Anthony Fernandez Shifts Story While Running for West St. Paul Mayor

At the April 23, 2018 West St. Paul city council meeting, council member Anthony Fernandez pulled the nomination of Samantha Green from the consent agenda and voted against her appointment to the Planning Commission. The move sparked accusations of sexism and a packed house at the next city council meeting. Fernandez has changed his story on this multiple times.

Anthony Fernandez seems to say what he thinks you want to hear. And that changes from day to day.

This is problematic for an elected official. It’s also problematic for someone seeking higher office. Anthony Fernandez filed to run for mayor of West St. Paul last week. So his word is even more important than ever.

With that in mind, I’m going to explore some of the contradictory public statements made by Anthony Fernandez that came in response to this issue. Continue reading Anthony Fernandez Shifts Story While Running for West St. Paul Mayor

Women Confront West St. Paul City Council

Last night’s West St. Paul city council meeting was incredible. Women came out in droves and packed the city council chambers—bearing tampons—to protest sexism.

More than 150 residents showed up (is that a record for a West St. Paul city council meeting?) and citizen comments went on for an hour and a half as women berated the sitting council members, detailing stories of harassment, mistreatment and—at best—neglect.

The tensions spilled over after the overt sexism on display at the previous city council meeting on April 23, but as Mayor Jenny Halverson testified (and former council member Darlene Lewis, who served from 2005 to 2012, confirmed), sexism has been an ongoing problem.

The tampons were part of a Pad Drive where feminine hygiene products were donated to a local food shelf (and over $2,600 was raised online), after the mayor and another citizen were harassed.

Many of the woman dressed in green and wore buttons quoting Mayor Halverson, “This will not be forgotten, folks!” Continue reading Women Confront West St. Paul City Council

Sexism in Committee Approvals in West St. Paul?

Last month controversy erupted in West St. Paul over allegations of sexism at city council. The story has received national attention and prompted a major charity effort that’s raised more than $2,000 for a local shelter.

The fireworks focused on the appointment of Samantha Green to the Planning Commission by Mayor Jenny Halverson, an appointment that was denied by the all male city council. I detailed the back and forth on that issue, and women are expected to rally to Halverson and Green at tonight’s council meeting.

I mentioned other committee appointments that didn’t happen that night, noting the four applications and four vacancies on the Environmental Committee, where only one person was appointed, and the 10 applications and three vacancies on the Parks & Recreation Committee, where only two people were appointed.

With tonight’s meeting agenda, we get the minutes from the Open Council Work Session (page 6 & 7) when those appointments were voted on. The council voted by secret ballot, so we don’t know who voted for whom, but it appears not everybody voted and there was a definite slant in who received votes.

There were twice as many male applicants as female applicants, yet men received nine times the votes as the women did.

Only three people—all men—received enough votes (four) to be appointed. Continue reading Sexism in Committee Approvals in West St. Paul?