With the election of council member Dave Napier to mayor, West St. Paul will have an open city council seat. According to state law and city charter, the mayor and council can appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of Napier’s term (ends in 2020).
West St. Paul is currently accepting applications for this position. The newly elected council and mayor will consider the applicants and vote for a new city council member. Unlike normal city business, the mayor gets a vote in this process and there is no veto.
These appointment situations are always a little odd because we the people don’t get to elect our representative. We have a voice in the process through our other elected representatives, but it kind of side-steps democracy. (As an example of this democracy side-step: Of the six elected representatives voting to pick my new representative, only two of them actually represent me; the other four were elected by the people of wards 1 and 2.)
It’s democracy adjacent. Continue reading I Support Lisa Eng-Sarne for the Open West St. Paul City Council Seat
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.
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
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
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?
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?
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