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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Reading Comprehension

Last Saturday, I posted a video clip of city council candidate Julie Binko at the July 20th meeting continuation. This prompted an e-mail that she sent to me and 51 other e-mail addresses on Monday. It reads:

Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 17:02:08 -0500
From: jbinko007@mac.com
Subject: Thanks for the PR
To: john.nephew@ci.maplewood.mn.us; [51 other To:/CC: addresses redacted]

Mr. Nephew:

In these hard economic times, when we are looking for any exposure. As I am running a fully independent campaign and not part of the Binko-Longrie Show as you seem to be manifested on. I have to thank you for your efforts to highlight me in my candidacy for city council -- obviously your issue and not mine!!

For those of you who do not read Mr. Nephew's blog you and go to:


Of your your little article failed to included that your "resolution" most likely violated Observances Ch 10.60 and Fair Campaign Practice Statues 211B. Imagine a council person proposing a resolution and knowingly pulling the city council into a legal issue and which is against city code Sec.1-25.. I am not surprised you do not get more legal actions in this city with these type of irresponsible knee jerk reactions.

But hey John, continue on in your land of lost logic with a broken moral compass!!

Again, thanks for the pr.

Dr. Julie Binko

If I am correctly deciphering her grammar, which is oddly reminiscent of Chinese Viagra spammers, she references three laws that she thinks the Council Corner suspension would have violated.

Minn. Stat. 10.60: This is a law that regulates the content of government websites and publications, and is basically intended to limit or prevent elected officials using taxpayer dollars for campaigning and political self-promotion. It also (Subd. 5) "does not prohibit a state agency or political subdivision from adopting more restrictive standards for the content of a Web site or publication maintained by the agency or political subdivision." In other words, it explicitly enables a city like Maplewood to pass a resolution like the one I proposed.

Minn. Stat. 211B (the Fair Campaign Practices Act): Among other things, 211B.09 says "An employee or official of the state or of a political subdivision may not use official authority or influence to compel a person ... to take part in political activity." I suppose that if a mayor/councilmember compels the city staff to publish their campaign messages in the city newsletter, this might provide a basis to bring a Fair Campaign Practices complaint against them. Or, an article promoting a candidate may be seen as a violation of 211B.05 Subd. 4 if it lacks an "Editorial" disclaimer. In any case, this statute's restrictions on campaigning seem like another argument in favor of suspending council columns, to avoid any risk of running afoul of the Fair Campaign Practices Act.

City Code Section 1-25: This portion of city code states that city approvals or compliance with city codes does not remove liability from a builder/landowner for damage to persons or property, nor does it create liability for the city. How Dr. Binko thinks building codes apply to the city's newsletter, I have no idea.

Besides grammar, reading comprehension does not seem to be one of Dr. Binko's strong points.

On Friday morning, there will be a hearing in conciliation court for a small claims suit brought by Dr. Binko against Maplewood and the Friends of Maplewood Nature. She seems to be claiming a proprietary interest in the idea of applying for grants concerning the city's greenways. After seeing her legal misinterpretations above, I'm looking forward to seeing her innovative legal theories about intellectual property. Maybe she'll cite Article VII of the Constitution, or the Law of the Sea?



thanks for showing her response - it is very telling.


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