Nate “Honey Badger” Atkins
(did not provide a photo)
Paul E. Johnson
Equity in Motion
Socialist Workers Party
For the People
The Northeaster recently sent questionnaires to all 17 candidates for Minneapolis mayor, to give our readers a chance to get to know them and where they stand on issues before the Nov. 2 election. Not all responded. Those who did are presented here, including Nate “Honey Badger” Atkins, AJ Awed, Clint Conner, Christopher David, Jacob Frey (incumbent), Paul E. Johnson, Kate Knuth, Doug Nelson, Sheila Nezhad and Jerrell Perry. Some answers in the print version were edited to fit the space. Here are their complete responses.
- Why do you want to run for mayor of Minneapolis?
Atkins: I’m running because I believe our city is being led astray. It started years ago but it’s gotten worse in the past 10 months. You see, in the wake of the death of George Floyd a much needed “pulling back of the curtain” happened. For once, people were focused and united on issues like qualified immunity, ending no-knock warrants, and real, true police reform. They were able to see behind the curtain at what was really, truly happening that caused and drove the abuse by the police. But in the following weeks and months of Floyd’s death people became divided and lost focus of what is truly needed for police reform. It left me tired. It left me exhausted. Watching the city I love and the city I live in devolve into chaos, looting, and violence with seemingly no hope in sight left me beaten down and, quite frankly, feeling like I shouldn’t give a sh!t. But this is the city I love. I love the arts in this city. I love the murals I see as I drive down Lyndale on my way into work each morning. I love the food. I love the restaurants (I’m a huge foodie). I love the food at Colita and Young Joni. I love the Grain Belt sign. I loved the sign at Minnehaha Liquors. I love Sea Salt and Minnehaha Falls. I love the culture. I love how many different people there are here. I love the lakes. I love my daily jogs along Minnehaha Creek. I love the architecture. I love the energy that this city gives off (even if it includes the damn airport noise that wakes me up at 5 a.m.). This city is different. It’s not like other cities and that’s good. This city IS good – even if it’s lost its way.
Awed: I am running for mayor because for too long we have been given broken promises by a leadership that has failed to uphold their campaign platforms, failed to provide safety, and failed to hold themselves accountable. I want to be the mayor who leads, who brings the city and our communities together. Our city needs a strong mayor who will lead us forward and bring us the change we have been looking for. We were promised a “Fresh Start” in 2017 – and I believe we cannot move forward and have a new start when failed leadership remains in our Mayor’s office. We all know our government must do better – and there is a long way to go. And that is where my experience and skills as a professional mediator will help us in this important moment in Civil Rights and Public Safety in Minneapolis. Minneapolis at this moment needs a mediator. Someone who will speak to all communities – whether they agree with them or disagree with them. We need someone who is sensible but not afraid to challenge the other side- and welcomes it, not run away from it. And the next Mayor – with the likely success of the “Question 1 Charter Amendment” for a “Strong Mayor” – needs to be someone who firmly values talking and getting to the root causes, facilitating resolutions, and ultimately bringing the other side to the table so we can do the people’s work. The division and rancor in our City Government must end. I’ll be the mayor that the other candidates simply cannot be.
Conner: I am running for Mayor of Minneapolis because I love this city and am striving to help it live up to its potential. Minneapolis should be leading on the global stage, yet the city is spiraling as the world is watching. If I am elected, we will rediscover our city’s potential together. Eight years ago, I convinced my Southern California-raised wife to move to Minneapolis and raise our three kids here. I want Minneapolis to be a place that they will want to call home. I left my partnership at a distinguished law firm downtown to fully commit myself to this race and lead Minneapolis to a new day. I am a champion at getting things done, and I excel at leading teams in high-pressure environments. I led a team of senior engineers on a cutting-edge, multi-million-dollar project at the company that invented the transistor. I then went to law school and, for the last 17 years, have handled high-profile national and international patent lawsuits that had millions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake. I have never lost a patent case and, in some cases, have led teams to overcome extremely long odds to win. I fight for the most vulnerable among us. I have helped many low-income tenants and homeowners on issues relating to eviction, discrimination, and affordable housing. My work has been recognized by the Minnesota Supreme Court, the city of Minneapolis, Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN Volunteer of the Year), and my law firm (Scales of Justice award). In 2017, I gave powerful testimony at the Minnesota House to stop GOP-proposed bills that would have drastically increased penalties for peaceful Minneapolis protesters. And I led large-scale Election Protection efforts over the last two national elections.
David: While I realize I am very unlikely to win, I filed for office to attain the legal right to door knock my neighbors, and discuss public policy with them.
Frey: We had two years of unprecedented progress, and now a period of unprecedented challenges. And through our toughest times, we told the truth. We led with principle, and we charted an honest and progressive path forward for Minneapolis. All of the most difficult issues in society get passed to mayors, oftentimes without the resources or authority to handle them. Consequently, good mayors across the country are deciding to quit or not to run again. And while the decision to run was a much longer conversation with Sarah, we feel a deep seated responsibility to the city. Minneapolis needs steady, honest, and experienced leadership.
Johnson: I am running for mayor because of the lack of any substantive changes with the current leadership in Minneapolis. I personally experienced the failings of this leadership when
Travis Jordan, my friend, was murdered on my lawn on November 9, 2018 during a wellness check. I am a Northside resident and small business owner and will bring those experiences to City Hall. I am from the people of Minneapolis and for the people of Minneapolis.
Knuth: I am running for mayor because I love Minneapolis, and I have the skill, relationships and experience to serve effectively in this moment in our city. I have the commitment to making a city that works better for everyone, and a track record of working within large, public bureaucracies to make them work better for the times we are in.
Nelson: Socialist Workers Party candidates run for office to act as tribunes of the people, to help build solidarity with workers’ strikes and others struggles and talk about the need for workers to take political power.
Nezhad: I am a mixed race queer femme who has worked as a policy analyst and community organizer in Minneapolis for over a decade. My motto is “From the streets to the spreadsheets.” I’m running because Minneapolis needs a mayor who is connected to what’s happening on the ground, is accountable to the people, and has the policy knowledge to make smart changes.
Perry: I want to run for office because our City sits at its most pivotal point in its over 170-year history. We are not in a situation that can be solved with simply political experience or a fancy pedigree. With what we are facing, or is going to take someone who has lived experiences, someone that God has brought through many of the situations and circumstances families across our city are facing. Child abuse, including molestation and sex trafficking with drug use leading to addiction, lack of access to quality education, lack of youth engagement and enrichment opportunities, being without shelter, lack of opportunity for good living wage job, lack of opportunity for home or business ownership, violence committed by individuals with fire arms, I’ve lost 2 brothers, 2 Brother In laws, 2 best friends, and a Cousin right here in North Minneapolis. I have been robbed at gun point twice, car jacked, I’ve experienced Violence committed by the Police, I’ve been maced, tased, beaten Unconsciousness as a passenger in a car simply for not hanging up the phone fast enough, falsely arrested , I’ve been racially profiled by police and neighbors, I’ve dealt with domestic abuse almost causing me to want to end my Marriage but God brought me through ALL of it and has given me the ability to be touched by the infirmities of others and he’ll do the same for anyone else that wants better than what they have now and even more. We used to use the lack of money as a reason not to address everything head on all at once and really help make a difference in people’s lives. We received $135 million last May and are set to receive another $135 million this coming May and that is in ADDITION to our regular City budget. We can make investments in education, youth, family, and community outreach, housing and home ownership, small business reconciliation and ownership, public safety, public health and environmental protections like renewable energy in the form of Hydrogen power that emits zero carbon emissions to get us to our city’s goals. God has blessed us with a unique opportunity to do something in our City that we have never done before and that will make the lives of every Minneapolitan better making Minneapolis a place where we can all thrive as we live, work and play in the city that we love. In the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “We need leaders who are not interested in the love of money but the love of justice, not the love a publicity, but the love of HUMANITY! Our lives and our livelihoods depend on it, the lives and livelihoods of our children depend on it. The very future of our City depends on your vote this November 2. We are asking the people of Minneapolis to walk on this journey with us as we knew together to lead our City forward.
- Please provide a list of specific actions you would propose/initiate to reform the Minneapolis Police Department and lessen violence in NE and other parts of the city.
Atkins: 1. Require police to carry professional liability insurance as a condition of employment. 2. End qualified immunity. 3. End the 1033 program which encourages and enables the militarization of the police. Hire more “beat” cops, decriminalize drug possession, redirect police resources to addressing property and violent crime.
Awed: I believe in providing public safety for all citizens. A system that ensures everyone feels safe, comfortable, and protected. If elected I hope to bring about systematic changes that will transform the current structure of policing in Minneapolis that ensures my vision for public safety. I believe in establishing a Citizens Assembly to bring the people of Minneapolis together to recommend a new model of public safety and have their voices heard. In order to create change where everyone can feel comfortable, we need a transparent and open process, not one decided by the elite behind closed doors.
Conner: Immediately reset the narrative and use media outreach, as well as financial incentives, to persuade our good police stay with us, and do what it takes to make policing an attractive career path to the critical thinking, diversity-minded kids and young adults we want on our team.
- Aggressively investigate racial problems within the police department and fix what is broken.
- Instill a service-first mentality and apply it throughout operations.
- Build an unprecedented level of community-centered programs, relationships, and trust in the community.
- Monitor police activity closely and take corrective action promptly.
- Remove problem officers from any training authority.
- Bolster new candidate evaluations and pre-screenings to identify and disqualify unsuitable candidates before we invest in their training.
- Build right-sized teams of mental health professionals and social workers to deal with mental health and domestic issues.
- You can find further information about specific actions here: Clint Conner for Mayor, his Vision for Safe Streets — (clintconner2021.com).
Immediately change the narrative and recruit and retain good police officers, build an unprecedented level of community-centered programs, and make it worthy of public trust.
David: The Minneapolis police union has consistently opposed meaningful reforms. Therefore, we must refuse to negotiate on work rules and only include monetary compensation terms in the contract. Balance need for public safety with distrust for police by hiring 2,000 unarmed security specialists to provide a visible but non-life-threatening patrol presence.
Frey: Policy reform – we have authored a litany of changes including implementing strict standards for body camera compliance (raising it from 55% to 95%), banning warrior-style training, banning no-knock warrant execution for all but exigent circumstances, overhauling the use of force policy to be as strict as possible under state law, and many others.
Culture shift – We need to get the wrong officers out through enhanced discipline and an early intervention system AND bring the right officers in by hiring diverse, community-oriented officer classes. While we have authored extensive changes to further incentivize residency (state laws bars us from mandating) and connection to our city to get the right officers in, we are significantly impeded from getting the wrong officers out. Right now, when the Chief or I fire/discipline an officer, that decision is overturned 50% of the time by mandatory arbitration required under state law. We are pushing state lawmakers to change this requirement.
Safety Beyond Policing – Not every 911 call requires response from an officer with a gun. We need to continue increasing our investment in mental health responders, social workers, and other forms of alternative response. My administration has invested record amounts in the Office of Violence Prevention, and we will continue to do so if I am re-elected. Contrary to what some candidates will tell you, we do not need to pass a charter amendment to invest in safety beyond policing.
We must adequately staff our police department AND provide alternatives to policing. Whereas other candidates have supported defunding the police, I have consistently opposed it.
Johnson: I will implement a policy similar to the Use of Force Policy used in Camden, NJ. Camden has seen a 95% drop in use of force complaints since implementing this policy. I will implement other policy changes that we have seen across the state and the country since George Floyd. I will actively support legislation at the state and federal level to change policing. We know that violence goes down as people have the resources they need. I will ensure that the community has all of the resources they need because that will decrease violence.
Knuth: I’ve heard the desire for concrete plans, which is why I connected with dozens of community and policy leaders to develop my holistic approach, which includes significant investment in economic security, violence prevention, communities, and young people. You can read more at Kateformpls.org/public safety. I am running for Minneapolis Mayor to lead and serve my community in such a trying time and have no plans to run for other positions in the future.
Nelson: Charge, prosecute police who brutalize. “Defunding” police would mean more violent crime in working-class neighborhoods. Workers will awaken to our worth through solidarity and struggle.
Nezhad: When I was board president of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association, I saw that crime happens when people don’t have their basic needs met through our social systems. As a policy organizer, I have already helped the city establish the Office of Violence Prevention, and mobile mental health response teams. As mayor, I will invest more in public safety than any other mayoral candidate.
- Support the new Office of Public Safety
- Fully fund 311 resident assistance including support on: traffic & parking, property
- Extra responsiveness to damage complaints, and connection to city services like housing and labor protections
- Work to fund education, healthcare, and services for seniors, with funding from policing, prisons, and jails
- Make sure everyone has their basic needs met
We’re only safe when everyone feels safe, and that’s why I will push for a census-style community engagement program to craft additional services for safety that are rooted in racial justice. I will invest the most in safety. We need to address root economic, social and racial justice issues and fund alternatives to policing.
Perry: Renegotiate contract – Authorize deadly force to be used only when responding to deadly force – Mandate body cameras be at 100% compliance to offer transparency in order to rebuild trust within communities and give clear guidance for discipline when will policies are broken. Order recordings to be released immediately at the request of a Minneapolis Tax Payer. Prohibit Officers from touching residents unless they under arrest with evidence of a crime and have been read their rights. Provide additional responses to stop overworking officers. Youth/family/community resources and engagement. Offer a $1 million reward for [turning in] homicide [suspects]. Jobs, education, food, housing, healthcare including mental health care. Law enforcement
- How long do you intend to remain in public office? Not just in the current position you are running for, but for future runs for other positions as well?
Atkins: My intention would be to serve two terms as mayor of Minneapolis. After that I have no intention of remaining in any public office.
Awed: I plan to run for two terms as mayor, and I would discuss any further runs with my wife and family.
Conner: I intend to remain in the Mayoral office as long as I think I am the best candidate to lead the city and Minneapolitans agree.
David: I see it as extremely unlikely that I either win this election or ever serve over a decade in any office in my lifetime.
Frey: My plans are simple: to lead Minneapolis as Mayor. I have no plans beyond that.
Johnson: I never had goals of being a politician. I am running because current leadership is failing us. I do not expect to remain in office for more than two terms.
Knuth: I am running for Minneapolis Mayor to lead and serve my community in such a trying time and have no plans to run for other positions in the future.
Nelson: The decisive question is never who is in office, but the expanding unity, education and independent organization of working people to fight for their interests.
Nezhad: I would not want to serve more than two terms as mayor, and am not interested in any other political seats at this time.
Perry: I intend to stay in public office as long as the people of Minneapolis want me to remain in office.
- How do you manage the negative comments and replies when you post on your social media accounts?
Atkins: If the comment is constructive and not of the trolling variety I try and respond to them. If they are of the more negative/trolling variety I ignore them – I have more important things to do that deal with that kind of crap.
Awed: I encourage community discussion and do not turn down the opportunity to engage with commenters. Hateful and violent comments will be reported and not tolerated. But negativity is just a part of public service. I address as best as I can in the most polite way possible and hope they take that politeness and transparency into account.
Conner: I generally do not engage with unreasonably negative commenters, but I try to engage if I see potential for healthy debate.
David: I stopped actively using social media over a year ago and the cesspool of comments is part of why.
Frey: As many readers know, we deal with quite a bit of social media shaming and hate. Unfortunately, it’s extended past social media in the past year, and I’ve had anti-Semitic, fascist, and anarchist threats made directly to me, at our family’s home. I’ve been able to keep a cool head throughout most of these exchanges, and I still believe that the vast majority of our residents are reasonable people who want to move Minneapolis in the right direction. I will continue to chart an honest path regardless of the hate lobbed at me.
Johnson: I expect negative replies and do not let them phase me. Depending on the nature of the comment, I may reply or I may not. If the comment may be better handled with a conversation, I will offer that to the commenter.
Knuth: If it contains feedback/concern I can act on, I respond and pass it to my team for their awareness and help. I choose not to respond to negative comments.
Nelson: [No response.]
Nezhad: Being in public office means being able to take in criticisms and making space for people to speak their mind. We allow these comments on our social media whether they’re positive or negative because they allow us to know what people need.
Perry: I try to listen to everyone with an understanding that we all have different perspectives and someone doesn’t necessarily always have to be right or wrong.
- Define “affordable housing.”
Atkins: Affordable housing is housing that is made available and accessible to those who can access it via a freed market.
Awed: Affordable housing means housing for all regardless of circumstance and background. I believe everyone in Minneapolis deserves a space to call “home.” Let’s do more!
Conner: Housing that a household can pay for, while also having money for other necessities, like food, transportation, and health care, and for saving for stability.
David: Affordable housing consists of homes that can be obtained for attainable costs. Humane housing is affordable and owned by its occupant. We must provide incentives, including direct monetary support, to facilitate Minneapolis becoming a primarily homeowner city, so residents are invested in their communities, and care for their neighbors and properties while building generational wealth.
Frey: Technical definitions differ, but my benchmark is ≤30% of area median income. Producing/preserving housing at this level helps people experiencing homelessness transition to stable housing.
Johnson: What determines affordability needs to be individualized, as each families’ circumstances are different. It cannot be based solely on income.
Knuth: I define it as housing that fits in the budget of our working-class neighbors and ensures someone does not pay over 30% of their average monthly income in rent.
Nelson: Affordable housing for workers is incompatible with landlords’ profits. In Cuba, rent was capped at 10% of income after the 1959 revolution established workers’ power.
Nezhad: Affordable housing should mean that nobody pays more than 30% of their income towards safe, stable housing.
- Are property tax increases inevitable?
Atkins: Not if we cut spending accordingly.
Awed: For property taxes, I would continue – especially during this time – maintaining single-digit property tax increases for owner-occupied homes, apartments, and commercial buildings. In the future and to address the affordable housing crisis, I would like to see the city obtain the taxing authority to implement a sales tax on “luxury apartment” rents. This might be a 2 percent tax on monthly rent (like we see in Arizona). If we are to ensure every resident or visitor is housed properly in our city, and new revenue authority and options must be pursued to expand the budget to tackle the growing challenges our city is facing.
Conner: This should be last resort. We should look to cutting expenses, seeking funding help at higher government levels, and finding creative ways to finance initiatives.
David: Taxes will increase no matter who is elected and are likely to double this decade. We must use taxes to make it economically untenable to be a landlord so almost all apartments are made into condominiums, and to END the rental of single-family houses, allowing stable communities and for people of color to finally own their neighborhoods.
Frey: It’s a reality, just as the inflation rate is a reality. However, we’ve gone to great lengths to try to mitigate a property tax hike in a year when it could have been astronomical. Our other sources of revenue: sales and entertainment tax, parking fees, etc. have largely dried up during COVID, so the burden from property tax to fill our budget was greatly increased. We used federal aid to help replenish city deficits that could have spiraled out of control, and are seeing only a modest increase in property taxes as a result of our strategic budgeting.
Johnson: Yes. However, I plan to increase taxes for landlords who own multiple properties and not to minimize tax increases on families.
Knuth: Taxes are an investment we make in our shared life. We also need to be cognizant of the tradeoff of taxes getting too high for businesses and property owners on fixed incomes.
Nelson: [No response.]
Nezhad: No! We have the money in our budget to fund necessary city services, we just are not using it wisely. Currently one-third of the City of Minneapolis budget goes to our ineffective policing. I will reallocate some of these funds to other more effective services for the city instead of year after year raising property taxes.
Perry: We will double the property tax rate and cut it in half for owner-occupied units to help pay for our affordable housing and affordable home ownership programs.
- What would you say to developers who propose luxury condominiums that would displace existing low-density housing?
Atkins: Go back to your cronies at the Federal Reserve banking system because your money is no good here.
Awed: I will advocate and seek the power for the city to tax luxury apartments and vacant storefront properties. I believe in finding creative ways for taxing and asking our neighborhoods who can afford to pitch in, to pitch in and help the city rebuild.
Conner: We need affordable housing. I would require binding promises to provide a substantial number of truly affordable units for those who need it most.
David: [No response.]
Frey: While it’s politically expedient to say “no way” that response violates the law. We have to care for our neighborhoods and prevent displacement while accounting for the unique circumstances of each proposal.
Johnson: Minneapolis doesn’t need more luxury condominiums or other expensive rentals. Only 47% of residences in Minneapolis are owner-occupied. I intend to increase that.
Knuth: Development should not lead to displacement. We must ensure that new commercial and residential buildings do not price out residents, are energy-efficient, and make sure every resident has access to reliable public transit.
Nelson: [No response.]
Nezhad: We need to be critical about who is allowed to build in Minneapolis in order to make sure housing is and stays affordable. My priority is to protect working class families, people and local businesses to make sure they continue to afford their spaces. I have already started to have conversations with organizers because it is my priority to protect and invest in communities. We must develop a new approach to housing across the city that sets people up to succeed and stay in safe, dignified housing. Rent control is a critical component of that new approach. I support a 3% annual limit on rent increases, in line with inflation or the consumer price index and fully funded tenant protection board, eviction representation, Tenant Opportunity to Purchase and stop the privatization of Section 8 housing.
Perry: I would say no thank you.
- Are you satisfied with the current state of street maintenance (street surfaces, lighting, snow removal, etc.).
Atkins: That would be a massive “nope”. It is shameful and pathetic that our neighbors in the nearby suburbs have their streets snowplowed and clear days ahead of Minneapolis. I would do everything in my power as mayor to make Minneapolis a sanctuary city for Marijuana use.
Awed: Seeing new curbs and roads and lighting coming to many parts of the city has been great to see. The only thing I still would love to see added to street maintenance would be an answer to our eternal question here in Minneapolis – a better way to remove snow from our neighborhood sidewalks and winter walking paths.
Conner: No. We can do better. Street quality is important for safety, vehicle longevity, and overall aesthetics. We need to prioritize maintaining our streets and keeping them clear. I lived in Tokyo for about five years. In that city of 18-million people, the streets were impeccable. We should be able to do that here and implement improved pavement compositions that hold up better in our environment. We also need to bolster our residential plowing capabilities.
David: Insufficient off-street parking makes it hard to fully clear streets for plowing; to that end, we must reinstate minimum parking requirements. Lighting can be improved.
Frey: We can always do better and we must. Core city functions are non-negotiable for me. We have a core responsibility to the public to fill the potholes, to clear the snow, to pick up the trash/recycling, and to ensure safe neighborhoods. These core city functions aren’t just important in a vacuum, they are foundational to any new and emerging programs. We’ve expanded funding for snow clearance at intersections, provided transportation hubs to better cover the first and last mile commutes, and have invested in basic government functions to ensure improved livability throughout our city.
Johnson: No. Many street surfaces are causing damage to vehicles. There can never be enough lighting and we know that lighting reduces crime, from a study done in Seattle. Snow removal is always challenging, but also needs to be done better.
Knuth: No. A basic function of city government is ensuring that everyone can safely travel around our city.
Nelson: The SWP campaign calls for a massive public works program to put millions to work to build and repair infrastructure and other things people need.
Nezhad: No. Our streets are not accessible to those with disabilities, using public transit, biking, or even everyday pedestrians. I support municipal snow removal, and would look to improve streets for folks with disabilities, and make sure our transit stops provide adequate shelter from the elements.
Perry: Absolutely not.
- How would you handle quality-of-life issues, like noise, parking infractions, empty lots, abandoned buildings?
Atkins: [No response.]
Awed: I would engage neighborhood organizations – they already are doing the work. Id ask them to partner to prioritize and resolve their issues.
Conner: We need to enforce our laws and codes while being careful not to criminalize being poor or BIPOC. We need to develop the undeveloped.
David: By pursuing universal homeownership, we can create stable communities where most of these issues simply go away naturally, but conflict resolutions services and training must also be available for all residents.
Frey: I will continue to listen to my constituents and respond quickly and effectively. I was known for this response as the council member from Ward 3.
Johnson: Wherever possible I would put things that are positive for the community, such as gardens and play equipment. I would push for a restorative justice approach to nuisances.
Knuth: I have heard concerns about unsafe driving and noise. We need to recommit to living with each other respectfully and implement strategies leading to that.
Nelson: [No response.]
Nezhad: We must fully fund 311 for resident assistance including support on traffic and parking, property issues, damage complaints, and connection to city services.
Perry: Let the community it is within decide how to best address it or what it can be used for to benefit the entire community.
- Do you see the need to make changes to the city charter? What might those changes be?
Atkins: I see no need to amend the charter.
Awed: Yes, our city’s government structure is a major issue facing us. It’s past time the City Council agreed to a more purely legislative role in policymaking. And it’s well past time for the city to ban the City Council from purporting to direct or supervise any executive branch employee.
Conner: I do not agree with changing the city charter through vague and undeveloped ballot initiatives, like ballot questions 1 and 2. Regarding 1, I have concerns about taking power from the council when the mayor already has “complete power over the establishment, maintenance and command of the police department.”
David: I support the policing amendment because I believe electeds should have the flexibility to determine policing policy and staffing levels, which the charter now limits. I oppose the “strong mayor” amendment. Another possible amendment could require the mayor and council to take shifts as public safety specialists so they see the reality of the city.
Frey: We need to clarify our government structure to more clearly define executive and legislative powers. Just as Hubert Humphrey did decades ago, I support the change to a strong mayor system. I oppose the public safety amendment because it decreases accountability by putting 14 people in charge of the police department.
Johnson: Yes I do. I support all three proposed amendments. We have better ways of providing public safety, governing our city and providing affordable housing for all residents.
Knuth: Public Safety – Charter Change that allows us to create a Department of Public Safety that puts the Police, the Office of Violence Prevention, and emergency management under a unified structure. Rent Control – I support the rent control charter amendment that gives us the ability for us to pass a rent control ordinance.
Nelson: All political changes that have benefited working people and their allies are a byproduct of class struggle. The decisive political arena is the struggle of class against class, not the halls of congress, and not through either cooperation or bitter acrimony between the twin parties of big business.
Nezhad: Yes. I support the Amendment for a new Department of Public safety, which is a department structure that almost every other city in Minnesota uses, and could include a variety of safety approaches including mental health, harm reduction, and violence prevention. I do not support the ‘Mayoral Control’ amendment.
Perry: Yes. We need to change the fact that public Safety currently only offers one resource, the police, which only has one response, law enforcement. Public Safety means something different to each of us and our charter should reflect that and include mental health responders, social workers, law enforcement.
Mayoral candidates contacted who did not respond to the Northeaster emails and calls were Troy Benjegerdes, Bob “Again” Carney, Jr., Mark Globus, Marcus Harcus, Laverne Turner, Kevin “No Body” Ward and Mike Winter.