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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


2011 Results

The election results are in, and I lost. The two candidates funded and promoted by the haulers, Bob Cardinal and Marv Koppen, won.

I'm of course disappointed by the results, but I knew this was possible as a result of the trash controversy and the hauler money that could be spent against me. In the FAQ I wrote last year, as we were going into our first public hearing on the trash topic, I wrote:

If I vote for this, it will be because I believe it's the right decision for the residents of Maplewood. If I get voted out of office for choosing what I have carefully concluded is right, rather than what other people tell me is popular, I can live with that.

That wasn't mere rhetoric. I have no regrets about standing by my convictions. I believe our system of government relies on representatives who are willing to do the right thing even when it may not seem popular. As a candidate four years ago, I ran on a promise to be that kind of leader, and I didn't break that promise for the sake of re-election. For all the cash these haulers showered upon their benefactors and spent against me, they never had enough to buy my conscience.

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Thanks for your principled stand. I am sorry you lost, and I hope you'll continue to serve Maplewood in the future.

Well John. It has been a great ride. You have done many things for the city during your tenure. The biggest thing is that you and your fellow councilors have provided a measure of stability that wasn't there when you showed up. For that, every citizen in the city should thank you.

Personally, I am grateful for you bringing the hauler issue to light. Prior to this, I did not know that there were posted rates for licensed haulers. Not only do I now know the rates, but I find out that for an unknown number of years, my hauler has been overcharging me by nearly double. So much for the customer service and freedom of choice that all of the lambs have been bleeting about. The only freedom of choice has been the choice of how much my hauler was going to stiff me for while I trusted them/wasn't paying attention.

Thanks for all of your service!

Thank you for your service to our city. I'm so disappointed in the results, but I hope you decide to run again in the future.

John, I, too am disappointed. I appreciate all that you have done for the city & its residents. Thank you for all the hard work & effort that you have put into understanding the issues, and relating them clearly at council meetings.

John, we will miss your perspective and voice on the council. Please, please continue to serve Maplewood and consider running again in the future.

We are deeply saddened, but more confused by the choices made in yesterday's election. As a city that prides itself on environmentally-sound practices and ethics, we can't understand why the "freedom to choose" our trash hauler outweighs the enormous negative impact that their trucks have on our roads and environment every day.

We hope that the new council will recognize the importance of a single service trash hauler, but we fear your absence may be detrimental to the cause.

Thank you for your service. Good luck, and we hope to vote for you again in the near future.

I guess you were too chicken to put up my post.

I think may be looking at the wrong blog entry, Mr. K. I have not rejected any comments.

I am sorry for Maplewood to be losing an excellent city council member. I worry for the future in this city without John, and I know that every single person (whether you voted for John or not) will miss John's intelligent, carefully thought out, and respectfully facilitated discussions on issues that arise. Not many people have this skill, and even fewer who enter politics have this skill.

Good luck in your future John (although you don't need luck)! You are courageous and I respect your decision to do what it right, even if it is unpopular and risks your position as a council member. Your potential in politics...and every challenge you take on...is limitless.


You have a right to your opinion, John, but you are an elected official that should serve the people who placed you there. There were many meetings were the people of Maplewood came and said, "We don't want this!" and you didn't listen. Instead, you acted as a parent and said, "but I know what's good for you...so I'm going to push this". I wish you well, but in the future in you run for public office, I think you should remember that you represent "the people" and it isn't just want "you want".

For the previous post, showing up at a meeting to voice your opinion doesn't mean that you represent the majority. When you say "the people of Maplewood", you must be careful not to speak for others who would find what you say a misrepresentation.

It's a vastly incorrect statement to villanize the companies that are fighting to protect their freedom to do business whilst a zealous council member seeks to hand it to a corporation on the sole purpose of a low bid.

Republic Services (who owns Allied Waste, I'm sure the name will change much like it did from BFI when their reputation around here gets negative enough) made $2.02 *BILLION* dollars in the fourth quarter of 2010. In 3 months, they made billions!?

This is the issue with switching to an organized collection system, it will effectively wipe out the small local, family owned businesses that are necessary to keep the prices down. If one city successfully forces this issue through, many cities in the metro will follow (like lambs to the slaughter). So, whilst *one* city is unlikely to put anyone out of business, 10 cities will very easily put most of the local competition on the unemployment block.

Why is that such a certainty? Just look at the numbers behind the corporate companies! Any of the big 3 (Waste Management, Republic and Veolia) have the ability to take a city contract (of nearly any size) and run it at a loss for many, many years without so much as a ripple in their finances (Make sure you thank the customers who have no choice for paying ridiculously overpriced bills so you can have the temporary comfort of a low trash bill). When it comes to an area (one of the last to have as much choice as it does in the choice of trash hauler) such as the Twin Cities metro and Minnesota in general, the corporate companies have a very difficult time killing off the "little guy". They will never win entirely, because (thankfully) there are too many customers who care about good service beyond cheap pricing.

Now enter Maplewood. If this passes, it effectively removes the need to compete with the local companies on a house by house basis and allows them to take a financial hit in the short term to reap the extremely lucrative long term reward of limited competition. What happens once Tennis, Gene's, Walter's, Highland, Nitti's and many other local companies have been snuffed out for the sake of no choice and better pricing. You'll be left with Waste Management, Veolia or Republic and guess what? They ran at a loss for 5, 10, 15 years to get to this point and now it's time for them to make their money back. It'll happen too, the capital costs of starting a trash business are already so high that it's nearly impossible for anyone who isn't already wealthy so no new independents will develop.

What this all means is the Maplewood city council and you in particular John are looking at the very narrow, very selfish short term picture of just Maplewood. The local companies that you are villanizing are realizing the long term effects of what's going to happen if this were to pass. Maybe you should consider the full picture before painting the local companies who truly care about their customers and their lifeblood before making them all out to be politician buying, customer neglecting, price hiking corporate entities.

Later guy!

If you wanted to Represent the people you wouldn't have defied them at the Council Meeting tonight.

You and Mr. Rossbach especially showed your arrogance calling concerned citizens "children" in a sense that they were not acting like "adults" to you.

Maybe you will enjoy the unemployment line with the rest of the trash haulers you put out of business.

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