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Calling the city’s development process “broken,” candidate Ken Bradley said he wants to see more environmentally sustainable buildings that offer greater community benefit. He also criticized Tuthill’s controversial crackdown on outdoor seating in 2011, saying she didn’t contact enough business owners to address the problem. Bradley, who is program director for Environment Minnesota, said he would have promoted more conversation with bars and restaurants.
Tuthill burst out laughing at the criticism, saying, “I find that fascinating.” She said she called together bars when she first got elected to talk about noise complaints, and when the problem kept escalating, she introduced an ordinance restricting noise and seating at outdoor patios in order to grab people’s attention. They wound up working together to fix the issue, Tuthill said, and grievances have since dwindled. She also noted working with businesses to get extra squad cars and taxi cabs in the neighborhood.
Tuthill said the ward hasn’t had a two-term council member in a dozen years and the lack of continuity hurts the ward.
Jobs a top issue on North Side
In the city’s two North Side wards, candidates are advocating economic development for an area struggling with population loss, foreclosures and many jobless people.
Council President Barb Johnson endured 10 ballots before winning endorsement at her ward’s convention in 2010, and said she is working hard to win the support of delegates this time around. One-time mayoral aide and restaurateur Kris Brogan has stepped up to challenge the seat, formerly held by Johnson’s mother.
“The North Side needs the leadership the rest of the city has,” Brogan said.
Blong Yang is one of three candidates vying for the seat of Council Member Don Samuels, who is running for mayor. Yang, who is Hmong, won nearly 40 percent of the vote when he went head-to-head against then-Sen. Linda Higgins for a Hennepin County Board seat in 2012.
He worries about low turnout in the north Minneapolis ward, however. Only 2,170 votes were cast in 2009, and Samuels won with 1,131.
“That was just kind of ridiculous ... hopefully people are energized to come out,” Yang said.
He’ll compete against two African-American candidates who also have some political experience. Attorney Ian Alexander lost his bid last year for Minnesota House seat 59B, while Brett Buckner has served as field director U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s campaign and the DFL’s Fifth Congressional District from 2006 to 2008.
Battle of endorsements
Frey’s race against Hofstede has been more active than any other in the city. In January, four sitting council members endorsed Frey over their own colleague — an unusual vote of no-confidence. Hofstede countered with her own endorsement list, including three of her colleagues, and the city’s Building and Construction Trades Council.
Hofstede said she would continue her support for public safety, economic development, and projects along the riverfront, and added that her work improving city finances, large network of supporters, and long history in the city distinguish her. She brushed off criticism from some of her colleagues that she is ineffective and difficult to reach.
“I have the ability,” she said, “to accomplish goals regardless of what other people may think.”
Eric Roper • 612-673-1732 Maya Rao • 612-673-1732