Minneapolis City Council Member John Quincy accused of ignoring constituents


Deanna Boss and her husband, Peter, bought her childhood home from Deanna's mom in 2006.

The quaint cream-colored abode with the bold red front door on the west side of Lake Nokomis has been in the family for 40 years now.

Over the summer, water mysteriously started appearing in the basement. Deanna, age 42, went into homeowner-investigator mode. Best as she could tell, the seepage wasn't coming from the sewer or a busted water line. Puddles were forming away from exterior walls and windows, mysteriously percolating up from the ground nether the floor.    

Months removed from first stepping into the watery problem, the family still doesn't know for certain where the culprit lies. However, they have a pretty darn good idea.

"It's a city issue," Deanna says, "because the city isn't managing the storm water properly."

In other words, she thinks excess groundwater is seeping up into the Boss' basement.

Deanna has called various entities. Among them is the Minneapolis Park Board, which is in charge of the lake and green space across the street.

Deanna's first call was to John Quincy, the Minneapolis City Council member whose southern ward includes the Diamond Lake, Hale, and Windom neighborhoods. She would continue reaching out to him again and again during the past five months. She says his responses left a lot to be desired.

Boss' initial attempts to talk to her city rep were met with no response. When she did finally track down a staffer, Boss was told it wasn't an issue for Quincy's office, and directed Deanna toward Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Steffanie Musich.     

Deanna then started networking with other area homeowners. Some reported experiencing the same kind of water problems, though most of their homes were located a half-mile away from the lake. Boss realized the issue was bigger than just her own house.

"And that's when I started getting really frustrated with John Quincy, because he had had numerous meetings with these other people even before I had contacted him," she says. "He knew this was a city issue, and not just a park board issue, but I was told to call the park commissioner anyway."   

Experience has taught Boss to no longer look to Quincy to help "solve any problems" that might come upon ward residents.

"I've gotten to the point that I just ignore Quincy," she says. "I totally feel like I've been abandoned by him. I don't look to him as someone who will listen to my problems, take me seriously, or do anything."

She's not alone.  

Ed Felien, publisher of Southside Pride newspaper, is equally unimpressed with the service of Quincy, who first assumed office in 2010. 

Felien first argued in 2013 that Quincy had left constituents behind. Felien wrote that Quincy, by disregarding the city charter, which said the decision to shell out tens of millions of dollars for a new Vikings stadium rested with voters, not the council, circumvented the people and voted for the $1 billion coliseum anyway.

With that vote, said Felien, Quincy had "abused his trust representing the people of the 11th Ward."

Felien would go on to give the newspaper's endorsement for the Ward 11 seat race in 2013 to: "ABQ (Anyone But Quincy)."

As Quincy eyes re-election come 2017, Felien's frustrations have only compounded. He regards the lawmaker's stadium vote as the precedent for fiscal recklessness that's followed Quincy to the chairmanship of the Ways and Means committee. Quincy's indifference to mounting taxation pressures on locals is compounded by various positions the member has taken in recent times, according to Felien. 

"Quincy voted to support Barb Johnson as president of the council," he tells City Pages, "even though his neighbor Elizabeth Glidden represented a more progressive choice… [and he] refused to support our fight on raising the minimum wage."

Felien continues: "Quincy has done a good job taking care of Quincy and a poor job of taking care of the citizens of Minneapolis."

Amen, says Deanna Boss.

"Quincy is a nice enough guy, who [is] good at talking about the fun things that are going on," she says. "I just got his newsletter today… and it's all about here's what's awesome in our community. There's a new organics recycling program. That's great to talk about what's fun about living in Minneapolis, but he chooses to not handle the problems."

Ward voters already know they'll have a choice come next November. Jeremy Schroeder, policy director at the Minnesota Housing Partnership and a Diamond Lake Neighborhood Association board member, has already made it official he'll be challenging Quincy for the DFL bid.

On his campaign website, Schroeder, who also serves as the policy leader for the Minnesota Housing Partnership, says he supports the $15 minimum wage, and cites "increased transparency of our local government" as one of his top issues. 

Quincy did not respond to City Pages' requests for comment.

Update: City Pages spoke with council member Quincy early Monday morning. Quincy "wasn't comfortable commenting on [Boss'] individual complaint." However, he believes he did offer proactive direction by putting her in touch with the city's public works department.

Regarding Felien's repeated criticisms, Quincy said, "He should call me. He's never talked to me."