After serving one term leading the Minneapolis City Council and another heading up its budget decisions, Paul Ostrow said Monday he won't seek reelection next year.
Ostrow, 50, is the only one of the council's three-term members to announce plans to leave. Barbara Johnson and Sandra Colvin Roy want fourth terms; Lisa Goodman hasn't disclosed her plans. "It just felt the time was right," said Ostrow, who represents the city's northeastern corner.
The line to replace Ostrow began forming even before he disclosed his plans. Two Windom Park neighborhood residents are running for DFL endorsement and two more are considering it.
Doron Clark, 30, chair of the neighborhood group, announced Oct. 27 that he was opposing Ostrow. He's a job skills developer for Target Corp. Kevin Reich, 41, is just beginning his campaign. He's project manager for the Holland Park Improvement Association, another neighborhood group, and also is on the Windom Park board.
Also considering a run is Joe Velez, 51, an aide to City Council Member Don Samuels and, before that, development director for the Hawthorne Area Community Council. Susan Howitz Hanna, 49, an account manager for Qwest, also is thinking about running. She has been Ostrow's campaign treasurer and said she'd like to see a strong female candidate.
Ostrow was reelected with a comfortable 67 percent of the 2005 vote. But there were indications a reelection bid could be tougher this time. Clark is one of several neighborhood boosters who have declared candidacies in next year's city races in the wake of the council's recent revamping of the relationship between City Hall and neighborhoods, where some activists felt their voices weren't heeded.
Ostrow said Clark's challenge wasn't a factor.
He said he’s not ruling out a return to practicing law, but wants to explore options for indulging his passion for public policy issues.
Ostrow was unsuccessful in his first council bid in 1993 when he challenged veteran incumbent Walt Dziedzic and finished with a respectable 45 percent. Dziedzic stepped aside four years later as Ostrow prepared another challenge.
Ostrow won the council presidency in his second term, but relinquished it to Johnson four years later. He is now chairman of the council’s money committee.
Ostrow said he’s proud of working to foster an art district in northeast Minneapolis and to improve Central Avenue.