The following article by Steve Brandt appeared in Sunday’s May 17, 2009 Star Tribune.

DFLers also seemed to signal they may want a new direction for the Park Board by snubbing two incumbents by withholding endorsements.

Southwest-area Commissioner Bob Fine was trounced by Brad Bourn for the party nod. But Fine said he’s planning to run anyhow, given that he has been elected to the Park Board three times without party backing. Bourn, who got the support of 79 percent of delegates, is a youth and volunteer coordinator for a North Side community agency.

Liz Wielinski easily won endorsement with 72 percent over Michael Rainville for the East Side park seat being vacated by Walt Dziedzic. She has been following park issues for six years and helped to organize a Park Board monitoring group. Rainville, who works for the area convention and visitors bureau, said he hasn’t decided whether to run against Wielinski in the November election.

The contests for two park endorsements deadlocked. The three-way battle for the Nokomis-area seat ended after two ballots without a winner claiming a 60 percent threshold and when two trailing candidates united to adjourn. Martin Demgen, who was leading with 48 percent, Jason Stone and Steve Barland all plan to run. Demgen has labor support while Rybak backs Stone.

In a North Side district, neither Natalie Collins nor incumbent Jon Olson got the needed 60 percent support in four ballots, with Collins leading.

Anita Tabb was endorsed without opposition in the Calhoun-area board seat being vacated by Tracy Nordstrom. Scott Vreeland was endorsed for another term in his riverside district.

Park Board citywide Commissioners Tom Nordyke and Mary Merrill Anderson won endorsement for another term, and John Erwin was endorsed to return to the board after sitting out one term.

Steve Brandt • 612-673-4438