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Send Us Your Money.  Keep Your Problems. 07/23/14 Updated 7/24/14, 12:12 AM

At the County Board meeting last week (7/15/14), I took the Commissioners to task because not one of them had bothered to reply to an email I sent regarding a customer service issue.  In fact, of the eight people on the email list, only one responded, and he gave a thorough response, which I appreciate.  Thank you Mr. Frechette.

In response to my “Interested Citizens) comment, the Chairman of the Board, Commissioner Wolf said “Thank you, we’ll look into it.”

In theory, that should have been the end of it for the meeting, but then Commissioner Ulrich said he had seen my email, had seen that Mr. Frechette had replied, and he (Commissioner Ulrich) thought that should take care of it.  The Chairman then said, “We all saw your email.”  How he knew the rest had seen my email, I do not know.  So I asked why none of them had even bothered to acknowledge it?

At this point, Commissioner Wagner said all his emails receive an automated response.  (Not true.  More on that later.)

Well, maybe so, but my last three emails to him have received NO response.  And a staff person has told me in the past that I might as well not send him emails because he doesn’t look at them.

Two Commissioners, and the County Administrator (who was also on the original email list) said (wisely, I think) nothing.

At this point the meeting moved on.  You can confirm everything I’ve written so far, except the staff person’s comment, by watching the first eight or so minutes of the County Board Meeting.

The link is here:

If you don’t already have it, you’ll have to install MicroSoft  Silverlight to play the video.

The meeting was three hours, sixteen minutes, and eleven seconds long.

A Commissioner Takes Exception
During a recess, I approached the Chairman to say that the recognitions seemed long, and maybe other business should be dealt with before them, so that people wanting to participate in government wouldn’t have to sit through 90 minutes of reminiscing before more substantive issues came up.  (We, the Jordan Council have often moved things up in the agenda to accommodate concerned citizens.  In fact, we have at times made special accommodations for County staff.)  Chairman Wolf agreed the recognitions seemed long.  Then he said he wanted to change the subject.


He said he took exception to me coming up to the microphone all huffy and getting in the Board’s grill about complaints.

He said “I think the reason you sent eight emails is because you wanted eight opinions.” (well, yeah, that would’ve been nice, but I’d have settled for eight responses – even simple automated responses.)

He said, “you don’t live in my district, why send your comments to me?” (that’s where this week’s headline comes from.)  And “Do you know how many emails I get from my district every day?  And I respond to every one of them!” (I’ll bet)  You should have seen him roll his eyes when I said I pay taxes to the entire County, not just one district.

Then he said “Call me.  If you can’t hear, put it on a speaker phone.  You can hear that!” (he’s telling me what I can hear?  When did he become an audiologist?)  I think this was a repeat of something he said during the meeting itself.

He also said words to the effect that he knew Al Frechette had responded to my email, and Al knew more about the proposal than he did.  (I agreed with him on that, and said he didn’t know s*** from shinola about what was going on, which was all the more reason to just respond that he’d passed off my questions and comments to Al.)

You’re going to have to trust me about what was said during this discussion.  All five Commissioners were there as it happened, and one of them participated briefly.  I’m sure if I misrepresented anything anyone said, they will send me an email – or call me on the phone.

Here is the text of two email exchanges I had with Commissioner Wolf after Tuesday’s meeting:

Exchange A

Here is the text of two email exchanges I had with Commissioner Wolf after Tuesday’s meeting:

Here is the text of two email exchanges I had with Commissioner Wolf after Tuesday’s meeting:

Here is the text of two email exchanges I had with Commissioner Wolf after Tuesday’s meeting:

Here is the text of two email exchanges I had with Commissioner Wolf after the County Board meeting:

Exchange A
I wrote:
On Jul 15, 2014, at 3:28 PM, "Thom Boncher" <thom.boncher@gmail.com> wrote:

What I Can Hear, And Agendas

Good Afternoon Commissioner Wolf,

I find it curious that you feel I can hear conversations on a speaker phone.  I’m uncertain where you got the impression, and I think it conveys a misconception about “hearing” and “understanding”.

Yes, I can hear the voices in a speaker phone conversation.  No, I cannot readily understand what those voices are saying.  No, turning up the volume does not help with the understanding.

Regarding agendas, if I am not mistaken, you as the Chairman of the Board have the power to control the agenda.  It seems to me, if you chose, you could move the personnel awards and recognitions to the tail end of the agenda, and deal with other business first.  I can’t recall any company I’ve worked for that would spend any significant amount of time during the work day on awards and recognitions.

Just sayin’.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Thom Boncher

Commissioner Wolf responded:
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 8:38 PM
"Wolf, Tom" TWolf@co.scott.mn.us Replied:

Cotton candy is 4.50 at target field.

Sent from my iPhone

Exchange B

I wrote:
On Jul 15, 2014, at 3:36 PM, "Thom Boncher" <thom.boncher@gmail.com> wrote:

Oops, Forgot Something "Interested Citizens" who come to the meeting are allotted five minutes of the Board's time.  Yet today the Board spent over an hour and a half on recognitions.  Is that equitable?

Just sayin’.


Commissioner Wolf responded:
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 8:38 PM
"Wolf, Tom" TWolf@co.scott.mn.us Replied:

Peanuts 6.00.

Sent from my iPhone

If you want to confirm the discussion you can always call your district Commissioner – or send him an email.  Or you could call one of the other Commissioners, but if you’re not in their district, you might not get a reply.

About Commissioner Wagner’s automated acknowledgements – I had an email exchange with the County Administrator, Gary Shelton.  Mr. Shelton said he had tested the automated acknowledgement feature from several different accounts, and none of them received an automated acknowledgement.  Sorry Joe.

I also pointed out to Mr. Shelton that the County’s published TTY number answers with a voice message – useless to a TTY caller – and then hangs up.  Mr. Shelton had nothing to say about that.

It’s not really a big deal though, because I’m probably the only hearing-impaired person in Scott County.

Hey Everybody! The Circus Is Coming!
Of course, this being Jordan, the circus consists of two women wearing sunglasses at a Council meeting, in support of another woman who spoke passionately about the City leaving a legacy of pollution for our children.  This happened at the Council meeting on Monday, July 21, 2014.

If Council Member Velishek hadn’t had a conniption about them, the whole thing would have gone quietly into the night.  No one in town would have known those two women in sunglasses were there, since the audience doesn’t show up on the video feed, and they never approached the microphone.  The resident who did speak during public comment was done in about a minute, and she said nothing more to add – partly because she wasn’t permitted to say anything more. 

That happened because Councilor Velishek said she wouldn’t allow the members of the circus to speak.  I guess she makes the rules now.  Mayor Shaw said he would only allow two residents who are members of the ad hoc baseball group to speak because “they are the only ones affected.”  The Council reneged on their assent to allow public comment during the agenda item, although allowing public comment during an agenda item is a common practice at Council meetings.


Probably because they don’t want to hear from people they don’t agree with.

So begins Leadgate.

Councilor Velishek accused me of bringing a circus to the meeting.  Would she prefer I ignore constituents?  And what, exactly, makes her think I brought them?  I tried to head the whole business off by making a simple lead test.  It was the actions and inactions of the City that aroused the ire of those residents.

Council Members Stier and Velishek were upset because I sought reimbursement for a $13.00 test kit.  I did that test without permission from the Council, don’tchaknow?  

The request for reimbursement has been withdrawn.  I guess I’ll just have to take the funds from my lunch money, since I don’t have an unallocated account to draw on.  For me, it felt good to shred that check, but Lucy was unimpressed.

Council Member Velishek also said I should come prepared with facts and articles.  She offered to show me information that would prove I have lead in my body, and that it’s not harmful to people of my age.  First she tells me to go jump in the lake.  Then she tells me to read her lips.  I’m sensing a trend here.

Should I have come to the meeting with more facts and articles?  Maybe so.

But I’m satisfied to know the EPA and California Air Resources Board began phasing out lead in gasoline in the late ‘60s.  I’m also satisfied to know the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission decided in 1978 that lead paint was a problem.  And I’m satisfied to know that our own handout says lead paint dust can accumulate on shoes, feet, and hands, which can result in contamination and health issues.

That’s enough to convince me that lead is a problem, and we should act accordingly.  Bringing 50 references would not have changed the situation one whit.

Oh, and about Councilor Velishek’s statement that lead won’t affect older people like me very much.  If she doesn’t want to protect me, I’m down with that – but I hope every Mom and Mom-to-be recognizes that she’s saying babies, toddlers, young children and unborn babies are most affected.  How about protecting them?  Oh, and have you ever noticed how many people over age 70 attend ballgames?

In the meantime, if your little kid is one of those chasing foul balls along the first base side (creek side), make sure he or she washes his or her hands before opening the Laffy Taffy.

Winding down here.

During Council Comments, Council Member Will said he was offended that a resident would stand before the Council, and accuse them (and him by extension) of not caring about people or our legacy.

In my opinion, he should be even more offended that the resident didn’t bring the lead paint issue to him.

People don’t bring their beefs to me because I’m a pied piper.  They do it because they know I’ll respond.  Any Councilor who would do less doesn’t belong at the table.  When I tell people with beefs (PWBs) to contact all Councilors, the PWBs typically respond, "Why bother?  They won't answer."

Later in the Council Comment period, Council Member Thill told me I do a good job of de-promoting Jordan.  It would seem he wants me to put a positive spin on a potential lead contamination issue.  There’s a term in marketing for that kind of promotion – it’s called lying.

If the other six Councilors want to be cheerleaders, they can.

Four Readers Comment
Awesome article!  Unbelievable subjects.  Or should I say unbelievable what you and the public are subjected to?  Let me know when the archive is up!

Margaret Fink

- and -

A lady with little sunglasses told me!  

I would say "read my lips" but they aren't moving because I am speechless.    

That ranks right up there with being called a terrorist.  Oh wait!  Terrorist with incorrect information about mercury.

I guess the MDOH, WHO, EPA and all those silly organizations cannot compete with Tanya's "facts".

The only thing that would of topped it off is if she would of thrown her hands in the air and screamed;
"What difference does it make!!".     Yup.  

I think the zombie apocalypse is coming.  Headquarters, Jordan.

Happy to be a former Jordan taxpayer.  

Christa Oldsberg

- and -

Hi Thom

RE:  Response to the JUG is UP

Don't you look sharp in that unofficially-sanctioned (personalized) City of Jordan polo. 

Watched the video. You did a fine job of standing their hair on end.

Much better than a Jordan City Council's (public comment). They (the Commissioners-two) actually responded in real time.

I have to tell you my sentiments exactly, when I send an email to the Jordan

City Councilmen, I only ever receive for the most part One response.

I would call the Councilman's & Commissioners lack of response/failures to communicate as "Taxation without Representation."

The video clip is CLEAR-proof they represent themselves, their OWN-private interests and not mine, yours or the rest of the County.

What hurts... is we actually PAY them and they ignore us.

As always,

Richard Thom

- and -

For your underground:

I encourage everyone who reads this to take the time and watch the online video of the “circus” Monday night.  Which in my opinion didn’t come from the audience at all but from the council table up front.  Thom’s Underground didn’t do justice to the insults he puts up with every other week.  Thanks for standing in the gap for the residents who care.
(I had much more to say, but I had to stop myself)
http://jordan-mn.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=31 <http://jordan-mn.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&amp;clip_id=31>

You can click on the areas of interest to you so you don’t have to watch the whole thing.  Agenda items 5, 11.d,d and 16 are particularly good…if you want to call it that. Again, I must stop myself here.

Nancy Murray

My Response
Thank you all for writing, and for allowing me to use your comments.  Richard is referencing the link to the County Board meeting.  Yes it hurts that we pay them, and they ignore us.  It’s a quizzical situation.  When we bring our concerns repeatedly, we are pests, to be ignored.  When we bring our concerns only once, we are told by politicos that they didn’t realize we were concerned because we didn’t make a big deal of our concerns.  And of course, if we say nothing, we are ignored because those politicos can (rightfully) say they never heard from us.

Oh, and a few of those politicos don’t like to be reminded that some of the dollars in their pockets came from us.

Nancy, not every meeting is like this week’s.  Some are worse.  Most are better.  Thank you for saving me the work of posting the link to the meeting video.  Being able to go to a specific agenda item is a really slick feature.

Two Quotes:
“Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.”

- And -

“Make sure children eat nutritious, low fat meals, in iron and calcium such as spinach and dairy products.  Children with good diets absorb less lead.”
          Form EPA 747-K-99-001 June, 2003

City Council Meeting, August 4th, 6:30 PM, at Jordan City Hall.

Videos are now on the Video page.  _____________________________________________________________________________

I welcome public comment on this topic. Anyone willing to give his or her name, and willing to limit his or her response to about 150 words is welcome to respond here.
Thom.Boncher@JordanUnderGround.com   No anonymous responses will be posted.  No obscene language will be permitted.  Threats, personal attacks, and spam will not be posted.  My house, my rules.  But if you have something to say, and if you are willing to put your name on it, I won’t refuse to let you be heard.