Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Don't forget Ward 11 in 2017

John Quincy disappears during Ward 11 candidate forum.

There was a city council candidate forum down in Ward 11 last night. This is one of a handful of pivotal and competitive council races in Minneapolis this year (1, 3, 5, 7 and 11 - and if you think Barb can be beat, add Ward 4 to that list).

Ward 11 doesn't get a lot of attention and neither does their current council member, John Quincy. He's affable. He's inoffensive. He blends in. He finds the safe place to be. He's not the first person who comes to mind when you think of The Council Members Roadblocking My Favorite Big Idea. But you won't find him far behind, following the lead of the ones who are.

At the forum, Quincy made a case based on his status and committee assignments, which he attributed to "experience." How has he used that acquired power to lead on important issues? I didn't hear much of that.

Quincy has two opponents: Erica Mauter and Jeremy Schroeder. In a three person field you might look around and wonder, which one of these people is the crackpot? Not in Ward 11! Not this year!

In fact, both challengers come off as thoughtful and accomplished. Mauter is a former chemical engineer turned executive director of the Twin Cities Women's Choir. Schroeder, as part of his experience working for non-profits, led the successful fight to end the death penalty in Illinois.

I appreciated that, without any prompting, both Mauter and Schroeder acknowledged zoning as a factor in housing affordability; that seems like a low bar (and it is) but it shows an openness to new ideas and a willingness to tackle a politically tough issue. Mauter even gave the Wedge a shoutout, saying it was a good thing they turned the former lumberyard adjacent to the Midtown Greenway into apartments (I'm easily impressed).

People might have a hard time remembering who their current council member is, but don't forget the Ward 11 city council race this year. There are real choices here. Give these candidates a closer look ahead of next Tuesday's caucuses.

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