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Sunday, August 2, 2009

2009 PWW Candidate Questionnaire

While our primary purpose here at Park Watch Watch is to pick, poke, prod and provoke that pestering plague Park Watch, our motivation is of course our unapologetic love for our parks. To that end, we are asking candidates for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to complete the following the 2009 PWW Candidate Questionnaire, the responses to which we will share with for our hundreds of readers to help them in their voting decisions this fall.

This questionnaire is being sent to the candidates listed below. We ask that completed questionnaires be returned as soon as possible, before August 14th. We will post answers as we receive them. If candidates choose not to respond, we will attempt to present that candidate based on his or her record, campaign materials, and public statements.

1. Why are you running to be a Commissioner on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board?

2. How would you describe the “job” of a park commissioner? What are the most important roles and responsibilities?

3. Are you running on a “reform” platform, or not? Please explain, be specific.

4. Do you support or oppose the proposed referendum for Park Board independence? Please explain.

5. What experience do you have that qualifies you to serve on a board of an organization that has a $60 million budget, 600 full time employees, 1300 part time employees and controls 6400 acres of park land?

6. What is your view on how the MPRB should approach public/private partnerships, “enterprise” or income-generating projects?

7. While employee morale remains high, there has been an acrimonious relationship between some of the members of the board and the staff and even between board members themselves. Why do you think this is, and what if anything would you do to improve these relationships?

8. There is a general perception that the MPRB has sometimes has strained relationships with other organizations (City, County). What is your perception and how will you approach these relationships?

Mary Merrill Anderson, Bryn Mawr,
Nancy Bernard, St. Anthony West,
John Butler, Windom Park
John Erwin, Seward,
Bob Fine, Linden Hills,
Tom Nordyke, Cedar-Isles-Dean,
David Wahlstedt, Bryn Mawr
Annie Young, East Phillips,
Bernie Kunza, Columbia Park,
John Malone,St. Anthony West
Liz Wielinski, Columbia Park,
Michael Guest, Powderhorn Park,
Jon Olson, Victory,
Scott Vreeland, Seward,
Mike Wendorf, Downtown,
Anita Tabb, Lowry Hill,
Steve Barland, Field,
Carol Kummer, Nokomis East,
McClain Looney, Bryant,
Dan Peterson, Hiawatha,
Jason Stone, Diamond Lake,
Brad Bourn, CARAG,
Meg Forney, West Calhoun,
Geneva Hanvik, Kingfield,
Steven Jecha, Lynnhurst,


  1. What the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board needs to understand is that Park Watch are members of a community that care about where they live. And when they are yelling, it just means they are caring loudly. And when they are abusive, it just means they are caring abusively. Just kidding. They are nuts. They need to STFU.

    -Leslie Knope, Deputy Director
    City of Pawnee, Parks and Recreation

  2. Obesity has become a health epidemic in the United States. It is a major contributor to coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and other respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and many other conditions. The numbers of overweight children and adolescents, as well as obese adults in the United States have more than doubled over the past two decades.

    Parks can play a major role in solving this crisis.

    Which of your Park Commissioners are leaders and role models for heart-healthy eating and regular physical activity?

  3. I don’t know all of them but I can tell you about a few of them.

    Mike Wendorf is a runner, (now I’m a old fat guy) but Wendorf is crazy about running. In fact if you live in ward 3, Mike will be running by your house dropping of his lit. When Mike says he’s running for park board, he means it literally.

    Bob Fine has coached more kids than you can count. I heard he has coached more kids than anybody else in the history of the parks but I can’t confirm that. Bob, if you’re out there please comment on this.

    Steve Jecha and Bernie Kunza are also coaches and you can link to their contact pages by clicking on their pictures. Judging by the answers they gave here and looking at their campaign sites I’d say these guys are right there with you.

    If you want to contact the candidates and ask them please write us back and even make a post here. Our contact info is at the top of the site.

  4. Obesity Takes A Huge Health Toll On Kids

    Parks can be part of the solution. Again - I encourage you to ask which commissioners are good role models against obesity.