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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Do You Hear a Dog Whistle?

Sometimes when you read or hear a candidate on the campaign trail, you sort of tune it out or gloss over it because it seems to ramble and not make any sense at certain points. It's easy to chalk it up to poor writing skills, especially in a local race. But sometimes what's happening is that a candidate is trying to send a message to a narrow slice of the audience, without alienating the rest. Of course, if you're not the target audience, it may be hard to discern the message.

I found a couple of likely examples of this in Bob Cardinal's answers to the SPACC questionnaire.

For example, he wrote, "The liberal agenda that all council members embrace is weak at best. The administration seems to put energy in to issues that should be left to the state of Minnesota to address, and continues to fabricate problems of questionable value." What "liberal agenda" issue has our city council addressed that "should be left to the state of Minnesota" (perhaps through a constitutional amendment on next year's ballot)?

This may be a more blatant example:

The city council has been issued a call of alarm for a stated expansion of the Police Department facilities. We need to tell the truth about what is coming out of Maplewood and what is coming in to Maplewood. This may help check the demand of expansion of police services.

Whatever "truth" Mr. Cardinal thinks needs to be told, he is apparently not yet ready to speak it clearly himself.  What (or who) exactly needs to be kept out of Maplewood, so that we could reduce the size of our police force and not face our current overcrowding issue in the police station?

I have to admit I'm still puzzled by the repeated comments about mimicking St. Paul. Maybe it's some kind of reference to the kind of people who should be kept out in order to maintain Maplewood's "identity"?

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