Public Safety Group Announces City Council Endorsements

Targets Incumbent Defunders  | Urges Public to Register By April 30 for DFL Caucus  |
“Pragmatic, competent, level-headed realists needed to bring Minneapolis back”

MINNEAPOLIS, APRIL 10, 2020 — With Minneapolis city leaders under attack for a widely panned pledge to defund the police and an ensuing historic crime wave, the public safety advocacy group Operation Safety Now (OSN) today announced endorsements for the November 2021 City Council elections. 

The group, which opposes defunding but supports accelerated police reform and accountability, is backing incumbents in only five of the city’s 13 wards, newcomers in six of the wards, and passed altogether on two wards – taking a hard line against incumbents who advocate for the significant downsizing or dismantling of the police department.

Because the city’s Ranked Choice Voting process allows choosing up to three candidates on ballots, OSN made multiple endorsements in wards where sufficient candidates met the group’s criteria for public safety policy and professional qualifications. The list of endorsees, plus details of how they were chosen by a citywide network of volunteers, can be found on OSN’s new website:

Though OSN is nonpartisan and interviewed Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates, the announcement was timed to raise awareness of the DFL party’s caucus registration deadline of April 30.

“The DFL endorsement carries a lot of weight and gives the winners a strong boost out of the starting gate,” said OSN co-founder Bill Rodriguez. “It’s crucial for average residents to get involved and not cede the process to party extremists, who’ll just give us more of the amateurishness we’ve suffered through this term. The way to bring Minneapolis back is with pragmatic, competent, level-headed realists who can bring about desired change without the off-the-rails ideology that threatens to drive us off a cliff.”

OSN’s endorsees are aligned on the urgent need for meaningful police reform, increased police staffing, and investment in alternative emergency response and crime prevention programs that are tested, proven, and do not duplicate scalable services offered by Hennepin County and other allied public safety partners. They have full confidence in Police Chief Medaria Arrando’s leadership and promise to work with, not against, him to implement common-sense policies. 

Approved candidates also oppose a proposed amendment to the City Charter that creates a new public safety department possibly devoid of police or with insufficient officers to protect the city. They also share a commitment to racial justice and equity, with particular emphasis on jobs and affordable housing for families in need. 

Given the current council’s performance shortcomings, OSN volunteers put a premium on professional experience, leaning towards candidates with a track record of managing businesses, people and budgets, and with evidence of strategic thinking, collaboration and people skills. 

Endorsement highlights include the choice of fresh faces to oust defunder incumbents: 

  • Ward 3 – Minneapolis booster Michael Rainville and business executive Merv Moorhead over incumbent Steve Fletcher
  • Ward 4 – Park Board Commissioner LeTrisha Vetaw over incumbent Phillipe Cunningham
  • Ward 5 – Cathy Spann, who is leading the civil suit against the city for insufficient police protection, and Pastor Victor Martinez over incumbent Jeremiah Ellison
  • Ward 9 – Entrepreneur Mickey Moore and youth advocate Al “A.J.” Flowers, Jr., to replace incumbent Alondra Cano, who is not running 
  • Ward 10 – A solid trio that includes firefighter and union chief Chris Parsons, Board of Estimate and Taxation representative David Wheeler and neighborhood leader Alicia Gibson to take the seat being vacated by incumbent Lisa Bender 
  • Ward 11 – Dillion Gherna of Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and small business owner Emily Koski, daughter of former Minneapolis Mayor Al Hofstede, over incumbent Jeremy Schroeder 
  • Ward 12 – Small business owner and long-time resident Nancy Ford over incumbent Andrew Johnson

Operation Safety Now (OSN) is a grassroots movement of Minneapolis residents advocating for urgent and common-sense public safety measures and the election of qualified, competent candidates.  OSN opposes police defunding, supports accelerated reform and accountability, and concurs on the benefits of alternative emergency response services – so long as they are proven, do not duplicate services offered by allied public service partners and do not always come at the cost of deeper cuts to police staffing. The group also opposes two proposed city charter amendments that would replace the police with a vaguely defined public safety department that may possibly exclude officers entirely.