That Was Unbelievable

November 12, 2014 at 10:20 pm 4 comments


By Andrew Richter

Now my friends, I’ve spent years watching the Crystal City Council. I’ve seen the rare good, the really bad, and the extremely ugly. What I witnessed on November 6 though was the most despicable and disgusting behavior I’ve ever seen (which is really saying something).

The night began with a presentation at a work session (notice not a council meeting) from the Environmental Quality Commission regarding Crystal’s entry into the Green Step Program (remember that thing we defeated in 2012). The meeting was conveniently not audio recorded like it was supposed to be so we have no idea what was said or what was presented.

Proceed to the council meeting where Mayor Adams couldn’t even get the meeting started before Laura Libby interrupted him to try and force the Green Step Program onto the agenda. The motion was seconded by Mr. No Tax Johnny Budziszewski. Adams ruled the motion could not be added. Mark Hoffman then pressed Adams as to why it wouldn’t be added and the mayor explained that the research wasn’t complete and that opposition hadn’t been heard from. Budziszewski then made the smart ass comment “is this a democracy.” Of course, he said this with the usual cocky smirk.

Adams’s position seems reasonable, at least on Earth. But with this council, never-never land is the thinking of the majority. After Adams read the consent agenda Libby again piped in to make sure her little pet issue was forced on the agenda and this time she was backed by Ward 2 Councilman Joe Selton (recently defeated by 34 points in his re-election bid). Selton made some interesting and inconsistent statements. He first tried to blame Mayor Adams by claiming that he refused to put it on the agenda on a future date. Adams responded that the council wasn’t done with their discussion and some council members had concerns still and that the public hadn’t had a chance yet to weigh in. Selton, though, would have none of it, and kept trying to claim that by putting it on the agenda it would give residents that chance to come and voice their opinions. Since it’s not on the agenda, he wanted to put in on and have a vote immediately.

Now do you follow all that? So here’s some Joe Selton reasoning for you; it should be on a future agenda so people can come and voice their opinions, but since it isn’t on a future agenda we need to ram down your throat and up your ass. Does that make any sense on any planet?

Laura Libby then made some rather snobby comments about opposition to the program back in 2012; “It was said that in 2012 there was a lot of people against this and there were like 7.” Talk about condescending. Actually there were about 20 and about seven or eight actually spoke and I was one of them. We did all of this on about 48 hours notice and were accused by the former mayor of “hijacking the process.” And how many people came and spoke in favor of entering this program? Yes the answer to that is zero! Either way, let’s say one or two people show up, should they be dismissed like that?

I’d also like to point out that what happened back in 2012 was not a public hearing. The council was considering a resolution to join the Green Step Program. They talked about for 5 minutes at a work session and tried to sneak it in during the lame duck period. I would also point out that to this day there has never been a public hearing on the Green Step Program.

Libby didn’t care. She pressed for her motion to override the mayor’s authority and it passed 4-3. Voting yes were (take a guess) Hoffman, Selton, Johnny B, and Libby with Peak, Adams, and Deshler voting no. Deshler and Peak once again pleaded for more time and for public input but the bullies on the council were hearing none of it. As soon as the regular agenda began Johnny B made a motion to join the Green Step Program and Libby quickly seconded it.

Again Casey Peak pleaded for more time and asked that the resolution be read out loud. Peak tried to have two parts of the resolution struck down for having language that might amount to a mandate but of course the bullies voted it down. They don’t care it mandates anything and why should they? Three of them won’t be there so what do they care? Peak then requested a recess to review material since he didn’t know it would be on the agenda and that was met with the usual condescending comments from Mark Hoffman and Joe Selton. Hoffman said “OK go ahead.” Oh Mr. tough guy. Selton said “OK we’ll wait.” Maybe you should take time to read yourself, oh wait you’re both so smart you don’t have to. How dare I question you!

After coming back from recess, nothing had changed and the council voted 4-3 to pass the Green Step Program with the four bullies Libby, Budziezewski, Hoffman, and Selton voting YES and Adams, Peak, and Deshler voting NO. Deshler then apologized to residents of Ward 4 for the behavior of the council in not getting to voice an opinion on this. Adams made similar comments about how council members talk about transparency and open meeting and then pull a stunt like this. That was enough for Mark Hoffman to open his big mouth and blame Adams for “not setting a date.” so he HAS to jam it through. This is typical Mark Hoffman, nothing is ever his fault.

This council’s behavior should alarm everyone. They have now set a precedence that four people can put anything on an agenda and force a vote on it out of their whim with no public debate or public notice. Just think if this becomes a habit in Crystal or anywhere else.

You know, one has to wonder why this happened. Why was it that the these four felt they had to jam this through? The answer my friends is November 4. These four know they have a short window to push through anything they want. Look for the public works building to be next. There’s no way the three defeated councilman are going to risk letting the next council not deficit spend. Bonds, once passed, are locked in so look for them to demand bonding!

I’m not surprised at the conduct of Budziszewski, Selton, and Hoffman. You’d think after getting their asses royally kicked in an election they’d show a drop of humility. You’d think after being painted as people who don’t listen, they at least try to. But, no not these three. They are so arrogant and bitter that showing some degree of contrition is above them. They proved that the challengers in the council races were right all along by confirming everything they said about them. I can’t wait until these horrid representatives are gone. I wish they would just resign.

Perhaps I’m most disappointed in Laura Libby. I’ve tried to respect her despite our ideological differences but I’ve lost most of that after this meeting. Ramming things down our throats is not what she campaigned on. In fact on her website there is this statement from her 2012 council campaign;

As I’ve been door-knocking, I’ve been hearing from a lot of people that the city (employees and council) needs to listen and respond to citizens better.  I’ve heard over and over that someone has called about an issue, the city never responded, and then the person just gave up and doesn’t call anymore.  This is NOT the way our city should be handling citizen calls about real issues.  I am committed towards making our city more responsive.  There is nothing more important than the people of Crystal.  I want all of us to be in this together, making the best decisions for a stronger community. If elected to the Crystal City Council, I am committed to being there for YOU!

Libby’s Website

So, is she living up to what she said when she ran? I suggest that when she runs again you judge her on her actions not her words on whether she’s listening to you.

I know, I know, January 6 can’t come fast enough.

Council Meeting

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Entry filed under: City Government, Community, Crystal, Environment. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Andrew Richter and Jason Bradley Podcast From AM 1280 Last Saturday We Need Even-Year Elections and Wards

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bill C  |  November 12, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Eric Langness on Facebook, commenting on Jason’s Community Solutions post about this, said “Reverse all they do after the election in the consent agenda come January”.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/129338320473359/permalink/742528679154317/

    Is there any reason that couldn’t happen? Is there some rule somewhere that says once this Green Step thing is approved, it is set in stone and no one or nothing can ever undo it? We’re going to have a 6-1 majority in the next session, and I’m pretty sure that the three new council members would gladly undo this if procedure allowed.

    Reply
  • 2. Josh  |  November 13, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I know that council members read this blog. Mr. Hoffman has replied to this blog before. I urge those council members that read to show that they truly care about Crystal and it’s citizens by replying to this blog and explaining their actions. Explain to us why this program had to be voted on immediately without listening to their constituents. Why is it our concerns should not be addressed?

    I am not opposed to the Green Step program. I am not for it either. Why? I know nothing about it. It’s never been properly presented to the citizens. But I feel by the way that it was pushed through and voted on without our concerns being addressed that it is probably something I am against. And that’s on our council.

    I applaud representative Deshler and Peak along with Mayor Adams for trying their best to get this tabled for a further time. They did not ask for it to be ignored, they simply asked to table it to get their constituents opinions on the program. That is exactly what a representative SHOULD do, represent the viewpoints of those they work for, NOT push through their own agendas. Those three earned a lot of respect in my eyes for treating their positions as our representatives in that way.

    Again, I ask those 4 responsible for pushing their agenda to respond to this post. I thank Mr. Richter for putting this information out their, and while I wish there was less anger in his blog, I can understand it. I do hope that, if Mr. Hoffman replies, he has finally learned how to spell Mr. Richter’s name.

    I’m sure they won’t reply, they probably don’t feel we deserve it, after all, we’re just lowly citizens. Maybe then I’ll have to make some phone calls and ask them personally. I’m sure someone has that info for us.

    Reply
  • 3. Kathleen Webb  |  November 26, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    This is one of the few things I can wholeheartedly agree with Andrew Richter on, THAT INDEED WAS UNBELIEVABLE!

    It’s amazing how two people can see the same council meeting and have totally different reactions to it. Mr. Richter talks a lot about the disrespect he feels the outgoing council members displayed (and they could have behaved better, there were some petty displays). However he doesn’t state the lack of respect the mayor shows to the other council members as well. I’ve seen meetings prior to election day where he tends to ignore the council members that he doesn’t agree with. The mayor has one vote and is no more important than the other members there, which he seems to tend to forget.

    And the lack of respect shown to the resident who was there applying to be a member of a commission was absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary. It seems like he had a personal vendetta against her. He should have just gone to the vote and skipped the personal attack.

    The Green Steps issue has been around since 2012, plenty of time for those who were interested in learning more about it to do so. Why did they not? Why was it never put on an agenda if they wanted public opinion on it? I don’t understand why such a production was made of it anyway. The city is not REQUIRED to do anything by becoming a member.

    After that meeting I was extremely embarrassed to be a resident of Crystal. While there may be less contentiousness at the meetings once the new council members are on board, I’m afraid what will happen to this city that I’ve been a resident of for about 25 years.

    Will there be no funds in reserve because everything has to be paid with by cash? Will codes be revoked that will affect the safety of our housing stock? (Some people don’t think you should need permits for work done on your property. I personally like to know the prior owner got a permit and the work was inspected by someone who has that knowledge because I don’t). I’ve also heard that you should be able to do what you want on your property. Well, then you give your neighbor that right too. It may not usually be a problem, but not everyone has considerate neighbors. I believe the codes are there to protect the residents and the city. Not that they can’t and shouldn’t be looked at, but they’re usually there for a reason.

    I don’t think this new council will have a positive impact on the city, but only time will tell.

    Reply
  • 4. Josh  |  December 31, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Kathleen, that member of the community you speak of has done nothing but disrespect Mayor Adams at every turn. Why should he show respect to this person who has been so ugly to him since he beat her in the election. Even before that election she called him a liar, and in doing so implied she hated him. I would find it difficult to be cordial to someone who treated me that way.

    Reply

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