"Oh God, you didn't just say that."
October 25, 2013 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday's debate among the four mayoral candidates in St. Paul, Minnesota had some pretty interesting moments. Current mayor Chris Coleman's facial expressions are not to be missed. Yay democracy!
posted by vytae (28 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are like ten people running for mayor of Minneapolis and I have no idea who to vote for. (And like four people running for the city council seat. There was a candidates forum, complete with 'light refreshments', scheduled when I have class. Then someone noticed ridiculously late that that was Eid, so they rescheduled it for when I had a midterm. So much for civic engagement.)

If I lived in St Paul, I know I wouldn't be voting for this Holden bloke. Why on earth does he think independent minor league baseball is packed with multi-millionaires?
posted by hoyland at 7:35 PM on October 25, 2013


Ten? There are 35 people running for mayor of Minneapolis. It's nearly impossible to figure out which ones are legit. It's completely bonkers.
posted by padraigin at 7:49 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Was it just me or at one point did the wacky lady wearing two pairs of sunglasses suddenly switch to an eyepatch, apparently midsentence? What the hell?
posted by scalefree at 7:51 PM on October 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Clown Car (use the right arrow button to page through the summaries of the candidates)
posted by gorestainedrunes at 7:58 PM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have no idea what's going on in the mayoral race, but I will say that Minneapolis' effort to give Pittsburgh a run for its money in becoming the new Portland is off to a roaring start.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:58 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Was it just me or at one point did the wacky lady wearing two pairs of sunglasses suddenly switch to an eyepatch, apparently midsentence? What the hell?

Yes! I thought maybe she had it on underneath the glasses, but it's round her neck!
posted by hoyland at 8:00 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everyone needs to watch the video, that is pretty much exactly what all mid-sized city political events are like.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:12 PM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Of course, this almost makes up for Parks and Recreation being preempted the last couple of weeks.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:18 PM on October 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yay I love my Mayor.
posted by Think_Long at 8:30 PM on October 25, 2013


"Let the teachers have a gun! Or a camera, which is LIKE a gun that's stronger than whatever. . . or BUBBLE WRAP."
posted by KathrynT at 8:37 PM on October 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought this might be as good a time as any to mention that I have decided to run for mayor of the great city of Minneapolis. Thank you, carry on.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:40 PM on October 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't blame me, I voted for the Lauraist Communist.
posted by padraigin at 8:56 PM on October 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was in high school, I went to the all-candidates forum for a federal election in my hometown. There were two or three legitimate candidates and 2 batshit crazy candidates, and the batshit crazy candidates unfortunately stole the vast majority of the microphone time. And while I was amused to listen to a 10 minute long rant on how all the kids in Fort St. John have sex with farm animals, I do kind of feel like not inviting the batshit crazy candidates to these things might really be a better choice.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:54 PM on October 25, 2013


Politics politics and no step-based solutions. Here is how the 6 step system eliminates ambiguity and resolves voter doubt in one fell swoop.

1. Are they talking about animals?
If they are not they have lost your vote, for your very life may be snatched away like so much messy protein in the horrific calculus of the large animal during its daily mansnatchings.

2. A large animal then?
Yes. The beast is always large.

3. What to be done about it?

TAXES: Large animals will surround the taxposts. Stay away. If you must go, go in armor. Government representatives are always wearing armor when they visit. WHY??? Because of beasts.

LABOR: So you join a union. So you fall into a doghole. These dogs are hungry. They need to feed for winter. The problem stands and you have been bit horribly if not hole-killed.

4. Is 65% of the federal budget set aside for the trucks to manage problematic beasts?
Yes.

5. Will you enjoy the benefit of 65% of the federal budget going to beast management without the use of a specialized outsider-driven system?

No. Federal government contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder. The lowest bidder is always a large animal. They will be paid in flanks of meat. Next time you see your banker, ask him whether he will accept meat as payment. Maybe then you will understand. He will accept it. Snapping his powerful mouth. And the moment you turn your back a large animal upon him, dragging the meatwealth through the street. The banker having had his or herself consolidated into a single meat. Dragged through the street, disgracing you.

6. It is as if there is nothing to be done?

DVD-ROM has changed everything.
posted by passerby at 10:54 PM on October 25, 2013 [38 favorites]


Wow. Thanks, passerby, for being the occasion of my first use of the "Fantastic post" flag.
posted by ottereroticist at 11:36 PM on October 25, 2013


I don't live anywhere near the Twin Cities, but I've been very entertained by Naomi Kritzer blogging the races, as gorestainedrunes linked to;
[John Charles Wilson] seems to have moderated some of his positions in the last four years. In 2009, he said that he wanted to establish a Lauraist homeland that would be a piece of land with a 100 mile radius centered on Minneapolis; also, he wanted to restore all transit systems to the routes, fares, and schedules they had as of September 19th, 1970, but he says now that he no longer believes that this is "feasible, possible, or desirable."

He also believes that Laura Ingalls Wilder is God (it's been revealed to him in visions) and that Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, and Andropov were prophets and saints "sent down by Laura to spread the economic/political portion of Her message." (Not mentioned: whether this makes Gorbechev the anti-Laura? Also, where exactly does Rose Wilder Lane -- founder of Libertarianism and daughter of Laura -- fit into this cosmology?)
Index of election posts, for all your figuring-out-which-candidates-are-legit-and-which-think-Laura-Ingalls-Wilder-is-God needs.
posted by Jeanne at 4:08 AM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Let the teachers have a gun! Or a camera, which is LIKE a gun that's stronger than whatever. . ."

Somebody's been reading Susan Sontag.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:36 AM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


...I do kind of feel like not inviting the batshit crazy candidates to these things might really be a better choice.

I suspect the legit candidates, deep down, like having the batshit candidates hog the limelight. It allows the legit candidates to avoid speaking and possibly saying something stupid. Plus, the crazies make the legits look even more reasonable.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:27 AM on October 26, 2013


Thorzdad: "I suspect the legit candidates, deep down, like having the batshit candidates hog the limelight. "

Usually if you are running for office in a mid-sized city as a serious candidate, it's not because you have profound ambitions for political advancement; it's because you really want to serve your home community. The batshit candidates are amusing for a while, but when you've been involved in local politics for any length of time, you've been seeing these people come to every public meeting for years, or (almost worse!) they just decided on a whim to run and have no knowledge of the process, which feels like you're constantly trying to, you know, GOVERN A CITY and deal with complex problems, while also having to teach a Introduction to Civics class for the folks who are just showing up now convinced they have solutions for problems they don't understand even a little.

(In my own neck of the woods, it's always people who have just read in the newspaper that we're spending $24 million on the physical plant of our schools when we can't manage to reduce class sizes because we need more teachers, and they want us to spend the money on teachers instead. Except the #1 thing to know about school finance in my state is that it is state law that you levy separately for educational costs and for physical plant costs, specifically to avoid the situation where a district spends all its money on teachers while the kids go to school in a firetrap, or the reverse where a district spends all its money on state-of-the-art football stadiums while having the kids in classes of 40 with no textbooks. There are certainly some parts of the process that could use some tweaking, but it's the law for a very good reason and that money cannot be shifted, and if this is your issue, you need to run for state legislature.)

The gadflies are, on the one hand, important; they pay close attention to their pet issues and they keep government bodies honest. On the other hand, they tend to either be a little crazy, or even if not crazy, they get in a habit of opposition where they are just constantly convinced that the local officials are incompetent and corrupt, despite any evidence to the contrary. We routinely spend 20 minutes to an hour at every public meeting (where public comment is mandated by law) with the same handful of gadflies talking for five minutes each on their pet issues, which makes the meetings last FOREVER (and not on any useful topic) and discourages participation by regular people, because they have to sit through looooooooong meetings with a bunch of shouting people. It makes it hard to talk about real topics because you spend all your time on these pet topics of gadflies.

As for saying stupid things, well, if you're uncomfortable with saying something stupid and having it live on in the local media for at least a week, then possibly coming back, zombie-like, every time you're in the news for the rest of your life, don't run for public office. It's guaranteed to happen. Even if you never say anything stupid (which, I do; I fire off my mouth less often than I used to, but sometimes my mouth runs considerably ahead of my brain, and sometimes I phrase things really badly), things will be taken out of context. The better thing to do is not to shut up and try not to say stupid things, but to talk to people a LOT and build good, open relationships with local media, so that when you DO say stupid things, people understand that it was one gaffe, or that it was probably out of context, because they've met you and talked to you and know who you are.

I looked at the Minneapolis election commission page, and it looks like their problem is that the only thing you do to get on the ballot is file an affidavit and pay $20. There's always some sort of barrier to entry to get on the ballot, which you want to balance between broad access so any qualified person can manage it, and keeping out vanity and joke candidates by making it require at least SOME investment. My state has no filing fees for office, but requires you to gather the signatures of a certain percentage of voters who voted in the most recent election for that office. (For instance, if 4,000 people voted for that office, you must gather 5% of that, or 200 signatures.) Signature gathering comes at a rate of about 10 signatures per hour. Now, apparently in Minnesota you can gather signatures in lieu of the filing fee, but the filing fee for mayor is $20 and the signature requirement is FIVE HUNDRED signatures, so you can either pay $20 or spend 50 hours going door to door. That's way out of whack. (Most states with filing fees set them higher than $20 for mayor; the next lowest I could find was $50 in Kentucky for mayors.) And, in fact, here's a Minnesota Public Radio story about raising the filing fee in the Minneapolis mayoral race to keep out silly candidates.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:48 AM on October 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Judging from the candidates, this explains a lot about Jesse Ventura's election.
posted by leftcoastbob at 7:26 AM on October 26, 2013


No. What non-Minnesotans don't understand is the power of the wrestling vote in MN. See also Franken, Wellstone.
posted by nickmark at 7:59 AM on October 26, 2013


The video: how embarrassing! I could only get through a minute or two.
posted by michellenoel at 9:02 AM on October 26, 2013


the power of the wrestling vote in MN. See also Franken, Wellstone.

Ventura?
posted by vytae at 10:12 AM on October 26, 2013


"Pointing to $1.7 billion in construction activity along the new Central Corridor light-rail transit line, Mayor Chris Coleman called St. Paul a city earning national attention and asked voters to grant him a third term Nov. 5."

Jesus, 1.7 BILLION! in construction. What I wouldn't do with that kind of money.
posted by askaway12 at 10:33 AM on October 26, 2013


"I'm good on the computer, with Pee Dee Eff files."

oh lordy I'm crying. I want to go to there.

It's not even limited to small towns. As evidence, see Basil Marceaux: The Next Governor of Tennessee. It's fascinating which issues top each candidate's "must campaign for" list.
posted by nicodine at 1:46 PM on October 26, 2013


> this explains a lot about Jesse Ventura's election

I think Jesse Ventura won in no small part because of an editorial in the StarTribune the Sunday before the election that basically said "This sure has been fun with the wacky ads and everything, but it's time to get serious and vote for a real candidate."

I know at least a dozen people whose reaction to that was "Fuck you, now I'm really voting for Jesse".
posted by chazlarson at 3:07 PM on October 26, 2013


he wanted to establish a Lauraist homeland that would be a piece of land with a 100 mile radius centered on Minneapolis

as far as i know this is already the case
posted by gerstle at 3:13 PM on October 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


The video linked here is a pretty fun watch for anyone, even non-Minnesotans.

The elections in the two twin cities are pretty simple after you cut through the insanity.

In St. Paul, there is only one viable candidate, Chris Coleman, and all you have to do is watch the video to understand how awesome he is, and that he was gracious enough to not only sit through that candidates forum but to be so respectful of them even though they were pretty nutso. Also, he put up rainbow flags across the major bridges in St. Paul after same-sex marriage was passed, so moar awesome.

In Minneapolis, there are 35 on the ballot but only a handful of viable candidates. Mark Andrew, Betsy Hodges, Dom Samuels, Bob Fine, and maaaaybe Cam Winton, Stephanie Woodruff and Jackie Cherrihomes. Winton is the only Republican in that group and may benefit from the new ranked voting instant runoff system, but winning as a non-Democrat in Minneapolis is nearly impossible.

I was in the Hodges camp but have been hedging since she came out in favor of the asinine feral cat feeding/trap-neuter-release ordinance. Samuels I like a lot, also Fine is good people. Mark Andrew is probably the front-runner but I feel like he's way more Political Machine than the rest and have reservations about him because of that. Will probably still go with Hodges, but because of ranked voting I can also throw in Samuels and Fine and feel like I helped take part in a very interesting and more economical way of electing government officials.
posted by mcstayinskool at 3:48 PM on October 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


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