As Jim Bernstein points out, it is very difficult to distinguish between perceived and actual conflict of interest for public officials. Therefore, he makes the case for voluntary recusal/abstention for even perceived conflicts of interest of City Council members.
Let's take the example of this upcoming Zoning and Planning Committee vote on Klodt's Hiawatha Flats proposal. 2005 campaign contributions from Paul and/or Kevin Klodt or individuals employed by Klodt contractors: Ward 1 Ostrow -$600 Ward 3 Samuels - $300 Ward 4 Johnson - $300 Ward 5 Johnson Lee - $300 Ward 7 Goodman - $300 Ward 8 Lilligren - $600 Ward 12 Colvin Roy - $5,850 (Next month, CM-elect Hofstede will join the list of CMs that received contributions from Klodt. If McLaughlin, Hauser and Lisa McDonald had been elected Mayor or Council Members they'd be on the list, too.) In summary, seven of the thirteen sitting Council Members accepted contributions from the Klodt's or individuals employed by their contractors. Under Jim Bernstein's guidelines, only 2 Council members on the Zoning and Planning Committee would be eligible to vote regarding Hiawatha Flats. When it reaches the full council, only 5 members would be eligible. In addition, Klodt has retained Faegre & Benson to provide lobbying services. Faegre & Benson assigned newly-hired Carol Lansing of its real estate group to support Klodt's Hiawatha Flats battle. Before joining Faegre & Benson in March, Lansing was the Assistant City Attorney for Mpls working closely with Council members on matters related to zoning, land use planning and site plan approvals. Faegre & Benson itself if a prolific contributor through its Govt Fund political fund. At least six current and new CMs (Samuels, Johnson, Schiff, Benson, Hodges and Hofstede) received the maximum allowed contribution of $300 each. Then, of course, there is the $10,000 contribution from Paul Klodt to People for Independent Parks that influenced the Kummer-Stone race and was the subject of the City Pages expose. This is why moving in the direction of public financing of campaigns makes the most sense. Sonja Dahl Standish-Ericsson REMINDERS: 1. Be civil! Please read the NEW RULES at http://www.e-democracy.org/rules. If you think a member is in violation, contact the list manager at [EMAIL PROTECTED] before continuing it on the list. 2. Don't feed the troll! Ignore obvious flame-bait. For state and national discussions see: http://e-democracy.org/discuss.html For external forums, see: http://e-democracy.org/mninteract ________________________________ Minneapolis Issues Forum - A Civil City-focused Civic Discussion - Mn E-Democracy Post messages to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Subscribe, Un-subscribe, etc. at: http://e-democracy.org/mpls