Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Matt Filner's Dilemma: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This past weekend was a busy one for Uptown, with the Ward 10 DFL convention crowning Meg Tuthill with the official party endorsement. Prior to the convention both Tuthill and her opponent, Matt Filner, had promised to abide by the endorsement. Well, it’s already Tuesday, and there’s still no official announcement as to whether Filner will stay or go. While I realize there is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment, let me add my voice to the larger chorus: please, Matt Filner, continue your candidacy and give Ward 10 residents – all of them, and not just the DFL faithful – to make their voice heard in November.

While Meg Tuthill won the endorsement by a respectable majority – 62.2 percent – Filner counters that delegates were not representative of the Ward as a whole. “For an extremely diverse ward,” said Filner, as quoted in the Southwest Journal, “it was an extremely non-diverse convention.”

Not everyone agrees with Filner’s assessment; one commenter on the Southwest Journal’s site asks rhetorically, “could there have been any more of a diverse of an audience? I believe Mr. Filner had a gentleman in his 90s there to represent him, and I think I saw a toddler…” So, could it have been any more diverse of an audience? Yes, of course. Diversity is not just age, or even ethnic or racial background. When you’re talking about ward diversity, than geographic diversity is important, too. By most accounts the biggest delegate turnout was from the western part of the ward, leaving residents of other areas (including Lyndale, the most diverse section of the ward and the area most often overlooked by local politics) underrepresented.

Unfortunately for Filner, he stated that he “absolutely” would abide by the endorsement. I was disappointed when he first made that statement, although I realize that there are politics involved, and that it would be difficult for a candidate to gain full support without promising to follow the process. I think it will be difficult to explain away how “absolutely” gets tossed out the window following a loss, even if that loss is based on a flawed system.

I didn’t endorse Filner or Tuthill on this blog because I think it’s best for the ward if local residents have a real choice during the real election. Yes, I assume there will eventually be a Republican (or other party) candidate, but the reality is that a Democrat, and most likely the official, endorsed Democrat, is going to win. The local DFL delegates obviously care about the ward and are committed to the neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean that this limited group of people – however involved and informed - should have the power to essentially crown a winner in April.

Overall, this whole process has left a bad taste in my mouth. I know some will say it’s the system working as it should, but I simply don’t believe that this process works in a one-party town. Mr. Filner, please continue to run. Ward 10 voters – ALL of them - deserve the opportunity to make their voices heard.


  1. Urbanist, I love your blog but have to disagree with you about Filner continuing. Your word is your bond in politics and to back track now is the height of hypocrisy. I don't believe I heard any pre-convention concern about the diversity of the endorsement process and participants only after things did not go his way.

    Matt is also pretty presumptuous to believe that people of color and low income folks would support him over Meg. There is no evidence of that whatsoever.

    I also strongly believe in choices but I think candidate Filner must honor his word. There is plenty of time for other candidates to organize and participate but Matt must lie in the bed he has made for himself. Promises matter in politics, and if Matt continues to run he becomes a say anything to get elected politician, the very worst kind.

  2. While I agree that diversity can be many, many things, age, race, sexual preference, economic, religious, etc... The reality is you must play to win. If you are not present, your silence implies that you consent to the process and to the folks who take time out of their lives to participate in the process, how ever bizarre it might be. Both candidates had passion, and I appreciate that, I was there on that sunny day when I could have been at a park. But I also hope that both candidates can show us their integrity now and stand by their word, and work together to further strengthen the 10th Ward. There is much work to be done!

  3. I'll take issue with one part of that argument, Ward 10 Delegate:

    "If you are not present, your silence implies that you consent to the process and to the folks who take time out of their lives to participate in the process..."

    I don't think non-participation implies consent. In fact, I think participation is more likely to do just that. Most people simply do not have an interest in the nitty-gritty of party politics, and many may not think of themselves as DFLers, even if they tend to vote exclusively for those candidates.

    We had the opportunity to see a real, contested race for the council seat, and that's not likely to happen now. What makes this even more frustrating is that countless voters--many young, many renters--registered in this ward back in the fall to vote for Obama. I don't have numbers, but I think this is a safe assumption, especially based on the anecdotal evidence (huge lines at local polling places as people waited to do same-day registration). There was an opportunity to get these voters into the mix, getting their views and preferences injected into the city council race.

    Now, that opportunity is likely to be wasted. Tuthill doesn't need to campaign hard if Filner drops. Rybak doesn't face any real competition. There is almost no incentive for traditionally unmotivated voters to show up and get involved.

    Their own fault? Sure. But that apathy makes it harder to build a real community here, and I think it also takes away from the legitimacy of our city councilperson. Besides, based on the anemic state of this ward in the past few years, we could use some fresh, new ideas for how to do better.

  4. "Matt is also pretty presumptuous to believe that people of color and low income folks would support him over Meg."

    He didn't say that. He merely said that the delegates weren't representative of the ward as a whole.

    What YOU appear to be suggesting is that 50 or so people (the number of votes that won the endorsement for Meg Tuthill) should elect our City Council members. That isn't democracy; it's what happens when you have single-party rule with a tiny percentage of the population determining the candidate and ultimate winner. Single-party rule is the norm in Minneapolis (that's "norm," not "Norm," thank God), but that doesn't mean the voting public should have to live with what is, for all practical purposes, a single-candidate election.

  5. Hey Anders! I am afraid that at some level it does imply consent. Using your very example of the turn out for Obama, people were sick, sick, sick to death of what was going on and somehow they reached a point that they had to 'get mad as hell and not take it anymore'. It is MOST unfortunate that that same passion does not occupy the same space in their minds for the local elections, where the REAL action is! I kind of think people either don't care or don't want to be bothered if they don't show up. We all have other things we would like to do on what seems like the first nice day since about 1930, but we showed up, didn't we? Because we understand and are engaged. I challenge you to motivate those unnamed, unrepresented masses in the 10th ward who failed to join us. Perhaps next time we will have a full showing and a challenging exchange. I hate to say it, but it is what it is at this point! So let's collect our energy into one bucket and really get something done!
    To Durant: Was your comment for me?

  6. Ward 10 Delegate-
    I still disagree with your assertion that not going to a DFL caucus eight months before election day is a form of mass consent for this process. I would guess that a majority of registered voters in the 10th Ward are unaware of how the process even works. Not turning up at the polls would be a different matter, but these elections are decided literally seven to eight months before a majority of voters have a chance to weigh in.

    In 2013, I hope the candidates agree to simply ignore the DFL endorsement procedure and focus on a meaningful campaign in which everyone gets to decide the outcome. And this isn't sour grapes or being upset over Matt losing -- I made the same argument to him back in March. Just for the record.

  7. I'm with Anders. The current system reminds me of the system in the former Soviet Union, the GDR, or Saddam Hussein's Iraq: A small number of party members select a candidate, and the electorate ratifies the party's choice.

    BTW, just for the record, I'm not objecting to Meg Tuthill; she seems like a capable and charismatic person who'd approach the City Council job with enthusiasm--at least until the 100th phone call from a nettlesome NIMBY with an axe to grind. What I'm objecting to is the process and the lack of democratic (or Democratic) choice. The process didn't matter in 2005, when there were three candidates and none got the endorsement, but this year we were again faced with a situation where some 29,800 of the ward's roughly 30,000 voters were deprived of the chance to pick a City Council member. People can talk about "instant runoff voting" and other palliatives until the Bossie and Elsie come home, but the underlying problem--a single-party system where the party delegates choose elected officials--won't be solved so easily.

  8. Oops--that's "Bossie and Elsie," not "the Bossie and Elsie." (I must have been thinking of a bovine Springsteen when I typed the latter phrase.)

  9. Ok, the process leaves something to be desired. Then let's use our grassroots brains to figure out how to best educate and engage folks. If it doesn't happen in the 10th Ward, it ain't gonna happen anywhere! Anyone wanna take the challenge here with me? If we can't build a better mousetrap today, let's at least figure out how to interpret how the mousetrap works and give people reasons to engage. That sounds like fun, no?

  10. 'Ok, the process leaves something to be desired. Then let's use our grassroots brains to figure out how to best educate and engage folks.'

    Look, even if you tripled participation at the ward convention, you'd be talking about 600 delegates making a decision for 30,000 voters instead of 200 delegates making that decision. To borrow a phrase from the 2008 presidential election, that would be like putting lipstick on a pig.

  11. I understand the frustration with the DFL endorsement process. But what truly astonishes me is that Matt was so easily out-maneuvered in a political process he should understand in depth by now. He's been deeply involved in DFL endorsement campaigns for years (Kelley for Governor, Kelley for AG, Ritchie for Secretary of State, Simon for House, etc.). Matt HAD to know that to win this endorsement he needed to motivate his base to show up at caucuses. Did Matt have any strategy at all?

    I am not willing to concede Anders' argument that less privileged more diverse people don't go to caucuses -- Matt never bothered to get his people there. And Matt has been in enough of these races to know that he needed his people at the caucuses in order to win endorsement. His campaign, however, appears to have been built around his progressive pedigrees and outside endorsements -- an odd strategy for an endorsement race. Yet he pledged "absolutely" to abide by the endorsement.

    All of this shows me that Matt just isn't ready for prime time.

    I understand how this internal political process can be complicated for a neophyte, but Matt has been in the thick of this for years now. To see him miscalculate so miserably and then bow out (if he does) pretty gracelessly, I have to question how he would function in the rough-and-tumble of an actual political process. His decisions, calculations and character as a candidate are indicative of what kind of a council-member he would be.

    I've had it with ineffective representation on the Council. I don't want a representative who can be so easily flanked in a political process he should know like the back of his hand.

  12. Perhaps the answer is for Matt to step down and for someone else to run. I agree with some of those who posted here that the DFL endorsement takes away choice and that it isn't fair to the residents to only have one 'real' choice.

    Perhaps the answer in the future, as asked, is for the DFL not to ask the question if candidates will honor the endorsement process and drop out if not selected. Perhaps the DFL endorses and provides resources to the endorsed, but encourages the other candidate run a positive campaign. If a strong non-DFL candidate comes along, the DFL could choose to help out its endorsed candidate even more.

    With the IRV process, the DFL wouldn't be as hurt, as both DFL candidates would likely be #1 or #2 choices vs. the non-DFL candidate. I don't see it as particularly damaging to the party. If anything, it keeps the candidates in the eye of the public and provides media attention, which probably would be good for the party...if the candidates run a positive campaign.

  13. Anonymous 10:20 - I like your future solution, and hope that the DFL will consider taking that route in the future. With IRV in place that strategy would bring with it a lot of benefits.

    Anonymous 7:50 - I hadn't thought through the larger implications of Matt's political miscalculations. I'm not sure I entirely agree, but you make some very valid points. I was won over to his side in the end (I've found some of Meg's comments troubling), but will admit that I was initially a little turned off by the focus on outside endorsements. Those would have been offset if he had a more established Ward 10 reputation in addition to his stellar outside credentials.

  14. It is sour grapes to complain now. Both candidates agreed to the process and neither candidate found fault with the process before last Saturday. If you want to work on how the process is run in the future, fine, but it is too late for this endorsement round. If Meg had lost, Matt would be all over her about abiding. It is disingenuous for Matt to protest now.

  15. I am all for a contested race, but I don't understand why people want Matt to be the alternative candidate. He has zero experience in the ward, and we have already seen what happens when a candidate with great progressive credentials parachutes into the ward. Matt ran an unimpressive convention effort, demonstating he could not effectively connect with 230 delegates, what does that suggest about his effectiveness as a council member? At the end of the convention he didn't even have the grace to make an appearance to the delegates to thank them for their participation, or congratulate Meg. Instead, he retreated behind his supporters into a private office, and whined that the delegates were not "diverse" enough. Haven't we already had four years of this act?

  16. Anonymous 10:26: Who said it's really Matt that people want to support? Perhaps it's that they want a competition or they don't want Meg, so they're going to the strongest other contender, or their most preferred candidate. It sounds like from those commenting here, that it's about choice. A lot of people may indeed be turned off by Matt's choice to go against what he said, if he continues to run. For his political future, he may want to try and save face and perhaps even endorse Meg.

  17. People in this post are encouraging Matt to run. He took the shot he wanted, and was found lacking. Can't we find an alternantive?

  18. The same folks that are encouraging Filner to run are the same ones that would be touting the endorsement process if Filner had snagged it. The issue is their candidate didn't get it and they don't like the other candidate and so now they aren't supporting the process.

    Filner talks a lot about diversity - but if indeed he is such a pro at turning out diverse folks -as he says in his resume and speeches - then why didn't he do it at caucuses?

    The bottom line is he counted on the big guns to pull him through - while Tuthill got her folks to caucus and to the convention and won handily.

    The bottom line is that candidates who don't work hard to get elected, won't work hard once and if they are voted into office. I'm sure a large part of Filner's running, despite not getting endorsed, is his huge embaressment at claiming to be a mastermind at getting people endorsed and elected and not being able to do it himself.

  19. My concern is more about lack of choice than it is about Meg versus Matt; I believe that an actual race (beyond the endorsement process) encourages larger community discussions about both city and ward issues. I, for one, would be thrilled if there was a legitimate alternative out there willing to enter the race. If Matt had won the endorsement I would have wanted Meg to continue running, too.

  20. Matt's campaign workers all seemed to be white and under 30. That's not very representeive of the ward either...

  21. As I recall there were just under 200 delegates, 68%+ of whom chose Meg Tuthill. Matt's campaign was nicely organized but I believe there couldn't be better voice for the 10th ward other than Meg. Really. She's an amazing person who cares about the ward. She's not politics a ususual. Matt seemed to want to stand behind all of his endorsments with no real agenda- it seemed he was just another candidate hand picked by the same people already* representing the city.

  22. Wow, everyone is really amped up on this blog.

  23. Apparently I made up my numbers... 62.2% on the second vote :)

  24. "It is sour grapes to complain now. Both candidates agreed to the process and neither candidate found fault with the process before last Saturday."

    The candidates aren't participants in this thread (as far as we know), and what they did or didn't find fault with has nothing to do with whether the endorsement process is representative of the electorate.

  25. Sean, it's great that you think Meg is great for the Ward. Not everyone thinks that though. She didn't have 100% of the vote and I think the point that some of the posters here are making is that a small amount of the Ward's residents should not make the decision for everyone else, given that there isn't any official word of an alternative choice. The flaw that has been mostly pointed out is that approximately 40 to 50 delegates most likely decided the election (ie. the spread between Filner and Tuthill).

    Some themes that seem to have appeared is this:
    - There is a group of people who feel that the DFL endorsement process limits choice since there rarely has been a strong non-DFL candidate recently in Ward 10.
    - Filner said he'd abide by the endorsement, which a group of people think is really important for him to honor.
    - A group wants Filner to continue running so that there is choice.
    - A few people (including Filner) has indicated that the DFL endorsement process did not include a realistic representation of the Ward, and therefore Filner may run because of that flaw.

    I'm not trying to say any of those arguements are better than the other. I think it probably depends on who you support.

    I disagree with one of the Anonymous posters (11:31) said, which was that these posters would be calling on Meg to stop running if she had lost. That's quite the assumption. Almost everyone who's posted here calling for Filner to run seems to be saying it's about choice and seem open to other candidates emerging. Certainly some may match that profile of calling for Meg to step down, but I think you'd also hear them saying that Meg should continue. Otherwise their arguments are weak and not sincere.

    Where's Harry Savage, Allan Bernard, Scott Persons, or Gay Noble? Or Dan Niziolek? What about some other activists or community leaders?

  26. Dunno about Harry Savage, Scott Persons, or Dan Niziolek, but unless I'm mistaken, Allan Bernard and Gay Noble are openly supporting Meg Tuthill. Indeed, Mr. Bernard appears to be channeling her, since I've received at least two Meg Tuthill campaign e-mails from his e-mail address!

  27. Another thought on party endorsements at the ward level: Such endorsements can work against the greater interests of the party, because people who are endorsing a specific candidate for their own personal and highly local reasons (preservation of small-town values, opposition to development even at the cost of a shrinking tax base, hostility toward "downtown," etc.) may be a threat to the party's larger agenda (progressive values, having the wherewithal to maintain or increase human services, and so on).

  28. Scott Persons is working outside the U.S. right now but sent emails to Ward 10 delegates stating that he supports Meg.

  29. Durant,
    Are you suggesting that lcoals shouldn't be trusted to select their own candidates? That did seem to be the attitude on display by the Filner elected endorcees at the convention, but I doubt they would formulate it quite as honestly as you did. I wonder what we would call that process, since it certainly would not be democratic.

    The endorcement was not determined by 40-50 delegates, but by the 195 who voted on the second ballot. Meg received 55% more votes then Matt with her 112 to 67 margin. That is not even close. To suggest otherwise sounds a little like the Republican "do over" argument being advanced by the Coleman campaign. Almost 2.5 million voted in Franken-Coleman, should we really let 312 voters (a margin on less than a thousanth of one percent) decide the race?

  30. "Scott Persons is working outside the U.S. right now but sent emails to Ward 10 delegates stating that he supports Meg."

    Well, duh! For a former candidate who might well like to run again, having a Council member in her 60s as a seatwarmer is likely to be more appealing than having a 30-something guy in the job.

    "Are you suggesting that locals shouldn't be trusted to select their own candidates?"

    On the contrary. The current endorsement process makes the vast majority of locals (meaning the electorate) irrelevant, because the election results are determined--for all practical purposes--by a small number of delegates who attend the DFL's ward convention.

    Maybe I'm old-fashioned (and not just old), but I like to think of myself as being from the democratic wing of the Democratic party.

  31. Jerry - 45 votes is all that separated Meg Tuthill and Matt Filner. This is not like the Coleman do-over argument because it wasn't an actual election. It was an endorsement convention. I was not saying that the endorsement process super flawed and should be thrown out. I haven't said that the DFL shouldn't support Meg. Rather, I've said that 45 votes is what will decide this election, and it wasn't 45 votes at a general or primary election. I see your point though and will be happy to comment on the fact that in total that only 195 people were voting. That just confirms that a very small portion of the electorate are deciding the election.

  32. I would trust criticisms of the endorsement process a bit more if they did not come on the heels of Filner's defeat. I hope readers here are aware that two individuals (Anders and Thatcher) who share Durant Imboden's last name were very strong, vocal and open supporters of Matt Filner.

    I get that you don't like the process. Where were you when the rules were being set for this endorsement? Why didn't you do something to change the process BEFORE the endorsing convention. We've known IRV was coming for awhile. You lose a lot of credibility when you complain about the process now and family members were active and vocal supporters of the loser.

    Let it go. Work to change the process going forward ... perhaps even do away with endorsing conventions altogether in favor of the IRV process. But the artificial indignation judy rings hollow. Call me cynical, but I just don't buy that you would be so vitriolic had Matt won. And if you claim that you would be, doesn't that underscore my point: your argument may be good, but your timing wrecks everything.

  33. I am not sure why there is disagreement about the results, 122-67, which is a 55 vote margin (Meg got almost 2 votes for every Matt vote). Results are posted here:

    We need to have a process to select party designated canddiates (although I would be thrilled if we did not allow city council, school board, and park board candidates to seek or use party endorcements), the endorsing convention was what both candidates agreed to be bound by.

    The two canddiates could have argued the endorsing convention was not inclusive enough and vowed to spend their time and effot on the general election (since we do not have a primary anymore). That is not what these candidates said or did.

    No process is perfect, but the endorsing process allows true grass-roots candidates (Wellstone never would have been the DFL candidate without the endorsement process) to win races without major financial resources or the support of party insiders. The way you do that is by actually engaging and talking to the delegates, who are a relatively small number of people. On local races this is actually a good thing, becaude the candidtates can be tested for their knwoledge on local issues. The level of engagement that delegates demand from candidates is much higher than door knocking candidates in a general election can ever give, so the delegates have the ability to judge candidates in ways the general voter never will. Yes, that may exclude some without the time to give, but it also levels the playing field for canddiates who don't have access to large political machines/money.

    That is what happened here, the delagates spoke to the two candidates, pre-convention (and at the convention) and went overwhelmingly for Meg (her total was 182% of Matt's).

  34. Anonymous 9:53, I'm not sure if you're directing your comment to me, or to Anders and Durant (unless Thatcher is posting here as anonymous I don't see him in this discussion), or to the critics at large, but I did post about the importance of choice prior to the election.


  35. "I hope readers here are aware that two individuals (Anders and Thatcher) who share Durant Imboden's last name were very strong, vocal and open supporters of Matt Filner."

    And what about members of the Anonymous family who have been ardent opponents of Mr. Filner and the democratic process? :-)

    Anyone who thinks I take my marching orders from my sons, or that they take their marching orders from me, doesn't know me or them. (I'm at least as independent and ready to speak my mind as Meg Tuthill is, by the way--which is why I can't help wondering how long it would be until she'd be fed up with a job that requires Montessori skills and a skin thicker than an armadillo's.)

    Furthermore, anyone who hides behind an "Anonymous" mask while questioning the motives of other posters by name and/or association needs to read "Personal Integrity for Dummies."

    As for the "grassroots politics" argument, I wonder if those who equate single-issue interest groups with the Wellstone progressive movement would feel the same way if the DFL's precinct caucuses became the target of Scientologists, book-banners, or frustrated Sally Howard Republicans who decided that, in a city dominated by the DFL, the best way to beat 'em is to join 'em.

    A final suggestion: Read the Uptown Urbanist's April 24 analysis of "The Tricky Nature of Community Involvement," http://uptownmusings.blogspot.com/2009/04/tricky-nature-of-community-involvement.html. It's a fine work of journalism (better than most of the local articles that I've seen in the Strib or the SW Journal lately), and it may open a few eyes to the potential risks of having a small subset of the population make decisions that affect the electorate at large.

  36. "I get that you don't like the process. Where were you when the rules were being set for this endorsement?"

    Sitting at a table at Lucia's, telling Matt Filner that the process is flawed, that the electorate should have a real choice, but that I would support him because my pragmatism (preference for Filner based on our conversations) outweighed my frustration with objective realities (the DFL won't willingly release its strangehold on local politics).

    Or maybe that was a rhetorical question...

  37. Anders:
    One has to wonder why Matt didn't take your advice instead of agreeing "absolutely" to abide by the endorsement. Sounds like you saw the writing on the wall back then -- why didn't he? As other posters have noted here, this process is not new to Matt. Indeed, one has to wonder why Matt was woefully unable to get any of his purported various and sundry Ward 10 supporters to the convention. Did he even try?

    It sounds to me like there has been a lot of complaining (and blogging) about a flawed DFL endorsement process in Ward 10. But none of the objectors has really done anything to change it.

    I hope this has been a learning experience for you. Lucia's is a nice place for a drink. But you need to get out of the wine bar if you want to change the process.

  38. "I hope this has been a learning experience for you."

    Easy there, cowboy. It's a long way down from that high horse. I've been through the caucusing and convention process a few times now. I think it's a downright idiotic idea in a one-party city. But it's the responsibility of the DFL to change its ways. I am not a DFL activist, nor do I have any burning desire to be involved in party politics. So, working outside that system, I explained my distaste for the nomination process to Matt Filner. If he disagreed with my assessment, that's his business. I did my part: explaining my position, and attending the convention so I could at least have some semblance of a voice in a theoretically democratic election.

    By the way, it was Lucia's To Go. And you need to attach your reputation to your words if you want them to be taken seriously.

  39. I heard my name was being thrown around a little bit so I figured I should respond.

    Let's clear a few things up. While I was an open supporter of Filner, I wouldn't consider my actions relating to the campaign particularly strong or vocal. I shared my opinions with some people, mostly privately, and allowed Filner to use my name as a supporter. There are various reasons why I wasn't able or chose not to be more involved.

    I would consider my support of Scott Persons in 2005 as very strong, as I spent countless hours helping his campaign.

    I agree with those on this blog that have called for choice, though I'm not going to weigh in publicly on what Filner should do. He knows my thoughts and I do not envy being in his position. My support for Filner had to do with his principles and his understanding of City issues. He was positive and appears to have a vision of what Minneapolis and Ward 10 can be. His core principles and vision is what captured my support.

    I wanted to keep out of this blog's debate as my brother and father seem to have posted a lot here. I don't need to add another Imboden voice, though it's slightly different than that of my relatives. We're all independent as far as personalities and politically, we have different takes on certain issues.

    There is a problem with the process or with the organization when those active within the process or organization think it is okay that not many people are participating, especially when the participants don't adequately reflect the community. That said, the endorsement process has occurred and I'm not suggesting that the lack of participation justifies negating the decision that was reached. However, moving forward, I'd hope that EVERYONE would see the importance of engaging all members of the organization, in this case the DFL.

    This is an issue in neighborhood groups as well, which Uptown Urbanist discussed in a post. I was at an Uptown Small Area Plan steering committee meeting when I suggested that the process needed to include getting input from various groups, including bar goers. I had one lady in particular who very emotionally told me about how she didn't care what those people thought, as they just pee on her lawn or litter. It are views like that that bring down the quality of our work.

    A common comment that I heard while involved with CARAG is that the community had an opportunity to get involved and they chose not to. My comment has always been that perhaps the outreach failed. I recognize that a community cannot always get everyone involved, but I think it's important to at least extract critical information from those sub-commnunities (renters, low-income earners, minorities, employees, business owners/managers, etc.), as it can inform those that do make the decision. It is that information along with an open and well-publicized process that makes more adequate community engagement and decision making. Anything less and the belief of the decision makers that it's okay that we don't have more people involved that takes away credibility from the entire process. Making strides to improve it at least shows the recognition of the problem and dedication to fixing it.

    I don't hold fault with those who participate within the process to not change this. It would be great if they did, but it's not ultimately their responsibility. It's the responsibility of organization leaders to address it. Not everyone can be involved in that, as they may already be involved in other activities or may not have the skills to deal with it. I certainly don't have the time to participate in the Rules Committee of the DFL in Ward 13. I wish I did, but I am over extended. But I should expect that those elected and volunteering for those positions will do the best job they can on that issue.

  40. The DFL endorsement is the product of an OPEN PROCESS, available to everyone in the district who identifies as a Democrat.
    It is an important means for ordinary citizens to join together to affect public policy, and has been available to oppose wars, coalesce support on important issues and elect candidates such as Wellstone, Obama, Ellison, Rybak, etc. In 2008 over 500 people participated in my precinct.
    It is the single most effective means of holding an office holder in a heavily Democratic district accountable. Why do you think the current incumbent is not seeking re election?
    The power establishment gets very annoyed with the caucuses because of this phenomenon, and efforts are made every now and then to replace the caucus with a presidential primary in order to avoid the influx of new participants who might challenge an incumbent.
    Minnesota's reputation for clean politics owes a lot to this process, and we should cherish it.

    In my view, the MN GOP made the mistake of constricting their process so that only those who had worked in the trenches for years could become delegates to conventions. The result was limited participation and vulnerability to takeover, as happened with the anti-abortion raid which drove so many moderate Republicans out. The anti-abortion attempts to take over the DFL never scored more than about a third, which reflects their presence in the general population.
    It therefore behooves us all to encourage broad participation in Minnesota's caucus/convention system. The alternative to endorsement by a few hundred who show up is endorsement by a far smaller group of those with vested interests in the outcome and the money to make a difference.

    Meg Tuthill out-organized and outshone Matt Filner, and she earned our support. Matt Filner should respect the process.

  41. "The DFL endorsement is the product of an OPEN PROCESS, available to everyone in the district who identifies as a Democrat."

    You're missing the point: the fact that, in Minneapolis's largely one-party system, the endorsed DFL candidate nearly always ends up in office. The endorsement process therefore turns the election into a mere formality. That might be an acceptable scenario in China or Cuba, but it should be embarrassing in a country (and a party) where "democratic elections" are expected to be more than a slogan.

  42. So Durant what would you suggest? I have heard
    local Republicans saying the same thing. But I think those trying to criticize the endorsement process should have done something before not after it's over.
    And those trying to characterize Tuttle as not progressive or not in touch with the ethnic community show blatant ignorancee of her thirty year, mile long record of service to both. Matt just couldn't match that, and it showed at the meeting. If Matt or anybody else thought other groups would prefer another candidate why didn't they hustle and get those people to come? Why don't you think renters, low income workers, minorities wouldn't have been impressed with Megs speech and Meg's record, I think they would.
    I have worked for many candidates and have always started recruiting before not after any kind of election. Matt must have thought he had it won, that's not Meg's fault or a failure of the process.

  43. I haven't seen people saying that Meg isn't in touch with the "ethnic community" - just that the process itself lacks sufficient involvement by renters, non-white residents, etc. Whether or not they choose (or would have chosen) Meg or Matt is besides the point.

  44. Uptown Urbanist for Ward 10! You'd have my vote.

  45. From Matt's site-

    Dear Fellow Ward 10 Resident,

    I am writing you today to officially announce my withdrawal from the Ward 10 City Council race. Although I was disappointed with the result of the April 18th convention, I am a strong proponent of the DFL endorsement process and will abide by the endorsement decision reached at the convention.

    I am proud of our campaign. Throughout the process, we stayed focused on the issues that bring us together. Although there is always a temptation to try to win an election by dividing voters against one another, I am proud that we talked consistently about a broad vision for our Ward and for Minneapolis. With your help, I will continue to work for:

    Safe and livable neighborhoods
    Responsible budgeting to prepare for the future
    Investments to strengthen our great neighborhoods
    Economic opportunity for all
    An end to homelessness and poverty
    As I said in my speech at the Convention, we are a city of great neighborhoods, but our greatness as a city is more than simply the sum of our neighborhoods. We need to reject the temptation to create an “us vs. them” politics and embrace instead a politics that values and promotes everyone in our great city.

    I look forward to many conversations as we continue to strengthen our neighborhoods, and our great city. Please call me on my cell phone (612.385.9634) or email me anytime at matt@mattfilner.org.

    Thank you for your support, your hard work, your careful consideration, and your leadership in our Ward. We are a great ward and city because of people like you.


    Matt Filner

  46. Filner is still a wiener 4 years later.