Hennepin County Elections: Commissioners & Sheriff

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twincitizen
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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby twincitizen » February 3rd, 2014, 8:10 am

I think I'm going:
1. Ben Schweigert
2. Katie Hatt
3. Anne Mavity

I don't have anything against Marion Greene, she just didn't appeal to me. Ken Kelash is a non-factor.

I don't think there will be an endorsement at the convention, but I'm still going to try to be a delegate.

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Nick
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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby Nick » February 3rd, 2014, 8:47 am

Fortunately/unfortunately I'm in Chicago this week, but I think I probably would have caucused for Katie Hatt. All the candidates seem pretty equally qualified so far. I'd lean Katie because she grew up in Loring Park and was an Urban Studies student at the U. It's easy for anyone to be pro-rail, bikes, good land use, etc., but as we've seen with lots of issues, you don't just have to be pro-whatever, it helps to know the right way to implement said improvements. The streets.mn Voter Guides were pretty good and were less than 100% boilerplate gibberish:

https://streets.mn/category/2014-voter-guide/

But like I said, everyone's pretty similar. I'm sure there won't be an endorsement out of the convention unless people drop out.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby sad panda » February 3rd, 2014, 10:40 am

My list would be:
1. Anne Mavity (has the most actual experience with pertinent issues imho)
2. Ben Schweigert (just something about how he answered the questions at the candidate forum last week)
3. Marion Greene

I agree with twincitizen, Ken Kelash is a non-factor. I'm also trying to put my finger on just what Katie Hatt said that turned me off but I know I'll never vote for her.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby mattaudio » February 3rd, 2014, 10:44 am

If I lived in the district, it would be:

1. Ben Schweigert
2. Anne Mavity
3. Katie Hatt

Ben and Anne seem like policy-minded pragmatists who know how to get things done.
Katie and Marion seem like career candidates.
I realize that's totally unfair and simplistic, but it is the narrative that I've seen play out.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby David Greene » February 3rd, 2014, 11:51 am

I'm leaning Anne Mavity with Katie Hatt as a very close second. Everyone else is pretty far behind those two.

I was really impressed with Anne when we talked over the phone. Sad Panda is right-on about Anne having the most actual experience with issues and as a SLP councilmember she has voted for relocation in the past, which says something to me about her ability to analyze situations and make tough choices for the common good.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby MNdible » February 3rd, 2014, 12:00 pm

Not to be all parochial, but what percentage of this district is MPLS vs. the burbs? Eyeballing the map, it appears to be about 2/3 MPLS vs 1/3 burbs, based on land area, and if we assume that SW MPLS is at least somewhat denser than the outlying burbs, the population could be even more slanted.

I think Dorfman did a great job in this seat, but how important is it to have somebody from the city in that position? (Maybe not at all important.)

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby twincitizen » February 3rd, 2014, 12:11 pm

MNdible, I struggled with the same thing.

Based off the 2010 Census, each of the seven commissioner districts should have approximately 164632 people.

St. Louis Park had 45,250 people in 2010, leaving ~119382 in the Minneapolis portion of District 3, or 27.5% SLP and 72.5% MPLS.

The numbers alone would lead one to conclude that it should absolutely be someone from Minneapolis.

However, Anne Mavity is a Minneapolis native and lives one block from the municipal border...so there's that.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby David Greene » February 3rd, 2014, 12:21 pm

This quote from Ben at streets.mn concerns me:

"As we begin planning the Bottineau line and other infrastructure projects, I am committed to learning lessons from the Southwest planning process, applying them, and solving the challenges of the future to make sure that light rail continues to succeed in our region."

He seems not to realize that not only has the planning of Bottineau started, it is basically set in clay. It sounds like he may not be aware that the Bottineau team HAS ALREADY learned from Southwest and, more importantly, Central. Joe Gladke and his team have done a really good jobs of engaging with the community by partnering with NTN and other community groups. If Ben tries to come in and have everyone start over (for a third time), he's going to get a rude awakening.

For someone claiming to be an urban planning expert, it's concerning that he doesn't know what's actually happening with urban planning on one of the most important transportation projects in the county.

EDIT: I misspoke. Ben doesn't claim urban planning expertise (I got hung up on Freemark's endorsement). However, the point still stands about his lack of knowledge on Bottineau.
Last edited by David Greene on February 3rd, 2014, 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nick
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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby Nick » February 3rd, 2014, 12:23 pm

Isn't Anne Mavity's neighborhood in St. Louis Park closer to downtown than Ken Kelash's in Minneapolis? And maybe more urban?

Also, even though I'm vaguely pro-Katie Hatt, I think in theory I'm somewhat in agreement with Matt's comment about career politicians--I'm automatically wary of anyone who unsuccessfully runs for office and then turns around and runs for another, very different office shortly after that. We got two new Minneapolis councilmembers that way last year though, so it's not a dealbreaker for sure, it just turns me off a bit.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby twincitizen » February 3rd, 2014, 12:47 pm

I agree that careerists running for two very different offices in a short period of time leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Very different than, say, running for state house and losing, then trying again in 2 years. That's more ok in my book, as long as it doesn't turn into a decade(s) long obsession.

Good point about Jacob Frey and Blong Yang. Although Frey's race for State Senate seemed like an intentional trial run...I mean, he came in last in the primary, out of 5 or 6 candidates. Whereas Blong Yang was surprisingly competitive against Linda Higgins for Hennepin County Commissioner in 2012. To look at it another way, if Blong Yang hadn't run in 2012 and gotten his name out there in the community, I don't think he wins that city council seat in 2013. Strategery.

Ben Schweigert's Streets.MN podcast is up: https://streets.mn/2014/02/03/podcas ... chweigert/

Marion Greene's voter guide has been posted as well, now just waiting on Anne Mavity...

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby degersblogg » February 3rd, 2014, 8:14 pm

1) Anne Mavity
2) Ben Schweigert/Katie Hatt
3) Katie Hatt/Ben Schweigert

Did I decide fairly early on? Yes. I decided that this race was important enough that I needed to get involved early on. Sitting on the sidelines because there were too many good candidates just didn't cut it for me. I began exploring the candidates. I asked people whom I trust their thoughts on the candidates, before meeting with any candidates. I met with Anne for coffee, and we talked for two hours about policy, both related and unrelated to Hennepin County. I left extremely impressed.

Although all of the candidates have the same position on SW, which is that we need to move forward, Anne was the most critical of the process that occurred. She didn't try to defend the process or tell me that it was genuine. What she did say is that she believes that we need to have transparency into the decision making process, meaning that feasibility studies shouldn't be to validate a pre-determined alignment and open houses shouldn't be to simply placate the public.

Besides SWLRT, Mavity has the experience on the SLP City Council implementing a complete streets policy, including fighting with city engineers to get to catch up to where the policy is and change their thinking, as well as organics recycling. Her years of work with affordable housing and ending homelessness has her standing clear ahead of the other candidates. Housing and social services is a very important part of what the County does, even though most of us on this forum care much more about transportation functions of the County. Finally, what her strongest selling point (for me) is that I feel she will be very effective and can stand up to Peter McLaughlin and Mike Opat. She isn't afraid of a fight and once she has made up her mind, others can't intimidate her into backing down.

I like Ben Schweigert a lot. He is passionate, dedicated, and his policy goals align up with mine. However, my main concern with Ben is his lack of experience compared to the other candidates. I also really like Katie, and she has plenty of policy experience. However, I observe Katie's personality and I question how she will interact with the other commissioners. I have a feeling her voice is going to get drowned out by the others and she won't be able to stand up to McLaughlin, who is her former boss.

Anyways. That is my thought process behind the race. I'm sure there are things that I am leaving out. I am in the process of writing a post for my blog that will go into more detail behind my decision. My goal is to not sell one candidate or another, but to explain my own decision making process with the hope that it will help others to make a decision.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby twincitizen » February 3rd, 2014, 9:04 pm

I also really like Katie, and she has plenty of policy experience. However, I observe Katie's personality and I question how she will interact with the other commissioners. I have a feeling her voice is going to get drowned out by the others and she won't be able to stand up to McLaughlin, who is her former boss.
I definitely share that sentiment, but there's still a lot to like about her. The Hennepin County Board has some strong personalities (McLaughlin and Opat for sure. Whomever replaces Jeff Johnson is sure to be a treat.)

Can you answer this: Which seats on the Hennepin board are up for re-election this year? It's seemingly impossible to find this information online. In 2012, following redistricting, some seats were up for 2-year terms because the boundaries shifted enough beyond some threshold and triggered an election, some for the usual 4-years because the terms were up in 2012 anyways, and some seats were not up at all.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby degersblogg » February 3rd, 2014, 10:01 pm


Can you answer this: Which seats on the Hennepin board are up for re-election this year? It's seemingly impossible to find this information online. In 2012, following redistricting, some seats were up for 2-year terms because the boundaries shifted enough beyond some threshold and triggered an election, some for the usual 4-years because the terms were up in 2012 anyways, and some seats were not up at all.
1-4 are up this November. 5-7 in 2016.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby woofner » February 4th, 2014, 1:09 pm

Although all of the candidates have the same position on SW, which is that we need to move forward, Anne was the most critical of the process that occurred.
I thought Mavity was the only one who has ruled out a freight re-route through SLP (in the SW Journal candidate guide). That takes her down a notch in my book, although certainly others will have different opinions about that. Have other candidates also stated they will not support any freight re-route through SLP?

Also, which other candidates have you gotten coffee with for two hours? Don't you think all that face time influences your preference to some degree?
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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby degersblogg » February 4th, 2014, 1:45 pm

If you read the other candidates responses you'll see that they have also ruled out what was the proposal for the SLP freight reroute, although not as explicitly. Now that the freight reroute study has come out and there is another option on the table, the candidates opinions might change.

Anne Mavity was the sole yes vote on the SLP City Council to consent to a freight reroute through SLP. (This was during the AA process, pre 20ft berms, etc.) Her position was that it was beneficial to get freight rail out of the LRT station areas. I think the vote took guts, from which she is still paying the political price in SLP, and it demonstrates that she is capable of making tough decisions for the greater good.

I also spent a good deal of time talking with both Katie and Ben at various events at which we were both at. So it's not as if I met with one candidate and ignored the others. I really like Katie and Ben, but after interacting with all three I am still most impressed with Anne.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby David Greene » February 5th, 2014, 11:17 am

Although all of the candidates have the same position on SW, which is that we need to move forward, Anne was the most critical of the process that occurred.
I thought Mavity was the only one who has ruled out a freight re-route through SLP (in the SW Journal candidate guide).
From the article:

"While I initially voted to re-route freight trains through St. Louis Park, I have been open-minded in reviewing all the options for dealing with freight. Data and research by the Met Council has demonstrated to me that these proposed re-routes are not viable options, either because of the grades and curves or the considerable costs and community impacts."

So initially she voted for a re-route (presumably against her constituents' wishes) but after seeing the plans (huge berm, etc.) she changed her mind. That is entirely reasonable. The Brunswick alignments are totally different from the initial idea of using the existing MN&S tracks. They are terrible options.

She's remaining open-minded as she should.

Really, the county probably doesn't have much say-so on SWLRT at this point beyond the CMC (and my guess is she won't get to serve there) so I'm looking at what a candidate can do to improve things going forward. We still have major transit work to do: Bottineau, the various enhanced bus/aBRT lines, bus realignment, amenity improvements and so on. Then we have lots of roads projects and we know that there are major decisions in Minneapolis to be made with respect to county roads.

I agree with degersblogg that Anne probably has some unique experience in forging a better community engagement process in the future. These problems aren't new. I've seen them on pretty much every major transportation project we've had going since I moved back to the area (and probably before that, but I was too young to know). There are plenty of experienced organizations that would welcome a serious conversation and action to fix the public engagement process.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby woofner » February 5th, 2014, 11:59 am

She's remaining open-minded as she should.
How does your mind change "these proposed re-routes are not viable options" into "I'm remaining open-minded about these proposed re-routes"? Why would Mavity consider the TranSystem alternative, which has more grades, sharper curves, higher cost, and at least as much community impact as the DEIS alternatives,viable?
If you read the other candidates responses you'll see that they have also ruled out what was the proposal for the SLP freight reroute, although not as explicitly.
I do not detect even implicit rejection of an SLP re-route. Can you direct me to a statement you interpret to be such an implicit rejection? Katie Hatt actually explicitly states that "the best plan for the Southwest line would reroute freight rail off of the Kenilworth corridor", although her next sentence seems to reject the DEIS alternatives. I'd say Schweigert's statement that "I’m also glad that alternative freight routes are being studied. When the Met Council meets to look at these studies, I have every expectation that they will take seriously the results of these studies and make an informed decision about how to proceed." could be interpreted as an implicit acceptance of the possibility of re-route.

Again, I don't disagree with the rest of your analysis and I accept and agree that there's a possibility that candidates' opinions will change, but it seems inaccurate to state that "all of the candidates have the same position on SW". Frankly, if you consider one of the options a deal-breaker, your position is not that "we need to move forward", no matter how much you insist it is.
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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby David Greene » February 5th, 2014, 12:13 pm

She's remaining open-minded as she should.
How does your mind change "these proposed re-routes are not viable options" into "I'm remaining open-minded about these proposed re-routes"? Why would Mavity consider the TranSystem alternative, which has more grades, sharper curves, higher cost, and at least as much community impact as the DEIS alternatives,viable?
I'm not convinced it has the same community impact at all. There's a huge difference between the berms in the Brunswick plans and the TranSystem concept. The TranSystem concept also avoids building a lot of new track where none currently exists. There is some but it is all west of the high school.

As for your first question, she's remaining open-minded about a SLP reroute assuming the (at the time) yet-to-arrive new options are reasonable. The Brunswick options were in no way reasonable and she was right to reject them.

I think focusing on SWLRT for this race is a red herring. The county isn't going to have much say on the design of that project. I'm looking for open-mindedness, the ability to make tough decisions for the common good and a desire to improve community input. Anne has all three and has stated them explicitly. The others haven't.

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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby woofner » February 5th, 2014, 12:42 pm

Do you think that the typical Safety in the Park member will react differently from hizzoner?
St. Louis Park Mayor Jeff Jacobs responds the following statement:

"... [the royal?] we were extremely discouraged, disappointed, and quite frankly shocked that at the 11th hour a so-called viable freight rail reroute through St. Louis Park has now been identified by the consultant.

Based upon the overview we received, it appears the reroute plan identified by the consultant is just another version of previous alternatives that have been identified and studied over the years. We are skeptical that this last-minute process designed to appease political considerations could possibly yield such dramatic differences from the months, if not years, of previous study.

There are many potential negative impacts that have not been thoroughly addressed that include, but are not limited to noise, vibration, odors, traffic congestion and safety, school use and safety, park use and safety; potentially diminished property values; and, circulation/access in the community by vehicle, pedestrian, transit and bicycle. We're not sure how a study completed within just weeks could come anywhere close to resolving these questions that months and years of previous studies could not. We are confident that after the consultants work has been thoroughly reviewed it will once again be found that the reroute concept identified is unworkable as well.
Have you guys seen any of Adam Curtis' The League of Gentlemen from his Pandora's Box series? It's really enlightening when considering various politicians' responses to the SWLRT situation. I agree that SWLRT shouldn't be a huge factor in this race, but it's hard to imagine it not being one, and anyway it's interesting, isn't it?
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Re: Hennepin County Commissioner - 3rd District

Postby David Greene » February 5th, 2014, 12:48 pm

Do you think that the typical Safety in the Park member will react differently from hizzoner?
So...even the consultant said the study was a concept and needed to be fleshed out. Everyone understands that. It's not like the CMC is going to go vote on this tomorrow. Traffic studies have to be done, property acquisition needs to be studied and details have to be looked at.

I would not at all be surprised if the option turns out to be unworkable. On the other hand, it might work. It's worth investigating, no? I understand you aren't making the argument.

Yes, people will certainly take SWLRT into account for this race. All I'm saying is that's an unfortunate and unhelpful way to view the race. But the world ain't perfect.


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