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Friday, September 4, 2009

What planet are you from Arlene Fried?

Many people sent us a copy of this E-mail which was sent to Arlene Fried and all the Park Commissioners. The letter addresses Fried’s request to have a statement added to counter a comment that Tommy Johnson made in an open session time during a July meeting. Tommy’s exact statement can be found in another post on this blog:

“Dear Arlene,
You requested at open time last night that the Board minutes from July 15th be amended. As you know, minutes are approved by the Board and any amendment to minutes that were already approved would require a Board action. I will be including your letter in the September 16th meeting agenda in petitions and communications and it will be part of the public record for that meeting.

As a side note, I think it is a major break through that you understand that making false statements during open time is blatantly wrong and discrediting individuals during open time that cannot respond to the false statements is inappropriate. I will suggest to our Standards and Conduct Chair that we consider amending the rules to prohibit the use of open time comments to discredit and disparage individuals and that information provided must be backed up by fact, not opinion. Some would view this restriction as impeding freedom of speech, but it sounds as though you and I agree that making false statements and damaging reputations are an abuse of the open time purpose. Now if we can just get the blogs to abide by those same guidelines, we would really be making progress in civility and respect in our community!
Thank you for your input!

Don Siggelkow
General Manager
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board”

The irony of having Fried complain about someone making “false” statements is apparently not lost on Mr. Siggelkow. In several previous meetings Fried and her cohorts at Park watch have made claims that seem to counter with facts and in one case she had to be cut off by Board Chair Olson because she was so far out of line.

Watching the exchange between Olson and Fried reminded me of the exchange between Barney Frank and the tea bagger at a health care town hall last month. All that was missing was Olson asking Fried: “what planet are you from?”

What followed was park watch accusing the Park Board of restricting “free speech”, a rallying cry now picked up by several of Park Watch’s favorite candidates like co founder Wielinski, Guest and Stone.

What Fried is fighting for is the right to make any statement without regard to facts and to prohibit someone with facts from contradicting her. She has to win because Park Watch would hate to be encumbered by providing facts and truth in its statements.

Indeed Park watch is to the MPRB what the tea baggers are to the health care debate; loud, aggressive and factually challenged.


  1. The negativity in the tone of this blogger and the park board general manager is off-putting.

  2. I can only imagine the conflict that people on the Park board staff must feel toward Fried and park watch; after all they have been on the receiving end of so many attacks the vast majority of which have been baseless.

    In spite of the many awards and honors that these folks (park board staff) have received, I can’t site a single example of praise for any project or staff on the Park watch blog.

    So: if the tone of the letter coming from staff directed towards Fried seems a little negative then I might ask to site an example of Fried or park watch being even slightly positive toward senior staff at any time in the last 5 years.