To the editor:

Edina Neighbors for Affordable Housing (ENAH) held its virtual City Council Candidate Forum on Monday night, Oct. 5. All candidates participated except Parinaz Kassemi.

Housing affordability is a major concern of Edina residents and businesses. We need City Council candidates who support it. But what does “support” mean?

Support means knowledge of the subject, the Greater Southdale Small Area Plan, and the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. It means using creative, big-picture thinking, and understanding how housing intersects with climate change and the need for more public transit to reduce carbon emissions. Support means being open to change and willing to manage it on behalf of what is fair, just, and good for the entire community.

James Pierce understands the importance of preserving our single family neighborhoods as a component of life-cycle housing, He also identifies corridors across the city where density increases can occur and supports the buildout of public transit. He has a creative, comprehensive vision of how affordable housing fits into the development of a new, green city center in the Southdale area.

Carolyn Jackson has a firm grasp of how affordable housing and school segregation relate to the metro area’s racial disparities. She knows what drives our affordable housing crisis and understands the intertwined nature of housing, climate change, and public transit. Finally, Carolyn made an important call for the development of new language and metrics to better gauge the city’s progress towards its race and equity goals.

The available evidence shows that James Pierce and Carolyn Jackson are knowledgeable on key issues, big-picture and creative thinkers, and supportive candidates. Both speak consistently about life-cycle affordable housing for a broad spectrum of our population and the importance of the city’s racial justice and equity goals. That is the balanced approach we need.

ENAH is grateful to all our City Council candidates for a highly informative evening.

Hope Melton

Edina

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