Ward Twelve: Colvin Roy faces three challengers

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In Minneapolis’ southeast corner, all candidates for the city council share concerns about saving small businesses and keeping big developers in check. But beyond this agreement, the three candidates vying for the seat now held by Sandy Colvin Roy offer distinct choices for Ward 12 voters.

Brent Perry is running with the backing of Socialist Action, “a nation-wide group of revolutionary socialists.”

“Capitalism has failed,” reads Perry’s campaign website. “You may be asking how much one city council member in one city can accomplish toward ending the global system of capitalism… [R]efusing to vote for the ruling class’s candidates, and instead voting for socialist candidates is a blow to the capitalist system.”

Perry says this election presents a good opportunity for a socialist. “Because of the economic recession, people are taking more of an interest in economic forms other than capitalism,” he tells the Minnesota Independent. “This election looked like a good opportunity to advance our politics.”

The advent of Instant Runoff Voting also prompted him to run. “The DFL often goes unchallenged in Minneapolis so I hope to use the opportunity of instant runoff voting to introduce people to a third party.”

But he also says that economic issues facing the people of the city are important, citing the high foreclosure and unemployment rates.

“Police brutality continues to be a problem,” adds Perry. “And I will seek justice for Fong Lee.” Fong Lee was shot to death by police on the city’s north side. Family members say he was unarmed at the time.

“To see that police corruption, one only has to look to the Metro Gang Strike Force,” he says.

Staunch capitalist Rick Nyhlen, running as an independent with the backings of the Republican Party and the Independence Party, offers a stark contrast.

He’s “concerned that Minneapolis is all for big business contractors, leaving the small businesses and citizens who care for our city with higher taxes and poorer services. Small business owners must be able to afford operating in our neighborhoods.”

He calls for transparency and an audit of city finances. “The questions, concerns and needs of Ward 12 residents are going unanswered. I will truly serve the people who get me elected,” he says.

As a general concern, Nyhlen says that the city cannot push road and bridge projects back in order to balance the budget. “These are basic public needs which need to be kept up,” he says. “Saving money now by not repairing them will cost us more later.”

He also says property taxes need to be kept low. “6.6 percent per year is too much without clear answers as to where it is going,” he says. “State cuts to Minneapolis, while not good for the city, are nowhere near 6.6 percent per year.”

Charley Underwood, a local peace activist who’s running as an unendorsed DFL candidate, also believes that the city budget needs some work.

“The city is broke,” he says, and the burden is shifting in the wrong direction, through tools like inspection fees and assessments.

“It’s driving local businesses out of business, and people are getting taxed out of their homes,” he says.

He also says the city is moving too far away from neighborhood control, and he opposes abolishing the Board of Estimate and Taxation and the Park Board. He characterizes both issues as ways of hiding city problems from the public view.

“The shifting of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program out of neighborhoods is an example,” he says. “It’s designed to hide just how bad things are getting in our neighborhoods because it provides for less of a voice at the local level.”

He continues, “People at the city can make cuts and those consequences wouldn’t be immediately known.”

He decries the defunding of other neighborhood programs such as the McGruff houses and the Citizens Emergency Response Teams. “All of the things that would empower neighborhoods are going by the wayside and I am very concerned about that.”

He says city funds for stadiums and huge tax breaks for big developers are wrong for the city and that’s why he wants a seat on the council. “Somebody needs to be there to say, ‘Where are your priorities?’ Why are we giving money to big developers when our neighbors need help?”

Underwood praised Instant Runoff Voting. “I think it’s going to be very good not only for the city but also the state of Minnesota. I really hope it spreads.”

Plus, he hopes for more civil elections as a result: “It doesn’t pay to be nasty during campaigns with IRV.”

Incumbent DFLer Sandy Colvin Roy says property taxes are her number-one concern. She says she repeatedly hears from residents about their fear that continuing tax increases “will force them out of this city.”

A large portion of the city’s only light rail line runs through the heart of the ward, and upgrades are needed to handle vehicle traffic around the line, she says. “We do have a major problem with traffic crossing Hiawatha Avenue, due to signal changes for LRT that were not accompanied by the necessary investment in upgraded equipment when the LRT project was built.”

And, as other candidates have mentioned, development in the ward is a key issue. “Development, when the economy returns, must be managed to fit the community’s vision of itself as well as the property owners’ goals,” says Colvin Roy.

Colvin Roy In Minneapolis’ southeast corner, all candidates for the city council share concerns about saving small businesses and keeping big developers in check. But beyond this agreement, the three candidates vying for the seat now held by Sandy Colvin Roy offer distinct choices for Ward 12 voters.In Minneapolis’ southeast corner, all candidates for the city council share concerns about saving small businesses and keeping big developers in check. But beyond this agreement, the three candidates vying for the seat now held by Sandy Colvin Roy offer distinct choices for Ward 12 voters.In Minneapolis’ southeast corner, all candidates for the city council share concerns about saving small businesses and keeping big developers in check. But beyond this agreement, the three candidates vying for the seat now held by Sandy Colvin Roy offer distinct choices for Ward 12 voters.In Minneapolis’ southeast corner, all candidates for the city council share concerns about saving small businesses and keeping big developers in check. But beyond this agreement, the three candidates vying for the seat now held by Sandy Colvin Roy offer distinct choices for Ward 12 voters.In Minneapolis’ southeast corner, all candidates for the city council share concerns about saving small businesses and keeping big developers in check. But beyond this agreement, the three candidates vying for the seat now held by Sandy Colvin Roy offer distinct choices for Ward 12 voters.says that voters should return her to the council because of her experience with the budget and her plans to create more jobs.

“My experience with the budget, both how to put it together to match our community’s values and then how to stick with the plan during the many decisions that are made week after week, will be crucial to bringing down taxes,” she says.

Employment is another issue for Colvin Roy “I am also committed to creating more jobs in the city,” she says. “Two methods are tying jobs for local residents to city assistance for development, something already done successfully several times, and matching local job training to emerging green-energy technologies.”

She says she has been working to educate constituents on Instant Runoff Voting so voters will know what to expect and that electoral success under the new system is the same as the old. “[It] still rests primarily on communication with voters through months of door-knocking and conversations, on door steps and at community events.”

Colvin Roy leads the money race, having raised $11,170 by the preprimary deadline. Perry raised $288.21 and Nyhlen, $273.05. Underwood hadn’t raise anything, but had $4,657.32 on hand.

This is the twelfth in a 13-part series on Minneapolis City Council races. The series concludes on Friday with a look at Ward 1.

Earlier:

Ward Two: Gordon, Aigbogun and … no DFLer
Ward Three: Hofstede tries to hold off four challengers
Ward Four: Trio of challengers take on political dynasty
Ward Five: Crime and economic development dominate North Side race
Ward Six: South Minneapolis contest draws crowded field of contenders
Ward Seven: Despite full campaign coffers, lawsuit clouds Goodman’s prospects
Ward Eight: Glidden faces four rivals in south Minneapolis
Ward Nine: Schiff, Bicking vie again
Ward Ten: Four candidates vie for Uptown council seat
Ward Eleven: Three vie for Benson’s South Minneapolis seat
Ward Thirteen: The independent ward could see fireworks in November