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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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 localnewscoverage and even national attention.