Do you have a burning question you want to ask the Third Ward City Council candidates? Here’s your chance to get a closer look and engage the candidates in a direct and unique way. Twin Cities Daily Planet has invited all the candidates to participate in an online forum where you get to ask the questions. To get started, we’ve asked the candidates to supply a brief bio, and answer the following question:
“What would be your top three priorities as a member of the Minneapolis City Council?
Read the bios that they provided, and their answers to the question, posted below in alphabetical order, and then it’s your turn to ask a question. Post your questions as comments, either using Facebook or our in-house commenting system, and the candidates will give you their replies.
We will continue to update the site with the candidates’ information as we receive it from the candidates. Michael Katch and Kristina Gronquist were the first of the Third Ward City Council candidates to reply. We are still waiting for responses from:
Kristina Gronquist’s Bio: A lifelong Mpls. resident, Kristina is the Assistant GM of the Eastside Food Co-op and serves on the Board of the St. Anthony West Neighborhood Assoc. She is a member of the NE Investment Co-op and a mentor with AchieveMpls. Her dedication to peace, civil rights, environmental and women’s issues is reflected in many years of service. She graduated from the U of M with a BA in Political Science.
Website: gronquistforcitycouncil.nationbuilder.com; Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-619-8656.; Visit my Facebook page! Facebook.com/kristina4citycouncil
Kristina Gronquist’s Top Three Issues:
A Just City – Minneapolis offers a crooked smile. We need to close the gaps. End racial disparities in the criminal justice education, employment, housing, access to transit, and health care. Money for Minneapolis, not mega-millionaires: end public funding for corporate welfare, and honor the City Charter. Hold the MPD accountable for misconduct, brutality and racial profiling. Restoration of an oversight agency with real teeth, that would have the power to investigate, subpoena, and discipline officers. Require police to carry personal professional liability insurance and install cameras on police guns.
An Ecological City – Fight climate change by working to become a Net Zero Carbon Emissions community. Make the transition from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy and energy conservation through municipal power and viable energy options. Eliminate environmental toxins: Clean up and phase out the HERC, removing lead and arsenic contamination, and clean up Super Fund sites. Expand recycling, composting, reuse and reduction of waste materials Support a strong local food economy by developing urban agriculture/farming, and promoting community owned cooperatives.
A Democratic City – Improve, empower, respect and fund neighborhood organizations. Campaign finance reforms including more transparent reporting and public campaign financing. Keep money local by supporting community-based worker- and/or member-owned businesses. Promote education about cooperative and transparent business forms that follow “triple bottom line” models. Invest Wisely in the Common Good! Manage public tax dollars wisely, focusing them on the common good/public infrastructure investments; develop a fairer tax and funding system making sure all investments are based on clear goals and meet desired and measurable result/outcomes.
Michael Katch’s Bio: Lived in Ward Three over ten years; Extensive advocacy and participation in government affairs; Testified against stadium without referendum; Fought to save NRP; Fought Library merger with Hennepin County; Fought to save Florence Court
Michael Katch’s Top Three Priorities: 1. Transparency: no vendor shall be chosen without an open bidding process, and no ordinance or law shall be enacted without open discussion and consideration in the sunshine of open and honest conversation and thoughtful consideration. I will pass nothing by consent agenda nor will I award a closed bid to an established crony. All city business must be accomplished in an open meeting paradigm, with clear copies of all city agendas and attachments therefor easily available to the public and any other person of interest. I would like to use the Pirate Party’s Liquid Democracy software to accomplish this goal, as it does in Germany and Iceland. All city citizens should be able to peruse the proposal as I the city councilmember can, with all underlying documentation available at the click of a mouse, and forward their proposed changes to me for facilitation.
2. Accountability: Nobody seems to be in charge downtown. What’s up with that?
Someone needs to be in charge. The police have to be accountable to the citizenry. And nobody in Minneapolis is accountable to the public. Great feats of legerdemain are presented as a fait accomplit, and there is never anyone to blame. Nobody takes responsibility. Who put together the plan for the Pillsbury “A” development? Who will take responsibility for the white elephant this current city council is propounding? Who is responsible for the new $400 million Wells Fargo park going up around the new Stadium? Who will make sure that all the contracts are filled, and every legal detail is complied with? Who is taking responsibility to looking out for the welfare of the citizenry? Our currently seated city council is sure that they can pass whatever ordinances they like, 7-6, and they all seem to have each other’s backs. City council offices are locked to the public, and the decisions are agreed to in those locked back rooms, even though they might not be smoky anymore, but the decisions are unmistakably oligarchic. I have a problem with this kind of government.
3. Stability: Our city is shrinking. We lost a senate district this census cycle; our tax base is also shrinking, and our infrastructure needs maintenance and tending. Minneapolis thrived in the aftermath of the genesis of NRP. Our neighborhoods created visions and helped their communities to stabilize each in its own uniquely organic way. For our city to be healthy, we must have small businesses in each neighborhood, and our neighbors must not be taxed out of their homes with special assessments and excessive and superfluous permit and inspection fees. When I am in office, we will examine all the fees assessed to homeowners and eliminate those that are designed to be income producers for the city, and those that may be applied excessively or unreasonably. Small businesses will be encouraged to sprout in the third ward, and we will find ways to keep the regulations from being too high a barrier to success.
Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.