BY ED FELIEN
Go to your precinct caucus … and never leave your couch. Now you can register to become a delegate to the DFL ward and city conventions and never leave the peace and serenity of your living room.
You can go to caucus.dfl.org and it will direct you to your precinct and allow you to register. If there are more delegate spots than participants, then you’re elected. If more people than spots, then there will be an online election of delegates May 12-18.
Or, you could call 612-552-4215, leave a message and they’ll call you back.
Or, you could text 612-712-7461 and someone at the other end will walk you through the process.
You have until April 30 to register.
Ward-endorsing conventions will be June 9-11.
There probably will be no contest for DFL endorsement for City Council in the 8th Ward. Andrea Jenkins is running for endorsement unopposed, so far. From her website: “[She] has more than 30 years of public service experience as a Minneapolis City Council policy aide, nonprofit executive director and consultant, and Hennepin County employment specialist. She has lived in the Bryant neighborhood for 20 years.
“Voted to support the Minneapolis 2040 Plan,
“Authored and passed a citywide resolution declaring racism a public health crisis.”
We have been critical of the 2040 Plan for up-zoning the inner city to allow four- and five-story apartment buildings to displace communities of color. We are not fans of unlimited growth at the expense of existing affordable housing. And we believe a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis is meaningless and empty rhetoric when the City Council refuses to discipline Minneapolis police officers for the killing of Terrance Franklin, Jamar Clark, Thurman Blevins and Travis Jordan.
Jenkins may or may not be opposed in the November general election by a Green Party candidate, Terry White. His website listed on his Facebook page, terryforward8.org, is nonexistent, and his Twitter link, “This questionnaire highlights some of the differences between myself and my opponent: http//mnnoc.org/ward8,” leads to a bitcoin casino.
Jeremy Schroeder, the incumbent, says, “You deserve a leader who moves beyond talking points and implements sensible policy solutions. You deserve a leader who will put progress ahead of politics.” Schroeder was one of three council members who gently nudged the MPD in a more humane direction with their restructuring plan that joined policing with an emphasis on public health. We would argue the change was too modest and would have even been unnecessary if the City Council would have only used its bully pulpit to hold offending officers accountable, but Schroeder must be given credit for his earnest efforts at trying to solve a problem that predated his tenure as a council member.
Dillon Gherna is challenging Schroeder for the DFL endorsement, but he seems to agree with him that defunding the police is not the answer, and there is a need for “comprehensive police reform.” He is light on specifics, but he says he is “working with community leaders, neighbors, public safety professionals, and other leaders to guide my public safety policy platform.”
Emily Koski is also seeking DFL endorsement, and, although she seems to agree with Schroeder’s approach, she manages to make her vague generalities seem dramatic: “Right now, we are at a crossroads that demands that our city comes together to create a new way forward. Our path forward must be a product of deep engagement with our community, inclusive conversations, strategic problem solving, and comprehensive planning. Defunding or abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department is not our path forward. We must reform our public safety system so that it works for everyone.”
Andrew Johnson is seeking re-election. He lists the following accomplishments in Transforming Public Safety:
“Established the 911 Workgroup which laid the groundwork for a mental health responder program and other alternative responses beyond policing; Co-authored a budget amendment funding an independent staffing study of the MPD, enabling data-driven decisions on staffing levels moving forward; Engaged in thousands of conversations with constituents, listening to your hopes, concerns, and ideas for how we can transform our public safety system, and brought them into the conversations at City Hall; Voted to move toward a more effective, equitable, and just system via alternative responses, crime intervention strategies, and addressing root causes, while also ensuring we have the resources in place to respond to emergency calls today.”
Challenger Brianna Thull seems to have genuinely heartfelt sentiments but little in the way of specific and concrete proposals: “A long history of attempts have proven that our current systems of policing and criminal justice cannot be reformed. These institutions are violent, punitive and exploitative, and they are particularly targeted towards BIPOC, queer, mentally ill, and other marginalized individuals. We must work quickly and decisively to implement alternative strategies so that we can then safely abolish the police and prison industrial complex as we know them today. To ensure all members of our community are afforded their constitutional rights and can live without fear, we must work towards a new system of public safety. Going forward our focus must be on de-escalation, rehabilitation, and preventing the circumstances which lead to crime.”
Finally, Willy Lee is also running for City Council “because the 12th Ward deserves a choice. After the murder of George Floyd, I fear the City Council is retreating to white comfort, and the ‘veto proof majority’ is no longer dedicated to defunding the police.
“Willy Lee is running for City Council; a cyclist; queer; on Twitter too much; Chinese; a pizza enthusiast; tired of helicopters; a cat owner; ready to defund the police.”
Of all the candidates, she seems the most fun, but I disagree with her statement that she is a cat owner. Cats don’t have owners. Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.