By Jerry Freeman
In view of the former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes’ return to the political scene with her current mayoral campaign, the MSR is reprinting, with the author’s permission, a commentary that appeared in these pages August 23, 2001, two months before the Fifth Ward elected Natalie Johnson Lee to replace Cherryhomes as their council member.
Minneapolis has a shadow government, and its name is Jackie Cherryhomes. Judging from the prevailing media slant on Minneapolis city politics, the mayor [Sharon Sayles Belton] is the captain at the helm of our metropolis, steering the city through the shoals of scandal and controversy, while the city council and its president labor on our behalf in comparative obscurity behind the mayor’s lead. When troublesome issues arise, such as abuses of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), the [Brian] Herron extortion case, or reduced bond ratings, reporters and photographers show a marked tendency to focus primarily on the mayor and only secondary on the council president. In case of the TIF, major heat was applied to the mayor, while Cherryhomes got off with just a quote or two buried deep in the text. Yet the reality in Minneapolis is just the opposite: In this strong-council-weak-mayor system, Jackie Cherryhomes wields the real power, with the mayor’s role of secondary importance in the decision-making process. Continue Reading →