The Grant County Solar project docket proceeding at the Wisconsin Public Utilities Commission is moving towards a Commission decision. Yesterday, our Reply Briefs were due:

And the Initial Briefs:

Next step in the 9804-CE-100 docket, the Decision Matrix, which we comment on. The PSC should release that soon, it’s usually right after briefing.

For the PSC’s 9804-CE-100 Grant County Solar docket, GO HERE!

For the Wisconsin Power & Light docket umbrella over SIX solar projects, including Grant County Solar, 6680-CE-182, GO HERE! We filed a non-party brief in this docket – intervention was denied:

My LTE is in the paper today, on hearing him say he got only 2 emails supporting Pohlman’s firing, and that an “overwhelming majority” was in an uproar:

Letter: An open letter to Red Wing Mayor Mike Wilson

Written By: Carol Overland | 1:50 pm, Mar. 13, 2021

Do recall, I sent three emails to the City address, distributed to you and the Council. The bottom line was “I thank you for doing your jobs, difficult as it can be.” In those emails, I questioned the public letters, petition, and comments regarding Roger Pohlman that implied knowledge of confidential matters, twisting public perception. Because it’s a confidential process, insinuations and innuendoes couldn’t be refuted. Rep. Haley’s interference in city issues, seeking to prevent termination, also alluding to inside information, was as improper as the interference play on the national front seeking to overturn Georgia’s election.

In Red Wing, I hear cries of “witch hunt,” and “we have only begun to fight” and ugly statements about council members — irresponsible speech in light of our political climate (“credible threat” lockdown of Goodhue County building for refugee resettlement vote last year; Sen. Mike Goggin joining Rep. Steve Drazkowski and others, asking Texas A.G. to add Minnesota to lawsuit and disenfranchise Minnesota voters; Jan. 6 D.C. failed insurrection.). There’s talk of a recall effort of six council members. These words and actions will not change the Pohlman decision.

Your column (RE, March 6, 2021) hearkens back to a recent failure to accept election results, and uses the rhetorical gambit of using words of others, words conveying little understanding of the process, i.e., process is confidential, Pohlman was represented by counsel, that it was a lengthy process with iterative opportunities for change.

Not one of the supporters’ comments you quoted substantively challenged the examples cited in the council’s Feb. 19 letter, nor do you make any substantive challenges of your own.

“Remember, if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.”

The flurry of inflammatory charges during confidential proceedings prior to his termination was important enough, concerning enough, that I wrote three missives. And now? It’s important to me that decisions of the council be acknowledged, and not undermined. A 6-1 vote is not a close call. That is an “overwhelming majority.”

Red Wing has a weak mayor system, with the position being that of a bully pulpit. Using your position for a column of this fomenting tenor is divisive and increases rancor in our community.

In short, based on the information stated in the 2/19 letter, what’s been reported in the papers including your words, and a viewing of the short 2/19 council meeting, I support the City Council in its 6-1 decision to terminate Pohlman.

Carol A. Overland, Red Wing

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s what Mayor Wilson had to say:

Column: Red Wing mayor fields questions about police chief’s departure

“The Mayor is IN” is a monthly column that appears in the Republican Eagle and online. Written By: Mike Wilson, Red Wing mayor | 7:00 am, Mar. 8, 2021

Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson

With COVID and so much else going on, it takes a lot to get people any more worked up and worried than they already are. But I’m really getting an earful about the City Council’s decision to fire our now former police chief, Roger Pohlman.

Red Wing citizens are calling, emailing, and stopping by my Third Street office. They are puzzled about the process, or lack of it, and furious about the outcome.

From what I see and hear, community support for him is overwhelming. In fact, I’ve received exactly two – yes, just two – emails from people who thought the council made the right decision. That’s it. Checking my notes from folks who have stopped by the office, called, or emailed, these points come up again and again.”

“The chief didn’t get a fair shake.”

“What ever happened to due process? Why weren’t citizens allowed to speak at the council meeting?”

“Why wasn’t Chief Pohlman allowed to attend and speak in his own defense? What kind of a kangaroo court is the council running?”

“Chief Pohlman treated people with respect, honesty, and kindness. I can’t believe what they did.”

“Looks like they had their own agenda and fired him for reasons that remain secret. Why weren’t citizen taxpayers allowed to weigh in?”

You get the idea. And when I met with members of our police force, to a person they expressed support and admiration for Pohlman. Quite frankly, I’m concerned about morale on the force, and about our ability to keep the top flight cops who have served Red Wing so well.

I’m also hearing plenty about what some are calling the taxpayer funded, multi-million dollar proposed “Bridge to Nowhere” that would link Bay Point Park to West End businesses. More on that later.

When “The Mayor is IN” sign is out at 327 Third St., feel free to stop in and share your ideas and opinions.

Or email me anytime at: mike.wilson@ci.red-wing.mn.us. Remember, if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

Don’t forget to tune in to KCUE Radio 1250 at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of every month for “A Conversation With Mike.” It’s a live interview where you get to ask the questions. And I’ll also share the topics that were discussed, and what will be discussed, at the Council meetings the second and fourth Monday of each month.

PFAS in La Crosse

March 11th, 2021

There’s been a lot of talk landing in my inbox these days about the PFAS mess in the surface and ground water around the La Crosse Regional Airport, affecting private and public wells.

The City of La Crosse has sued:

PFAS? Welcome to our world in Minnesota:

MPCA PFAS 3M Settlement

That settlement was for $850 million, “settled” in 2018, but I think it was too little and too soon.

Meanwhile, La Crosse, WI is taking this seriously, and the City of La Crosse has sued the handful of those making and marketing and selling PFAS:

City Of La Crosse Files Lawsuit Calling Out 23 Companies For PFAS Contamination

And the City of La Crosse’s page:

Well Water Testing Around the La Crosse Regional Airport

More articles:

La Crosse files lawsuit against ‘forever chemical’ companies after contamination spread to over 100 homes

La Crosse files lawsuit against 23 chemical manufacturers over PFAS contamination

Pohlman hired by Lakefield!

March 10th, 2021

UPDATE: Were the ~250 who “signed” the Pohlman “Petition” notified that he was seeking a new job, appeared before and was offered position by Lakefield City Council on March 1, and his acceptance was announced by the Council March 8? That “Petition” was demanding “that Chief Pohman be immediately reinstated…” (I have this in quotes because there are no signatures, just typed names).

A little birdie told me that Red Wing’s fired ex-Police Chief Roger Pohlman was lining up a new job in Lakefield, MN, a town I know of from transmission lines, the Split-Rock-Lakefield Jct., and ITC’s Line 4:

It’s a tiny town, 1,753 people. Add two more soon, as sure enough, Roger Pohlman has been hired as their new Chief of Police, a position open for over 8 months! Here’s the solicitation, still on the City site (Police_Chief_(1).doc):

Note this tidbit, in the 2nd article below, where Council offered him the job:

Pohlman said he wants to come to Lakefield to finish his career on a strong note and serve a tight-knit community close to home that shares his values.

Here are the two articles I could find, each following a Council meeting:

And the report from the Council meeting the week before, where they offered him the job (I wonder if he applied before, or after, he was fired):

Now that all the folks who got all worked up wanting to do a recall of SIX City Council members over Pohlman’s firing will learn he’s off to Lakefield, what will they do with all that sturm and drang? Here’s the “Petition” that was filed, with some wild “Whereas” clauses and a typed list of names, NO SIGNATURES! Here it is, in a prior post:

Pohlman support “petition”

March 9th, 2021

This Petition was made public February 19,2021 at 10:43 a.m., just hours before Red Wing’s Police Chief Roger Pohlman was fired by Janie Farrar on our Red Wing Convo page. At the time, because personnel matters are confidential, I wondered what information they were basing this Petition on, and really, what would it accomplish? He wasn’t even fired yet, and nothing was public. Who was leaking, and who was spreading false information, and how would anyone be able to discern truth from lie?

Although the Petition was posted on a community fb page, the signature pages were not, and so I filed a Data Practices Act request, and check this out — there aren’t signatures! Committee to Recall City Hall? We’ll see how this goes. If this is how they do a “petition,” oh, my…

The charter says that they’d need 20% of the registered voters in a ward, or combination of wards, or in the City, depending on representation of the council member they want to recall. As of November 3, 2020, there were 9,905 registered voters in the City of Red Wing, Wards 1-4. What does 20% look like?

  • Ward 1 – 2,674 registered voters = 534
  • Ward 2 – 2,575 registered voters = 515
  • Ward 3 – 2,617 registered voters = 523
  • Ward 4 – 2,424 registered voters = 484

Let’s do the math… if they want to recall all but Beise.. SNORT! How many registered voters in that councilor’s ward(s) are needed?

  • Hove – Wards 1 & 2 = 5,249, 20% = 1,049
  • Klitzke – Ward 2 = 2,575, 20% = 515
  • Norton – Ward 3 = 2,617, 20% – 523
  • Buss – Ward 4 = 2,424, 20% = 484
  • Brown – Wards 3 & 4, 20% = 5,041
  • Stinson – At Large – All Wards 9,905, 20% = 1,981

The City Council did their job and fired Pohlman. If it were up to me, I’d have taken Pohlman to the woodshed over “Ordinance 115.” Thankfully that was tabled over 2 years ago and hasn’t returned — info here:

Ordinance #115 LTE in Republican Eagle December 8th, 2017

Anyway, here’s the Petition,and note the language, particularly in that first “Whereas” clause, and the part about “anti-police protesters.”