A power lunch for Coleman, Hodges

  • Article by: JIM ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2013 - 10:57 PM

The St. Paul mayor was paying forward a meeting he had eight years ago with Minneapolis Mayor Rybak. The goal: Set a tone of cooperation.

St. Paul May­or Chris Cole­man, re-elect­ed to a third term Tues­day in a land­slide, and Bet­sy Hodges, who is now mayor-elect of Minneapolis, met for lunch Thurs­day on Hodges’ home turf at the IDS Center in down­town Minneapolis.

The hour­long one-on-one meet­ing car­ried on a tra­di­tion in­iti­at­ed by Cole­man’s de­part­ing coun­ter­part, R.T. Rybak, when the two met for lunch in St. Paul just af­ter Cole­man’s e­lec­tion. That first meet­ing was help­ful and set a co­opera­tive tone, Cole­man said.

“It was a great op­por­tu­ni­ty to be­gin what I be­lieve was some of the most im­port­ant work that we’ve done over the last eight years,” he said, “which was to re­al­ly fo­cus on not what our dif­fer­ences were, not to be com­peti­tors, but to under­stand that we are ab­so­lute­ly at our best when we act re­gion­al­ly, when we act as cit­ies that co­oper­ate — when we under­stand that our com­pe­ti­tion is not with each oth­er, but with oth­er cit­ies across the coun­try and across the globe.”

Some of those com­mon is­sues in­clude trans­it, in­clud­ing the Cen­tral Corridor light-rail line con­nect­ing the two downtowns of the Twin Cities that is near­ing com­ple­tion, the Greater MSP eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment part­ner­ship of the two cit­ies and, at the top of their ag­en­das, find­ing ways to help schools close the ra­cial ed­u­ca­tion­al achieve­ment gap. “We have got to move the dial” on that is­sue, Hodges said.

Cole­man and Hodges have been friends for a long time — he en­dorsed her can­di­da­cy. She is form­er president of the League of Minnesota Cities, and he takes over next week as president of the National League of Cities. Cole­man also pre­sent­ed Hodges with a framed art piece ti­tled “612/651” by St. Paul art­ist Adam Tur­man.

Hodges said she was grate­ful for Cole­man’s in­sights on the job, and said she planned to build on the co­opera­tive base he and Rybak had es­tab­lished.

She also re­it­er­ated her sup­port for al­ter­na­tives to the pro­posed “shal­low tun­nel” route for the South­west light-rail line and, al­though an op­po­nent of the new Vi­kings sta­di­um, pledged to work on the city’s be­half to see that it brings its prom­ised eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment to the east part of down­town.

Asked what ad­vice he of­fered to Hodges, Cole­man quipped, “What­ever you do, you don’t want to take les­sons from the may­or of To­ron­to. Look to oth­er mayors to be your role mod­el.”

He was re­fer­ring to Rob Ford, who has ac­know­ledged smok­ing crack co­caine while drunk, but has re­fused to step down.

 

Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @StribJAnderson

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