Election 2009: Save for Park Board, a contest in every race

Compared to 2005, when a dozen people wanted the city’s top public office, this was looking like a quiet year for the mayoral race. Just four candidates had announced they were running before filings for office began on July 7.

Then came July 20.

In a single day, the number of candidates doubled. Filings closed a day later, and the final number of candidates seeking R.T. Rybak’s job is 11.

Along with the incumbent, familiar names include community activist Al Flowers and 24-time candidate Dick Franson. The list also includes early candidate John Charles Wilson, a Whittier resident. Papa John Kolstad, a musician and small-business owner on Lake Street, is the Independence Party-endorsed choice for mayor.

Other candidates include Bill McGaughey, an active voice on the online Minneapolis Issues Forum; Tom Fiske, representing the Socialist Workers Party; and Joey Lombard, who listed his political affiliation as “Is Awesome.” Bob Carney Jr., Christopher Clark and James R. Everett also are running.

Here’s a look at the other races that affect Southwest:

Board of Estimate and Taxation

This six-member board sets levy limits for the city and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The mayor, two City Council members and a Park Board commissioner sit on the board, as well as two separately elected members who voters will choose in November.

Whoever wins will be in a unique position, given that voters also will decide whether to end the current form of the board.

Running are Carol Becker, the only incumbent and endorsed candidate; Michael Martens, a commercial mortgage broker; James Elliot Swartwood; DeWayne Townsend, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry; David Wheeler, a former Duluth City Council member; and Phil Willkie, currently vice chairman of the Hennepin Conservation District Board of Supervisors.

City Council, Ward 6

Two-term incumbent Robert Lilligren is facing more than twice as many opponents as he did four years ago, although unlike last time, all five are newcomers to City Council races. They are Andy Exley, chairman of the state Green Party; Michael Tupper, a plumber endorsed by the Independence Party; Bruce Lundeen, a self-described “union guy”; Laura Jean, a former preschool teacher and founder of music and science fiction convention AppleCon; and M. Cali.

Ward 6 includes Whittier, Stevens Square and part of the Phillips neighborhood.

City Council, Ward 7

Coming off of a third term that included the completion of her final original goal on the City Council, Lisa Goodman isn’t done quite yet.

She has two opponents. Michael Katch, a commodities trader, is known to attend numerous public meetings and watch broadcasts when he can’t be present. Katch is endorsed by the Independence Party. Also running is Jeffrey Alan Wagner.

Ward 7 includes almost all of Downtown, as well as the Kenwood, Lowry Hill, Bryn Mawr and Cedar-Isles-Dean neighborhoods.

City Council, Ward 8

In 2005, there was no incumbent and 10 brand new candidates. This year, the last election’s winner, Elizabeth Glidden, faces four opponents.

Jeanine Estimé, an education assistant, is the Green Party’s endorsed candidate. Greg McDonald, a small-business owner, is endorsed by the Independence Party.

Others running are David Regan, who filed as a Republican, and Michael Cavlan, a political activist whose top concern is corruption at City Hall.

Ward 8 covers most of Kingfield, plus neighborhoods east of Interstate 35W.

City Council, Ward 10

Like four years ago, the Ward 10 election will feature no incumbent. Yet 2009 is looking quieter than 2005, with just four candidates rather than six seeking to fill the seat last won by Ralph Remington.

Meg Tuthill, owner of Tuthill’s Balloon Emporium, was the first to announce her bid late last year. She received the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s endorsement in May. The other candidates are Dan Alvin, the Independence Party-endorsed candidate; Kim Vlaisavljevich, a finance and accounting consultant; and Matthew Dowgwillo, marketing director for Thrifty Hipster and Local Hipster.

Ward 10 includes Lyndale, Lowry Hill East, East Isles, East Calhoun and CARAG.

City Council, Ward 11

After two terms, Scott Benson is stepping down at the end of the year. Three people are vying for his seat.

John Quincy, an active political volunteer, is endorsed by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. He faces Gregg Iverson, who ran in 2005 to provide Benson with someone to run against, and David Alvarado, a Republican.

Ward 11 covers Windom, Tangletown and part of Kingfield, as well as far-Southeast Minneapolis.

City Council, Ward 13

Incumbent Betsy Hodges became a spokeswoman of sorts earlier this year, steering the city’s efforts to educate residents about its fears over expected steep increases in pension fund payouts. One factor that Hodges emphasized could feel a major impact: property taxes.

Those taxes also are on the mind of Kris Broberg, who is endorsed by the Independence Party. The property manager says the city is becoming too expensive to live in and that City Hall needs to return its focus to basic services.

Also running is Joseph Henry, who lives in Armatage.

Other Ward 13 neighborhoods include Linden Hills, Fulton, Kenny, Lynnhurst, West Calhoun and part of East Harriet.

Park Board At Large

The nine-member Park Board has three at-large seats, which makes this year’s slate of four incumbents, one former commissioner and a newcomer a likely tussle. All three current citywide commissioners — Mary Merrill Anderson, Tom Nordyke and Annie Young — are running again, while Bob Fine, currently the District 6 commissioner, has decided to seek an at-large seat he held during his first term. Also running is John Erwin, a former commissioner often described as a middleman, who is seeking a return after one term away. Merill Anderson, Nordyke, Young and Erwin each have been endorsed by their respective parties.

New to the race are David Wahlstedt, an engineer and the owner of a bed and breakfast in Excelsior; John Butler; and Nancy Bernard.

Park Board District 4

With Tracy Nordstrom stepping down at the end of the year, Anita Tabb looks poised to fill her seat. The Park Board watchdog will be the only District 4 candidate on the November ballot.

The district covers Southwest north of Lake Street, plus the East Calhoun neighborhood.

Park Board District 6

For the first time in eight years, incumbent Commissioner Bob Fine isn’t running for this seat. His decision blows the race wide open, with three newcomers and a veteran of past Park Board campaigns all in the mix.

Meg Forney has perhaps the most familiar name. In 2005, the Realtor ran for an at-large Park Board seat. This year, she’ll face a fellow Realtor, Steve Jecha. Rounding out the list are Brad Bourn, who works at a nonprofit with youth and is the DFL-endorsed candidate, and Geneva Hanvik.

District 6 covers all of Southwest not in District 4.

Reach Cristof Traudes at 436-5088, [email protected] or twitter.com/sctraudes.