Minneapolis neighborhood activists rejoice! Bob Miller, the longtime head of the city’s expiring Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP), is running for mayor in 2009, the Southwest Journal’s Christof Traudes reports.
This is your official reminder that DFL’s mayoral endorsement process begins, gulp, now.
NRP, which has funneled oodles of dollars to neighborhoods since its 1990 inception, ends next year. Miller, and some of the neighborhood leaders he’s worked with over the years, are pissed about the independent, multi-jurisdictional program’s demise in favor of what they see as an R.T. Rybak-led City Hall power grab.
So call this one a grudge match, should Rybak decide to seek re-election. (This could be something of a replay of 2005, when Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, backed by the same NRP activists who presumably are Miller’s backbone, got trounced.)
I spoke to Rybak Sunday, who said he has a planning process in place to run for mayor in ’09 or governor in ’10. He said he hasn’t decided which path to take.
While it’s hard to come up with a single person more identified with NRP than Miller, he won’t be the last person in this race. Plenty of rivals await, some who have actually won elections before, and it remains an open question how deeply Minneapolis voters will use NRP nostalgia as an organizing principle.
[Disclaimer: I am the past president of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association, and still serve on the board. I also serve on our neighborhood’s NRP committee. But I’m not carrying a torch and pitchfork over the coming changes.]