The campaign for south Minneapolis' Ninth Ward City Council seat is one of the season's hardest-fought contests, with former three-term City Council Member Gary Schiff running to reclaim his old seat from one-term incumbent Alondra Cano. Schiff, a likable workhorse with a long record of community service, is a clear first choice. An inspiring local nonprofit leader who is also in the race, Mohamed Farah, is a strong second pick.
The Ninth Ward encompasses the Central, Corcoran, East Phillips, Midtown Phillips and Powderhorn Park neighborhoods. It includes a key business corridor: E. Lake Street from Hiawatha to Chicago avenues.
Schiff, 45, who was elected to the council in 2001 and left in 2013 to run for mayor, is a good fit. His decades of civil rights advocacy, along with a record of easing regulations on small-business owners, complements a social-justice-minded ward that's home to many immigrant entrepreneurs.
Among his accomplishments on the council: securing funding for police body cameras and pushing for zoning changes to allow denser housing. Schiff merits credit for spotlighting a public health scourge: heroin addiction. A few critics have raised concerns about Schiff's recent stint at a failed nonprofit, but its financial difficulties were dire well before he started.
It's regrettable that Cano, 36, is known more for her poor treatment of constituents and colleagues than any accomplishments. Her 2015 decision to publicly release some of her critics' personal details online raised troubling questions about her judgment. Her vow to expose other council members' misdeeds when called out for this reflected poorly on her. This is not someone who can build the trust that public leadership requires.
Farah, 34, has won national recognition for his work at Ka Joog, a nonprofit program for Somali-American young people. He would provide solid leadership and learn quickly on the job. Ronald Peterson, 59, is also running, but offered only bare-bones policies and plans.
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For additional information, go to the Star Tribune's 2017 Minneapolis and St. Paul voters guide at http://strib.mn/2yJxgmk. To read all of our endorsements, go to http://startribune.com/2017endorsements.