We received the latest Appeals Court ruling on Monday. It can be found here. It is a very interesting and exciting ruling. Before we get into any of the details we wanted to take a quick step back to review where we are.
With your help we fulfilled the requirements of a charter amendment and submitted the records to the city. The City Clerk affirmed that it met the requirements defined in the charter. The Charter Committee voted unanimously to accept it. The council then voted against it arguing it was preempted by statute, was manifestly unconstitutional, and was an improper referendum.
Since then we've had many court rulings and with each one we get closer to affirming our position - we have the right and ability to bring forth a charter amendment where the citizens of Bloomington can vote on a charter amendment of whether or not the citizens can have voice in the matter of organized collection. The State Supreme Court found that our ability to make a charter amendment in the field of organized collection was not preempted by statute.
Monday's ruling did two very important things. It found our proposed charter amendment to be constitutional. So now the proposed charter amendment is both constitutional and not preempted by statute. The courts have now found the city erred on two counts. This ruling also affirmed/exposed that the city's contract with the consortium of haulers ended on March 1, 2017 due to a clause the city included in the contract. Let's repeat, THERE IS NO CONTRACT BETWEEN THE CITY AND THE HAULERS! There hasn't been one since March 1, 2017. What does this mean? It could mean the haulers stop collecting residential waste and recycling tomorrow. It could mean haulers might solicit for new customers. It could mean everything stays the same. It could mean any number of things. Ultimately we don't know, but it is a very big deal and the city council is having a special closed council meeting on Thursday because of the ruling.
The other finding by the Appeals Court on Monday was that the Charter Amendment was an "improper referendum." This ruling means that the city has lost on each and every argument in this case, except this one.
We aren't going to discuss our potential actions at this time because we need to discuss further as a group and with our legal counsel. We maintain our belief that we have the right, the merit, and the ability to bring forth a charter amendment on organized collection so the citizens of Bloomington can have a real voice in the matter. We're curious as to what the city's action(s) will be in regard to this ruling especially noting the lack of contract and the special council meeting on Thursday. Please note, there is 30 days to petition the Supreme Court for review.
June 20th, 2018
Supreme Court Victory! What does it mean?
The Supreme Court vindicated the position we had from the beginning (in a unanimous decision) that we as citizens in a charter city have a right and are able to have a real say in our government. The Court determined that charter rights are not preempted by the statute in organized collection. It is a win for local control and is a win for our city whether it fits the council's and city manager's agenda or not. The council should have been the ones standing up for local control and city rights, but instead chose to argue against their own authority. We can do better. We should do better.
The ruling was reversed and remanded. The reversed portion of the ruling was preemption discussed above. Remand means the Supreme Court is directing the Appeals Court to review two items previously unaddressed by the Appeals Court. The arguments are the city's claiming our petition to be "manifestly unconstitutional" and an "improper referendum." These items were addressed in District Court in Judge Moreno's ruling. The manifestly unconstitutional argument was ruled against and the improper referendum was effectively cited against because there wasn't adequate enough briefing to address the claim. The Appeals Court now needs to review and assess the District Court ruling on those two items. We're waiting on the court's response and are hopeful it will be timely. The ruling will determine the next steps.
We need to congratulate and thank our attorney Gregory Joseph of Halper and Joseph, PLLC for all of his efforts in this. A Supreme Court win is a big deal! Many of you may recall that he was a Bloomington resident at the time this all began...Congrats Greg!
We also want to congratulate and thank all of the fellow petitioners and all others who believe in charter authority and citizen involvement in governance. This would never have happened without you!
The HOOC Crew
May 1st, 2018
Fellow Bloomington Residents,
We have been silent lately. That doesn't mean we gave up and went away. It simply means that we were busy on working on this as well as keeping busy with life. Now we have big news to share as the efforts we made are coming to fruition.
We stated a long time ago that we'd be taking this to its logical conclusion. We are essentially there. Late last fall we petitioned the Minnesota Supreme Court to review our case and recently received news that they picked up our case.
We are going to the Supreme Court!
There a few steps in the court process that will play out over the next several weeks. Once those are complete oral arguments will be scheduled (potentially around the April time frame).
We have reached the high court of the land and what they rule will determine the final outcome of the entire process. They will determine whether or not citizens of a charter city with defined initiative and referendum processes are able to be involved in the process.
We will be back in touch once the oral arguments are scheduled to pass that info along.
Best Regards and Thank you for your continued support,
On Tuesday, July 19th, 2016 we filed suit against the City of Bloomington essentially standing up against the usurpation of our charter defined right of charter amendment. Recently we (all of us - the 2,500+ petition signatories) submitted a sufficient charter amendment petition. The petition was recognized as sufficient both by the charter commission and the city clerk.
On Monday, June 27, 2016 the city attorney gave an "opinion" that the city council chose to follow (or maybe it could've been the mayor's opinion that was previously given to legal counsel...who knows what happens behind closed doors). Regardless, our case will be argued in court. It is Hennepin County District Court case number 27-CV-16-10786. We'll keep you updated as to the hearing schedule and will invite all of you to attend as this case is about our collective (all the citizens) charter defined right to petition the city. This isn't about trash. This could limit the ability of any future citizen charter petition.
The night the mayor and council chose to reject our sufficient petition the mayor also chose to confront us in the city hall parking lot. He rolled up in his car starting off with, "Really guys! Really?!" We're not sure what his point was other than to essentially try to intimidate us into possibly shrinking away, but he definitely didn't stop by to say that he was happy we're engaged and using the processes defined in the charter. It was at best disappointing to see that type of action from someone that is supposed to represent the people...ALL of the people as well as the charter. Regardless, it was very poor form from the mayor. We'd like a public apology for whatever it was he was attempting to do in the parking lot.
We're not interested in politicians that appear to just pass down edicts likely originating from the Met Council, League of Cities, et al. We're interested in what is best for Bloomington. People of Bloomington can and should decide what is best for Bloomington and need to stand up to misguided politicians that want to remake Bloomington into a smaller Minneapolis. We're perfectly happy to be Bloomington.
Stay tuned for the court schedule and in the meantime please stay/get involved. Attend the various meetings and provide input. Fill out the surveys and remember if you don't see the answer you want to give, always click other and write in your thoughts. Contact your reps (elected as well as candidates). Governance works best when the maximum amount of people are involved in decisions, not the minimum.
Monday (June 27, 2016) Bloomington City Council rejected your petition for Charter Amendment to bring Organized Collection to the ballot despite its sufficiency and the fact that we had surpassed the minimum number of signature requirement as mandated by City Charter (our constitution) - disregarding your voice.
Our city councilmen think getting re-elected last November was confirmation that they have the majority behind them. They say they have more e-mails and phone calls from the folks who want them to take over Trash Collection for all of us.
Well we don’t believe it. Getting re-elected in a low turnout year is not an indication of majority support for Organized Collection.
All we ever wanted was to bring this to the ballot for everyone to vote. All we want is for this City Council to uphold the City Charter and listen to its residents, listen to you.
Why is City Council so afraid to let you vote? If they are so confident that they are on the right side of the issue and the majority is behind them then let us vote on it. Let us see where the true majority is.
Let us do this the democratic way. Let us vote.
It is not over. We are reviewing our next steps. We will keep you all posted.
In the meantime, if you feel compelled, please send an e-mail to your councilman and mayor telling them you want to VOTE on Organized Collection. Be sure to copy us at info@HandsOffOurCans.com or forward us the e-mail you sent to them.
You can find their e-mail and phone number here
Show Up! Stand Up! Attend the Council Meeting on Monday, June 27, 2016
Just a few days ago the people of the UK showed the world that they wanted to again enjoy self-rule. It was a huge step and simply reflects the nature of the times. We are living in a time of political turmoil where politicians and the political class think they are entitled to dictate every measure of your life. They think they are smarter than you, that you just don't get it, or because some outside group and/or lobbyist helped to convince them that there are reasons to go against the will of the people. The UK showed us that the voice of the people is alive and well. The problem is that the political class doesn't get it. They still think they can make an unpopular decision, ram it down our throats, and expect to get reelected next time around.
With your help we recently submitted our charter amendment petition. It will be recognized as sufficient by the city on Monday, June 27th. Immediately after they recognize it, the mayor, council, city attorney, and city manager are planning on throwing it out. They are planning on using stale arguments of no real merit and will even probably try to claim they are doing what is right. Read More...
As you know Charter Amendment petition was submitted to the charter commission secretary along with the city clerk on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016. Charter Commission (which includes Councilman Jack Baloga) is scheduled to meet on June 9, 2016, at 7:00 PM in Bloomington City Hall, Haeg Conference Room to review our petition.
Despite that the City Council has decided to publish an announcement in June Bloomington Briefing that government-run garbage collection is on track and will begin this fall. It seems their minds are already made up.
How disingenuous. Will this City Council ever hear its residents? Or for that matter adhere to the Charter by which it is supposed to govern?...Read More...
Charter Amendment petition was submitted to the charter commission secretary along with the city clerk on Wednesday, May 18th, 2016. Our petition consisted of 285 pages and contained more than 2,500 signatures. This is 45% more signatures than the 1,730 needed for sufficiency. Read More...
With the charter amendment petition we passed an interesting milestone - we have collected more signatures with our petitions than the mayor received votes in the last election.
We are prepared to continue the fight and escalate as necessary.
Thanks for your continued support.
The ruling on our lawsuit came in late on Monday (April 2, 2016). The city is claiming victory (and truth be told the judge ruled against our code initiative petition), but we believe they are doing a premature victory dance. The ruling is a huge win for the citizens!
It is a win for the citizens because the basis of the city's argument was that we had no ability to petition the city on this matter. The judge said otherwise.
The judge stated "If Plaintiffs wish to re-define the powers of the city council, they are free to seek amendment of the charter." Or in other words, we have the right and the ability to petition the city. Read More...
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