A hat tip to Two Putt Tommy at www.mnprogressiveproject.com for exposing one of the main symptoms of Civic PsychoActivism, namely, costing taxpayers incalculable dollars and draining human and other resources while deluding oneself into thinking these actions somehow serve a public purpose.
The Minneapolis Park Board - A "bunker mentality"? (Part 1)
Wed March 25, 2009 at 12:20:29 PM CDT
Today's Avista Capital Partner's Strib has a story about the Mpls Park Board; apparently, Park Board President Tom Nordyke doesn't think it's an appropriate use of Park Board property for the City's Charter Commission to hold meetings at said property when the topic to be discussed is the possible elimination the Park Board.
Seems like these days, a lot of people are taking shots at the Park Board. In the course of investigating the Crown Hydro Project, one group that seems to especially get in the Park Board's face*, is a group called ParkWatch.org, who's whole schtick seems to be "the Park and Rec Board is filled with incompetents, liars, and thieves and you can't trust them or believe anything they say - EXCEPT when it comes to Crown Hydro."
And I couldn't believe the amount of paperwork ParkWatch.org demands. I asked for information regarding data requests from the Park Board; I simply couldn't believe what ParkWatch.org wanted. Let's look!
Here's the Data Request I asked for, in its entirety: I would like to review the "Data Requests" filed with the MPRB by groups such as ParkWatch.org, etc.
What I promptly got back on March 11th was a SpreadSheet, with 236 lines dating back to March 1st, 2006 - and the vast majority (all but 48, by my count) coming from ParkWatch.org folk like Arlene Fried, Edna Brazaitis, and Liz Wielinski.
That's 188 Data Request submissions, in 36 months - or, roughly, a little over 5 per month. However, if you figure in 10 days per month for weekends and holidays, etc - that's really more like one Data Request every four work days. One every four days, over the course of 3 years.
And let's look at a couple of what they've asked for, such as a Data Request by Liz Wielinski, on 11/1/2006 and renewed 7/20/07:
Any emails, telephone messages, or correspondence between DeLaSalle Brother Michael Collins, Barbara Johnson or anyone representing DeLaSalle or the Archdioceses of Mpls & St. Paul and anyone employed by (including counsel) the MPRB or it's commissioners prior to 10/25/06 going as far back as January 1, 2004.
Here's one Ms. Wielinski filed on March 6th, 2007:
Northeast Ice Arena - All hours scheduled / amounts paid per hour / all entities scheduled / during the 2006-2007 hockey season (Sept. 1, 2006 - April 30, 2007). I would prefer this information in the electronic format it is most likely in as you take reservations by internet. I would also like all data on expenses incurred since the arena became MPRB property including legal expenses for the transfer, utilities, repairs, staff time dedicated to this arena and the cost of any signage & advertising (fees to illegible word)
Here's one Ms. Wielinski filed on 8/26/2008:
I would like any written or electronic data regarding any possible offers of purchase or land trades, sales, or shared use of the property known as Bluff Street Park in the Cedar Riverside area. This is NOT limited to actual purchase agreements but any casual reference as well as active inquiry. This is to cover a period from January of 2003 forward.
Here's one, by Edna Brazaitis, on 10/5/2007 and renewed 3/26/08:
All data, including but not limited to: correspondence, drafts, e-mails, spreadsheets, calendars, forms, presentations, phone messages, relating in any way to state financing/bond requirements relating to the DeLaSalle project, including all inner office communications within the MPRB, communications with and between the MPRB Commissioners, and all communications of any kind with, by or between staff of the Commissioner of Finance, the Department of Administration, the Met Council, the City of Minneapolis, DeLaSalle High School, and their attorneys, including the Attorney General.
"calendars"? e-mails? phone messages? "any casual reference" - going back FIVE YEARS??!? Are you (cheney)in' kidding me??!?
Gee - no wonder the Park Board had to hire someone to answer this "watchdog" group's fishing expeditions, no, "information requests".
Now, here's what really gets me: These ParkWatch.org folk love to ask questions of others, and appear to get highly indignant when Park Board people don't jump at the snap of their fingers, but they won't answer questions posed by this friendly, progressive blogger - even though one ParkWatch.org member is running for a Park Board Seat - Liz Wielinski.
From Ms. Wielinki's site: Increase citizen review and participation. I am not only eager to listen, I want a process in place so that residents are confident they will be heard. If you have questions, feel free to phone or send an e-mail. (LizForParks.com)
Please note - NOWHERE does she say she'll answer questions. And if my experience is indicative, she won't.
Clearly, there are people that think the Park Board has problems; clearly, ParkWatch.org is one of them. While they have every right to ask for every scrap of paper someone made a note on, it's highly ironic that a group that allegedly wants the Park Board to function more effectively is getting in the way of them doing just that.
Keep that in mind, if you see the name of Liz Wielinski on a ballot.
Oh, and that asterisk, above? You know, from this? "...one group that seems to especially get in the Park Board's face*..." Apparently, the Park Board Commissioners recently had a "retreat." And again, while ParkWatch.org certainly has a right, under law, to attend, that doesn't give them license to be disruptive and/or behave like jerks.
If you have news about the parks you would like to share, please drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org