Janovy for council member | Photo by the author
by Steve Timmer
Oct 19, 2016, 1:30 PM

Jennifer Janovy for Edina City Council

I enthusiastically support Jennifer Janovy for a seat on the Edina City Council. Let me tell you why.

Before I do that, though, let me say that I also support the re-election of Mary Brindle. She has served the city well for two terms, and she deserves another. The first time I met Mary was over coffee to discuss the city’s police policy toward seizing and forfeiting automobiles, which I had studied, and I thought was out of control. I have discussed many issues with her since then. She is the only council member who voted against the establishment of an expansive TIF at Grandview (you can read more about the Grandview TIF at the links in the following paragraph); I have always though that Mary was in the residents’ corner. I expect that Mary will be re-elected handily.

But back to Jennifer Janovy. I wrote a couple of stories a few days ago about municipal governance in Edina, the role of the city’s staff, and a little about the upcoming municipal election, too. These stories tell you why I don’t support one of Jennifer’s opponents.

There was a letter to the editor in the Sun Current recently from Nancy Killilea that I thought stated it quite well: I am taking the liberty of quoting a few paragraphs of it here:

I have known Jennifer for over 15 years as a neighbor and parent of school-aged children.

Our values are similar, but she has committed to hers in a much more public capacity and with remarkable dedication.

She has proven to be an objective, thoughtful learner and advocate for our city. She has spent more than a decade serving our community in a variety of leadership roles. She is a member and former chair of the Edina Transportation Commission and a past member of the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Advisory Board. She was a cofounder and steering committee member of the Morningside Neighborhood Association and President of League of Women Voters Edina.

I am excited that Jennifer will be running for city council because I trust and respect her opinions as they are based on her personal efforts to dig deep on issues and understand them from many different points of view. Her values extend beyond her commitment to service.

As a community member, she has seen our frustration with a city council that accepts our feedback but does not seem to act on it. Jennifer’s first priority is to engage the community in a way that holds the city council accountable to its community members, their feedback and point of view. In addition, she reflects her values in priorities from redevelopment to transportation that will only improve our wonderful community and its livability.

I endorse everything that Nancy says here. There are other letter writers who agree, too. Nancy writes that Jennifer is a “thoughtful learner and advocate for our city.” I would only amend that to say “advocate for residents of our city.” And “learner” is a great and apt choice of words.

Although I will probably embarrass her, Jennifer’s knowledge of the moving parts at City Hall is encyclopedic. I know this first hand. If I have a question about city government: budget, transportation, public works, enterprises, development, the HRA, you name it, I contact Jennifer.

And she always has an answer, and it’s usually longer and more nuanced than I expected. I am not kidding. I doubt very much that the city has ever had a candidate, not on the council before, more prepared to take a seat.

I will conclude by saying that Jennifer has worked hard with a number of others to prevent the city from frittering away a public asset, the old public works site at Grandview, a battle that continues. For that we owe Jennifer our thanks.

She has also earned our vote.

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