Pictured: Hill, Cano, Springer, Moore and Fleetham
No matter what happens on Election Day this year, a new face will represent the neighborhoods surrounding Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis.
Five people vying for that seat on the City Council, being vacated by mayoral candidate Gary Schiff, gathered on Lake Street Friday morning for a "Breakfast with Gary" forum at Mercado Central. It was the first debate of the Ward 9 race, though another one is planned for Friday evening.
The candidates are: Alondra Cano, formerly an aide to Council Member Robert Lilligren; Ty Moore, a community organizer for Socialist Alternative; Tim Springer, a bike consultant and former head of the Midtown Greenway Coalition; Jettie Ann Hill, ombudsperson in the state Office of of the Ombudsperson for Families; and Pat Fleetham, who works in home furnishings.
The hour-long forum touched on economic development, improving public safety, government consolidation and problem landlords.
The most decisive differences between the candidates arose over a question about how they would vote on some past City Council decisions -- excluding the stadium. Here are their responses:
Cano has been “baffled” by repeated cuts to the fire department budget over time. “The demand for their services has gone up. There’s more injuries on the job now, and now … folks are getting older and there’s no fresh blood coming in because of lack of investment from the city.”
Springer objects to the makeup of the new Police Conduct Review Panel, which replaced the Civilian Review Authority this year. Each panel is comprised of two officers and two civilians, and the chief of police has final say over disagreements. “It seems inappropriate to me that the tie breaker is someone who runs the agency that’s being investigated,” Springer said.
Moore said the city made a poor decision not to include protected bike lanes in its planed repaving of Hiawatha Avenue. He says “it’s not safe” for bicyclists maneuvering vehicles around the city, particularly at night and in the mornings. “We need a systematic set of safe roadways in which people can get from destination A to destination B across the city and that was underfunded in the recent budget,” Moore said.
Fleetham opposes an effort, led by council members Gary Schiff and Meg Tuthill, to relax food-liquor ratio mandates on local restaurants from 60-40 to 50-50. “The pushing of more alcohol is not good for our communities, not good for our neighborhoods,” Fleetham said.
Hill said the city’s public works budget has been cut too far. “If we don’t invest in our infrastructure, we’re going to have a disaster,” Hill said. “Maybe not today, not tomorrow. But it’s coming. And when it hits us, it’s going to hit hard.”
All candidates but Moore are vying for the DFL endorsement. Moore has been endorsed by the Green Party. The DFL forum is Friday at 6:30 at the Powderhorn Park Building.