The following summary of Monday’s SWLRT hearing in U.S. District Court was written by Mary Pattock, Board Member of the Lakes & Parks Alliance of Minneapolis, Inc., the group that initiated the lawsuit.
SWLRT 3/9/15 Court Update
Yesterday, once again our fine LPA legal team proved their value. They were cogent, spoke in English, eloquently brought forth the complaint of aggrieved citizens (a point reinforced by a full house in the observer seats), and described how the Met Council was driving inexorably toward a single alternative without benefit of an EIS as required by law.
By contrast, the Met Council attorney offered assurances that they were nowhere near honing in on a single alternative, and the doorway was open to future discussion. (Recall that bridge in Brooklyn you can buy for cheap.) Furthermore, he said, all those negotiated, signed-in-blood agreements with Mpls, SLP, MPRB were not binding, and actually, even if one or more municipality voted against the plan, the Met Council could still do whatever it darn pleased, regardless. He basically argued: trust us, we are doing and will do the right thing; there is still the final act.
At one point the Met Council attorney turned to our attorneys as he suggested that sometimes the “unpracticed eye” may interpret agreements as a done deal when they are not.
I am not a lawyer, and maybe there is some technicality having to do with case law that is relevant here — Met Council certainly brought up case law plenty of times. But on the common-sense ledger, I think most people would see through Met Council defenses that don’t make sense in the real world.
Judge Tunheim said he’d have a written decision soon.