West St. Paul Ward 2 City Council: Fact Checking Jim Probst

We’ve had two West St. Paul city council ward 2 candidate forums in the race between John Justen and Jim Probst. In watching those forums, I’ve seen a few comments from Jim Probst that didn’t seem entirely accurate.

You can watch the forums yourself:

I’m thrilled we actually have these candidate forums. It’s great when candidates participate. The only downside is that candidates can say anything they want and nobody is checking up on them. So let’s do some fact checking. Continue reading West St. Paul Ward 2 City Council: Fact Checking Jim Probst

West St. Paul’s Targeted Women Look for Answers & Make Their Own

“#MeToo. It’s still going on. We’re past the point of being shook up about it. We’re just sick and tired of it. We’re scared for our families, I’m not scared for myself, I’m just sick and tired. … Enough. Just so we’re clear. We’ve had enough. No more.”

You could hear it in her voice, the frustration that West St. Paul Mayor Jenny Halverson felt after multiple women spoke up during the Oct. 8 city council meeting—again—to decry targeted attacks of tires punctured with screws.

I immediately thought of the timeless quote from civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer:

“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Continue reading West St. Paul’s Targeted Women Look for Answers & Make Their Own

West St. Paul 2018 Mayoral Forum: Anthony Fernandez & Dave Napier

The League of Women Voters Dakota County hosted the first ever West St. Paul mayoral candidates forum on Friday, Oct. 12. More than 50 people filled the council chambers at city hall to hear candidates Anthony Fernandez and Dave Napier answer questions. We had the best attended of any of the League’s candidate forums.

You can watch the forum online.

In previous years West St. Paul has never had this kind of attention paid to its political process. In the past two election cycles we’ve had hotly contested mayor’s races, and West St. Paul even had a mayoral primary in 2016. But most years there’s the Town Square TV candidate forum, and that’s it. That forum includes all mayoral and city council candidates for the general election, which means a limited time to dig into the issues.

This year’s Town Square TV forum included 7 questions.

Last night’s League of Women Voters forum included 31 questions.

That’s an incredible opportunity for the citizens of West St. Paul to hear from their mayoral candidates and make an informed choice. I couldn’t be more proud of my city, and I’m grateful to the League of Women Voters for organizing this event and to the candidates for participating. Continue reading West St. Paul 2018 Mayoral Forum: Anthony Fernandez & Dave Napier

Where Do West St. Paul’s 2018 Candidates Stand on David Meisinger?

The mayor and three city council seats are on the ballot in West St. Paul this year. I’ve been asking our local candidates some questions to see where they stand on the issues.

Earlier we covered Robert Street debtPride flagsmedians and roundabouts, and making better headlines. For my last question, I wanted to ask our current candidates specifically about the behavior of another candidate.

A lot of people have seen my article about the inappropriate behavior of David Meisinger. In some ways it’s an awkward question to ask candidates to go negative on a fellow candidate. On the other side, I don’t think it takes much bravery to condemn bullying.

At any rate, here’s the question:

I’ve written a detailed article about the recent inappropriate behavior of former mayor and ward 3 city council candidate David Meisinger. I want to be clear that these incidents come from Meisinger himself and they are not partisan political issues. It’s important for citizens to know about his behavior and to know if other elected officials will condone his behavior—especially considering the multiple endorsements Meisinger has received in the past. What is your position on his recent behavior? Based on his behavior, do you think he should continue his campaign for city council?

I sent that question to [most of] the candidates on September 5 and gave them September 26 as a deadline. Here are their responses: Continue reading Where Do West St. Paul’s 2018 Candidates Stand on David Meisinger?

River-to-River Greenway Trail in West St. Paul Moves Forward

I’ve been a big proponent of the River-to-River Greenway Trail in West St. Paul, including a tunnel under Robert Street. I’ve blogged about it, I’ve got the T-shirt, I talk to everybody—seriously, my barber asks about it and just this week I told the bank manager about it while getting something notarized.

This week the West St. Paul city council approved an agreement with Dakota County that’s a big step forward for the trail and tunnel. It’s been a long process, and we were in danger of losing $2.2 million in state money if action wasn’t taken by the end of the year.

But we did it. Continue reading River-to-River Greenway Trail in West St. Paul Moves Forward

West St. Paul in the Headlines: How Our 2018 Candidates Will Do Better

The 2018 election is less than a month away. Here in West St. Paul we’ll be electing a new mayor and three city council seats. I’ve been asking our local candidates some questions to see where they stand on the issues.

Earlier we covered Robert Street debtPride flags, and medians and roundabouts. This time I wanted to ask candidates about negative behavior and how that impacts the image of our city. The recent sexism controversy was on my mind (here’s how the candidates have responded to that), but there are plenty of other examples.

Inappropriate behavior by candidates and elected officials has been making headlines—from the local to the national level. How are you going to ensure West St. Paul is making positive headlines?

I sent that question to [most of] the candidates on September 5 and gave them September 26 as a deadline. Here are their responses: Continue reading West St. Paul in the Headlines: How Our 2018 Candidates Will Do Better

Are National Politicians Talking About West St. Paul?

Maybe I’m self-absorbed, but when I hear some of our U.S. Senators talking, it sounds like they’re talking about West St. Paul. Obviously they’re not, but I hear it. Anybody else?

Minnesota Senator Tina Smith tweeted last week about President Trump’s visit to Minnesota:

“Hope he doesn’t get too comfortable. We may be ‘nice’ in Minnesota but when people like him attack us and our values, we rise up, we fight hard, and we don’t back down.”

She could be talking about West St. Paul with our sexism controversy (started by a mayoral candidate who changed his story), another candidate who is a bully, and a string of harassment. Continue reading Are National Politicians Talking About West St. Paul?

I Never Door Knocked Before 2018: Getting Involved Politically

Before 2018 I was not very involved politically. That’s all changed this year. I’ve become more engaged politically that I ever have before. I want to explain why.

First, let’s talk about what I’ve never done before.

My Political Past

I’ve always been politically aware. I’ve always voted. Always did my research and tried to intelligently vote for every possible office. I’ve even blogged about politics and talked about local candidates.

I had opinions. But that’s about as far as it went. Continue reading I Never Door Knocked Before 2018: Getting Involved Politically

Medians & Roundabouts—Oh My: Where Do 2018 West St. Paul Candidates Stand?

The general election is coming faster than we think. In just over a month, on November 6, we’ll be voting for mayor and three city council seats here in West St. Paul. I’ve been asking our local candidates some questions to see where they stand on the issues.

Earlier we covered Robert Street debt and Pride flags. Now let’s talk about the ever-popular topics of medians and roundabouts (I wrote a post earlier this year pointing out the safety improvements we’ve seen from medians on Robert Street):

Medians and roundabouts are some of the tools that have been used to increase safety and improve traffic flow, both in West St. Paul and throughout the state. But not everybody likes these solutions. What—if anything—should the city do when solutions that prove effective aren’t necessarily popular?

I sent that question to [most of] the candidates on September 5 and gave them September 26 as a deadline. Here are their responses: Continue reading Medians & Roundabouts—Oh My: Where Do 2018 West St. Paul Candidates Stand?

Turning on the Heat 2018

It’s time for the annual charting of when I turn the heat on.

This year is a little earlier than normal (third earliest on record), but it feels like fall has turned colder much faster this year. We had nice weather for a while, then it dropped pretty quick and stayed there.

We might hit 70 on Wednesday, but otherwise the forecast is more of the same (and cloudy).

I struggled through the weekend resisting the call to turn on the furnace, but sitting at my desk typing and having to keep blowing on my hands is kind of stupid.

Here’s the historical (i.e., nerdy) data:

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.