CITY COUNCIL WARD 10 // voter’s guide 2009

For the second election cycle in a row, Ward 10 voters will choose a brand new representative at City Hall. Current Council Member Ralph Remington, in his first term, announced early this year that he would step aside. Four are seeking to fill his seat.

Riding much momentum — and the biggest non-incumbent cash flow — into Election Day is Meg Tuthill, the longtime owner of Tuthill’s Balloon Emporium and an active community member. Much of her campaign has been focused on her interest in keeping things local.

A council member’s job “is to look at local issues, things that affect the day-to-day living in the city of Minneapolis,” Tuthill said. “Issues that should be handled at the state and federal level should be handled at the state and federal level.”

The ward would be her first priority on city issues, she said.

Tuthill, who has lived in Minneapolis for more than four decades, also said that she’s been concerned about some developers’ activities, especially those who have bought properties and immediately sought zoning changes. She said she’d fight those kinds of requests.

She also has expressed disdain about the prevalence of entertainment and drinking establishments in Uptown.

“I like a glass of wine just as much as anyone,” she said at an April forum. “But I don’t need 50 choices.”

That conflicts with the views of two of her opponents: Matt Dowgwillo and Dan Alvin.

Dowgwillo, who is endorsed by Remington, makes his living off of pointing people toward entertainment establishments. (He’s the founder of ThriftyHipster.com.) And while he said he’d be OK with non-entertainment businesses going into Uptown, “we just need to make sure we retain its culture.”

For example, he said he would have tried to incentivize the Uptown Bar to stay at its longtime location. He said he’d rather see a row of shops along Lake Street than in the heart of Uptown.

Overall, though, development is good, Dowgwillo said. It makes areas safer in a way not even hiring more police officers could do.

“You could have a one-to-one citizen-cop ratio, and you wouldn’t eliminate crime,” he said.

Alvin, meanwhile, is a musician, used to run a record label and formerly was the executive chef at several high-profile natural foods restaurants, including Ecopolitan and Intelligent Nutrients. He helped launch Café Agri in 2008.

The ward “is all driven by food and art and entertainment,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done my whole life.”

Alvin’s top priority is proper treatment of small businesses. He proposes a micro-loan program to incentivize the local economy.

Candidate Kim Vlaisavljevich has been quieter on the entertainment front, instead focusing most of her attention on the city’s finances. A consultant and accountant, she wants to do at City Hall what she currently does for work: find the most efficient use for every dollar spent. Her rule of thumb is that 1 percent of a budget can cause 99 percent of the issues. Fixing that small problem could make a difference, she said.

The city should therefore think harder about its financial priorities, Vlaisavljevich said. The $500,000 artistic water fountains, as well as the about $180,000 public relations campaign to promote city water, seem like slaps in the faces of people who pay property taxes — especially when the streets are filled with potholes, she said.

“It’s just not very tasteful,” Vlaisavljevich said. “I think the community feels detached. It would be nice to see what a couple of hundred thousand can do instead of a P.R. campaign.”

Ward 10 includes Lyndale, The Wedge, East Isles, East Calhoun and CARAG.

A forum featuring all four candidates was held Oct. 15. Click here for an overview of responses.

THE CANDIDATES

Dan Alvin
Age: 35
Occupation: retail wine and beer; personal chef
Neighborhood: CARAG
Experience: former small-business owner; former nonprofit program manager
Endorsements: Independence Party of Minnesota
Website: independenceminnesota.org/local-parties/minneapolis
Phone: 218-760-3103
E-mail: danalvinin10@gmail.com

Matt Dowgwillo
Age: 30
Occupation: founder, thriftyhipster.com
Neighborhood: Lyndale
Experience: long interest in politics; many small-business connections
Website: mattforcouncil.org
Phone: 803-1022
E-mail: matt@mattforcouncil.org

Meg Tuthill
Age: 60
Occupation: co-owner, Tuthill’s Balloon Emporium
Neighborhood: The Wedge
Experience: founding member, Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association; founding member, South Hennepin Business Association
Endorsements: DFL, DFL Feminist Caucus, Stonewall DFL, Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, Teamsters Joint Council 32 DRIVE, Sierra Club, and more
Website: megtuthill.com
Phone: 377-3123
E-mail: megfor10thward@gmail.com

Kim Vlaisavljevich
Age: 29
Occupation: accountant
Neighborhood: The Wedge
Experience: degree in economics; consults on finances
Endorsements: GOP
Website: voteforkimv.com
Phone: 702-7546
E-mail: KimV@voteforkimv.com