Despite the lack of an incumbent and a slate of candidates all making their first run for public office, First Ward voters were offered only one opportunity to hear from those seeking to represent them. It happened last night, and the Minnesota Independent was there to report:
The candidates spent much of the forum seconding each other’s opinions, leaving Hanna and Reich to trade the evening’s sharpest jabs.
The council job “is not to be complainer-in-chief,” Reich said, on behalf of a ward, that — insert air quotes, aimed especially at Hanna — “never gets its share.”
“The job is to lead,” he said.
Hanna shot back that she doesn’t consider herself a complainer. “We have been overlooked” she insisted, in a ward that’s “not second-rate.” Earlier, she repeated a pledge to be “very selfish,” making sure that the ward gets “not only everything we deserve, but extra.”
“I don’t overanalyze or overthink,” Hanna said, a dig at Reich’s penchant for wonkishness.
Reich didn’t disappoint on that score: the somewhat obtuse phrase “project direction” constituted two of the first words out of his mouth.
Alessi and Fox are more skeptical of the status quo and the way the city’s “system” operates, beyond basic services of fire, police and streets.
Fox proposes an up-ending of responsibility for development and other governmental activities that start downtown and move to neighborhoods. “I trust you more than I trust City Hall,” he said, referencing the audience and the ward’s “25,000 other people.”
Fox envisions a Minneapolis in which even currently disengaged citizens steer the city and volunteers pick up the inevitable slack when impending budget crises bring deep cuts to services.
It was my first public forum or debate, and I had a great time. You can hear how it all went down, thanks to local reporter Dan Haugen. If you want to know more about my remarks, or if you have a question that was not addressed, please leave a comment below, or send me a note.