Well, I’ve had this in “Drafts” for a while; largely unwritten. I thought I’d better push it on out.
Very little to say, but there was another [East Side Review](http://www.eastsidereviewnews.com/) article, noting that (cue the dramatic music) The Copeland Report is in. I can’t link to the article as it seems the paper didn’t post articles from the issue I’m commenting on, July 3, 2006.
It’s a more balanced article. Kudos. Only one complaint about the reporting, and you’ll have to wait until the end for it.
One of the money quotes (front page pull quote) was from Council Member Will Rossbach:
> “I do not think the summary contains any one smoking gun or huge red flag; however, I think it contains many many small flags.”
Keep in mind that Rossbach never seemed particularly happy that Greg Copeland – that *activist* (activist is the new A word and should be said with disgust) – was narrowly voted in as interim city manager. In fact, Rossbach “voted ‘absolutely not’”. I wonder, though, if there are *any* current members of the Maplewood City Council with whom someone from the opposition might not find “many many small flags”.
Especially given the report. And I really enjoy Eric Hjelle’s feedback here. He’s also a Maplewood City Council Member, alongside Rossbach.
> The content of the background check includes newspaper articles cited as facts about Copeland and comments from political opponents, Hjelle said. “I don’t know how you can consider that to be a factual basis for a background investigation.”
I think I laughed out loud when I read that the first time. I still snicker now. I can see Rossbach in the council chambers pointing to a document and saying “the report says there are ‘many many small flags!’”
From the back of the room somewhere, “Uh, Council Member Rossbach? *You* said that.”
I’ve already noted that the East Side Review was happy to print “a long laundry list of 25 alleged improprieties” – alleged. I wonder if they showed up in the report. I can’t imagine it takes much to get something into a paper. Especially a local paper. It seems like a crazy echo chamber. It seems hardly an apolitical fact finding endeavor.
Well, I suppose the meeting to discuss the report (ah, tax money at work) has happened. I’ll watch the paper to see. Funny, I don’t live there; just near there. But the drama is like a train wreck. I can’t turn away.
Ah, but my complaint about the reporting. Nothing terrible. In fact, there was really nice balance and I don’t even think the A word appeared. But this quote from Hjelle appears near the end of the article:
> “If you don’t like the guy [Copeland] a week later, you fire him. You call a meeting, you fire him,” Hjelle said. “From what we had I don’t think it could have gotten any worse.”
What? WHAT? This is the first, tiniest glimmer of a peek into the question I was asking from the beginning: Why was Richard Fursman fired? Article after article has meandered from Copeland to peoples’ thoughts about Copeland and even to unrelated (however interesting) council member campaign transgressions. But never has the simple, obvious question “Why did a majority of the Maplewood City Council fire Richard Fursman?” been asked.
We should know this. Especially, as Hjelle puts it, “we’re not going to make the same mistakes that were made when we hired Richard Fursman.”
Those two quotes paint a picture that Fursman’s firing perhaps wasn’t merely an act of political whimsy. Are both quotes from one guy who’s on one “side”? Sure. But there’s at least as much there to examine as there was reason to print a decade old “a long laundry list of 25 alleged improprieties.”
C’mon guys. There’s a story there. A story about how a divided city council became more so. About the genesis of meetings and reports and interim hirings and new hirings. About a city council [that needs] “to learn how to act like adults, respect differences, and then use the electoral process to resolve outstanding differences.” (Hat tip to [What's Left of Maplewood].)
“[U]se the electoral process to resolve outstanding differences.” Amen.
And I thought I had little to say.
- [More Maplewood, Minnesota fireworks](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/06/20/more-maplewood-minnesota-fireworks/)
- [The local paper is at it again](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/04/29/the-local-paper-is-at-it-again/)
- [A tiny peek at local politics](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/04/20/a-tiny-peek-at-local-politics/)