Terrell Brown, a Loring Park resident and financial analyst, has filed to challenge incumbent Lisa Goodman for the 7th Ward City Council seat this fall.
The new 7th Ward covers the Southwest neighborhoods of Lowry Hill, East Isles, Kenwood, Bryn Mawr and part of Cedar-Isles-Dean, as well as most of downtown.
Brown, 51, who lives in Loring Park, said he would focus on city budget issues and would work to increase public safety funding, but at this point has no concrete proposals.
"I have not gone through the city budget with a fine tooth comb," he said. "I will not accuse anyone of wasting money. We might want to prioritize a little bit," adding that his gut feelinag is the city spends more than it needs to on the department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED).
Goodman chairs the Council’s Community Development Committee and was a major player in creating CPED, which merged several city departments and the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA).
Brown had no particular criticism of Goodman, but said he has issues in general with people holding office too long. "I think her time is up," he said. "I think eight years is more than enough time to hold an office."
Reached on vacation, Goodman said CPED gets most of its development money from state and federal sources. Cutting CPED would not free up money for the General Fund, which supports public safety and public works, among other services.
(CPED has a $163 million budget, city staff said. Approximately $3 million comes from the General Fund and pays for planning.)
Goodman said Brown’s announcement came as a complete surprise. She called Brown a good friend and a good person, and said he had given her no indication he would run.
"He was a DFL delegate a couple of months ago . . . and then was one of several sponsors of my one annual major fund-raiser less than a month ago," she said.
"If he had a beef with me then, don’t you think he would have said something?" she said.
Brown said he has supported Goodman in the past, and agreed to sponsor her fund-raiser this year, before he had decided to run. He was mulling a political run around the time of her June fund-raiser and did not attend.
Brown was a long-time Republican. In 2000, he ran under the GOP flag for the state Senate District 60 seat, losing to Myron Orfield 76 percent to 23 percent. According to published reports, in the late 1990s he tried to help reorganize the Minnesota Chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay and lesbian Republicans.
Brown said five years ago, he realized he didn’t have much in common with the Republican Party anymore, noting significant differences on a woman’s right to choose (he’s pro-choice; the party is pro-life) and gay/lesbian issues.
He went to an Independence Party caucus in 2002 and to the DFL caucuses in 2004. He is running for City Council as a DFLer, calling it the best fit. He got elected a DFL delegate this spring by proxy, missed the ward convention, attended the city convention, but did not weigh in on Goodman’s endorsement, he said.
"I don’t have strong loyalties to any political party," he said. "I would suggest they might even be part of the problem."
One clear difference between the two is that Goodman is a strong supporter of Mayor R.T. Rybak. Brown said he would not campaign for anybody, but would not vote for the current mayor, calling him "very wishy-washy."
Goodman said she believed a vigorous campaign, and high 7th Ward turnout, would help Rybak.
Brown got his undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA from St. Thomas University in business management.
As a Councilmember, he would focus on budget and finance issues, he said.
Brown is a former Twin Cities Marathon Board member, he said. He serves on the steering committee of the Uptown Art Fair.
He also has served four years on the board of Minnesota FAIR – Fair Access to Insurance Requirements, a Commerce Commissioner appointee. The nine-member board oversees a property insurance program for people who those who cannot get it in the private market.
Goodman, a two-term Councilmember, had nearly $100,000 in the bank at the beginning of the year. She has raised more reelection money than anyone else on the Council and more than the mayoral candidates and has high name recognition.
What is Brown’s plan to unseat her?
"We are working on that," he said. "Nobody is going to be paying attention until after Labor Day. I think there is time to figure all that out."
More candidates expected to file by the Tuesday, July 19 deadline.