Four Mpls City Council members openly oppose council colleague Diane Hofstede's reelection

Hofstede represents the Third Ward, which includes many East Side neighborhoods.
Hofstede represents the Third Ward, which includes many East Side neighborhoods.

In a press release distributed yesterday by Jacob Frey, four Minneapolis City Council members came out in open opposition to their council colleague, Diane Hofstede.

-- Meg Tuthill already has a City Council challenger, and his name is Kendal Killian
-- Brett Buckner to challenge Don Samuels for City Council seat

Hofstede, first elected to the council in 2005, is being challenged this year by Frey, a lawyer who began his campaign last summer.

This isn't the first time Hofstede's colleagues have publicly dissed her. Back in March 2010, several council members and former staffers told a reporter they found Hofstede to be "ineffective, disorganized, and hard to work for." Several neighborhood activists said they couldn't even get her to return their calls.

The four anti-Hofstede council members quoted in Frey's release are Lisa Goodman, Robert Lilligren, Gary Schiff, and Elizabeth Glidden. "I'm looking for allies and colleagues on the City Council that can get things done," Lilligren says.

Schiff's comment is particularly brutal.

"I support Jacob Frey for City Council because I'm convinced he's the kind of guy who is going to return a phone call, particularly for our small business owners," Schiff said. Ouch.

A Star Tribune report from last June provides some background about Frey:

Frey is 30, lives in the Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood and is a Virginia native who moved to Minneapolis in 2009. He was appointed earlier this year by Mayor R.T. Rybak to the city's long-range capital planning committee, chaired by Tony Hofstede. He said the overarching issue of his campaign is likely to be making the city and ward areas that attract and retain families. He'd also like to foster more development projects in the ward, and modify city job training efforts. He's engaged in a variety of causes, ranging from pushing for mandatory foreclosure mediation between lender and borrower to founding The Big Gay Race, a riverfront 5K race that raised money to oppose the marriage amendment.

That race also provided a network of contacts that he said forms a ready supply of volunteers in every precinct of the ward if he runs. Some estimate that mounting a credible challenge to Hofstede could cost $75,000.

Frey took one swipe at Hofstede during an interview. "You can count on me to call you back within 24 hours," he said. That references past criticism of Hofstede from some constituents that their phone calls and e-mails aren't returned, something attributable in part to the cycling of short-term or temporary workers through her office. The total number of aides she's employed in what are normally two-aide council offices has now risen to 30 in her six and one-half years in office.

As pointed out by the Downtown Journal's Nick Halter, council candidates are already scrambling to secure endorsements because DFL nominating conventions are coming up quickly this spring.

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