Endorsement: Nick Kor for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 7

Ward 7 stretches from downtown and Loring Park to Lowry Hill and Kenwood, all the way to Uptown. It’s more diverse than you might think, but has just enough votes in the swanky lakes area for it to feel like an insurmountable Lisa Goodman advantage.

I have strong feelings about Lisa Goodman. Please vote for Nick Kor. He’s smart and prepared. He shares my values on key issues of public safety, transportation, and housing. He’s the son of immigrants and an organizer who is running a strong campaign. But he’s still the scrappy underdog. Lisa Goodman might be immortal. She’s the longest serving member of the Minneapolis City Council — first elected in 1997.

Rather than write a love letter to Nick Kor, I will just urge you to read my frustrations with Lisa Goodman in the paragraphs below. I’m pretty confident Nick Kor won’t do those things.

The Lisa Goodman memories that come immediately to mind: she consistently questions the integrity of researchers who present information that run counter to her view of the world. In 2016, it was about the municipal minimum wage. In 2020, it was equitable funding for neighborhood groups. Her comments on the equitable funding issue were especially embarrassing. She rejected an assessment of the historically racist impact of neighborhood group funding mechanisms because some people “feel like you’re calling us racist.”

Goodman has also consistently stood in the way of designing safer streets. Several years ago it was Third Avenue downtown. Instead of going with a three lane design that made the street safer and more pleasant for everyone, including car traffic, Lisa Goodman did her best to kill the idea behind the scenes. That same situation is playing out currently on Hennepin Avenue, where Lisa Goodman has pressured staff to delay layout approval — through spring, then summer, and now fall.

I’m feeling particularly bitter about Hennepin Avenue. The city was scheduled to approve a three lane design earlier this year, including 24/7 bus lanes and an off street bike path. There are currently enough votes in favor on the council. But we can’t get the Public Works department (under pressure from Lisa Goodman) and the Transportation and Public Works Committee Chair Kevin Reich (weak/not interested) to bring it forward for a vote. Now it’s probably pushed until after the election.

[Side note: you should support the efforts for a Hennepin Avenue designed for people.]

Advocates for Question 1 say it will neutralize a rogue council member like Lisa Goodman, but somehow I don’t believe them. I don’t think Lisa Goodman believes it either, since she is Yes on 1.

As you might have guessed, Lisa Goodman is against a new department of public safety (Question 2), and is more apt to demagogue the crime issue than any other member of the city council. When council members questioned the plan for some additional police spending in late 2020, Goodman scolded her colleagues for disrespecting the chief. The funding was approved — but it didn’t get spent, because it turns out there was no plan.

In 2018, Goodman and Palmisano were the only council members to vote against funding the Office of Violence Prevention. She somehow got Steve Fletcher to apologize for not consulting her about his proposal full of items she said she supports — yet still voted against. If you meet people (and I’m not talking about fellow council members) who come into contact with Lisa Goodman for extended periods, they will often describe her bullying behavior.

I think elected leaders, no matter how safe they feel should participate in the democratic process. But Lisa Goodman can’t be bothered to show up for candidate forums in an election year.

I could go on writing about Lisa Goodman but you get the point. She exists to stand in the way of progress. Some would call that a conservative. I find her kind of weirdly charming, and sometimes hilarious, but she’s bad for just about all the things I care about. It’s time for Minneapolis to be done with Lisa Goodman.

Nick Kor is so many things that Lisa Goodman isn’t. Vote for Nick Kor.

[Listen to a conversation I had with Nick Kor]