6-1 vote? You LOST!

Here’s another recall, recall denied 6-1 by City Council.

Blue Earth denies recall petition

BLUE EARTH — After nearly an hour of discussion which included a report from an attorney and input from members of the public and the council themselves, the Blue Earth City Council voted 6 to 1 to deny a petition calling for a recall election of a council member. The decision came at the beginning of the regular City Council meeting last Monday night. A group of citizens had previously presented the petition calling for a recall election of councilman John Huisman. The reason given was that Huisman had violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution due to his co-signing a letter to KBEW radio station concerning removal of a radio program. The letter also threatened to organize a boycott of the station if the program was not removed. At a previous special council meeting the council decided to postpone a decision on the petition until after having an independent attorney study the legalities. At Monday’s meeting, attorney Christopher Kennedy of Mankato gave both a verbal and written report. At the end of Kennedy’s four-page report, he stated the members of the recall committee on this matter had done everything that was required of them to institute the recall of the council member, following all the requirements set out in the City Charter.“The language of the Charter, however, is in conflict with the provisions of the Minnesota State Constitution that there must be an allegation of malfeasance or nonfeasance in order to remove an official,” Kennedy stated. “The allegations in this matter do not meet that definition ­- so the recall petition should be denied.”Kennedy also stated he felt that if the council did accept the petition, councilman Husiman’s attorney could take the matter to District Court and would win a decision that the petition was not valid. Mayor Rick Scholtes was the lone vote against the motion to deny the petition.“I feel we need to follow our City Charter now,” Scholtes said. “And in the future change the Charter to follow the constitution.”Kennedy had stated earlier in the meeting that in the future the city of Blue Earth should amend the Charter to include language that is consistent to the Minnesota State Constitution.

https://www.fairmontsentinel.com/news/local-news/2021/04/07/blue-earth-denies-recall-petition/

This article has a little more meat on it:

BE Council denies recall petition

Vote is 6-1 after hearing attorney’s opinion on the legal issues

This is the part that is most important, the notion of malfeasance or non-feasance:

At the end of Kennedy’s four-page report, he stated the members of the recall committee on this matter had done everything that was required of them to institute the recall of the council member, following all the requirements set out in the City Charter.

“The language of the Charter, however, is in conflict with the provisions of the Minnesota State Constitution that there must be an allegation of malfeasance or nonfeasance in order to remove an official,” Kennedy stated. “The allegations in this matter do not meet that definition ­- so the recall petition should be denied.”

Once more with feeling… Ya say ya wanna do a recall, but I say NO! NO! NO!

Name-clearing hearing?!?!

April 7th, 2021

Just when you think it can’t get any weirder… I know, never say, never even THINK that it can’t get weirder…

I’m going to suggest this be pay-per-view, and that they allow public comment (DONE!). We’d have hours and hours of entertainment.

Charter Commission meeting

April 1st, 2021

VIDEO OF CHARTER COMMISSION MEETING

Agenda with links to attachments

A background Legalectric post:

“Recall” on Charter Commission agenda?!?

So I sent this missive to all, being oh-so-transparent with the ask and intent:

I then sent background info to support the request for recusal of Kent Laugen, Ernie Stone, and Shelley Pohlman, which was added to the agenda #11 documents. These primary documents are the Recall petition with Stone, Laugen (and Rehder) named; the Campaign Financial Report and Amended Report with contributions from Stone and Pohlman; a “Recall City Hall” flyer posted on Pohlman’s Red Wing Minnesota News page; and Post Bulletin article with quotes from Recall principals Ernie Stone and Kent Laugen:

Attachment – Email from C. Overland

I was told, “we will not be adding your requested item to the agenda as your concerns could be brought up under item 11.” You can see how that went.

No problem, if that’s what it takes to get it off the agenda, well, that’s what it takes.

Ultimately, yes, it was tabled. Good. However, the conflict issue was not addressed, and it should be if there are items relating to “recall” on the agenda. Note also that the changes to Charter 5.17 were not “technical changes” to align with the statute, but were substantive changes eliminating the run-off provision, something which needs to be discussed.

And did I mention that Ernie Stone said he’d talked to the City Attorney about me and my questioning of Shelley Pohlman at the last meeting? Wish I were a fly on that wall! Guess he doesn’t think I should challenge her false statements, documented, on refugee resettlement, and her claims of “conflict of interest” of County Commissioner Flanders. Oh well. Those false statements and pot-stirring continue with the recall effort.

Three new Charter Commission members were approved. In the section in the beginning where Peggy Rehder had applied, and was approved, there’s material background that was ignored. Rehder was voted in despite the 2018 formal complaint against her when she was on the City Council, the investigation, which resulted in the Council’s resolution that she participate in mediation with Marshall Hallock, and a firm directive that her out-of-bounds behavior not occur again. She resigned prior to mediation even being scheduled. What has changed to address these behavioral issues? That was not answered.

Watch the 4/23/2018 City Council video of Council deliberation and decision.

Something this serious should be addressed. It wasn’t. Instead, discussion was blocked, putting blinders on to a demonstrated problem.

In discussion of the other two applicants, Shelley Pohlman (a/k/a/ Rena Marsh) demanded to know if the names were their legal names! Shelley then wanted to know of Bjornstad was a member of League of Women Voters or AAUW! (I am not now nor have I ever been a member of…) Bjornstad noted that she was too young, maybe in a few years (SNORT!), but that she was a 5th grade civics teacher for a few years. Kent Laugen was wanting to know if they would be loyal to the Charter Commission, not the City Council, which was weird, questioning their integrity and ethics. Shelley questioned Greg Bolt about his “conflict of interest” because he is a pastor and the Council President is a parishioner, and his role in her election (he marched in a parade with a sign and something else inconsequential). Three people voted against Bolt!

Also, there was discussion of a comment made at the last meeting by Alan Muller, who thought there should be a requirement that committees of the Council be subject to the same charter provisions as the Council, and they asked about that, he was there at the meeting, raised his hand electronically, was ignored, I noted he was there, but they did not acknowledge him to address their questions to him directly. That was weird.

The rest of the meeting was a typical Charter Commission meeting…

Oh, and there is also supposed to be a public comment period at the beginning of each meeting which was not there this time, and I’ve requested that this be in the boilerplate agenda.

City of Red Wing, MN (@CityofRedWingMN) | Twitter

There’s a Charter Commission meeting next week – TUNE IN on Channel 6:

Red Wing Charter CommissionMar 31, 2021 – 06:00 PMAgenda

And look what’s on the agenda (click for larger version):

Here’s what’s at issue:

BFD? Well, not really, because there are at least three people on the Charter Commission who are championing the “Recall City Hall” effort.

So I sent this missive out as notice and request that I want to add an agenda item to the “Approve Agenda” section:

To which Shelley Pohlman, Queen of Conflict of Interest in this recall matter, replied, 7 minutes later:

“This an open meeting violation.”

It’s pretty basic — can’t have people involved in an active (though likely doomed) recall effort voting on changes to the Charter regarding recall!!

Active recall… yeah, it’s a stretch, because there’s a high bar for a recall petition, and after that, a high bar in the number of signatures required:

There’s roughly 2,500 registered voters per ward, twice that where two wards are combined, and roughly 10,000 registered voters for the “at large” Council seat…

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

I can’t see them gathering 500, 1,000 or 2,000 voters’ signatures, but there it is, they can do it, it’s clearly allowed in the City Charter, and they’re at least being press hounds, though no evidence of a Petition yet, so get your popcorn and have a seat…

They’ve formed a “Committee to Recall City Hall” and here’s their first report:

Note the large anonymous donations?

Anonymous donations – NOT OK!! The rules clearly state that:

It’s stated pretty clearly… “This itemization must include name, address, employer or occupation if self-employed, amount and date for these contributions.”

Nope, folks active in a recall effort shouldn’t be participating in discussion or voting on Charter Commission recall provision language change.

And then there’s the recall effort itself — folks not wanting to accept that they lost by an “overwhelming majority” vote of 6-1 to fire Roger Pohlman. Just no, what a waste of time, effort, and money. Lots of distractivism, pot-, and outright lies. Lies? Yes, look at this and note the misstated order of things:

Here’s a link to the Pohlman support “petition.”

Above, from Shelley Pohlman’s “Red Wing Minnesota News” page, she states, “In response, citizens presented the counsel with a petition with more than 250 names…” “In response” isn’t true. The properties in the WORD version presented to the City show that the “Petition” was begun on February 17, and last saved and given to the City on February 19, BEFORE he was fired, yet the Petition was demanding Pohlman be “reinstated immediately.” The petition was not delivered to the City “in response” as stated above. Why the misrepresentation? Ummmm… yes, really, BEFORE he was fired. What information were they acting on when they put this “Petition” together and solicited names? Who was soliciting “signers” for this “Petition” before he was fired? What information were those ~250 people who “signed” given? Were they told that Pohlman was applying to be Chief in Lakefield, MN?

Potential for Pohlman to be fired? He knew there were issues, issues that had been raised before. Here are two documents from his 2020 evaluation, retrieved with a Data Practices Act Request to City:

And the termination letter:

Looks to me like ~250 people were played. Pohlman knew this was coming. Someone(s) struck up the band, got the bandwagon rolling, folks jumped on, and they didn’t have the full story. Over and over, as above, they’re continuing to parrot lines that Pohlman wasn’t given time to speak? The potential of firing was not new to Pohlman, and he was represented by counsel, wasn’t he?

Saying that “taxpaying Red Wing citizens were shut out of the meeting” is bizarre. What does that mean, shut out? Employee matters are confidential, is that CONFIDENTIAL closed session what they wanted “open” contrary to state law? Is it that they didn’t attend the open zoom meeting where the Council acted? I’ve heard that some wanted an “OPEN UP” meeting, and IN PERSON meeting, at City Hall where the doors were open and people could attend in person, and that this was denied. Is this what they’re referring to? Let’s get this clarified!

Ya say ya wanna do a recall, and I say, “NO NO NO!” There’s no legal basis for a recall. This is a PR push, and a sham. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

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.”