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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Minneapolis Park Board - A "bunker mentality"?

A hat tip to Two Putt Tommy at 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

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, 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 demands. I asked for information regarding data requests from the Park Board; I simply couldn't believe what 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, 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 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 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 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.

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, 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? " group that seems to especially get in the Park Board's face*..." Apparently, the Park Board Commissioners recently had a "retreat." And again, while certainly has a right, under law, to attend, that doesn't give them license to be disruptive and/or behave like jerks.


  1. One of the results of Park Watches requests is that the MPRB had to hire a full time staffer just to keep up. The cost was about $100,000 per year.

    So for the roughly 2 years TPT is talking about here the tax payers spent at least $200,000 on 188 requests or $1064 per request.

    Was this money well spent? Basically the tax payers are spending $100,000 a year so park watch has something to blog about.

  2. Where do you get your numbers? This whole thing complete and total bullshit.

  3. I get it.
    Psycho = a person who is psychotic or otherwise insane.
    Activist = a militant reformer or person who engages in actions to support a political goal.
    PsychoActivist = an militant reformer who take their activism to the level of insanity.
    Make sense to me - I wouldn't be surprised if some day Persistent Bursitis doesn't show up with an Uzi and mow everyone down.

  4. Anonymous;
    TPT’s number came from a request to the MPRB and the 188 number is completely accurate. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to post the entire list and may do that soon.

    The hiring of a special full time staffer just to handle these requests is also factual as is his cost to the taxpayers.

    So far Park watch has cost the tax payers close to $400,000 (on the low end) and that’s not counting attorney fees.

    But don’t worry, we have tons of information that points this out and will be coming on this blog.

    None of it will cost the tax payers anything because they have already paid too high a price for Park Watch.

  5. Who the f**k are you? We should sue you. Gurban should pay for the information officer from his own salary since he is the one that corrupted the park board.

  6. Anonymous,
    Who’s we? Is we Park Watch?
    Folks I think we just received an indication of what Park watch is all about.

    Yes the evil Jon Gurban corrupted the park board. He must have used voodoo.

    It’s amazing that a group that proclaims to be for “free speech” is so offended by this blog and wants to sue. Go ahead anonymous, I dare you!

  7. Easy enough to figure out who the blogger is, claim something he or she says is libelous, then Google will have to give up his name. I suppose if the Park Board put all their info on a website so anybody could look it up without information requests they wouldn't need a full time employee to answer requests. But that would just make sense. Are you really upset about $100,000 per year in bringing transparency to a board with a $43,600,000 2009 budget. Oh my, that's almost 0.2% of the budget to keep the fox out of the hen house. I bet Liz and company saved thirty times that giving the buddy-buddy contracts and the sweetheart deals some sunlight. Oh, by the way, contacting Liz is really difficult. Her email address and phone number are hidden deep within her website on that thing the kids nowdays are calling the "home page." But hey, I'll give you a break, you have to scroll down to near the bottom and we all know that reading is hard.

  8. From all the regular folks in Mpls who just want a good park system...THANK YOU for exposing the nuts who run park watch. They are nothing but a bunch of bullies with too much time on their hands. Keep up the good work!

  9. Does Park Watch have any sort of public reporting going on, how do we know who these people are and if they even represent anyone? Could it be that it is really just a couple of people causing all this trouble....

  10. Is Park Watch a non-profit? Do they get contributions that are tax-deductible?

  11. Thank you for removing all of the inflammatory language, insulting names, pictures, etc.

    criticism is fine and your love of our park system is commendable. However, attacking fellow citizens who share your desire for maintaining a wonderful park system made the writers of this blog look small, immature, and petty. I wonder if so many candidates refused to answer your questionnaire because of the earlier content of your site.

  12. How did the fiscal magicians at the Park Board turn 188 requests into 100K a year? The park board is spending Millions of dollars and transparency is warranted. I am trying to sort out who the nuts really are, the park watch folks, the park board or the park watch watch. So far I am not seeing a hotbed of mental health any way I look.