Tenth Ward Update: Saralyn Romanishan enters Ward 10 City Council race

Following the short-lived campaign of Scott Fine, and the blunderous beginnings of candidate David Schorn, Ward 10 now has a third city council challenger: Saralyn Romanishan. Romanishan is best known for her work running the Facebook page Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition (MRRDC).

She’s risen to become a leading figure in a movement of southwest Minneapolis anti-apartment activists who have become increasingly bold in the last few years, engaging in acts of vandalism such as letting the air out of the car tires of a worker who was removing appliances from a vacant house [VIDEO].

In 2015, both Romanishan and I were serving as board members with the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association. Though Romanishan’s campaign material now touts her role with the neighborhood organization’s Zoning and Planning Committee from 2015 to 2017 as “promoting relations between the city, residents, and developers,” this doesn’t accurately reflect what she was up to at the time. 
Since the 2013 election in which Lisa Bender was elected to the City Council, Romanishan has gained prominence as Bender’s chief antagonist: coining the term “Bendrification,” calling the city’s plan for equitable neighborhood engagement a “pogrom,” and comparing the actions of city planners to Hitler’s Third Reich.
A good example of that antagonism came in July 2015, when Romanishan wrote a Facebook post addressing a parking reform ordinance [screenshot] authored by Lisa Bender.
In the post, Romanishan plays to nativist sentiment, deriding Bender as an illegitimate newcomer to the neighborhood. She points out that Bender “moved into this neighborhood 2 or 3 years before running for office.”
Romanishan goes on to observe that Bender “is from a 4th ring small town suburb and only lived in SF and NY for a very short time before moving here and running for city council…”
This was the context in which I shared a link to Romanishan’s remarkable piece of political commentary:
Below is the email that I, and 10 other LHENA board members, received from Romanishan later that day:
Today, Romanishan is explicitly running her campaign for city council based mostly on the “community organizing” she did over the past four years with LHENA and MRRDC. So I guess you could say my big offense in sharing her parking commentary was chronicling the rise of a prominent neighborhood activist and budding political star.
Four days after Romanishan’s initial message (and three days after I declined to delete my tweet), I received this email threatening my girlfriend, accompanied by a link to a sexually explicit online personals ad:
“pat farrell” is not a real name.
To summarize the timeline: in an email sent on a Friday night, Romanishan accused me of “stalking.” Then, on Tuesday morning, someone acting on behalf of “LHENA volunteers” put my girlfriend’s name, personal details, and location on Craigslist, inviting strangers on the internet to show up at her home.
Romanishan runs with a nasty crew of people, and she does her best to rile them up with wild accusations detached from reality. However remote her chances, and whatever your political inclinations, the idea of Saralyn Romanishan as a member of the Minneapolis City Council should scare you. If you are a journalist writing about her candidacy, please portray her as the fringe figure she truly is.

The expressed political views of Ward 10 City Council candidate Saralyn Romanishan

Below is a selection of Saralyn Romanishan’s political views. You should also read this other blog post explaining why I think she’s a frightening possibility for City Council.

Note: this page may be updated. 

Comparing city government to Hitler/Isis/ethnic cleansing

“Too bad this city follows the same plan” as Isis. 1/21/2016

Compared modern urban planners to Hitler. 9/27/2015

Called a plan for equitable neighborhood engagement a “pogrom” (against white homeowners?). 8/22/2015

International Conspiracies and Agenda 21

The United Nation’s “Agenda 21” leads to “community voices” being “shut down.” 9/24/2015

Pushes idea of nefarious connection between the City of Minneapolis and Brazil. 10/28/201512/2/2015

Follows a page on Facebook called “Agenda 21 News.”

Black Lives Matter

Quote: “Blacklivesmatter – yes. But please don’t detract from the message and the movement by attacking someone that thinks catlivesmatter too.” 7/30/2015

Quote: “Alot of white people support blacklivesmatter because it is the right thing to do. And they do it even though they are attacked online and made to feel small just because they were born with a different color of skin. Does this sound familiar?” 7/30/2015

Shifted blame for slavery to black people: “You know how all those slave ships got their cargo, right?” 2015


Believes long-time residents are actually the ones who are underrepresented in local politics. 2016

Disparaged work on neighborhood equity in Minneapolis solely because it receives funding from a foundation based in Detroit. 10/17/2015

Political Hot Takes

Regularly posts indecipherable, stream of consciousness conspiracy theories. 3/8/2016

Lisa Bender is illegitimate because she hasn’t lived in the neighborhood long enough. 7/10/2015

Lisa Bender is illegitimate because she lived in San Francisco and New York. 7/10/2015

Lisa Bender is illegitimate because she’s from a “4th ring small town suburb.” 7/10/2015

Coined the term “Bendrification,” then banned everyone who left a dissenting comment. 4/22/2014

Thinks too many incompetent women get promoted into leadership (hint: Lisa Bender). 9/18/2015

Refers to unnamed politician as “one-trick pony” who benefits from “propaganda articles” and “publicity articles” (Hint: Lisa Bender). 12/30/2015

Says “Twitter is simply diarrhea of the fingers.” 😲 12/5/2015

Urban Planning

Called industrial and commercial parking lots – places that are often slated for new housing – “some of the best urban wildlife habitats in our city.” 2016

Blamed a new building after car crashed into it. 2015

Opposed legalizing duplexes on smaller lots, in areas already zoned for two-family homes, because of “livability reasons.” 5/10/2016

Chastised bike advocates with 112-year-old picture of bicyclist in downtown Minneapolis: “Funny how some people think they’re doing something new.” (hint: Lisa Bender) 2016

On parking reform: “This is corporate welfare for the developers and another give in to the Cult of the Carless.” 6/12/2015

On parking reform: “This will not stop people from having cars.” 6/12/2015

On parking reform: “You cannot make people not have cars. 6/12/2015

On parking reform: “Car Hop’s business is booming.” 6/12/2015