What's Left of Maplewood (MN)

We can't draw, so we are left with verbal cartoons about Maplewood city politics.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gas Guzzler

Dale gets subtle...
let's listen in
(Okay, what's this about?)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Who needs enemies when you have friends like these...

Are things so boring in Roseville that a couple of their residents feel compelled to cross the border and meddle in our affairs? Or is it that they have made a big enough mess of their city that they want to come and mess up ours?

In doing a little googling on the suspects at another site, I came across this nugget. Seems that the City of Maplewood is now allowing some sort of dual citizenship. Evidently our Roseville Treasurer friend was able to vote in at least one of our previous elections.

What a great citizen. Doing his constitutional "duty" twice. First he dutied on Roseville. Now he is dutying on Maplewood.

Where's the Border Patrol when we really need them?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ostriches & Their Queen

Queen Diana the ostrich herder.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? After the last Mayor's forum (see the notes at Maplewood Voices), apparently the moniker fits.

At the same time that her minions fight like heck to keep their heads buried in the sand when it comes such new-fangled things such as voice recording, the Queen is busy making up constitutional law.

While I have not met Ms. Flister, I could imagine scenarios where the recording of the meetings could be a nuisance, especially if they have not been recorded before. However, I do not understand what these people are afraid of? I challenge any of the ostriches to pull their heads out of the sand long enough to put in a data practices act and listen to the recording yourself. Then and only then can you try to tell us that Ms. Flister alters the recording in any way. Of course, someone else will have to relay this challenge to the ostriches as I am sure they are completely terrified of something as scary as the Internet.

One person that could relay the challenge is the Queen of the ostriches. That being Queen Diana. And what is it that makes her Queen? She not only shepherds the ostriches by helping them to keep their heads buried and keeps them safe from bad people like Ms. Flister and Mr. Nephew, but she is so much more powerful than just that.

In fact, Queen Diana is so powerful that constitutional rights do not apply to her. It seems fairly clear from the city attorney (whom the Queen herself helped hire) that Ms. Flister has every right to record the meetings. In fact, Ms. Flister apparently was kind enough to relent a bit by turning off the recorder at various times. However, that was not enough. The ostriches, er people, were still uncomfortable. Perhaps they were afraid that somehow, their heads would become exposed. The Queen would have none of that, regardless of the constitutional rights that were at stake. What Queen Diana wants, she gets. Especially when it comes to the comforts of her herd...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Found in Translation

Hjelle in the City News: "Reality is a good judge, second only to the decision of voters!"

Translation: "I think it's more important to win votes than to tell the truth!"

Friday, April 13, 2007

Decision time

It's Saturday morning, pretty late. But, you're up.

You have some coffee. Maybe some of that pizza on the counter.
Go out on the porch, get the mail...mm... robins are here.

You take the May Maplewood City News into the bathroom, read a little.

Things are moving...

Stay with comfort?    

It's decision time!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today's matinee feature...

Tilt! A
Victoria Crossing adventure

(no, not that one)


with Don's compaƱero
the incomparable Princesa Diana


Using secret, advanced subvocalization-discernment technology, lent to What's Left of Maplewood by a confidential source, we were able to eavesdrop on a number of comments that were almost said aloud during the Monday workshop on conservation easements. Naturally we wanted to share them with our readers, since we feel these unstated remarks really fill in some gaps in the context of the whole meeting.

Rebecca Cave: What great turnout! Gosh, thanks everyone for coming to my campaign rally! Those postcards were a great idea, Diana.

Diana Longrie: In case any of you residents forgot all those rumors from the last election cycle, where you heard about sinister elements of the city council who were plotting to pave all of Maplewood's open space and sell the parks to developers with plans to build low income high rises . . . well, we just wanted you to remember them.

Erik Hjelle: Diana promised me this wouldn't cost the city any money. D'oh! I wonder if I can change my vote.

Will Rossbach: What the hell is going on? Did I miss a meeting or a vote about this?

Greg Copeland: Don't you remember that meeting we had at Rebecca's house where we decided what to do? Oh, wait, we didn't invite you.

It all makes more sense now, doesn't it?

Monday, April 09, 2007

More Fear on the Horizon

Has the time come again when we should be running to the basement? Are some dark and scaring things lurking on the horizon for tonight's meeting? The questions that linger have to do with the two candidates that are being interviewed for the Police Civil Service Commission opening. Is this a chance for the three mouseketeers to further politicize the business of the city?

Interesting, the two candidates that are up for consideration tonight...

Mr. Bartol we have seen before in his business concerning the Gladstone redevelopment as well as a short fill-in stint on the council. There are times that he has appeared to be aligned with the fabulous threesome. Also, there has been some mention of possible Open Meeting Law improprieties. Could these simply be the newbie in him? On the flip side, he has appeared at times to be more moderate and wanting to do what is right. I am not sure I would want to take a risk with such an important position to find out where his true sensibilities lie.

The other candidate appears to be a bit of an unknown, at least to some of us. Ms. Liddell's name has not come up in relation to the council or any of it's members. But that doesn't necessarily bode well. Could she be another Cave-like puppet? Or is she a genuinely interested citizen wanting take care of the city in an ethical manner?

Stay tuned. But keep the basement door open.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Left with Lingering, and Unsettling, Questions

When I read this article about a mix-up in a movie theater, it somehow called to mind the first time I attended a Maplewood City Council meeting.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

That Pesky Open Meeting Law Again

I noticed something subtly new on the Maplewood website today. In the past, when there have been closed sessions for the city council to discuss legal matters, we've usually had a guessing game to figure out which lawsuit was being discussed, for example by looking up the biographies of the attorneys involved to figure out their specialties (labor law, land use, etc.) and comparing those to the known city lawsuits.

For example, you can still see the agenda of the 6 PM closed session of January 22nd, which simply says as its purpose: "Discuss Pending Litigation with Pam VanderWeil, Chuck Bethel, H. Alan Kantrud." The other 5 PM closed session on the same day similarly identifies its purpose: "Discuss Pending Litigation with John Baker and H. Alan Kantrud."

Today, for the first time, I see the header for the upcoming closed session identify the topic: "Closed Session - City Council - Discuss Pending Litigation,Le vs City of Maplewood: Chuck Bethel, H. Alan Kantrud, Julie Fleming Wolfe." I think that this specificity was missing for this meeting the last time I looked at the city meeting calendar.

Why the change? Maybe someone recently took another look at the open meeting law (Minnesota Statute Chapter 13D). Court decisions have allowed limited attorney-client privilege exceptions to the open meeting law, in order to permit confidential discussion of legal strategies about threatened or pending cases. The legislature's guide to the open meeting law states (p. 8),

In order to close a meeting under the attorney-client privilege exception, the governing body must give a particularized statement describing the subject to be discussed. A general statement that the meeting is being closed to discuss pending or threatened litigation is not sufficient.

In other words, each one of those past meeting announcements/agendas that just identified "pending litigation" as the topic appears to be a violation of the open meeting law.

How many violations? Here are the four specific instances I can find still on the Maplewood website just now, at least before someone goes back to change them (something we've seen this administration do before):

January 22, 2007, 6 PM
January 22, 2007, 5 PM
January 8, 2007, 5 PM
December 18, 2006, 5 PM

I tried to find examples of closed meeting agendas from the previous councils and the previous city attorneys, but the city only has agendas back as far as 2005 and in that year there don't appear to be any closed meetings. I guess we didn't used to have so many lawsuits that needed discussing.

Edit, 4/5: A December 11, 2006, special meeting perhaps needs to be added to the list as well.