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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Park Patrols Under Attack?

One of the items on Monday's agenda is approval of an electric GEM car for the police volunteers, to be used in patrolling city parks and trails. From what I've heard, this is a welcome response to legitimate resident concerns about safety in the wake of incidents around Lake Phalen and Beaver Lake. I saw the car myself at one of the National Night Out parties I visited, and heard positive comments there and from other residents.

The original price was under $10,000, which would not require City Council approval; but with a delivery fee added to the final bill, it wound up at $10,149. Hence it appears on Monday's consent agenda.

In a number of recent e-mails copied to the rest of the council, Councilmember Hjelle has gone on the attack against this public safety initiative. I'm not entirely sure if he's more wound up by the fact that it's electric car (and thus might be seen as environmentally friendly -- Hjelle has a tag on the bottom of his e-mails that reads "Please Print this E-mail, help save jobs," to mock people who have tags asking people to avoid unnecessary printing so as to save the environment), or if he's worried that it might divert money from his fire department. Either way, it sounds like he will pull it from the consent agenda so that he can vote against it.

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