Context for a candidacy

Your story about Ward 10’s newest city council candidate (“Latest Ward 10 candidate wants ‘a seat at the table,’” July 27) lacks important context.

Saralyn Romanishan’s website candidate bio focuses on two things: one, her time running a Facebook conspiracy page (she calls it “community organizing”); and two, her experience as a Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association board member. She tells us those are the reasons she’s qualified for City Council. We should talk about those things.

Romanishan’s Facebook organization, Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition, described how it was founded in December 2013, just after Lisa Bender’s election, to counteract a City Council that wasn’t listening and to give neighbors “a voice and anew [sic] place to be heard.” Bender wasn’t sworn in until 2014. Romanishan has been acting in disgruntled opposition to Bender for longer than Bender has actually been a council member.

Romanishan has a long trail of disqualifying public statements. She has compared city government with Hitler’s Third Reich; called the city’s plan to empower underrepresented groups (Plan for Equitable Engagement) a “pogrom” (I suppose because it might undo the existing power structure favoring white homeowners); advanced strange conspiracy theories about nefarious connections between the City of Minneapolis and Brazil; derided Bender as illegitimate for not having lived in the neighborhood long enough; ridiculed Bender by stating (incorrectly) that she is from a “4th ring small town suburb.”

As a woman of color and renter who has lived in Minneapolis for a relatively short time, the hostility to outsiders reflected in these statements is alarming to me. (Sources: https://goo.gl/HTtTDY.)

It’s odd that Romanishan claims she’s spent the last four years “promoting relations between the city, residents, and developers.” As a resident of Lowry Hill East, I know that’s the opposite of what she’s done. Romanishan is alarmingly unfit for public office and running a campaign that’s completely inconsistent with her public record.

 

Chandra Lalla

Lowry Hill East

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