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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saint Paul/ All Isn't Well In City Hall

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.

24 Comments:

Blogger Bob said...

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: M M concernedstpaulite@yahoo.com
To: mayor@ci.stpaul.mn.us; councilinfo@ci.stpaul.mn.us; ward1@ci.stpaul.mn.us; ward2@ci.stpaul.mn.us; ward3@ci.stpaul.mn.us; ward4@ci..stpaul.mn.us; ward5@ci.stpaul.mn.us; ward6@ci.stpaul.mn.us; ward7@ci.stpaul.mn.us; var630@aol.com; atomrobinson@gmail.com; Jim.McDonough@co.ramsey.mn..us; Rafael.E.Ortega@co.ramsey.mn.us; Toni.Carter@co.ramsey.mn.us; janice.rettman@co.ramsey.mn.us; bob.hume@ci.stpaul.mn.us
Cc: newsroom@mpr.org; alonetree@startribune.com; bpodtburg@startribune.com; chavens@startribune.com; dtice@startribune.com; djmcgrath@startribune.com; kkersten@startribune.com; mbrunswick@startribune.com; ncoleman@startribune.com; pdoyle@startribune.com; readers@pioneerpress.com; watchdog@pioneerpress.com; letters@pioneerpress.com; jhoppin@pioneerpress.com; tnelson@pioneerpress.com; lyuen@pioneerpress.com; dlien@pioneerpress.com; bsalisbury@pioneerpress.com; rstassen-berger@pioneerpress.com

Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:12:00 PM
Subject: Losing Faith

As the seven members of the City Council are already aware, Susan McCall was recently removed from the City of St. Paul Planning Commission . Former Commissioner McCall worked on the Commission for over nine years, having been appointed by two different mayors. Ms. McCall was Secretary of the Commission and Chair of the Neighborhood and Current Planning Committee.

It has come to my attention that, while Ms. McCall had the approval of the current Mayor, she was ousted by the City Council. Apparently, this move was spearheaded by Councilman Lee Helgen. I am under the impression that Councilman Helgen needed a majority of the Council to carry out this derailment of democracy. Did the other members of the council take the time to find out why Councilman Helgen wanted Ms. McCall removed so badly that he would subvert the mayor?

Ms. McCall was considered a very positive member of the commission and could be counted on for a rational and balanced approach. Why was she fired by the City Council? Did anyone speak with her fellow commissioners? Was she hard to work with, incapable, dishonest? Not from what I hear.

Last fall, Ms. McCall was the co-chair of David Haas’ campaign for City Council in Ward 5. Ms. McCall supported Councilman Helgen’s political rival, and for that reason she was removed from the Planning Commission.

This is not the way democracy is supposed to work. Abraham Lincoln appointed his rivals to positions in his cabinet, Lee Helgen has them fired. This may seem insignificant to the “rulers” of St. Paul , but it is very concerning to my neighbors and me. Many of the members of the council talk on and on about community, but how can I believe these claims if the council is willing to whatever it takes to remove political opposition? A healthy community includes everyone and welcomes difference of opinion. There is no room for petty, vindictive behavior. A person who involves themselves in a campaign for office should be applauded for being a part of their community, not punished for daring to raise their voice.

Shame on Lee Helgen, and shame on the entire council. This could not have happened if the members of the City Council had not allowed it to. Your votes made it possible. As citizens, we trust you to govern ethically and in the best interest of our city. You have let us down. You were bullied by Lee Helgen and let politics get in the way of sound judgment. Citizens know more than you think, and we remember.. This is exactly the kind of gamesmanship that makes citizens so frustrated with their leadership. Democracy requires integrity, integrity requires independence. My name will be left off of this letter, I am sure you can understand why. I do not wish to be treated the same way that Ms. McCall has been treated. I will tell you that I am not affiliated with the Haas campaign, nor any other campaign. I am merely a citizen who keeps his ears open.

I should also mention that I am not a Ward 5 resident. I currently reside in Ward 2. I was motivated to write this letter solely because I have heard enough about this inappropriate behavior taking place in my City Hall. Enough is enough. Clean government is essential to successful government. Please feel very free to respond to this letter; particularly you, Councilman Helgen.

Concerned Citizen who VOTES

(Not Sue McCall)

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the stuff the city council have done before . That if you speak against them they will go after you. Try to ruin you in your business or personal life.

they do not like people to speak against on anyting. They are afraid that you will get enough to side with you. They do not want change in city council. Lee Helgan
must have made a deal with the devil. To do this. And a lot promised to go a long with kathy lantre. Leslie K. Lucht

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this guy makes some Bullshit protest over some minor ethical lapse concerning the shenanigans used to get rid of McCall.....who the hell cares? Certainly not aqyone in St Paul. Things like this have been going on for decadesand the only time anyone cares is when they have some sort of vested intetrest. The government in St Paul is dirty and getting dirtier and the people who live there deserve it.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:31... Amen!

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:25,

You are right, people just don't care. You only have to look at the last election. How many voters bothered to show and vote. Once on the city council, you are there for life if you are a progressive Democrat. Look at the city council of both Minneapolis and St. Paul all Democrats. Look at the state reps for Minneapolis and St. Paul all Progressive Democrats. When these progressive Democrats raise your taxes or implement new code compliance rules and it effect you it is too late to act as the damage has been done.

The removal of Susan McCall is a shane as she was very good on the planning commission and Helgen knows this. Mr. Helgen needs to start growing up as he is acting like a little baby. Soon, Helgen will need a crying towel.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Helgen is feeling pretty arrogantrsince he was re-elected and is now comfortable in the "Helgen Zone."

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering what is going on with St Paul city government, this is small potatoes. I'm suprised anyone even noticed.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So this guy makes some Bullshit protest over some minor ethical lapse concerning the shenanigans used to get rid of McCall.....who the hell cares?"

I believe you answered your own question. Who the hell cares? Several posts here agreed with the unethical nature of this dismissal. You yourself state that the City Council is "dirty and geting dirtier." So how can this be a "bullshit protest?" Why are you shouting this person down when the intent is to highlight inappropriate behavior, the same behavior that you clearly disagree with. Seems to me that you agree "concernedstpaulite."

In addition, this is only "small potatoes" if it is an isolated incident, which it is not.

Stop complaining about those who choose to speak out, unless you are actively working to achieve the same ends. If you agree that the behavior is dirty, why criticize the statement?

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I criticize it becasue the reason we are in this mess with these lousy leaders is because there's not a damn soul in the city that cares about anything unless it bothers them personally.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know nothing about the current situation except what is posted here.

However, why is anyone surprised that a politician uses their victory to remove staff and appointees that worked against their election? It has gone on forever. Isn't that what Bush did to attorney generals across the nation (allegedly).

Bill Cullen.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. You say you criticize because nobody cares, but here is a group of people talking about an issue because they DO care. Do you think that concernedstpaulite and every post here that supports his/her claim has a vested interest in Sue McCall personally? You should be criticizing the mess, not the people who are speaking out about the mess. Has concernedstpaulite caused this mess? Doubtful, but he or she is at least doing something about it, unlike you, who is simply on the sidelines attacking them for CARING. Your complaint should be with the decision and the apathetic people in the city. The people here on this blog are neither.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill you are correct that this has happened for years. Obviously, though, that does not make it OK. I don't think that anyone is surprised, and that is what makes this so important. Either not enough people are awares of these types of activites, or not enough people care that they are taking place. I am uncomfortable with both of those situations. People, write your City Coucnil, write your Mayor, write your newspapers, and vote. This is OUR government. It is time to stop taking what we are given.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I hope this is helpful...

http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/stpaul-issues/messages/topic/1AT2TBDhIKUcHAnazGnWGT

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the ONLY solution is to have the city charter revoked by the state legislature.

Quick, somebody, write a bill. Oh, I forgot, this is St. Paul, the state capital. No one knows how to write a bill.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical. What a joke

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a load of this:

http://blogs.twincities.com/city_hall_scoop/2008/01/mega_tuesday_1.html

Helgen claims he hasn't endorsed a presidential candidate yet, but he states that he has "been courted by a number of individuals." Wow. What is he waiting for, Super Tuesday is tommorow. He'll propably wait and endorse the winner on Wednesday morning. What an eel.

I'm sure both Obama and Clinton are all over Lee for his nomination. Please

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helgen looks stupid enough for Hillary, but no Obama.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helgen ousts his rival's supporter

BY JASON HOPPIN
Pioneer Press, 02/09/2008

St. Paul is no stranger to hardball political tactics, but the latest
episode is turning some heads.

Former Planning Commissioner Sue McCall recently lost her spot on a
21-member committee. Why? She backed the wrong horse in St. Paul's recent
City Council elections.

McCall, a neighborhood activist who works as a community organizer at
the District 10 Como Community Council, was denied a new three-year term
because she served as campaign co-chair for David Haas, who ran an
unsuccessful campaign to unseat incumbent 5th Ward Council member Lee
Helgen.

McCall was first appointed to the Planning Commission in 1999 by
then-Mayor Norm Coleman. She chaired a neighborhood planning subcommittee and
was somewhat taken aback when told that despite Mayor Chris Coleman's
willingness to reappoint her, the City Council would not approve it.

"It kind of surprised me. I'm a little fish," McCall said. "I'm
surprised the City Council would spend this much time on me."

Helgen acknowledged that he lobbied to have McCall's name removed from
a list of mayoral appointments.

"She made it clear she didn't want to work in that office. We've got an
agenda that we're trying to push through. The Planning Commission is
an important body," Helgen said.

Planning commissioners have limited power. They frequently vote on key
projects, but the most controversial ones - the proposed Bridges of St.
Paul development on the city's West Side is one example - are usually
appealed to the City Council.

Commissioners are appointed to three-year terms and paid a stipend of
$25 per meeting.

Replacing McCall is 5th Ward resident Daniel Ward, who volunteered for
Chris Coleman's 2005 mayoral campaign and whose wife made a campaign
donation to Helgen's 2007 re-election drive.

After winning a seat on the City Council without a majority vote during
an unusual 2003 election campaign during which incumbent Jim Reiter
died during the race, Helgen was expected to face a tough re-election
fight.

Haas, a financial planner, threw his hat into the ring and won some key
endorsements, including from the city's powerful police union. In the
end, Helgen was re-elected by 141 votes.

McCall said she understood her spot on the Planning Commission might be
in jeopardy if Haas didn't win.

"Frankly, I didn't care. You're sworn to uphold the Constitution, not
massage City Hall's ego," McCall said.

It is not unusual for appointees to St. Paul's numerous commissions and
advisory committees to be politically active. For example, a company
headed by Planning Commissioner Carole Faricy was paid $6,000 last year
by Coleman's campaign committee to help with fundraising.

It's also not the first time an appointee has come under fire. In 2005,
Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) Board member Steve Gordon lobbed
criticisms over how the City Council was spending some of the city's local
sales-tax proceeds. At one point, the City Council balked at Gordon's
reappointment.

But Gordon had the support of then-Mayor Randy Kelly, and he remains on
the STAR Board today.

Haas said he's not surprised by the move, calling it a pattern with
Helgen. One other city appointee said she has experience with Helgen's
tactics.

Mary Ellen Radmann, 73, served on both the mayor's advisory committee
on aging and the Neighborhood STAR Board. Radmann said that when Helgen
asked for her support before the election and she refused, he pointed
out that her term on the STAR Board was about to expire.

"He didn't come out and say it, but he implied that he was not going to
renew it," Radmann said.

Radmann said she resigned from her appointments to care for husband
after he started having health problems. She wasn't surprised that McCall
wasn't reappointed to the Planning Commission.

"He's nasty," she said of Helgen. "He's nasty. He's so nasty."

Helgen said these are important positions. Unlike other city
commissions that are merely advisory in nature, some - like the STAR Board - make
decisions on how to spend money.

"You want to have people you can work with, that you can trust and help
move projects forward," Helgen said.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

To Lee Helgen,

Lee your DAMN lucky I decided not to distribute literature. If I had passed out a mere 5000 fliers telling citizens of your short comings Haas would be our councilman for ward 5.

You won by a mere 141 votes. I could have easily changed the hearts and minds of such a small number of citizens.

I should have done it! I don't like you! You are a dishonest untrustworthy person and you have NO RIGHT to be in public service.

I won't be so easy on you next election. I have plenty of cash to knock you out of there next time around.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Helgen will continue to behave badly between now and the next election, and we have to remember this and the rest of his crap and hold him to it next election.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helgen is digging himself a nice big hole, then the bulldozer can bury him with legal accountabilities!

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And don't forget this Bob.....he's NASTY!

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NASTY is even givin Helgen more credit then he deserves for the way he treats others. This is one man that should never have or been allowed to became a public figure, he does not have respect or listen to the citizens he is suppose to represent in his ward, he is more like a spoiled little boy that has to have everything his way!

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Helgen is a Peter Pan type. He goes into politics in order to force everyone to give him what he wants, rather than simply growing up.

6:46 PM  

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