From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
How much weight does the endorsement of St. Paul’s Green Party carry in Frogtown and Summit-University? We’re about to find out. On Sunday, the party met at a special convention and endorsed Johnny Howard, a founder of the Thomas-Dale Block Clubs, for the Ward 1 city council seat.
Community organizer and retired autoworker Johnny Howard unsuccessfully ran against Carter two years ago. He received just under 28 percent of the vote, with Carter garnering about 60 percent in the three-way race that included Realtor Anthony Fernandez.
Howard, who has said that the city comes down too hard on landlords with its property inspections, was part of a team of plaintiffs that last year filed a federal complaint against the city, claiming housing discrimination and “forced gentrification.”
Bio: “Johnny Howard, 58, founded and directed the Thomas Dale Block Clubs, a multi-cultural grassroots organization that successfully advocated for better living conditions in Frogtown. He organized and for 19 years ran a football program that instilled positive values in 160 young people annually. Johnny is a retired UAW auto worker who was employed by Ford and attended Saginaw Valley State College. Among other recognition, he has received the St. Paul Companies Leadership Award and the Urban League Man of the Year Award. He is the father of four and has been married to Diane Howard for 30 years.”
Priority: “Ward One is wildly diverse. New immigrants, refugees and people trapped in generational poverty live practically next door to others who vacation in Europe. The biggest issue here is to make Ward One work for everyone.
We must seize the opportunities before us. Light rail development will bring new people who will be served by new businesses. Ward One residents need to be ready not only to take those jobs, but to run those businesses. The city can help through training and by cutting unnecessary red tape.
We need to give all kids a chance to prosper. We can do better by looking at our rec centers and asking whether it’s enough for kids to bounce a ball. What about music, art, theater — the types of enrichment that build success and, in many families, are taken for granted?
We have got to be about the future. The future is the place where travel is increasingly human powered or via transit systems. We need more safe bikeways and walking paths that connect to neighborhood shopping nodes. That’s how cohesive neighborhoods are built. We need north/south transit routes that link to light rail.
The future is green. We create health and wealth by making it easy for neighbors to grow food in their own yards, in well-managed community gardens and on urban farms. We can make it happen by cutting cumbersome regulation; using existing, underutilized greenspace creatively; and by offering education in food growing and preserving techniques.
The opportunities far exceed the challenges. The ward needs leadership that sees the possibilities and is capable of making them real. I believe I possess the experience and skills to do this job.”