“Let’s kill all the lawyers” is a misunderstood quotation from Shakespeare. The character in the play wanted lawyers who would create chaos and unrest so he could become king. The character was referring to killing attorneys and judges who stood for justice in society, those who would follow the law.
So what kind of lawyers are “the big three,” Kevin Warren, NFL Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota’s Attorney General Lori Swanson, and Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal? None protested the violation of the City’s charter requirement that mandates a public referendum for any expenditure of over $10 million for any professional sports facility. The Minnesota legislature tried (and failed) to legislate exemption of the charter provision. Then seven city council members overrode the other six, voiding the charter provision.
The key question of democracy: Why do Mr. Warren, Ms. Swanson, Ms. Segal and their bosses not care about the will of the people? Why are they supporting this unlawful dictate? What’s with today’s federal, state and local officials ignoring laws, unconcerned about violating the trust of the people and setting terrible precedents for the future?
The Minneapolis City website defines the City charter as “the constitution governing the municipal government. The charter defines the powers the citizens agree to give their city government and how the government is to be structured.” Yet our city council voted to ignore the city charter.
The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 3): officials are to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Our officials are unfaithful, taking dictatorial and unconstitutional and dangerous precedent-setting actions. As I wrote in my 2002 book, “it shows how little respect the bosses have for the people” (p. 264).
Enter Doug Mann, acting pro se (representing himself and the citizens of the state of Minnesota). He filed suit, Mann vs. the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Vikings, and the NFL, for violating the city charter. Why are people shocked? How can Mr. Warren and the NFL, Ms. Swanson and the State, Ms. Segal and City, Mayor Rybak and the city council be shocked by this when they knew it was against the law?
Why is their view of citizens and their constitution (the city charter) so low and their arrogance so great that they won’t stand up for the law? They don’t realize they risk poisoning the golden goose. On August 20, 2013, Mr. Mann will present his case to Hennepin County District Court Judge Philip D. Bush.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Ryan Construction, Mortenson Contruction, a whole host of big corporations, and the State and City must think they had slipped one by the voters. How wrong they are. When one reads the brief filed by Doug Mann, one cannot fail to remember the legendary Frank Alsop, one of the great legal minds of our time, who said, “I come into court carrying my brief, and fighting to serve and protect the interests of the masses, and let no king nor potentate stand in the way of my quest for justice.”
We now have elected officials acting as kings and potentates, blocking the will of the people. August 20, 2013 will be a historic day for the rights of the citizen. I don’t know how Judge Bush will rule, but I’m sure he will rule based on the law and nothing but the law and not on the lure of favors and other considerations.
The citizens/taxpayers/voters of the State of Minnesota expect nothing less. And yet the action of the City of Minneapolis in the spring of 2012 essentially shredded the City’s charter, its constitution.
Judge Bush will have the opportunity to set things right. We hope the appellate court does not overrule Judge Bush. If it does, Minnesota will be as a Banana Republic, a government of cronies, not a government of the people.
Mr. Mann has made persuasive arguments regarding the rights of the people to speak without impediment, without gamesmanship, and without further corruption. This is truly a test of the future of democracy in this state. May the state of Minnesota, the city of Minneapolis, the Vikings and the NFL, all do the right thing.
August 20, 2013, in Judge Philip D. Bush’s courtroom: a constitutional day of reckoning. It will either reaffirm the power and the sanctity of the City charter and its grounding in law or it will declare that the City charter is to be trumped by chaos and indecision as the order of the day, with laws then being whatever those in charge declare them to be for their cronies and friends on any given day. If Doug Mann loses, it will be a truly dark day for the future of Minneapolis and the tearing down of its historic legacy of standing for democracy and the people.
For Ron’s hosted show’s broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. For more on these concerns see our past columns on the Vikings and the Legislative Double cross, at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/2013/blogs/1304apr.htm.