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.

Norm's out. Countless others are in--maybe. Who will be the next mayor of St. Paul? The first quadrennial City Pages mayoral pop quiz of insignificant questions, baffling insights, and knee-slapping gaffes will help voters sift through the cast of pretenders.

Admit it. You like Norm Coleman. Sure, you don't trust him, and the reasons are legion: the jump from the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party to the Republican camp in 1996; the Music Man aesthetic of his 1998 gubernatorial bid; the fact that he has been a Minnesota state chair or co-chair for the presidential campaigns of both a Bubba and Dubya. Not to mention the sheer chutzpah of hosting a KSTP-AM (1500) radio show called "Norm From St. Paul," even though we über-provincial Minnesotans know full well that he's really from Brooklyn.

Still, there is a certain poor-man's-Kennedy charisma that Coleman has sprinkled on us denizens of St. Paul over the last few years. While Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton exists as some sort of governing-by-proxy abstraction, Norm from St. Paul has a knack for appearing everywhere without ever falling on his sword when things go awry. Like Mayor Quimby on The Simpsons, he can wheedle a little PR boost from even the most dire situations: "I was nev-ah hee-yah. Vote Quimby." Who else would take a failed gubernatorial bid and baldly repackage it into a push for a new baseball stadium? Sure, maybe Norm's hands are a little greasy, but at least they're his hands.

So, though it's hard to say that we're gonna miss Norm while he sits out the upcoming mayoral race in St. Paul (after all, a potential Norm-Jesse II dustup is only a year away), the unspectacular list of earnest candidates vying for city hall has left us wanting for a little more...insincerity. Or ego. Or star power. Or something. We realize that outside of maybe 1,000 or so civic do-gooders in our capital city, nobody is really fired up about billboards along University Avenue, the University of St. Thomas campus expansion, or the seemingly endless parade of corporations slopping at the public downtown real estate trough.

That's why City Pages has taken great pains to research the issues, candidates, and questions that will galvanize the public. Like sex. And alcohol. And pro wrestling. After consulting with highly paid political advisers, citizen activists from every nook of the city, and a focus group of topless dancers, City Pages has put together the first-ever mayoral pop quiz. After whittling down an initial, scientifically calibrated pool of questions from 273 to 29, we contacted each of the mayoral hopefuls via telephone and sprang nine randomly chosen brainteasers on them, as well as three that every candidate was asked, and some requisite personal-background stuff. A handful of responses were eliminated in the interest of space. And, frankly, in the interest of interest.

In these pages we showcase the thoughts of the eight hopeful public servants we expect will declare their candidacy, seven DFLers and one independent. We also posed our questions to Republican Larry Dandrea, who, immediately after taking the quiz, concluded that he will not jump into the race. We can only speculate whether there's any cause-and-effect relationship.

Unfortunately, because of the plethora of potential candidates, we had to use our editorial discretion to eliminate a few folks we'd like to see make a race for the prize. Therefore we apologize in advance to Dino Guerin and Stephen Bosacker. Please, take no offense, guys. It's worth noting that the winning candidate will receive, at no cost, a T-shirt that reads, "I ran for mayor of St. Paul and all I got was a bunch of smart-alecky questions from City Pages reporters." Losers can get the shirt for $9.99 worth of Camel Cash.

So, without further ado, we finally present "The City Pages St. Paul Mayoral Quiz-o-Rama."

 

BOB LONG

Born August 9, 1958 in St. Peter. Graduated Macalester College, 1981; University of Minnesota Law School, 1985. Served as St. Paul City Council member from 1988 to 1994. Joined Kennedy & Graven law firm in 1994. Married to Karen Sletten; two children.

Political Party: DFL

Official Web Site:

www.longforstpaul.com

1. The Hmong are from what part of China?

"Actually, is this a trick question? They're from Laos."

2. In case of nuclear attack, how do you plan to save St. Paul?

"I would say I'd bring them all down to the caves down by the river where they grow mushrooms--or used to grow mushrooms. Plenty to eat in those caves. Lots of things growing on the walls down there."

3. On the "Wall of Fame" at the Lexington Restaurant, Don Ryan is honored with a picture. To his left is a notable, completely unacknowledged. Is it:

a) Sid Hartman?
b) Garrison Keillor?
c) Fran Tarkenton?
d) Howard Cosell?

"I was just in there the other day for lunch. [Don Riley]'s a former sports writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I used to date his daughter."

CP:[Interrupts Long's reverie to explain that the picture is of Don R-Y-A-N, not Don R-I-L-E-Y.]

Long:"Fran Tarkenton."

Bonus followup question: Who is Don Ryan?

"I don't know who Don Ryan is. I had my heart set on Don Riley. I thought I was gonna really impress you."

4. What are you going to do about the Canada problem?

"Oh my God, that is a problem. They have this unlimited border crossing. We do have a serious problem of Canadians in Minnesota. We're gonna offer one-way bus tickets to the Canadians to go back to Canada, with a free hockey puck if they take the bus."

5. What's the best place to behead a Snoopy statue?

"Those of us who play hockey, we'd say the 'Slapshot' Snoopy [at the Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena], with a hockey stick."

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

"None of which I would tell you publicly if there were any."

CP:However, Long does divulge his role in the controversial 1975 Class A high school state football championship game between St. Peter High School and St. Thomas Academy, in St. Paul. St. Thomas Academy won on a controversial late fourth-quarter pass play that many observers thought should have been ruled out-of-bounds. Long played defensive halfback for the losing team.

Long:"I was the Deion Sanders of the St. Peter high school team," he quips. Long acknowledges that he lobbied the referee to disallow the St. Paul squad's victory. "I was working really hard to defeat the St. Thomas Academy team both before the game and after the game," he recalls.

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

"I could think of 101 reasons. First of all, St. Paul truly understands history. We understand great architecture, we understand great culture, we understand great diversity, and we understand how to have fun."

8. What will be your epitaph?

"Worked hard, played hard, had a wonderful time every day, but always loved St. Paul."

SCORING:

Accuracy:Nailed the Hmong question; stumped by the Lexington "Wall of Fame." (As any good St. Paulite knows, Don Ryan was a long time maitre d' at the Lexington, as well as a distinguished inductee into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame.) He is pictured with the late broadcaster Howard Cosell. 25 points

Style:Long displayed consistent creativity under fire. We particularly admired his answer to the nuclear attack question. The vision of our would-be mayor scraping the walls of caves along the Mississippi in order to feed his embattled constituents is truly inspiring. 43 points

Mitigating factor:It troubles us to broach this topic, but our journalistic integrity forces us not to remain silent. The fact is, throughout our telephone grilling, Long would repeat out loud the entire question. On two occasions we thought we heard another voice whispering in the background. And at one point, Long appeared to be completely baffled by a question only to pull the correct answer out of nowhere (this question has been eliminated for fear of tainting our scoring system). -10 points

TOTAL SCORE: 58

 

RANDY KELLY

Born August 2, 1950 in Rollete, North Dakota. Graduated University of Minnesota, 1992. Served as state representative for St. Paul's East Side from 1974 to 1990; a state senator since 1990. Also works for brother's small business. Married to Kathy; two children.

Political Party: DFL

Official Web Site: www.randykelly.com

1. Why do they call it Frogtown?

"That's a good question. The French?"

2. Spell "Antti Laaksonen" (Minnesota Wild left wing, pronounced "An-tee LAX-oh-nenn").

"He's the Czech? I have no clue."

3. Summit or Pig's Eye?

"Pig's Eye."

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

"I haven't a clue. A buck?"

5. Does St. Paul stink?

"Out by the ethanol plant, yes."

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

"That you should know about? No."

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

"Because Minneapolis is a suburb of St. Paul."

7. What will be your epitaph?

"A soft, gentle leader."

SCORING:

Accuracy:There are three plausible theories on the origin of the Frogtown moniker. Kelly correctly guesses at one of these: that the name was bestowed upon the area because of the large number of residents of French origin. Another possibility is that the locale was once a swampy home to frogs. Kelly failed to even have a go at the Antti Laaksonen question. And we wish it cost only a dollar for a pint of Budweiser in the a.m. hours at Schweitz Saloon (it's actually $2). Kelly does score some points for conceding that yes, indeed, the Gopher State Ethanol plant in St. Paul does stink. 17 points

Style:Kelly didn't give us much to go with here. He generally adhered to his reputation as a tough-talking East Sider. We give him sympathy points for the stab at putting down Minneapolis. 11 points

Mitigating factor:Kelly was one of the few candidates to embrace Pig's Eye as his malted beverage of choice. But we had to explain to the senator that this was a question about beer, so we're not quite convinced of his allegiance. 2 points

TOTAL SCORE: 30

 

JERRY BLAKEY

Born January 24, 1959 in Lindström. Graduated Macalester College, 1981. A St. Paul City Council member since 1994. Married to Jacqueline; one daughter.

Political Party: DFL

Official Web Site:

www.blakeyformayor.com

1. Why do they call it Frogtown?

"Because there used to be frogs there. As it got built up, I think, the swamp got paved over."

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?

Blakey:"Southwest?"

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."

SCORING:

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

TOTAL: 74

 

JOHN MANNILLO

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.'"

SCORING:

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

TOTAL: 63

 

JAY BENANAV

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: www.jayforsaintpaul.com

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?

"$1.75?"

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."

4. What are you going to do about the Canada problem?

"The Canada problem? I'm thinking about annexing the southern part of Canada. That will resolve the whole thing. It'll be a little disjointed from St. Paul, but it can be like the Upper Peninsula is in Michigan. That way we can increase our tax base in St. Paul."

5. Why do they call it Frogtown?

"Boy, I don't really know. It must have to do with early French settlers or something. It was probably settled by frogs and toads, and they had to drive the frogs out of town. That's the closest I can come...At one point it was overrun with green little frogs and toads, and those weird ones with three little legs, hopping all over the swamp."

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

"No, nothing. I lead a pretty boring life. I grew up in New York, if that's the worst."

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

"Better neighborhoods, people are friendlier. We're east of the Mississippi, which is important, because that means we're not a new-age city. We are common-sense, down-to-earth people. We've got the Wild and they don't."

8. What will be your epitaph?

"Hopefully it won't be real soon. 'He tried and he never gave up, and he did good things for St. Paul.'"

SCORING:

Accuracy:Benanav shows off some geography skills and is close enough on the Budweiser question to get some extra credit, but most of his answers were guesses that ran too long to fit here. 32 points

Style:Obviously he's game enough to take some questions to even higher levels of absurdity, which can be a problem because he's not all that funny. And who doesn't have a skeleton or two in the old closet? Still, major props to anyone who wants to throw a ticker-tape parade for Randy Moss and annex southern Canada. How did Gov. Jesse Ventura fail to appoint him to something? 38 points

Mitigating factor:To prove he might be funny, Benanav claimed that people used to mistake him for Jerry Seinfeld. -7 points

TOTAL: 63 POINTS

 

JANICE RETTMAN

Born in 1948 in Hidalgo County, Texas. Graduated Abilene Christian University. Moved to St. Paul in 1976. Served on the St. Paul City Council from 1986 to 1997. A Ramsey County commissioner since 1997. Single.

Political party: DFL

Official Web Site: None

1. Charles Schulz once lived above what bar?

[Rettman hums the theme song from The Twilight Zone.] "Oh dear... Right near O'Gara's?"

2. True or false: F. Scott Fitzgerald lived on Summit Avenue when he wrote A Farewell to Arms.

"Well, it was either Summit or Grand. True?"

CP:[Question was repeated.]

Rettman:"He didn't write A Farewell to Arms.

CP:So who did?

Rettman:"Oh, I don't know."

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

"Can I confess I've never been in one? I've been outside the door of the Lamplighter, though. There was a parking problem, with the apartments right across the street from there. There was a conflict between the patrons of Lamplighter and residents getting vehicles in and out of the parking lot. Leah, the manager, was willing to meet with me outside, so I wouldn't have to go in. But I do remember a whole bunch of them: The Payne Reliever is closed, and then there's Casey's. In fact, there was a cabdriver who committed a murder a few years ago, and I happened to know him--in fact, I testified against him--but he used to frequent those places, so I knew about most of them.

There was Lee Lenore's--now a cookie shop on Snelling, right near Thomas--and the Red Carpet, which was off Grand, just down the hill from Dale Street. Let's see, Cosmos was on Rice Street, south of Front right at Atwater. Then there was the Flick, and the Faust, which was owned by [local former porn kingpin] Ferris Alexander. I was on the city council when we shut all of those down. [Giggles.] But I've never been in one! You have to put that in there!"

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

"But I like her; we're buddies! [Then laughs uncontrollably.] Jesse Ventura I am not! Or [World Wrestling Federation personality] The Rock. I know all the names of those guys. I'm not The Rock, but I am a rock in some ways. I'll leave that stuff to Jesse. I know you can get someone in a 'clinch.' That's about all I know."

5. Where is Inver Grove Heights?

[Again with the Twilight Zone.] "Northern St. Paul."

CP:Under the mayorship?

Rettman:"No."

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

"I don't think so. I'm sorta dull. I had an expired meter once. I loaned my vehicle to someone once and they got a parking ticket. But I paid it for them anyway. And the only accident I've ever had was in my driveway."

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

"Just think of the neighborhoods, think of the people, think of the community. Think of being at home and just being yourself. There's no pretentiousness to St. Paul--things are great and we live that way."

8. What will be your epitaph?

"I was in a 'values-clarification' class where you had to write your own obituary. It was one of those 1970s sociology kind of classes. [Laughs again and hums a song that isn't the Twilight Zone.] This is so corny, but it is totally me: 'Believed in America, believed in people, believed in service.' Then I'd have my name, when I lived, and my dogs Tigger and The Pilgrim next to me."

SCORING:

Accuracy:So Rettman was tripped up on the F. Scott Fitzgerald question and doesn't know who wrote A Farewell to Arms. (Ernest Hemingway, if you're scared to ask.) But it's clear that she doesn't give a rip, either, so it's hard to really knock her point total down on that one. Charles Schulz actually lived above O'Gara's. Close enough. 42 points

Style:Are you kidding?! It's all there: The Twilight Zone, the constant giggling and endless amusement, the groovy social-values class, the single-woman-with-two-great-dogs shtick, the staggering knowledge of St. Paul strip clubs gleaned despite her defense of her own personal purity, the obvious predilection toward watching professional wrestling, the gentle encouragement for everyone to move to St. Paul, come home, and just be themselves. 47 points

Mitigating factor:The parking-ticket thing seems too disingenuous. Nobody could be that sweet-hearted. And if she really is, how will she kick ass at city hall? Then again, she did at one time befriend a future murderer and claims Sharon Sayles Belton as a buddy. 0 points

TOTAL: 89 POINTS

 

BOB KESSLER

Born November 15, 1945 in Pontiac, Michigan. Moved to St. Paul in 1957. Graduated University of Minnesota in 1974; earned a master's in public administration from the University of Southern California in 1981, currently pursuing doctorate in public administration at Hamline University. Appointed to several city positions, most recently the director of the Office of License, Inspections and Environmental Protection, a job he resigned to run for mayor. Married to Gwen Kessler; two daughters.

Political Party: Independent

Official Web Site: www.kesslerformayor.com

1. True or false: St. Paul has a city ordinance prohibiting sodomy.

"That's true; it's a city ordinance that... Wait, did that come off the books or not? That's the whole adult-entertainment thing. You have to have the basic body parts covered, and you can't do anything that would represent a sexual act, so in that ordinance you couldn't do sodomy. We got around the whole thing with the idea of putting up a glass wall, so there has to be that in those kinds of clubs. I was in the "Better Neighborhoods" program for [former St. Paul Mayor] George Latimer in the 1970s, so I learned quick on that one. But as far as anything outside of that? The sodomy law is a state thing."

2. Where's the best place to behead a Snoopy statue?

"Down by the river there on Warner Road, where Lambert's Landing is. There's a nice park and a nice walkway, and the ones that were down there were pretty isolated."

3. In case of nuclear attack, how do you plan to save St. Paul?

"The only thing that could help us would be prayer."

4. Which character on The Simpsons do you most relate to and why?

"I don't watch that show. My kids of course do, but I don't. Other than Bart, I don't know anyone. He is the Michael J. Fox of cartoonland."

5. If you had to be food on a stick at the state fair, which would it be and why?

"Probably would have to be ham, because I like to tell really bad jokes. Here's one: Why can't the Vikings eat cereal? Whenever they get close to a bowl, they choke."

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

"At one time I was a card-carrying member of the Young Republicans and [at another time] a McGovern Democrat, and I think people should know that."

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

"The little quirks we love about St. Paul, like Cretin Avenue turning into Vandalia, and Wabasha just sort of vanishing on the east. Minneapolis is Wonder Bread and St. Paul is pumpernickel.

8. What will be your epitaph?

"He enjoyed life to the fullest, and died doing what he loved to do--which is probably going to be running. I run five or six miles every other day. I've run in every Twin Cities Marathon."

SCORING:

Accuracy:While he missed most of the basic questions, Kessler's firm grasp of the sodomy ordinance almost got us all steamed up. And he offered the only "right" answer in case of nuclear attack we've seen. 28 points

Style:We were bored to tears when the quiz was interrupted so Kessler could get a demonstration of a new fireplace he was having installed in his home. Additionally, he prattled on far too long about politics. Yawn. Otherwise, we rather like someone who obviously has really thought about which Snoopy to decapitate. Also, kudos for the Young Republicans confession (and recognizing it as a very scary skeleton indeed). 38 points

Mitigating factor:Anyone who doesn't know The Simpsons is not trustworthy in any regard, let alone much fun. And the Michael J. Fox comparison is square and inexcusable. Good thing there's a limit to how many points one can lose in this category. -10 points

TOTAL: 56 POINTS

 

BOBBI MEGARD

Born September 15, 1936 in Boise, Idaho. Moved to Minneapolis in 1954 and later St. Paul. Graduated from the University of Oregon in 1958, received a master's in government from Indiana University in 1962. Served on the St. Paul City Council from 1993 to 1997. Now runs Consulting Company Solutions, which works on policy and community affairs with various nonprofits. Married to Bob Megard; three children.

Political party: DFL

Official Web Site: www.megardformayor.com

1.How much is a pint of Budweiser at Schweitz Saloon in the morning?

"I would say $3, based on other saloons."

2. What tops off the bun of every burger at Porky's?

"A pickle? I haven't stopped at Porky's for a while. Did they pass the last health inspection? I'm a newcomer to St. Paul; I've only lived here for 33 years, so I can't know all of these."

3. Does St. Paul stink?

"Yes. It has an ethanol plant that's smelling up all parts of the city, all the way to the Mississippi River Boulevard. I have checked it out myself. And I've talked to people who live over there, too. It's not just folks at the brewery who smell it, but wherever the prevailing winds are, it carries."

4. What are you going to do about the Canada problem?

"Care to elaborate? We can be very serious about this question. We have to have Canadians come to St. Paul! We need Canadians to play hockey, and we need them to go to the Mall of America, and we need to keep the borders open. We need a little free trade here. I'm in favor of NAFTA!"

5. Where's the best place to behead a Snoopy statue?

"If I were going to behead one, I would probably go over to Hamline [University], at 2:00 a.m., when everyone's asleep, so you could drive up quickly and get away. The one there was close to the sidewalk, and you could do it. If one were inclined to be a vandal. But certainly a candidate for mayor wouldn't do that."

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

"Oh yeah! We've all got skeletons, but which is the one I'm concerned about? I think it's my eating habits. I'm addicted to patty melts. Especially at Manning's, the original one that I went to as freshman at the U of M. We did underage drinking, but we got good burgers, too. My husband and I still go over there if we don't feel like cooking. Como and 25th Street SE. They serve beer in those big schooners there too, but I can only handle a pint. I love those patty melts."

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

"Because we are the river city in Minnesota. We're the capital city. We are the first city. And we don't make apologies for that."

8. What will be your epitaph?

"'St. Paul, shining city on a hill.' Oh, mine? That's difficult, I've never really thought about that before. I guess, 'She didn't know when to quit.'"

SCORING:

Accuracy:Most of the questions with specific answers were problematic--if not downright puzzling--for Megard. Especially given her love affair with patty melts, she should have known, for instance, that an onion ring tops the burgers at Porky's. But at least Megard was aware that 33 years in St. Paul is simply not long enough to figure out the subtleties of the city. 24 points

Style:Whoa, Bobbi! Tell us how you really feel about the controversial ethanol plant! Stick it to those bleeding hearts who don't like NAFTA! Tells us about your drinking escapades as a youth, your lust for red, red meat! Trash-talk and strut about St. Paul! We admire the bone-crunching honesty, but really, lighten up a bit: The Canada question is a joke. 45 points

Mitigating factor:There are two candidates named Bob in this race, and they've both been hit for a -10 in this category. And though we'd like to spare Megard the same brutality and give her the benefit of the doubt for feminizing the name, we can't: Her husband's name is Bob. That's right, Bob and Bobbi Megard. -10 points

TOTAL: 59 POINTS

 

News intern Ben Ganje contributed research for this article.

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