Minnesota Report

Since Ward 6 is the only open seat in the St Paul municipal elections we thought it would be significant to sit down with the various candidates we feel who actually have a chance at winning the seat. As anyone who reads Checks & Balances knows we are a staunch opponent to the illegally passed system of Ranked Choice Voting and believe it is detrimental to our democratic political process.

We will be posting the interviews gathered last month, but are asking candidates a follow-up question in regard to their specific proposals on how to address gun violence in the city of St Paul. The first interviewee is Alexander Bourne, who has as yet to submit his answer to our follow-up question and referred us to a forum he had on the issue. This is not an answer to the question, which we are waiting for.

We will be posting an audio file and a transcript of the entire interviews for Bourne, Kassim Busarri and Terri Thao. We had a scheduled meeting with Nelsie Yang but due to a last-minute conflict on our side, we missed the meeting, afterward Ms Yang has shown no interest in rescheduling, she has been asked personally on two separate occasions, and arrogantly is declining the interview. It is sad to see political figures adopt such a pose when in pursuit of the public trust.

The Alexander Bourne Interview

C&B: Doing an interview with Alexander Bourne outside his campaign office.

C&B: Mr Bourne can you tell me where you were born.

Bourne: Chicago, IL

C&B: When did you move to MN.

Bourne: 1995

C&B: When did you move to Ward 6.

Bourne: 1995

C&B: Can you tell me what is your Borne Identity?

Bourne:  Are you asking what’s my race?

C&B: Well there was a movie.

Bourne: I am familiar.

C&B: I’m asking you as Alexander Bourne, what is your Bourne Identity?

Bourne: Um, I think, the more important thing is going to be the identity for the eastside, you know, this is the first opportunity in 23-years we’re going to have new representation, you know so it’s imperative that everyone take the necessary steps to make sure their voices are heard and reflected throughout the campaign and throughout the next four years, while whoever is in office representing them.

C&B: It’s always a tactic in politics not to answer a question when it’s asked, why did you not answer my question?

Bourne: Why did you ask a broad ass question?

C&B: Because, I wanted to see what your answer would be.

Bourne: Alright.

C&B: So, in the first 100 days, if you were elected, what would you be doing, what would you accomplish?

Bourne: Making sure that we are implementing and embracing policies that adequately reflect who we are as a community and abolishing those that do not. Ah, you know, public safety and accountability, I think that we should immediately begin to take the necessary steps to expand our mental health unit. Um, I think the police department needs to explore new and effective officer training with an emphasis on de-escalation and the use of force. Now, in the city of St Paul people do not feel protected. You know, they’re scared and um we want to help change that narrative. That’s an interest of mine. When we talk about housing, and development and land use and things along those lines, we could start by abolishing the trash program on it’s entirety, right now we have a trash program that many people feel not included in when we talk about the implementation process ah, you know, we really need to revisit and take a look at that again.

C&B: As far as we know the trash program was implemented poorly, what specifically would you do to change that program?

Bourne: So right now you’ve got individuals paying, double as much for half as less, excuse me for half as much, and so I think a real key component of it is for instance our elder, a lot of them don’t consume a lot of trash right, so we should have an option for them to select the trash can that is amicable to their usage. Right now, that is not the case, you have a lot of people on fixed incomes and so that additional 20, 30, 40% hike, you know that makes a difference.

C&B: Do you think it should be on a sliding fee scale?

Bourne: That’s an option that can be explored. I think right now, we just need to get stakeholders back to the table paired with community members both renters and homeowners, to craft something reflective of who we are.

C&B: Who has more value homeowners or renters?

Bourne: A renter.

C&B: A renter?

Bourne: Absolutely.

C&B: Why?

Bourne: I think a renter because a homeowner could live anywhere, whereas we know, a renter we know is living right here in the community. Now, if you want to talk about homeowners that live in the community as opposed you know, to people that rent in the same community, um, there is no hierarchy, and I think right now we need to make that very clear to a lot of individuals. Because right now we have this whole ah, homeowners being pinned against renters and vice-a-versa and it really shouldn’t be that way.

C&B: What do you think about the implementation of eviction notices and things of that order, basically people that are challenged in meeting their obligations?

Bourne: What do you mean?

C&B: State law sets up the eviction process but its implementation is at the local level through the sheriff’s office and the local court system. What should the city council do to address that?

Bourne: What’s ideal? If someone isn’t adhering to their financial obligations or a quality of living obligations then the necessary steps need to be taken. But on the flipside of that, we need to make sure that we have a nice ration taking place. The amount of money that property owners receive as opposed to the property, excuse me, the amount of money that property owners are reinvesting into those properties, those living spaces. Because right now you have a lot of people renting at astronomical rental rates for very low-quality living spaces, and that is really unfortunate.

C&B: What would you do about absentee landlords?

Bourne: I always say, you know, we are going to take the necessary steps to excuse me, reward landlords and hold slumlords accountable. What that process looks like right now, I don’t really know, but I can tell you that we have a lot of individuals committed to assuring that that very thing happens.

C&B: You’re running under a system called Ranked Choice Voting, what’s your opinion on that system?

Bourne: I think Ranked Choice is good for business, it gives people options it allows people to explore candidates, support candidates without the fear of guilt for lack a better set of terms. Um, if you don’t like Ranked Choice just bullet vote it’s just that simple. But right now, voters need a choice. You know voters need a choice and a choice without guilt and Ranked Choice voting gives individuals just that.

C&B: Did you know Ranked Choice voting was illegally passed in the city of St Paul? They actually, manipulated the process by claiming that it was sponsored by Barack Obama, John McCain, Ralph Nader, and the League of Women Voters and the DFL Party and they were found guilty of in a court of law as having misrepresented that system?

Bourne: Um, no, I am not familiar with the legalities of it.

C&B: So, if the system was an illegal passage, should it be the process we’re using?

Bourne: I mean, that’s not my job to dispute the legalities of you know what sounds like things that have already been preceded in the courtroom. Right now, I’m a candidate for St Paul City Council Ward 6, and we have Ranked Choice Voting.

C&B: You’re running under the system you have.

Bourne: Implemented in our race.

C&B: Tell me what a pitch is to a voter on how to get their second choice?

Bourne: On how to get their second choice?

C&B: Yep, on how you become their second choice. What do you say to them?

Bourne: Well, me personally, you know, if winning wasn’t important, they wouldn’t keep score. You know, and in politics its votes. And, so. I don’t play to lose.

C&B: Tell me the pitch to be second choice. How do you say it at the door?

Bourne: Well, we never ask for second choice, you know we, what we have to do to assure that people feel comfortable with putting u in the first choice um, I think, I think, I think, we do a good job of letting people know they will have options and they can support all candidates, but that’s not really something we engage in, so.

C&B: So what would you like to say to a voter right now that’s listening to this recording?

Bourne: This is a historical race, you know, you need to get engaged you need to ensure that you are registered to vote in the house that you live in on November the fifth, even if you are a convicted felon, if you are off probation or parole, on November the 5th you can vote. My office is located at 1197 Payne Avenue, right on the corner of Payne and Maryland I highly encourage you to stop in and meet with me. I am usually here every day at 10 O’clock personal cell phone number is 612 458-2353. Again, that’s 612 458-2353 you can also contact us via our website at alexjbourne.com that’s alexjbourne.com.

C&B: Now, that you mention that, one last question, why don’t you have the right domain name on your lawn signs?

Bourne: Actually, our original website ah, was alexanderjbourne.com that website was hijacked so we had to make an adjustment and we ultimately determined that alexjbourne was better suitable.

C&B: Well, thank you for your time.

Bourne: Thank you