1. Relevant Experience:
Member of the board of the Civilian Police Review Authority.
Volunteer with the Midtown Community Restorative Justice Program.
Forty years of political activism.
A leader in the fight against the Twins stadium tax.
17 years running my own business as an auto mechanic.
10 years mechanical engineering. My technical background will bring different experience to the City Council.
Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1972.
5. What issues do you think the city will be facing in the next 4 years?
It will be tough to balance the city’s budget without shifting the burden to the budgets of our residents, as we are now doing. We must keep city living affordable. We must adapt to new economic realities. The housing boom is gone. We can’t keep doing the same things that created our current difficulties. We need a new vision of an environment and an economy that is sustainable in the long run, not just profitable in the short term. We must encourage economic development that builds on our city’s natural advantages, just as our original economy was built on our proximity to agriculture and our abundant water power. We must preserve stable neighborhoods and keep people in their homes. We must improve our police service by making it more respectful, responsive, and accountable. All of this can only be done with a more open and responsive government, reversing the trend to consolidate power downtown.
6. Is city zoning adequate, or should it be altered? How would you see this affect retail, neighborhoods, business development, etc.?
I have found that most residents of Ward 9 like the current character of our neighborhoods. They live here because they like the residential feel, with primarily single family homes and duplexes, with yards, trees, and gardens. They are attracted to the convenience of city living, with a mix of businesses and services close by, scattered throughout their neighborhoods. While there is room for some change and improvement, we must be very careful that any change is beneficial to current residents and small businesses, rather than driving them out. Massive, blanket up-zoning, like that proposed along the Greenway, can be very destructive. Public input, and especially public approval, is critical before changes are made. We must also retain industrial zoning in appropriate areas to retain and create jobs and build a strong local economy. Many of our current small area plans need to be reviewed to make them compatible with current economic realities.
7. What are your ideas to increase city revenues and decrease city expenses?
There is no easy solution. Property taxes have already gone up more than many people can afford. No one I talk to is getting 8% pay raises each year. Our state government severely restricts the ways our city can raise money. The state has reneged on the Minnesota Miracle, which was based on the state returning to the cities more of the money which was raised from income and sales taxes. We must press the State Legislature for a more fair way to raise money. We should ask that our ½% city sales tax be available for purposes other than the Convention Center. We should remove the prohibition on municipal power in our city charter. Most importantly, we need to encourage rather than harass the small businesses that are so important to our local economy. To cut expenses, we should cut down on bureaucracy, and reduce the use of outside consultants. The police department budget must be reviewed to assure that we are concentrating on important priorities rather than such things as low level drug possession. We must reduce misconduct that results in large lawsuits.