Candidates talk spending, energy

Five Minneapolis mayoral hopefuls talked strategies to improve the city.

by Nathaniel Rabuzzi

Five of the 35 Minneapolis mayoral candidates will focus on issues like government spending, public safety and alternative forms of energy if elected.

Troy Benjegerdes, Don Samuels, Cam Winton, Bob Fine and Gregg Iverson offered visions ranging from creating a new currency to canceling the city’s streetcar plan.

Benjegerdes said he wants to diversify energy options in Minneapolis by creating companies that provide renewable energy locally.

He said he also wants to help Minneapolis’ urban farmers stay in business by giving them more purchasing power in the housing market.

A local version of the Bitcoin program — a global digital currency — would help urban farmers keep potential economic growth in the city, he said.

Ward 5 City Councilman Don Samuels said as mayor he would establish programs to attract new residents to Minneapolis and keep University of Minnesota graduates living in the city.

He said updating the city’s public safety policies by strengthening gun control laws would encourage more people to live in Minneapolis.

Higher population density would lead to a bigger tax base, which in turn would help fund the city’s public school system, Samuels said.

Independent candidate Cam Winton said he’d like to improve the city’s economy by “cutting the red tape” and making it easier for businesses to start and grow.

To encourage businesses to operate in the metropolitan area, he said, there need to be “reasonable taxes” and a less extensive licensing process.

Fine, who served on the city’s Park and Recreation Board for 16 years, said he plans to reduce city property taxes by 5 percent if elected.

The city should streamline departments, Fine said, and encourage more community involvement in

The more people who get involved, the easier it will be to run the city’s government efficiently, he said.

Iverson has previously run to repres0ent City Council Ward 12. He said the city needs to change its budgeting and spend money in “smart ways.”

If elected, Iverson said, he would cancel construction of the new Vikings stadium and stop the city’s plan to implement