Mayoral candidates AJ Awed, Jacob Frey, Kate Knuth and Sheila Nezhad attacked each other over their political files and plans for the future of Minneapolis during a heated debate on Friday, just 10 days before the election day.
Incumbent Frey defended his performance amid the “unprecedented and unpredictable” challenges of COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd and the economic contraction. He stressed his continued opposition to police funding when other officials chatted about their positions.
The challengers pushed Frey to show how he had improved the culture of the department since Floyd’s murder and the unrest that followed, which caused half a billion dollars in damage to businesses largely owned by people of color.
“As a city, we haven’t seen the accountability of any officer, we haven’t seen an after-action review of what happened during that time, so we can actually figure out how to do better because sadly in Minneapolis we have to be prepared for the police killing someone in our city and what happens after, ”said Knuth, a former state lawmaker who runs a climate consulting firm.
“It’s incredibly rich coming from someone who literally voted to remove civilian oversight… now it’s a critical point of his platform,” Frey retorted to Knuth, who, as lawmaker, voted to eliminate the power of a civilian review board to complain and discipline officers. He also criticized his vote to subsidize the US Bank stadium with taxpayer money.
The candidates met on Friday on “Almanac” of the TPT with Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer to discuss the main points of their divergent agendas. Starting with the Minneapolis DFL caucus in April, they’ve fought over multiple stages this year, each trying to stand out amid a crowded field of 17 prospects. “Almanac” determined that the four guests were the favorites of the season for the top spot in town.
Knuth and Nezhad, who vote ‘yes’ on the public safety ballot’s measure to remove minimum staffing requirements for police, also struck a pact to deprive Frey of votes by urging their supporters not at all rank the mayor on their choice of ranking. ballots.
Nezhad is an activist for Reclaim the Block, which co-organized the Powderhorn Park critical engagement by nine sitting council members to dismantle the police department last year. In previous years, Reclaim the Block also lobbied the council to cut $ 45 million from police services.
Nezhad was the top voter in the DFL approval process, followed by Frey.
“I was chatting with neighbors around George Floyd Square yesterday and they said, ‘We feel like the city has abandoned us,'” she said during the debate. “They hear gunshots in their driveway all the time and I asked them, ‘When you see people, who is that?’ And they said, “They’re still kids, they’re still young kids.”
Nezhad mainly refrained from going on the offensive, focusing on describing what she wants from a new public security department, including more violence intervention programs for young people who do not do not involve the police.
Awed, court mediator and leading campaign fundraiser, has vowed to preserve the police service and increase its budget to hire better quality officers to work alongside mental health care providers.
“It’s supposed to be a very long conversation, designed to really give dignity and respect and equality to communities of color,” he said, attacking activist organizations and members of the council who have committed to ending the police service without a city-wide engagement process. , which he called “performative progressives”. “Instead… what we have is forcing policies, bickering over trust and redemption, and we’re honestly not doing the people’s job.”
Awed and Frey support the government structure’s voting measure that would focus the mayor’s authority on chartered municipal services. Nezhad and Knuth oppose it.
All four candidates have said they will vote for the rent stabilization ballot measure, with Frey saying that while he believes city council should have the power to legislate on policies that put caps on private rentals, he doesn’t not personally support rent control.
WCCO will host another municipal debate on Monday.
Nate Atkins, Troy Benjegerdes, Bob Carney Jr., Clint Conner, Christopher David, Mark Globus, Marcus Harcus, Paul E. Johnson, Doug Nelson, Jerrell Perry, Laverne Turner, Kevin Ward and Mike Winter are also on the ballot at the town hall.
Check out the Star Tribune Voter Guide to learn more about the candidates in their own words: startribune.com/mpsvoterguide.
Susan From • 612-673-4028
Previous versions of this story have misspelled Kate Knuth’s first name and misspelled her position on a voting issue regarding the authority of the mayor.