Unredacted version - Summers of Fear in America's Number one city
By Karthik Ramanathan at Nov 26, 2012
By now it’s not only known but also well-advertised within this City that Eden Prairie, Minnesota has been ranked by a national magazine as the Best Place to live in the United States. The judgment was based on a number of factors including economics, quality of life etc. This resulted in tremendous celebration among City officials and ever since the electronic display at Purgatory Creek Park on Prairie Center Drive, has been used to highlight this achievement.
However, the judgment did not consider some other important factors such as respect for Human Rights or Free speech or due process of law or civil rights, which if taken together may raise questions about the City that may not be all too comforting to celebrate. I don’t pretend to have a definitive answer, but my experiences with some City officials as well as observations of trends around the city suggest that there are strong reasons to question the future direction of the City and to be skeptical of such a celebratory note.
I’m a single immigrant from India who owns a home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. In this letter, I would like to disclose that on February 28, 2010 two police officers of the City of Eden Prairie arrived at my residence that Sunday morning. Even after they hand signaled me to come to the door as I looked out the Window from my bed and as I was walking down towards the entry door, they kept knocking incessantly at the door and on opening handed me a trespass notice ordering me to stay away from the Eden Prairie Community Center for a year. This notice was signed by Jay Lotthammer, Director of Parks and Recreation in the City. The Community Center is a local health club that I had used for around a year and a half and had already cancelled my membership by the time this notice was handed to me. Then as now, I have zero criminal records. If the reader is curious as to why anyone would hand over a trespass notice to me when I no longer use the facility and had not caused any known harm, then I also share in the same.
Since then for the last year, I have worked with Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) – an active local organization that is committed to the principle that NO ONE is above the law, be it ordinary people or government officials and law enforcement agents -- in order to research into the events leading up to the notice, as well as the city trends and background on a key official involved in issuing me the notice. The results of this investigation are stark and reveal an abrasive bureaucracy that seems to function on paranoia when dealing with its racial minorities like myself in Eden Prairie. There is also a very casual nature even towards serious accusations again to the detriment of everyone’s real security. I hope that the new City Council and Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens would consider this investigation and its conclusions seriously so that corrective action may be taken with regards to the behavior of key city officials.
Asking women for a date – A security problem for the City officials in America’s Number one city?
To this letter, I have attached all the communications I received from the City and all subsequent data including internal emails about me by City officials (mostly the Community Center Manager Wendy Sevenich and her boss Jay Lotthammer, who is the Director of Parks and Recreation) that I obtained using MN Data Practices Request. I have also other relevant information such as Trespass notices by issued by Eden Prairie and City of Brooklyn park, where Lotthammer used to work as a director till 2006. Since Sevenich and Lotthammer indicate – not in their communication, but in internal notes -- that they felt that my behavior made some women at the Community Center uncomfortable, one would expect that the Data Request would at least redact the names of the women they so allege to have been made uncomfortable. But strangely, they return the names (and often first and last names) of the women -- who were all employees who fell under the chain of command of Sevenich -- they claim i made uncomfortable, as part of the Data Practices Request.
I have received 3 communications from City officials in this regard, including a phone call from the Manager of the Community Center [Summary by Sevenich is provided in Reference 4 while my own hand written summary is part of the contemporaneous notes in Reference 6], then followed by a letter from Sevenich's boss Jay Lotthammer that was attached to the trespass notice, and a final letter from Scott Neal, then City manager, after a meeting I subsequently had with him to discuss the notice[Part of Reference 4]. However, I was explicitly discouraged from appealing my case in writing during the meeting with Mr. Neal. (This despite Eden Prairie's City Code Section 2.80, providing for an explicit right of appeal in writing to be followed with a hearing in front of the full elected council. See ).
While none of the communications I received from the City specify what exact statute or policy they allege I violated, it does contain third person interpretations of conversations I had with women who worked there apart from exaggerated and non-existent events as best as I can tell and as I can corroborate from the city’s own records. Of course, some real events (such as my loitering around in the hallway after a workout session) are mentioned but for some reason its presented as a cause for alarm . This unsubstantiated concern is also expressed in the phone call I received from Sevenich in early January 2010, when she repeatedly told me not to behave in a "inappropriate and awkward manner" without explaining what or if there was a complaint. She also makes it clear in her email summary of that phone call to her boss that she did not expect her team to be "fraternizing in any way" while they were working. It can also be observed that their internal emails about my conversations are generally (except in one instance) not forwarded either to me or the women they claim to be protecting. So, her attempt to create a good work environment for women involves controlling the socialization of the women working at the front desk with patrons like myself. Then as now, I flatly reject the idea that there is a problem with asking women out for a date or flirting or seeking their advice or having conversations with them when the women themselves have not raised a concern. Anyone who believes in freedom of expression and who does not sympathize with the Taliban should readily agree.
Not welcome if not white – Racial segregation in the previous City that Mr. Lotthammer was a Director of Parks and Recreation.
Of serious concern is evidence obtained on the number of Trespass notices issued by the City of Brooklyn Park over the last many years. In response to a request for data over a 10 year period, we were provided data only from June 2006 through 2010, the time that they maintained such records. Mr. Lotthammer was the director of Parks in Brooklyn Park in 2006 and we learn that over 600 people have been trespassed in the last 7 months of that year. A shockingly high proportion of these trespass notices (508) were given to African Americans, who are only a small minority of the population of that city. Even assuming that there may be differences in crimes among different communities, when the number of people of a minority community selected for Trespass are 10 times higher than any other, it’s hard to conclude that this is anything more than an attempt to target a particular community with a view to creating fear among African Americans in Brooklyn Park. Mr. Lotthammer being the director of Parks in Brooklyn Park, needs to be investigated, to see what his possible role was in this racist enterprise in Brooklyn Park. While the number of trespasses in Eden Prairie is thankfully lower than this, Data from City of Eden Prairie indicates that since Mr. Lotthammers joining in 2007, the number of trespass notices has sharply increased in number and scope. There was virtually no one who was trespassed in the years 2003-2006 when Mr. Lotthammer was not in the city. And since 14 individuals have been banned from the citys recreations facilities. A new and concerning trend is the issuance of trespass notices in City Parks that was not the case before his arrival. Even more ominous is the fact that the City does not keep track of the ethnicity of the people it targets by its policy. Given the history of observed prejudice in America and the lack of tracking, this forms a toxic combination for Eden Prairie.
Doctoring evidence: Profiting from hate and fear
There is no serious attempt by the City to indicate what the violation was. But I would like to draw attention to a “Timeline of interaction” document [Reference 5] (referred to as simply ‘timeline’ hereon) that was written by Sevenich on March 3, 2010. There she makes the claim that Reva informed her during 1st week of January, that I was "continuously inviting her for coffee" despite her refusal. This is the only serious accusation against me that I can find in these papers. While any person including myself should take accusations such as these seriously, a closer look at the record shows that this allegation was never made earlier even to the emails to police – to whom Sevenich was rather making a caricature out of the fact that I had sought to take a picture with Reva -- or in her conversation with me in the second week of January. She even encouraged me to talk with the same women after they are done work, which obviously she would not do if the women did not want to talk with me.
The other salient features of the “Timeline of interaction” document along with the rest of the record shows an attempt to
· manipulate dates: While one email from Dean Running at 10pm on January 11, 2010 suggests (correctly) that I went about my business and was "very quiet" [see 4], another email allegedly sent around 7pm (and repeated in the timeline document) says that on the same day I kept asking personal questions to a Customer Service Representative, who is left unnamed. If I was working out at the facility at 10pm and received a phone call from Sevenich just before 7pm (as I was driving home from work), it stands to reason that I could not have been at the facility prior to 7pm.
· Exaggerate and create caricatures of events: claiming that Reva was shocked when she declined my request for a picture (without quoting the woman) and repeating this statement many times in the record, each time adding new details such as inventing a need for intervention by an unnamed Manager. In another instance I’m accused of “walking back and forth” and attempting to make “conversation”.
· Undescribed event of “MOD” intervention: I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to catch up with Reva long after the trespass notice was issued to me. While I wish I could share our conversations but cannot out of concern for her job security (as her employer is the one who has problems with me), it was clear to me from my conversations with her that she hadn’t complained about me. Quite the contrary, there was tremendous concern from her side about my well-being and to the way I was treated. If the complain was real, why was Reva willingly having a conversation with me for many weeks after Wendy’s January 11 phone call. On February 20, 2010, when I was having a conversation with Reva, Nathan Swanson, a supervisor, intervened and asked me to leave the facility. This despite Reva not asking for Nathan's assistance at all. It simply stands to reason that Nathans action on Febraury 20 was unwarranted and as he indicated was being done at the behest of Sevenich. But this event is left undescribed in the summary.
If Sevenich’s attempt at obfuscation of dates, creating imaginary complaints and events, are reminiscent of a corrupt official in a third world country, not what one would think of America's number one city, then what follows is also egregious.
After the trespass notice was issued, I called up the City Manager Scott Neal around March 1st to ask for a meeting which happened on March 5, 2010. This meeting was planned to be a meeting to clarify both sides of what is going on. But however, on entering the meeting I was informed that this meeting was part of an appeal process. While confused, after the meeting I did ask to give my case in writing and was told not to do so. At the meeting, while I answered the questions honestly, I was repeatedly pressed if I asked Reva out for “coffee” and was suggested that they had evidence from Reva to that effect. I did acknowledge I had asked for coffee many months ago and said “maybe twice” but that was many or 6 months ago. But the part where I said “6 months ago” was deleted from their summary. Why is this flexibility in summing events and meetings when they claim to be dealing with a serious situation? Again, an attempt to manipulate my statements to use it against me. As is very clear that they did not have a complaint about me from Reva, but still chose to press me on aspects of my conversations with her, I would really like to ask the City of Eden Prairie, and its former Manager Mr. Neal, if they are in the habit of screening the behavior of all or some of the residents. If so, do those screened have a particular skin color? If not, then why does Mr. Neal himself do some of the things that I’m accused of, such as seeking a photograph with women employees. . I produce below a photograph Mr. Neal took with apparently with his fellow female subordinates that he published (http://edenprairieweblogs.org/scottneal/ ):
Mr. Neal in the picture does some a similar thing that he accuses me of such as seeking to take a picture with women employees and in fact goes beyond my attempts at flirting by having his arms around them. Obviously, both I and Mr. Neal understand that this type of behavior is not necessarily a problem. Yet his communication to me after the meeting shows he chooses to pretend he doesn’t understand human behavior. His letter claims I expressed “regret and contrition” over my own behavior, but does not elaborate how he came to that conclusion. Then goes on to add again without elaborating that my “actions caused staff and patrons to feel uncomfortable. I believe their discomfort was sufficient to justify the trespass order… If there are no or similar offenses at other city facilities during the remainder of 2010, I would consent to the cancellation of the order on December 31, 2010.” If I should be trespassed for asking a woman for “coffee” even when there is not a complaint on me, then by his own logic surely Mr. Neal should charge himself for assault for having his hands around the two women.
Notice that Mr. Neal by himself should not be investigating a dispute where he has a inherent conflict of interest, since the dispute is between me and his subordinates. But yet chooses to do so. Apart from conflict of interest, in both Mr. Neal’s letter and the original letter from Mr. Lotthammer do not inform me of the city’s appeal process in Section 2.80 of the City code which refers to the “Right to Administrative Appeal”. This is noted in this document in Reference 10 and explicitly provides for a “full hearing before the council upon serving a written request..”. I only learnt about this appeal provision during the process of my own research writing this piece. Why this shameless attempt to keep aggrieved individuals in the dark about their democratic rights?
I can assure Mr. Neal and his racist former subordinates that I have been guilty of successfully flirting and conversing with women at every City Park and trail that they can think of since his letter to me. Nevertheless, the attempts to create fear in a black man like myself, to prevent me from doing what every person can and should do, is stark and obvious.
Usually, when there is fear and hate, someone is also profiting from it. In this case, given Lotthammers history of abrasively using the trespass policy, it can be safely concluded that both Sevenich and Lotthammer were motivated by increasing their career prospects before a large sector of affluent property owners who can afford to allow dignity and respect to be trumped by their insistence on security and low tolerance (mostly towards the vulnerable).
The Free Speech angle - An attack on political dissent ?
The emails about me that were being sent without my knowledge are part of a surveillance that unduly interfered with my environment and was never disclosed to me. Furthermore, this chain of emails was started on November 24, 2009 with an email from Joel Bertram (who appears to be one of the supervisors at the center). This was the same week that I was doing publicity including distributing flyers for a Healthcare panel I organized in the University of Minnesota. . The flyer i distributed at the Community Center, clearly did not express popular opinion and raised questions as to why the US did not have a Universal health care system unlike Cuba, despite being much richer and powerful. Reva had helped me put up these flyers in the Community Center in accordance with the normal practice of publicizing events around the community. It’s very possible that given that I was expressing unpopular views and raising uncomfortable questions, apart from talking confidently with white women working at the facility, I was singled out to be trespassed. This is particularly very believable to me as the healthcare panel was the only political event I helped organize for which I had done publicity at the EP Community Center.
Criminalization of free speech, friendship and love: Defeating women’s rights in the name of Womens security
Nevertheless, the email of Joel Bertram is instructive. It provides a lesson into how the white man protects his women from perceived infractions by black men like myself. His email to his boss Wendy Sevenich begins “I didn’t catch his name, but its an individual that Dean and I have both noticed making some of our female employees uncomfortable. I have witnessed it first hand with Reva and Anna also made a comment about the same individual. This evening he came to the front desk where Nils and I were working and asked when Reva worked next. We let him know we cannot give out that information, but this be something we want to address”.
I would request the reader to reread the above passage. Its noteworthy that both Anna and Reva are kept out of Joel Bertram’s sincere attempt to protect them from me. The management clearly think they have a problem with me, but also refuse to let me know about it until two months later. Furthermore, their own evidence indicates that I never asked for the information about Reva’s schedule after they refused it. Yes, its true I did ask for when she worked next and as the reader may understand I was in the midst of organizing a public event for which Reva was the only friend at the desk whom I felt comfortable asking to help with publicity. Furthermore, there are no quotes of Reva or Anna, who they claim made a comment. No description of what was uncomfortable. No written complaints. The woman herself out of the loop.
The woman is again infantilized by Wendy Sevenich in her timeline summary. I will take again a sample of an event described in the timeline of interaction where I sought to take a picture with Reva. The event description itself changes from the emails to later on in the timeline summary, every time newer details are added to prove my alleged culpability. It says: “Thursday, January 7, I was informed by an MOD (Manager-On-Duty) that this member approached Reva, took out a camera and asked to take a picture with her. The MOD intervened and told him no. Reva was shaken and reported it to the manager.”
It’s very interesting to note that they claim Reva was shaken for asking for a photograph but yet she is not quoted to substantiate that claim. They also claim that Reva reported it to the manager, but never bother taking a written statement from her. Notice also the frivolous nature of this charge. Asking for photographs can’t by itself be a problem. As pointed out above, the then City Manager Mr. Neal himself knows that specifically since he has taken photographs with women employees as reproduced above.
Regarding the other allegations that I was among other things “walking back and forth” and trying to “engage in conversation”. Out of respect for the reader’s intelligence, I will not comment on the whether these so-called allegations deserve scrutiny or need to be placed by the gutter.
I cannot emphasize how important the lack of quote of the woman is, to understand the racist undertones of Joel Bertram, Wendy Sevenich, Jay Lotthammer and the rest of the bureaucracy. The reason what the woman says is important is because I like all other men are fallible human beings. Yes, I did use the Community Center for a year and a half and yes there are occasions where I did flirt, seek to take a photograph, or sought Reva’s advice on dating. It’s possible that some woman may not have liked some aspect of anyone’s behavior including mine. If a particular person did not like my conversations and brought it to my attention I would have been happy to change that. And the city’s own notes confirm that. But only a fanatic – like the Taliban -- will ban flirting and conversations because some woman or man did not think it right. And if it’s done to select Black men like myself then it means that the fanatics are also racist.
If Martin Luther King spoke about the malady in the American spirit and the need for the betterment of race relations approximately half a century ago, then his words strike very well for 21st century Eden Prairie as well. No one will claim that Women’s security was improved in earlier times when Black men were lynched on false allegations of assaulting white women. In fact, such a system was probably detrimental not only to blacks but also the security of the women those mobs were claiming to protect. Not the least because by targeting innocent people it would create a situation where investigation of real violations by real culprits based on facts and real complaints from victims, takes a back seat.
I would like to end by suggesting that the city officials read Americas own history of women’s empowerment, like for instance the “bread and roses” campaign that women lead in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The women who lead it will probably agree that flirting, complimenting, seeking a woman’s advice are not detrimental to their security. In fact, it almost certainly enhanced women’s security and dignity by promoting interaction among women and men. But yet in Eden Prairie, in Americas Number one city, a city that is home to the cream of Minnesota’s corporate elite, we don’t find bread and roses, or economic security for working class women (such as the women at the front desk who experience a hire-then-fire situation) or human dignity. A beautiful town with pretty lakes and manicured lawns where we find “security” as in over expensive police cars, a human rights and diversity commission with none of the city’s minorities on it, low tolerance bordering on racism and intolerance… perhaps that is what some of their residents wanted. Ban black men from public parks and centers to protect their women from infection, like the way their corporate offices use hand sanitizers at every gate and chamber to keep away any and all germs… alas, only the germs are smart enough to develop resistance to it. Just like black men like myself getting used to such bigotry, but then lets at least be forewarned of the direction this city is headed in.
We find a situation where an abrasive bureaucracy which includes Wendy Sevenich and Jay Lotthammer, has taken upon itself the right to arbitrarily deem individuals as threats and then invent non-existent events to justify the same. What else explains the sudden increase in trespass notices (totaling 14 individuals) issued since 2007, the year that Lotthammer joined the city government? What innocent conversations and delicate friendships was he trying to end? Were these people all or mostly of a particular ethnicity? Why do the police (as in my experience as well) refuse to take any complaints of racist behavior by city officials despite advertising to do so on the city’s website ( http://www.edenprairie.org/vcurrent/live/article.asp?r=1331 ) ?
One hopes that our new Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens and her team on the City Council will show the courage to stop this abrasive trespass policy and to have the erring officials apologize to its victims including myself. Then, maybe some of the other long term conditions such as diversity in their commissions and workforces  can also be addressed along with providing better benefits and working conditions to their part-time women employees (including not controlling every conversation they have) and even opportunities for promotions so that it’s not always the case that they have to live in fear of losing their jobs for not satisfying the racist egos of their mostly white male supervisors. If not, one hopes that like the factory girls of Lawrence, Massachusetts, the women themselves will rise-up against racist injustice perpetrated in their name, much to the detriment of their own safety and work environment. A woman’s advice after all helps a man, I can certainly say that of my conversations with Reva.
The author can be contacted at email@example.com . The author would like to thank CUAPB (www.cuapb.org) for their consistent support in carrying out this investigation and for consistently standing up to abuse of authority by those in power in the State of Minnesota. While the readers support will be appreciated by the author, please feel free to email your thoughts on the issues raised in this article including racism, safety of women and the abrasive trespass policy to the Eden Prairie City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org
Trespass data in Eden Prairie from 2003 through 2010. Only location and number of trespasses are provided. Ethnicity of the victims was requested by CUAPB but city refused to provide it as they claim they do not maintain it. It turned out the data they provided was incorrect on two counts. They missed the trespass issued to me and another individual. The corrected data was provided in a subsequent clarification CUAPB requested some months later. It’s strange for a city that lives and breathes by “low tolerance of inappropriateness” and an insistence on a “security” infrastructure, to miss all the individuals they trespassed in the same year data was requested?
Both (the incorrect and the subsequent corrected data) are provided here:
Tresspass data in Brooklyn Park from June 2006 through 2010 by year and ethnicity. Note that during the jurisdiction of Jay Lotthammer as Brooklyn Parks Park & Recreation Director in the latter half of 2006, over 600 people have been trespassed of whom over 90% are minorities and over 80% are of African American minority descent. It’s also clear from subsequent data requests that Jay Lotthammer shared responsibility in this racist enterprise of banning people. A subsequent data request was made to City of Brooklyn Park on the exact addresses of each trespass notice from June 6006 through 2010. An cursory examination of the data that was then provided by that city reveals atleast 4 trespass notices have been issued in just the last 7 months of 2006 alone for which data is available. This was not an exhaustive search but it clearly shows Mr. Lotthammer has been behaving in an abrasive fashion in his last job as Director of Parks at Brooklyn Park as well. The address data for each individual trespass for Brooklyn Park is not being published with this article as it runs into a large number of pages that makes publishing it cumbersome.
Internal City Discussions that provide background to the appointment of Jay Lotthammer as Interim City Manager. Note that the then City Manager Scott Neal played a important role in recommending this person to the post. This can only indicate a certain personal affinity of Mr. Neal to prefer Mr. Lotthammer over other individuals. Coming back to my case, it adds credence to the theory of biased investigations that Mr. Neal carries out in my own situation. That Mr. Neal should not be the arbiter for this notice is clear from both this conflict of interest and the city code.
This reference (and the subsequent references 5 thru 7) provides the documents that were obtained from the City of Eden Prairie relating to internal communications and meeting summaries relating to the issuance of the trespass notice to me, banning me from the EPCC, even after I had cancelled my member ship there – something that is strangely not noted in the city’s internal “Timeline of interaction” prepared by Sevenich (See Reference 5). Furthermore, the names of 4 women who work at the community Center and who Sevenich and Lotthammer claim expressed some concern about my use of the facility are named, including in two cases the first and last names. Strange, that if they had serious complaints, they would release the names to me when I’m the alleged target of the complaint. I have also redacted my own personal information such as address, place of work, signature and phone number as these are my own private information not relevant to understanding the case at hand.
Its noteworthy that while I do not know who Anna and Kelly are and have had just one conversation with Kayla, the narrative in the following emails is very bizarre. First in November 24, 2009, Joel Bertram claims that Anna “made a comment” about me. Then in the subsequent emails, Sevenich changes the story to say that I “relate” to Anna (among others). Then in the “Timeline of interaction” document [Reference 5], Anna (along with Kayla) is simply left out! Why did the story change from someone “making a comment” about me to me “relating” to that someone? A shameless attempt to conjure up a non-existent narrative? If not, why did they drop Anna and Kayla in the
“Timeline of interaction” document? As I also note below in , in this timeline they introduce another Kelly (also allegedly working under Sevenich ) who is not existent in any of the other emails.
A “Timeline of interaction” document that was apparently written by Wendy Sevenich (though the author is not explicitly noted). The document is dated 3/3/2010, two days prior to my meeting with Mr. Scott Neal. Of interest is that this summary of timelines was not written prior to issuing a trespass notice to me. As I have indicated over this timeline document in black ink, the events described are a combination of non-existent events, exaggerations (as in the case of my request to have a photograph taken with Rebecca), and a flat lie that Reva had complained about me in the first week of January 2010. To see the exaggeration, note that they claim that Reva was “shaken” when I asked to have a photograph taken with her. It was true that she refused and I went on to use the facility. Where was the need to be “shaken” for merely asking a photograph? Further, Reva was a good acquaintance who has maintained friendly communication with me well afterwards.
Next , to see the lie over Sevenich’s claim that Reva had complained about me in the first week of January 2010, that I had repeatedly asked her out, see Sevenich’s own write-up of her phone call to me on January 11 (in the previous Reference 4). She constantly concentrates on preventing me from “fraternizing” with women at the front desk and at the same time encourages me to talk with them once they are done working. She clearly would not have encouraged me to have conversations after work if there was a complaint from Reva that I had repeatedly asked her out. Furthermore, if I did ask a woman out repeatedly and made her uncomfortable, it would be very easy for her to state that rather than prevent me from talking with the women and violate my rights of free speech.
Furthermore, the event when Nathan Swanson asked me to leave the facility on Feb. 20, 2010 is left undescribed. This is important as Swanson was interrupting a friendly conversation I was having with Reva, and in a very abrasive fashion threatened to call the police if I did not leave. Why leave this event undescribed if Sevenich was not trying to cover her abrasive and racist trails ?
Summary of my March 5, 2010 meeting with Mr. Scott Neal as recorded by: a) His assistance Lorene McWaters and b) My own summary which I wrote down from memory sometime after the meeting.
Notice that a lot of evidence relating to my conversations with Reva and her friendship with me are left out in McWaters summary but are clear from my summary. In comparing the two summaries, the reader may note the following discrepancies in the city’s summary (not a exhaustive list):
i. Notice also that Mr. Neals reactions and responses are not recorded by McWaters (like his severely shaking his head in disapproval to my statement that there was a hostile environment for me at the EPCC after Wendy’s phone call).
ii. Notice also that the meeting is abruptly ended after I had responded that I had asked Reva out for coffee many months ago. (with “many months ago” deleted, a clear effort to manipulate my statement to use it against me). Why was the meeting ended suddenly? Why was there no attempt to seek either Rebecca’s written statement or my own recollection of the context in which I had asked for a cup of coffee?
Looking closer at this allegation, my summary notes that Mr. Neal gathers his information on my “relationship with Rebecca” from his “staff”. The City notes quite contradictorily, that Reva (and not his staff) said to him that she did not describe my relationship as a “friendship”. Furthermore, its true I acknowledged the possibility that I could have asked Reva for a meeting perhaps twice, over the two year period that I have known her. This I acknowledged after Mr. Neal made repeated suggestions that there was a complaint against me from Reva and I was very appalled at someone making such a comment about my relations with a friend I had known for over a year and a half. I possibly cannot remember if I asked for a meeting a second time since the information is from memory and I have had many many conversations with Reva over the two year time. I did acknowledge that there was a time I had asked Reva on a date about two years ago and since I learnt she was married, never pursued any more romantic advances. I also apologized at the very suggestion that Reva could have complained about me. Its possible I had asked for a meeting to talk about some personal situations, but I cannot be sure of this. And I also clarified that the last time I ever asked for a meeting was many “months” ago and that even two weeks before Reva had complimented me. Both of these facts are missing in the citys summary. Given the absence of complaint and given that there are many alternative explanations (other than harassment) to a man seeking two meetings with a woman over a two year period while the two are friends, why did Mr. Neal continue to insist on some violation? Furthermore, what business does Mr. Neal and the city have in asking questions about people’s lives and passing judgments on friendships in the absence of any complaint from the individuals who are talking?
iii. Notice that Mr. Neals initial statement which says “Tell me why I should cancel the trespass order” as noted in my summary is missing in the citys which only notes that “Neal said he will make the decision on the trespass order in a week”. Obviously, Mr. Neal assumes even before examining any evidence that the trespass issued by his colleagues is justified. A presumption of “guilt” which they want to hide from their summary.
a) Citys summary as recorder by Ms. Lorene McWaters:
b) My own summary (contemporaneous notes):
My letter to Mr. Scott Neal on March 16, 2010 after receiving his response to my meeting with him. Mr. Neals letter to me despite being fundamentally unjust by reinforcing and extrapolating the paranoia of his subordinates, does make a small positive change by way of reducing the period of trespass from 1 year to 10 months. While choosing to be respectful, my letter makes clear that the conclusions and claims made in his letter to me are utterly baseless. It should be noted that no concrete action was taken for violation of my civil and free speech rights despite my explicitly demanding that effort be taken to emphasize the importance of these with a view to avoiding such violations in the future.
Flyer on healthcare panel (comparing Cuban and US healthcare) that I helped organize in late November 2009. The same time that Joel Bertram of EPCC sent an email to Wendy presenting nothing more than heresy as reason for concern about my use of the facility. I don’t believe it was a mere coincidence that I was being targeted at the very same time that I was beginning to express my political views at EPCC. The flyer is available online at :http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/16822529/1972836233/name/Cuba+Health+Panel+Flyer_draft-1.pdf
In response to a data practice request on number of complaints processed by the City Human Rights and Diversity Commission on City officials, the City Clerk Kathleen Porta, responded on January 25, 2011 that there were NO complaints against any city official during the last 10 YRS ! A strange degree of perfection, or more likely a result of the Police refusing to take complaints so that the city can sit in a delusional state that they have no problems of racism or of mistreating their own female employees at the front desk. Its for the same reason that they claim they don’t track the attrition rate of employees at the EPCC – obviously embarrassingly very high.
City Code 2.80 : (Right to) Filling of appeals
Confirmation of Lack of written complaint from Reva or Kelly: These are the only two women mentioned in the “Timeline of interaction”. Yet, despite having months to survey my every move, there is not a written complaint the city could get from these two women, so that means there has been no written complaints known on me. The following is the response from the city to a formal data request, and states this absence in writing.
Racial distribution of employees at Eden Prairie Community Center as obtained by a Data Practice Request. As can be seen, not only does the center have a predominantly white workforce (understandably given its a largely white town) but also that its disporportionate to the citys population itself. U.S. Census bureau indicates aprox. 90% white population in both Eden Prairie and Minnesota. But the Community center consistently ranks above 95 % in whiteness.