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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Erik Afraid to Run?

I have to confess, I was a little disappointed to read in the April city newsletter that Erik Hjelle is not planning to run for reelection. But I can understand it -- if he's listened to anyone beyond the protective circle of pom-poms of his small band of loyal cheerleaders, he has probably picked up on how incredibly unpopular he is. It's only natural that he would not want to put himself out there to suffer a humiliating defeat.

Of course, I've also learned that we can't trust anything Erik says or writes. (That very same column repeats his frequent yet false claim that he has never accepted political contributions.) So I won't actually believe his promise not to run until the filing period is over in July.


In his defense, I don't think he understands that writing himself checks from his business constitutes political contributions. Which explains why he finds running the city to be so confusing.

In Waco they say 'all hat no cattle'. In Erik's case I guess it's 'all smoke no fire'.

You have a point, Brainiac. Rules aren't Erik's strong point.

On the other hand, the more insidious thing I see in the court records is that essentially he used the Maplewood Firefighters Association to launder campaign cash -- unidentified individuals funded the MFA (and without the contribution limits that an candidate's committee would have, we should observe), and then the MFA spent money on Erik's campaign expenses. He actively coordinated those expenditures - hence the ruling against him in the Koppen case, which determined that the MFA's expenditures did in fact constitute campaign contributions (and illegal ones because they exceeded $300 in value). But in some sense, the MFA appears to have been used as a shell to pool money for Erik's campaign while giving him flimsy cover to claim that he never took any contributions.

Could be keeping himself open for a run at Innovation City Council. They'll also going to be needing a Fire Chief, could be that.


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