Ward 10 candidate forum overrun by zany, unprepared challengers

Ward 10 incumbent Lisa Bender puts hands to her face in disbelief

Tuesday night’s Ward 10 forum got weird when Republican candidate Bruce Lundeen opened his mouth.

Lundeen said that non-profits are the “path to the urban plantation, which is basically what we keep up in north Minneapolis.”
“If you’re a black man, you need to try and get a good job,” Lundeen said. “You need to imagine that.”

Lundeen continued: “I don’t even see any… very few blacks here. They don’t even bother to come to hear this chatter anymore.”

Lundeen then pointed towards the back of the room, at incumbent Ward 10 city council member Lisa Bender’s policy aide Ron Harris, who is black. Lundeen said, “ok, there’s one…. I wonder if you agree with what I say.”
“Not at all,” Harris replied. “Continue.”

Bender placed her hands over her head during the exchange.

In other news, candidate David Schorn (who readers of this blog might remember as the history teacher whose knowledge of history includes misremembered urban legends) was asked about inclusionary zoning, which is the practice of requiring or encouraging affordable units in new market-rate housing.
In one of his finest moments of the campaign so far, Schorn admitted he didn’t know what inclusionary zoning was. Lisa Bender even commended him for admitting a lack of knowledge instead of faking his way through an answer.
However, in one of Schorn’s worst moments of the campaign so far, he showed up to a city council candidate forum on housing without knowing anything about inclusionary zoning, which is one of the most commonly discussed concepts in housing politics.

It’s important to remember that Schorn is running a campaign that’s largely a series of complaints about Bender’s housing policies, blaming Bender for the cost of housing, while demanding stricter parking mandates (Schorn’s preferred parking policies would drive up the cost of housing).

Schorn got into his usual routine of “vacancy rate trutherism.” In rebutting the idea that housing is expensive because there isn’t enough of it, Schorn claimed that landlords are faking low vacancy rates in order to charge higher rents. Schorn said this theory is based on his personal experience as the resident of a luxury apartment building in Uptown.
Candidate Saralyn Romanishan had a somewhat forgettable forum performance. But I did find her advocating for cutting the estate tax in her Make Homes Happen candidate questionnaire (Make Homes Happen was the forum host):
The estate tax exemption in Minnesota is $2.1 million for 2017. There isn’t a single home in the Wedge that would be reasonably valued at much more than $1 million. Romanishan’s estate tax cut idea would benefit only the very rich. It seems like an idea that Republican candidate Bruce Lundeen might be willing to co-sponsor.
Three Ward 10 neighborhood organizations are planning another candidate forum on October 17. Because it will be hosted by neighborhood organizations, this forum has the chance to be infinitely weirder.