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2019 elections are pretty quiet here in West St. Paul, mainly because there are no city elections this year, but also because the ISD 197 school board elections are uncontested. There are a few interesting races and issues across the border in St. Paul’s West Side.
ISD 197 School Board
For the second consecutive school board election, there are no challengers. Four incumbents are running for four open slots:
- Brenda Corbett (first elected in 2011)
- Joanne Mansur, board chair (2011)
- Byron Schwab, board treasurer (2011)
- Terry Stamman (2015)
That’s a shift from 2015 when nine candidates ran for four open seats.
The election is on Tuesday, November 5, and polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can also vote early. ISD 197 has more info about voting and you can find your voting location at the Secretary of State website (it might be different from where you voted last year).
While it’s really a no-contest election, it’s still good to get out and do your civic duty. Make sure you’re properly registered. Give the election judges a high five. Get the coveted ‘I Voted’ sticker.
Read our interview with ISD 197 Board Member Maureen Ramirez (who is not up for re-election this year) to learn more about what the school board does.
St. Paul Elections
For our friends across the border on the West Side, there are several races on the municipal ballot. Again, the Secretary of State website can help you find your polling location and see what’s on the ballot.
But two big decisions for West Siders include the Ward 2 City Council race and the question about garbage collection.
Ward 2 City Council
The St. Paul City Council race for the West Side is between incumbent Rebecca Noecker and four challengers, Sharon Anderson, Bill Hosko, Lindsay Ferris Martin, and Helen Meyers.
Since this is outside West St. Paul, we’ll punt to other local experts:
- Wedge Live: Endorses Rebecca Noecker
- Naomi Kritzer: Rebecca Noecker on top with suggestions for Ranked Choice Voting
Sounds like Rebecca Noecker is the top choice.
Of course the big news on the ballot in St. Paul is organized trash collection. In 2018, St. Paul launched a new organized trash collection system where residents were assigned to specific haulers. The change to organized collection, something that three-quarters of communities across the U.S. and Canada do, theoretically means lower costs, less pollution, and less wear and tear on city streets.
But some residents weren’t happy and fought to have the ordinance repealed. It’s now on the ballot for voters to decide.
As an extra wrinkle, the Minnesota Supreme Court clarified that if St. Paul voters say no to organized trash collection, the city is still on the hook for the $27 million contract with haulers. City officials say that could mean a massive increase in property taxes.
- MinnPost Facts Story: St. Paul’s Epic Fight Over Trash Collection, Explained
- Wedge Live: Vote Yes
- Naomi Kritzer: Vote Yes
- Fire Wally: Vote Yes
- Isaiah: I’m Voting Yes for St. Paul
- Yes for St. Paul: The Vote Yes campaign site
- St. Paul Trash: For vote no fans, there’s an entire website
Sounds to me like an imperfect system that needs to be improved, not thrown out. I’d vote yes.
But have fun with that one, St. Paul. For some reason trash collection is a ridiculously complicated issue. Earlier this year, West St. Paul cut down on the days trash can be collected and the number of haulers, but isn’t moving toward organized collection.
St. Paul School Board
West Siders also have a school board election to vote in, with 10 candidates running for four seats. MinnPost offers an overview of the race.