From: Ted Hazelton
On June 1, 2020, a slim majority of City Council members (4 - 3) voted for the Broadway “road diet” fiasco. This was a hotly debated topic by the citizens of Winona and a majority of Winonan’s oppose this, but the council majority pushed this through anyway. The main reason it passed was the allure of “free money” in the form of grants from the government. There is no such thing as “free money;” it all comes from the same source — us taxpayers! It was disingenuous of certain council members to say that. After some research, I found three ways to get this bad decision overturned:
1. Any citizen can file a petition with the City Council to reconsider this action. It must be signed by at least 10 percent of eligible voters. However, this would have to be done within 90 days, and that is not possible as the time frame is over.
2. Any citizen can file an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals. However, this must also be done within 90 days. Additionally, there is a $500 filing fee and an attorney would be needed.
3. Any new council member can file a “notice of intent to rescind” after they are sworn in and seated. Steve Young and Aaron Repinski can do this during the “Council Concerns” section of a City Council meeting. There is now a majority to back them up with Michelle Alexander and George Borzyskowski.
This is the best option to get this terrible decision overturned. I myself filed a “notice of intent to rescind” when I was on the School Board. The prior board voted to build a bus turn around and unloading area behind the high school. Because I took action, the decision was overturned and saved taxpayers over $350,000. It worked!
Why bring this up now? At the last council meeting, city manager Steve Sarvi asked for a “pre-council” meeting to discuss this with the new council members to see where they want to go with this project. This seems interesting to have a meeting before the actual meeting to go over this. The public can’t comment about this, and pre-council meetings are not televised either.
The original vote on this matter was a little suspicious, as well. Council members Pam Eyden and Paul Schollmeier were actively lobbying for this in letters to the editor and publicly declaring their intent to vote for this. All before the public comment time was up. As avid bicyclists, they had a clear conflict of interest and were biased. These two had already made their minds up without any regard to what the majority of the public wanted. Unfortunately our new mayor, Scott Sherman, supports this nonsense.
Broadway does not have a design issue. Improvements have been made (intersection lighting, speed signs, and pedestrian flashing lights), and they are working. Accidents have been dramatically reduced. There are more pressing issues to spend money on in Winona. This is a solution looking for a problem. I encourage our new council members, along with Alexander and Borzyskowski, to vote for overturning the Broadway decision. It’s long overdue, and a majority of citizens support this.