St. Paul mayoral challenger wants seven debates; Mayor Coleman doesn’t

Eva Ng, who came in second in Tuesday’s primary for St. Paul mayor, has challenged incumbent Chris Coleman to seven debates, one in each of the city’s wards.

No thanks, said Coleman’s people. The mayor won the primary with more than 65 percent of the vote.

Said the Pioneer Press:

Coleman campaign manager John Stiles called the GOP-endorsed Ng’s move a “stunt right out of Republican (Gov.) Tim Pawlenty’s playbook” and said Coleman, a Democrat, wasn’t interested in the series of debates until Ng proposed “substantive policies.”

The two have already agreed to debate Oct. 6 in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Coleman is considering a run for governor next year, and Ng repeated her previous challenge of Coleman to sign a pledge to serve out the entire four-year mayoral term if he beats her in November’s general election. Coleman has declined to sign the pledge.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/20/2009 - 02:10 pm.

    Ms. Ng should re-think her strategy. If Coleman were to accept her invitation, she would be deeply embarrassed 7 times rather than 1.

    Although she has declined to run as a Republican, I did have an opporunity to meet her at the Republican Party booth during the Minnesota State Fair. On her primary issue, lower taxes, I found her ideas lacking in either an understanding of our property tax system or the history of efforts by her predecessors (Democrat and Republican) to revitalize downtown St. Paul.

    Based on what Ms. Ng told me, she believes the key to lowering property taxes is to increase occupancy downtown. While this may lead to some increase in the value of the buildings occupied, even full occupancy will not provide a sufficient increase in the base to lower taxes generally. Like most things in life, the problem is much more complicated than filling empty space. We need to understand why that space is empty and, quite possibly, to accept the fact that downtown St. Paul cannot successfully compete for new business, for reasons beyond the city’s ability to influence.

    Given that Ms. Ng sees a revitalized downtown as the key to lower taxes, it surprised me that she was unfamiliar with previous efforts to address this, none of which have succceeded. If she doesn’t know what has been tried and understand why these efforts failed, she has little chance of succeeding herself.

    Her challenge is to tell us what it is she will do to accomplish what has defeated so many before her. And I, for one, won’t accept her claimed success as the CEO of a company created by her husband long before she arrived as evidence of her abilities.

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