In building upon Veronica Schwenn’s article on the September 21 ward 9 candidate forum, I would like to include what all of the candidates had to say in response to the question relating to Minneapolis Energy Options from the notes I took while attending. It was not a direct question on whether or not they supported municipalizing Minneapolis’s energy given that question is not going to be on the city ballot this year. The question referred to basically read “What would you do as a city council member to hold Xcel and Centerpoint accountable to the clean energy concessions they offered to the city as a result of the Minneapolis Energy Options campaign?”
In response to the question on Saturday, there was a broad consensus around holding Xcel Energy accountable to the sustainability goals of the Minneapolis Energy Options campaign.
For the most part, this echoed the ward 9 candidate forum on May 1st that was actually sponsored by Minneapolis Energy Options where all six candidates in attendance publicly endorsed the campaign. But what was interesting is that each candidate had their own unique angle to view the situation from.
Pat Fleetham’s angle on the situation is that we need detailed explanations and transparency as to what exactly we as the city are holding Xcel and Centerpoint accountable to rather than it all happening behind closed doors. And it will be hard work for the city council and state legislature to try to get the vital information we need.
Ty Moore lauded The Minneapolis Energy Options campaign for “doing an amazing job” making clean, reliable, affordable energy an issue in Minneapolis. But then Xcel, he said the Chamber of Commerce and the media went on a propaganda offensive that cowed city council members into saying now is not the time to consider municipal energy. He wants to limit any renewed franchise agreement to 2 years. He supports municipal ownership as the way to keep the utilities accountable. Otherwise we as the general populace have no power and no say in the situation.
Alondra Cano’s angle of approach is that not many people truly understood the goals of and possibility of Minneapolis Energy Options. So her basic solution is to be behind funding education efforts and to work to build the consensus needed on the city council. Alondra acknowledged Minneapolis Energy Options as a leader in sustainability that rocked the boat of a fortune 500 company. But there is a lot more work to do with working for equity in sustainability and bringing people of color a seat at the table.
Charles Curtis likes the idea of holding Xcel accountable and using this once in a generation opportunity with the franchise contract renewal. In making his case differentiating that he does not support making a switch to municipal power he used the example that the city has not even covered up the potholes.
As the candidate who most recently joined the race Abdi Abdulle was the only candidate present on Saturday who was not speaking at the May 1st ward 9 candidate forum. Abdi said Xcel is a “great company” that has been supportive for the neighborhoods but also that we can’t let them off the hook and still have to enforce policies we set for sustainability.