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Dave Thune

Tuesday, November 8th, is Election Day in many places across the USofA.  The off-years are usually municipal elections, a tradition here in the cities of Minnesota where we keep local races from being lost amid the flurry of state and national contests.  Saint Paul, my city, has the entire City Council up this year, along with most of the School Board.

I am greatly honored to be a part of the campaign to re-elect my friend and a great leader for our city, Dave Thune, here in Ward 2. I hope all of you who live here can join me in voting him back in to finish up the great work he has done for us.

I should start by explaining that I am the campaign manager for Dave this time around so that my interest is clear.  But that’s not important – I took the post because I very much believe in Dave and what he has done for us.  He is the essence of what it means to serve at a local level and make a city work.

Saint Paul is typical of many cities in that the burning big issues heat up in the friction between 293 thousand-some people – yet what matters most is that the city keeps moving on, providing essential services that affect and define people’s lives constantly.  The city paves the roads, provides the police, sends out the paramedics, keeps up the parks, and keeps an eye on economic development.  Along with the School Board, they craft everything that we depend on when we wake up each morning.

Campaigns at the local level are sometimes swamped by issues that seem bigger, such as our lingering Depression or the great mess of vacant and foreclosed houses that dot our neighborhoods.  But in the end the people we elect this year are charged with making the city work.

Dave Thune understands the give and take of it in his guts.  His style on most issues is to lead from behind, supporting neighborhood activists who are working to improve their own neighborhoods.  Whether it’s about creating new parks, such as Pedro Park downtown or new off-leash dog parks, Dave has been there to support their efforts.  When neighborhoods have had to take on landlords who didn’t care who they rented to and tolerated very bad behavior that threatened the whole neighborhood, Dave has been there for them.  Big redevelopment projects, like the re-use of the great Schmidt Brewery, started out with dreams that Dave helped to make happen.

Yet what Dave is most known for is taking a bold stand – as he always says, ‘There’s no point to being elected if you don’t do anything with it.”  He was out front for equal rights for homosexuals in the 1990s, and more recently sponsored the city’s domestic partnership registry.  He’s most known for the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, an ordinance he initiated which cost him a lot of support.  There are many redevelopment efforts Downtown and throughout the neighborhoods that he took on as personal projects, unwilling to let historic buildings be demolished.

Through it all, Dave has been highly focused on making the city work.  When general criminal activity bubbles up, as it sometimes does, it’s always been Dave that brought the neighbors together with the police and helped teach them how to be the eyes and ears that lead to arrests.  Dave has had many sleepless nights over the city budget, about as tight as it can be, working to keep the services we need without raising taxes.

It’s this balance between the details that do not make the news and firm grasp of the big issues that sweep over our city that makes Dave so important.  He’s never shied away from a tough stand when it had to happen, however.  I always joke that Dave has 2 friends for every enemy – but he has a lot of enemies.  You simply cannot balance the needs of a place as diverse as Ward 2 without upsetting some people.  Dave does it with great courage.

Things are tough this year and the challenges we face are harsh.  Yet we have great projects moving forward and life in Summit Hill, Downtown, West Seventh, and the West Side is looking better than it has in a long time.  Dave is slow to take credit, preferring to point to how he simply supported the neighborhoods in their efforts to make things work.  That’s true, but without Dave a lot of it would never have happened.  We need this leadership so we can keep the momentum going through hard times.

Please vote for Dave Thune on Tuesday if you live in Saint Paul’s Ward 2 and put out the flag to remind your neighbors.  Thank you.

14 thoughts on “Dave Thune

  1. Thune was very helpful when our neighborhood had issues with Summit School’s proposed expansion. I was very pleased with his professionalism and ability to get everyone to work together for a compromise. I will vote for him.

    • Thank you! There are many issues that matter to just one neighborhood that it takes a City Councilmember to help solve, and that’s what Dave does best. Doesn’t make the news very often, but it’s very important to the city. Not exactly a glamorous job by any stretch, but it has to get done.

    • Yes, it’s a 5-way IRV (Instant Runoff) vote, so it’s hard to know just what will happen. I think we should all be prepared for a good lead going into the second ballot for Dave, but it would be so great to avoid that procedure. It’s Saint Paul’s first time with IRV so nearly anything can happen.

  2. I do not live in that ward but I have always heard good things about Thune. I would vote for him if I could.

    • Thanks! Dave is a great guy personally as well. Tough stands have cost him over the years, but you have to expect that. It’s always close in this Ward no matter what because of the tremendous diversity, too.

  3. I have known Dave Thune since 1987 when I first met him at the (then) Food-N-Fuel store at W 7th & St. Clair. When we purchased our home near the High Bridge in 1989, friends thought we were nuts, because it was such a “bad neighborhood,” and at the time it was on the edge (we had lived in an upper duplex on the same block for seven years).
    Dave in particular, with assistance from the West Seventh/Fort Road Federation, stood by us as we fought one particular slum-lord until finally the triplex & duplex next door were condemned and demolished (they weren’t suitable for rehabilitation), and joined our neighbors and us as we gleeflly spray-painted graffitti just prior to demolition (I photographed our finished work with a Thune campaign sign—it was an election year, Alas, that photo can’t be found).
    One by one, problem properties were dealt with and rehabbed or when absolutely necessary, razed.
    Today, our little piece of the West End is a lovely, safe place to live, thanks to our fine neighbors, and the support and hard work and commitment of our councilmember, Dave Thune.

    • Thanks, Jack. There are a lot of stories like that. My ex-wife Deb lives in one of the townhomes in the “Brewery Breakthrough” where the Federation rehabbed the entire neighborhood at once – with a ton of help from Dave. None of this would have happened without him. We need him at least long enough to finish Little Bohemia and the Schmidt Brewery – and, I hope, the Pioneer/Endicott downtown!

  4. Just got another piece of campaign lit from Dave yesterday. (it seems like a daily event over the last three weeks.) One of the items on his list of accomplishments for the downtown area, where I live, is: “Lund’s grocery Downtown-it’s for real.” This gives us a revealing perspective on Thune’s grasp of reality.

    Pat Curran

  5. Erik, can you explain what is happening with the votes in the second round and all that? I thought this was ‘instant’ runoff and we would know by now. Thank you.

    • This will all be decided by about 1PM on Monday. They have to give the campaigns time to have observers in place so that the counting of 2nd place votes goes over without a hitch. It’s much like a recount in procedure.

      This is an analysis I worked up for another site. It’s very likely Dave has won, but we won’t know until Monday.
      While we wait for the final results, here are some other ways to look at it. Here are the percents of voters that picked the candidate for either 1st or 2nd place (does not add up to 100% !)

      Dave 57%
      Ivey 51%
      Hosko 42%

      Dave is clearly the choice of the Ward by this measure. But there’s more to it than that.

      If you take away the voters who had no second place pick (1,482 votes, or 28%) then Dave’s 1st place voters picked at least 597 second place people – and if they picked an average number of 2nds they picked 1,504. Ivey needs 644 votes in the next rounds to catch Dave, but many of his 1,281 2nd place votes are from people who voted for Dave 1st. It’s very unlikely he has enough 2nd place votes to catch Dave no matter what if you assume that those who picked Dave 1st are likely to have picked Ivey 2nd.

      Another interesting stat – Ivey did get 33% of the 2nd place votes among people who could possibly give him a 2nd (that is, didn’t vote for him 1st) but Dave was not far behind with 29%. Hosko was further back with 22% of those who could have picked him 2nd.

      So it’s very likely that Dave will win this – Ivey didn’t do that much better among 2nd choices and has a lot more to make up. Hosko has a much bigger hill to climb and his chance is very small.

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