Monthly Archives: September 2005

Nice Site

Congratulations on your website. I just found it today while researching the background on the DeLaSalle athletic field issue. The content on the site helped me get up to speed on the issues.

Much has changed in the world of citizen participation and involvement since I retired from the City of Minneapolis 8 years ago. Now, sites like this can keep folks informed and allow them to express their opinions about Park Board issues. That can only help people watch their government and have it be more responsive to citizen needs.

Keep up the good work (and I know it is a lot of work for the volunteers who do this).

Nokomis East Neighborhood Assoc. Candidate Forum

NENA is holding a Candidate Forum on Thursday, October 20, 7-9 PM, for City Council Wards 11 and 12, and Park Board District 5 (Jason Stone vs. Carol Kummer).

The League of Women Voters will moderate the Forum, which will be at Minnehaha United Methodist Church, 3701 East 50th Street.

Each candidate will have time to speak, answer questions sent to them in advance, and respond to questions from the audience. Also on the evening’s agenda is the selection of electors for the NRP Policy Board Elections in November.

For more information about the Candidate Forum or the NRP Policy Board Elections, please call the NENA office at (612) 724-5652 or check

NENA is asking that everyone attending the Candidate Forum bring a donation for the Minnehaha Food Shelf. Non-perishable food items and hygiene products are gladly accepted. Cash donations are also appreciated.

Park Board Candidate Forum / Breakfast with Gary Schiff

Please join Gary Schiff, 9th Ward Minneapolis City Council Member, for Breakfast with Gary on Friday, September 30th, 2005!

This month at Breakfast with Gary, join Council Member Schiff for a non-partisan Park Board candidate forum. All At-Large, District 3, and District 5 Park Board candidates on the November ballot have been invited.

Candidates will join constituents for breakfast, brief remarks and a question and answer session.

Friday, September 30th, 2005 – 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.

Café of the Americas – 3019 Minnehaha Avenue South

$5 for breakfast

September 21 Meeting Report

The September 21 meeting of the Park Board started at 4:30pm with a closed-to-the-public session to discuss workers’ compensation litigation.

At 5:07pm, the doors were opened to the public and I entered promptly. Before I could even sit down, President Jon Olson had already convened the regular meeting, gotten the agenda approved, gotten the minutes for the September 7 meeting approved and was starting the Reports from Officers.

– Superintendent Jon Gurban: gave his usual self-congratulatory and stand-up comic routine of extolling the wonderful things that had happened and doling out small dollops of praise to staff and commissioners, while generally avoiding substantive information. He mentions meeting with Three Rivers parks regarding getting some resources for Wirth Park winter recreation. He also attended a Met Council meeting regarding Lake of the Isles and getting the big renovation project there done. The Park Board “needs” [wants] $5 million from the state to finish it. Meeting was also attended by a number of other “big shots” such as Mayor R.T. Rybak and CM Lisa Goodman [IIRC].

Commissioner Marie Hauser interrupts the reports to interject a superfluous remark praising Gurban’s appointment to the hosting committee for the 2010 annual meeting for the National Recreation and Park Association being hosted by local affiliate the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association, Gurban’s former employer. [Maybe it is something of an accomplishment, considering Gurban traded lawsuits with his former employer.]

– General Manager Don Siggelkow introduces the Park Board’s new Public Relations person, Dawn Sommers, formerly of Three Rivers Parks. He also says the Teamsters approved their contract with the Park Board with a 2% compensation increase.

– Lt. Robert “Robbie” Goodsell of the Park Police presents the monthly report in Chief Brad Johnson’s absence. Item of most note was a new motorcycle lease program which saves the motorcycle patrol. Previous lessor raised the rates beyond what they could afford, but they got a new deal from Faribault Harley Davidson. Goodsell has nothing but good news, especially with regards to the motorcycle patrol program.

Commissioner Carol Kummer asks if they drive the motorcycles on trails to enforce separation of pedestrians on pedestrian trails from bicycles on bicycle trails. Goodsell answers that motorcycle patrols do enforce those regulations [but avoids making Kummer look foolish by saying they don’t regularly drive on those same trails].

Commissioner Walt Dziedzic digresses into some unnecessary story about giving a Park Police officer the thumbs up when he saw the officer giving a motorist a ticket. He encourages the Park Police to give more “tags”.

Comr. Hauser complains about traffic in south Minneapolis.

Commissioner Annie Young states that Cedar Field is still giving the community problems and needs more law enforcement effort.

Commissioner John Erwin remarks on problems with motorists passing each other on parkways, especially West River Road. Apparently that’s not a legal maneuver on parkways, although as Erwin points out there markings are so poor no one can tell. He suggests signs to state the regulation so that people are aware of it.



2.1 Approving final payment to a contractor is quickly approved without discussion or opposition.

2.2 Approving a complete settlement for a workers compensation claim, roll call vote: Erwin abstains as he was absent from the 4:30pm discussion and therefore is not adequately informed, commissioners Vivian Mason and Rochelle Berry Graves are absent and remaining 6 vote Yet. Approved.


* Planning Committee – chair Bob Fine

4.1 Approval of schematic design for phase 1, west bank of Above the Falls Master Plan.

Dziedzic digresses about an East side memorial park, toward the river from the Grain Belt brewery. Olson asks if this has anything do with the West side plan they are approving [it doesn’t]. 4.1 is Approved with none opposed.

* Administration and Finance Committee – chair Hauser

7.1 Approve increase in expenditure on fertilizer. Passes with Kummer opposed.


* Nothing gets discussed.


9.1 Resolution supporting grant funding application to MN DNR for shore land restoration at Lake Hiawatha. Quickly moved by Fine. Kummer talks at some length about what a great opportunity this is. She says it will keep geese and dogs out of our lakes. Olson asks what’s wrong with dogs in the water? Kummer says it is bad for water quality reasons. APPROVED 7 Yes, 2 Absent.

Olson argues with Young about procedure, which committee should take up environmental considerations of fertilizer purchase, etc. [There was supposed to be a report on “Integrated Pest Management” including fertilizer usage during the Operations and Environment Committee meeting chaired by Young.]

Young moves to reconsider 7.1 (fertilizer purchase), being on the prevailing side. She wants to vote no.

Erwin points out the purchase is for this year’s procurement versus next year’s policy on types and usage. He says they should proceed.

Hauser says “the universe is made up of chemicals” and so concern about using chemicals in the parks is misplaced. She asks “general manager Schmidt, do these fertilizers contains phosphates [sic]?” If so, they would be illegal.

General Manager Michael Schmidt responds that they test the soil before deciding which chemicals to use. He says that normally none of the fertilizers they use contain phosphorus and that they are in compliance with laws regarding such usage.

Hauser remarks further that fertilizers are not poison but are to make things grow.

Young withdraws her motion.


* Kummer says it has been quiet except for citizen complaint about improper use of pedestrian/bike paths.

* Young says likewise quiet except the problems at Cedar Field.

* Erwin says there are issues on the parkways regarding speeding and passing, that they need signs due to lack of lane markings.

* Fine [as usual] has nothing to day. [It’s hard to believe citizens of the 6th District never contact Fine with concerns.]

* Hauser says there are safety issues at Cedar Field and mentions a lighting plan. The lights at Cedar Field are actually better than what were asked for. She also mentions people have expressed to her their “sadness” over the loss of so many elm trees and are concerned about stump removal.


* Dziedzic talks about how he couldn’t do this job if he wasn’t retired. He maunders about the great staff, Gurban, Jon Oyanagi [the River District Manager — try to find contact information for the District managers on the Park Board web site. Hiring them was supposed to make it easier for citizens to contact someone who could help.], etc. etc. ad nauseum. Then he palavers on about how great the east side coaches are, and then goes on and on about Joe Maturi, the U of M athletic director. [Looking hard for that constituent petition or communication here and not finding it.]

* Hauser gets a second chance to effuse about how great the “new system” of district managers is. [Apparently she knows their phone numbers, but we don’t.]

* Kummer takes her second opportunity to talk about how dogs are bad for lakes.

* Olson asks GM Schmidt about stump removal status. Schmidt answers that it is continuing and will continue as long as the weather permits. He says it has been a good year and they are catching up on their back log.

5:50PM Regular Meeting Recessed

** Recreation Committee called to order by chair Erwin.

Study / Report Item: Continued brainstorming on Cultural Arts Programming. Powerpoint presentation by Diane Moe, Recreation Supervisor – Cultural Arts. Report on current state of affairs. One item she mentions is the concert series in the parks, and she includes Nicollet Island as one of the locations. [This appears to be false — at least as far as public concerts on the Island go. The public amphitheater on Nicollet Island is no longer used or usable now that the Park Board has given control of most of the south end of the Island, of the Pavilion and of 2 parking lots to Mintahoe for their private use. Once upon a time, about 15 years ago, yes, there were public concerts from the concert series held at the amphitheater.]

Erwin’s intent is to get a list of desires for cultural programming from the commissioners and to create a portfolio of things to take to granting agencies and the Park Foundation for potential funding.

Fine talks about the Minnesota Orchestra performance at the Lake Harriet Bandshell and maybe moving it to earlier in the day to avoid some of the airplane traffic and noise [what makes him think there are fewer flights earlier in the day?]. He suggests working with the Children’s Theater [they already do] and tours through Minneapolis Institute of Arts [they already work with them, too].

Young (not on the committee) asks for an explanation of what Arts have to do with Science with respect to the cooperative effort they have with the Science Museum. She is asking from the perspective of a grant writer. She also mentions that developmentally challenged need opportunities as well, and is hearing about this on the campaign trail.

Dziedzic tosses out some non-sequitor about DeLaSalle and then rides his Peppermint Tent idea for many minutes, suggests putting on plays in the parks in tents that move from park to park with the Children’s Theater, etc.

6:02PM Erwin recesses Rec. Committee

Regular Meeting reconvened by VP Erwin in Olson’s absence for public Open Time.

* Mari Taffe is on the agenda to talk about stop signs on Calhoun Parkway, but is not present.

* Liz Wielinski:

“I would like to take this time to thank the staff of the MPRB, especially Melissa Shaw in IT for making the website so much more useful over the past year. The newest addition of the reports accompanying the agenda is incredibly helpful. Now the public is able to see just what information the board members have available to them in making decisions. I was especially excited to see the survey that the commissioners received in order to prioritize the budget issues for this year.

And in that vein I would appreciate the individual responses made available to the public . The website would be a great forum for them. This is a great opportunity during the election cycle for the public to see just where their commissioner’s priorities are so they can vote accordingly. I know that when I requested the individual reports last year I was told that only 5 commissioners filled out the surveys and that the ones received had been misplaced. I am hoping that by asking today, just 2 days after they were to have been received that we will avoid that administrative error.

Thank you.”

Erwin asks staff who determines what gets put on the web site?

GM Siggelkow says they try to put information on the site that will be useful to the public.

Erwin reiterates “who?”

Siggelkow says “me…” and “the management team.”

* Steve Nelson comments on the DeLaSalle Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) membership:

“I was looking forward to seeing who my commissioner, Jon Olson, would select for the DeLeSalle CAC since we have so many good people in the Northside to pick from. People like businessmen Dean Rose who owns the Bean Scene or Keith Reitman who is also a lifelong northside resident as well as being active in the community or Susan Breedlove from Patrick Henry who would have brought a native American perspective.

I was glad the CAC list was posted on the website but I was surprised by my commissioner’s selection of Bert McKasy for it. I have nothing against Mr. McKasy but in looking him up on the internet I discovered that while he works in a law office downtown, the rest of his biography is all centered around St Paul and Ramsey county and he lives in Inver Grove Heights.

I just wanted to express my dismay that my commissioner could find no one from our district to be our voice.”


Fine moves for Regular Meeting adjournment. Passes; adjourned.

Erwin reconvenes the Recreation Committee.

Hauser says they need “more art for adults.”

Erwin says before you leave Commissioner Dziedzic [who was on his way out the door], he believes there are not enough venues in north and northeast. They need more mobile movies in the parks to get them to where the kids are in north, northeast, Powderhorn and Phillips. He says Dziedzic’s tent idea might be good. Erwin says Park Board used to sponsor a lot more festivals than they do now, and thinks maybe that would be a good idea. He asks about the planetarium and Diane Moe says it is included in their relationship with the Library.

Kummer stumbles into saying something about more sculpture in the parks, for example at Adams Triangle.

Young talks about collaboration between arts programming and environmental education opportunities. She relates this to how it is done in Denver. She suggests murals for their multiple benefits, including on and in park buildings, as each park has its own identity.

Erwin mentions something about theater venues.


Dziedzic [who has stayed a bit later due to Erwin’s “hook”] says the Marshall Street Gardens will be a future venue for arts [this is conjecture, not an existing plan]. He also suggests Edgewater and Gluek Park [when EPA clean up is done] and the “memorial” park by Grain Belt across the river from the Park Board HQ building.

Hauser says “gardens are art.” She claims gardening is the fastest growing adult activity. Then she talks about how important art is for child brain development.

Young mentions how beneficial being in nature is to children, especially urban children [studies recently mentioned in the media support this position].

6:25PM — Recreation Committee Adjourned

Administration and Finance Committee called to order by chair Hauser

3 of 5 members of committee are present, Hauser, Young and Dziedzic with Mason and Berry Graves absent [would have been just 2 if Dziedzic had completed his exit before Erwin snagged him back].

Young suggests Erwin appoint 2 more commissioners to the committee.

Hauser does not really want them but does not say no.

Erwin appoints Fine and Kummer

Hauser says 7 of 9 commissioners responded this year [last year, only 5] to the budget priorities survey, calling it a “significant increase.” She stumbles around verbally for a moment, and then asks GM Siggelkow to give a staff overview.

Siggelkow says staff was not going to do the survey again this year due to only getting 5 of 9 last year. He says it is one of the most important directions the commissioners can give the Superintendent in creating the budget. But then he got direction to do a survey anyway. [Does this seem as strange and confused to you as it does me?] Then he claims that the staff worries about accessability to more people by using property taxes for programs versus not using fees. [Any of you park users out there notice a decrease in fee usage, parking lot fees, fewer private-entity only operations, etc. in the parks?]

Fine says something about the surveys are hard to fill out now. It’s unfortunately they were not all in by Monday.

Hauser says that as we speak, Comr. Dziedzic is filling his in.

Hauser reads her top 5 priorities and her lowest 5 priorities aloud.

Erwin does the same, and Hauser presumably is recording / summarizing them.

Young does same with an obvious environmental theme.

Dziedzic reads his off: #1 is Youth Sports. His highest of the lowest is the Neiman Sports Complex (it was likewise low in Erwin’s rankings).

Hauser tries to summarize some themes of priority by eye but uses no skill at all.

Audience member comments to me that “This is the most important thing they do [setting budget priorities]. This is PATHETIC.”

[The survey seems poorly designed, mixing large, city-wide programs with small, localized programs, and likewise with various facilities.]

Item 7.1 That the Board adopt the Commissioners 2006 Budget Priorities. This is what they are working towards approving tonight.

GM Siggelkow says the information is provided tot he City’s Ways and Means committee as high level priorities. He talks some more about that process.


Erwin suggests just going with the top 5 or 7 priorities and nothing else, not mentioning the lowest priorities at all.

Dziedzic says the City nitpicked us last year and probably will do it again this year.

Siggelkow says the Mayor’s 5-year CLIC has declining City contributions to the Park Board capital budget.

Hauser wants buildings maintained so that costs are not higher later and claims she ran for the Park Board 4 years ago on that issue. [Sounds like she is stumping for the Ward 8 seat.]

Kummer says uh, yeah, building maintenance is important. She wants to know what pool and beach maintenance is versus pools and beaches. She’s not happy with the items presented, says there is overlap.

Siggelkow says the items are mostly based on accounting categories, so maintenance is separate from capital improvement. Also they are separated by property tax funded versus cost recovery via fees. He talks a bit about “pay as you go” capital work versus bonding for it.

The usual controlling faction wants to “white wash” the Neiman complex by combining it with all the other athletic fields items.

Siggelkow aids and abets by doing CYA for the Park Board on criticism regarding Neiman, although he does note that most other athletic fields do not charge usage fees like Neiman does. He also talks about the capital spending versus replacing playground equipment.

Kummer complains about failing playground equipment in a park now that is not scheduled for replacement until 2009.

GM Schmidt says that reduced capital budget has caused them to push out the replacing broken and worn out playground equipment. [After all, it’s for the kids! — er, oops, that’s another cut to the kids services.]

[It seems that some commissioners clearly did not do their homework, and that staff failed to provide clear choices for budget prioritization to the commissioners. Remember, they only do this once a year and is how they figure out how to spend $60 to $70 million.]

Hauser whines about being elected in a time 4 years ago when the capital budget was cut from $20 million to $235,000. [Those figures seem completely bogus.]

Dziedzic really lays into the park police horse patrol, criticizing for not being “real police work” of catching crooks, etc. He thinks it should be done away with. He says he rated Neiman low because there is not a lot of maintenance there and [some of] that maintenance is combined with Ft. Snelling Golf. He says the Lupient Water Park pays for itself and under pressure from Dziedzic, Siggelkow says they have broken even there in some years. Dziedzic says they need more creative marketing.


Erwin suggest they get a general consensus and discuss the details later.

Young asks for a discussion of the budgeting process calendar. Young makes a motion to do the calendar in a certain way.

Hauser tells Young to finalize her calendar ideas and come back with them.

Fine asks how difficult it will be for staff.

Superintendent Gurban puts in that it is good that the police are in the building, that the move of the police to the building was a “good thing” because they can warn us about the weather.

Hauser recesses the meeting for 5 minutes to call home.


[I check on weather — there is a Tornado Warning until 8:00PM. We are on the second floor in a room with big glass windows.]

During the recess, Gurban says he wants to reconvene and adjourn for the evening.

(A tornado has been spotted on the ground in Brooklyn Park. Storm is moving east-south-east — generally at us, but might slip by to the north.) [It did.]

7:25PM — Hauser reconvenes meeting

Fine suggests deferring things not time important due to weather. Says budget is important, should finish it now. [Wouldn’t want commissioners Berry Graves and Mason to get their priorities heard, now would we?]

Hauser asks if they should move it to the full board or return it to committee?

Kummer is happy to make that motion and then asks if the public can fill out the priority survey online?

Siggelkow says they would have to make a simpler survey. [Don’t insult the public’s intelligence.]

Young suggests going to the full board on October 19.

Kummer moves that it go to the full board on October 5.

Motion PASSES.

Hauser apologizes to Young for cutting her off and saying Young was not on the committee, when in fact Young is on the committee.

Siggelkow says the public needs something to react to.

Young moves public input to be taken on October 19.

Motion PASSES.

Dziedzic thinks the building is safe and wants to continue the committee meeting.

Committee is ADJOURNED on a voice vote with none opposed.

7:30PM Hauser bolts for home.

Young calls Operations and Environment committee to order with only 5 of 9 commissioners even present, and only 3 members of the committee present.

Young moves that GM Schmidt’s report due in this committee be postponed until October 5, and apologizes to him.


September 8 Meeting Report

5:00 Regular Meeting ( all commissioner except the absent Commissioner Mason arrive by 5:15 )

In approving old minutes Commissioner Dziedzic gives an impassioned speech about how most of the votes that have been anything but 5-4 and it just shows that they get along great.


GM Don Sigglekow reports that the MPRB has hired Dawn Summers the former marketing and public information person from the 3 River’s Park District. She will be starting on Sept. 19, 2005. After her arrival she will be meeting individually with the commissioners.

Commissioner Olson and Superintendent Gurban joke about stealing all the top talent from competing park districts.

then GM Siggelkow introduces the 4 “commercials” that the MPRB will be airing on during any extra time after the broadcasts on the cable channel.

Commercial #1 Protecting our Parks which focuses on the Environment, Recreation and Community. There is an interview with Superintendent Gurban and there are lots of scenic pictures of the parks and kids playing in the parks and ends with the new MPRB catch phrase “Minneapolis Parks, Your Best Investment”

Commercial #2 Youth Sports ( featuring…. the Neiman Sports Complex) shows kids playing baseball, soccer and tennis. the Select Committee on Youth Sports report from 1999 is mentioned, in which the committee recommends that new field capacity is needed. (Liz’s comment, I read the report… fields were needed in NORTH Minneapolis, in the Jordan, Hawthorne, McKinley etc… neighborhoods. The fields in South Minneapolis were said to be adequate for future needs… so they built Neiman where????? )

Commercial #3 Value Added Services ( or privatization… the positive spin)

Here is a true commercial Sheffield Priest of the Tin Fish, Jon Blood of Sea Salt, outside shots of the Nicollet Island Pavilion , the yacht and paddleboat of Paradise Charter Cruises (if you take the paddleboat notice the fares do not include the fees of up to $3.00 per person ) and of course the Jim Lupient Waterpark. They actually use the phrase “Without being a burden on the taxpayers” in this ad. (Liz asks…. How much money did this ad cost and did the money come out of the Enterprise Division as most businesses have to pay for their own advertising? )

Commercial #4 Forestry ( or how we didn’t handle the Dutch Elm crisis badly ) It claims to be responsible for all the city owned trees (like down 3rd and in the middle of Central AV????) They do need some editing unless there really is a Minneapolis DNR.

Per GM Sigglekow they were produced by Dreamworld and the narrator was Frank Quillacy.

Commissioner Young asks the cost and GM Siggelkow says that their new hire Ms. Summers will answer that during her introduction to the board at the Oct 5th meeting.
( so keep tuned to this same park station to see if the cost is eventually divulged)

Reports of District Officers….

Cynthia Wilson for Paul Hokeness in the Lakes district…

Did a Friday Fishing event (catch and release) on Lake of the Isles and had 165 kids show up. They are also registering many for fall sports.

Commissioner Erwin asks if the lakes are stocked and with which types of fish

Per General Manager for Operations Mike Schmidt.. the DNR does it based on their fisheries practices
Calhoun and Harriet have muskies
others have pan fish and catfish at Powderhorn Lake, and the creeks are not stocked

Commissioner Dziedzic gives a bit of a fish stock lecture that turns into a diatribe about a burned down porta-pottie

Commmissioner Hauser explains that the catfish in Powderhorn Lake are to clean up after the pan fish…

adjourned to go to the Planning Committee

Planning committee
Presentation of the West River Road Plan from the Plymouth Av Bridge to the BNSF RR Bridge ( the .pdf is 25 pages and is very detailed) is presented by Mike Kimble ( formerly of planning now head of community and governmental relations for the MPRB). He describes the planning process including a CAC that met over a 1 year long process with staff and the consultants. He also stated that the plan had been approved by AFCAC (Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee) and that the Met Council had approved the park part. There were many speakers following Mr. Kimble as part of the public hearing including Meg Fourney who was chair of the CAC and Tim Baylor the developer of the Riverview Towers ( just North of the Taj Ma headquarters) and many other residents. Their concerns included a turn around prior to their building ( to keep traffic to a minimum) and moving the restroom shelter to a less secluded area, mainly nearer where the River Rats perform for safety reasons and of course loss of street parking with the parkway redesign. Total estimated cost… $10 million, money so far $3,000,000 from the Mississippi Watershed Organization. There was also some concern about drug use nearer the secluded area of the RR bridge and Commissioner Dziedzic stated that with the park police so close that will end, to which the audience gave a resounding NO.

Commissioner Hauser asked if the raingarden that was for the Riverview Tiwers was being paid for by the MPRB to which Mr. Baylor replied that it was funded by Riverview’s developers.


Rosemary Knutson, past president of the West Bank Community Coalition, said it appears to the WBCC Bluff
Street Park Task Force that the park board would like to sell the 8 acre derelict piece of land next to her
building. She said she had spoken before the park board in August 2000 on the same issue.
Then-commissioner Dean Zimmerman opposed the sale. The WBCC formed the task force last fall to encourage the
park board to preserve the bluff as native open space rather than sell the parkland for real estate
development. The neighborhood was “virtually unanimous” in support of the $45,000 park plan as
designed by a consulting landscape design firm, the least expensive of three proposed designs
Four issues: 1) This is the only significant amount of flat park land on this stretch of river bluff. 2) Does this
organization [the park board] work with residents to protect the environment? 3) Does this organization
[another rhetorical question … I think it was broader, like does the park board work with citizens at all?]
4]Cedar-Riverside is densely populated … and id interrupted as she has gone over her 3 minutes per President Olson.

– Ann Forsyth, director of the Metropolitan Design Center at the University of Minnesota said the task
force had asked her for free technical assistance in developing a park plan. There were steps taken
1) task force; 2) a stakeholders survey, held at neighborhood organization’s annual meeting; 3) Three
options, least expensive chosen. To learn more about free help, go to and click on “design assistance.”

– Karen Swenson of Groundwork Minneapolis said her organization works to turn blighted sites into open
space parkland. The Gas Works Bluff site had been included on a list of feasible sites they developed
some time ago (BF Nelson was another site on their list). They helped arrange for AmeriCorps crew to be
available to work on Bluff Street Park next spring, and found funds for materials.

– Elizabeth Hopwood asked commissioners to keep the property as park rather than condos. Most residents
are Somalian refugees who take their kids out to play in the evenings and increased traffic from further
real estate development would endanger them. She wants “open space for people from the Seven Corners area to utilize.”

– Arthur Renander of Riverview Towers, thanked the board for the opportunity to speak, then
said “This is a [park] board in crisis,” well on its way to selling off valuable park land. He called the
current commissioner whose district includes the Gas Works Bluff site [Comm. Marie Hauser] a “closet
supporter” of selling the land to condo developers, whose support was a cover for the rest of the board to
approve the sale. He said the rumored sale price was far below the land’s value. “An election can’t come
soon enough!” he said. “Our plan is incredibly simple.”

– Bob Johnson, said he lived at Riverview Towers for 24 years, 1979–2003. He cited the
great improvements to the area brought by the construction of West River Parkway, but said Gas Works
Bluff was the site of a coal gas tank, and a 100-foot diameter concrete slab is still there. He said five
years ago there began a movement for creating a park there, which he said would be a “great misuse” [of
either money or parkland or both?]. “This is a piece of land which should be used for development. It
should be a high rise condo. That property should be sold for a high price, and the money used to pay for
[existing] parks in the city.”

– Tony Scallon, , was the city councilman when the townhouses near the site were built ( and has since worked on Hauser’s campaigns). Gasworks Bluff is a “highly polluted piece of ground,” he said. “It’s nice to throw political bombshells, but you better take a step back.” He made reference to an old lawsuit and warned the park board
“not to get run over by some group.” He said the park board should worry more about pollution than politics

Liz’s comment: according to Ms. Forsyth sitting next to me the park plan will leave the site undisturbed unlike any development, which would require much excavation.

– Arlene Fried said the park board public notice published Sept. 3 announced a DeLaSalle CAC meeting
for Sept. 13, which is illegal because it’s primary election day. Pres. Olson referred her to Asst. Superintendent Don Siggelkow.

– Edna Brazaitis described her background in alternative dispute resolution. She said she had first asked the park board to form a DeLaSalle CAC on July
6, as a “big kitchen table, where everyone could sit around and talk.” Of the CAC, she said “We have to be unleashed [and allowed to] think outside the box, and
we need time to do it.”

– John Chaffee, asked what did the park commissioners want the CAC to do with the copy of the 1983 Agreement that was in CAC members’ packets? He asked for two reasons: 1) Despite assertions to the contrary, several attorneys have said the agreement does not obligate the park board in any way; and besides, 2) the conditions of
the agreement have been met: a football field and two tennis courts. In 1984 DeLaSalle began using a piece of the public street to create a regulation sized
football field. During the earlier CAC process for the island as a whole, 1992-96, DeLaSalle’s sole requirement were tennis courts. Three tennis courts were constructed in 1999 at public expense for DeLaSalle. Pres. Olson referred the question to CAC chair Bert McKasy.

– Barry Clegg said when the board passed a resolution to form a DeLaSalle CAC, the community supported that resolution, expecting an open, thorough, and fair
process-but we are not on the track for that today. Why are there representatives of soccer and football but not historic preservation and environmental
interests? A park commissioner is openly armtwisting a neighborhood organization on their appointment to the CAC. The original resolution charged the CAC to look
at “all aspects” of the project, but now the CAC charge is “just design-the color of the Astroturf and the location of the Porta-potties.” As proposed by
Comm. John Erwin, the CAC process would include “at least” three meetings, but park staff have changed that to “no more than” three meetings, to take place
over 16 days (compared to the West River Road CAC that took 18 months), a “rocket docket” schedule unlikely to result in “real due process.” “If you want a
railroad job, skip the CAC” and just approve DeLaSalle’s proposal, and be prepared to deal with the consequences.

– Pres. Olson referred the question to CAC Chair McKasy, commenting that when he (Olson) appointed McKasy as chair, he told him to ask if he needs
anything, such as more time. Barry Clegg observed that the CAC packet says the CAC’s scheduled report to the board is “time certain.” Comm. Erwin says, “The chair
of the committee can’t change [the schedule on his own without board approval].

Back to reports of Officers… Jon Oyanagi River District Manager, Thanks to corp. sponsors of the Safe Streets Program, General Mills, Target, Cub and the Minneapolis Foundation. Spoke about the “reverse groundbreaking” at Folwell (?) Park where the tennis courts are coming out and a soccer field is going . Working on reviving ice hockey on the Northside.

Minnehaha District: Doing a big housecleaning of the Rec Centers and has partnered with the Midtown Latino Organizing Project to sponsor a family night and have already rounded up 4 soccer teams in the effort.

The board moves onto consent business and discusses funding another hour of cable time through the end of the year. Commissioner Fine points out the extra expense and the commissioners vote to pay for the additional hours ( $40/hour for 7 more meetings this year for an expense of $280 ) During which they will run the newly produce “park commercials”… what political theater. NRP funding for air conditioning at Folwell Park is approved.

Unfinished Business: Commissioner Young reports that the Water Quality Task Force is developing indicators for sustainability.

New Business: Superintendent Gurban speaks of the 9/11 tribute at Lake Harriet and mentions the Salvation Army wishing to collect for hurricane Katrina victims through the sale of vigil candles ( the MPRB forgoes their usual cut)

New Business: Commissioner Fine suggests delaying any planning around Lake Calhoun until their can be a review of past CAC information etc.. and suggests avoiding any piecemeal planning. It is suggested that money to do planning for this be put into the 2006 budget ( gosh really… just who was it pushing all those projects who is now backpedaling before the fall elections)

Commissioner Dziedzic claims there are a lot of election year rumors flying around ( not rumors sir, just not flattering information for some majority incumbents)

Petitions and Communications

Commissioner Dziedzic mentions the debut of the MPRB song by Charlie McGuire at the Lake Harriet Bandshell and that the next evening is the first official meeting of the DeLaSalle CAC. This leads to a discussion of the CAC and how it will be run, who gets to vote etc…

Commissioner Hauser reports she doesn’t understand why everyone thinks she wants to sell land and that she was approached by a developer and never heard from them again regarding the GasWorks Bluff site. She is glad the neighbors came up with the plan and hopes the staff can work out any pollution, maintenance and labor issues ( what labor issues??? are the unions against Americorp volunteers helping these folks build their park???)

Commissioner Erwin will be looking into the charge of the DeLaSalle CAC

Commissioner Fine has a patron wondering if the parking passes are transferable (from old car to newly purchased) He has also been getting many calls regarding the Gas Works Bluff site and since it isn’t even on the radar why are folks getting so concerned (HINT: Ask the Nicollet Island Residents about the heads up they received regarding the football stadium for DeLaSalle)

Regular Meeting Adjourns at 7:45

Admin and Finance Committee

Discussion of Fertilizer ( for the fall season to fill in so less weeds in spring per GM Schmidt)

Administrative Tickets ( motion passes to pursue without report…. on agenda for the next meeting)

2006 Budget Schedule presented by GM Sigglekow

Commissioners choose to follow previous year’s pattern and rank their priorities on a survey ( though the survey is compiled by staff so whose priorities are these really???)

Bob Fine's Unlawful Campaign Sign

photo of sign

Wednesday evening, September 14, Scott Neiman and Bob Fine’s son Andy were spotted installing a campaign yard sign for Bob Fine on city property. They placed this sign on the city-owned boulevard at 4001 Linden Hills Boulevard.

Scott Neiman is a former Park Board commissioner; he should know the location of the sign was unlawful.

City Pages: Marie Hauser's Dirty Campaign Tactics Against Jeff Hayden

In Britt Robson’s blog at The Blotter, he writes:

« Jeff Hayden doesn’t want to come off like a sore loser, although he did lose and he’s plenty sore about at least one aspect of the experience. “The people spoke, and I am not using this as an excuse,” says Hayden, who finished third behind Marie Hauser and Elizabeth Glidden in the September 13 primary election for Minneapolis City Council in the 8th Ward.

What has Hayden steamed is a piece of literature put out by the Hauser campaign, featuring three smiling faces and a message urging residents to vote “for Your 8th Ward Team.” The black face right beside Hauser’s white face belongs to Mary Merrill Anderson, a candidate for the Minneapolis Park Board. Hayden has two problems with that. One, Anderson never approved or endorsed this show of sisterhood with Hauser. Two, Anderson happens to be Hayden’s aunt.»

Minneapolis city DFL chair-elect, makes an interesting clarifying comment to the blog, saying:

«It’s interesting to note Hauser’s comment that the piece included “DFL candidates endorsed by labor” because that’s not as simple as it sounds. One other at-large candidate who identifies as a DFLer has also received labor endorsement–Rochelle Berry Graves received the Teamsters/DRIVE endorsement. It is also important to note that only two of the three candidates on Hauser’s piece have actually received the DFL endorsement–Dan Froehlich expressed interest in seeking the DFL endorsement after the primary, but Tom Nordyke and Mary Merrill Anderson are the only two at-large candidates endorsed by the DFL.»

It has been verified with Hauser that Tom Nordyke did not give his permission to use his name and face on her literature.

As Eva Young points out in a comment, this seems to be a dirty trick on the part of the Hauser campaign, designed to draw the black and gay vote by inferring support from two other candidates who did not volunteer such support. It further misleads the voter into thinking that Dan Froehlich is DFL endorsed when he is not.

Link: LuAnn Wilcox for Park Board District 1

I’m LuAnn Wilcox and I would be honored to represent you on the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

You will find that my education, experience, philosophy and passion have prepared me well to serve you as both a tenacious advocate and conciliatory consensus-builder. I will never circumvent the citizen advisory process in order to expedite an agenda, and I will never take my sight off of the basics in order to build a bricks and mortar legacy (or asphalt and astro-turf, as the case may be). Let healthy trees, healthy youth and healthy communities be a living legacy instead!

My Park Board Election Choices

The following are the people I will be voting for (or supporting) in the Primary Election tomorrow for Park Board seats, and some of my reasons as to why.

(These are entirely my own selections and reasons. It is true I had input into Park Watch’s endorsements, which were reached by consensus among all of its members, but Park Watch neither endorses nor has approved this message.)

These are the Park Board candidates who deserve your vote. They are people of high integrity with a strong sense of responsibility to the public and the greater good of the community.

Park District 1: LuAnn Wilcox

LuAnn has exactly the kind of qualifications one would want among leaders of the park system.

Her Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota in Youth Development Leadership could hardly fit the needs of the urban youth in our parks better. Her monograph, titled “Does Your Community Value Youth? A Commentary on Values and Behavior,” demonstrates a deep knowledge of, and a commitment to, providing high-quality programs and services for youth.

LuAnn also exudes the positive, up-beat, can-do attitude that is both a pleasure to work with and a catalyst for getting the best out of her work associates. Born and raised in Minneapolis, a graduate of North High, with extensive experience in community and Park Board youth programs in 15 different city parks, LuAnn is a fantastic choice for Park Board commissioner.

Park District 3: Scott Vreeland

Scott is perhaps the most modest of candidates. On the surface, he looks like a reasonably good selection as a Park Board commissioner. But as one learns more about him, the more impressed one becomes. Scott has worked actively in numerous civic and community organizations for many years. Forest management, land acquisition, water quality, neighborhood organizations, advisory committees and more, Scott has and continues to do it all. Talking to Scott about issues, one rapidly discovers he has a wealth of knowledge, and that he brings wisdom, thoughtfulness and open-minded consideration to the Park Board issues. Yet one may not hear Scott say these things about himself. He is a humble person. But he is a true Renaissance Man.

Park District 4: Tracy Nordstrom

Tracy gets it. Like the rest of my endorsements, she understands that our park system was designed to be, and needs to be, available to all of us. But more than that, Tracy has a deep understanding of how the process must change to continue to meet the changing needs of the populace as a whole, rather than catering to smaller subsets of interests. She has a breadth of experience in civic and government organizations and roles. Tracy has been very active through the years in her involvement with parks recreational and environmental programs. Her exemplary abilities to coordinate and organize will also be an asset to the Park Board.

Park District 5: Jason Stone

One key asset needed to successfully address the more difficult problems facing the Park Board today is the ability to pursue and see through to an end the finding and implementation of a solution. In this situation, Jason Stone is your man. He is quietly tenacious. He is a careful listener who is deliberate and respectful of all view points. He is fair minded and non-judgmental. Jason will make sure the Park Board serves the whole community and focuses on its core mission.

Park District 6: Jim Bernstein

While Jim has the political experience to understand how to work with people from a variety of political view points, he also has the courage to stand up for the the right idea even when it is not popular among the power brokers in government. There will be instances when it will be necessary to stand up for what is right at unpopular moments to preserve our park system’s integrity and long-term quality. Jim will not be intimidated into silence at those times. He is also an approachable and receptive individual. Jim likewise brings a sense of fiscal responsibility and restraint that is in short supply at the Park Board these days.

At Large (city wide): Rochelle Berry Graves

Rochelle has been fighting the up-hill battle at the Park Board for a number of years. She understands on a much deeper level than most the crucial role the park system plays in the quality of urban neighborhood life, and the opportunities for a better educated and more responsible youth. Rochelle knows how particularly important these aspects are for many city neighborhoods where the youth are not so privileged as perhaps others are. She can relied upon to ask the hard questions about who will actually benefit from a proposed course of action. Her ethics are impeccable.

At Large (city wide): Tom Nordyke

Tom has the critical understanding of how the park system contributes to the livability and vitality of a community in ways that may not seem obvious or tangible to all. He is a quick study who can quickly grasp the salient facts of a situation. His experience as vice president of Artspace, an organization which serves the facilities and real estate needs of the local arts community, will serve him well at the Park Board. Tom will bring valuable understanding of how to facilitate political and policy goals in an environment which by nature must involve other government bodies.

At Large (city wide): Annie Young

Annie has also been fighting the good fight against increasing mismanagement, lack of process and public information, and lack of long-term stewardship for the parks. Annie may well be the most accessible park commissioner, ever present at community and city events and gatherings, active on-line and in politics. She’s pragmatic and practical, but always pursues the higher standards and sustainability of park programs. She recognizes when she has made a mistake and is quick to admit or rectify it.

I hope you will consider voting for these fine public servants.

Chris Johnson