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Election 2013, Volume 2, Issue 6: How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

October 7th, 2013 (08:56 pm)

So, in doing my research on the various races I keep running into things I hate about all the (serious) candidates. (The non-serious candidates have their own problems; I'm less meticulous about how I rank them, in general, but trust me, I can find plenty to hate about all of them, too.)

I was pondering whether typing it all out would help me identify the Lesser Evil(s), so I'm going to give it a shot. Here are all the things I dislike about the top eight mayoral candidates.

Stephanie Woodruff

She is overly fond of business buzzwords and content-free puffery (although someone edited her website after my first visit and got rid of the diagrams that looked like they'd come out of a bad PowerPoint presentation) and her political experience is pretty minimal.

Cam Winton

The sad fact is that right now, I'm not sure I would vote for a Republican for dogcatcher. Even a moderate, sensible Republican who was running as an Independent. Sorry, Cam. Also, although he supports bike lanes he doesn't think we should be spending public money on bikeways and bike paths -- things like the Greenway are unlikely to happen on his watch, which I think would be a shame because it's innovative stuff like this that makes Minneapolis a great city.

Betsy Hodges

Betsy likes streetcars, which I think are kind of a stupid idea.

Don Samuels

Don Samuels voted for the Vikings stadium deal. The "envelopes full of money!!!" quote did not suggest corruption to me so much as a totally weird political naivete of the sort that could get him into huge trouble if he's not careful.

Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is clearly a crank, I loathe the idea of a downtown casino, he's basically trying to buy his way into office, and finally, although I'm not opposed to public funding for the arts, I think offering a bailout NOW to the Minnesota Orchestra sends entirely the wrong message (unless it's predicated on the resignation of the entire board and the firing of the CEO).

Mark Andrew

The people who says he's a corporate shill are 100% correct. He run a greenwashing company, he's friends with all the wrong people, and he'll dodge any question he doesn't like (he never replied to my e-mail, never replied to my question on his Facebook page, and you'll find an unnerving lack of depth if you dig at all on his website). Creepy, but affable. You know who he really, really reminds me of? Norm Coleman, except that Norm Coleman was so slimy he left a trail behind him like a snail; Mark Andrew is a lot more personable than Norm Coleman ever was, but similarly willing to say whatever he thinks will get him into a position of power.

Jackie Cherryhomes

Jackie Cherryhomes personally represents the worst of the Sayles-Belton administration. On her watch the city screwed over small business people in order to throw buckets of money at enormous corporations. When she lost, she shredded heaps of constituent records rather than pass anything along to the woman who defeated her. I desperately don't want to see her return to political office; she was an absolutely terrible person to have in any sort of power.

Bob Fine

Bob Fine was responsible for one of the most atrocious Park Superintendents Minneapolis has ever had; he shoved the guy into power because he'd known him in high school. As much as I like some of Fine's ideas and priorities, that sort of cronyism is disastrous enough in the parks system; I really don't want to see it in the mayor's office. Also, even if he were my #1 choice, on the poll the Strib did last month, he'd have been outpolled by Captain Jack Sparrow if Captain Jack had been in the poll.

I think if I had to vote today (in Minneapolis) I might do:

1. Betsy Hodges
2. Don Samuels
3. Cam Winton

Election 2013 Index of Posts


Posted by: arkuat (arkuat)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 02:31 am (UTC)
lake-superior 2007

Thank you for this. I knew about the terrible park superintendent, but I didn't know Fine was so directly responsible for that. And you pointed out some things about Cohen that had receded into the back of my mind, almost forgotten about. Before I read this, I had been considering Fine and Cohen for my 2nd and 3rd, just out of cranky disappointment with the quality of the field.

Hodges has pretty much had a lock on my first choice vote since I started considering things, and while I'd like to be able to change my mind on getting new information, nothing I've learned has changed that. I think she's the closest we'd be able to get to something like more Rybak, which wouldn't be a recommendation in itself but for the alternatives.

This is the first city election I'll be able to vote in Minneapolis, after several years of living in Richfield and Robbinsdale, so I was excited about it before I got disappointed. It's weird having an RCV system that only goes down to the third choice, which removes the force of the best arguments for RCV (majority support for one candidate guaranteed in one round of voting! Not this year.), and it's weird having RCV coupled with ballot-access rules designed for runoff elections. I am still personally a little excited though.

Posted by: Sharon Kahn (dreamshark)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:34 am (UTC)

"Hodges has pretty much had a lock on my first choice vote since I started considering things, and while I'd like to be able to change my mind on getting new information, nothing I've learned has changed that. I think she's the closest we'd be able to get to something like more Rybak, which wouldn't be a recommendation in itself but for the alternatives."

Aww, don't say that. Cause I'm putting down Betsy as my first choice, and I absolutely LOATHE R.T. I don't see the similarity.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 04:11 am (UTC)
Bill Kahn

My first and last Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board meeting started with Superintendent Jon Gurban barring my way into the board meeting room; it didn't get any better and included a confrontation with my MPRB District 1 member, Walt Dziedzic. I was flabbergasted at how MPRB functioned and how scared employees were.

It is far better now and hopefully is on the way to a better culture than those bad old days (just have to get rid of all the bad old board members). I met my future MPRB member there that night, taking notes for Park Watch I think, and one who is running this year for an at large seat. We're getting there.

Hodges is just Rybak in drag, but she might make my list, perhaps at three, simply because the guy I supported for endorsement at the Minneapolis DFL convention endorsed her; I think Rybak made terrible decisions sacrificing defining features of Minneapolis for no good reason (never mind that Vikings stadium decision to have our referendum when he ran for reelection instead of following that charter requirement, then didn't run), and I have little doubt that Hodges could do just as bad.

I would vote Edmund Bruyere second, because I like his platform and Native Americans have gotten a raw deal in our burg for far too long. It would be interesting if he won or did well in this election.

And because we don't actually need a mayor, I'm voting for me, Bill Kahn, first, so we can have a council-manager form of government, five wards corresponding to the tradition five sectors of our city, and eight at large seats for a total of 13 folks to serve us through annually setting a clear agenda for a professional city manager with progress checks and corrections throughout the year with decentralized government through the five wards and their neighborhoods in a new neighborhood revitalization program, adequately funded and ensconced in city government.

I agree about the three choices: it stinks. Given the rule of dropping all those candidates with no mathematical chance of winning in the first round, I think we'll be down to a reasonable field and I would hope that most of the anointed eight would be eliminated, then.

See if you can find candidates with a platform you can get behind for your three choices and consider that those with the most government experience and financial backing may be absolutely the worst choices for Minneapolis.

Don't pay too much attention to what the media have to say or any shallow bloggers you might read here and there.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 04:38 am (UTC)

Here's a good article on what happened with the Park Superintendent: http://www.citypages.com/2010-03-03/news/jon-gurban-forced-out-as-minneapolis-park-board-s-controversial-superintendent/full/

Posted by: Sharon Kahn (dreamshark)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:46 am (UTC)

Cam Winton? Really? Okay, he's not crazy and stupid, but he's still a Republican, and he's not gonna pay for your bike paths or anything else to make the city great. Fixing potholes is as far as his vision goes.

I think you're being a little hard on Mark Andrew. I must admit that he is coming off as kind of a creampuff - way too eager to please. But I believe that he is and always has been serious about the greening of Minneapolis. He really did push through the Midtown Greenway when he was on the Hennepin County Board, and I feel some debt to him for that. I don't think there is a single change to the Minneapolis infrastructure in all the years I have lived here that has transformed the way I feel about this city as much as that Greenway.

I vaguely remember that I didn't think much of Bob Fine when he was on the Park Board, but I can't remember why. Who was the atrocious Park Superintendent, and what did he do?

You're probably right about Stephanie Woodruff. Somehow I thought she was on the City Council at one time, but I may be mixing her up with somebody else.

Anyway, at this point my top 3 are: Betsy Hodges, Don Samuels, Mark Andrew.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC)

Fundamentally the Cam Winton suggestion is a vote against Mark Andrew, because I really, really distrust him.

Here is an excellent article about the civic disaster that was Jon Gurban, Park Superintendent from Hell.

Stephanie Woodruff has never been on the City Council but holds an appointed position on the Audit Committee. I might be more impressed by this if she explained on her website what the Audit Committee does, and what she does on it. (I mean, obviously it audits stuff. But that's not actually all that informative.)

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC)
Bill Kahn

I wouldn't pay much attention to dreamshark; he thinks my name is Bob.

www [dot] lastminneapolismayor [dot] org

The platform does 'say it all', but there's so much more.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 05:21 am (UTC)

I think you may have put this comment in the wrong LJ.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
Bill Kahn

Why would you think that, Ms. Kritzer?

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 02:47 pm (UTC)

Because if you want to complain about Sharon's characterization of you, or getting your name slightly wrong, you should be doing that in her LJ and not mine.

FYI, candidates (like you) are welcome to comment on these posts but if they're obnoxious, rude, or insufferable, they'll get banned like any other obnoxious, rude, or insufferable commenter.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)

Have you ever consider, Ms. Kritzer, that you, to me and some others, resemble who you describe here. Blogs represent a freedom that can be abused and some folks can be greatly offended by a truthful observation, i.e., you can shape your own reality here, but you can't make us believe it.

Posted by: Naomi (naomikritzer)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:32 pm (UTC)

Let me link you to a flow chart that might make some things clearer:


Except in this context, swap the name "John Scalzi" for the name "Naomi Kritzer."

This is my blog. It is full of my opinions because that's what blogs are for. Feel free not to read it.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)


You, Ms. Kritzer, should have a different sort of standard, but it is your blog and if you chose to write short stories about local politics and have search engines lead people here to read those fictions, you're going to have a whole lot of reality spam to remove.

Posted by: Sharon Kahn (dreamshark)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:59 pm (UTC)

Oh, Bill. Your first comment was interesting and informative and I was starting to like you. Just changed my mind. Oh well. The perils of social media.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 04:46 pm (UTC)

Oh well, I guess I'll have to live with that; know, however, that I like you or I would not bother with all this.

Story of my life: taken the wrong way by every woman I know (sniffing and holding back the tears, crocodilian or otherwise)

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)

Or use good spelling and grammar. I noticed some humdingers in some of your entries, so I don't feel quite as bad about mine, here.

Posted by: A Wandering Hobbit (redbird)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
purple trilobite

She thinks your name is Bob, and you assume she's a man. If what might be momentary errors disqualify people from attention, people should pay equally little attention to both of you.

Posted by: Sharon Kahn (dreamshark)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:53 pm (UTC)

Oops, sorry Bill. I humbly apologize for getting your name wrong.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 03:19 pm (UTC)

Had to look a bit closer to find that dreamshark is a woman, I think; sorry about that, and we even have a good name to share, if I and that notorious French rapist have not ruined it yet.

Got to agree with her that Cam Winton is a far from Progressive Republican. These days, Republicans have a language all their own, and Winton was using it early in the campaign before checking it for the campaign as much as that is possible for him.

You have to be careful with the DFL as well, e.g., Rybak and Cherryhomes. We can't have people giving away the revenue and institutions that once defined this city (once we had our own libraries and no bank and store names on stadiums and such).

Posted by: Fred Beukema (Fred Beukema)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC)

I don't disagree about the libraries, per se (though I haven't had any particular issues since HCLIB swallowed MPL), but the comment on the stadiums seems non sequitur. Does the mayor or city council have any sayso on stadium naming? Wouldn't that be the fault of the Metropolitan Sports Commission and the UMN? And the days of no store names on stadiums hasn't been since Don Fraser was Mayor and the Twolves opened up shop.

Posted by: billkahn (billkahn)
Posted at: October 8th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
Bill Kahn

If I can prevail on Ms. Kritzer for another comment as I think I've been writing as much or more on her blog than she, it was a parenthetical, Fred, a comment in the vein of the Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times," i.e., times have changed and not for the better and I was too lazy to enumerate the number of subsidies provided to corporate ventures in Minneapolis, certainly not limited to stadiums.

I can remember those Rybak campaign Target signs at the 2001 Minneapolis DFL convention clearly (look at how chummy things have been for RT and Target today). We may not have or get any advantage from naming rights, but the Vikings do. Why?

We're (Minneapolis) paying $7.5 Million a year in costs for operating the Vikings stadium on top of the taxes to pay of the debt and principal on the Minneapolis share, $150 Million (we'll pay 3 or 4 times that, eventually), of the $1 Billion cost of the stadium, of which our burg and the State of Minnesota are paying more than half and getting nothing for the investment (I defy anyone to find a reputable economic study that says any city or state benefits from subsidizing sports facilities, or much else for that matter). The teams get the money from naming rights, seat licenses, a soccer franchise, just about every enterprise connected with their sports activities, and we all get the shaft (they even wanted parking money, and we're subsidizing other folks building that).

I'm fine with pro football, but they should pay their own way, even the infrastructure costs of having their stadiums anywhere in the country. The traffic snarls on game days cost us all along with other externalized costs like pollution and crime and health issues and on and on. Business connected to sports is just not very healthy business and we'd be better off giving a pittance to amateur athletics for much better return on investment.

I agree that we still have libraries to use, but some have had library issues. Collections of media acquired through Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds for specific libraries have been lost in merging the systems and their different missions were never really adequately reconciled. Also, the fact that we essentially gave up something for less than nothing and are still paying off the MPL debt with little to show for it but poorer libraries and the loss of prestige connected with a city library.

Look at how involved our city government has been with keeping the Minnesota Orchestra playing ------> not. I cried listening to the last Sibelius piece the members played with Osmo Vanska leading and the audience leaving in silence without applause. We're never going to hear that caliber a group again thanks to the mentality of folks running corporate operations with numerous subsidies and no transparency cutting costs in places where they have no business doing so.

I'm done. I've got other places to grace with my poison pen ;-), even if I find other places where the 'minor' candidates are being trashed or ignored.

Remember, I'm (probably) voting:

1. Bill Kahn (me, me, me)
2. Edmund Bruyere
3. Betsy Hodges (maybe, if I can hold my nose long enough)

Posted by: Da Hozer (hozed)
Posted at: October 19th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)

First, thank you for doing all this analysis.

If we had approval voting, instead of ranked choice, I think Betsy Hodges and Don Samuels are both people I'd approve of.

I respect Cam Winton, and the company he built (and then sold) that maintains Xcel's wind turbines.

But one thing I'd ask though.. Please consider voting for me for number 3

Both Cam Winton and I are financially connected to the wind turbine industry, but in very different ways. Cam is effectively on Xcel's payroll, so if you think shutting down public discourse about the utility franchise agreement by spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt is good, then by all means, vote for Cam.

If you think community-owned wind farms in rural areas (including my family's farm in Iowa), and solar panels on every urban roof with good sun, and that we should be talking about how to get there in 10 years, then vote for Troy Benjegerdes, Local Energy/Food.

Posted by: coho29 (coho29)
Posted at: November 6th, 2013 06:53 am (UTC)

I never followed Norm Coleman closely enough to be able to judge that comparison, but it sounds more than plausible to me. At some point I was thinking about other possible comparisons--more fanciful ones--for Mark Andrew's campaign persona, and I landed on the phrase Saruman with a haircut. It does sound like Andrew did some great things long ago, but it seems like his more recent story is one of "power corrupts" (in the broadest sense of corruption).

If you'll indulge me in this analogy a little further: With the apparent collapse of the Andrew bubble tonight, my train of thought goes to the scene at the end of RotK (the novel) where a kind of Saruman cloud-ghost arises, looks to the West, and dissolves. That one moment always gave me chills. I do feel some schadenfreude over Andrew's defeat, to be honest, but I feel something not unlike pity as well.

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