Freshman Republican Representative Roz Peterson held a property tax listening session in Burnsville earlier this week. She advertised the public event through her official legislative email, her official Facebook page, and in the local paper.
But then, at the event, they kicked a person affiliated with ABM out of the event.
Kicking attendees out of a public event is not allowed, as you can probably guess. There’s a simple explanation for the difference between public and private events, and who can or cannot attend. If an event is public and has been advertised as such, anyone can attend. No questions asked. If it’s a private event, meaning the space has been rented and paid for by a private group or individual, then they can dictate who can and cannot attend. See? Simple.
Roz Peterson advertised her listening session as a public event, but then at the door, Rep. Steve Drazkowski treated it like a private event, deciding who could and could not enter.
The crazy part of this story is that it’s not the first time Roz Peterson conducted public official business in secrecy. As the outgoing chairwoman of the Lakeville School Board, Peterson tallied votes for the next chair at a secret meeting not disclosed to the public.
The Star Tribune wrote:
Holding a private or secret school board vote is a violation of state law, said Bill Kautt, associate director of management services at the Minnesota School Boards Association.
“The votes have to be public and recorded for that purpose, the way I look at it,” Kautt said. “It must be recorded how they vote.”
One local parent, Jackie Craig, told the Star Tribune:
“It’s, like, are you kidding me?” she said. “This is a group of grown, professional people. You have to be able to vote out loud.”
Now, in her first year in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Roz is under fire for holding another secret meeting.
This begs the age old question: What is she hiding? Why doesn’t Peterson want to hold public meetings and do her public service actually in front of the public?
Or, are we all in for two years of Roz Peterson holding secret meetings to hide from the public?