West St. Paul Ward 3 candidate forum with Lisa Eng-Sarne

West St. Paul Ward 3 Candidate Forum Live Blog

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Tonight is the ward 3 candidate forum. These forums were organized by the Women of West St. Paul, Residents of Color Collective, and the WSP Greenway Project. The forum is moderated by Bill Lindeke.

You can watch live via Zoom during the broadcast. Or look for the archived forum video to be posted soon on the West St. Paul Candidate Forums Facebook page. Or watch it here:

Who’s Running?

Here’s our 2020 voter’s guide.

Live Blogging

Candidate David Meisinger opted not to participate in this forum. We’ve talked about this before, but here’s why David Meisinger should not hold public office. This is not the first time he’s skipped out on candidate forums. In 2018 he skipped the primary forum (when Lisa Eng-Sarne also had to do a solo performance), the Women of West St. Paul general election forum, and the Optimists’ Club forum.

(Most recent updates first)

7:58 p.m. Closing Remarks

Eng-Sarne: I know people here tonight care deeply about WSP. It’s an important moment. No matter how good the idea no person at city hall can accomplish it alone. It’s consensus building and relationships.

7:57 p.m. Question 11: (going to chat questions now) How do you address crime issues?

Eng-Sarne: Not unique to WSP right now. A lot of people are out of work and people are struggling. I correlate those things to crime. I hope as the economy bounces back and as we make decisions to help people, it will everyone stay afloat.

7:55 p.m. Question #10: What are your favorite places to spend time in WSP and what do we offer that other communities do not?

Eng-Sarne: Amore Coffee is ward 3’s Cheers. I love Oxendale’s. My mom is thinking of moving to WSP because of Oxendale’s. I’ve recruited some friends to WSP and pretty soon we’ll have a roller derby team. It’s a tight knit community and we step up and help one another out. It’s something really to be proud of.

7:53 p.m. Question #9: What zoning changes could spur business development especially in the Smith-Dodd area?

Eng-Sarne: I’m glad we changed the parking requirement for FoodSmith. You can park on the street.

[Interrupted with a shoutout to her family. Yay for Zoom.]

Eng-Sarne: The 1010 Dodd plan, the traffic mitigation efforts

7:50 p.m. Question #8: Recent polls show that public concern about climate change is increasing. Describe some steps you feel the city could and should take to address this?

Eng-Sarne: I’m the liaison to the Environmental Committee and was told I’m possibly the first Council liaison who believes climate change is a real issue. We’re working on our Green Steps program, which gives us a lot of action steps to enact more green practices. We’re also looking at implementing some changes in code for more green buildings.

What about building sustainability and resilience?

Eng-Sarne: Extreme weather events bring more big rain events, which causes sewer problems. Fixing our I/I problems. We’re doing a pond inventory.

7:48 p.m. Question #7: It is very likely that there will be a decrease in state local government aid, or LGA. How would you deal with a revenue shortfall? Would you increase taxes or would you cut programs?

Eng-Sarne: We don’t receive our fair share of LGA. I’d be happy to advocate for us additionally to get our fair share. We have an incredible team that can make adjustments. We have our projections and so we can plan. We plan conservatively due to our previous budgetary issues. I have strong confidence that we can adjust.

7:46 p.m. Question #6: Politics can be divisive. How have you engaged with constituents you fundamentally disagree with?

Eng-Sarne: It happens often. People are surprised when we come away with a good outcome. I’ve been lit dropping and hit every house. I had a conversation with someone and thought our views were too far apart, but I got an email that was grateful for the conversation despite our disagreements. I’m approachable. I like to have a good debate, but we can still be friends.

7:44 p.m. Question #5: What strategies would you propose to support small businesses?

Eng-Sarne: I’ve noticed St. Paul takes credit for some of our businesses. I promote small businesses, I shop and eat and drink at our local businesses. Have a great relationship with our Economic Development Director. Approving grants and loans to diverse small businesses and supporting the ones here.

7:42 p.m. Question #4: How can you create more access to affordable housing in WSP?

Eng-Sarne: There’s been a good mix of projects. I know some people have been critical of the Dominium project and the area median income numbers, but those numbers don’t come from us. I’ve taken that to the League of Minnesota Cities to see if we can change that. Matrix has been providing homeless housing, I’ve volunteered there with others and I’d continue to support that.

7:40 p.m. Question #3: What will you do to ensure POC won’t be afraid of the police?

Eng-Sarne: It’s one thing for me to say what to do, but we need to keep listening. I’ve had really open conversations with our police chief. I’ve asked him what he’ll do to make sure this doesn’t happen in WSP. Asking the difficult conversations while still being respectful. We need to bridge different communities.

7:38 p.m. Question #2: What, specifically, have you done or what will you be commit to doing if elected, to personally reach out to, build relationships, and involve renters, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized groups in your ward and/or in West St. Paul overall? How will you go about it?

Eng-Sarne: I always try to amplify the voices of our diverse community. I always try to share those events and attend, that’s important. If you don’t attend you’re missing out on important listening opportunities. Shortly after George Floyd was murdered I planned Skate Against Hate. I pushed for Pride Proclamation. Helped plan Pride in the Park.

7:37 p.m. Question #1: Tell us why you’re running for city council.

Eng-Sarne: I already covered this, but I don’t want our city to move backward. I see WSP rising in every way, and I want to help us keep moving.

7:32 p.m. – Opening Statement

Eng-Sarne: I’ve seen the need for compassionate leadership. We need people to meet constituents where they are. We need to work together despite differences. We need to keep improving while staying on budget. Engagement is about being available, being willing to go to them, and building relationships. I come prepared, I’ll fight for West St. Paul.

7:15 p.m. – The forum starts at 7:30 p.m. You can watch live via Zoom during the broadcast. We’ll share what we can as it happens, so keep refreshing to see more.

More:

See our 2020 voter’s guide and full 2020 election coverage for more.

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