Candidate Booty seeks to send ideas to City Hall

by Robyn Repya

Editor’s note: This profile is part of The Minnesota Daily’s continuing coverage of Minneapolis’ mayoral candidates.

At Bob’s Java Hut in Uptown, everybody knows his name: Jeffrey Amadeus Booty. At Bob’s, everybody also knows his goal: to get his ideas for a better Minneapolis into the city’s highest office.

But Booty, an independent candidate, stresses that it doesn’t matter if he gets into office as long as his ideas do.

“I want my ideas to make it into office,” he said. “I’ve made good contact with the candidates who stand a chance of getting elected.”

Booty has organized four Sunday afternoon meetings with other mayoral candidates at Bob’s to hash out plans for the city. He said he plans to hold those meetings until the Sept. 11 primary.

Candidates discussed administrative communication with citizens, the police-community relationship and housing.

Booty said he feels the city needs to change the way its administration communicates with citizens.

“The communication with the city is not a dialogue, it’s a monologue directed at citizens,” he said. “(The administration) run the city as if it was a for-profit organization; they never see the damage created on the non-business front – on a socio-economic level.”

Housing for the homeless and police-citizen relationships are major focuses of his campaign.

Booty said he feels some police department programs aimed at making the city safer actually increase racial and economic profiling.

In his flier, Booty said he wants the police to “treat the sources, not the symptoms of crime.”

To alleviate the housing crisis, Booty said the city should “change the zoning to be more open and house people on city lots that sit empty.”

To find housing for as many people as possible, Booty said he would institute a housing waiver system that would allow tenants to rent sub-standard housing at a sub-standard rate.

“The city has been attacking both landlords and renters, while pretending to be on both sides,” he said.

Booty, 32, is a former construction worker who now works as a receptionist at Olive Salon downtown. He has been a Minneapolis resident for 14 years after moving from Oklahoma.

When asked what he likes most about Minneapolis, Booty said, “the people.”

“In Oklahoma there’s a lot of racism and sexism, where people are persecuted for being different. In Minneapolis there’s a huge undercurrent of tolerance,” he said.

Opponent Lisa McDonald said Booty makes the race interesting. “He’s got great ideas; he’s a lot of fun to have in the race,” she said.

Bob’s Java Hut employee Chad Johnson said, “He hasn’t been getting press because the media has determined who the four candidates should be with the channel two forum. But he has something to add to the debate.”

The forum broadcast by Twin Cities Public Television and sponsored by the Star Tribune had set criteria for candidates. Booty said he didn’t meet two parts of the criteria: door-knocking and yard signs.

He said focusing on yard signs is like candidates saying “they don’t mind if you don’t know what they stand for, as long as you remember their name.”

Booty doesn’t want to door-knock, either. “Its not my business to interrupt their comfort – if they’re in the public sector I’ll talk to them,” he said.

“I believe that I would be the best person to execute these ideas …” Booty said. “Even if I’m not elected, maybe I could be appointed to execute my ideas.”

Booty said the first thing he wants to change about Minneapolis is who holds the power: “I want the citizens to rule the city, not the city ruling the citizens.”