TakeAction MN endorses 3 challengers in St. Paul council race because of Cossetta’s flap

TakeActionMN, an umbrella group of 26 progressive organizations, has endorsed three challengers in the St. Paul City Council election next month, because of the incumbents’ votes on a living-wage matter.

After a screening process that brought in 200 members, the group endorsed:

  • Jim Ivey over incumbent Dave Thune in Ward 2
  • Amy Brendmoen over incumbent Lee Helgen in Ward 5
  • Bee Kevin Xiong over incumbent Dan Bostrom in Ward 6.

They also endorsed incumbent Russ Stark in Ward Four.

The group was split, and therefore didn’t endorse, in Ward 1, between incumbent Melvin Carter III and Johnny Howard; and in Ward 3, in the race between Chris Tolbert and John Mannillo for an open seat.

Incumbent Kathy Lantry has no challenger in Ward 7.

TakeAction Minnesota’s executive director, Dan McGrath, said the group’s move to endorse the three challengers stems from the council’s votes earlier this year to grant a waiver exempting Cossetta’s Italian Market from the city’s living-wage legislation, even though it received nearly $2 million in city loans.

Stark was the only council member to vote against the waiver. Carter, Thune and Helgen, who had been endorsed by TakeAction MN in the past, voted for the exemption.

“Our members are serious about holding our endorsed leaders accountable and the Cossetta’s vote angered a lot of our members — especially those motivated to turn out to our candidate screenings this year,” McGrath said in a statement. “Opposition to Instant Runoff Voting, which TakeAction Minnesota has supported at the local level, also was persuasive.”

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/03/2011 - 02:17 pm.

    I applaud these leftist organizations for sticking to their agenda, and I hope they find the Socialist of their Dreams among their endorsed candidates.

    Saint Paul citizens should have every right to flush their city just as far down the toilet as they please.

    That being said, count me as one who is sick and tired of their Mayor schlepping his tin cup up to the Capital every year begging the price of a plunger from the rest of us.

  2. Submitted by Sue Halligan on 10/03/2011 - 02:26 pm.

    I live in Woodbury, but have watched Dave Thune’s political career with admiration for many years. After reading this article, I went to the Ward 2 Blog he authors and read his reasoning for the waiver. He makes eminent sense to me, especially given today’s economy. I think TakeAction, which I have also watched with admiration, lost its way on this endorsement.

  3. Submitted by Patrick Guernsey on 10/03/2011 - 09:51 pm.

    Sorry, but Take Action lost me when the put most of their efforts trying to get felons the vote before they are discharged. Meanwhile, the GOP took the state house and senate. Way to go!

  4. Submitted by bernie hesse on 10/04/2011 - 07:45 am.

    We participated in both screenings and are excited with the endorsements made. Our decision was based partly on the council giving the waiver, but also around the energy the challengers were generating. The St. Paul City Council seems parked in neutral right now, and lacks any “out side of the box” thinking when it comes to providing services, job or economic development. We live in challenging times and we want a council which isn’t afraid to seek solutions which actively involve the whole community not just the regular insiders.

  5. Submitted by Lauren Maker on 10/04/2011 - 09:24 am.

    I wonder if this endorsing process had all the integrity of the Take Action endorsement for the Senate District 61 special election. In that race, Take Action would only screen (and then endorsed) one candidate, claiming lack of staff resources and time to screen them all. Take Action even refused to screen one of their own members, a (woman)candidate in that race. Just a case of creeping good old boys politics? Has the change become the obstacle it seeks to change?

  6. Submitted by Chuck Repke on 10/04/2011 - 11:08 am.

    Couple of interesting points as someone who was there… First off remember you have to Pay to Play with take action MN. My hat is off to the Green Party in Saint Paul that did an excellent job of recruiting people to pay the $35.00 that one needed to vote. There weren’t enough DFL members in the room on the night that they endorsed wards 2, 3 and 6 to have endorsed Obama over whoever the Green Party would have put up. So, clearly the Green Party thought this endorsement was worth something.

    Second, this is one of the groups that “believes” in Ranked Choice Voting… Does anyone else find it interesting that they came out with singular endorsements or no endorsements in all of the races and did not end up encouraging its membership to “RANK” choices? It does say something about how much people actually believe in ranking vs does the Green Party just see RCV/IRV as tool to potentially win a seat.

    I mean their former founding board member Melvin Carter, and the author of the Human Rights Ordinance, and the smoking ban in Saint Paul Dave Thune don’t even get ranked….

    Makes the endorsement pretty meaningless and paid for…

  7. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/05/2011 - 12:47 am.

    Quite a lot of TakeAction-bashing here.

    Just as in local and national elections, those who actually show up to vote decide who wins. The Green Party decidedly showed up at the Thune-Ivey screening to vote for Mr. Ivey, who then won the endorsement.

    You don’t “pay $35 to vote” at one of these screenings. Only members are allowed to vote and the annual membership fee is $36. If you have not joined the organization by paying dues, you don’t have a right to vote.

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