In Ward 13 in the city’s Southwest corner, nonprofit fundraiser Adam Faitek has launched a campaign to win the DFL party endorsement next month over first-term incumbent Linea Palmisano.
Faitek, the major gifts officer for Second Harvest Heartland, said “one of the big reasons” he is making his first run for public office is to “make Ward 13 a place for everyone.”
“And right now there’s some challenges,” he added, citing work that needs to be done on multi-modal transit options and housing for seniors.
“I want to look at making Ward 13 more affordable. It’s one of the most, if not the most, expensive places to live in the city,” said Faitek, who lives in East Harriet with his wife, Molly. He said he would even look into rerouting the funds set aside for a Nicollet Avenue streetcar into affordable housing and economic development.
Asked where the incumbent has fallen short, he responded, “There’s just a lot of things we haven’t necessarily prioritized.”
Beyond the issue of affordable housing, Faitek said Palmisano could play a more prominent role in the ongoing debates over a citywide minimum wage and increasing equity. He supports a minimum wage hike for all workers, including those who earn tips.
He was critical of a vote Palmisano took in late 2014, during the “latte levy” city budget negotiations, to reduce by half the $250,000 in funding Mayor Betsy Hodges requested for a new Office of Equitable Outcomes. Palmisano was on the losing side in that 7-6 vote.
Asked to respond, Palmisano said, ““To me, equity is more than a buzzword.”
“We don’t need more studies and City Hall staffers on racial equity,” she continued. “Our challenge now is to move past rhetoric and toward solutions.”
She said those solutions included reduced penalties for marijuana possession and implementing a citywide sick time policy, two measures she supported.
Palmisano supports a citywide minimum wage increase that includes tipped workers, but said she was committed to seeing through “a process that listens” to Minneapolis residents and small business owners. That process is still ongoing; no specific minimum wage ordinance proposal has been brought to the council — which, she pointed out, is likely to act on the minimum wage issue this spring, months before the fall elections.
“I think we need to look at all options to close the widening economic gaps we have in the city,” Palmisano said, adding that she has voted with her colleagues multiple times to increase investments in the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Program, which provides financing for mixed-income and affordable rental housing projects.
Faitek served as chair of the East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association for five years, recently stepping down from the board to launch his campaign. If elected, he would seek ways to loosen restrictions on how neighborhood organizations can spend their funds.
He pledged to be a watchdog on stadia funding, particularly the city’s ongoing commitments to U.S. Bank Stadium.