Lileks: What if everybody ran for mayor of Minneapolis?

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 19, 2013 - 4:35 PM

With so many names on the Minneapolis mayor ballot, you get used to reading those thumbnail interviews. Some look like this:

Karl Galt, Socialist-Libertarian Party

Q Why do you think you’d be a good mayor?

A Well, since I embody two contradictory political philosophies, I would veto with one hand what I sign with the other, thereby consolidating our current gridlocked politics into one person. As it stands now, it takes many people with lots of staff to do nothing. I can streamline that down to one.

Q Irrelevant question for our audience that needs to be reassured that the next mayor will be hip: What’s your favorite craft beer?

A Hey, Kraft makes beer? Awesome! If it’s as good as their cheese, count me in for a glass of Velveeta Stout.

Alas, there aren’t too many candidates like that. No one is running to warn us all of the Masonic Underground Lizards who control our minds through those new parking meters, and begin their interviews with an urgent plea for everyone to wear tinfoil underwear. (“Not the hats! Those are useless! I know!”)

So the low filing fee means bartenders run on a lark. What’s wrong with that? Let’s see which statement is more intriguing:

“I’ve spent my whole life in government, honing the skills necessary to slightly readjust things to present the image of reform while not upsetting the goals and stature of the political class.”

Or: “I’ve been observing people for 20 years, listening to them, studying the differences and similarities that characterize the human condition. Sometimes I think government spending is like that guy who’s had too much, you know? You have to cut him off before he throws up on your shoes as you’re getting him into a cab.”

It’s different. And “raising the filing fee to discourage the amateurs” isn’t exactly a distillation of the essence of democracy.

Idea: Waive the fee entirely and register every citizen automatically for the race. You’d have to pay $20 to get your name removed. Upside: Revenue! Downside: Runoff elections with 275,041 names on the ballot, because they forgot to un-file.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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