When Mayor Norton came back from serving in St. Paul, numerous options were open to her to serve in Rochester. In 2018, she had the choice of the open city council seat (Ward 5) or the mayor’s office. She chose the latter. The first priority on her campaign website (still) reads: “I have years of experience building bridges within our community and I am committed to helping reach fair and consensus-driven decisions.”

Meanwhile, this week, frustrated with a lack of support from the city’s elected body for her specific mask mandate, Mayor Norton took to Twitter to declare that mayors like her must be empowered “to protect our communities from our city councils.” This I-Alone-can-fix-It mayor is not the bridge-building one I voted for in 2018.

There were hints. During the Kmart parking lot debate, Mayor Norton injected herself into that process, taking the matter out of the seven-member city council’s hands, and used her veto threat to negotiate her own satisfactory deal with the developer -- thus, apparently, protecting us from our city council.

I'm not against masks; my business supported the first mask mandate. But the weak mayor position is weak for a reason. Rochester needs consensus-driven decisions, not social media demagoguery. It might get likes from Minneapolis, but how does the mayor expect to create a cooperative working relationship locally with public statements like that?

The Ward 5 seat is up again next year if the mayor wants a stronger office.

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Abe Sauer, Rochester