In what is perceived as a social stigma in a two-college town, members of Northfield Southwest Neighborhood Association (NSWNA) have filed a discrimination law suit against the City of Northfield for it’s refusal to replace the four street signs in the neighborhood which have the words ‘W Nineth St’ on them in stead of ‘W Ninth St.’
Three of the neighbors in particular are perturbed because they are accomplished spellers, finishing 2nd as a Northfield Rotary team in the Friends of the Northfield Public Library Spelling Bee in 2007. NSWNA neighbors Jeb Flufkin, Ricky Coldman, and Mitch ‘Penny’ Lane say that its not just the image of the neighborhood that’s at stake.
"Northfield is known for it’s educational values and the value of our homes in the neighborhood are likely to be negatively effected the longer that we have to live under this cloud of misspelling," said Flufkin. "My stomache just churns when I drive down the street every day and see those signs."
The group has retained the services of Northfield attorney Dave Hviscerate. "This is yet another sign of the incompetence at City Hall, and their intransigence is unconscionable. How hard or expensive could it be to change four signs? These people have suffered enough. Residents of 9th St. east of Division don’t have to put up with this embarrassment. Neither should those west of Division."
Ward 4 Councilor Jesse Anderson Black declined to comment on the suit but Public Works Director and City Engineer Jose Staphylo said it was with out merit. "We know their misspelt and we plan to fix them. But its not cheap. We tentatively have it in the department budget for 2014. Its not like people will be unable to navigate the neighborhood in the meantime."
Below are photos of the Ninth St. signs west of Division St.
Fast forward two years and now the opportunity of further collaboration and sharing of services may be available, depending upon the result of the fire services study. If the study indicates consolidation/collaboration is not only possible, but recommended, maybe a regional fire services director versus a public safety director is the answer. With an open position as yet undefined, that’s a possibility. Perhaps the study will suggest such collaboration would not work. The new city council will then have the opportunity to review the post, especially considering the strides the fire department has made in improving its bookkeeping and operations.
Or is having the best possible police chief more important to the City than whatever secondary fire-related role might be included with the position? Are there downsides to waiting 4 months or longer to having a permanent police chief?
Members of the Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) skatepark met with the Northfield City Council last night in a work session to discuss the recommendation to permanently locate the skatepark at Riverside Park and to contribute $30,000 towards its construction (concrete).
PRAB members Neil Lutsky and David Hvistendahl presented the details of their report which was approved earlier this month by the PRAB. Chair Nathan Knutson was there to make sure they didn’t screw up. Member Grace Clark presented her dissenting view that the skatepark should be located in Babcock Park.
I was pleased with the thoroughness of the discussion last night and if I was on the council, I’d vote to accept the PRAB’s recommendation.
‘The Davids’ (David DeLong and David Ludescher) will be joining the Northfield City Council in January. Every time I hear the phrase, it seems to indicate some anxiety on the part of the speaker, given that both men have a reputation for not always practicing Minnesota Nice in the arena of public affairs.
I like plain speaking but I’m hoping that both Davids will consider the how of governing, not just the what, once they begin serving. We elected them to get things done and in the world of politics, that requires developing and maintaining relationships.
(If you were a movie-goer in 1966, the title of my blog post will likely strike a chord. See this Wikipedia entry if you’re curious.)
Northfield Mayor-elect Dana Graham stopped by my corner office stand-up table at the Spur this morning. He’d finally gotten some sleep after being up all night for the election on Tuesday so he was more than marginally coherent.
Lately I’ve been sermonizinglecturingbrow-beating suggesting to him and a few other city officials that the time is ripe for using a variety of online tools to ramp up citizen engagement. The City’s new website will launch early next year but the technology by itself won’t automatically make citizen engagement happen.
So I proposed a few different ways that he could do a "Q&A with the Mayor-elect" here on LoGro and he opted for a live, one-hour text chat.
Here’s the FAQ:
WHEN IS IT? Monday, Nov. 12, 8-9 pm.
WHERE? Right here in this LoGro blog post. I’ll move it to the top of the page on Monday so it’ll be easy to find.
WHAT DO I NEED TO PARTICIPATE? If you’re reading this on an internet-connected device, you’ll need nothing beyond what you’re using now.
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE? Just type your comments or questions in the text box. I’ll select the ones that I think are best for Dana to respond to.
WHAT?! HE MIGHT NOT EVEN SEE MY QUESTION OR COMMENT? Correct. I’m the emperor moderator.
WHAT IF I CAN’T ATTEND? You can submit a comment or question ahead of time. Attach it to this blog post just like any comment. I’ll archive a transcript of the chat here so after it’s all over, you can read what happened at your leisure.
Contented Cow proprietor Norman Butler hosted a two-hour forum for Northfield City Council Ward 2 and At-Large candidates last night on the Cow’s outdoor patio.
At-Large Council candidates: Betsey Buckheit, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher
2nd Ward Council candidates: Frank Balster, Paul Reiland, Wade Schulz; David DeLong did not attend.
Steve Engler moderated the panel and made it much more interesting by interacting with the candidates when he thought their comments needed to be clarified. I loved it whenever he refused to accept empty platitudes.
Norman goaded citizen/patrons into expressing their opinions instead of just asking questions.
The City’s Candidate Filing page says that the “filing period for Northfield Council positions will begin on Tuesday, May 22 at 8:00 am and continue through Tuesday, June 5 at 5:00 pm in the City Clerk’s office. The filing fee is $5.00.”