Well, less then a week away we’ll be casting our ballots (some of you already have), and it turns out there is more then just Obama and McCain to choose from. I’m not just talking about McKinney (she would have had my vote in 2004), I’m talking about the local politicians. This is not an endorsement, just a quick rundown on my picks so far. For those of you having a hard time investigating the local elections, let me lend a hand. (Sorry to you none Minneapolis folks) [also sorry that this is kind of long. Hopefully it will be helpful to you local folks. And I’d love to dialog if you have any comments on any of this].
(If your interested in doing your own research, here’s candidate info from the Star Tribune, and from the League of Women Voters) (And if you want to vote just like me. You can download my nifty PDF ballot right here)
Who I Endorse
Bobbie Joe Champion – This guy has my vote hands down for State Rep 58b (My district). The main reason: I see him everywhere. We are old pals now, because I run into him at every community event I go to, see him in the neighborhood, at the grocery store. He’s local and approachable. Hearing him talk and checking out his website gives me confidence he’ll have the communities interest in mind, and I also know I could go and knock on his door and complain if I had a problem, and he’d listen.
Keith Ellison – Also lives in my neighborhood. I’ve been impressed with his work and commitment to the community even though he’s got a busy job and off in Washington a lot. He’s on KMOJ giving straight talk about the political scene. He supports things I can get behind. He even gives time to the conservative talk shows (I heard him interviewed about the bailout package on one). He’s got my vote.
Dean Barkley – Barkley is the independent between the Franken and Coleman heated senate race. I’m a third party guy when I can be. This guy is a viable candidate, and a healthy alternative to the depressing two party system. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I think Independents are the key to any real change in our current politics.
School Board And Related
YES to Operating Levy – Educating our children is the most important thing we do. Take a walk through some of the schools and you know we need more money in public education. Definitely a yes on the Levy.
NO on Referendum – They are interested in changing the school board to 9 members and do it by districts like the parks board. Not sure what I think overall, but I’ve been impressed by the diversity of the current board and it seems the referendum and districts would negatively effect that diversity. We’ll see, I’m not set one way or the other, but I think the way it is now is better.
Lydia Lee – She’s an incumbent on the school board. I’ve listened to a few school board meetings and have been continually impressed by her. She’ll win no problem.
Jill Davis and Carla Bates – These are the two other DFL endorsed school board candidates. I heard them both at a School board candidate forum and was impressed. They seem to know what they’re talking about and are qualified to get the job done.
Sharon Henry-Blythe – is the other incumbent. I’ve heard she’s done well, but I haven’t been able to investigate much. There was this candidates forum on the northside which she didn’t even show up to (all the others, including a write in did). She has no website, haven’t seen any yard signs or literature. It just doesn’t seem like she’s making an effort to get re-elected. Your call.
Thomas Dicks – is a write-in candidate. It seems like he has no chance of getting elected, but he’s got some good things to say. He’s big on revamping the whole curriculum and doing away with the eurocentric textbooks and sort of text/lecture driven classroom style. Interesting things to say at the forum.
Mann and Reed – I’m hesitant about Mann and I really am opposed to Reed. Douglas Mann simply isn’t a good public speaker. At the forum we were at he had a hard time articulating his views. And though he had some challenging things to say, I don’t know that he’d function well on the school board. Kari Reed is a homeschooling parent. I’ve got nothing against that, but she seems completely out of touch with the challenges that face parents of public school kids. When asked about funding for extra-curricular she questioned why we are having the schools “babysit our kids”, not even acknowledging that any single parent with a job is going to need some option between the end of school and the end of the work day for their children. I don’t want her representing my community.
Paul H. Anderson – He’s the incumbent for the supreme court justice seat. Seems like a decent guy and basically his opponent freaks me out a little.
Philip D. Bush – His opponent is simply counting on people being repulsed by the last name Bush. This guy seems decent, and I know nothing about the opponent except that tidbit.
Ranum and Piper – Couldn’t really decide, but Ranum has Rybak and Don Samuels as supporters. That wins me over.
James Wisker – For Soil and Water Supervisor. He’s young (27) and aware of urban community needs, wins me over.
Jeffrey Beck – He mentions involving minority populations. The other guy just wants limited government involvement.
YES on Sales tax amendment – it’s 0.375% and it seems to support good causes. My neighbor John has a yard sign supporting it. If he’s behind it so am I.
I’m not voting on any of the uncontested, because I haven’t heard from any of them. If there is a viable write-in candidate, I don’t want to lessen their chances by my uninformed vote.