Rules apply only to some?

May 11th, 2021

Last night, the Red Wing City Council had just one substantive item on the agenda, a request for vacation of an easement from Tom and Anne Wilder. The land in question is that graveled area with driveway and car on it, and a wider section on the parcel to the north, also owned by the Wilders:

It looks like the City did not provide mailed notice to landowners owning property within 500 feet of the Wilders’ property! In particular, I’m looking at the landowners with contiguous parcels, those at 1231 – 5th St. W and 1268 – 6th St. W. They have smaller homes and lots, valued lower, and they just might appreciate the opportunity to add that land to their parcels.

Vacation of an easement is one of those things, like “cartway” that in law school was a big snooze. Yet it’s something to consider. Back on 2019, we got notice about vacation of the easement adjacent to Daniel Sturgeon’s property here on West. I was not pleased about this when he had bought a lot for, according to the County GIS site, “under $1,000” and that he was now asking the City to give him more land. We got a notice in the mail and so I looked into it then, and spoke against it at the public hearing.

After Sturgeon got the land, he turned around and put it on the market for many, many times what he paid:

He’s had some reality orientation since and the price is now at $25,900, still many times more than what was paid:

Anyway, the Notice for the Wilders’ easement vacation request was very different from that for the Sturgeon easement vacation request. Note the “NOTE” at the bottom:

At last night’s meeting, Jay Owens stated that Notice was published in the Eagle, but that was all, and he expressly stated that there had been no contact with the adjacent landowners, in particular, the ones on the other side of the easement.

The Charter has this notice requirement — publication, but no mailing of notice requirement in the Charter:

The timing of the Wilders’ request is odd, as they asked for the city to give them this land some time in March, based on the dates in the packet:

Agenda Item 10A – City Council Packet – 5-10-2021

The hearing was scheduled by the City Council at the April 12, 2021 meeting (9P – Attachment).

As you may recall, Anne Wilder drew this RECALL CITY HALL “cartoon” that was published by the Red Wing Republican Eagle — it was published days after scheduling of the hearing was placed on the Council agenda at the “Agenda Committee” meeting:

  • I used to trust their judgment… Now I’m not so sure! What will they do next?
  • I worry that this is just the beginning… Are we inviting big problems to our community?
  • Great job City Council. My once-peaceful neighborhood just started FIGHTING over your decision to fire the Police Chief.
  • This is the kind of thing that makes people move away…
  • Shouldn’t a City Council always work to build a stronger, safer & better community instead of TEARING IT APART???

Just wow…

Here’s Tom Wilder right at the top of the initial Andy Klitzke – Ward 2 RECALL CITY HALL petition:

To ask for this easement vacation from the City while at the same time principals in the “RECALL CITY HALL” effort is, well, tone deaf, ballsy, to put it mildly.

My Letter to the Editor about this:

My question to the Wilders… shouldn’t this easement vacation wait until there’s a City Council you trust? Asking for a handout now (for the nominal fee of $425) seems a bit much given you want to “RECALL CITY HALL.

Ft. DuPont campground?

March 24th, 2021

The other day, while hanging out over pizza, REAL pizza, at the DNREC park where we used to run the doggies…

MOV00166 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00165 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00164 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00163 – At Delaware City Park

MOV00162 – At Delaware City Park – check Ken running!

MOV00161 – At Delaware City Park – Look at them go!

And now they want to wreck this park with an RV parking lot.

I realized yesterday that I’d not posted about this dreadful idea:

Here’s the powerpoint with the “preliminary plan” from August, 2019. There’s no final plan in the Delaware City Council’s Agenda or Minutes.

Blue Water’s Proposed 422-Site Del. Proj. Receives OK

Delaware City Council okays controversial RV campground near Fort DuPont State Park

Given the water table, I cannot imagine what they intend to do with the sewage from that many sites.

Despite that approval, I don’t see any sign of construction starting. There were dump trucks up and down the road, but they went to the C&D canal and then headed east!

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.

Whew, time to take a breather. We had two briefs due at 1:30 p.m. today, and got them filed with 1/2 hour to spare! Let’s hear it for the power of Doritos! (Only way I got through Contracts and Corporations in law school was a two-fisted supply of Doritos and Haagen Dazs)

Here are our Grant County Intervenor briefs. Here’s the one for the Grant County Solar docket focusing on the CPCN application for that one project, followed by Applicant-Grant County Solar/NextEra:

And our non-party brief in the WP&L acquisition docket for SIX solar projects covering over 5,400 acres, followed by the others:

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

WI Solar Application Requirements

February 15th, 2021

Solar is big in Wisconsin, as wind is in Minnesota, and like wind in Minnesota, there are no siting rules for solar in Wisconsin. A while ago, well, years ago, Jewell Jinkins Intervenors filed a rulemaking petition with the WI Public Service Commission:

Petition for Rulemaking_JJI_Solar

And lo and behold, as in Minnesota, they didn’t see any need for siting criteria and rulemaking and of course no need for rules requiring environmental review:

PSC Order_2-6-2019- Denial of Rulemaking Petition

And then yesterday, while strolling through the PSC Comment page, looking to assure that our solar docket comment option was working correctly, I found this:

WHAT?!?!?! And that was the 14th, comment period ends on the 15th! AAACK, one day.

Here’s the “Draft” of what PSC now thinks should be in an application for a solar project, and damned if it doesn’t bring up most of the issues we’ve been struggling to raise with the PSC for years now! READ THIS:

And so with nothing else to do… NOT…after getting 53 revisions of testimony and reformatting of exhibits, I got ahold of my Grant County and Badger Hollow clients and we teamed up to do comments, and I slammed this together this morning:

Do read the PSC’s proposal, it’s nothing short of amazing. The touch on all the issues, could be beefed up, but given all the difficulties we’ve had in getting issues a bit of consideration, and given the Commission’s rejection of our Rulemaking petition, like wow!!

Here’s everything filed in the docket as of today’s comment deadline:

PSC Docket 5-AFR-700 filings

On the other hand, their idea of who should be on the Service List is appalling, just the utility companies, municipal electric, and the usual toadies.

Solar AFR Mailing List

Earth to Mars, there are quite a few VERY LARGE solar projects going right now, how hard would it be to add all the intervenors and commentors to this list? This is 2021, the age of computers and electronic filing and hearings… JUST DO IT!