Tenth ward Council candidates announced

Lyndale activist Scott Persons and City Council Aide Gay Noble have entered the race for the open 10th Ward City Council seat, joining former Council Aide Allan Bernard, who announced his candidacy last fall.

The 10th Ward covers East Isles, the Wedge, East Calhoun, CARAG and Lyndale neighborhoods, plus part of Cedar-Isles-Dean and East Harriet. First-term incumbent Dan Niziolek announced in July he would not seek reelection, citing family reasons. He announced early to give people a chance to organize campaigns.

Persons, 34, has served on the I-35W Project Advisory Committee, a citizens group reviewing proposals to reconfigure I-35W ramps in South Minneapolis. He is a former president of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association.

He is getting his masters degree in public affairs at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, he said. He is currently unemployed. Most recently, he worked as finance director for Teresa Daly’s unsuccessful congressional campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. John Kline, and also worked on Niziolek’s campaign in 2001.

Persons and his wife, Corrine, have a 1-year-old daughter.

He said if elected, he wanted to work on economic development opportunities along Lake Street, Lyndale and Nicollet avenues, on improving transit such as bus rapid transit on I-35W, and on having a more transparent and accountable city government. He has supported the I-35W Access Project to reconfigure highway ramps in Southwest, with appropriate mitigation of increased traffic in residential areas.

Noble, 54, has worked as Niziolek’s aide since 2002. Prior to that, she ran Uptown Community Media for two years, selling ads for the Wedge, East Calhoun News, Hill and Lake Press, Whittier Globe and the Lyndale Common Sense, she said.

She has worked for a small graphics company and for 10 years owned Light Allusions Photography, a commercial photography studio Downtown, she said. She has a B.A. in American History and once taught high school history in Florida.

She lives in CARAG with her partner Cheryl.

Noble said her top priorities included working on a comprehensive transportation plan, preserving the urban forest and adding to the police force.

Bernard, 45, worked eight years as an aide to Lisa McDonald, the 10th Ward’s former City Councilmember who stepped down in 2001 for an unsuccessful run for mayor. He worked the next three years as aide to Councilmember Paul Zerby (2nd Ward). He resigned his Council job Oct. 29, after announcing his intention to run.

He received his masters in business administration from Metropolitan State University in December, he said. He served as CARAG board president from

2001-2003.

He and his wife Nancy now live in East Calhoun.

In an interview, he stressed the need to grow the city’s tax base but balance development approvals with neighborhood needs.

He said he wanted the city to pay off its bills and continue its support of neighborhood groups.