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Monday, September 19, 2005

Marie Hauser FlyerGate

Britt Robson at City Pages tells the story here. 8th Ward candidate Jeff Hayden came in third in the 8th ward race. He was defeated by Marie Hauser, the Park Board commissioner who came in first, and Elizabeth Glidden who came in second. Hayden isn't happy about a flyer Marie Hauser put out.

What has Hayden steamed is a piece of literature put out by the Hauser campaign, featuring three smiling faces and a message urging residents to vote "for Your 8th Ward Team." The black face right beside Hauser's white face belongs to Mary Merrill Anderson, a candidate for the Minneapolis Park Board. Hayden has two problems with that. One, Anderson never approved or endorsed this show of sisterhood with Hauser. Two, Anderson happens to be Hayden's aunt.

"Yup, the sister of my mother," Hayden says. "I want to clearly state that Marie crossed a line. She not only used a potential supporter of mine against me, she used family against me, and I find that to be unconscionable."


Complicating matters is that Hauser, the city council candidate, is currently on the park board and Anderson, the park board candidate, once served under her as the board's superintendent. The park board has been beset by a nasty 5-4 schism in recent years, with Hauser a fairly reliable vote for the majority.

"This hurts Mary as well," Hayden insists. "It makes it look like Mary is alligned with the same people Marie is alligned with. What happened is that Marie created this 'slate' of candidates, and none of them authorized her to do that. That's beyond dirty politics. It is certainly unethical and it may be illegal. It is up to Aunt Mary to figure out what she wants to do about it." (Anderson could not be reached for comment.)

One might think that the biggest beneficiary of this whole controversy would be Elizabeth Glidden, who by finishing second in the primary has earned the right to face Hauser in the runoff election for the 8th Ward council seat in November. Hayden and Glidden are both considered to be more "progressive" than Hauser, who enjoys substantial backing from organized labor. Hayden received many high-profile endorsements and was the only prominent African American candidate in a ward that has been represented by people of color since Sharon Sayles Belton was elected in the late 70s. His ire at Hauser, then, may well translate into crucial support for Glidden.

Well, not so fast.


Whether or not Hayden does confer his endorsement on Glidden however, one thing is certain. "I won't be endorsing Marie Hauser," he says. "She and [her campaign manager and former councilman] Tony Scallon took a chance. I think they knew word wouldn't get out about this until after the election. In lieu of what's going on with Dean [Zimmerman, whose campaign files were recently seized by FBI agents looks at potential corruption] and the issues of integrity the council has had over the past couple of years, I think people need to know this about Marie. I know this is kind of going for the jugular on this. But that's how I feel."

I called and talked to Jeff Hayden about this. He told me that he had seen Marie Hauser's volunteers dropping this piece on Sunday, even though Marie claimed that she was called about this on Saturday and stopped dropping the piece. 8th ward candidate, Donald Bellfield also told me that he had gotten the piece on Sunday night.

I also contacted Marie Hauser and asked her whether she had gotten Tom Nordyke's permission to use his photo on her lit piece. She said she did not get his permission. She said she "thought she was doing the DFL and Labor Park Board candidates a favor" by listing them on her lit piece.

I asked her whether she was planning to apologise publically for this piece. She said she had already done so in the City Pages. I read her quote in the City Pages and there was no apology in that paper.

This is what she said to the City Pages:

"In hindsight, it probably would have been better to talk to Mary [Merrill Anderson]," Hauser conceded, when confronted with Hayden's charge. ... "We just chose DFL candidates endorsed by labor who were running for at-large positions on the park board. There are so many running we thought it a concern that the good ones get through. We thought it would help them, and in the precincts where we dropped the literature, it did help. Mary called Saturday night and wanted me to do a retraction. She also demanded that we not drop on Sunday, and so we have thousands of them in our basement."

Buyers should beware when reviewing Marie Hauser's lit pieces.

I contacted Tom Nordyke for comment, and he said that he did not give his permission to be used on Marie's piece, and did not support her candidacy for the 8th ward. Nordyke also said his campaign will be putting out a press release on this topic later this week.

This piece was clearly a piece to show Marie Hauser standing with a black and a gay.

Developing. . .