Vote. But first do your homework.
So at the beginning of campaigning season- way back in April (remember April?)
You couldn't find a candidate that was vying for the donkey party endorsement that was against the proposed 1% sales tax increase. I could be wrong, but I recall all of them being in favor of every tax increase proposed for 2024.
Fast forward to October, and in a recent article in the Villager, suddenly all but one were against it. Hmm.
Well, in the large mess of glossy flyers I've received in the mail in the last few weeks, I got one from the St. Paul DFL urgently asking all voters to support that very tax increase. It's a part of their official platform apparently.
Now, think about this: When a city council member is faced with the prospect of either keeping a campaign promise or going against the will of the dominant party in the city - the party that may have contributed a great deal of money to their campaign- are they going to go against the will of that party?
Surely you jest. They're going to support the increased sales tax. And the increased property tax for daycare, and the rebuilding of Summit, and all the other party priorities that a large number of voters are currently, inconveniently, uncomfortable with. A little posturing now- then some backpedaling after election day is the way to win the race. Right?
Well for some, that may be the case. I can't read minds, but I have read everyone's campaign material and shared a stage with everyone at least once. You can learn a lot by watching the video of the LVW forum I posted a week ago, or this one hosted by St. Paul STRONG, which was a bit more in the Jerry Springer format, but still somewhat edifying.
You can see who answers questions and who doesn't. You can see who doesn't even seem to understand the question. You can see who speaks in glittering generalities and tries to give the impression that they agree with everyone in the room. In short, you can learn a lot from a couple of hours of homework. Brew a pot of coffee or crack a craft brew and spend some time watching. These two forums were actually pretty entertaining, so maybe pop some popcorn as well.
By the end, I think you'll see who means what they say and who doesn't.
I won't give you crib notes on the other candidates, but I'll promise you the following:
I won't vote to spend a penny on the Summit Avenue reconstruction. It's a lousy plan that won't add any mileage of bike lanes to our city and will cost us hundreds of mature trees. and up to 10 million dollars.
I will stand for holding the line on property taxes, sales taxes and any other tax that the rest of the council tries to push through
I'll support the police department, but advocate for removing abusive officers. Body cameras should be worn at all times and the footage released to the public after any incident.
I will stand on the side of St. Paulites' right to choose who they love and marry. I also believe every individual has the right to decide what they will do with their own body. We all have the right to self-determination.
I also will work to implement policies to build and maintain green space in the city, to benefit people of all ages.
You can hold me to all of these. I hope I can earn your vote. Now go fill in those rectangles.