From the time ranked-choice voting (RCV) was first proposed, I have been a supporter of its use in Minneapolis. I think that the benefits outlined by its supporters are generally correct: greater chances that winners will have a majority-vote mandate; more-civil campaigns as candidates vie for second- and third-choice votes, etc. This year’s elections have brought home to me the fact that whatever the benefits of RCV, it puts more responsibility on individual voters to research and understand the positions and capabilities of the candidates. For example, I have a favorite candidate for mayor, who I think will bring positive change to the city. However, my remaining choices are all about damage control. Would I prefer a candidate who has proved herself to be completely ineffective? Ineffectiveness is definitely better than negative effects. There are a couple of minor candidates whom I find attractive, but my vote for them would not affect the outcome. Realistically, I must choose among the leading candidates. Such is the reality and the responsibility that RCV bestows on us, as responsible Minneapolis voters.
Jeffrey Loesch, Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR’S RACE
First-choice support for Hodges, Levy-Pounds, Hoch
Regarding the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s mayoral endorsement (“Jacob Frey for mayor,” Oct. 29): Minneapolis and our nation are facing challenging times, and we must have proven leadership to help move the city forward. We need a mayor with maturity, experience, and appreciation and respect for cultural differences. We must have a mayor who listens to community and takes action at City Hall. Mayor Betsy Hodges has shown herself to be a true leader through listening to the community and having the courage to support and select Police Chief Medaria Arradondo in this time of confusion and historical teaching. She is guiding our city toward having a 21st-century police force, and I am confident that with Chief Arradondo at the helm and with Betsy in the mayor’s office, our city will be a shining example for the rest of the nation.
Through her “Cradle to K” program, Mayor Hodges is working hard to improve health, child care and housing for our children. Equity has been at the center of Betsy’s work since day one, and with a second term, I know she will move Minneapolis forward.
She encapsulates all of the qualities of a strong, proven, tested leader. Minneapolis not only needs Betsy, we are better off because of her time as mayor. We’ve seen equity in her budgets and policies, and we know that when she says she’s going to do something, she gets it done despite outside forces.
I strongly support Betsy Hodges as my first choice for mayor and encourage readers to do the same.
Josie Johnson, Minneapolis
The writer is a civil-rights advocate and former member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
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Tom Hoch has my first choice for the next mayor of Minneapolis. While I appreciate the Editorial Board’s endorsement of Hoch as a second choice, I believe you gave short shrift to his life work and qualifications. Throughout his life, Tom Hoch has sought to include all the people of Minneapolis in the opportunity offered by our city. As a Minneapolis public grade school teacher, public housing administrator and leader of the historic theater trust, he has been a servant leader who has worked hard to make our city better for all its people. Hoch has put his beliefs into action by educating our children, building and improving affordable housing and creating jobs for thousand. I’ve seen him bring people together from across our city’s communities and interests to achieve shared goals. Isn’t it a better choice to elect a mayor who has demonstrated who he is and what he will do based on a lifetime of work for our city and its people? Let’s put Tom Hoch to work for all of us as our mayor.
Kathleen O’Brien, Minneapolis
The writer was a member of the Minneapolis City Council from 1982 to 1989 and was Minneapolis city coordinator from 1994 to 2002.
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“Minneapolis is by no means a city in distress,” as the endorsement editorial begins, if you, like me, are white and affluent. And city problems fester unless, of course, you happen to be talking about systemic problems plaguing our city like African-American median household income, unemployment, lack of homeownership and education.
In response to the Editorial Board’s endorsements, if you are white and affluent, candidates like Frey and Hoch are the comfortable choices. But if you, like me, cannot accept that in August Minnesota was ranked the second-worst state for blacks, you’ll need to dig deeper. Listen to Nekima Levy-Pounds, an attorney, academician, minister, community leader and activist who was in line to chair the Minneapolis Foundation board of directors until she stepped down to run for mayor. Yes, she makes some people feel uncomfortable, but that’s what it takes to move past “festering” problems. She has my vote. #Thetimeisnow
Laura Hamilton, Minneapolis
Commentary mischaracterized the aim of Minneapolis Works
Minneapolis legislators obviously have a bone to pick with a statewide organization, the Minnesota Jobs Coalition (“Beware the crush of far-right money in local races,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 30). In so doing, however, they mischaracterized the nature of a new local election committee, Minneapolis Works. Minneapolis Works is grounded in our city. It has attracted support from a diverse group of individuals and organizations of varying political leanings who have in common a goal that the City Council remain committed to partnerships to move Minneapolis forward.
It’s ironic that each of the seven individuals Minneapolis Works is supporting are DFL candidates, as are the legislators who recently wrote to the Star Tribune. Many of these legislators support City Council candidates also backed by Minneapolis Works.
It is true that Minneapolis Works is not supporting a number of candidates whose positions on key issues are out of step with more mainstream views. If that is the root cause of the criticism offered by the legislators, then we simply disagree on what’s best for the city in this very consequential election cycle.
Steve Cramer, president and CEO, Minneapolis Downtown Council
MINNEAPOLIS FIRST WARD
Letter from council predecessor was unfair to current member
Inaccurate charges in the last days before an election are the lowest blows in politics, which is why I was so disappointed to read the false charge former Minneapolis City Council member Paul Ostrow leveled against his successor, First Ward Council Member Kevin Reich.
Ostrow’s Oct. 23 letter criticized Reich for not using a portion of the sales tax being used to support the city’s convention center, Target Center renovation, football stadium and adjacent park to support arts organizations. Ostrow, a lawyer, should have made it clear this would have been illegal. As much as those of us who worked on this would have liked to support arts groups, the bill passed by the Legislature specifically prevented the city from using this sales tax to support organizations, arts or otherwise.
Ostrow’s unfair, inaccurate charge against Reich also failed to mention that because of Reich’s farsightedness, that sales tax has spurred at least $1 billion in new development on the east side of downtown, which netted the city $3.5 million in its first year and $11.5 million more for the county, our schools and other jurisdictions. This money can be used for arts organizations, police, fire or other uses the city chooses, and it will grow each year as more development comes into the area, including the newly announced Thrivent headquarters.
The real fact is Reich and Ostrow both used their position at City Hall to help nurture Northeast’s growing arts community, and it is deeply wrong for Ostrow to use inaccurate last-minute attacks to tarnish Reich’s significant contributions to the First Ward and the whole city of Minneapolis.
R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis
The writer was mayor of Minneapolis from 2002 to 2014.
An Oct. 28 letter about south Minneapolis water issues misidentified the date of a meeting at Lake Nokomis Park (it occurred in September) and the name of a Minneapolis City Council member who attended a hearing at the State Capitol (it was Andrew Johnson of the 12th Ward).