Transcript of May 16 Open Time

Full transcript of the previously posted video clip, titled The Sequel: Minneapolis Park Board President vs. Free Speech, where Arlene Friend again attempts to speak during Open Time at the Park Board meeting — after the ACLU sent a letter to the Park Board’s attorney:

ARLENE FRIED AGAIN ATTEMPTS TO SPEAK DURING OPEN TIME
MINNEAPOLIS PARK AND RECREATION BOARD MEETING
MAY 16, 2007

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT JON OLSON: We’re going to go to Open Time. We have three speakers signed up for open time. Start with Arlene Fried, “Management Practices.” State your name and address for the record. You’ll have three minutes.

OPEN TIME SPEAKER ARLENE FRIED: My name is Arlene Fried [gives address]. My topic is Superintendent Jon Gurban’s three years of leadership. I am deeply disappointed in what has happened here today. I thought you were going to give me the courtesy to speak about my concerns the superintendent’s performance before you voted, not after you voted, on his contract. Allowing me to speak after you have voted is an insult to me and to freedom of speech. What you are conveying to your constituents is that what you have to say is not important. I am disappointed that you are failing to take into account the following reasons for recruiting a new superintendent. Here are the 10 examples I was starting to read last week [sic] when I was terminated. Here are 10 examples of the park board’s poor management practices during the past three years under Superintendent Gurban, and 10 reasons why the park board should have seriously considered recruiting a new superintendent. They are: 1) Failing to acknowledge and analyze unsuccessful entrepreneurial projects which have resulted in costly lawsuits and/or lost taxpayers dollars. 2)Failing to provide quarterly financial statements to the commissioners and the public. 3) Circumventing the Park Board’s legal framework by developing plans for costly projects without board direction or board approval, for example the megamillion dollar Parade Event Center, which Superintendent Gurban is promoting as if it’s a done deal. Money is being raised for that project already. 4) Failing to comply –-

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT JON OLSON: [Utterance over microphone]

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED [she continues but raises her voice]: — with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act by not honoring all requests for public —

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: Ms. Fried!

PARK COMMISSIONER TOM NORDYKE: Mr. President-

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: [unintelligible, possibly: “It’s incorrect”]

PARK COMMISSIONER NORDYKE: It is not incorrect, and let her finish …

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT: Number five is again …

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: Excuse me. I didn’t think this was a forum for debate. I thought I was just —

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: But I don’t want you to make accusations that we have not followed the law. You can make comments, and that’s fine, but if you have unfounded accusations — if you’re going to make an accusation, then bring something with it, that we have broken the law. I want something to –

OPEN TIME SPEAKER: What are you questioning me on now?

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT: The Data Practices Act?

OPEN TIME SPEAKER: Yes.

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT: Okay, do you have documentation on that? That we have not complied with the Data Practices Act?

OPEN TIME SPEAKER: I know people are complaining: it’s in the minutes. You go look at your minutes. Liz Wilienski has been asking for information, she’s come and spoken at Open Time, and so has Edna Brazaitis. It’s in the minutes. It’s in the record.

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT: Well, if you make accusations you should bring [unintelligible] —

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: I am not making accusations —

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT: Thank you.

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: — I am stating facts. But please let me finish. 6) Awarding of contracts to selected vendors without issuing requests for proposals as required, for example the study for Crown Hydro; 7) Suppressing criticism of Superintendent Gurban and his administration by excluding from the public record letters that are critical – and, I might add, by terminating my speech last week [sic]; 8) Circumventing Park Board laws and procedures by attempting to bypass mandated Citizen Advisory Committees, for example, Parade Stadium project; 9) There’s been some violation of open meeting laws; and 10) Failing to respond to citizen correspondence. I know about that —

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: Again, Ma’am –

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: — Excuse me —

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: — I don’t believe that we’ve violated the open meeting law.

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: — You know what –

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: — when —

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: — I can tell you when you do that. I can tell you.

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: Please, tell me.

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: All right. When you were voting on the study for Crown Hydro, you had the proposal that, for the proj– … You were doing a proposal, and that proposal was not available to the public. That should have been here. Anything you’re discussing, anything discussing … any information in your packets that’s under discussion is supposed to be available to the public. And that’s one example that was not available to the public. And I know one person who went over to Superintendent Gurban to ask for it and he would not give it to her. So I absolutely know that is true. And I’d just like to finish up here. The most important thing that you, our Park Board Commissioners, are elected to do is to provide for your constituents a superintendent whose tenure will clearly reflect the hallmarks of good government: transparency, openness and accountability.

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON: Yeah. Have a good night. Thank you.

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: Is my three minutes up?

PARK BOARD PRESIDENT OLSON [with a condescending tone of voice]: Uh, yes.

PARK COMMISSIONER NORDYKE: With all due respect, Mr. President, I don’t believe her three minutes are up, and I do not believe it is your purview to terminate it.

OPEN TIME SPEAKER FRIED: May I continue? [She reads final part of statement quickly.] Currently, the administrative practices of our Park Board do not align with these good government guidelines. It is time that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board begin a search – should have been time to begin a search for a new superintendent, one who can establish compliance with Park Board ordinances and procedures, adhere to the guidelines of transparency, openness and accountability. Thank you.

Video clip