Get involved in local politics

The DFL precinct caucuses offer students a great opportunity to help pick a candidate for Minneapolis City Council elections.

Much of the real power to get things done comes from intensely local politics, such as city council positions. Minneapolis City Council member Paul Zerby, Ward 2, who represents the Minneapolis campus and surrounding areas, is stepping down after this term.

Zerby’s short tenure as a council member generally was not one that favored the University. The University is

drastically underrepresented at the City Council. With some effort, students can change that, starting today, when the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party will hold its precint caucus for Ward 2 at 7 p.m. at Ann Sullivan School.

So far, the only voice that has emerged that is clearly in favor and representative of the students is that of Dan Miller. Other candidates for the City Council seat include DFLers Cara Letofsky, Jerry Stein and Bill Svrluga. Cam Gordon

is running for the Green Party. Miller, a graduate student and Democrat, said he would get residents involved by allocating resources to neighborhoods, which would include funding for revitalization programs and communications efforts.

It is early to offer an endorsement for the council seat. But the political process is well under way. The general election is Nov. 8. Candidate filing begins in July, and the primary is in September.

Democracy is a long and complicated process, not necessarily conducive to citizen participation and dominated by party diehards. Often, the candidates for elections are decided long before the marker blots the oval.

From housing regulations to how funding is parceled out, the City Council is more important than many people think. Students have been trying to compete with businesses and neighborhood associations for attention. So far, they have been neglected.

For students to be represented, they will have to start

the political process early. Participating tonight is a good start. The worst that can happen is that you get your voice heard.