Friday, October 16, 2009

Tough Choices in the 5th Ward!

Guest post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Images from Don Samuels' facebook page and

I'm not talking about trying to decide who to vote for. Hawthorne has a friendly competition with its neighboring ward over which of us is revitalizing faster. I know there's plenty of work to be done throughout NoMi, but I see the progress that Don has helped usher in (75% reduction in homicides, Cottage Park, Catalyst, Coloplast, the Ackerberg Group, and the list goes on) and I can't think of anyone more qualified to keep on doing that work. He's got his detractors, but to me they all sound like this (click here).

So the tough choice in the 5th ward actually involves Don Samuels vs. a seven-foot dinosaur...

Connie Nompelis (No-b--you know what? If JNS readers don't know how to pronounce this by now, I'm not going to help you) is hosting a welcoming party at what might become known as the Dinosaur House, for NoMi's newest artist resident, Ken Farkash. Starting at 7 p.m. on October 24 at 2512 23rd Ave N is a marvelous evening of cider, wine, snacks, conversation, and a sneak-peek of Ken's excellent work.

But ALSO at 7 p.m. on the 24th is a momentum party to support Don's re-election. That's at 2700 Logan Ave N, in the Jordan neighborhood. The facebook page to the event claims there will be good food, good drinks, and good peeps (roasted Peeps? please tell me there will be roasted Peeps!), and of course Don himself.

Which one to go to? I just can't decide!


Let them eat cheese and drink wine said...

umm....neither? I'd rather park my car on West Broadway and watch the 'revitalization' grow.

MeganG. said...

Ahh! The life of a revitalizer in NoMi - so many social functions to see and be seen!

I'm telling folks to get to both - go see the great art, then come to the great house on the Jordan Pond - or come hang out with us in Jordan, where it all started, then head over to Connie's house to see Ken's art and a nightcap. {That's what I plan on doing - so Connie, you better stay up late for me!}

Anonymous said...

maybe the 7-foot dinosaur should run against Don - he seems more qualified than some candidates.

Anonymous said...

funny - 'cuz I think they (the detractors) sound like this..

Don "GOP" Allen said...

Don Samuels will have a very tough time winning the Ward 5 Minneapolis City Council race. I still have a friendly bet with JNS and will enjoy it, no matter which way it falls.

Anonymous said...

To Don Allen. If indeed your primary concern is that the 5th Ward is well-represented at City Hall and receives its' fair-share of funds, why in the world would you vote for anyone BUT CM Samuels?

Have you REALLY listened to the other "candidates" and what they'd bring to the table for the 5th Ward at City Hall?

It simply amazes me that most of them are able to dress themselves and show-up to a meeting on-time, let alone being able to actually build a comprehensive "plan" for the 5th Ward.

Please tell me there's a deeper substance than what was shown (by the challengers) at the 5th Ward debate the other nite. I am not impressed by any of the challengers and quite frankly, if CM Samuels had chosen not to run again, I'd probably abstain from voting and move-out of the ward.

But then again, let's be real. Your support of someone (anyone) other than CM Samuels has more to do with you being able to curry favor for your personal agenda, than it does your belief as to who the most qualified individual is doesn't it?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ 4:20 anon

I can't remember what eastern European country this was, but I think Czechloslovakia before it split. I remember reading about an election where the government controlled the media and therefore only allowed good things to be said about themselves. Then, because only positive things were said in the media, they began to believe too much in their own spin. The people surprised the heck out of them by rising up and voting them out of power.

I don't think we're in quite that situation, but there are important paralells to be drawn. Just because we read pro-Don Samuels info on JNS and elsewhere doesn't mean that we should fool ourselves into thinking he's got a free pass to re-election. (Only RT has that at this point. I mean, did you SEE the MTN mayoral debates?)

I watched the 5th Ward debates and came away with two conclusions: Don has only one serious challenger, and her name is Natalie Johnson Lee.

IRV might throw a wrinkle or two in there, but this is essentially a race between Don and Natalie. While I think Don will win, that shouldn't be taken lightly. We've got work to do.

Anonymous said...

To The Hawkman - While I would agree the NLJ is the least dirty pair of socks out of the group (running against CM Samuels), it's already been demonstrated from the past election that while NLJ may be able to pull a fair precentage of the "disenfranchised" voters, she doesn't cross-over into mainstream nearly as well as CM Samuels. And let's face it, that's the vote that will get you elected in the 5th Ward.

In effect all of the challengers (with the possible exception of, and gob forbid I am saying this - McKnight) appear to me to be one-trick ponies that would rather tell us how badly things are being done, than offer-up a meaningful solution to how to change things and why their idea is better than anyone else's.

The one thing I will grant you is that it indeed is a tough year to be an incumbent. Voters tend to associate their current condition with those that have most recently been in office. Regardless of how ridiculous the association really is.

Just vote said...

Yes, you've got work to do Jeff. A lot of work to do. While you and your pals have refused to take the blinders off about Samuels' snail-paced 'progress' during his tenure, others just want him out NOW.

Samuels was too busy fighting all of his turf wars to stand up and convincingly advocate for critical-mass improvements to the Northside. His methods of bringing about change will have us all waiting for another generation to pass us by before any investments of substance occur. He takes credit for downward violence trends that have occurred city (and nation) wide. He claims that life is so much better now, and yet I'm still embarrassed at the disaster that is Broadway (let alone Penn, Lowry, Washington and all the other main arteries that scream GHETTO when you enter Don's ward. Our schools are a joke. Our parks aren't safe enough after dark. We can't see a movie, work out, find fine dining, or shop at a modern retailer. Life on the Northside is as bad now as it was when Don first brought his Obama-esque charm and oratory skills to office. And talk doesn't cut it anymore.

I wish we had more options. One option, though, is a different voice. Natalie deserves another shot; Don just needs to sit on the sidelines for awhile and think a little harder about what he'd do differently next time. Anyone who really believes what we've gotten from Don is acceptable has incredibly low standards.

See you later Don. I hope you and Barb can both fit through the door on your way out.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Just Vote:

Let me examine my options here (if I COULD vote in the 5th ward. I live in the 3rd, but the 5th is far more interesting in terms of this election):

1. Roger Smithrud - I think we can rule him out right off the bat.
2. Lennie Chism - beats the small business drum but aside from the Uncle Bill's demolition crew, what small business jobs have come to NoMi because of him? Also accused of woman-beating.
3. Kenya McKnight - I like her as a person, and we work together on foreclosure prevention issues. But watching her maneuver through this campaign makes it clear to me that she is simply not ready to be a council member.

So now we're down to Don and Natalie. Okay, so Don hasn't transformed NoMi into Eden Prairie just yet. Thankfully, Natalie was a city council member for pretty much the same area before. So we can fairly well examine her track record vs. Don's. When I do that, Don comes out ahead.

Ranty said...

I vote for hitting both parties!!!


Pond-dragon said...

To Just vote:
When was the last time you went down 26th Ave? See any gang bangers and drug dealers?
Things don't happen overnight:
What "specifically" has Don not done? Did he have the resources to do it? What were those resources?

What specifically could or would NLJ do and how? What and where would she get the resources from?

It is easy to pass judgment from the sidelines, go fight the war, its an entirely different venue.

You could use the same inside out backward logic and say Why hasn't Obama closed down Gitmo? Gotten out of Iraq? Won the war in Afghanistan? Hell he is the most powerful person in the world?

Anonymous said...

Since NLJ has a magic wand that gives her the ability to instantaneously fix all Northside problems overnight, I wonder why she decided not to use it when she was Councilmember before.

Johnny Northside said...

To Don Allen: Yeah, I'll be ENJOYING that steak at the Monte Carlo.

Anonymous said...

The real irony in this whole mess is that when CM Samuels is relected by a majority vote, "all" the detractors that profess to speak for the majority will STILL be talking about how he doesn't belong in office, and doesn't represent the majority.

The morale of the story - if you are able to disguise your true agenda and hide facts with fiction, you can claim to represent the majority.

The reality - if you lumped all of the supporters of all the other candidates (opposing CM Samuels), they still probably won't add-up to the support CM Samuels garners at the polls.

It appears that all of the fringe players brought the wrong concept to the election, yet again. Instead of divide and conquer, they should have adopted a pledge of unity. Had they had the ability (and intelligence) to unify and get behind one candidate, instead of offering-up divided support amongst three, they might have stood a chance to at least make it an interesting race.

Moving forward, I hope they all take it as a lesson learned. To successfully operate within a democratic process, you must bring to the table the ability to negotiate and make concessions, crafting a plan that's in the best interests of the majority (instead of yourself)and move forward with the same conviction. I don't see it happening in the near future.

But, then again, maybe it's enough to be able to sit on the sidelines, draw a paycheck as a "mouthpiece" for the disenfranchised and continue to take pot-shots at those that actually produce something.