Park Board Commissioner Bob Fine enters mayoral race

Credit: Nick Halter

Surrounded by the girls softball team he coaches, longtime Park Board Commissioner Bob Fine announced today he is entering the race to become mayor of Minneapolis.

Fine, 64, has lived in the Linden Hills neighborhood his whole life. Along with five terms on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, he also has worked as a lawyer and manager in commercial real estate.

Fine said he decided to jump into the race late because he was struggling with not being able to run for the Park Board again this November and because in watching the current mayoral candidates, he has “not found the leadership and direction, nor the fresh ideas necessary to move this city ahead.”

“I want our fine city to ensure a comfortable lifestyle for citizens now and in the future and I know I have the leaderships skills, experience and knowledge to do that,” Fine told a small crowd at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.

Fine has coached youth sports for 39 years and said he has coached over 1,000 kids during that time, many of whom have now grown up.

Fine said he would reduce property taxes by 5 percent, but when questioned about how he would do that, he did not offer specifics.

“I’m not going to identify them now. I do have a lot of knowledge about it because of my 16 years on the Board of Estimate and I get the city budget,” he said. “What I really want to do is audit and see what makes sense in city government and what we should be offering and where we should be going with it.”

In June, the DFL endorsed Fine for an at-large Park Board seat, even though he didn’t attend the convention.

Fine is also on the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation and served 18 years as a Minneapolis Civil Rights commissioner.

Fine said the decision to not run for Park Board was difficult, but he wouldn’t cease to be involved with the independent board if elected mayor.

“If I was mayor, I would definitely have a lot of say in what the Park Board is doing,” said Fine, noting that he would have mayoral veto power over the Park Board.

Fine said he does not support municipalized electricity and gas. He called Nicollet streetcars nice, but said “I’m not sure if the cost is worth it at all.”

He said he was offended by the actions of five Minneapolis cops who made news recently by allegedly making racial slurs in Green Bay and Apple Valley.

“The city of Minneapolis has a huge number of lawsuits that they have a lot of money in settlement because they’re self-insured,” he said. “The Park Board, we have exposure too. We have police. They’re exposed to the public. We don’t have these large lawsuits. We don’t have this kind of a problem.”