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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mayor is concerned the city council is flirting with costly lawsuits.

Original title- St. Paul mayor frowns on sober houses
Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

St. Paul mayor frowns on sober houses
By Dave Orrick
Article Last Updated: 07/26/2008 01:49:55 PM CDT

Citing the likelihood of a lawsuit, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has lodged his formal dissatisfaction with a new set of regulations for sober houses in the city.

In the face of unanimous support for the new rules in the City Council, Coleman declined to veto the regulations, so they'll still take effect.

After nearly three years of at-times contentious discussions between neighborhood groups and sober house operators and residents, the City Council last month passed the new regulations — the city's first attempt to define the homes.

The city estimates 37 such homes exist. They are essentially regular residences, except inhabitants share the common bond of being recovering alcoholics.

The regulations include parking requirements to try to address complaints by neighbors that sober houses disproportionately eat up parking. But the most contentious aspect — and the one that sober house attorneys vowed to sue over — was a clause that effectively meant no more than one such building can exist on each city block.

"As always, I am concerned about putting the city at risk of lengthy and costly litigation," Coleman wrote in a July 18 letter to the City Council.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

City of Saint Paul

July 18,2008

Council President Kathy Lantry
and City Councilmembers
310 City Hall
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102

Dear Council President Lantry and City Councilmembers:
As you know, you recently sent me Council File 08-640 pertaining to zoning code regulations for sober houses.

While we share the same goal of promoting livability throughout the City of Saint Paul, I
need to express my serious
concerns about the language in Council File 08-640. I agree
that a clear definition of sober houses is necessary to ensure both that reasonable accommodations are made for those living with addiction, and that the intigrity of our neighborhoods is protected.

I also agree that sober house operators should be required to
provide information to the city that is necessary to ensure that a house meets applicable
zoning standards. Moreover, I agree that sober houses must be subject to specific parking
requirements so that sober house residents and their neighbors have an equal opportunity to park their cars near their homes.

I am concerned, however, about the departure from the planning commission and legal counsel recommendations regarding the 330-foot separation requirement for sober houses. As the staff report noted, with assistance of legal counsel,this separation
requirement may not meet the common legal test for handicapped people articulated by
the Federal Courts of Appeal. As always, I am concerned about putting the city at risk of
lengthy and costly litigation.
That being said, I am acutely aware of the reality of a 7-0 vote, and know that a veto proof
council majority limits my options going forward. Therefore, I am returning this ordinance unsigned.

Christopher B. Coleman

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you put more then one per block, then it starts bringing down the current property value.
We all know that "one bad apple spoils the barrel".
Alcoholics have their weak times, more people close together like that to hang out and share a bottle.
With any temptation from other weak souls, the programs would not work.
Lock up treatment can work better with numbers then a sober house could, its to easy for one person to purchase liquor.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Chrs Colemans ltr Jul18-08 said...

Forensic Links:also found at

Mayors letter pdf format to back up the Blog's info

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You mean there is disagreement in city among the elected officials?

Some of your heads must be exploding about now.


12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like the is waking up to possibles of many lawsuits.

And the city cannot pay for all of them.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Bill Cullen said...

Am I reading this right? Mayor Coleman is against this legislation because he thinks alcoholics are a member of a protected class (handicapped)?

As a Real Estate Agent and a landlord, I have taken many, many fair housing classes and I have never heard that alcoholics are protected. Am I missing something?

It is surprising to me that Mayor Coleman is worried about costly lawsuits on this, but not St. Paul’s questionable methods of condemnation, code compliance and demolition of housing.

Bill Cullen.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look again as I said before this is a zoning issue. Here is how a suit will go:

Someone will locate a sober house next door to another sober house. The City will say you can't locate there.

The owners will sue for the Permit!

A court will determine if the law is constitutional. If it is they won't get a permit. If it isn't they will.



Chuck Repke

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Bill the Fed's view alcoholics as a protected class.


9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck, if there is a lawsuit, the plaintiff in any legal challenge against the city will surly bring a federal sec. 1983 claim based upon a violation of the Fair Housing Act (to name one claim). You can recover treble and punitive damages and attorneys fees under sec. 1983.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And sec 1983 Chuck just happens to be one fo the many claims the landlords have brought against the city that you never talk about because you're so distracted with rico and trying to look like a know it all.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous W. St.Paul Mayor John Zanmiller appellant v. Alice Krengel said...

We think the ST. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman 2nd VP of ie: League of MN Cities, acting in concort with W. St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller aka Water Board Commissioner, are duly scared by how they both treated, Noel Kalinski, many others,Zanmiller creating PSTD on Alice, Coleman knew Alice slept at Dorothy Day for 1 yr, while having her paid for Home worth $200 thous, which Alice was Court Ordered evicted from ie: Alcoholism? File A07-310 In case you missed it.
Cullen Alcoholism, PTSD, are classified Disabilitys, thus Protected class of persons


7:18 AM  
Anonymous Larry the Lawyer said...


That's what you think.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:18 - The City in all likelihood wouldn't object to a TRO to allow the house to opperate if it is open. So, there wouldn't be any damages except court costs and they would have to make the case that the distance requirement that the Federal Court had previously supported in City of Saint Paul V Family Style Homes was this time not just a violation of the disability act but a violation of fair housing.

Remember folks the City of Saint Paul won Saint Paul V Family Style and the Federal Court of Appeals agreed that the City's desire for distance requirements was to make sure that the mentally challanged had many options for living locations and that service providers were concentrating houses in poor neighborhoods because the houses were cheap and the politics was easy. The Supreme Court ruled not on that case but on a diferent but similar case and threw out distance requirements restricting locations.

The 7-0 vote of the council was to say that if we have the interest of those with disabilities in mind shouldn't the government ensure that the service providers are at least taking some effort to locate these houses everywhere in the City and not just in poor neighborhoods? Isn't the point of ADA to stop discrimination? And if it is the service providers that are being cheap and only putting the houses in a few poor neighborhoods isn't that discrimination? The City does not say that sober houses can not locate 350 away from each other only that they would have to prove to the City why they need that accomidation. The council believes that will meet the requirements of ADA.

As to 3:02 I have addressed that issue before. For your side to win that case you would have to be able to argue that the government wants to house the poor in fire traps with broken plumbing, no electricity etc... Your case is that it is in the poor's interest to have substandard housing and that improving the housing stock is an assault against the poor.

Sounds like a looser to me.


Chuck Repke

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck what do you know?You can't even keep your one rental house from looking like a slum.Burned out cars,missing screens,door knobs missing on the front door,expired tabs on cars,trailers on gress,cars with broken windows,peelings paint,etc. Do I need to go on Mr.Repke? Try to perfect the rental game before you get into law.

Tim Ciani

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love you too Tim!


12:30 PM  
Anonymous Pnoto Bucket ie: Thune said...

Remember When Has Thune cleaned up his own act re: Housing?

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interest to have substandard housing and that improving the housing stock is an assault against the poor.

Sounds like a looser to me."

Well you are a loser Chuck so I fully understand why you see things this way. Get a real job.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!Thats really Thunes place?Chuck I thought your said the ricomen were slumlords.Eric what do you have to say about Daves place?Would this be tolerated in your neighborhood?


10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Linda that is a serries of pictures of Dave's properties that he was writen up for.

One is his home, the other is a business property on seventh and another was his father's house on Colburne in Dave's name.

As everybody on both sides of the issue have said here you can on any given day write somebody up for something and these guys here have frequently called in to complain on Thune's properties and my house.

There was a big story on Thune's when those shots were given to the pioneer press.

The crime Thune has committed to be regularly gone after by these guys is that he is their best vote on the City Council...actually they go after him because he is a liberal and authored the smoking ban... they aren't smart enough to get it that he is there best vote on the council.

I have repeatedly asked them to come up with one address in Ward 2 where a property was not given an extention to avoid demo orders when requested by the owner in the 12 years Thune has been on the council and they haven't been able to come up with one.

But, he did author the smoking ban so, he's a liberal and they need to fuck with him.

They just aren't to bright.


Chuck Repke

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck said,"One is his home, the other is a business property on seventh and another was his father's house on Colburne in Dave's name."

Ciani says,"Thats a shame that every one of his properties he owns has code issues,even the one he alllows his father to live in.If Dave can't even keep his family safe from living conditions how can he keep the general public?"

Chuck said,"As everybody on both sides of the issue have said here you can on any given day write somebody up for something and these guys here have frequently called in to complain on Thune's properties and my house."

Ciani says,"Exactly Chuck your getting the picture.Now if you'd look at a map of the city you'd see most of the code enforcement being done is in the black and low income neighborhoods.They are using code to go after behavior whick the courts will find unconstsutional.Thanks for clearing that up Chuck."

If you guys want to see a house really bad in shambles you should see Mayor Colemans house before the election.I think he knew I was coming.

Tim Ciani

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tim, what does Lisa Martins house look like?

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timmy, Timmy, Timmy...

The fact that more code enforsement actions occur in lower income neighborhoods might be because properties that have lower property values tend to be in lower income neighborhoods. It may very well be that the values are less because they are older and have more physical problems.

So, the issue is would a court believe my explination above or your explination that the City is try to rid itself of all poor people?

Your sick Tim, you need help.


Chuck Repke

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I hear the name Lisa Martin? I heard ricomen have photos of her house too with trash all over the front of it, and that's the least of what they have on her. She going to be in for a huge suprise from the gossip I hear.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the mayor should have been worried about lawsuits years ago when the city snubbed the ricomen when they just wanted to talk. I wonder if they'd like that opportunity today?.....after thier budget got drained last year and this year there's more lawsuits comming. Way to go Chris!

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the city could just pay Lisa Martin and a number of other inspections personnel to just stay at home. There isn't enough normal inspections work for them to do anyway.

11:03 AM  

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