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Mayoral candidate Winton’s criticism of Andrew drowns out airport noise issue

MinnPost photo by Karen Boros
Cam Winton posing with a vacuum cleaner on Monday to demonstrate what 70 decibels of noise sound like.

It was supposed to be a Monday news conference about airport noise featuring Minneapolis mayoral candidate Cam Winton. He arrived in his newly decorated old car with a vacuum cleaner at the ready to demonstrate what 70 decibels of noise sound like.

Then there was just one small question about candidates’ campaign finance reports and the whole conversation was off and running in a different direction.

“Mark Andrew has been bought and sold by every union in town,” said Winton. “Mark Andrew has cast his lot with the forces of status quo and Mark Andrew’s campaign finance report reflects that fact.”

A quick count of labor organizations on Andrew’s list of donors includes 14 labor groups, everything from carpenters to pipe fitters to plumbers and sheet metal workers. The list also includes Walter Mondale, Stanley and Karen Hubbard, former Mayor Don Fraser and former Secretary of State Joan Growe.

“If you look at the union bosses that stand between our city and the necessary changes we need to make as a city, they’ve all contributed to Mark Andrew,” said Winton. He then shared some of the changes he would make to Minneapolis that might not get a stamp of approval from the trade unions.

He would consolidate some city and county services, such as finance, human resources and procurement, in the process cutting the combined work forces by as many as 500 jobs, saving as much as $50 million and doing it through attrition as baby boomers retire. He would not lay off workers.

“It’s completely duplicative and completely unnecessary,” said Winton of the two separate systems running across the street from each other. “St. Paul and Ramsey County have gotten smart on this — they’re beating us on this.”

Joe Ellickson, who manages the Andrew campaign, suggested that as a former Hennepin County commissioner, Andrew might be better able to pull off a merger of service staffs than a newcomer like Winton.

“Having relationships matters. It’s a lot easier to get things done with people you have a relationship with,” said Ellickson. He noted that Jim Graves, owner of Graves Hospitality Corp., has endorsed Andrew, as have the union members who work in Graves’ hotels.

“What Minneapolis needs is a mayor who can unite small business and labor and move Minneapolis forward,” Ellickson said.

Back at the news conference, Winton was talking about the need for a fully staffed Police Department and how policy and poverty combine to undermine education.

“We need to see the end of ‘last in, first out,’” said Winton of the policy that drops new teachers first in times of budget shortfalls. “That is a policy that protects mediocre adults at the expense of exceptional children. Mark Andrew has been bought by the teachers union.”

Again, Ellickson took the criticism in stride. “That typically happens to a front-runner,” he said.

Now Winton was rolling. If elected, he would ask the City Council to cut the mayor’s pay from $105,000 a year to $90,000 and establish three possible bonuses tied to performance.

The mayor could receive $10,000, for example, if the high school graduation rate went up, another $10,000 based on road repair goals and another $10,000 based on a public safety goal, perhaps the number of officers on the street.

“Voters of Minneapolis, I am one of you,” said Winton. “I have not been in the insider system. I’m shining a spotlight on this insider system, and nobody embodies this mutual back-scratching society more than Mark Andrew.”

Reporters had gathered on a residential street corner at 58th and Pleasant to talk about airport noise. We were supposed to hear a vacuum cleaner.

“I hope you say something about airport noise,” said Winton, realizing reporters were a lot more interest in his bashing of Andrew than they were in airplane noise.

So here is something about airport noise. The Federal Aviation Agency is considering a plan that would consolidate the current 30 flight tracks over the Twin Cities into seven flight tracks.

If you live under one of those seven new flight tracks, you might have as many as 120 planes a day flying. There was a public hearing on this topic earlier this summer, and the Metropolitan Airports Commission has asked the FAA to delay implementation.

Winton praised the public officials who have been part of the conversation with FAA and promised that if he becomes mayor, he would be at the table with the FAA on behalf of citizens under the flight paths.

“The FAA is poised to put an airplane super-highway in the skies over southeast Minneapolis,” said Winton. “It’s up to us to make sure the FAA does not stick it to us.”

For the record, the FAA is still studying the idea.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Pat McGee on 09/10/2013 - 12:31 pm.

    Clueless Cam

    Does he have any idea what he is talking about? Does he have any idea how much $$$$ and time it takes to bring together completely different computer systems? Does he know the City has a managed services contract with Unisys? How will he get out of that? How will he manage to cut 500 employees without laying anyone off? The finances, human resources and procurement departments in the city employ hundreds less than the 500 “attrition” layoffs he talks about. Does he have any idea about anything? And that the mayor has does not control the public school system or its graduation rates?

  2. Submitted by Chris Clarke on 09/10/2013 - 06:59 pm.

    Bought and paid for Pat

    So Pat, let me guess you are an Andrew supporter. Yes, let us keep the same old, same old in power. They have done such a great job. I mean, just look at the roads in this city. But at least we have some great looking water fountains. And, hey, it doesn’t matter if the police don’t respond to your emergency in a timely manner because there are just too few of them to go around. Were you aware that the Sheriff’s department had to supplement our police just to patrol downtown this summer. No, of course not.

    It is time for the DFL to move out. My taxes only go up, my services only go down, and I can’t drive on a city street without a tank. Yes, let’s keep Mark Andrew and his ilk in charge so we can buy some more $5000 water fountains and bike racks.

    • Submitted by Pat McGee on 09/11/2013 - 09:25 am.

      wow.

      Where and how do you go from asking for Cam (and all the candidates) to use some factual basis for their news releases to me being an Andrew supporter? I don’t live in the City. I have no skin in the game except for having the apparently silly belief that candidates use facts and the reporters press for facts. No facts from Cam in this press release and no apparent attempt to get the facts by questions from the reporter.

      And, yes, I am aware of the long-standing fact that the Sheriff’s department has been supplementing the summer patrols for a very long time. Not just this summer.

  3. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 09/11/2013 - 11:54 am.

    Union support

    Republicans who criticize getting “union support” as status quo of course happen to by financed by big business, and return the favor when asked under the guise of “deregulation” and “tax incentives.”. In today’s world, who has more power – big business or big labor? No question – big business is calling the shots. Unions are “the people” – those hard working people who build our homes and workplaces, teach our kids and do all the things that keep our society functioning. In fact, a candidate who wants to represent “all the people” is the one who is most likely to have strong union backing. Those who work in corner offices and live in million dollars homes a very long time ago stopped understanding what is making this country go – and it isn’t them.

    • Submitted by Chris Clarke on 09/12/2013 - 12:34 am.

      Unions?

      Wow, really…Unions stopped being about the people along time ago. The union management certainly has no interest in the people only that they get what they want.

      And, if unions and DFL’ers are so great, why is this city not the best in the world? You have run it forever. Yet, here we are again, with “new solutions” to the same problems. You have never fixed anything, let alone this city. Why not try something different once, please. If you don’t live here, complain to someone who cares.

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