Cam Gordon, the only Green Party member of the Minneapolis City Council since January 2006, was so entrenched in the Second Ward by 2017 that he faced no opposition for a fourth term. That's not the case this year as Gordon asks voters to send him to City Hall a fifth time. Four other names appear on Second Ward ballots; three of those challengers have mounted serious campaigns.
One of the newcomers, Yusra Arab, gets our nod. We agree with her that Gordon has staked out positions on several key issues that are not in the best interest of either the ward or the city. We also admire her reasoned analysis of issues, her approachable manner and her perspective as an immigrant, single mother, former City Council aide and mental health practitioner.
Gordon, 65, has provided diligent service at City Hall. He has been a positive force on some issues, most notably climate change. But Gordon has also become enamored with a City Hall power structure that allows council members too much sway over city departments. Gordon wants to bring that same "14 boss" structure to the police department, where the mayor now has greater authority.
Arab, 34, believes that would be a mistake. As an aide to former Ward 6 Council Member Abdi Warsame, she saw firsthand that a council-dominated power structure works poorly. She rightly faults the council for failing to thoroughly plan for a proposed new Department of Public Safety before asking voters to rewrite the public safety provisions of the city charter. Arab favors City Question 1 and opposes City Question 2, the government structure and public safety charter questions, respectively, on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Those positions are shared by a second political newcomer, Thomas Anderson, who like Arab is a DFLer. Neither has party endorsement. A lobbyist for a higher education student association, Anderson, 33, shows considerable promise. We hope to see his name on a ballot again.
The race's third active challenger is Robin Wonsley Worlobah. Running as a Democratic Socialist, Wonsley Worlobah, 30, works as an organizer for Education Minnesota. She approaches issues with an activist's zeal that could impede the collaborative work that a legislative body requires.
Also on the Second Ward ballot is Republican Guy T. Gaskin. He did not seek Star Tribune endorsement.
The Star Tribune Editorial Board operates separately from the newsroom, and no news editors or reporters were involved in the endorsement process. To read all of our endorsements, go to startribune.com/package-opinion-endorsements/.