One of Sarah Strommen’s proudest achievements as the mayor of Ramsey, a city of 24,000 in the Twin Cities northwest exurbs, was building a highway interchange. Highway 10, which runs through the city parallel to a set of train tracks, needed a grade-separated crossing for ambulances and fire trucks. But when Strommen took office as Ramsey’s mayor in 2012, competition for the money needed to build the project was fierce. Nearby cities, like Coon Rapids, had plans for their own road projects and there was disagreement over which project should be the priority. Strommen knew that the lack of coordination would imperil each city’s hopes, though. “When we all go to the Capitol and each say our different messages and sort of look like we’re fighting, the money is all going to South Metro,” she told MinnPost. Instead, Strommen preached a united front, and the local governments worked out a regional plan they could all agree to — a plan that also … [Read more...] about Meet the woman who occupies ‘the most hated place to be in any state government anywhere in the country’
St pauls way trust school
Mitra Jalali Nelson’s first day as Ward 4 St. Paul City Council member was Sept. 5, the first day of school for most students in the city. “I was experiencing my own first day of school,” Nelson said. “I was sworn in at 9 and was in budget meetings by 10.” With her first months behind her, Nelson, who won a special election for the seat Aug. 14, looks to work toward her campaign pledge of increasing affordable housing while handling inherited to-do list items from her predecessor, Russ Stark. Stark left the council to serve as Mayor Melvin Carter’s chief resilience officer. Nelson represents an area encompassing Hamline-Midway, Merriam Park, St. Anthony Park and parts of Como and Macalester-Groveland. She will be up for re-election again in the fall and has already picked up a challenger. The daughter of Iranian and Korean immigrants, Nelson previously worked as an aide to Keith Ellison, the former member of Congress who is the incoming state … [Read more...] about St. Paul’s Mitra Nelson fights on behalf of her fellow renters
Melvin Carter is wrapping up his first year as St. Paul’s 46th mayor. Born and raised in St. Paul, Carter moved to Tallahassee, Florida, for college. After graduating, he returned to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and then began dabbling in local politics. Voters elected him to two terms on the City Council, representing St. Paul’s Ward 1 (which includes the Frogtown, Summit-University, Lexington-Hamline and Snelling-Hamline areas), before he stepped down to take a job in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration in 2013. That was his last gig before being elected to St. Paul’s top job in November 2017, becoming the city’s first black mayor. MinnPost caught up with him this week to discuss his first year in the office: about the biggest challenges facing the city, and what is in store for 2019. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. MinnPost: What were the main issues of 2018 for you? … [Read more...] about ‘The biggest surprise is the number of big surprises’: a Q&A with St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter on his first year in office
Four months ago, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter had to answer what has become a controversial question: How much money should their cities spend on police in 2019? After several high-profile incidents of black men being killed by law enforcement in recent years, police-reform advocates have been looking to see how Minneapolis and St. Paul would approach public safety going forward. Recent cases of excessive force by local officers (and their dogs), as well as allegations of racism within the departments, have intensified criticism, too. So, while completing the annual task of presenting their budget proposals in August, the mayors approached the issue carefully, hoping to satisfy both activists seeking reform and residents worried about safety in their neighborhoods. In Minneapolis, Frey proposed a funding boost so that eight officers could move from desk jobs to beat work, increasing the number of cops on streets and backfilling their office positions … [Read more...] about The debate around policing is similar in Minneapolis and St. Paul. How the cities are responding is not.
When a teenage baseball player named Kent Hrbek was on the cusp of signing a multimillion contract with the Minnesota Twins, he followed the advice of Ron Simon, a trial lawyer he met right before signing his first big deal. "He always said, 'You hit the fastballs; I'll take care of everything else,' " Hrbek recalled. Simon kept his end of the bargain, as did Hrbek. Their professional relationship lasted a decade longer than Hrbek's baseball career, their friendship lasted until Simon's death on Nov. 12. He was 84. Simon was a Twin Cities trial lawyer with a national reputation, and a pioneering sports attorney who represented celebrated draft picks in all four major professional sports including Paul Molitor, Ahmad Rashad, Kevin McHale and Neal Broten. Simon recounted his trailblazing career representing some of the best-known athletes and media figures, including broadcaster Pat Miles, in "The Game Behind the Game: Negotiating in the Big Leagues." His son, Steve Simon, said the … [Read more...] about Ronald Simon, lawyer and high-profile sports agent, dies at 84