How do you mend a broken CAC?

I received a copy of the DeLaSalle Athletic Field Proposal Citizen’s Advisory Committee documents. Since this is a public body, with its meetings open to the public, and concerned with giving use of public land to a private institution, I thought perhaps you, the public, might want to know what’s in it. So here are some of the details.

Page 1 — MEMBERSHIP (as of 3pm, September 2) — Total 21 members

Elected Official Appointments (13)

Park Board
President of the board, Jon Olson: Bert McKasy, CHAIR of the CAC
Commissioner Berry Grave[s – typo theirs]: Theodore Wirth
Commissioner Dziedzic: Thomas Hoke
Commissioner Erwin: Edna Brazaitis
Commissioner Fine: Judy Blaeseg [DeLaSalle parent]
Commissioner Hauser: Neva Walker
Commissioner Kummer: Jim Netsingen
Commissioner Mason: Chris Johnson
Commissioner Young: Jeff Lee

Mayor R.T. Rybak: no appointment submitted
Council Member Ostrow: Susan Howitz Hanna
Council Member Johnson Lee: no appointment submitted

Neighborhood Association / PAC / Resident Appointments (5)
Nicollet Island PAC: no appointment submitted
Alternate: no appointment submitted
Island Resident: John Chaffee
Alternate: Prudence Johnson
Island Resident: Roger Cummings
Alternate: Deanna Cummings
St. Anthony East: no appointment submitted
Alternate: no appointment submitted
St. Anthony West: J.D. Pride
Alternate: Todd Roeder

Youth Sports / Athletics (2)
Thomas Johnson
Scott Neiman

Business Owner (1)
Jim Surdyk

My Questions:
1. Why do neighborhoods and residents get alternates, but not the others?
2. Who selected the Athletics appointments?
3. Who selected the Business appointment?
4. Why are Historical interests not represented?
5. Why are Conservation / environmental interests not represented?
6. Why are civil / constitutional rights interests (e.g. atheists) not represented?

Page 2 — SCHEDULE [no input from CAC members was solicited]

September 8: Project informational meeting presented by Park Board planning staff

September 13: First CAC meeting
September 22: Second CAC meeting
September 29: Third CAC meeting

October 4: Public comments to the CAC and Recommendation
October 19: Park Board planning committee Public Hearing and action

November 2: Park Board Public Hearing and action

My Questions:
1. What if the CAC cannot complete its work in just 3 meetings?
2. When will the required Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) be completed? Will the CAC even get to see it before completing their work? How can they make an informed decision without it?


“The Park Board gave the Committee the following direction:

‘The planning and design program for the proposed DeLaSalle Athletic Field will be reviewed using the Board’s Appointed Committee Process. The charge to the DeLaSalle Athletic Field Appointed Committee is to review and comment on the schematic design alternatives for DeLaSalle’s proposed recreation facilities on Nicollet Island.

The Committee will hold four (4) public meetings and take input from residents and other interested parties. Based upon the comments presented and alternatives prepared in response to said comments, the Committee will recommend a preferred design option to the Park Board as part of the Board’s Public Hearing process. The Board will consider the Committee’s recommendations and Park Board staff recommendations before approving the final design plans for the facilities.'”

“In order to vote on the final schematic design, Committee Members or an Alternate must have attended 3 of the 4 meetings.

Public input is welcomed at all meetings. One half hour at the end of each meeting will be set aside to allow non-committee members to address concerns or comments to the Committee. Written comments will be accepted at any time and copies will be provided to all Committee Members. A separate meeting to just hear public input will be held prior to any recommendations being made. At the discretion of the Chair or by agreement of the Committee additional opportunities for public input will be accepted.”

Note that the charge as describe above is at odds with the language of Commissioner John Erwin’s Resolution which passed unanimously to create this Citizens Advisory Committee. The relevant passage is: “The Park Board will initiate a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to review ALL ASPECTS of the project including the DETAILED site plan, design, LOCATION, and USE of the proposed athletic facility. [emphasis added] The CAC will also consider options that may include moving of facilities to adjacent parkland.”

Page 5 — AGENDA for First Meeting, September 13

Nothing earth shattering here, except that the whole focus is on talking about “Design Elements and Issues” such as Drainage, Turf, Bleachers, etc. followed by a vote on which of those design issues would be addressed in a revised site plan for the next meeting.

So already the controlling faction of the Park Board with the complicity of the staff is abrogating their legally agreed upon resolution to limit the scope of the CAC. Along with the questionable composition of its membership (recall Christine Viken’s Issues List posting regarding the Park Board Ordinance requiring the CAC to be both representative and balanced), this CAC is looking like a kangaroo court.