MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With Election Day just one week away, the six leading candidates for Minneapolis Mayor took to the stage Tuesday night in a rather friendly debate that heavily revolved around crime, a street car system, and even the means of which they get voted in on Tuesday – ranked-choice voting.
830 WCCO’s Minneapolis Mayoral Debate was hosted by John Williams and political commentator Blois Olson at the WCCO Radio Cambria Gallery on 7th at 7th Avenue and 2nd Street. To watch the entire debate, click here.
The six hopefuls – Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Cam Winton, Dan Cohen, Don Samuels and Betsy Hodges – are part of a 35-candidate pool for Mayor of Minneapolis, as R.T. Rybak isn’t running for another term. The high number of candidates can be linked to the fact it costs $20 to file for Mayor in Minneapolis, compared to $500 in St. Paul.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters will select their mayor via ranked-choice voting, as they’ll pick their first, second and third choices. Angela Davis explained the new method.
With the Minneapolis Police Department making recent headlines due to racial incidents, each candidate said something similar in that the majority of the city’s police force does great work, but it’s the minority that has been the issue.
Samuels aims to knock on the door of the six families in Minneapolis that are responsible for the majority of crime, he said. He said he’d offer support programs that will help them thrive instead.
Andrew called for more accountability and transparency in the police department, adding, “we need subpoena power.”
Cherryhomes admitted her home has been broken into four times, so she believes not only in strong policing but also strong prosecution.
Both Hodges and Winton pushed their goal of putting cameras on Minneapolis police officers. Hodges pointed out that in other cities, it cut down on police department complaints by as much as 80 percent.
Cohen took a more stark approach to the recent racial incidents.
“I would have fired those police officers on the spot,” he said. “There isn’t an institution in this country that would tolerate that kind of behavior.”
Ranked Choice Voting
Each candidate agreed in ranked-choice voting’s benefits. It was also a near consensus to boost the filing fee, or to ask for signatures in the future for candidates who want to run for mayor.
“I thoroughly enjoyed campaigning in this mode because we weren’t against each other — but for our city,” Cherryhomes said.
Street Car Proposal
The topic was indeed divisive.
Andrew, Betsy and Samuels were fully on board with what the transit infrastructure could bring to the city.
Cohen, however, alled it an “expensive toy,” and said studies have shown 90 percent of transit needs have been met by the bus system.
Winton said Minneapolis can’t afford it.
“It would cost $53 million per mile,” he said. “And the city admits it would move fewer people than buses. I propose achieving the goal by making enhancements to busing — that would cost $2 million per mile.”
Cherryhomes took a different route, believing that the city needs a strong multimodal transit system, from buses to walking to biking. She said that includes street cars, but ones that the city wouldn’t run.
Each candidate was on the same page that raising property taxes would not be included in his or her plan, and that keeping them stable was the goal instead.
Cohen took this topic and ran with it, saying that doing business with the owner of the Minnesota Vikings, Zygi Wilf, is like teaming up with someone who’s a “civil racketeer.”
“It’s like something out of ‘The Sopranos,’” he said.
Financially, Winton said he would streamline the back offices of Hennepin County and City Hall, and that when Baby Boomers retire, he wouldn’t fill their positions.