Swiftboating in Forest Lake!, Part Dew

lauren bacallThis story about Forest Lake “Swiftboaters For Non-Truth” gets more and more bizarre each and every day. I’ve spent a little time on the phone with the Forest Lake Times, and I would have to physically drive on up and sit in their Archives Room to look up anymore data on the subject. Which, as it appears now, seems to be nothing less than a couple of right-wing wack-jobs getting together with a sore-looser of a mayor, Terry Smith.

I dug through the City Council’s meetings archives, banging names against their servers and found bits and scraps of information. I found lots of great information right from the Forest Lake Times themselves, which appears to be a far more upstanding newspaper than the St Paul Pioneer Press could accomplish. Perhaps the Forest Lake Times could send a few of their journalists down to the St Paul Pi-Press and engage in some kind of “mentorship program”.

Better to look at the cast of characters in the story. The story folds together nicely if you want to go on along with my “Humble Opinion”. However, I could only imagine how much more information I could find if some newspaper wanted to give me a few dollars for my gasoline and perhaps a lunch. But for now, it’s chicken-broth and a cucumber sandwich and a search archive on the Forest Lake Times website.

The wholistic picture appears to be a rather simplistic story, with an aweful lot of tragedy being drug along with it as time goes on. What set this whole thing off is a letter that was written by Dawn Nelson and Andy Meyer to the Forest Lake Times in early April. Since I can’t get access to the letter on-line, I can only surmise some of the content of that letter. The letter complained about religious intolerance in the Forest Lake Area School Districts spoken from the point of view of a mother who’s child has been bullied in school. In one article from the Forest Lake Times, it stated that the letter they wrote made allegations against Mr. Stegner, but nothing specific was listed. I’ll be cautious here, less I mix up two different stories, but there was also in incident in the Forest Lake School District were it appears that a fifteen year old boy committed suicide because of bullying on April 15th. What the connection between the two are, I don’t know.

The letter that launched the Stegner Swiftboating party notfascist fries only made allegations against Stev Stegner, but it also caused enough of a rift within the community that caused open-door meetings for the townsfolk to get together and discuss. On May 10, 2006, this appeared in the Forest Lake Times:

Items to be discussed include the accusations made by Dawn Nelson and Andy Meyer in recent letters to the editor of the Forest Lake Times. Also to be discussed is the FLCA plan to conduct a city-wide “what do you think” survey of city residents. The FLCA would like input from residents on survey questions.

That’s one whopper of a letter! And, I couldn’t imagine what these bizee-bee’s said in it.

One thing is for certain; Andy Meyer is a bit of a wacko who was hoping to draw some attention to herself because of her faith. The vehicle to get that attention turned out to be Stev Stegner. She, or her colleague Dawn Nelson, called Stev hoping to discuss school bullying and religious intolerance, and she set out to get rid of him as a Mayoral candidate by smearing him with three pieces of mis-information (a.k.a. “Swiftboating”) him: a.) She started the rumor about Stev’s racial heritage at the Supply Store, then b.) she ramped up the swiftboating by starting the rumor that he had a sexual encounter with a teenaged girl who was of Middle Eastern descent, and just to make sure her swiftboating would attract as much attention as possible, and finally she c.) claimed Stev also had direct contact with Zacharias Moussaoui.

Dawn Nelson and Andy Meyer, since that letter appeared inlight beer the Forest Lake Times newspaper in April, both became heavily involved with the local city’s Human Rights Counsil. Their first appearance was on April 20th, where the City Council’s notes show that the city seems to have arrived that there is a problem with racism.

5.) In the course of discussing HR issues in the School District and how the HRC and School District might jointly approach these, Steve Massey declared that the Number 1 problem in the Forest Lake School District was not drugs, but racism.

Odd, don’t you think? Andy Meyer and Dawn Nelson complain about religious intolerance, make an allegation about Stev Stenger, complaining about bullying and here they go off with their own bullying… “Jews for Jesus style”.

Duck UnlimitedSince that original meeting on April 20th, both Andy Meyer and Dawn Nelson appear in almost every single Human Rights Council meeting held in Forest Lake. In October 2006, an opening came about with an empty position on the HRC committe by which Dawn Nelson, among others applied for the position. One November 26th, the St Paul Pioneer Dispatch piece showed up in print and the following day, Forest Lake Mayor Terry Smith named Ms. Nelson as the new HRC committe member. Stev Stegner, already declared the winner in the Mayoral Race objected to the appointment to the position until Ms. Nelson’s involvement with the Swiftboating could be clarified, one way or the other. Mayor Smith ignored Stegner’s objection and named Nelson to the point – after all, what does he care? …He’s leaving anyway! The most interesting part of the article is this:

One of the subjects named in the story is Forest Lake resident Andy Meyer. Her role in the episode is being reviewed.

She is a friend of Dawn Nelson.

During the council meeting Nelson stated that “If my association with Andy Meyer is a problem, everyone here is guilty. I really enjoy being a part of the commission and I’ve missed no meetings except the closed ones.”

Jeannette Wallen, a member of the Human Rights Council, spoke up against the nomination and sided with Stegner’s objections in naming Nelson to the position. The City of Forest Lake makes the note that when the vote was taken, Ms. Judy Bull was the only one who sided with Wallen and Stegner and voted against the nomination. I that was odd and had to look it up in the City’s Meetings in the archive and the council had taken a break, Ms. Wallen and Mr. Stegner had left during that break (really pissed off?!) and when the roll-call for the vote was called, Ms. Bull was the only one who voted against it.

Primate OneThe first time Stev Stegner appears in the Forest Lake Times is when he applied and was interviewed for a position on the Forest Lake City Council on April 5th. He wasn’t picked, Mayor Terry Smith appointed Greg Ochs to the position instead. Sufficit to say; Mayor Terry Smith does NOT like Stev Stegner and has hated disliked him since 4/5/06.

Who’s the only wild-card in this party: Anne R. Gabriel. Originally, I thought she was simply part of the little “buzee-bee” group of clucking hens who hated Stev Stegner for some obsolete or irrelevant reason. Ooops…My bad! Ms. Gabriel, and her husband Pat, are both very active in the Forest Lake Community, and seeing her face pop in and out of city counsel meetings or political rallies is nothing new. She appears to be compassionate about her community and I find little wrong with that.

For example, last April (2006), State Senator Michele Bachmann was getting her ass handed to her in the Senate ondoggie goggles a bill that would include a Minnesota Constitution marriage bill. The bill, requiring all marriages be nothing more than one chick and one dick, got slapped down by a birage of gay and gay friendly testimonies in front of the Senate floor. Most noteably, was Michele Bachmann’s step-sister who’s been in a committed relationship with her life partner for some 15 years. The Forest Lake Times looked at this story and went to their own local “political activist” Anne R. Gabriel and both she and her husband came out swinging against it.

Heterosexual couples, such as Pat and Anne Gabriel of Forest Lake, came to the Capitol to show their opposition, too.

The Gabriels believe it’s important people realize that not everyone in the suburbs agree with Sen. Michele Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and other lawmakers.

“I think there are lots of people (who disagree),” Anne Gabriel said.

“Not everyone supports Michele Bachmann on this amendment,” Pat Gabriel said.

The Gabriels cite civil rights issues in the past as comparable to the struggles they see confronting gays and lesbians

“It’s a matter of acceptance, Pat Gabriel said. Acceptance can take time, he said.

condi civil ear

This was the more glaring piece of evidence that I came across that tells me Ms. Gabriel wasn’ part of the Stegner Swiftboat Party. She is guilty, however, of not being able to choose her battles very well. Swiftboating Stegner was poorly slopped together and as active as Ms. Gabriel has been in Forest Lake City Counsel meetings, she should have known who the winners are and who the loosers will be in that battle.I think I can put a fairly good picture of this Swiftboat Stegner attempt.

Ehem…

Andy Meyer and Dawn Nelson, for whatever reason, wrote a letter of complaint about school bullying and religious intolerance the Forest Lake School District. Two weeks later (April 20th), Stev Stegner appeared to apply for the position on the Forest Lake City Council. Along with 10 other Forest Lake citizens, Stegner has somehow raised the hackles of these two women who look to have put pression on Mayor Smith to pick Greg Ochs for the position.

Chuckie GeorgieMr. Stegner makes a few appearances at City Council meetings, along with a few Human Rights Council meetings since April 20th, along with Andy Meyer and Dawn Nelson. Andy and Dawn, not liking the idea that Stegner might run for Mayor, took matters in their own hands. Ms. Meyer runs into the Winnick’s Supply Store muttering jibberish about Stegner’s ethnicity being of Middle Eastern heritage. Ben Winnick, who is Jewish and who’s store is across the street from Stev Stegner’s printing business, thinks Andy Meyer is a wee bit of a wack job and ignores her.

Meyer decides that isn’t enough and ramps up the Swiftboating by calling Stev Stegner himself on Dawn Nelson’s phone to ask Mr. Stegner to meet with her at the Holy Land Restaurant in Minneapolis. Stegner, thinking somethings not quite right, takes his buddy Jim Heck (who is listed to attend city council meetings on a regular basis, by the way). Taking her camera and her friend Dawn with her, she heads to the Holy Land restaurant to begin the photography portion of the Swiftboating.

Finding that Stegner isn’t alone, she panics and either herself or her friend jumps into a burkah and approach the two men to explain why Andy couldn’t make it to the meeting. The attempt to frame him falls apart, at least not nearly as well as they had hoped. So, they returned back to Forest Lake to begin talking the rumor up that:

a.) Stev Stegner is a Middle Eastern decent.

b.) Stev Stegner is a Muslim.

c.) Stev Stegner has had sexual relations with a minor.

d.) Stev Stegner was directly connected to Zacharias Moussaoui.

Enter the professional publicist and entrepreneur; Anne Gabriel. Not realizing what kind of botched job this Swiftboating was going to be happening, Gabriel asks Meyer and Nelson to produce the teenaged girls so she can “get to the bottom” of the story. While Gabriel is interviewing the girls, she notes a few things:

a.) The girls have broken English, but the accent is suspect.

b.) The girls’ background story is more than suspect – it’s down right stupid.

c.) The girls, in spite of their difficulties with English, Gabriel notes that they have a thourough handle of conversant English, i.e., “Escalate”.

Andy Meyer, seeing that Gabriel is getting suspicious, wheels herself on into the living room where the interview is taking place and whips out her photographs. One of the stupidest move in the entire charade, I might add.

Once the St Paul Pioneer Press gets wind of this story, more and more of it becomes unraveled. Andy Meyer bails on everybody by claiming the girls disappeared into Milwaukee and that her only involvement is to translate in Aramaic. Another completely idiotic mistake in the Swiftboating.

The following day, the City Council meets to name Dawn Nelson on the Human Rights Council. Stegner notes that Meyer’s collaborator, Sarah Goldberg a.k.a. Rebecca Zolinger (names that are non-existant people), called him a few times and the phone number on his caller I.D. was the same phone number he received at the very begining of the charade when originally invited to the Holy Land Restaurant. With that, he notes that Dawn Nelson is suspect and objects to the nomination along with Ms. Wallen. The meeting got heated with Dawn Nelson exploding and claiming that if “she’s guilty…then everybody on this council is guilty” and that’s when the meeting adjorns for a break. Stegner and Wallen leave, Mayor Terry Smith is a sore looser anyway, and when they reconvene, they vote 4 to 1 (with Judy Bull FruitFly 6objecting).

I give my best of luck to Mr. Stegner, who will have to deal with Dawn Nelson on that committe for the next few years.

I would strongly suggest that there be some form of law enforcement agency to investigate the issue. We have an allegation of sexual activity with a minor and we very clearly have a case of slander and defamation of character while using teenaged minors as witnesses to the slander.

There you have it… Good luck to all of them!

The Fruit Fly

Racism Is Fun! …Apparently.

Glenn BeckYesterday, Rep-Elect Keith Ellison (DFL-MN 5th Cong Dist) was interviewed on CNN Headline News by Glenn Beck. I have a hard time trying to figure out how Glenn Beck brings anything newsworthy, let alone him being on Headline News. In that conversation, Glenn Beck said to Mr.  Ellison:

“OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. I’ve been to mosques. I really don’t believe that Islam is a religion of evil. I — you know, I think it’s being hijacked, quite frankly.

With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, “Let’s cut and run.” And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, “Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.”

And I know you’re not. I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.”

Glenn Beck finishes the interview by pointing to the to number of Somalian immigrants that live in this district, hinting that the Congressman owes his newly elected position to them. He says: “I understand that. And I’m not asking you to. I’m wondering if you see that. You come from a district that is heavily immigrant with Somalians. And I think it’s wonderful, honestly, I think it is really a good sign that you are a — you could be an icon to show Europe, this is the way you integrate into a country. I think the Somalians coming out and voting is a very good thing. With that –“

No RoomOkay Mr. Beck, let’s put some facts on the table. Because it’s obvious that a.) you’re not a journalist – you are however, an idiot and b.) trying to paint the idea that Keith Ellison is a product from the “ghetto hood” makes you a freaking racist.

Fact: 75% of the population of Minnesota’s 5th District is White. Black and/or African American’s in this district constitutes 12% of the population. And of that population, only 11% are foreign born. Hinting that Keith’s district is because of the Somalian population is rediculous.

Fact:56% of the population of the 5th Congressional District voted for Keith Ellison. The Independant, Tammy Lee received 21% and the Republican candidate came in 3rd place.
Fact: Aside from Minneapolis itself, the 5th Congressional District includes affluent suburbs, including Richfield, Golden Valley, St Louis Park as well as blue collar communities such as Fridley, Crystal, Robbinsdale and New Hope.

Fact: Both of us voted for Ellison and we’re both white crackers.

Let’s all leave Glenn Beck and his racist (and homophobic) self aside and laugh at him for who and what he is…on “Headline News”, of all things.

Here in the 5th District, we have an internal fight going on with an African-American man (Chris Stewart) who is on the Minneapolis SchoolTammy Lee Board put up a webpage that parodies the Independant Party candidate Tammy Lee. Personally, I think it’s hysterical because the author does an excellent job at pointing out some interesting facts of his own. And, he deserves the right to make fun of those facts.

Fact: ReNae Bowman (DFL), Mayor of Crystal (white), Mike Holtz (DFL) Mayor of Robbinsdale (white) and Gary Peterson (DFL), Mayor of Columbia Heights all crossed party lines by endorsing the Independant condidate Tammy Lee (who is…of course, white). While we’re pointing out white people, let us no forget that Hennipen County Sherrif Pat McGowan (white) and Hennipen County Commissioner Linda Kloblick (white) also endorsed “the pretty white chick” instead of Keith Ellison.

Fact: Both the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the St Paul Pioneer Press ran a number of articles supporting Tammy Lee in the tones that made it appear that Keith Ellison’s lead up to the election would be handidly loss to her. I don’t need to point out that the Editorial Staff of both newspapers are white.
Fact: Keith Ellison is pro-Gay Marriage, while Tammy Lee wasn’t. Tammy Lee was pro-Same Sex Unions! And, the GLBT magazine of the Twin Cities Lavendar Magazine endorsed the “pretty white girl” instead of the DFL candidate who is a better fit for gays and lesbians throughout the United States!

The best part of that website is where he spoofs Tammy Lee saying we need more Appplebees and less Kentucky Fried Chicken if you know what I mean…. I was laughing my head off! That’s some pretty funny stuff.

Chris StewartNow, white people every where are ticked off… “How dare he do this!!” Now Chris Stewart has apologized, why I don’t know, but that isn’t good enough. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has announced that they think Stewart should resign from the school board!

“Just after last week’s election, before new board members take their seats, the DFL team suffered a setback. After the votes were counted, it came to light that Stewart helped design a racist, sexist website about a Fifth District congressional candidate. Stewart should step down. Though he has apologized, the site was so egregious we worry about his judgment and effectiveness in leading a district that has some racial healing to do.”

I don’t think Stewart should have to apologize anymore than Santa has to apologize for leaving lumps of coal in the Star Tribune’s stocking. Who’s got the racial problem here? I don’t think it’s Stewart!

Does the Star Tribune complain about South Park’s character “Chef” who calls the four little boys his “Favorite Crackers”.

Keith Ellison’s election seems to have brought out the worse in everybody. Glenn Beck is a stupid racist homophobic little pig, enough said. And, it should be Mayor Bowman, Mayor Holtz and Mayor Peterson should be the ones to apologize to both Keith Ellison and the DFL party. If they like the pretty white girl and her party’s stand on issues, they should get the hell out of the DFL party and get saddled up with the Independants.

I’m proud to have voted for Keith Ellison and I’m one of Chef’s “Favorite Little Crackers” too.

Fruit Fly