Tag Archives: John Justen

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?

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

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?

Pride Flags: Where Do 2018 West St. Paul Candidates Stand?

With the coming general election on November 6 and the mayor and three city council seats on the ballot, I’ve been asking our local candidates some questions.

Earlier we covered Robert Street debt, so now let’s move on to Pride flags:

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

Robert Street Debt: Where Do 2018 West St. Paul Candidates Stand?

With the coming general election on November 6 and the mayor and three city council seats on the ballot, I’ve been asking our local candidates some questions.

First, let’s hear about Robert Street debt:

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 September 5 and gave them September 26 as a deadline. Here are their responses: Continue reading Robert Street Debt: Where Do 2018 West St. Paul Candidates Stand?

2018 West St. Paul Candidates on Sexism Controversy

The candidate filing period closed on Tuesday and the last chance to withdraw ended yesterday, so we’ve got our official candidates for the 2018 election in West St. Paul. How do the 2018 candidates stack up in terms of the current hot-button issue in West St. Paul: sexism?

The April 23, 2018 council meeting erupted into charges of sexism over the rejected appointment of Samantha Green that spawned harassment of Mayor Jenny Halverson and Green, as well as an estimated 150 people showing up at the May 14 city council meeting and another 75 or so at the May 29 city council meeting. The story sparked local news coverage and even national attention.

Obviously this isn’t the only issue in the 2018 election, but it is a big one. So where do our newly minted candidates stand? Continue reading 2018 West St. Paul Candidates on Sexism Controversy

2016 Elections in West St. Paul: Taxes & Infrastructure

This year I’ve blogged about a lot of local elections here in West St. Paul:

Why?

Part of my frustration goes back to the misleading statements and misinformation in the 2014 election. But alas, I’ve been complaining about how hard it is to find information about local races since 2003.

Seriously, the most we get are candidate sites and a few candidate forums and questionnaires. Those are helpful, but there’s no push back. A candidate can say whatever they want and it goes unchallenged. It’s no wonder turnout for local elections is horrendous.

So I guess it’s time to start fixing the problem. I did push back when candidates were leaving out important details or being completely misleading. I also spoke up when they were being misrepresented. I’ve been passionate and certainly biased, but hopefully I wasn’t too much of a jerk. Continue reading 2016 Elections in West St. Paul: Taxes & Infrastructure

Bob Pace Did Not Call for a Spending Freeze on Robert Street

A statement from West St. Paul city council ward 1 candidate Bob Pace appeared in the November 2016 issue of the St. Paul Voice:

“[Bob Pace’s] top priority is to put the current Robert Street project on a spending freeze until it is determined how it will be funded. He wants to make the City business-friendly and would work with developers ‘instead of against them,’ in the continued revitalization of all business districts.”

The idea of a spending freeze on a nearly finished project raised some eyebrows. Turns out that’s not what Pace actually said.

Here’s the actual statement Bob Pace gave to the Voice outlining his top priorities:

“To work with developers to continue the revitalization of Robert Street and the rest of the cities businesses, to try and put a hold on spending money on projects that are not absolutely needed until we actually have the money. The citizens can not keep taking tax increases at the current rate.”

So he never called for a spending freeze on the Robert Street project. Continue reading Bob Pace Did Not Call for a Spending Freeze on Robert Street

John Justen: West St. Paul Ward 2 City Council Candidate

West St. Paul ward 2 city council candidate John Justen is doing a meet and greet at Carbone’s Pizza on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 3-5 p.m. What a great opportunity to meet a local candidate face to face and get your questions answered.

John Justen for Ward 2 City Council
Can we take a moment and recognize the brilliant pun in John Justen’s yard sign? “For Ward 2 City Council” or “Forward 2 City Council”—Nice.

John has been one of the truly interesting candidates in our local West St. Paul race. He’s a business owner impacted by Robert Street who doesn’t think it’s the worst thing ever. He also appeared on the Streets.mn podcast, totally nerding out with host Bill Lindeke for an hour about local development, business opportunity, city design, sidewalks and more. If you want to see an example of a knowledgeable and engaged candidate, take a listen.

I especially like his take on Robert Street from the Dakota County Chamber of Commerce candidate questionnaires:

“One lesson we can learn from the Robert Street reconstruction is that the delay of necessary spending increases results in higher costs in the long run. As a retail business owner, I make decisions about how and when to spend my money every day. As is true in business, our city’s success is based on frugal but forward looking investment. Fiscal responsibility does not mean doing nothing; it means recognizing needs and opportunities and responding to them in a timely and efficient manner.”

That, in a nutshell, is the Robert Street project. It had to be done. Delaying the inevitable just makes it cost more. So let’s seize the opportunity. I think mayoral candidate Jenny Halverson has the same investment-focused view.

I’m also appreciative of John Justen because he gave a comment for my Robert Street easement story that included an actual opinion. I understand the current council members and mayor were advised not to weigh in (rightfully so), but the other candidates were free to share their thoughts. Even if you disagree with John Justen, at least he weighed in.

John Justen is facing Anthony Fernandez for the Ward 2 city council seat, which is being vacated by Jenny Halverson’s run for mayor.

More on John Justen:

West St. Paul Robert Street Easement Deal Gone Awry

On Sept. 15, West St. Paul Mayor David Meisinger boasted about saving the taxpayers $30,000 by vetoing a Robert Street easement settlement. He positioned it as spending $30,000 for two trees.

That sounds pretty bad. But it’s not that simple.

Let’s dive into the weeds and sort this out. Continue reading West St. Paul Robert Street Easement Deal Gone Awry