Candidates for the Bloomington City Council and for the Bloomington School Board met separately on October 3 in forums conducted by the League of Women Voters.
In the forum for Bloomington City Council Candidates, many common positions and clear contrasts came out in the questioning. Here is a quick summary of selected responses. For the full discussion at the forum, CLICK HERE and look for the video of the City Council Candidates. Note that not all city council candidates were asked the same questions, so some were able to skip by some of the subjects.
Support for Bloomington as a “sanctuary” city:
- At large candidate Arulfo: supports
- At large candidate Coulter: supports
- District III candidate Frost: comply with the federal law, or change the law
Support for a new Community Center:
- Frost: Has questions that need to be answered. Is this a priority, or are there bigger issues
- District III candidate Baloga: This is a great need based on surveys
Purchase of Kelly Farm for Expo:
- District II candidate Spencer: Good idea to buy to control use, potentially as a campus for business
- District II candidate Nelson: Good location for affordable housing or business development
- Arulfo: Good location for community center
Raise Age for Tobacco Sales (“Yes” or “No”):
- Frost only candidate who stated, “No”
How to Address Growing Need for Affordable Housing:
- Frost: Does not favor the city subsidizing housing. That is a state function. Government should get out of the way of private housing development and let the market rule.
- Baloga: City should provide services to support affordability
- Spencer: In favor of tax laws that would provide down payment support
- Nelson: 30% of housing costs due to government regulations
- Coulter: Affordable housing is a current real need
Making Bloomington Bike- and Pedestrian-Friendly
- Coulter: Need to make Bloomington Bike- and Pedestrian-Friendly
- Arulfo: In favor of additional bike lanes
- Spencer: Need to enforce existing laws. Need to analyze what roads are best for cars and which for bikes
- Nelson: Need to look at safe pathways. Traffic is a huge concern. Need to ensure safe travel.
What to be done with Old Shakopee:
- Baloga: Does not favor acquiring additional right-of-way. Increased traffic is driven by situation with 494. Need to address that bottleneck.
- Frost: Expand sidewalks for use by both bikes and pedestrians. Mass transit is not the answer; does not reduce traffic density.
Limits on Single Family Homes that could become non-homestead rental units:
- Baloga: City does require a rental license. He does not see a need for a limit.
- Frost: This is a solution in search of a problem. Would be in favor of AirBnB rentals in Bloomington
Do Citizens have enough input to City Council:
- Arulfo: Council could do better job. Need true engagement and willingness to listen
- Coulter: Real lack of responsiveness. Elected officials need to give citizens more access
- Spencer: Supports neighborhood meetings. Believes city government could be more responsive.
- Nelson: Perception that members of commissions are not heard by the city council that appointed them.
- Baloga: Use city “Briefing” mailer more effectively, issue more frequently, to explain what the council is doing
SD49 Republicans are recommending that you vote for Eldon Spencer (District II) and Larry Frost (District III) for Bloomington City Council on or before November 7.