Minneapolis superintendent candidate Paez facing tough questions from community

Sergio Paez
Courtesy of Minneapolis Public Schools
Sergio Paez

It ain’t over yet for embattled Minneapolis superintendent candidate Sergio Paez. MPR’s Matt Sepic writes, “The Minneapolis School Board’s top pick for superintendent is in town answering questions from parents and other community members, three weeks after the board suspended contract negotiations with him. … Members voted to hire Sergio Paez in early December, but that same week the Boston-based Disability Law Center issued a report alleging widespread physical abuse of special needs students at a school in Paez’s old district.”

Meanwhile, the occupant of the job on the east side of the river is off to a rocky 2016. The Pioneer Press’ Josh Verges reports, “Hours after taking their oaths of office Tuesday, the new majority on the St. Paul school board demanded fast action on improving school safety, student achievement and other goals. … It didn’t go over so well with their top employee, superintendent Valeria Silva. … ‘I’m not upset about the (agenda) … but the reality is I don’t like surprises,’ she said.”

Always be careful about what you write in an email — especially if your email is subject to the Data Practices Act. Rachel Stassen-Berger’s latest column looks at some, at the very least, poorly chosen words by a PCA staffer: “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has repeatedly said he supports the proposed Sandpiper pipeline, which would bring North Dakota oil across northern Minnesota to Wisconsin. … But emails from Scott Lucas, a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency staffer assisting in the environmental review of the Sandpiper project, are raising questions about that. … In 2014, Lucas suggested that a group of activists read an environmental report on the Keystone pipeline, noting, ‘This … could be a very useful tool for us to use when making our case against Sandpiper in this area of the state.’ … In an August email, he asked the same group whether there was ‘much BS on behalf of Enbridge’ during a public meeting regarding the Enbridge-led pipeline project.”

You expect this story to be crazy in a predictable way but then it veers into totally unexpected territory. The Brainerd Dispatch’s Zach Kayser and Chelsey Perkins write (at length): “Roughly 200 people turned out to a Baxter church Tuesday to see a speaker critical of refugee resettlement in the United States. … Ron Branstner, a former member of the Minutemen militia in California, staged a presentation on the perils that refugee resettlement and illegal immigration posed at the The Journey North Community Church. … Branstner, who said he aligned with neither political party, equated refugee resettlement to human trafficking. His 2½-hour presentation made the case that money flowing between the federal government and nongovernmental organizations maintained a system of modern-day slavery by which refugees and illegal immigrants are exploited, while U.S. taxpayers pick up the tab.”

Minnesota has one of the shortest statutes of limitations for bringing rape cases. Vox’s Emily Crockett analyzed laws across the nation: “The recent criminal charges against Bill Cosby are sparking a debate over the statute of limitations for rape and sexual assault. Some argue that imposing a deadline on when charges can be filed hurts victims and impedes justice, while others say statutes of limitations are a necessary protection for the rights of the accused. … Either way, one thing is clear: Where you live makes a huge difference in when, and whether, you can seek justice for an old case of sexual assault. Statutes of limitations range from three to 30 years, or no limit at all, depending on which state you live in.”

In other news…

Duluth courtrooms starting to allow cameras. [Duluth News Tribune]

Not a bad list to finish near the bottom of: In the Tax Foundation’s analysis of which states rely most on federal aid, Minnesota ranks 39th

How are you planning to celebrate/mourn the opening of the new Senate Office Building on Thursday? [KSTP]

Ah, the vast economic benefits of pro sports: “How Much is a Home Vikings Playoff Game Really Worth to the Local Economy?” [KSTP]

Brian Oake is back on the radio, as a DJ for the Current. [KARE]

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