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 debt, Pride flags, medians 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:
Candidates for Mayor
There are two candidates for mayor: Anthony Fernandez and Dave Napier.
I do not condone the described behavior. But Mr. Meisinger can speak for himself regarding his own actions. And the people of Ward 3 will decide if Mr. Meisinger should serve on city council next year.
I think people’s actions should speak for themselves. I want to focus on my campaign and what I can do for our city if elected.
Candidates for Ward 1 City Council
There is only one candidate for Ward 1: Dick Vitelli is running unopposed.
(no campaign site)
I do not condone his behavior. It is his right, [but] I do not condone his actions.
Candidates for Ward 2 City Council
There are two candidates for Ward 2: John Justen and Jim Probst.
I have openly and enthusiastically supported Wendy Berry’s run for city council and have volunteered for her campaign. Due to this, I feel it is inappropriate for me to respond directly to this question. I will state that in all instances, I stand in opposition to sexism, intimidation, and harassment.
(no campaign site)
I, in no way condone such behavior or actions. Mr Meisinger will have to face the judgment of the citizens of Ward 3. They will have the final decision on his behavior. My efforts will be to concentrate on the people of ward 2.
Candidates for Ward 3 City Council
There are two candidates for Ward 3: Wendy Berry and David Meisinger.
Do I condone his recent behavior outlined in your article? Absolutely not.
Do I think he should continue his campaign for city council? Mr. Meisinger believes he will represent the people that live in Ward 3 based on his previous political experience. I think people should form their own opinion on who they want to vote for by researching the candidates, particularly my opponent’s history of representing Ward 3. I know I can represent the people that live in Ward 3 in many other capacities that would ensure four years from now, there isn’t a question like this when I’m running for reelection.
(no campaign site)
[It would be awkward, however informative, to ask Meisinger himself this question. However, as I stated in the original post, before I could ask his response to those issues, Meisinger threatened to report me to the police for harassment if I ever contact him again. So I did not ask Meisinger this question and therefore have no response to share.]
Vote on November 6
The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. The West St. Paul city website has details on where and how to vote, including a handy ward map in case you’re wondering which ward you live in. You can also vote early with an absentee ballot, either by mail or by stopping at the Dakota County offices.
If you’d like more information on the candidates, there have been and will be several candidate forums:
- Townsquare TV Mayoral & City Council Forum
- Women of West St. Paul Ward 2 Forum
- October 12: League of Women Voters Mayoral Forum
- October 15: Women of West St. Paul Ward 3 Forum
- October 17: Optimist Club Candidate Forum
Thank you to the candidates for taking the time to respond to my questions.
(Full disclosure: I have donated to the campaigns of Dave Napier and Wendy Berry.)