It all started with the City Council’s appointments to the Charter Commission, and the process leading up to it. Charter Commission appointments are divided, some appointed by Council, some appointed by Charter Commission. I’m on the Charter Commission, which voted to reappoint me at the April Charter Commission meeting. There were also four Council appointments made on April 24, 2023 meeting.

Check the April 24, 2023 City Council meeting, starting at ~53:53:

After the appointments, they’re sent to the District Court for judicial approval. Instead, we got this letter back, staying confirmation of all appointments, something I’ve not seen before! Here’s her letter:

On seeing that Letter and the attachments, oh my:

Legalectric post: Der Kommissar’s in Town!

In that letter were two letters expressing concern about, and wishing to block, appointments of Tom Drazkowski, Jason Snyder, and MOI, to the Charter Commission. One was from Rev. Dr. Eick had been at the meeting, and was disturbed by what he saw at the meeting, in particular the odd process, in voting in Tom Drazkowski and Jason Snyder, particularly as they’d both been found to have violated campaign finance law in the November 8, 2022 campaign cycle, and they were fined. See Eick letter, p. 3-4 and Order of OAH re: Campaign Finance at 5-14.

The other was Mayor Wilson’s letter, “As Red Wing’s Mayor,” to block my reappointment to the Charter Commission:

Really… he said that and more. See Wilson’s letter starting at page 15, and the attachments, through page 21, jawdroppingly absurd. When I read the part about “Commissar,” the old Falco “Der Kommissar” tune started on the tape loop, and I couldn’t help but SNORT! Then a native German filled me in, Der Kommissar was a popular German TV show ages ago, and Der Kommissar was a brilliant and most successful homicide detective.

I’ll regard Wilson’s labeling as a compliment, although for sure it was not meant as such.

In her letter, Judge Lennon requested the following:

And here are the responses to the judge, provided after I sent a Data Practices Act Request to the city. See above link for City Council meeting of April 24, 2023:

City Council explanation of process:

From Jason Snyder:

From Tom Drazkowski:

And from moi, Carol A. Overland:

And again, read this letter Wilson sent “As Red Wing’s Mayor” directly to the judge AFTER the Charter Commission had voted to reappoint me. The Charter Commission welcomes public comment, it’s on the agenda. Did Wilson show up and make a public comment prior to our vote? NO! The Charter Commission accepts written public comment. Did Wilson write a comment to the Charter Commission prior to our vote? NO! Instead, he sent an ex parte letter directly to the judge after the Charter Commission voted to reappoint me to the Commission. He did not serve the letter on me or the Charter Commission or the City. Transparency much? Once more with feeling, check out this letter below, and here’s the link, as above, see pages 14-21:

And this… he attached this to a letter to a judge?!?!?! As proof of ???

Suffice it to say we need a new Mayor, one who understands the role as the public face of our city, and specifically that it is not to be used to attempt to control public opinion or its expression. Again, from the City Charter:

What’s next? Judge Lennon will post an Order sometime, I hope soon. Maybe the judge will order a hearing!

So Mayor Wilson says!! Just can’t make this up… today I received packet with letter from Judge Lennon, requesting information about how the Council selects members for the Charter Commission and responses from two Charter Commission applicants and my reappointment regarding Campaign Finance violations, including moi:

My part of this, #4 above, is interesting, well, it makes no sense, as I was not campaigning and had no “campaign finance violations from the November 8, 2022 election cycle.” The Campaign Finance issue for me that Wilson raised was way back, the Order dated June 25, 2003, TWENTY YEARS AGO!

Twenty years ago, intervenors before the Public Utilities Commission were not registering as lobbyists. This docket was a transmission docket applied for in 2001, Northern States Power’s first big transmission line in their transmission build-out, the “SW Minnesota 345kV line” docket, the company’s prelude to CapX 2020, to see if it could fly, what level of opposition they’d encounter, and what it would take to buy off the funded groups intervening (the answer was “not much,” here’s the Settlement Agreement.).

Mayor Wilson was the one who brought up this ancient history:

Look at the start. “As Red Wing’s mayor…” Under color of law much?

Here’s the radical thing I pushed through the Charter Commission, and which the entire Charter Commission passed, way back in September, 2021, trying to lock in NOTICE and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, and unfortunately, it could not be approved by the Council because one member was MIA and it required unanimous approval:

Back then in 2001, in the SW MN 345kV line docket (01-1958), of the many intervenors and attorneys in that SW 345kV docket, I was singled out for not having registered as a lobbyist, and for not having disclosed money received from the McKnight Foundation prior to the time of registration. The other intervenors and associations who had not registered were Peter Grills and Carl Williams and their clients Izaak Walton League, Michael Noble and ME3 (now Fresh Energy), and John Dunlop and AWEA, and Paula Maccabee and her client Sierra Club, Kevin Walli and Dave Benson and the Rural Energy Task Force — that’s a lot of them!!! I’d drawn up a chart with attorneys and intervenors and groups who had not registered as lobbyists, passed it around at the hearing, and I pointed this out and named names. Doug Kelly, presiding at the hearing, said, “Oh, there’s my good friend Pete Grills…” Really!! Nothing was done about all the others who did not register because it was moi, and moi alone, that was the subject of the Complaint.

Sooo… yes, I was indeed found in violation, twenty years ago, with these Findings of Facts and specifics in the order. I complied with the order points of the Campaign Finance Board, registering, disclosing, and filing:

Since that time, 2003, most intervenors before the PUC do now register as lobbyists! Funny how that works. For the most part, I regard that Reinhart Complaint as a measure of success — it didn’t knock me out of the docket and Art Hughes, Ph.D.E.E., got to testify.

Also in the packet today with Wilson’s letter (and note he did NOT serve all parties, looks like only the Judge got his letter) was this odd redacted email:

Discovery needed — who sent this, and that “Second Prehearing Order” is what?

My “dictionary” has a somewhat different definition:

It’s hilarious, even if ALJ Lipman stated that “Red Wing does not need a Commissar,” which I don’t recall, and which he could have, chuckling as he’s prone to do… folks, PAY ATTENTION: Each of those Respondents in my Campaign Finance Complaint about the Recall principals and organizations, EACH OF THEM, the group Recall City Hall, Tom Drazkowski’s Citizens for Responsible Government, Janie Farrar, Ron Goggin, Don Kliewer, Ted Siefert, and Jason Snyder were found to be in violation of campaign finance law, with Tom Drazkowski’s Citizens for Responsible Government getting hit with the largest fine for the flyer Tom Drazkowski sent around with so many false statements — but there’s no law against lying in campaign lit:

Citizens for Responsible Government Flyer

Back to Wilson’s letter to the judge… Is Mike Wilson is calling me a “Communist” Commissar, perhaps? Am I a strict or prescriptive figure of authority? Are these fighting words or just defamation? Pardon me while I SNORT! SOL! SOL! SOL!

With each of the Recall City Hall principals found in violation, with Tom Drazkowski and Jason Snyder who were appointed to the Charter Commission by the Council found in violation, it appears Red Wing could use a Commissar!

The judge also wants me to explain my April 24, 2023 missive to the Red Wing City Council and Mayor about Charter Commission appointments — here it is in full:

Sure, with pleasure, although the timing rather sucks. But I have lots of thinking time between Red Wing and Rochester these days.

I just can’t decide which version to use… the more the merrier?

And as if I have time and energy to deal with this now. Garden, house, and dear dog to deal with around hour commute to Rochester Mayo. Good thing I can multi-task…