St. Paul mayoral candidate Elizabeth Dickinson questioned Monday whether Mayor Randy Kelly could legally allow a top Xcel Energy executive to raise money for his campaign while at the same time the city is negotiating a new franchise agreement with the energy company.Ooooooo . . . . the mayor's so busted!
Dickinson, the Green Party candidate, stopped short of accusing the mayor of breaking any laws, but said: "I think that a lot of people looking at this would say it may not pass the smell test."That depends on who stinks, Liz baby.
St. Paul City Attorney Manuel Cervantes said "ex parte" laws apply to conversations, not social functions, fundraisers or relationships. "As long as you're not in communication about the issues that are on the franchise negotiation table, the prohibition is not in place," he said.Darnit; non-partisan expert opinion; always a buzzkill when you're trying to play 'gotcha.'
Hate the big utility, but milk it up one side and down the other. Tax, spend, tax, spend; I've seen this movie.
Mary Sandok said in a statement that Xcel encourages employees to be politically active, "recognizing that such involvement is strictly voluntary and shall take place on the employee's own time."
Dickinson has made renegotiating the franchise agreement a campaign issue. This year, fees from Xcel Energy will bring about $17 million to the city, the third-largest revenue source behind property taxes and the state's local government aid. Dickinson has proposed increasing the franchise fees paid by residents to raise $1 million to $2 million, which she would use to pay for public safety.
Dickinson said she is not planning to make a formal complaint against Kelly or his campaign at this time.Particularly because there's nothing to legitimate to complain about, but I seriously doubt that'll keep Liz from tilting at windmills.
I keep scouring her platform for answers to my questions. For instanace, how does one apply social and economic justice to plow the snow? How can a city implore grassroots democracy in policing the streets? Can we use ecoligical wisdom to clean the ice at the hockey arena? How do we attract jobs to Saint Paul via non-violence? Liz?
I'll keep my Randy Kelly yard sign for now, thanks.