Paulsen/Madia Campaign Troubles

So, since I’ve apparently been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks, this has been going on.

There is controversy in the Third Congressional District race after a campaign volunteer was videotaped removing signs that belonged to the opposing campaign.

The video has made it onto the Internet, showing a woman, who claimed to be a volunteer for Democratic candidate Ashwin Madia, removing Republican candidate Erik Paulsen signs near a Perkins Restaurant in Maple Grove.

A consultant for the Paulsen campaign, who was eating dinner at the restaurant, noticed the woman. He went outside and started videotaping her.

In the video, the woman claims the signs are in “the public right of way.” The woman says she is a private citizen, but also says, “I also happen to be a Madia volunteer.” 5 EYEWITNESS news found out the woman is, in fact, a volunteer as well as a spouse of a staff member that works for the Madia campaign.

From KSTP

Her claim was that the signs were in the public right-of-way, which, knowing that area and living in Maple Grove, I know that is the case. Here’s another article I found recently, and read this one well, and visit the link to check the images.

MNGOP Operative and Erik Paulsen’s highly-paid “consultant” Michael Brodkorb and another Paulsen staffer apparently “busted” someone removing two Paulsen campaign signs on video. The signs in question were across the street from the Perkins Restaurant in Maple Grove located on the road of Madia’s headquarters near the nearest ramps to get on Interstate 694/94. Paulsen’s headquarters is in Eden Prairie and Brodkorb lives in Eagan.

Brodkorb was in the parking lot of the Perkins Restaurant with another Paulsen staffer acting as cameraman and spied on the activity as well as harassed and interrogated the woman removing the signs. The woman, when she was approached by the men and questioned, replied by saying they were in the public right-of-way. They then followed her around the parking lot questioning her.

Using the Hennepin County Property Locator, the property of Perkins shows that the area across the street is clearly public property and therefore illegal to place campaign signage on. The property is part of the I-694/94 on and off ramps. It seems likely that these signs were planted there specifically to entrap Madia’s campaign staff, as most would presumably see them placed illegally.

The scene is illustrated with satellite photos from Yahoo! Maps and Google Maps.

This woman was within her rights and after watching the video, which includes stalking, repeated questioning, following her around a parking lot and taping her license plate, this situation is, in my opinion, clearly entrapment and harassment.

From Flickr

This is something I’ve made comments to my fiance about several times. There are a good deal of political signs, in the Maple Grove area at least, on public areas, or on privately owned land but in front of businesses. The majority of these signs are for Republican candidates, but this would bother me if they were from Democrats as well. It seems to me that private businesses, such as shopping areas or restaurants, appealing to the public should remain unpartisan. It just seems wrong, somehow. And if they are on public property:

Minnesota State Statute 211B.045 states the signs may be posted from the August 1 before the election until ten days after election day, and exempts non-commercial signs from any restriction to the size or number during that time.

Where can I display my signs?

Political campaign signs may be placed on private property with the permission of the property owner.

Is there any place that I cannot display my signs?

  • On private land without the consent of the owner or occupant
  • On public utility poles
  • On trees or shrubs
  • By painting or drawing on rocks or natural features
  • Refer to City ordinances (Section 24-7 (5) and state sign statutes on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s website

View additional contact information regarding campaign signs PDF document

From the City of Maple Grove

It looks like the campaigning for Ramstad’s seat is getting heated. Check out the post from terroreyes below this. Hopefully he will give us a but more on the story since he has a closer connection to the whole thing.

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