Ward 8: crowded field must pay attention to a bit of Southwest

Ward 8 has just a small slice of Southwest – 60 percent of Kingfield – but those voters will be a major factor on Sept. 13, when the 10-candidate field is winnowed to two for the Nov. 8 general election.

Although Kingfield has just two of the ward’s 10 precincts, it accounted for 27.4 percent of the vote in the city’s last primary, the 2004 School Board race. That means that while the ward’s bulk is east of I-35W, voters on the other side of the concrete moat are also on candidate’s minds.

The ward was reshaped in redistricting following the 2004 Census. In Southwest, Ward 8 lost its only Lyndale neighborhood precinct while picking up more of Kingfield; east of the highway, it lost two north-of-Lake-Street precincts – including incumbent Councilmember Robert Lilligren’s home – while picking up areas north and south of Powderhorn Park.

Both switches swapped higher-poverty areas for less-poor ones. The ward is one of three in the city with a nonwhite majority, 51.24 percent. Ward 8 has the city’s second-highest percentage of blacks and third-highest percentage of Hispanics.

Ward issues that cross the highway include public safety (the crime rate and police response) and the

I-35W Access Project that would expand ramps at Lake Street and move ramps at 35th/36th Street to 38th Street. Supporters say the Access Project will boost traffic and jobs at east-of-the-highway business nodes on Lake and 38th streets; critics say the plan is too expensive and boosts auto traffic when the money should be spent on mass transit alternatives.

Politically, the DFL failed to endorse among five candidates; four are still running. Elizabeth Glidden and Jeff Hayden topped the DFL field when convention voting stopped; the lack of endorsement meant Marie Hauser and Dennis Tifft could take their campaigns to primary voters.

Donald Bellfield is Republican-endorsed; Reggie Birts took the Greens’ nod. Doug Mann is running as a Green, and Zack Metoyer and Terry Yzaguirre are running as independents.

A 10th candidate, Darryl J. Robinson, could not be reached for comment; he did not have a listed phone number, Web site, or campaign committee registered with Hennepin County. (The city has refused to make candidate filing info public, citing a recent state law change.)

Reginald Birts

Age: 41

Occupation: Accredited mortgage loan officer

Education: Working on sociology degree

Family: engaged, two children

Neighborhood: Powderhorn Park

Party: Green

Endorsements: Fifth Congressional District Green Party

Web site: www.regbirts.org

Phone: 824-2288

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Has worked as a probation officer and head engineer for the Minneapolis Public Schools. Chair of the Economic Development Committee for the Minneapolis NAACP. Drug court trainee. Army reserve behavioral science specialist. KUOM radio talk show host. Employee at the Sears on Lake Street.

Top three priorities:

1) Strong and safe communities. Birts would increase the number of police, but needs more information about the budget to determine if other programs could be cut to accomplish this. He would approach safety from a social psychology perspective by finding ways to keep young people busy through working with organizations such as the African American Men’s Project. He would allocate a third of his City Council salary for these projects and would further fund them through community resources and the existing budget.

2) Economic development. Would focus on small businesses and living-wage jobs. Would meet with corporations and stress the need for them to pay a living wage and would make it public information if they refused to do so.

3) Celebrate and promote cultural diversity. Ensure that minorities are hired for city initiatives by looking "at the fine print" of contracts.

Doug Mann

Age: 48

Occupation: Licensed practical nurse; occasional reporter for Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and Pulse of the Twin Cities

Education: Three years college, University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Community and Technical College; MCTC Practical Nursing Program graduate

Family: Wife, Linda; one child

Neighborhood: Kingfield

Party: Green

Endorsements: None sought

Web site: educationright.com

Phone: 824-8800

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Ran for Minneapolis School Board in 2001, 2002, 2004. Has dealt with housing issues in work for Northside Neighbors for Justice. Wrote articles for the Pulse of the Twin Cities demanding that the city replace demolished public housing before more is torn down.

Top three priorities:

1) Create a housing market testing program to identify race-based discrimination, and prosecute offenders to change industry behaviors.

2) Create an employment market-testing program to identify race-based discrimination, similar to the housing program.

3) Change the focus of the city’s crime-fighting strategy from arresting people for livability crimes to promoting job and educational opportunities for everyone.

Donald Bellfield

Age: 56

Occupation: Senior human resource generalist, Metropolitan Council

Education: Mankato State College, (urban studies); University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, public policy certificate

Family: wife, Wendy; 4 children; 1 grandson

Neighborhood: Kingfield

Party: Republican

Endorsements: Republican Party. He is not seeking other endorsements because he said he does not want to be "beholden" to group or individuals.

Web site: www.notaxs.org/wst_page14.html

Phone: 823-8534

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Public service in his employment at the Met Council. Ran for state senator in Washington County in 1992.

Top three priorities:

1) Public Safety. Hire 150-200 more police using money from the existing budget by cutting some programs. (Bellfield offered no specific cuts.)

2) Fiscal responsibility. Prioritize budgeting because the city must currently borrow money to fund obligations.

3) Economic development. Alter the city tax structure that small businesses are subject to and in general be concerned with the needs of small businesses.

Elizabeth Glidden

Age: 37

Occupation: Civil rights and employment lawyer

Education: Bachelor’s degree (English and government and international affairs), Augustana College; law degree, University of Iowa, Master’s (public affairs), University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute.

Family: Husband, Eric

Neighborhood: Kingfield

Party: DFL

Endorsements: Progressive Minnesota, Somali American Democratic Association, Minnesota NOW PAC, MN Women’s Political Caucus PAC, State Reps. Frank Hornstein and Jean Wagenius

Web site: www.elizabethglidden.com

Phone: 825-9136

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Represented individuals in civil rights and employment cases for 12 years. Longtime volunteer for the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. Past president, Minnesota chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association. Co-owner of her law firm.

Top three priorities:

1) Budgeting process. Prioritize safety and services. Engage in partnerships to obtain funding.

2) Economic development. Focus on Lake Street by supporting small businesses in the area through helping them navigate "red tape," giving them technical support, developing loan programs, selling smaller parcels of land to the businesses and finding a way to keep businesses viable despite market fluctuations. Develop secondary corridors such as Chicago Avenue.

3) Transportation. Create a city agenda for transportation, and partner with the county, the state and the Metropolitan Council in order to obtain funding. Promote biking, walking, bus and a potential light-rail transit project. Supports bus rapid transit on I-35W.

Marie Hauser

Age: 58

Occupation: Children’s mental health nurse

Education: Nursing degree and associate B.S., Minneapolis Community College; sociology B.A., Marquette

Family: Husband, Joe; three grown children

Neighborhood: Central

Party: DFL

Endorsements: Minneapolis Central Labor Union; Teamsters; Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades; Minnesota Nurses Association; Fire Fighters Association Local 82; Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus; Minneapolis Professional Employees Assoc-MPEA; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); UNITE HERE Local 17 & State Council; Third District Nurses; Machinists & Aerospace Workers State Council; United Electrical, Radio, and Electrical Machine Workers of America and Minnesota NOW PAC

Web site: www.mariehauser.org

Phone: 825-8351

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Served on the Minneapolis Park Board for the past four years as a representative of District 3. Ward 8 homeowner for 25 years. Member of the Midtown Community Works Council and past member of the Minneapolis Capital Long-range Improvement Committee.

Top three priorities:

1) Public safety and livability. Hauser would increase funding for the police and CCP/SAFE programs but offered no specific plan to pay for added costs. She said she would need to see the budget before she could determine how to obtain extra funding. She supports increased traffic stops that she said would yield gun and drug seizures.

2) Sustainable development and living-wage jobs. Encourage business development by ensuring appropriate rules are in place for good development and prioritize living wage jobs as new building is being done because "nothing is affordable without a job."

3) Human Rights. Public servants, including police, need to know that they must be respectful to all people. She supports strengthening the Civilian Review Board to improve accountability. Use existing police training funds to improve police sensitivity.

Jeff Hayden

Age: 38

Occupation: Housing coordinator for the Minnesota Supportive Housing Consortium

Education: Time at Metropolitan State College, human sciences

Family: Wife, Terri; two children

Neighborhood: Bryant

Party: DFL

Endorsements: Sierra Club; Former Minneapolis Mayors Sharon Sayles Belton and Don Fraser; State Rep. Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Councilmembers Gary Schiff, Dan Niziolek and Lisa Goodman, Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus (acceptable rating).

Web site: www.voteforjeff.org

Phone: 722-2855

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Former assistant to Council Member Gary Schiff. Past chair of Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Assn. Current vice chair of Bryant Neighborhood Assn.

Top three priorities:

1) Public safety, including bringing the police and fire staff to appropriate levels. Would accomplish this by lobbying the state for higher local government aid (LGA) and working with Congressman Sabo’s office to increase funding for programs such as the gang task force. (The city has little control over these funding decisions, however.)

2) Schools. Would work with the School Board to make funding schools a priority and would work with corporate partners to garner funding for afterschool and arts programs and summer jobs, solicit direct contributions, and set up internships.

3) Equity and development. Continue to write into developers’ contracts requirements for employing local people, and convince businesses it is in their self-interest to improve the neighborhoods in which they operate.

Zachary Metoyer

Age: 47

Occupation: Nonprofit and business consulting

Education: Fair State College (business)

Family: Wife, Valerie; six children and six grandchildren

Neighborhood: Central

Party: Nonpartisan

Endorsements: Not seeking any because he wants to remain nonpartisan

Web site: None

Phone: 251-0837

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Has run for the 8th Ward City Council as a write-in candidate. Community volunteer, Central Neighborhood Improvement Association and Police-Community Relations Council.

Top three priorities:

1) Community safety. Would address street gang violence and domestic violence by funding the Police Department and community organizations through use of grants, by working with the special projects office, and by utilizing the city’s status as an Enterprise Community and an Empowerment Zone to lobby the state and federal government for funding.

2) Economic development. Use the city’s Empowerment Zone to encourage the development of light industrial businesses that pay a living wage. Develop secondary corridors such as Nicollet and Chicago avenues. Provide financial and technical assistance to people who manage home-based businesses.

3) Diversification of all departments of the city. Ensure that all people are informed of opportunities for community participation. Increase connections among existing organizations, and use their existing budgets to do so.

Dennis Tifft

Age: 45

Occupation: Business service trainer for the Park Nicollet Clinic

Education: BA (critical science and theater), Upper Iowa

Family: Partner, Stephen Wolfgram

Neighborhood: Bryant

Party: DFL

Endorsements: Stonewall DFL (endorsed; others received acceptable ratings).

Web site: www.liftwithtifft.com

Phone: 823-8182

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: President of the Bryant Neighborhood Organization for the past three years. Block Club leader. Active in the Bancroft, Kingfield, and Central neighborhoods.

Top three priorities:

1) Safety and security. Fully fund the CCP/SAFE program by analyzing the budget and "ask[ing] ourselves what is important," soliciting funds from the state and federal level and eliminating overhead waste. No specific plan yet.

2) Create a strong transportation system. Prioritize infrastructure such as new light-rail lines over building a stadium since infrastructure is permanent while a stadium will become obsolete within 20-30 years. This will ensure that people have transportation to jobs that pay a living wage, as well as increase tourism because visitors will be better able to navigate the city. The city should work with the county and federal government for transportation funding because it has missed opportunities to do this in the past.

3) Affordable housing, living wages, and education. Livable wages result from a quality education that ensures access to housing. Minnesota should consider dropping out of the No Child Left Behind Act in order to bring the school system to a local level. Tifft said he would "be an advocate" for this by lobbying the state.

Terry Yzaguirre

Age: 45

Occupation: Technical manager, Agristar Global Network

Education: Central High graduate, certified in TV and radio broadcasting

Family: Three children

Neighborhood: Powderhorn

Party: Independent

Endorsements: Not seeking any because she does not want to align with any one individual or group

Web site: www.terrysnewward.com

Phone: 384-7098

E-mail: [email protected]

Experience: Has been "an advocate for the customer" at her job. Managed crime-ridden buildings on her block.

Top three priorities:

1) Safety. She would reduce crime by building community through initiatives such as the "Welcome Wagon," restructure how block clubs operate by increasing communication among block leaders and find funding for more police. She specified no plan.

2) Living wage jobs. Petition business and professional people living in the ward to create developments that will provide living wage jobs.

3) Ensure that all citizens of the ward are covered with health care. Find a way to attract larger businesses that can offer health care to the ward. Establish good relationships with people in the Capitol and put in her "two cents."