Letter: All officials must disclose any titlesLast November I had a letter criticizing Mayor Dennis Egan for sponsoring a "community forum" on frac sand mining without representation from the community and asking that community voices be included (R-E, Nov. 11). Egan was unmoved and even cut off questions from myself and other residents at the bogus forum.
By: Alan Muller, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Last November I had a letter criticizing Mayor Dennis Egan for sponsoring a "community forum" on frac sand mining without representation from the community and asking that community voices be included (R-E, Nov. 11). Egan was unmoved and even cut off questions from myself and other residents at the bogus forum.
Politics in Minnesota reported Feb 1 that Egan is executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, quoted as saying "We need a voice at the Capitol."
The problem, of course, is that Egan's "we" refers to industrial sand interests, not "we" the people of the Red Wing who thought “we” elected him to represent “us.” (By the way, Egan's Facebook page says he lives in St. Paul.)
This is not an isolated event. It is painfully clear the sand mining industry, part of the mega-influential oil and gas industry, regards local officials as commodities to be purchased in bulk, and they can afford, all too often, to outbid the rest of us.
I don't see how Egan can credibly continue as mayor. He should have the grace to resign.
If he doesn't, the City Council should remove him, which it has the authority to do under the City Charter of Red Wing Section 2.05: Every elected officer may be removed from this office by vote of two-thirds of the City Council, provided that such official shall not be removed except for cause, after having been furnished with a written statement of the reasons therefore and after being given a reasonable opportunity to be heard in his/her defense."
The push for sand mining is testing the integrity of our officials and our political systems. The larger question is: How can we strengthen our democracy to meet this challenge? We need quicker and more detailed campaign finance disclosure. We need tighter definitions of conflict of interest. We need to strengthen the independence and capacity of public health, environmental and land use regulators.
I challenge all Red Wing and Goodhue County officials, including township officials, to disclose any and all ties to sand mining interests, including investments in actual or potential frac sand properties or businesses. Under the circumstances, the public needs to know.