Endorsement: Phillipe Cunningham for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 4

Public safety looms large when I think about the choice in Ward 4. Phillipe Cunningham is the chair of the City Council’s Public Health and Safety Committee. There’s been no stronger voice on the Council for expanding the city’s array of public safety services — for a more effective, holistic, and integrated system — than Phillipe Cunningham. He is knowledgeable and eager to do this work. He is pragmatic without sacrificing the ambition to transform the way our city approaches public safety. Since taking office he has approached his job with joy and an open heart. It’s been a welcome change, considering the previous chair of the Public Safety Committee said she would quit her job if the Council gained policy control over police.

I want someone who has fought to expand this work over the last four years, not someone campaigning against it. LaTrisha Vetaw is supported by “All of Mpls” — the $1.6 million PAC allied with Mayor Frey. They’re trying to scare Minneapolis voters into placing our city into the hands of a slate council candidates funded by the business community.

LaTrisha Vetaw is like a number of other challengers this year who have outraised their incumbent opponent. And it makes sense because she is a caricature of the kind of politician who sells out to powerful economic interests.

She told a group of landlords back in April everything they wanted to hear on rent stabilization and explained why: “I’m the expert at getting ready, putting my lipstick on, curling my hair and selling our message. You all are the experts at giving me what I’m selling for the better good of all of us.” Then joked with landlords that they should terminate the leases of tenants who don’t support her. Yes it’s a joke, but maybe too real to be funny.

The whole video of the Q&A is a train wreck. You’re going to be tempted to think this is being fed to you out of context. But you can watch the entire 24 minutes here.

Phillipe Cunningham didn’t spend his first term cozying up to powerful interests, though it would’ve made his reelection easier. In a second term, he will continue to be a consistent vote in support of tenants. He will do the work of making our city safer and more just. By any measure, Phillipe Cunningham is your first and only choice in Ward 4.