John Mannillo

Letters to the Editor: Why single out that candidate?

We couldn’t agree more that candidates need to “listen, explain and engage” with the residents, as Tane Danger wrote on Wednesday’s opinion page.  I do wonder why he singled out Patty Hartmann in the Ward 3 City Council race as not being available for a candidate forum.  That is far from the only time that has happened …

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Trash, fees, franchises … St. Paul keeps making costly legal mistakes. Why?

Some people think St. Paul’s current organized trash collection system stinks. No matter where you side on that issue, I think we can all agree that the legal missteps the City made in moving forward with that system were particularly foul. Simple analysis in 2017 should have led officials to understand that a referendum could …

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DFL Endorsement Process Picks Favorites, Discourages Newcomers, Limits Debate

Saint Paul STRONG is a non-partisan organization. Our mission is to improve open and representative government by encouraging and supporting open and transparent public processes, engaging and empowering resident participation and building a stronger, more inclusive Saint Paul. Anyone who has been around Saint Paul politics for long recognizes that, for all intents and purposes, …

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St. Paul elections: DFL is trying to put a thumb on the scales

Opinion editor’s note: This article was submitted by David Durenberger, Shirley Erstad, John Mannillo and the other members of the steering committee of Saint Paul STRONG, which describes itself as “a nonpartisan, community-led organization dedicated to improving open and representative government.”­ Durenberger is a former U.S. senator from Minnesota. Erstad is a former candidate for the …

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Saint Paul Officials Bend the Rules at the Risk of Losing the Public Trust

St. Paul STRONG is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving accessible and representative government in St. Paul. We do not take positions on issues, but support inclusive, transparent and accountable public processes. Public trust is the key to a stronger St. Paul. Only when everyone in the city is treated equally and public officials are …

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Accountability is key to trust in ROW program

“The City Attorney said so,” is often the response that we, the public, get from City Hall when we are confounded by some process, procedure, or final action that otherwise makes no credible sense.  When we seek to understand a council vote or mayoral decision shrouded in mystery, “It’s-the-opinion-of-the-City-Attorney” is a great strategy to stop …

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Public Email communication must be preserved to ensure government accountability

I testified on behalf of Saint Paul STRONG  today regarding limiting email deletions in favor of a Bill introduced (HF 1185) at the Capitol.  Thank you to Don Gemberling from our Steering Committee for helping organize the effort and to Tom Erickson, a supporter of Saint Paul STRONG for their help and testimony. The Bill passed …

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How to address St. Paul’s $32 million ROW hole

Thanks to a unanimous Supreme Court decision, St. Paul seems finally to have “found religion” concerning its problematic $32 million Street Assessment Program, known as the Right of Way maintenance assessment (ROW). The City has conceded that it has no defense to the 2011 court challenge by two Lowertown churches and it has now made …

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St. Paul thwarts citizen participation in public policy

The good news is that St. Paul invites citizens to serve on a variety of boards and commissions. The bad news is that information about these opportunities is inconsistent and confusing, and the appointment process lacks openness, transparency and accountability. The city’s website states: “The city of St. Paul has over 30 boards and commissions …

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