Candidates talk stadium, education

Five mayoral hopefuls discussed development and the city’s schools.

Candidates talk stadium, education

Nathaniel Rabuzzi

A new Minneapolis mayor will be elected in about four weeks, and as the race heats up, candidates are focusing on issues like the new Vikings stadium and the city’s education system.

Mark Anderson, Abdul Rahaman, Doug Mann, Christopher Zimmerman and Ole Savior discussed their views on these topics in interviews with the Minnesota Daily, with plans ranging from stopping stadium development to implementing more hands-on learning programs in Minneapolis classrooms.

Savior, the only candidate on the Nov. 5 ballot to file as a Republican, said he supports the city’s approach to funding the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.

He said if elected, he would use the new stadium to improve the city’s budget and add venues, like a casino, to spur economic growth downtown.

The other four candidates interviewed raised issues with the stadium, including the way it’s being funded.

Last year, the Minneapolis City Council voted to build a new stadium downtown for the professional football team. The plan has received some criticism from residents and political leaders for its $975 million price tag.

Some funding for the project will come from the team, while the rest will come from the city and state.

Zimmerman said he’s against the funding plan because he thinks it’s a waste of money.

“I’d love to get Minneapolis out of the stadium business,” he said.

In July, Mann filed a civil lawsuit against the Minneapolis City Council to try to give the city’s residents more power in the stadium deal.

The case is currently being examined by a judge in Hennepin County District Court, and there has not been a final ruling.

Anderson, a tax accountant, said he’s against initiatives that try to make the city more attractive, like the Vikings stadium deal, because they’re “basically throwing money away.”

He said the city needs more “financially minded” people in government positions who will oppose projects like the new stadium and the new streetcar line the City Council approved last month, which would run down Nicollet and Central avenues in Minneapolis.

Rahaman said he’s also opposed to the new stadium project. It’s an example of elected officials going against the U.S. Constitution, he said, by not letting residents give their input.

“We all take an oath to uphold the Constitution,” he said.

In addition to development, the five candidates interviewed also discussed the city’s education system.

If elected, Zimmerman and Rahaman both said they would go to the school board and teachers to get feedback while drafting education policies.

Rahaman said the system needs to implement better curricula to teach students critical thinking skills and self-awareness.

He also said schools should instate more “hands-on” technical learning programs, similar to what is taught in trade and vocational schools.

Mann said if he’s elected mayor, he plans to work with the school district to alleviate racial discrimination.

“Students of color [are] being exposed to inexperienced teachers and watered-down curriculums,” he said.

Anderson, Rahaman, Mann, Zimmerman and Savior will be on the November ballot along with 30 other mayoral candidates looking to succeed Mayor R.T. Rybak in leading the city.