Council Member Lisa Bender’s progressive stamp on the 10th Ward has generated challengers raising concerns about the impact of her agenda. Bender’s busy four-year term involved advocating for a $15 minimum wage, safe and sick time, expanded bikeways, a new Lowry Hill East historic district, accessory dwelling units (or “granny flats”) and the expansion of pedestrian-oriented design rules that boost density along commercial corridors in Uptown.
Candidate Saralyn Romanishan is known for administering the Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition Facebook page, which critiques development proposals and advocates for preserving the existing character of Minneapolis. She works for Metro Transit and volunteers with the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association.
David Schorn works as a teacher and coach in Brooklyn Center.
Bruce Lundeen, a Vietnam veteran and frequent candidate for public office, operates Bruce Arnold Mechanical and owns rental property.
How to handle parking has emerged as a disagreement between the candidates.
While Bender worked to reduce parking requirements in new development near transit in order to reduce housing costs, and worked to prioritize bike lanes over parking on portions of 26th and 28th streets, all of her challengers raised parking as an issue of concern.* Lundeen said parking is a “nightmare”; Schorn said neighborhoods are overwhelmed and 28th Street has become a “disaster”; and Romanishan said the cost of housing has continued to climb despite the new parking rules.
Romanishan said city policy has made Ward 10 a “gold mine” for developers, and said proposals are rarely denied. She and Schorn blame Bender for a loss of affordable housing in recent years, saying that gentrification is causing the ward to lose its diversity.
Bender, in response, said it’s irresponsible to suggest the city shouldn’t build more housing for growing numbers of residents. And she countered that extensive engagement with neighbors and city staff readies projects for approval before they reach a Planning Commission vote.
Candidates want to address rising rents in the ward, with the exception of Lundeen, a landlord who would prefer to improve the economy and boost incomes. Bender wants to make it harder to evict residents and find a way to intervene at the point of an affordable apartment sale. Romanishan wants legal representation for tenants, a “just cause” eviction ordinance, better data on landlords and better-trained inspectors. Schorn would like to see more rent-to-own options, lower property taxes at properties that keep units affordable, and better use of vacant lots.
Neighborhood: The Wedge
Current job: 10th Ward council member
Key endorsements: Our Revolution – Twin Cities, Outfront MN, Minnesota Young DFL, Stonewall DFL Caucus, DFL Environmental Caucus, SEIU MN, Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, Minnesota Nurses Association, WomenWinning, Take Action MN
Experience: Former MnDOT Safe Routes to School Coordinator; Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition founder; Zoning and Planning Committee chair; lead author of paid sick time ordinance and minimum wage ordinance
Fundraising total: $104,069.14 (January 1, 2014 through July 25, 2017)
Top priorities: Increase housing availability and affordability, curb racial disparities in our city, improve community safety, increase transportation options, reduce greenhouse emissions, implement pro-equity and pro-growth policy solutions.
Candidate statement on why she is best for the job: “Lisa is a dedicated progressive working to advance equity for all Minneapolis. She has a proven record of accomplishments and has been one of the most effective policymakers on the city council. Lisa also understands the importance of listening, and she works hard to reflect the views of her constituents while crafting legislation. Lisa has found success in building diverse coalitions to achieve meaningful change.”
Current job: Self-employed
Endorsements: Minneapolis City Republican Committee
Experience: Vietnam veteran with the U.S. Marine Corps; fisherman on offshore trawlers; tour boat captain; tug worker in Alaska; proprietor of the refrigeration, air conditioning and heating company Bruce Arnold Mechanical since 1991.
Fundraising total: No fundraising reported
Top priorities: Slow down a “hyperactive” City Council that has “gone for the grandeur” and is out of touch with “real-world business practice.”
Lundeen criticizes high taxes, treatment of the business community, “diabolical criticism” of the police department, and the burden of public employee payroll and contractual obligations.
Candidate statement on why he is best for the job: “I am best qualified for the job of City Councilperson because my motivation for wanting to be elected is to serve, not because I need a job. Good health permitting, I can make an income to support myself anywhere because of skills learned over a lifetime of working with my hands. Those same practical skills and the honesty that comes from finding blue collar work satisfying are applicable to this job.”
Neighborhood: The Wedge
Current job: Metro Transit
Endorsements: Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005
Experience: Volunteer and elected board member with Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association; block leader; founding member, Minneapolis Residents for Responsible Development Coalition
Fundraising total: $1,605 through July 25
Top priorities: Provide a “real voice” for all residents and local businesses at City Hall, mandatory affordable housing, lower property taxes, eviction regulations, accountability of large apartment building owners and property managers, support for neighborhood associations, more parking options while improving pedestrian and bike safety, Greenway upgrades, police reform with community policing and preventative youth programs, clean energy, end to pesticide and fertilizer use, support for social programs for seniors and the homeless, and adherence to community-designed “Small Area Plans.”
Candidate statement on why she is best for the job: “I believe that we are All neighbors and contributing members of our community and therefore everyone here deserves not just a seat at the table but a real voice in the decisions affecting them. And as a caring, proven leader and coalition builder, I will fight for our residents and local businesses. I am also an active and approachable member of the Ward 10 community and believe City Council Members should retain these attributes while in office.”
Neighborhood: The Wedge
Current job: Social studies teacher, Brooklyn Center Schools
Endorsements: Minneapolis Police Federation
Experience: Social Studies teacher for 30 years; high school coach for 32 years; spokesperson for same sex marriage and PFLAG; landscaping and painting business proprietor; past Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association board member; Kids Voting of MN and We The People Coordinator 1987-2016; past union president of Education Minnesota–Brooklyn Center
Fundraising total: $100 through July 25
Top priorities: Listen to the citizens of Ward 10.
Improve parking and traffic flow in Ward 10.
Stabilize rents and promote more housing opportunities.
Enact “tip credit” for the service industry workers.
Save homes from excessive property taxes and freeze property taxes on retired homeowners.
Protect our lakes from storm drain pollutants.
Candidate statement on why he is best for the job: “As the teacher of over 16,000 students from diverse backgrounds over the last three decades, I have learned to be a careful listener. I hear what people have to say. I have the tools of compassion, compromise, and civility to unite my neighbors so that together we can build a stronger Minneapolis.”
*Clarified to say that Bender worked to reduce minimum parking requirements, rather than “limit” parking.