Midweek News & Notes: Local Election Crunch Time

Since even our most well-read readers have a hard time keeping up with local politics because there’s very little good consistent coverage that’s also actually informative, we feel we should update you with some of the important stories being shared around the SotC virtual water cooler, so that you’ve got a little background before the elections.

News: Just a few weeks after the MPLS Police Officers Union successfully spread a smear against incumbent Mayor Hodges, the St. Paul Police Union released their own smear against leading candidate Melvin Carter. 

Notes: Sheesh. It’s like The Wire, but less interesting. In the case of MPLS, the former head of the Police Officer’s Union Lt. John Delmonico, who Hodges called untrustworthy and racist, dropped a last min lawsuit because he didn’t get a promotion and pushed the story to reporters. Setting aside the fact that Delmonico is ground zero for the MPD culture of police brutality and resistance to accountability, he was also one of the police helping with the infamous “pointergate” story. Of course he’s not going to get promoted by Hodges! The lawsuit, however, which was framed as the Mayor jerking around police, garnered exposure in the local papers and television news, and was even picked up by the Associated Press and run in national outlets. Of course it did! Thankfully accountability and reform for the police is such a hot topic that the it may have become a badge of honor for Hodges. Note: This isn’t an endorsement of Hodges, it’s an example of what to expect going into the next week of local election coverage with a big grain of salt as you suss out information. For example . . . 

In a similar fashion, MPR picked up the smear from the STPL PD Union that criticized leading candidate Melvin Carter for not being more secure with guns in his home. The Union went on to say that the weapons further gun violence on the street. Sounds like a weird attack, right? Actually the guns belonged to Carter’s father who was actually a member of the STPL PD and Carter participated fully in the investigation and, no surprise, the SPD PD support mayoral candidate Pat Harris who wants to beef policing in St. Easy. On the one hand, it’s ridiculous that these easy smears get traction with local reporters. On the other, again, it may have an opposite effect—knowing that the people supposed to “serve and protect” are “endorsing and smearing” strengthens calls for police reform. But that’s not it for info leading into the elections . . . 

News: Downtown MPLS Businesses have partnered up with the Right-Wing Minnesota Jobs Coalition to form a PAC that’s flooding the local election with mailers and ads that support many of the incumbent City Council Members who make up Council Member Barb Johnson’s majority. 

Notes: This is super insane. The MN Jobs Coalition, who spent money to help give the state-wide GOP control of the House and Senate, have joined up with The Downtown Council, who are fearful of ordinances like the $15 minimum wage, plus developer Steve Minn, to create a political fund called Minneapolis Works. The fund’s goal: to oppose the incredible push of reform candidate in MPLS, challengers that include political progressives and POCs. Definitely read the Wedge Live breakdown of the funding, it’s nuts. Maybe the craziest part of the whole thing is it that they’re supporting candidate Tim Bildsoe, who previously ran as a Republican but is now running to replace Jacob Frey in Ward 3 as a Democrat. Or, wait, is it crazier that Stan Hubbard, who owns KSTP, is one of the major contributors and has made tens of thousands of dollars to the PAC? 

Speaking of crazy, and even the media influence on the election, the frequently clueless Star Tribune Editorial board is, starting today, releasing out their endorsements. And unfortunately so far it’s all aligned with the Minneapolis Works picks, even choosing Bildsoe over the DFL-endorsed Steve Fletcher (who was the founding director of the vitally important NOC) and Green Party Candidate and Veteran Samantha Pree-Stinson.  

Our best advice for who to vote for right now—without just endorsing candidates ourselves—is to ignore all ads and mailers, and start asking all your friends and neighbors three simple questions: Who are you voting for (and their ranks!), why are you voting for them, and what is your most important issue for MPLS + STPL? You’re going to get much more useful information for your own votes on November 7th.