The League of Women Voters city council candidate forum was Thursday, September 29 at city hall. I’m not a fan of the highly partisan LWV organization but they do seem to have a monopoly on local government candidate forums in Minnesota, so I went to listen. The video recording of the forum was just posted this afternoon.
Minnetrista city council candidates :
Claudia Lacy (unable to attend forum)
In typical fashion many of the questions were leading. “How will you provide for Minnetrista’s affordable housing needs…” (which presumes a need) vs. a better phrased question: “What are your thoughts on developing affordable housing projects in Minnetrista?” which would leave a candidate the option of discussing the pros and cons of the issue. I encourage readers to watch the forum and listen for the premise bias in many of the questions.
The best one went something like this: “Would you support inviting bids for garbage services to reduce the costs of garbage collection for residents?” Who wouldn’t want that, right? What the question really meant was ‘Would you support putting all the garbage haulers presently doing business in Minnetrista out of business so the city would have a monopoly?’ Heather Charles supported this and was dropped from my list.
I was actually shocked to hear an honest question asked: “Would you support the city hiring it’s own professional engineer?” Come to find out, that question wasn’t one LWV came up with but was submitted by a concerned resident. In my years on the city council I had been a vocal advocate for hiring our own municipal engineer, so that WSB Engineering wouldn’t have total control over all the proposals, feasibility studies, design and contracting of all the city’s road and water projects.
Both Peter Vickery and Heather Charles dismissed what’s been called “the WSB problem” out of hand saying they thought the city wasn’t big enough to justify a staff engineer. Jack Youngren, took a more thoughtful approach, without dismissing the possibility, saying he would make the right fiscal decision after vetting the issue properly. Sounds like hope to me.
Youngren also demonstrated the same approach when asked about the controversial issue of affordable housing development in Minnetrista. Indicating it isn’t a foregone conclusion the matter has been resolved he said he would consider “when and if we want that…” The other candidates simply spoke of how and where to put affordable housing.
There was one council candidate missing last night because of an important family event. Claudia Lacy could not attend but I spoke to her by phone and found her to be very thoughtful in approaching city matters. She runs a local nonprofit (Langdon House) and would be an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars and has an impressive background in finance as well.
I encourage voters to watch the video of the forum and make up their own minds. I’ve made up mine. I’m voting for Jake Youngren and Claudia Lacy because they both appear to be candidates with a mind of their own, who take fiscal responsibility seriously, value competition and understand the role the council plays in holding vendors and the administration accountable.
The only candidate website that turned up today was the one below but watch The Laker for candidate surveys coming out soon:
Jack Youngren: https://voteyoungren.com/