In response to some accusations being leveled against me by a Minneapolis elected official, it was necessary to draft this official response in the form of a Wedgipedia entry.
Who is Carol Becker?
Carol Becker is a member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation.
What is the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET)?
The BET sets the city’s maximum tax levy and approves bond sales.
There are six members. Two members are elected directly to the BET, and receive nominal pay for each meeting (this is more like a glorified volunteer position). The other four members are: the city’s Mayor, the City Council President, a Parks commissioner, and the City Council’s Ways & Means Committee chair.
Does Carol Becker show bad judgment in performing her job on the BET?
Here’s one example: at an April 11, 2018 meeting of the BET, Becker spoke against a motion that would allow the city to refinance its Target Center debt, thereby saving money. It’s important to remember that deciding against refinancing debt is not the same thing as making the debt disappear. Carol Becker’s preference in this case was to cost the city lots of money.
Because Council President Lisa Bender was absent for that meeting, the BET lacked the votes to override Becker’s opposition. And because the matter was particularly urgent, a special meeting was held the following week, where the motion was passed by a 5-1 vote. Becker was the only “no” vote.
Why would a self-described “wonk” take a position that would cost the city money? It might be because TV news cameras were there to record video of Carol Becker appearing to take a heroic stand against the notion of stadium subsidies. Fortunately for Becker nobody pays attention to BET, and the resulting FOX 9 story provided no context for the actual issue being discussed at the meeting. (Note: the decision to subsidize a sports billionaire had already been made years before.)
Didn’t Carol Becker try to steal the name “Wedge Live”?
In 2018, she filed trademark and business registrations for the name of the website you are reading right now. She spent a non-trivial amount of money (hundreds of dollars in fees at least — not including whatever additional legal expenses she may have incurred) to try to harass me out of existence. If you haven’t heard this very strange story, I recommend reading it.
I sued to defend myself and make her go away. In a settlement, Becker acknowledged my ownership of the name “Wedge LIVE.” Becker also agreed that she would “never assert any claim to these marks in the future.”
Does Carol Becker consistently make decisions that do harm to herself, the political causes she cares about, and the City of Minneapolis?
Yes. It’s clear that Carol Becker can’t be trusted to act in her own best interest or anyone else’s.
But I bet you did something to provoke Carol Becker, right?
I (in my role as private citizen and good guy John Edwards) ran against Carol Becker as a write-in candidate in 2017. While I had no personal desire to serve in an elected office that I believe should not exist, I felt it was necessary because no one had filed in time to get their name on the ballot. At the time, I characterized my campaign as an attempt to “restore honor and integrity to the BET.”
What were candidate John Edwards’ campaign themes when he ran against Carol Becker in 2017?
- Becker, in an election year stunt, showed terrible judgment by suing the Mayor over the budget. Becker represented herself in court, she lost — and then claimed she had actually won the lawsuit.
- In response to dark money flooding the city council election, Becker wrote on a local internet forum that she was more concerned about progressive groups. Among them: Black Lives Matter, the Bicycle Coalition, Take Action MN. Wedge LIVE! was also mentioned.
- Downtown business interests and some local developers were donating money to a PAC called Minneapolis Works!. More than half of that money was funneled through a GOP political fund called the Minnesota Jobs Coalition. After the election, we learned that Minneapolis Works! had spent $273,000 trying (and failing) to save the incumbent majority on the Minneapolis City Council.
- Becker’s response to big business dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars on a local election — saying she’s more concerned with BLM — is not consistent with Minneapolis values, and was more like something a right winger would say.
- While accusing Wedge LIVE! of being the dark money at work in local elections, Carol Becker’s campaign was supported by Facebook ads from Save Our #1 Parks (a local political fund that accepted $15,000 from the same GOP-affiliated group).
- This was a weird expenditure because, as you might recall, Carol Becker had no opponent on the ballot and was never going to lose (despite a valiant write-in effort from good guy and fan favorite John Edwards).
Is Carol Becker involved in an effort to overhaul the city council that would give significantly more power to the whiter, wealthier, southwest part of Minneapolis?
I strongly suspect this is the case. From her usual perch on a local internet forum, Becker is defending it pretty vigorously.
The proposal to change the Charter appears to be a reaction from the same small contingent of mainly southwest Minneapolis homeowners who formed a group in opposition to the recently passed 2040 comprehensive plan. Becker was deeply involved in anti-2040 efforts beginning in 2018. A south Minneapolis lawyer, Tom Basting, who presented the charter amendment to the Minneapolis Charter Commission at their March meeting, is also involved in the ongoing legal fight to stop the 2040 plan.
Carol Becker wrote a thing on the internet where she says Wedge LIVE! is a “paid influencer” ruining our politics. Where can I pay you to manipulate my brain?
You can support my influence and all the local news and video content produced by Wedge LIVE! by becoming a premium member. Subscribe today!
Carol Becker said Wedge LIVE! put out over 400 videos, over 6000 tweets, hundreds of memes, dozens of t-shirts and buttons in one year. Is this true?
I haven’t counted, but those are all things I have produced in my role as anchor and managing editor of Wedge LIVE!. Additionally, I estimate we’ve sold at least 4 hats.
Carol Becker accused you of having produced “50 podcasts.” Is this true?
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with people who have podcasts. But personally speaking, I have never had a podcast.
Carol Becker seems to be suggesting you don’t live in Minneapolis. Is this true?
I live in the beautiful Wedge neighborhood of Minneapolis. Among the evidence supporting this:
- “Wedge” is in the name of this website.
- I often wear an obnoxious black baseball cap that says “WEDGE” in big white letters.
I refuse to provide any further documentation of my place of residence.
Carol Becker makes a comparison to Russian election meddling and the recent massacre in New Zealand in an analysis of how she and her “network” have lost political power in Minneapolis over recent election cycles. Is that a very dumb thing to have said?
When is Carol Becker up for re-election?