Delegitimizing Gaza Conversation Misses the Point

A draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza has been introduced and will be taken up by the Minneapolis City Council at a committee meeting on January 24. Council Member LaTrisha Vetaw has responded, in an opinion published in the Star Tribune, calling it “dangerous” and “divisive” — without pointing to any particular language in the resolution. She accused one colleague of language “clearly meant to incite violence.” A serious enough charge that you’d expect her to specify what had been said — but she didn’t. And she’s set a record for the number of days into a new term that a council member pretends to be offended and demands an apology from the council president.*

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Return of the Mayoral Power Grab

In addition to all the other stuff scheduled to be on your 2024 ballot, Minneapolis voters may get to weigh in on another amendment to restructure city government. The Minneapolis Charter Commission (the authors of our new strong mayor form of government adopted in 2021) is currently discussing a proposal to strip the City Council of their power to confirm certain mayoral appointees. This could include the directors of departments like Public Works, CPED (planning), Civil Rights, Regulatory Services, Emergency Management, Health, and Tax Assessor. The number of council-confirmed roles could go from the current 12 to as few as five.

There’s no agreed upon proposal, nothing has been voted on, but this commission has a preference for concentrating power in the mayor’s office so let’s sound the alarm. This could be bad and you should pay attention.

Josh Martin and I discuss the issue in detail for this week’s episode of the Wedge LIVE Podcast, available wherever you listen. Or watch on YouTube:

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Mayor Frey Squanders Post-Election Opportunity, Loses Another Friend

It’s been a manic week and a half for Mayor Frey. He followed up a rough election night with a rapidly escalating fight over police bonuses that gave former ally Emily Koski a platform to trash his leadership two times in the span of four days. There is more to this police bonus story than what you’re seeing on the local news (“golly gee, we’d have a fully staffed police force if not for that meddling city council!“).

As I wrote last week, my hopeful election reaction was that fear tactics were fading and the debate at city hall could soon become less dumb and more collaborative. Well, not so fast. Frey hasn’t abandoned his preferred tactic of bull-rushing the city council with press conferences, fear, and manufactured deadlines. And it will only get harder for him come January, when Lisa Goodman departs and Andrea Jenkins is no longer council president.

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Election Result: Relief

Watch or listen to the Election 2023 Results Episode of the Wedge LIVE podcast.

If you watched the most recent episode of the Wedge LIVE podcast, you know that I am seriously relieved by last week’s election results. Mayor Frey’s rich friends at All of Mpls poured at least a million dollars into an independent expenditure campaign. The Star Tribune editorial board made some questionable endorsements that have further eroded the institution’s credibility. These things weren’t enough to save the Frey-aligned council majority.

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My Thoughts On Election Eve 2023

Are we voting our fears again this year? Last week in Ward 10, I received a mailer from a crime-themed PAC slicing the city’s crime stats in a way to show me crime is actually up, despite all those news stories telling me crime is down. But I’m clever, so I recognized this as an attempt to get me to vote for Minneapolis City Council candidate Bruce Dachis, who is alarmingly ignorant and whose policies are extremely against my interests.

Dachis appeared on a local right wing talk radio show on yesterday. The host falsely accused Council Member Aisha Chughtai of supporting Hamas. And at another point they sat there listening to a Vietnam-era country song bashing anti-war protesters. Election 2023 is weird and gross in ways I had not expected.

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More on the Scott Graham episode

We’ve got a podcast episode out today about Ward 7 City Council candidate Scott Graham’s record as a landlord (listen wherever you get podcasts or watch on YouTube).

In our conversation, Julia Curran talks about her experience renting from Graham for four years, which ended in 2011. You may have already heard about the gaping hole in an exterior wall, written about by Naomi Kritzer here. But there’s more: Julia getting staples in her head after having a poorly installed light fixture fall from the ceiling; having no heat in the winter to the point one of the tenants left due to a frozen toilet; squirrels chewing through walls, a problem covered up by hanging a painting (you know, scooby doo style); failure to address a leaky roof and a carpenter ant infestation; never delivering a lease to Julia despite her requests, then asking other tenants for leases after his hard drive failed; having Graham kick her and others out of the house soon after the door-pounding delivery of a foreclosure notice; Graham nickel and diming his tenants on the way out, billing them for the problems he failed to address.

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Vote Katie Cashman for Minneapolis City Council because even Scott Graham knows he’s bad news

Last week, candidates for the Ward 7 seat on the Minneapolis City Council were asked to tell voters why they were running. Scott Graham used the introductory question to scare voters by raising the specter of “socialism” and “abolish the police.” He wasn’t quite claiming that his opponent Katie Cashman supports those ideas, just sort of throwing the idea out there that she probably does, because she’s several degrees removed from people who’ve said some things.

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2023 Endorsements for Minneapolis City Council

If you want my thoughts on the stakes for public safety, rent stabilization, and other big issues — please read this. It applies broadly to every candidate I’m endorsing in 2023.

Do I want to put my spotless reputation on the line for the bad acts and opinions of others? Not at all. I have grown to hate endorsements. But any good editorial board knows the public has a short memory for bad calls and really needs to be told how to think. So here we go. If you don’t see your ward listed, you are either in a part of the city that’s beyond help or you’re fine and you don’t need any help.

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2023 Minneapolis Election Issues Overview

This is intended as a preamble to my forthcoming Minneapolis City Council endorsements, and to give readers a better sense of how I see some of the issues at stake in this election. My endorsements in key races will follow in this post.

It’s a city council election year in Minneapolis. Early voting is underway. 13 seats are up for grabs, I’d say only 5 are competitive. The mayor is not up for reelection until 2025. If you haven’t been tuned into Minneapolis politics for the last several years, here’s a recap, along with my thoughts on the big issues.

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