Category Archives: Politics

The East Side Review did not respond

A [while back](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/09/21/o-east-side-review-how-ye-vex-me/) I commented on a [story by Katy Zillmer](http://www.eastsidereviewnews.com/main.asp?SectionID=64&SubSectionID=130&ArticleID=718) concerning the Maplewood City Council and the Sherrie Le lawsuit. I noted what I consider to be pretty crafty bit of innuendo in the way Zillmer left out a relevant portion of the credentials of a lawyer the city had hired.

Inspired by a related bit of news (which I commented on in that [same post](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/09/21/o-east-side-review-how-ye-vex-me/)), I sent my observation in to the [Minnesota News Council](http://www.news-council.org/). They responded (in part) with the following:

> Hi Ken. Thank you for using the Minnesota News Council’s online complaint process to submit your complaint about the East Side Review.
>
> We forwarded your complaint along with print-outs of the Lillie website and your blog to Mary Lee Hagert (Katy Zillmer’s editor at Lillie Suburban Newspapers) today. We have asked them to respond to you directly and send us a copy for our records.
>
> Because the story does not implicate or name you directly, your complaint is classified as a public complaint. It is our policy to keep public complaints open for 15 business days. If a media outlet does not respond within that time period, the complaint is closed.

Guess what? A month later, no response.

It’s too bad. I truly would not have minded if they responded with something so simple and believable that it showed my accusations to be presumptuous and ill-informed. I’m OK with being wrong.

But the lack of response, the [other things I’ve observed in the East Side Review](http://www.kpmartin.com/index.php?s=east+side+review) over the last few months, and the very simple facts of this particular complaint lead me to be yet more convinced that the East Side Review is quite willing to consistently report in a way favorable to one “side” of a story.

I’ve seen careful research against one side with little research going against the other.

I’ve seen what for all intensive purposes should have been an editorial by a political entity presented as news by wrapping some of it in quotes.

I’ve seen words left out of someone’s qualifications which left a distinctly inaccurate impression.

And, somehow, these all seem to be to the advantage of one group of people or the disadvantage of the other.

Shame on you, Lillie Press. Yeah, I know; that’s 1950s *Leave it to Beaver* talk. Nevertheless.

Given the best spin I can think of, shame on you for sloppy reporting. Given the less pleasant option, shame on you for presenting bias as news. And shame on you for not having the guts to either correct your work or to assert why there was nothing wrong with it.

I actually think newspapers with biases are a perfectly fine idea. Decades ago that was normal. But their biases were self-confessed; right out in the open. You knew what you were getting. You knew where to go to hear the opposition. I’m going through Doris Kearns Goodwin’s *[Team of Rivals – The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln](http://www.librarything.com/work-info/30628&book=8522743)* right now. It’s great. What were newspapers like back then? “The Whig newspaper”… “the Democratic newspaper.” They were comfortable enough – bold enough – to say who they were and stand up for what they believed.

Far from being brave, dogged ideologists, they cower behind a [disguise](http://www.zymetrical.com/product.asp?3=241) of impartiality. They neither truly report news nor truly stand for something.

Will you win by hiding?

As much as I post about Maplewood, MN, I don’t live there. I just got caught up in the interesting whirlwind of local politics and personalities. I live nearby on Saint Paul’s luxurious East Side. Today, the oft-berated East Side Review landed on my step. And I congratulate them on a really nice set of pages devoted to the upcoming mid-term elections, featuring each of the candidates, and their responses to some questions which are pertinent to the particular offices.

And the Republicans running out here should be ashamed of themselves.

I’ll quote the paper:

– Lori Windels (R) did not respond to the Review’s questionnaire or a reminder phone call by deadline.
– Richard “Rick” Mulkern (R) did not respond to the Review’s questionnaire or a reminder phone call by deadline.
– David Buehler (R) did not respond to the Review’s questionnaire or a reminder email by deadline. (Ed: Buehler? Buehler?)

And the answer from Debi Makidon (R) provided for each of her three questions? “Please contact the candidate directly.”

Are you kidding me? **This** is how they intend to win? Hello, [Republican Party of Minnesota](http://www.mngop.com/)? Anyone working over there these last few months? What kind of ship are you running?

Oh, I know… I’m a crazy idealist. I think that if someone wants to participate in the public arena, they might want to, well, participate in the public arena. Sure the East Side is wildly democratic. I know. Maybe you wouldn’t win. But you could at least start a conversation so someone later *could*.

C’mon. It’s a questionnaire. If you’re too busy to fill it out a questionnaire, what hope does anyone have that you’ll be able to handle political office? If you’re too afraid to answer some questions, what does that say about how you feel about the strength of your positions?

In fact, that what offends me most. Some of their positions are probably like some of mine. And these would-be leaders can’t spend a moment to develop a decent polemic to defend what I could in my sleep. Is that because I’m so cool? No. (Though, plainly, I’m pretty cool.) No, it’s because I’ve thought out why I hold a position, and I’m willing to put it to the test.

And so their weakness or laziness or fear or defeatism or inability to apply a stamp to an envelope casts aspersions on perfectly legitimate positions.

Some credit is due [Obi Sium (R)](http://www.siumforcongress.com/) who is running for the U.S. House District 4 seat. Though I can’t for the life of me understand why I’ve never even heard of this guy running for Betty McCollum’s seat. He at least answered the questions. He answered pretty well.

Also, kudos to Warren Anderson (R) who did a good job, too. No website, though. Hmph. I guess the internets is too dern complicated. (Again, hello MNGOP? Dynamic template sites? CMS?)

State House District 67B candidate [Greg Le May (R)](http://www.citizensforlemay.org/) seems like someone who would actually **like** to win. It seems like he’s got an ad in every issue of the East Side Review. All year. Often a new ad. He’s got signs *everywhere*. Last weekend I even saw him standing on the corner of a local street-highway intersection with his campaign signs over him as a [sandwich board](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich_board). And he actually argues his point.

And if [Sheldon Johnson](http://www.ourcampaigns.com/images/candidates/Candidate24376.jpg) doesn’t look quite like a particular dear friend of mine, I’ll eat my hat.

And yes, that’s this website’s use number two of the phrase “casting aspersions.” :)

More mysteriously favorable press for Keith Ellison

Keith Ellison, who is running for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional seat, seems to have the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in his back pocket. He’s had stunningly good coverage with little investigation into some things in his past which voters might be interested in. If they were told. But they’re not.

[Powerline](http://www.powerlineblog.com), a locally-written conservative blog with a national readership, has done a [very good job doing actual reporting on Ellison](http://www.powerlineblog.com/mt/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=1&search=keith+ellison). Their [latest post](http://powerlineblog.com/archives/015578.php) brings forward an interesting commentary by an eyewitness to a local debate between Ellison and his opponent [Alan Fine](http://fineforcongress.org/). The commentator is not happy about how the reality he (or she) personally saw ended up being [reported by Rochelle Olson](http://www.startribune.com/10120/story/749791.html).

I’ll say it again: I thought news was news. I guess I’m finally seeing that news is both more and less than I ever thought.

Examining KSTP-TV’s response to Erik Hjelle’s complaint

[1]: http://www.intercognition.net/MplwdCL/documents/NewsStories/KSTP_Hearing/KSTPresponsetoHjelle.htm

[savemaplewood.com](http://savemaplewood.com), though biased, is the go-to place for Maplewood new items concerning the contentious situation surrounding the Maplewood City Council and city administration. Of course, I’m the go-to guy if you want to add in a little fairness to the mix. :)

A bit ago, they [posted KSTP-TVs response][1] to Maplewood City Council member Erik Hjelle’s complaint against them for their TV news report on the city council. The complaint was [upheld by the Minnesota News Council](http://newscouncil.news-council.org/index.php?p=28). My posts concerning that story can be found [here](http://www.kpmartin.com/index.php?s=KSTP). I’ve devoted plenty of space to questioning that story. I thought it would be fair to bring you their response, too.

> You will see in the e-mail exchanges below both reporter Jo Ann Bemoras and news director Chris Berg offered to meet with council member Erik Hjelle and update our reporting on both the Gladstone project and the city council. Mr Hjelle did not respond to these offers. You will also note that Mr. Hjelle wrote to us that he was not representing the city in his correspondence with us, but two days later filed a complaint with the Minnesota News Council and apparently persuaded another city council member and the mayor to join the complaint.
>
> It certainly was and remains Mr. Trippler’s opinion that city projects were “in limbo.” As Mr. Hjelle points out, Mr. Trippler is a member of both the planning commission and the environmental commission. He is entitled to his opinion and it is correct for us to share that with viewers. It was in that context that we also used the term “stalled.” Sources in city administration and the development community that we spoke to used that term. We feel it is an accurate description of the effect the new council’s actions had on this major project. It has been stalled for months and remains so.
>
> In the intervening weeks since the story aired 5 Eyewitness News has tried to determine if the term “stalled” is still warranted or if the story should be updated. That has proven to be more difficult than one would expect. Mr. Hjelle has not responded to our offer to do a follow up story. A call to the interim city manager went unanswered. The city public works directors tells us he is forbidden to talk to us about the project. A voice message left with the city clerk has not been returned. A Google search for information about the July 20th news conference referred to by Mr Hjelle returns nothing. A look at the Maplewood Web site shows the information on Gladstone has not been updated since March 2006. A phone conversation with the consultant that was co-coordinating the Gladstone project yielded some information. The money and terms for the contract with that consultant ran out months ago. That is why the Web site is not updated. The consultant understands city staff may have been directed to update the contractual arrangement, but that has not happened yet.
>
> Mr Hjelle makes three main points as signs of progress on the Gladstone project. A closer examination reveals something else. It is true that city staff has asked the Metropolitan Council for $2.5 million. However Bonnie Kollodge of the Met Council reports this: “Maplewood’s proposal is 1 of 23 projects remaining under consideration for Livable Communities (demonstration) grant. 7 projects are no longer in contention after first scoring round by the advisory committee. Council has $8.8 million to award this year for such projects. Total request of 23 remaining projects comes to $27.1 million.” Also Kollodge reports the decision to award some, all or none of the money for Gladstone won’t be made till late this year or early next year.
>
> Mr Hjelle accurately states the city council voted 5-1 for Phase I of the Gladstone Plan. However the Phase I of the Gladstone Plan is ephemeral at best. The master plan is not in place, there are no design standards and currently there are no developers.
>
> A close examination of his other point reveals it is also a red herring. Mr Hjelle refers to “150 units in the Gladstone area.” First off the city has apparently not received any application from the developer for this project. Secondly this project is only in the Gladstone area it is not part of the Gladstone plan.
>
> In sum, we remain prepared to update the story whenever we can obtain reliable information from the city staff. However city staff appear to be intimidated into silence by the fact that two of their colleagues have been fired in the weeks since the political power on the council shifted and another has left. Meanwhile the Gladstone plan is a shadow of its original scope and is making no discernable progress.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Gary Hill, News Manager Special Projects, 5 Eyewitness News
> (Ed: I didn’t include the emails. They can be found at the link above.)

Very interesting. First, even though I can completely understand not wanting to talk with KTSP-TV after having been on the receiving end of a poorly done story, I think that more communication, not less, is how to battle it. If a reporter wants to interview you, say yes and record the whole interview yourself and release it should there be unfair treatment. (I wonder if reporters would tolerate such scrutiny and accountability.)

But notice something about the response? It’s interesting! It has what may be *facts*! Research seems to have been done. If only the story which aired that night had some substance like that, I personally may not have had a complaint.

But to quite seriously ask a clichéd question: How much did KSTP know and when did they know it?

In their response, KSTP appears to know who Dale Trippler is…

> Mr. Trippler is a member of both the planning commission and the environmental commission…

Good job! A point [I made](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/07/26/it-seems-the-maplewood-city-council-attention-has-waned/), actually. But in the story that aired, Trippler was merely a “Maplewood Resident”. This is exactly one of the things I mentioned via [email to reporter Jo Ann Bemoras](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/07/26/it-seems-the-maplewood-city-council-attention-has-waned/#more-135). Knowing who Trippler is and how he’s interacted with the current Maplewood administration is very useful to better understanding the story over there.

Didn’t they do all of this wonderful Googling *before* the story aired, or was it just in response to Hjelle’s challenge?

It was trivial for me to find out about Mr. Trippler and many other interesting things, despite the terrific challenge that…

> …city staff appear to be intimidated into silence…

So? Investigate. Report. Whip up a little Freedom of Information action (or whatever the city equivalent of that is).

If, at the time the story was aired, they knew as much as the response above would indicate, then it seems they did a very poor job of sharing known and relevant information. If they did not know that much, it seems they aired a story after having done little research. Either one doesn’t seem great.

The comments concerning the Met Council seem very odd. I’ll bet every city who’s made it past the first cut would call that progress. Maplewood may very well get some or all that they’re asking for. And the “red herring” may be development that could provide tax dollars that may be intended to help the Gladstone project move without having to go hat-in-hand to the Met Council.

Maybe not, of course. But it seems like KSTP-TV wants to just play one side here. And even if it’s entirely true, it’s *still* only one side of the story.

This seemed interesting to me, too:

> However the Phase I of the Gladstone Plan is ephemeral at best. The master plan is not in place, there are no design standards and currently there are no developers.

Well, let’s skip past the news manager’s authoritative sounding judgement that it’s “ephemeral at best”. Didn’t Mr. Trippler have had a hand in developing the ephemeral “Phase 1?” He’s plainly willing to talk: ask him about it?

But the larger issue, and something that could have actually been interesting to the story in question, is that perhaps the new majority think that the Gladstone project was going in a bad direction. If so, it would be pretty unlikely that they’d want to “stay on track”. That could have been Bemoras’ story. What’s going on with that development? Does the new leadership wish to take things in a new direction? Why? Is that a core issue dividing the council? What would changing direction mean? What would it cost? It certainly would explain, for example, an irate Mr. Trippler, if his plans dear to him are now being set aside.

Look, at some point 1940s Germany’s “plan [was] a shadow of its original scope and [was] making no discernable progress,” but most folks consider that a good thing. Change or stasis alone are not really interesting. History, context and details are.

Hjelle’s complaint was “that KSTP-TV inaccurately reported that Maplewood City Council had stalled progress on an area redevelopment plan”. Well, they did. It was obvious. Regardless of difficulties, only one point of view was shown. KSTP-TV seems to want to play this in two ways:

* “Well, we just didn’t know any better and aired what we had.”
* “Well, it *was* stalled. But it wasn’t newsworthy or even possible to share any perspective other than those who dislike that it was stalled.”

Do either of those perspectives make you feel confident you’re getting the best, most informative news coverage possible when watching KSTP-TV?

And talk about a red herring… KSTP-TV didn’t need Hjelle’s permission to follow-up or come clean or clarify. They could have just run a “here’s more information about the Gladstone development we reported on…” (I hope they aired a good followup and I just missed it.) Do they only air balanced stories if the “other side” complain and then agree to terms on further stories? What do I mean by “agree to terms?” From KSTP-TV News Director [Chris Berg’s](http://www.kstp.com/article/stories/S272.html?cat=28) email to Hjelle:

> …if you want to sit down and speak on-camera about these issues and **others being faced by the city council**… (emphasis mine)

Gosh, ain’t that swell. Come and subject yourself to, well, whatever we want, and we’ll give you a chance for your side to be heard on the issue we’ve already mis-characterized. If it makes it past editing. How benevolent and even-handed. Why not just address the matter at hand, and the follow up another time with other issues?

Y’know what’s funny? I like KSTP-TV. I tend to watch their news more than any other. But here I am looking at this story that landed on my doorstep [months ago](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/04/20/a-tiny-peek-at-local-politics/), and it just bothers me that a schnook like me can come along and know that what I’m reading or seeing is incomplete, misleading, or just plain wrong. From sources I used to think were reliable. I thought news was news. I guess I’m finally seeing that news is both more and less than I ever thought.

The Star Tribune and Keith Ellison

This is just stunning to me. The local major paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, ran a pretty negative “news” (not editorial) piece about Republican Alan Fine, who is running for Congress against Democrat Keith Ellison (my small comments on the race [here](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/06/13/keith-ellison-dfl-candidate-for-minnesotas-5th-district/) and [here](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/07/03/alan-fine-for-congress-i-take-it-back/)).

The paper dug up an expunged court record of charges that were dropped alleging he’d slapped his wife ten years ago. A mini October Surprise, I guess. Well, the [gents at Powerline have done something amazing](http://powerlineblog.com/archives/015484.php). Basically, they completely took the Strib to the woodshed.

Keith Ellison appears to have done something pretty seamy, too. Last year. He was the subject of 911 call. And will be in court for it *this month*! Days before the election.

But the intrepid staff at the Star Tribune only found it fitting to report on Alan Fine (10 years ago, dropped charges) but not on Keith Ellison (1 year ago, still active). They ran the Fine article on the front page. They have apparently failed to make any note of the Ellison 911 call (as of this writing, Saturday evening).

Can anyone say “thick, steaming, sickening, deceptive bias?”

It was actually “[Minnesota Democrats Exposed](http://www.minnesotademocratsexposed.com/index.php?s=ellison+911+call)” that found the 911 call. Powerline just connected it to the Strib’s front page political advertisement… err… I mean story.

Ugh. Shame!

I should be a politician

Not really. I’d get in trouble. For speaking the truth to power, I suppose. With a smirk.

A young guy comes to my door and has a quick three question survey. There were five choices in the first question “what do you rank as most important to you”, and the “options” left me thinking I was simply to choose what *kind* of democrat I was. Saving the environment, protecting a woman’s right, etc. I said none. He pressed. None, please. We went on.

Who would you choose for governor? I know what you’d *like* to hear, I thought. “Definitely [Pawlenty](http://timpawlenty.campaignoffice.com/).” “Oh.”

Then what party. Then the discussion began.

Don’t I want school funding to increase? Heavens, no! And so we started talking about school funding, per capita costs, and related issues. It turns out he’s a school teacher in Minneapolis. By the time he and I were done talking, he seemed as ready as I to gut the public school system and even start by privatization. It turned out to be a very agreeable conversation.

Time to go, but he felt compelled to give it one more run. Healthcare costs have gone up 33%. Mike Hatch sues healthcare types. So vote for Hatch. I laughed. Yeah, but he sued Big Tobacco… what good has that done? Lots of new anti-smoking ads, of course. So *someone* got the best of it. But overall, a big nothing.

I said that I’m sticking conservative because I want less money to go to broken systems (because I don’t like supporting broken) and because less money will force change. Not that conservatives these days seem particularly good at spending less money. Different topic.

“Yeah, Hatch isn’t really a strong candidate.” he said, “I’m really only out here because it’s my job.”

Is the Maplewood City Council divided?

[1]: http://www.intercognition.net/MplwdCL/documents/NewsStories/MCL_dividedCouncil.htm
[2]: http://www.savemaplewood.com

That’s the question Stephen Filister and Judith Johannessen address in [their editorial][1] on their website for the “nonpartisan” [Maplewood Citizen’s League][2] (MCL).

They seem to be bothered that City Councilmember Erik Hjelle had an article in the *Maplewood City News* which suggested that the city council is not as divided as one might understand based on local news coverage, and to suggest that previous administrations left things undone. I’m not a resident so I don’t get the newsletter, and it’s not available online, so I can’t judge the tone from here.

But that won’t stop me from commenting, will it? :)

The editorial is interesting to me for a few reasons. First thing: “We examined the public record and talked with Councilpersons Rossbach and Juenemann about some of Mr. Hjelle’s assertions.” Oh, so you spoke with people who consistently disagree with Hjelle. Daring. Well, at least it’s actually *labeled* an editorial.

And, interestingly, MCL seems to have found a way to circumvent their own standard – “open to all Maplewood residents who… are not elected officials” – and get commentary from elected officials on the site by simply interviewing their preferred elected officials and printing the comments seemingly unquestioningly.

Anyway, in the section labeled “Deferred maintenance” they respond to Hjelle, who seems to think that some of the maintenence on city properties should have already been done or be in progress. Others in the past thought they could put it off. They got someone in who verified that. So the editorial sticks up for the previous administration. I’m not sure why **both** Hjelle and Filister/Johannessen aren’t right here.

But perhaps Hjelle is simply looking at what the city is spending money on and thinks it could have better been directed at looming maintenance. Because something can probably last does not mean it’s best to wait and see if it does. Not sure what the big deal is there. People disagree; big whoop.

In “Gladstone progress”, Filister/Johannessen seem to feel the old administration didn’t get enough credit for the work the pervious administration did. Well, that’s fair. If they also were pursuing the right things, they are to be commended. But why should that exclude the current administration from being commended for currently doing the right things? There must be something more meaty in Hjelle’s article that I can’t discern via Filister/Johannessen’s editorial.

In “Divided council”, the funniest points appear. Filister and Johannessen strike hard at Hjelle by noting that in his count of the voting from a particular meeting, he missed counting the vote on whether to stay past 11. Heehehe… oooo, you got him there. That’s the only discrepancy.

Then they go on to lament that there are major, fundamental disagreements and that has resulted in “voting blocks”. Of course, it takes two to tango; if three are acting a voting block, certainly the other two are, as well.

Councilperson Juenemann laments that the days when “we were a 1-1-1-1-1 council” are gone. Well, first, Hjelle’s article actually demonstrates that they do, at least sometimes, operate exactly like that. His noted 3-2 vote sees people crossing the “division”. Second, I wonder if the “good ol’ days” had a little more fundamental ideological unity than now.

Y’know, it’s OK. This is how it works. Maplewood’s citizens voted in a majority with a different view on how to get things done than existed in the previous administration. Again, big whoop. If the citizen’s don’t like it, they’ll vote them out.

Certainly that appears to be the deep abiding hope of the MCL. Certainly that becomes more likely if the kind of poor news coverage provided by the likes of Lillie Suburban Newspapers and KSTP-TV continue.

**All that said**, if it’s true that the City Manager Greg Copeland is not sharing information equally with all members of the City Council (as is alleged), then he’s doing something wrong and must stop excluding people. However, if the allegation is just their way of saying that Copeland doesn’t come by and sit at the lunch table with Councilpersons Rossbach and Juenemann, well that’s a bit different.

I close asking again (and you can leave a comment right below): In what way is the MCL “nonpartisan”?

My attempted followup with KSTP-TV reporter Jo Ann Bemoras

[1]: http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/07/26/it-seems-the-maplewood-city-council-attention-has-waned/
[2]: http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/08/22/maplewood-politics-the-press-and-the-tube/

Back about the time when the [KSTP-TV story which concerning the Maplewood City Council](http://www.kstptv5.com/article/stories/S17813.html?cat=1) aired, I became [more][1] and [more][2] curious about the way TV news is done. I sent the following note to the reporter of that story (after having exchanged emails once before on the topic).

It went unanswered. But given that the [Minnesota News Council has upheld a complaint against that very report](http://newscouncil.news-council.org/index.php?p=28), I thought I would post that email here, as I still have some of the same wonderings. *I* thought it was a nice letter. Follow the link to read it.

Continue reading My attempted followup with KSTP-TV reporter Jo Ann Bemoras

Kevin Berglund, SaveMaplewood.com, and the Restraining Order

In one of her comments here on my site, [Maplewood Mayor Diana Longrie noted](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/06/20/more-maplewood-minnesota-fireworks/#comment-1262) that the fact the her husband had a restraining order issued against him was something that had been picked up on in various news stories in the past. Here’s an example mention from the Pioneer Press [by Steve Smith, posted on Thu, Nov. 03, 2005] (no longer available by direct link; I got it via Google’s cache ):

> [Diana] Longrie hosts a weekly cable show, separate from the one her husband of 11 months, Kevin Berglund, used to produce. Longrie rebuffed any questions about Berglund, who two years ago was served with a temporary restraining order barring him from contact with four female city employees. A judge later lifted the order for lack of evidence of misconduct.

Now, of course, that sounds icky. He was “barr[ed] from contact with four female city employees”. Eeew. And the order was lifted for lack of evidence. Not really a resounding absolution.

Anyway, [Mayor Longrie noted](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/06/20/more-maplewood-minnesota-fireworks/#comment-1262) that she’d provided the actual Order to a site called [SaveMaplewood.com](http://www.SaveMaplewood.com) or the [Maplewood Citizens League](http://www.intercognition.net/mplwdcl/publichome.asp) (MCL), in order to set the record straight (I assume).

MCL bills itself as “a nonpartisan organization”. I question that. For example, the domain “savemaplewood.com” was registered on March 31, 2006 by Peter Fischer and seems by it’s title and timing to be a reaction to the new conservative majority leadership in Maplewood. Peter Fischer was at least at one point vocally critical of the current Maplewood leadership majority ([my comments here](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/04/29/the-local-paper-is-at-it-again/)).

The mayor also noted that Dale Trippler, Judith Johannesen and Stephen Flister are involved in the site. I finally verified that [here](http://www.intercognition.net/mplwdcl/Board.asp). It’s not like they hid it; I just never looked. [Dale Trippler](http://www.kpmartin.com/index.php?s=Dale+ppler) is a name my readers might recognize.

I wonder why they cast SaveMaplewood.com as nonpartisan. I wonder in what way nonpartisanship expresses itself. They *do* do a *very good job* of keeping up with events and news concerning Maplewood; for those following these things, they’re a must-read. But nonpartisan?

Not posting Mayor Longrie’s information seems to me to be a possible indication of being partisan. It’s a bit of information that Maplewood residents who may have heard about the restraining order may be interested in.

Now that I’ve read the order, it seems so even more.

This wasn’t just a “lifted order”. This was nearly a rebuke of those who brought forward the complaint. The order was “[dismissed with prejudice](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prejudice_%28law%29)” by District Court Judge Michael F. Fetsch, and found that Berglund, while annoying and persistent, was within his rights in his requests for information from the city. And the judge found that…

> A culture developed with the City of Maplewood to make Berglund’s acquisition of information as difficult as possible and to punish him for perceived transgressions, all of which were related more to social etiquette than to safety, security or privacy issues.

Isn’t that interesting. So much chatter has gone into how the Maplewood city administration has *become* foolish or childish. I have to admit I agree on many counts. Perhaps against both sides, to be blunt. But it doesn’t appear it was a sudden turn of events with the arrival of a conservative majority. Rather, it seems like dysfunction has been festering for a while. (This was all early and mid 2004.)

###What can we get from all this?

We can legitimately wonder if SaveMaplewood.com is truly nonpartisan if they are unwilling to publish something that:

– Gives a glimpse into pre-2006 Maplewood City behavior, showing that oddities don’t appear to be something brand new this year
– Gives a glimpse into how city leaders at the time chose to spend city time and money
– Gives a glimpse into a city culture which made it difficult for a member of the public to obtain information the city was bound to provide (a point that directly touches on their “Your neighbors working to restore and preserve open government in Maplewood” header on their site)
– Clears up some public misconceptions about the husband of the current mayor

We can re-read that paragraph I quoted from the Pioneer Press and wonder “if I read that at the time, what would I have thought? And how accurate would I have been?” It’s a decidedly different impression after reading the order, isn’t it? I can’t shake wondering about how news gets to us. That’s actually the underlying thread that’s more interesting to me than the Maplewood stories themselves.

Well, since the “nonpartisan” [Maplewood Citizens League](http://www.intercognition.net/mplwdcl/publichome.asp) doesn’t see fit to publish the document, I’ll make the PDF available here:

* [City of Maplewood v. Berglund – Restraining Order Dismissed](http://kpmartin.www62.a2hosting.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/09/BerglundRestrainingOrderDismissed.pdf) 6 page, 900 KB PDF file

###Quick notes

* I searched SaveMaplewood.com via Google and via their own searchable archives to verify that they have not uploaded the PDF prior to this post. I can find no mention of “Berglund”. If I am wrong, **please** correct me so I can correct this post. (Time of writing: Saturday, Sept. 23, 5pm)
* If the offer of the file was not extended to MCL or it’s individual members, **please** let me know so I can correct the Mayor’s assertion.
* I really would like to know if there actually is some conservative balance on [Maplewood Citizens League](http://www.intercognition.net/mplwdcl/publichome.asp).
* The PDF has some interesting stuff about the allegations brought against Berglund. For example, something Kathleen Juenemann alleged turned out not to show up on videotape… how does that happen?
* Though Berglund and Mayor Longrie may be happy someone’s willing to post this information publicly, keep in mind that now the world can know that a judge has found Kevin “insistent”, “argumentative”, and “at times offensive”. Reading this, I hope I never have information you want. :)
* I now have reason to know it was *very* likely Peter Fischer [visiting my site from the Minneapolis Club](http://www.kpmartin.com/2006/06/13/to-whoevers-visiting-from-the-minnapolis-club/). C’mon, man… where’s my honorary membership? OK, I’ll settle for lunch. (On you, of course.) :)

For my previous coverage of the Maplewood City Council happenings and related news coverage comments, [click here](http://www.kpmartin.com/index.php?s=maplewood).

Technology, Politics, and the ‘Ethic of Discovery’

[1]: http://www.garagelogic.com/lexicon.htm
[2]: http://www.garagelogic.com/mayorsoffice.htm
[3]: http://www.markkennedy06.com/

There’s a local radio personality named [Joe Soucheray, who acts as the “mayor” of a mythical town called Garage Logic][2]. Friday afternoon he had some discussion concerning the blogger who fed illicitly gained information to the Amy Klobuchar (DFL) campaign for the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton.

He was bothered by the blogger’s intrusion into [Republican candidate Mark Kennedy’s][3] ad company’s website, but as he discussed the issue I felt like he was misunderstanding some of how the web works. I emailed him something like the following. I thought I’d throw it up here, too. For kicks.

One particularly annoying part was some local commentator noting something like the blogger wasn’t so much “wrong” as simply having a modern “Ethic of Discovery”. So I started with that. Click the link to read on, or just move along. :)

Continue reading Technology, Politics, and the ‘Ethic of Discovery’