeup of the new board will be,” Tabb said. “To have that kind of an important decision made for you really limits what you can do.”


Program to offer victims’ pets shelter approved

Following in the footsteps of recent increased attention to domestic violence, the city now offers five days’ worth of shelter to abuse victims’ pets.

Research showed that as many 48 percent of battered and abused women didn’t leave their significant others or spouses out of fear of the safety of their animals, said Dan Niziolek, manager of Animal Care and Control. The service would offer a temporary place for the pets to go — five days of free kenneling — and could extend into longer stays through shelters, Niziolek said.

The City Council unanimously voted to approve the service.