Minutes - 11/2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007 3:10 PM

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DISTRICT 10 COMO COMMUNITY COUNCIL 

Board Meeting 

November 20, 2007, 7:00 p.m. 

Historic Streetcar Station 

1224 N. Lexington Parkway 

St. Paul, MN 

 

The agenda for the meeting and supporting materials were distributed to all directors at the start of 

the meeting.  The agenda and most supporting materials was distributed prior to the meeting as email 

attachments. 

Directors present:  David Arbeit, Sehoya Cotner, Greg Hrncirik, Jillian Ierien, Chai Insook, Mike 

MacDonald, John Marino, Marcy Micek, Dennis O’Rourke, Matt Schmitt, and Nathan Volz.   

Directors absent with notification: Sharon Frisell, Luke Kuhl, Nancy Sabin 

Directors absent without notification: Billy Dinkel 

Staff and guests present:  Sue McCall, Community Organizer, Dwight Nelson, California Area 

Residents’ Ad Hoc Committee, Bobbi Megard, League of Women Voters.    

BOARD SECTION 

1. Call to Order 

David Arbeit called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. 

Board members introduced themselves. 

 

2. Approve October Minutes 

David Arbeit asked for clarification on who was elected to which seats and what Luke Kuhl’s 

board term is.   

Action Item: Nathan said he would review his notes on Luke Kuhl’s term and follow up with the 

Board.  

 

Motion: Dennis O’Rourke made a motion to approve the minutes pending clarification of Luke’s 

term. Jillian Ierien seconded the motion. John Marino asked that the terms “East St. Paul” and 

“West St. Paul” in section 1 of the Community Section be changed to “east side of St. Paul” and 

“west side of St. Paul”, respectively. Nathan Volz moved to make that change plus correct the 

spelling of Mike Hahm’s name. Jillian Ierien seconded the amendment to the motion. The motion 

passed with unanimous approval. 

 

Approve November Agenda 

David Arbeit described how the board meetings are divided into a Community Section and Board 

Section. Nathan Volz read bylaws section relating to this. 

 

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Motion: Nathan Volz made a motion to approve the Board section of the agenda. Jillian Ierien 

seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

COMMUNITY SECTION  

1. California Ave. Area Residents’ Ad Hoc Committee Update 

Dwight Nelson, committee co-chair, asked to be allowed to present first, as he had another board 

meeting to attend. Bobbi Megard, who had been first on the agenda, agreed to the change. Nathan 

Volz moved to approve this agenda change. Jillian Ierien seconded the motion. The motion 

passed with unanimous approval. 

 

Dwight Nelson gave a brief history of the stores that have occupied the southwest corner of 

Lexington and Larpenteur avenues. When MGM Liquors moved into the spot in 1980, there was 

an agreement between MGM and the California Avenue neighbors regarding a fence to be 

constructed between MGM’s parking lot and the alley. On November 12, 2007 (Veteran’s Day), 

MGM took the fence down. Mr. Nelson referenced a letter (included in the Board packet) from 

the City of St. Paul to MGM, stating the MGM was in violation of city ordinance and ordering 

them to put up another fence. 

 

MGM has also purchased two houses on California Avenue (the fourth and fifth houses west of 

Lexington, which are lots 7 and 8 on the map included with the Board packet). Neighbors are 

concerned about MGM’s actions and its lack of consultation with neighbors. David Arbeit asked 

Mr. Nelson if he was comfortable with how things were going with MGM; Mr. Nelson replied 

“yes.” John Marino asked the other board members if MGM had ever contacted the board and 

asked to present their side of the story. No one could recall MGM ever making contact with the 

board or staff. Dennis O’Rourke asked Councilman Lee Helgen if the city is ready to take legal 

action if MGM violates other ordinances/laws; Mr. Helgen replied “yes”. Nathan Volz thanked 

Mr. Nelson for his work on this matter. 

 

2. Presentation by Bobbi Megard, League of Women Voters 

Ms. Megard distributed copies of the League of Women Voters August 2007 Report on the 

District Councils in St. Paul and described her background, especially as relates to district 

councils. The League of Women Voters (LWV) has been supportive of the district councils since 

1973, before they even existed. 

 

In 1994 the city of St. Paul eliminated the position of Citizen Participation Coordinator, which 

was created as an oversight to the councils. Since then there has been a decline in funding the 

district council system and a growing distance between the city and the district councils. The 

LWV was particularly troubled by the WESCO (West Side Citizens Organization) situation and 

the financial troubles in the Highland Park district council. 

 

As part of the LWV study, all the district councils were asked to submit their goals and 

objectives. Ms. Megard referred listeners to the section of the report showing what the districts 

provided. The report also made eight recommendations. Ms. Megard reviewed each: 

 

Boards should assume their fiscal responsibilities 

District councils must have an annual independent financial review – This is not a full- 

fledged audit. The LWV is asking the city to help with this. 

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The city should perform its perform its oversight function – The Department of Planning 

and Economic Development (PED) is responsible for getting information to district 

councils, but it is not doing this effectively. One reason is that the PED staff has been 

drastically cut. 

District councils should separate the administrative operations from the program 

operations. 

Communication to residents should be improved. 

Boards should reflect the residential and business composition of the neighborhoods – Ms. 

Megard suggested looking at bylaws to try to get business representation on the Board. 

Council Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws should be reviewed. 

Ongoing training boards, staff, and volunteers – The LWV is trying to find a way for the 

city of St. Paul to support the training of district councils. 

 

Ms. Megard pointed out that the city of St. Paul does not consider the district councils to be 

independent entities, though some councils believe themselves to be. District councils were 

created as planning districts in an advisory role, not as entities that can act completely 

independently. In addition, district council members can’t support political candidates in their 

role as council members, as this is a violation of IRS section 501c3 rules. Ms. Megard asked us 

to review our policies regarding partisan activities. 

 

On 11/14/07 the St. Paul City Council reviewed and prioritized 5 reports about district councils. 

The first priority is ongoing training for district councils. There will be a discussion about this at 

the 12/5/07 city council meeting. 

 

3. Neighborhood Honor Roll 

The Board reviewed the five nominees for the Neighborhood Honor Roll. David Arbeit asked 

how many people can be nominated. Sue McCall replied there are no rules set in stone. Mike 

MacDonald suggested sending all nominations up. Susan Jane Cheney and Deb Robinson read 

their nominations aloud. David O’Rourke and Deb Robinson, both nominees, asked that their 

nominations be withdrawn, as they have been nominated before. This left 3 nominees: Chet 

Mirocha, Sehoya Cotner, Josh Leonard. 

 

Motion: Jillian Ierien made a motion to forward the 3 nominees above to the city. Matt Schmitt 

seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

 

 BOARD SECTION 

 

1. Review and approve October financial report 

The Board reviewed the financial report. Sue McCall explained that our accountant had 

incorrectly put the Neighborhood Cleanup expenses on the report. Because they are a pass- 

through expense, Sue explained that they should be left off the report. There was general 

discussion and questions about the report. 

 

Action Item: Marcy will meet with Billy Dinkel and Sue McCall about how they could 

supplement the financial reports with information that would make them more meaningful. 

 

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Motion: Jillian Ierien made a motion to table approval of the October financial statement until 

Marcy, Billy, and Sue make clarifications to the report. Chai Insook seconded the motion. The 

motion passed with unanimous approval. 

 

2. Staff report, crime statistics 

The Board reviewed the reports. Matt Schmitt asked about Sue McCall’s role in attending 

meetings. Jillian Ierien stated that Sue is a resource for city issues. Marcy Micek asked if anyone 

from District 10 meets with other district councils. Sue McCall replied that the staff of the district 

councils meet monthly. David Arbeit asked that the discussion of coordination among district 

councils be put in the “parking lot”. Nathan Volz discussed Sue McCall’s accrued vacation 

liability. 

 

3. Committee chair elections and committee assignments   

David Arbeit discussed the progress the Communication Committee has made on the website. 

John Marino mentioned that we need to keep Tony Schapps, the website advisor, in the loop on 

any changes to the website.. 

 

Motion: Nathan Volz made a motion to appoint Mike MacDonald as chair of the Environment 

Committee. Jillian Ierien seconded the motion. The motion passed with unanimous approval. 

 

Greg Hrncirik offered his resignation from the Board effective 11/28/07. He is willing to stay on 

as a Crime Prevention Committee member and described what the committee chair role entails. 

He will also contribute an article for the newsletter. 

 

Jillian Ierien asked if the Events and Institutions Committee is a standing or ad hoc committee. 

Nathan Volz replied that it is an ad hoc committee that the Board voted to extend last year. He 

stated that Ad Hoc Committees have a time limit of one year and can be co-chaired by a board 

member and a non-board member. He asked that it be put on the agenda for the December Board 

meeting as it needs to be extended if continuing in 2008. 

 

4. Board orientation and planning retreat 

David Arbeit asked that each Board member review the Board Manual Sue McCall created for 

each of us. He further stated that the Executive Committee decided to hold a Board retreat on a 

Sunday, and that attendance would be required. After discussion, it was decided to hold the 

retreat from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. 

 

Motion: Marcy Micek made a motion to hold the Board retreat from noon to 4:00 p.m. on 

Sunday, December 9 at the Streetcar Station. Matt Schmitt seconded the motion. The motion 

passed with unanimous approval. 

 

5. Review and adopt financial policy  

This item was tabled. 

 

Action item: Each Board member should review the policy and send comments to the Executive 

Committee before the next Executive Committee meeting (12/5/07). 

 

6. Discussion of 2008 work plan, goals and objectives 

This item was tabled. 

 

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 Action item: Each Board member should review the 2007 work plan (tab 9 of the Board Manual) 

and send comments to the Executive Committee before the next Executive Committee meeting 

(12/5/07). 

 

7. 2008 Budget 

 This item was tabled. Sue stated that there has been no progress on the goal of expanding the 

Board’s diversity. She also reminded the Board that the financial policy should be adopted by the 

end of the year. 

 

8. Other  

 Marcy Micek asked that future agendas have times assigned to each item. 

 

9. Adjourn 

 The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m. 

 

Minutes submitted by Marcy Micek 

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

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