So you want to be a public servant?

You too could be mayor of St. Paul! Just answer a dozen of the most preposterous, frivolous, and insultingly direct questions you could ever hope to encounter in your whole squirming political life.

2. Spell "Antti Laaksonen."

"I can probably get to the L, and that's about it."

3. Multiple choice: Which of the following is not an active St. Paul street gang?

a) White Tigers
b) Selby Tigers
c) Asian Mafia Crips

"I think it's the Selby one."

4. How do you plan to keep Randy Moss on the Vikings?

"I'm going to play him in a game of one-on-one in basketball, and if I beat him he has to stay. I think I can take him."

5. Where is Inver Grove Heights?

"Inver Grove Heights is south of St. Paul."

CP: Could Blakey be more specific?


6. Are there skeletons in your closet that we should know about?

"I do remember at the age of four taking my brother's [Pixie Stix]. I still carry that around with me."

7. Why does St. Paul put Minneapolis to shame?

"I think because we brew our own beer. I don't think Minneapolis makes their own beer any more."

8. What will be your epitaph?

"He planted his feet and told the truth."


Accuracy: A mixed bag. He scores points for the Frogtown answer, aced the gang query, but dodged the Laaksonen question. As for Inver Grove Heights, well, we have no idea where it is. 34 points

Style: There's a lot to like here: 1) An unconditional embrace of beer; 2) the best epitaph among the mayoral hopefuls; 3) humor. 42 points

Mitigating factor: He didn't know that the Selby Tigers are a local rock 'n' roll outfit. -2 points




Born August 18, 1947 in Flushing, New York. Graduated Hofstra University, 1970; received an MBA from Long Island University, 1973. Moved to St. Paul in 1974. Has not previously held public office. Works as a commercial real estate broker and consultant, former chairman of the Building Owners and Managers Association. Married to Lee Mannillo.

Political Party: DFL

Official Web Site: None

1. What's your favorite strip club in St. Paul?

"I didn't know there's a strip club that's left. There was the Payne Reliever, but I never was there. If they pay their taxes, it's a favorite."

2. Multiple choice: Which of the following is not an active St. Paul street gang?

a) White Tigers
b) Selby Tigers
c) Asian Mafia Crips

"I only know New York gangs, but I guess I'll say b, Selby Tigers."

3. Spell "Antti Laaksonen."

"No way. But I do know who he is! I could name four players on that team: Pellerin, Laaksonen, Hendrickson, Gaborick."

4. Summit or Pig's Eye?

"Politically, it's gotta be Pig's Eye, no question. It's a good DFL beer."

5. What pro-wrestling move would you use to pin Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton?

"I guess it would be the double grapevine. If she was a male, I'd think about it. I don't wrestle women."

6. Do you have any skeletons in your closet that we should know about?

"I got a speeding ticket in Nevada in 1989. The ticket was for 90, but I was going 88, in a speed trap in Death Valley. I complained to the cop, and he said, 'Look, the limit was 65, if you go 70, then there's no ticket, but at 88, you get a ticket.'"

7. Why does St. Paul put Minneapolis to shame?

"It's a human-scale city. That's an honest answer, not a funny one. Everything is more manageable--blocks are smaller, buildings are smaller."

8. What will be your epitaph?

"That's not something I've ever thought about. Isn't that something someone else does? It would be, 'A tightwad and proud of it.'"


Accuracy: Nailed the street-gang question, but bailed on spelling Laaksonen. Still, anyone who can rattle off four Wild players is a true St. Paulite. 25 points

Style: Kudos across the board. Gotta love the nod to Pig's Eye as the unofficial beer of the DFL, the professed knowledge of New York street gangs, and the fearlessness of burning 90 through Death Valley. But we especially appreciated the image of Mannillo putting the "double grapevine" on Minneapolis's rough-and-tumble mayor. 45 points

Mitigating factor: New York accent. Sounds like he's running for Brooklyn borough president. -7 points




Born June 17, 1951 in Israel. Graduated State University of New York, 1973; St. John's University School of Law, 1976; MBA, University of St. Thomas, 1984. Moved to St. Paul in 1976. A St. Paul City Council member since 1998. CEO of the St. Paul-based nonprofit Workers' Compensation Reinsurance Association. Married to Lucy; three sons.

Political Party: DFL

Official Web Site:

1. The Hmong are from what part of China?

"They're not from China; they're mountain people. I think they're from the mountains of Laos."

2. What's the price of a pint of Budweiser at Schweitz Saloon in the morning?


CP: No, it's $2.

Benanav: "I was gonna say $2! I was within a quarter! That's gotta be worth something."

3. How do you plan to keep Randy Moss on the Vikings?

"Randy Moss? Bring him over to St. Paul, declare a Randy Moss Day, give him the keys to the city, hold a ticker-tape parade. We'll get him out of Eden Prairie and show him what a real town is like. My guess is that he doesn't spend enough time in St. Paul. He needs to get down and dirty with real people."

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