Candidates for Minneapolis City Council Ward 3 — DFLers Diane Hofstede and Allen Kathir , Republican Jeffrey Cobia and Melissa Hill , who is running without a party endorsement but under the “Civil Disobedience” brand — sparred at the second of the Minnesota Daily’s city council debates Thursday night.
Citing issues including affordable housing, budget control, neighborhood advocacy and instant runoff voting, the candidates said Minneapolis’ Ward 3 requires community involvement to combat many of the problems facing the city.
Incumbent DFL candidate Hofstede’s years as Ward 3 councilmember were criticized as largely unproductive by her opposition.
Cobia, a University Law School alumnus and first-time candidate, said the gaps between Minneapolis’ neighborhoods haven’t improved since 2005, when Hofstede was elected.
“There is a gap between Northeast neighborhoods and Southwest Minneapolis,” he said. “And it’s growing.”
Cobia said voter participation through active communication is necessary to “bridge the gap.”
Kathir, a University alumnus, said students must become more active in city elections because the issues affect everyone.
“If we want students to stop treating this neighborhood like a hotel room, we need to make sure they have a voice in it,” he said. “A councilmember should represent everyone in [the Ward], not just certain associations.”
Hofstede said she has worked to integrate the Ward’s varying communities.
“I’ve walked the streets of North Minneapolis and [seen the changes that need to be made].”
Hofstede said she is very proud of her record and her many accomplishments as councilmember, including crime reduction — Minneapolis is at a 20-year low in crime — and neighborhood involvement through ward summits.
“Nobody knows the ward like I do. I have a vision to improve the future of this city and have made great strides in that,” Hofstede said.
“Neighborhood associations are critical to the city,” she said. “They are primary to keeping [Minneapolis] functional.”
Instant runoff voting became a hot topic when Hofstede said it was an experiment for the state.
Kathir said Minneapolis shouldn’t have to wait nearly eight weeks, as has been predicted by state officials, to process votes as it has in the past.
“We can send someone to the moon in a week … it shouldn’t take two months to figure out who won the election,” he said.
The candidates agreed that IRV education is essential in their campaigns.
“As candidates, we must be sure the voters know how the system works,” Hill said.
Cobia said the counting process is more complicated under Minneapolis’ new voting process, stressing the need to count every vote tallied.
“The most important thing is that all the votes get counted,” he said. “[Minnesota] can’t afford a debacle [such as the last year’s U.S. Senate contest] … IRV voting shouldn’t deter voters from coming out on Election Day.”
Hill said decentralization and openness in government are primary issues in her campaign.
“Decentralization is important to this election,” she said. “Each [neighborhood] knows what’s best for it.”
Hill said she doesn’t have hopes of winning the election, but she wants a stronger civilian presence in local government.
“My campaign lets people know there are other options,” she said.
The candidates said the Nov. 3 election is a reminder that local government is meant to represent its citizens.
“Although city government elections don’t have the glamour of a [statewide or presidential election] they enable change and development within the city,” Cobia said.
Kathir said it is important for students to understand the issues and vote in the upcoming election.
“I challenge students to prove their presence in the Ward and vote,” he said. “These issues affect the city and its citizens dually.”
UMN students have traveled to Florida colleges to collaborate with students on various projects.
When UMN students plan for a vacation, having trip cancellation travel insurance is a worthwhile commodity to check out.
Minneapolis Used Cars
Give back to the Minnesota community with a boat donation at boat4causes.org.
If you have been involved in a car accident call a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer for a free consultation.