Tag Archives: Wendy Berry

How Much Economic Development Does West St. Paul Need?

Expanding the tax base and economic development are solutions thrown around by candidates in West St. Paul. That’s all well and good, but sometimes they act like it’s a cure all. To get the kind of revenue we need, expanding the tax base can only do so much.

It reminds me of a comment Ward 3 candidate Wendy Berry made at the Ward 3 candidate forum:

“I think we all know that we have to bring economic development to West St. Paul. That’s not some top secret thing nobody knows about and that nobody has ever heard of. It has to be done, or else we’re going to turn to Little House on the Prairie or something and there won’t be any businesses here. We have to do that, checkmark, everyone knows that.”

Some of the other candidates seem to focus on economic development and expanding the tax base as the sole approach to bringing in more revenue and helping us tackle our budget challenges. Those same candidates don’t seem to be fans of the proposed sales tax (though most seem to agree that they’ll follow the will of the voters).

So let’s do a comparison, just to get an idea of impact (because it’s not a binary choice).

How much would we need to expand our tax base with economic development to equal the $1.3 million the proposed sales tax is estimated to bring in? Continue reading How Much Economic Development Does West St. Paul Need?

West St. Paul’s Targeted Women Look for Answers & Make Their Own

“#MeToo. It’s still going on. We’re past the point of being shook up about it. We’re just sick and tired of it. We’re scared for our families, I’m not scared for myself, I’m just sick and tired. … Enough. Just so we’re clear. We’ve had enough. No more.”

You could hear it in her voice, the frustration that West St. Paul Mayor Jenny Halverson felt after multiple women spoke up during the Oct. 8 city council meeting—again—to decry targeted attacks of tires punctured with screws.

I immediately thought of the timeless quote from civil rights legend Fannie Lou Hamer:

“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Continue reading West St. Paul’s Targeted Women Look for Answers & Make Their Own

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?

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

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