Naomi [userpic]

Endorsements: Minneapolis

November 3rd, 2013 (11:02 pm)

For the convenience of people who just want to vote as if they were me, a cheat sheet.

1. Betsy Hodges
2. Don Samuels
3. Stephanie Woodruff

I spent a lot of time pondering Cam Winton vs. Mark Andrew on the assumption that if it's not Betsy vs. someone or Don vs. someone in the final round, surely it'll be Cam vs. Mark.

But you know, in all honesty, I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know who's going to turn out for this or how they'll vote. The only poll was frankly really pretty useless. So rather than tying myself in knots trying to guess who the final two might be and which of those two is the lesser evil, I've decided I would just vote for my three favorites and hope for the best. (I am not super optimistic that Stephanie will even still be in play in that third round, but you never know. I like her focus on transparency; it's something Minneapolis could definitely use more of.)

City Council Ward 1
1. Kevin Reich

City Council Ward 2
1. Cam Gordon

City Council Ward 3
1. Jacob Frey

City Council Ward 4
1. Barb Johnson
2. Kris Brogan

City Council Ward 5
1. Ian Alexander
2. Blong Yang
3. Brett Buckner

Ian vs Blong is a close call, but I like Ian's background in public policy.

City Council Ward 6
1. Abdi Warsame
2. Robert Lilligren

City Council Ward 7
1. Lisa Goodman (running unopposed)

City Council Ward 8
1. Elizabeth Glidden (running unopposed)

City Council Ward 9
1. Alondra Cano
2. Charles Curtis
3. Ty Moore

City Council Ward 10
1. Lisa Bender

City Council Ward 11
1. Matt Steele
2. John Quincy

City Council Ward 12
1. Andrew Johnson
2. Chris Lautenschlager
3. Ben Gisselman

City Council Ward 13
1. Matt Perry
2. Linea Palmisano
3. Missy Durant

Board of Estimate and Taxation
1. Carol Becker
2. David Wheeler
3. David Pascoe

Park Board At-Large
1. Jason Stone
2. John Erwin
3. Ishmael Israel

(After talking to John Erwin I moved him back to #2. I like both Jason Stone and John Erwin; I'd like to see both of them on the Park Board. I'm keeping Jason Stone at #1 because I think he's more likely to need the help. ORDER MATTERS IN THIS RACE. You should pick three and rank them IN YOUR ORDER OF PREFERENCE, even though there are three open seats.)

Minneapolis Charter Amendments


Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013: Volume 8, Issue 1. It's Almost Time to Vote

November 3rd, 2013 (09:04 pm)

So it's Sunday night; the election's Tuesday.

Before you go vote, take a look at your ballot. For any precinct in Minnesota, you can visit -- plug in your ZIP code and address, and you can find out where to go vote, and there will be a link to your sample ballot. I highly recommend checking this out, even if you've been following my posts, because there are races I didn't cover.

If you are still puzzled by Instant Runoff Voting, here is an excellent video that covers the basics: (At dinner, I was trying to explain IRV to Kiera and she was getting increasingly baffled. So I pulled up this video and had her watch it and she went from "I do not understand this at all, WHY is this a good idea?" to "THIS IS AWESOME. THIS IS THE BEST WAY EVER TO VOTE.")

Even if you understand how IRV works in the mayoral race, you may still want to watch this second video, which explains how IRV works in races like Park Board At-Large, where more than one person wins. (stargoatpdx , you might want to bookmark that video for future use when explaining this method to people. The visuals help a lot.)

An important note on this is that in the Park Board At-Large race, order matters. There are three open seats, and you can vote for three candidates. But it's actually important to put your favorite candidate first, your second-favorite second, and your third-favorite third. (Or, you might list your long-shot candidate first because s/he is most likely to need the help.) But ORDER COUNTS. Previously in this race, there'd be three open seats and you got to pick three candidates and they each got one vote. Now, you get fractions. Watch the video -- it's complicated. The short version is just, order counts.

It also counts in the Board of Estimate and Taxation race, but I think it's less likely to matter there.

Finally, I liked this post from R.T. Rybak about looking to see who's funded by whom, before casting your vote:

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013: Volume 2, Issue 8: Mayoral Closing Arguments

November 3rd, 2013 (06:08 pm)

The Star Tribune today ran a piece in their editorial section where they let the six they considered to be the top choices give a brief final pitch for their candidacies. So they had Betsy Hodges, Mark Andrew, Dan Cohen, Cam Winton, Jackie Cherryhomes, and Don Samuels. But not Bob Fine or Stephanie Woodruff.

Honestly, I don't think they needed to include all 35, but excluding Bob and Stephanie is bogus. I assume it's because both did poorly in the poll the Strib did last month -- but given that the leading candidates got a whopping 16%, I'm hesitant to take that poll all that seriously. Stephanie notes that she's raised more money than Dan Cohen, and Bob will point out (repeatedly. you'll have a hard time getting him to STOP pointing this out) that he's the only candidate who's been elected to city-wide office.

So, for those who are looking for some last-minute info (probably for their third pick. Is everyone stuck on their third pick? Because that's my impression) here is the Star Trib's piece with the final pitches.

I checked out Bob Fine's website and this looks like what he'd have said if he'd been allowed to submit one.

And I left Stephanie a note on Facebook and she replied in a comment here.

A couple of comments.

* Bob Fine says he listed his home phone number on his candidate web site. The fact that it's still there, days from the election, is not a good sign for his victory. I mean, this suggests that even the cranks aren't bothering him. (It's good to be accessible. That doesn't mean you want your home phone to ring at 3 a.m. because someone just read something on the Internet about [Fukushima / Fluoride / Mercury Exposure / Alien Abductions / who knows] and wants to know how Minneapolis is going to respond to this TOTALLY PRESSING ISSUE.)

* Stephanie Woodruff emphasizes transparency (her city experience involves a volunteer position on the city's audit committee) and talks about wanting to set up a website with information from the city. I think this is a great idea; the sad thing is how few people would probably ever look at the information if it were available.

* Mark Andrew says he "led the DFL for Sen. Paul Wellstone’s re-election" -- what the heck does that mean? (OK, I googled, and he was Chair of the local DFL during Paul Wellstone's re-election campaign. Here's what it actually means: Mark Andrew wants you to associate him with Saint Paul, and I don't mean the town.)

* Jackie Cherryhomes is very, very cleverly spinning her political defeat years ago as a plus -- you want someone who will place "the city’s needs before her or his own political future," and clearly she did that since she lost her seat. You need to remember why she lost her seat: because she supported genuine boondoggles like Block E.

* Dan Cohen starts off with this:

"The heart and soul of my campaign is restoring the basic right of our democracy: the right to vote. It has twice been denied us.

We got the vote on the same-sex marriage amendment. We got the vote on voter ID. But when it came to the Vikings stadium deal, we didn't get the vote, we got the shaft: a bill for $500 million, and a deal that puts us in business with a judicially certified civil racketeer. We are entitled to a better deal than this, and I will get it for us. And the right to vote on it."

...Dude? SERIOUSLY? Are you trying to suggest here that voting on the civil rights of my gay friends was a positive thing?

I'm totally in favor of the Vikings Stadium vote the council didn't hold. But that attempt to pass the amendment was bullshit.

* Betsy clearly wants you to think, "Mayor R.T. version 2.0: less stadium and even more progressive." Which....okay. I could live with that.

* Don is going for the "big picture" approach. His big picture is that things are way better than they were, but are about to slide back into the pit if he's not elected.

* Cam embraces specifics (he talks about potholes!) but it includes specifics that are totally, 100% out of plausible reach for him, and I don't know who he thinks he's kidding. ("I'll seek school board appointments to push through reform policies, including the end of 'last in, first out,' a policy that prioritizes the interests of mediocre adults over exceptional children." "Last in, first out" is also know as the seniority system and is pretty much core to the union contracts. There are concessions you might be able to get the union to make; this isn't a likely one, and he's not in a position to argue with the unions anyway because that mayorally-appointed school board member idea is a complete non-starter.)

Election 2013 Index of Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 4, Issue 9: Minneapolis City Council Ward 13

November 1st, 2013 (04:44 pm)

When I lived in Minneapolis, I lived way over near the eastern edge, almost to the Mississippi River. In my mental map of the world, Minneapolis ends at about Hennepin Ave. So whenever I've driven out to Edina on city streets (Minnehaha Parkway, then 50th Street), this is the part of Minneapolis where I look around in amazement and say, "I'm not in Edina yet? How is this still Minneapolis? Seriously?!?"

(There's over half an alphabet of streets after Hennepin, in case you're wondering! Hennepin falls sort of in the Alphabeticals -- there's Aldrich, Bryant, and Colfax, and then apparently Minneapolis thought that we could use a few extra H's because if you're driving on 36th street there's Hennepin, Holmes, and Humboldt. But Holmes gets lost somewhere in the lakes and by the time you're in Ward 13 they seem to have winnowed it down so thoroughly that on 50th Street you don't intersect with an H at all. Then they pick up again with Irving and James -- although Irving doesn't intersect with 50th because there's a park -- and continues on all the way through Xerxes, York, Zenith. Then the alphabet actually starts over again and when you hit France Avenue, you're in Edina.) (Although, looking at the Ward 13 map, this appears to be untrue if you go a little south: from 54th Street down, Minneapolis ends at Xerxes.)

Anyway! The people who are running to represent almost-but-not-quite-Edina are as follows:

Missy Durant (Democratic-Farmer-Labor)
Linea Palmisano (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) (DFL-endorsed)
Matt Perry (Democratic-Farmer-Labor)
David Regan (Libertarian Party) (endorsed by the Libertarian Party of Minnesota)
Bob Reuer (Independent) (endorsed by the Minneapolis City Republican Committee)

The incumbent, Betsy Hodges, gave up her City Council seat to run for Mayor.

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I'd probably go for (1) Matt Perry, (2) Linea Palmisano and (3) Missy Durant, but #1 and #2 are a close call. Like the Strib, I was kind of sold on his extensive relevant experience; I also liked that his opinion on municipalization reflected mine really well. If you're a DFL party wonk, you'll definitely want Linea first (Matt promised to drop out if he didn't receive endorsement, then reneged). And I'm sure she'd be excellent -- either she or Matt is an excellent choice. My overall impression of Missy was "enthusiastic but flaky" (never, ever list your self-published inspirational book in your candidate site if you want me to think of you as "not flaky," especially under the bolded heading of "author") and my overall impression of Bob was that he was a crank who wouldn't really know what to do with the job if he landed it.

Election 2013 Index of Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 4, Issue 8: Minneapolis City Council Ward 11

November 1st, 2013 (03:10 pm)

As I was doing the previous mass-writeup post I was expecting this one to be similarly quick and easy. Nope! This one's got two real candidates (although I don't actually know how well Matt Steele is doing. I don't spend that much time in Ward 11, and thus lack the observational "have I seen this guy's yard signs?" metric.

Here are the candidates that will appear on the ballot:

Bob Schlosser (Non-Party Affiliate) (it actually says that on the ballot, I checked)
Matt Steele (Independent) (endorsed by the Independence Party)
John Quincy (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) (incumbent, DFL-endorsed)

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tl;dr -- (1) John Quincy (2) Matt Steele, unless you're a transit nerd or REALLY mad about the Vikings Stadium, in which case (1) Matt Steele (2) John Quincy.

Election 2013 Index of Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 4, Issue 7: Mpls City Council, Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 4, Ward 7, and Ward 8!

November 1st, 2013 (01:49 pm)

It's the Friday before the election! I think I'll wrap up my coverage by seeing how many of the remaining Minneapolis City Council wards I can get through. I've done 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, and 12. Still to do: 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, and 13.

Why don't I just a bunch of these in order.

Minneapolis Ward 1

Vincent Coffeen
Mark Fox
Kevin Reich (DFL-endorsed, incumbent)

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Minneapolis Ward 2

Cam Gordon (Green Party)
Diana Newberry (Socialist Workers Party)

Why yes: the only person challenging Green Party member and City Council Rep Cam Gordon is running from the left. (Sort of.)

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Minneapolis Ward 4

Kris Brogan (DFL)
Barbara A. "Barb" Johnson (DFL - Endorsed, Incumbent)
Dan Niesen (Republican Party of Minnesota)

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Minneapolis Ward 7

Lisa Goodman (DFL, endorsed, incumbent) is running unopposed.

Minneapolis Ward 8

Elizabeth Glidden (DFL, endorsed, incumbent) is running unopposed.

That leaves Ward 11 and Ward 13. Both of these have real and interesting races and will get their own posts.

Index of Election 2013 Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 2, Issue 7: Let's Try a Mayoral Flow Chart

October 26th, 2013 (12:38 am)

So, if you're voting for mayor in Minneapolis, you have 35 candidates, 8 of them plausible and serious, and you need to pick three in ranked preference. I'm going to try to game out a couple of options for you.

Just as a quick refresher (for me -- I want to be able to look at this while I'm writing this), here are the eight major candidates:

1. Dan Cohen (stadium-hating casino-promoter)
2. Betsy Hodges (progressive DFLer)
3. Mark Andrew (corporate DFLer and greenwashing marketing stooge)
4. Don Samuels (passionate and slightly odd Northside Council Rep)
5. Cam Winton (socially liberal Republican)
6. Stephanie Woodruff (Independence-party endorsed fiscal conservative businesswoman)
7. Jackie Cherryhomes (former Sayles-Belton crony, will never live down Block E)
8. Bob Fine (Park Board guy, hardly anyone knows he's running)

So let's say that this is you:

I am totally infuriated about the stupid Vikings stadium deal. I want a mayor who will cancel the deal or at the very LEAST I want a mayor who didn't vote for it or support it in any way.

Anti-Stadium candidates include Dan Cohen, Betsy Hodges, Stephanie Woodruff, and Cam Winton. Dan Cohen wants to actually trash the deal, so if you hate it THAT MUCH, maybe do (1) Dan Cohen, (2) Betsy Hodges, (3) either Stephanie or Cam, depending on how you feel about Republicans.

Got the idea? OK. Let's see what other scenarios I can come up with.

I'm your basic Minneapolis progressive. Tell me who the DFL ought to have endorsed so I can vote for that person.

1. Betsy Hodges. 2. Don Samuels. 3. Mark Andrew. (I still think I personally would pick Cam Winton over Mark Andrew, but I'm not going to claim that the DFL would have gone for Cam over Mark.)

I'm a Green Socialist Lefty. FIGHT THE MAN. Who should I vote for?

Well, you might want to avail yourself of the minor candidates list, but let me warn you that the people listing themselves as Greens are flaky and disorganized at best (there is an endorsement process for the Green Party! neither bothered to take advantage of it) and the Socialist is of the "Cuba is a worker's paradise" variety of socialist rather than a "health care, $20/hour jobs, and pet unicorns for all!" variety of socialist. So I would suggest that you vote (1) Jayme Kelly (Stop Foreclosures Now) -- she's the woman who's on the brink of losing her house; hilariously, running for mayor actually succeeded in bringing a bunch of attention to her plight; (2) Troy Benjegerdes, the solar-panel-building Bitcoin supporter, and then (3) Betsy Hodges, because you should pick one of the serious contenders for your third pick and you're not seriously thinking you'd vote for Mark Andrew, are you?

I'm a Republican/I'm not actually a Republican because there are too many assholes in the party, but I'm a fiscally-conservative Independent, and I want someone who won't spend money on stuff I think is stupid. Also, I think almost all the stuff government spends money on other than snow plowing and pothole filling is stupid.

This one's easy. 1. Cam Winton; 2. Stephanie Woodruff; 3. Bob Fine.

I'm a Libertarian.

I'm going to send you to the "minor candidates" list because Christopher Zimmerman's Facebook page is totally awesome. 1. Christopher Robin Zimmerman. 2. Stephanie Woodruff. 3. Cam Winton.

I want a woman to be mayor.


I LOVE the Vikings deal and want to REWARD the supporters of it. GO VIKES.

Sure. 1. Don Samuels. 2. Mark Andrew. 3. Jackie Cherryhomes. (Mark and Jackie say that they would have supported the stadium deal if they'd been on the Council; Don Samuels voted for it.)

If I failed to cover your personal concern, you could chime in in the comments section and I'll see what I can do!

Election 2013 Index of Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 4, Issue 6: City Council, Ward 3

October 25th, 2013 (11:49 pm)

One of the things I really like about this race is that FOR ONCE it looks like a bunch of politicians will actually pay a political price for voting for a stadium deal. Most of the City Council reps who voted against it are doing fine. (The exception is Lilligren, but redistricting gave him a very different ward than he'd started with.) Most of the City Council reps who voted for it are on the ropes. (The exception is Don Samuels, who might be doing fine in the mayoral race -- it's hard to know, given that there was only one poll, and I don't think anyone other than Dan Cohen took the results all that seriously.)

So: Ward 3 has another incumbent who voted for the Vikings stadium deal, who didn't get the DFL endorsement and who stayed in the race despite not getting the DFL endorsement. (She apparently managed that a little more smoothly than Meg Tuthill did, but she had said beforehand she'd abide by endorsement, at least on the Stonewall DFL questionnaire.)

Jacob Frey (Democratic-Farmer-Labor)
Diane Hofstede (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) and the incumbent
Kristina Gronquist (Green Party)
Michael Katch (Libertarian)

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I'd say this is basically a two-and-a-half person race; Michael Katch isn't going to win, Kristina Gronquist probably isn't going to win, and even if one of them is your first choice, you'll need either Diane or Jacob as a fallback. (Heck, even if Kristina Gronquist is #1 and Michael Katch is #2, you get to pick three! Also, I question your commitment to the very concept of a political philosophy, but if you really want to vote whimsically, I'm not going to try to talk you out of it.)

I would vote for Frey. If I lived in Ward 3 I'd probably just mark a vote for Frey and leave it at that.

Election 2013 Index of Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 7, Issue 1: St. Paul School Board -- now with accurate candidates!

October 24th, 2013 (11:14 pm)

I swear to God that when I looked up my ballot over on on September 21st, the candidates were Jean O'Connell, John Brodrick,
Chue Vue, Luis Ortega, David Martinez, and Sarah Lechowich.

Today we got a Highland Villager with election coverage and they had the candidates for St. Paul school board as Jean O'Connell, John Brodrick,
Chue Vue, Greg Copeland, and Terrance Bushard. I thought, WTF? Who are some of these people? and looked it up again. I don't know if I was looking at outdated data or if I actually got my data somewhere else or what, but in fact, here are the candidates:

Jean O'Connell (Incumbent, DFL-endorsed)
John Brodrick (Incumbent, DFL-endorsed)
Chue Vue (DFL-endorsed)
Greg Copeland (Republican endorsed)
Terrance Bushard

This actually makes it a lot simpler.

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So! Straight DFL-endorsed ticket it is. Jean O'Connell, John Broderick, Chue Vue. I don't have to rank them; because the State Legislature regulates how school board races are held, this one is not done with instant runoff. I get to vote for three candidates because there are three open seats, and the count is done by straight-up counting, nothing more complicated.

Election 2013 Index of Posts

Naomi [userpic]

Election 2013, Volume 7, Issue 3: St. Paul Ward 1 Council

October 24th, 2013 (12:16 am)

So over in St. Paul, my neighborhood's races are utterly dull. We have the mayoral race and we have a school board race and that's it. We don't even have an unopposed City Council incumbent running (like Minneapolis Ward 8). I'll show up and vote because I always show up and vote, but it's not very interesting to write about.

But over in Ward 1 they have a City Council race, because the current Council rep resigned. This is a special election, so it's only for two years.

In Minneapolis, you get to add three words that appear in parentheses after your name on the ballot, so if I were running for office over there I could be be Naomi Kritzer (Democratic-Farm-Labor) or Naomi Kritzer (Sarcastic Progressive Writer) or Naomi Kritzer (Don't Elect Me) or Naomi Kritzer (Ha Ha Ha) or whatever. Although apparently I can't be Naomi Kritzer (Farming Is Awesome) because the DFL has a monopoly on farms, nor could I be a Moderate Progressive Republican if for some reason I wanted to do that although I could totally declare myself to be a Republican. Presumably they also wouldn't let me be a Conservative Green or a Socialist Libertarian although if I wanted to run as a Capitalist Laurist my guess is that they'd let me.

ANYWAY. In St. Paul, you just get the list of names. Here they are:

Noel Nix
Paul Holmgren
Debbie Montgomery
Dai Thao
Mark Voerding
Kazoua Kong-Thao
Johnny Howard

Also in St. Paul, you get to rank all of them in order of preference; you're not limited to the top three. The ballot design suggests a machine reader; I wonder if they're going to tally the data electronically and then do the actual preferential calculations by hand, or if they have software that can handle as many candidates as run?

The DFL didn't endorse anyone, though apparently seven people tried for endorsement and Noel Nix and Dai Thao came the closest.

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So given all that, here's how I would rank the candidates if I were voting in Saint Paul Ward 1.

1. Dai Thao
2. Noel Nix
3. Johnny Howard
4. Kazoua Kong-Thao
5. Mark Voerding
6. Debbie Montgomery

Election 2013 Index of Posts