Only 1 of 5 in race for vacant seat can claim continuity in District 3.
The contest to get appointed to the school board vacancy created by the death of Hussein Samatar appears to be shaping up as a race between candidates with few, if any, ties to the district.
All but one of five applicants for the post have moved into the district recently, in some cases after Samatar died on Aug. 28. The lone exception is Samatar’s widow, Ubah Ali Jama. She has lived in District 3 since at least 1999, when she and Samatar bought their home in the Phillips neighborhood.
The school board declared that an individual needs to be a resident of the district by Oct. 12, or 30 days before it expects to appoint someone to Samatar’s seat. The district lies between Interstate Hwy. 35W and the Mississippi River and between the Cedar Riverside area and a line generally following E. 36th Street.
Although all applicants list a district address on their applications, public records as of early September showed that several were registered to vote elsewhere, raising the question of how they can articulate the concerns of district parents.
Board Chairman Alberto Monserrate said the board will need to factor that into its appointment choice after being informed of the Star Tribune’s findings.
“I think that’s a fair question,” said one applicant, Nicque M. Mabrey. She said residents of the community can provide input on whether newly arrived applicants can adequately represent them.
Mabrey said she signed a lease for her apartment in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood on Sept. 28, moving in shortly afterward. She previously lived in northeast Minneapolis and in St. Paul.
Another applicant, Mohamud Noor, still maintains a household in northeast Minneapolis, where he and his family have lived since 2009. He said he moved last week into a friend’s home in Cedar Riverside, where he said he does community work in the evenings. But he said the family hopes to move to the Seward area of the district.
A third applicant, Ira Jourdain, moved back to Minneapolis in August after working as an accountant at the Red Lake Indian Reservation since April. He said he’s lived in the district before. “I’ve been a part of Minneapolis as long as I could remember,” he said. He said the residence he listed in Phillips is where he stays with “my future in-laws.” He was still registered to vote at Red Lake until he said he changed that this week after the Star Tribune inquired.
Another applicant, Abdulkadir D. Abdalla, lists a district address in the Powderhorn area on his application. The six-unit condo building’s directory does not list him, and a resident who said he knows all residents said he didn’t know Abdalla. Abdalla’s driver’s license in January and his voter registration in September list a Fridley address. Abdalla could not be reached for comment.
Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438