Minneapolis Ward Nine candidates debate at Midtown Market forum


Five of Ward Nine’s six candidates participated in a forum last Saturday, September 21, at the Midtown Farmer’s Market. (Greg McDonald was absent).  The forum, moderated by Pam Telleen, was sponsored by the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association, and Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization. Participating candidates were Abdi Abdulle, Alondra Cano, Charles Curtis, Pat Fleetham, and Ty Moore,

After a one-minute introduction and opening statement from each candidate, they answered questions on a variety of topics from both the sponsoring organizations and audience members.

One of the questions from the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization asked how the candidates would attempt to make housing safer and more accessible to the residents of Ward Nine.  All of the candidates agreed that there needs to be an expansion of affordable housing. 

Ty Moore pointed out that many residents pay [MU1] more than 50 percent of their income toward housing, and stated that he would work to make sure housing cost no more than 25 percent of people’s income. 

Pat Fleetham advocated more meaningful inspection and enforcement of laws, as well as the incorporation of multilingual interpreters in this process to make sure that landlords were not taking advantage of non-English speakers.

The Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization asked how the candidates would work to make the city of Minneapolis competitive with other progressive cities such as Portland and Seattle.  Abdi Abdulle, who is a resident of Central Neighborhood, said that competition should not be our first priority, asking, “How can we compete with other cities when we are not doing well in our own backyard?”

A member of the audience asked the candidates whether or not they supported municpalizing Minneapolis’s energy through Minneapolis Energy Options, and how they planned to hold Xcel and Centerpoint Energy accountable for the agreements they made in recent months. 

Charles Curtis said that he does not support municipal energy.  Curtis said that he believes Minneapolis needs to focus its resources on doing a better job at the things the city is already responsible for rather than taking on a new expensive project, though he does support holding Xcel and Centerpoint accountable and shortening their contracts.

Candidates were asked whether or not they supported the use of eminent domain to fight foreclosure.  While Alondra Cano, Moore, and Abdulle thought that eminent domain could be used in a positive way, Curtis and Fleetham were doubtful of the city’s ability to finance it.  They explained that because foreclosed homes belong to the banks, the city would have to pay just compensation to the banks in order to use eminent domain.

When asked about how to close the achievement gap in Minneapolis public schools, Moore emphasized the need to put more teachers in public schools to lower class sizes, and Cano added that the city should put more emphasis on hiring teachers of color.  Curtis also brought up that providing more stable housing and demanding living wages for parents will help children succeed in school.

An audience member asked the candidates how they would ensure the safety of children in Ward Nine in the wake of Terrance Franklin’s death.  Pat Fleetham stated that there is a, “Cultural racism in the police force that the current chief is not addressing.”  He also added that he would like to see more police on foot and bike in the neighborhoods. 

Moore stated that he would like to see an elected civilian board created to hold police accountable, and Cano said that she supports residency requirements for police officers so that residents know their police officers more. 

Related articles — see Ward 9 election coverage. If you’d like to pose questions to the candidates, click here

This is one of a number of articles produced by student interns at the TC Daily Planet.