CJAB Meeting 9-16-21 Minutes
September 16, 2021
Attendees: Adri Arquin, Alice Wagner-Hemstad, Audel Shokohzadeh, Cheng Vang, Janiece Watts, Kathleen Bacigalupi, May Yang-Lee, Melissa Wenzel, Patty Selly, Paul Barral, Robert Blake, Dominique Diaddigo-Cash
Staff: Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer and Carlos Albornoz, Outreach Coordinator, Mayor’s Office.
6:00-6:15 Introduction and Ice Breaker
6:15-7:30 Line 3/Lobbying Discussion
- Louis voiced opinion that CJAB not have discussion around lobbying and instead hold position that line 3 comments were appropriate. Patty seconded this sentiment adding on that if CJAB can’t comment on issues like this then fundamentally there isn’t much the board can actually do.
- Russ spoke highlighting that CJAB was created to help city and implement better climate justice policies.
- Russ also spoke on line three issue:
- First point being that Line 3 is an issue outside of City of Saint Paul so therefore outside of the CJAB’s purview
- Second point was difference between advising and lobbying. By suggesting that council vote a particular way on this issue, that then crossed the line into lobbying
- Had CJAB advised on line 3 issue during permitting process that would have been advising but because it happened so late it was the interpreted by city attorney as lobbying.
- In the future Russ will reach out to attorneys ahead of time if there is any doubt.
- Dominique motioned that CJAB suspend until lobbying definition is clear. He later withdrew it.
- Melissa spoke to how she held reservations about CJAB supporting line 3 resolution and then spoke to how difficult it is to draw line of what is in purview of CJAB.
- Audel spoke as to how difficult it is to find line on what s in purview of CJAB and then letting the public know what CJAB can and can’t do. Also voiced opposition to stopping meetings due to uncertainty surrounding that.
- Nick voiced support for Melissa in the fact that focusing on line 3 so heavily takes away from the CJAB’s ability to do other work.
- Janiece clarified that the CJAB is still able to state its opinion on issues and that the line is crossed when CJAB asked the city council to pass a particular resolution
- Dominique spoke saying that what CJAB legally under Minnesota law is not lobbying. Bob then echoed this.
- Various board members asked to have City Attorney attend next meeting to help clarify. Russ said he was going to work on that.
- Patty added that it would be beneficial for the City Attorney to clarify what it means to advise the city council/mayor.
- Dominique and Janiece spoke to how CJAB exists to impact city policy around Climate Justice issues not passively watch.
- Patty spoke to how if the City Council can “slap us on the hand” like this, can’t they hypothetically do this repeatedly. Also suggested we create relationship with City Council members, i.e meeting.
- Russ suggested that Attorney comes to next meeting as well as provide CJAB with a memo. Added in response to Patty that having three council members or more at a meeting is a quorum and must be made publicly available.
Meeting Adjourned 7:30