Alleged sexism from West St. Paul City Council mobilizes residents, mayor
(KMSP) - West St. Paul residents went face-to-face in an explosive meeting Monday night over allegations of sexism on the city council.
The room was packed full with women, men and children in support Mayor Jenny Halverson who said she’s been the target of harassment.
As the public comment session continued into the late evening, residents voiced their frustration over apparent intimidation tactics lodged at the mayor.
Last month, Halverson discovered a box of feminine hygiene products outside her home after someone repeatedly rang her doorbell in the middle of the night. The incident followed a controversial city council meeting in which the Mayor's appointee to the Planning Commission, Samantha Green, was rejected.
Mayor Halverson felt Green wasn't approved because of her gender.
Woman after woman stood in line to speak their minds in front of the West St. Paul City Council, aiming their candid remarks specifically at the male members.
“As an adult, and a mother and a business owner and a taxpayer, I am done putting up with this," West St. Paul resident Katie Dohman said.
"This kind of bullying, intimidation, out of touch old boys club and back room deals are no longer going to be tolerated," added Mendota Heights resident Dawn Butler.
Halverson also addressed concerns of threats, stalking and dismissal because of her gender.
"It includes comments on my appearance and it includes being told that a colleague was looking down at my shirt at a meeting," the mayor said.
Samantha Green also found a box of tissues outside her home and decided to use the moment as a way to help a charity for at-risk women. She asked everyone to donate feminine products at Monday's meeting.
"Neighbors, Inc. thinks it's great because these are women who would otherwise have issues getting these products," Green said.
Several of the city leaders who were accused of being disrespectful and sexist deny those allegations. They say just because you disagree with others doesn’t mean you are being sexist.