The radical center in Minnesota
A centrist Minnesota political action committee just got a big pile of cash from an unlikely source. On Monday, former Enron executive John Arnold of Houston, TX, gave $150,000 to…
Conservatives have long considered the Minneapolis City Council to be out of control. But now, even some liberal city council members find themselves in agreement, according to the Star Tribune.
At a Minneapolis City Council public hearing on Aug. 1, [Rowena] Holmes offered condolences to the family of Thurman Blevins, a black man fatally shot by police. But she wanted to remind the chambers that a scared North Sider had called 911 that day after seeing a man firing off a gun.
At this, the crowd began jeering at Holmes, who’s worked nearly three decades as a liaison between north Minneapolis and police. “You’re a disgrace!” one heckler shouted at her.
Andrew Johnson, the council member chairing the meeting, hammered the gavel and pleaded for others to respect Holmes’ allotted time. They did not.
The bullying tactics increasingly used by leftists to quash conservative speech in public forums suddenly pose a threat to their own.
Maintaining order in meetings has become a struggle for the new City Council. It has created a dilemma for a council majority brought to power on a progressive wave, putting former activists in the difficult position of having to hush their constituents just to get through the agenda.
Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, among the five newly elected members this year, said although he is happy with increased civic participation, he’s concerned about the disorder at council meetings.
City councilors are either too intimidated or too conflicted to take action and eject rowdy citizens who refuse to be civil. In the process, they earn the disdain of both sides–troublemakers and responsible citizens who follow the rules.
Even those testifying at public hearings have found themselves shouted down while speaking, but council members have hesitated to do more than calling recesses or begging for cooperation.
“They’re afraid of their own shadow,” said Joe Tamburino, chair of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, who was frustrated with the council after being ridiculed while speaking at a public meeting. “They think that if they impose order and even constructively criticize someone they’ll be politically lambasted.”
What goes around, comes around. Of course, city councilors have the option of suspending the rules and allowing public discussion on pressing issues. But why bother when the citizens can take matters into their own hands and set the agenda just by showing up?