Mpls. Election notebook: Mayoral candidates chime in on picks

  • Article by: ERIC ROPER and MAYA RAO , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: October 12, 2013 - 10:21 PM
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Cam Winton and Betsy Hodges during a September mayoral forum.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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Top mayoral candidates are still reticent about sharing their second and third choices for mayor, but they are offering more insight into their consideration. The Nov. 5 election will be the city’s second using ranked-choice voting, which takes into account voters’ second and third preferences when determining a winner. Six of eight candidates surveyed were willing to give some explanation of what they appreciate about some of their colleagues. That’s up from Star Tribune’s last informal survey in August. Bob Fine and Mark Andrew did not weigh in on other candidates.

Among the takeaways? Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels and Cam Winton all listed each other among their top choices — a possible sign of a budding alliance. Hodges and Samuels also mentioned Jackie Cherryhomes, though Winton did not. Only Cherryhomes mentioned Andrew. See their responses at startribune.com/mpls2013.

‘What did he say?’

Some tense moments arose at a mayoral debate on the North Side this week, such as when Dan Cohen said that the Hennepin County trash incinerator has not caused health problems in a single person. “Whoa,” some in the audience called out, while others whispered, “What did he say?”

Cohen was one of the few candidates who said he supported a plan to have the incinerator, known as the HERC, increase its capacity from 80 to 100 percent. He said the following day that he was willing to meet his critics in the middle and increase the capacity at the incinerator to 90 percent, with the understanding that he would revisit the issue in two years. Critics contend that the facility releases toxic pollutants that disproportionately harm North Siders.

“Do I support sending fumes of poison across north Minneapolis? No,” said Hodges, to applause.

Andrew championed the incinerator as a county commissioner in the 1980s and said Tuesday night that there was enough concern in the community about the burner that he supported environmental studies on the issue and would base any future support on the science.

Seeing spending

At a news conference this week, Stephanie Woodruff criticized Minneapolis for receiving a D- this January from U.S. Public Interest Research Group for spending transparency. Woodruff, endorsed by the Independence Party, said as mayor she would institute “checkbook-level” accounting on the city’s website, illustrating all payments that leave the treasury. Currently, it can be hard to determine precisely where and how much money the city spends apart from the competitive bidding process and annual budget. Cities like New York and Chicago make this information available at a central place online.

City spokesman Matt Lindstrom said this winter in response to the USPIRG report that a checkbook-level website for the stimulus program, MinneapolisRecovery.us, drew only 6,100 views over three years despite “a sizable cost to both develop and maintain.”

“In my mind it’s a cop-out excuse,” Woodruff said. “It should just be a given that our government has that type of transparency.”

 

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  • Betsy Hodges, left, and Don Samuels, right, shown with President Obama. The two Minneapolis mayoral candidates, along with Cam Winton, all listed each other among their top choices for ranked-choice voting — a possible sign of a budding alliance.

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