November 9, 2012 by Sarah M
By Nick Halter
Minneapolis City Council elections are still a year away, but already challengers are lining up for Meg Tuthill’s Ward 10 seat.
In the past few days, three people have announced they’re running to unseat the first-term councilwoman, who was elected in 2009.
Tuthill said today she plans to run again in 2013.
“Of course I am running,” Tuthill said.
Asked why so many challengers have jumped into the race so early, Tuthill, who has taken some flak for her vote in favor of the Vikings stadium deal and for her hard line against loud Uptown bars, said it’s because of a politically active district.
“Because I live in the 10th Ward. The 10th Ward is always really very fruitful when it comes to candidates. I’m not surprised,” she said. “And the other thing is, I think it’s great because after all, this is a democracy, and where would be without lots of folks being interested in the workings of the city, the policies that the city does? I think it’s terrific.”
Kendal Killian is a 34-year-old lobbyist for Minnesota Association of Professional Employees. He lives in the East Harriet neighborhood with his wife, Kelly Beadle. Killian has been active in DFL-friendly political organizations such as Young Progressive Majority Minnesota, Outfront Minnesota and Health Care for All Minnesota.
“I want to run to build a progressive, next generation city. I want to build a city that fosters small businesses, encourages biking and transit and supports smart, thoughtful development,” Killian said in a telephone interview today.
Killian did not take any shots at Tuthill and said he is not running against her stadium vote. He said he’s unsure how he would have voted on the deal.
Killian said he’d like more focus from the Council on opening up Nicollet Avenue at Kmart as well as investment in Eat Street.
Ken Bradley, 47, said he used to be a stand-up comic and worked for Comedy Central. He’s lived in Minneapolis his entire adult life and owns a home in the CARAG neighborhood, near the Dupont and 31st intersection.
He’s currently the director of Environment Minnesota and helped pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. He worked on Mayor R.T. Rybak’s first campaign in 2001.
Bradley said he would make his council office a meeting place for stakeholders to talk about development in Ward 10, support bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, attract young entrepreneurs, and focus on clean and renewable energy.
“Yes, in part, Meg has her weaknesses, but that’s not the primary reason I’m running,” Bradley said. “I’m running because I believe I can provide a vision of a future Minneapolis and how to move forward, and I think I have the skill set at this point in my life to do some really good work.”
Bradley took issue with how Tuthill handled complaints over noise in Uptown when she proposed cutting outdoor seating for restaurants.
Bradley said he and his wife chose to live near the Uptown and Lyn-Lake scene knowing that it would mean a little more noise than other neighborhoods. They wanted to take be close to the music and arts scene (he says the closing of the Uptown Bar was a great tragedy).
“I think we’re right in the heart of it,” he said. “I think some of the noise issues are legitimate, but we moved into this neighborhood because we wanted to be close to all these things, so we know what comes with it.”
He said most of the noise issues stemmed from just two bars — the now-demolished Cowboy Slim’s and The Drink, which has changed hands.
“I think it is wrong to look at an entire industry and with the swoop of your hand say ‘we’re going to limit outdoor seating because a couple of restaurants and bars are breaking the existing laws and regulation.’”
Tuthill said that her work as a council member has resulted in less noise emanating from Uptown bars and patios. After she introduced a list of patio restrictions to the City Council, she was able to get bar owners to pitch in and make some changes without legislation.
Uptown now has more taxi stands. Local bars are paying for two additional weekend patrols in the neighborhood. She said her office hasn’t gotten any noise complaints this summer. Previously, her office said she would get a large number of complaints about loud music and drunk patrons.
“I think we’ve made some really positive changes and what we did was we got everybody to the table, and that was my goal from the beginning,” Tuthill said. “My goal was to get people to come to the table, and it worked.”
Nate Griggs, 30, is currently working as a combat advisor and social scientist in Afghanistan, a civilian job with the Army. He’ll be there until spring 2013, when he will moves back to the Whittier neighborhood, he said in an e-mail interview.
“I’m coming into this race as an outsider, slightly rough around the edges, and without a robust network of supporters who are indigenous to ward 10,” he said. “I’m well aware of the steep learning curve ahead of me, so I’m entering this race in the learner’s posture – with my ego checked at the door – and with my eyes wide open.”
Griggs said he supports more outdoor patios and restaurants in the 10th Ward, and also wants to encourage microbreweries to locate in the area.
“I understand that this might lead to increased noise complaints, but cultivating a robust patio culture in our city is something that I strongly believe in – I’d expect the positives to outweigh the negatives,” he wrote.
Tuthill has also taken criticism from some who believe she was dismissive of a proposal to open a microbrewery on Hennepin Avenue South.
Killian and Bradley said that if the DFL endorses a different candidate, they will drop out of the race. Griggs is also seeking the endorsement, but said he’s unlikely to abide by it since he will be in Afghanistan when the endorsement takes place.
Tuthill, when asked if she would abide by the DFL endorsement – which she got in 2009 — wasn’t as direct.
“I can’t imagine not getting it,” she said. “I am going absolutely from the positive. I am not thinking of the negative. I can’t imagine not getting the DFL endorsement.”
Under the new city ward boundaries, Ward 10 in 2013 will include the neighborhoods of Whittier, Lowry Hill East, ECCO, CARAG and half of East Harriet.