After Nov. 6, you’d think we would get a respite from negative political campaigns. Not so. Already, MattFilner launched an attack against 10th Ward City Council Member Meg Tuthill in this newspaper. (Tuthillsoundly defeated Filner at the 2009 DFL endorsing convention.) Filner’s tools: deception and distortion. Let’s review the real record.
Filner claims that Tuthill broke her promise to support “strong city services” by voting against MayorRybak’s budget. He even suggests that she preferred “fewer firefighters . . . or fewer cops on the street.” The truth: Tuthill voted against the 2011 budget because it raised the property tax levy by 4.7 percent, an unsustainable level for city taxpayers. Tuthill supported the 2012 budget, which provided zero levy increase.
The suggestion that Tuthill would support cutbacks in firefighters or officers on the street is nonsense.Tuthill has been the Council’s strongest supporters of increasing the number of city firefighters. She supported using a SAFER Grant to pay for six firefighters, hiring a new class of firefighter trainees, and increasing staffing levels for the Fire Department. On the police side, Tuthill supported the rehiring of 12 Community Service Officers after they were laid off, and hiring a new cadet training class.
Next, Filner blames Tuthill for the Mozaic project, which he says “towers over Uptown, out-of-scale with the neighborhoods.” Filner should have checked his facts; planning for the Mozaic was a done deal beforeTuthill took office. That said, the Mozaic conforms to community planning for Uptown, adds over 150 much-needed daytime jobs to the area, and helps alleviate parking problems.
Filner’s suggestions that Tuthill has not been an advocate for the GLBT community and women are ludicrous. Meg Tuthill has been a supporter of gay rights her entire adult life. As a small businessperson, mentor, and neighborhood and political activist, she has been a strong feminist. Filner’s examples are lame – Tuthill never supported the Promise Keepers and her hands were tied by the First Amendment in trying to use zoning to keep an adult-themed business from the Ward. Ask the City Attorney.
Filner also criticizes Tuthill for her concern over noise and neighborhood disruption from Uptown’s bars and patios. In fact, Tuthill’s initiatives brought stakeholders together in an Uptown Outdoor Area Task Force. The result: the community got two additional police patrols on weekend nights, six taxi stands, stepped up employee training, and an agreement to reduce volume of late-night music in outdoor seating areas. Meg worked to achieve balance – our community thrives with vibrant businesses and livable neighborhoods.
Finally, Filner says Tuthill became “a voice of . . . the NFL,” voting to support building a football stadium in Minneapolis. It is true that Tuthill voted – along with six of her Council colleagues and the Mayor – to invest some of the City’s special sales tax revenues in a stadium. The reason: jobs, jobs and jobs. Building the stadium will create high-paying construction jobs; others will be hired for stadium operations; private businesses will benefit from people activities at the stadium. Many of the new hires will come from Minneapolis’s poorest neighborhoods.
In fact, Meg Tuthill has been true to her campaign platform in her three years on the Council. She is an advocate for city taxpayers, for basic city services, for public safety, for creating opportunities for good jobs and small business successes, for neighborhood livability, for sustainable city policies, and for basic human rights.
So, why did Filner take such liberties with Tuthill’s record? Sour grapes? Support for one of Tuthill’sopponents? Who knows. In this case, however, Professor Filner gets an F for his tirade.
Rita O’Keeffe and John Katics live in the Wedge neighborhood.