In Minneapolis, 6 vie to replace councilman Gary Schiff

The City Council race in Minneapolis’ Ninth Ward pits a socialist against a DFL-endorsed candidate who would be the first Latina to serve on the council, and four other candidates.

Alondra Cano, the DFL endorsee and Socialist Alternative’s Ty Moore have raised the most money in the race.

The six candidates are running for the seat held by Gary Schiff, who is not running for reelection. In addition to Moore and Cano, there are two other DFLers, and a candidate who lists his political affiliation as “Politics with Principle.”

Moore said he’s been extensively involved with the Occupy Homes Minnesota group, which has pressured banks and local governments to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Moore said he’s been frustrated with the lack of accountability he’s seen at all levels of government.

“Again and again, big business seems to get their way,” Moore said. “When it comes to meeting the needs of working class families, the City Council always preaches patience and says we can wait.”

Moore said he’d fight for more money for education, transit and social services. Moore said he doesn’t expect to encounter any problems moving from activism to governing.

“What I want to do with my position on City Council is try to consistently put forward proposals for what working people need, and to try to build power in the community to pressurize the rest of the council,” Moore said.

Moore said his lack of ties to the Democratic party would allow him to shake up business as usual at Minneapolis City Hall.

“While a lot of progressives ideas get expressed by DFL candidates, including my opponent, none of them have positioned themselves to challenge existing city leadership or big business,” Moore said.

Before she won the DFL endorsement, Alondra Cano said she formed an exploratory committee to see how she, as an immigrant and activist, could make a serious run at the seat.

“At the end of the day, I really took the step because it was more important for me to try and to do it than to actually always question, ‘Should I have done it’?” Cano said.

As an activist, Cano said she helped pressure the Minnesota Legislature to pass the Minnesota Dream Act. She said her experience as an activist and working at Minneapolis City Hall would inform her service as a council member.

“One of the skills that I bring is that I know how to build bridges with the multiple stakeholders that are going to be needed,” Cano said. “I don’t want to burn bridges with my campaign now before we even get there.”

Cano also wants to work for environmental justice.

“Two blocks from where I live, there are two factories that are continually polluting the air,” Cano said. “If we lived in a wealthier part of Minneapolis, we wouldn’t have those issues in our neighborhood.”

She said she’d keep her fingers on the pulse of the community as a council member.

“A lot of things that happen as a council member are about bringing people together, convening folks, and then ultimately passing policy that will promote the ability for these projects to thrive and move forward,” Cano said.

The other candidates in the race are DFlers Abdi Abdulle, Pat Fleetham and Gregory McDonald. Charles Curtis is running under the name Politics with Principle. Abdulle is a native of East Africa who graduated from Washburn High school. Fleetham’s family owns Fleetham Furniture. Curtis is a native of the Powderhorn Park neighborhood who has worked as a prosecutor. The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5.