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Continued: Tevlin: Learning curve has started for Blong Yang

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 19, 2013 - 9:06 AM

After his loss to Higgins, Yang said his campaign workers took it hard. So did he. “When it finally hit me, it was a pretty long down period,” he said. “I wanted to close the door and not talk to anybody.”

As he prepares for his first stint as a public official, Yang is already facing the realities of politics.

“The first thing we do is pick a City Council president, so you start out from the beginning setting up friends and foes,” he said. “Without saying it directly, people have already told me if I don’t vote for Barb [Johnson] that I’m pretty much a traitor to the North Side.”

Yang shook his head.

As he campaigned, residents told Yang they were most concerned about safety issues and crime. That’s why he’ll push for more and better police protection in the area.

While Samuels was known for his endless appearances at crime scenes, consoling families and calling for change, that doesn’t sound like Yang’s style.

“I kind of don’t think it’s appropriate to make it a political event,” he said. “When these things happen, people want to be left alone.”

Yang’s tendency to be blunt has already been noted. When he was quoted saying that new Mayor Betsy Hodges might not get everything she wants, he was merely expressing the reality of a strong council system, not taking a shot at Hodges.

Some took it that way, however, and a union type warned him through a friend to “rein it in a little.”

“Everything I say is now under the microscope,” Yang said with a laugh. “But that’s the way I am. I’m just not that good of a politician.” • 612-673-1702

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  • Blong Yang waved to a supporter the day after his Nov. 5 election to the Minneapolis City Council. He replaces Don Samuels, representing north Minneapolis.

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