Category Archives: Twin Cities

West St. Paul City Council 2018 Primary Voter’s Guide

A sexism controversy erupted in West St. Paul this spring. Men challenged women who stepped forward to serve, and then sat silently, refusing to explain their issues. Men ignored the concerns women raised.

And something very similar has happened in the primary campaign. Two men and two women are running for the ward 3 city council seat. The men have refused to answer questions. They skipped out on a candidate forum. They haven’t even put forth a platform or taken positions on issues. They’ve just put their names out there and assumed that voters will hand it to them.

It’d be ironic if it weren’t so sad.

I’ve said this primary election is a moment of truth for West St. Paul. And I believe that. It’s a referendum on this lazy, sexist approach to politics. It’s a turning point—will we accept inappropriate behavior or do we want something better?

I’ve written plenty about this primary, so let’s not rehash it. My many posts are linked below.

Please vote.

And yeah, I’m a big fan of Erin Murphy for governor.

Unprecedented Voter Energy in West St. Paul

As we approach the 2018 elections, people in West St. Paul are engaged. It used to be that nobody knew anything about local elections and finding information was an exercise in futility—especially in our first-ring suburb of 20,000 people. But now my neighbors care. And that’s so inspiring.

Sexism Controversy

It started with a sexism controversy that flared up in April, resulting in packed city council chambers and nearly two hours of citizen comments. The TV news showed up and residents donated money and feminine hygiene products to a local nonprofit—earning national attention. The issue even launched two city council campaigns (here’s the speech launching one of those campaigns)—creating a four-way primary that will be narrowed down next week.

But when the cameras went away and the hype died down, people kept showing up. Council meetings used to have paltry attendance at best, but every council meeting since has had a large crowd. Continue reading Unprecedented Voter Energy in West St. Paul

Medians on West St. Paul’s Robert Street Made Us Safer & Saved Money

The massive Robert Street construction project has been done for nearly two years, yet some people are still complaining. They don’t like medians. They don’t like U-turns.

But let’s look at the reality: Robert Street is now safer, and medians saved us money.

Accidents on Robert Street have gone down 23% since construction ended.

Medians actually saved West St. Paul $6.2 million.

Let’s dive into the details to explore why that is. Continue reading Medians on West St. Paul’s Robert Street Made Us Safer & Saved Money

Wendy Berry’s Speech Launching Her Campaign for City Council

Wendy Berry is running for city council in West St. Paul’s Ward 3. I’ve already explained why I’m voting for Wendy Berry, but I wanted to share the inspiring moment when Wendy launched her campaign.

Below is the speech Wendy gave at the pivotal May 14, 2018 city council meeting. The room was packed with more than 150 people and the citizen comments went on for nearly two hours as residents condemned the sexist behavior of certain members of the council.

This is the speech that launched Wendy’s run for city council. You can watch the entire speech online or read it below.

My Original Announcement to Run for City Council

Back in May, with a standing room only in council chambers, a line of amazing, strong women shared their experiences and their desire to see some change with our City Council. It was as that same time that I officially announced my intent to file for City Council for Ward 3. August 14th is the Primary Election and three months after this meeting. I'm so proud to have gained so much support and to see the level of engagement we saw at this meeting has only intensified.

Posted by Wendy Berry for Ward 3 West St. Paul City Council on Friday, August 10, 2018

Continue reading Wendy Berry’s Speech Launching Her Campaign for City Council

Huge Turnout at West St. Paul Ward 3 Candidate Forum

I’m so excited and proud of my city right now. More than 70 people showed up at a candidate forum for ward 3 city council candidates. Some 600 people were watching the Facebook video feed live and the number of views has doubled since then.

Standing room only to hear from the candidates.

Too bad all the candidates aren’t as engaged as the community. 

All four candidates were invited to this non-partisan event, organized by Women of West St. Paul using rules from the League of Women Voters: Continue reading Huge Turnout at West St. Paul Ward 3 Candidate Forum

Wendy Berry for West St. Paul Ward 3 City Council

I’m supporting Wendy Berry for West St. Paul ward 3 city council in the Aug. 14, 2018 primary and, I hope, in the Nov. 6 general election.

West St. Paul has four candidates running for the ward 3 city council seat, which means there will be a primary. Since city council is a non-partisan role, look for the city council race on the back side of your ballot. The top two in the primary will face off in the November general election.

Why Wendy Berry?

So why am I supporting Wendy Berry? A number of reasons.

Child with a Wendy Berry yard sign
Luna with a Wendy Berry sign.

Continue reading Wendy Berry for West St. Paul Ward 3 City Council

Robert Street Debt: Where Do West St. Paul Ward 3 Candidates Stand?

We’ve got a four-way primary for West St. Paul’s ward 3 city council seat. The top two will advance to the general election in November. So it’s important to know where these candidates stand.

I’ve been asking the candidates questions, including asking about Pride flags on Robert Street, the River-to-River Greenway project, and I collected their responses to the West St. Paul sexual harassment.

This week I’m asking about debts from the Robert Street project:

The Robert Street project is now finished, but paying for it is not. Like any major project, bonds were issued and we’ll have an increased debt obligation on the city budget. How will you approach this challenge?

I sent that question to [most of] the candidates on July 18 and gave them July 25 as a deadline. Here are their responses: Continue reading Robert Street Debt: Where Do West St. Paul Ward 3 Candidates Stand?

Pride Flags: Where Do West St. Paul Ward 3 City Council Candidates Stand?

Four candidates are competing in a primary for a Ward 3 seat on West St. Paul’s city council.

Last week I posed the following question to [most of] the candidates:

At the June 25, 2018 city council meeting, a citizen asked about the possibility of displaying LGBTQ Pride flags along Robert Street for Pride Month next year. The city council would need to approve such a move. Assuming the logistics can be worked out, would you be in favor of displaying Pride flags on Robert Street?

I sent the question on July 10 and asked for their responses by July 17. Below are their responses in alphabetical order. Continue reading Pride Flags: Where Do West St. Paul Ward 3 City Council Candidates Stand?

David Meisinger Should Never Hold Public Office Again

David Meisinger is running for city council in West St. Paul. However, his recent behavior should disqualify him from public office. No one should vote for Meisinger.

Below I’ll detail three public examples of David Meisinger’s bullying, intimidating, and mean-spirited behavior. This is not what we want in our elected officials, and so I’m suggesting that David Meisinger should never hold public office again. Not city council, not mayor, not commissioner nor committee member—and definitely not higher office (which he’s hinted at in the past).

Meisinger has every right to run for office, but as voters we get the final decision. I’m detailing these instances of inappropriate behavior to help voters know the kind of person that’s on the ballot.

Who Is David Meisinger?

Meisinger has a long history of service in West St. Paul. His father uncle served as mayor, and Meisinger followed in those footsteps serving on city council from 1996-2000, as mayor from 2001-2002, then again on city council from 2003-2004, and most recently as mayor from 2015-2016. He runs a residential and commercial contracting business.

Meisinger also ran for state legislature in 2012, but lost in the GOP primary.

I’ve disagreed with some of his positions, but he’s served this city for many years and I appreciate his willingness to serve. Unfortunately, Meisinger’s recent behavior goes far beyond any political stance or simple disagreement.

Public Scrutiny for Public Officials

Let’s be clear what I’m doing here: David Meisinger is running for city council in West St. Paul’s ward 3. He wants to be an elected official (again). That means public scrutiny.

If Meisinger wanted to continue being a private citizen, I wouldn’t publicize any of this. But if he wants to represent the citizens of West St. Paul, then we deserve to know what kind of person he is. Continue reading David Meisinger Should Never Hold Public Office Again

West St. Paul City Council: Appointed, Apologized, Attacked, Admitted

West St. Paul city council meetings continue to be full of drama and public outcry. Last night’s June 11, 2018 meeting (you can watch online) was the third meeting since the infamous April 23 meeting when charges of sexism were levied against four male council members—and it was the third meeting in a row that featured a packed house and multiple citizens addressing the council.

It’s so encouraging to see people standing up and speaking out. As Councilperson Dave Napier said, “It’s your city.” Continue reading West St. Paul City Council: Appointed, Apologized, Attacked, Admitted