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LAWSUIT-1:  Unlawful Denial of
Referendum on ORD 18-39.
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  • On November 14, 2018, the City Council voted 6-1, denying St. Paul voters' right to submit Ordinance 18-39 to a ballot vote. Despite finding our Petition “legally sufficient,” they claimed the subject matter was “not appropriate to submit to the electorate.” In order to enforce our legal right to a ballot vote, we need to sue the city.

  • Will you help by Donating to our Legal Fund?


St. Paul



Thank you for your input.

We are being "heard," loud & clear.   So far, however, talking and writing and testifying and signing petitions has failed to change the short-term outcome.



Petitions have been submitted and signatures have been verified.  A resolution was adopted on 11/14/2018 that says, in effect, "We hear you;  BUT, our City Attorney says you're stuck with our mistakes."


Support our Lawsuit efforts by helping to spread the word and by contributing time, ideas, stories, $$, etc.

Join our Facebook group St Paul Trash Lawsuit

Contact the mayor, deputy mayor and city council (see below).  Explain the street-level effects of "their" garbage program.

Post public comments on the city's web pages (see below). 





DESPITE opposition by more than 6,000 affected residents (not just a few hundred), City Councilmembers cast their votes on four garbage program ordinances plus a resolution denying citizens their right to vote on ORD 18-39: 

  • August 8, 2018

    • ORD 18-37: "Six in favor, no one opposed, the ordinance is adopted."

    • ORD 18-38: "Six in favor, no one opposed, the ordinance is adopted."

    • ORD 18-40: "Six in favor, no one opposed, the ordinance is adopted."

  • September 5, 2018:

    • ORD 18-39: "Four in favor (Brendmoen, Nelson, Noeker & Tolbert), two opposed (Prince & Bostrom), one absent (Thao), the ordinance is adopted."

  • November 14, 2018: (denying citizens' right to vote on ORD 18-39)

    • RES  18-1922: "Six in favor (Brendmoen, Thao, Nelson, Noeker, Tolbert, Prince), one opposed (Bostrom), the resolution is adopted."


According to Saint Paul's City Charter, the people shall have the right, via petitions, to require (new) ordinances to be submitted to a vote (see Sec. 8.05 - Referendum).

  • More than 6,200 signatures have been collected on each of two petitions for referendums on: 

    • ORD 18-40 -- 5,919 signatures were delivered to the city on September 27, 2018.  More have been collected since then.  On October 8th, 5,071 signatures were certified as valid -- more than the 4,932 required.



      Pioneer Press

    • ORD 18-39 -- 6,469 signatures were delivered to the city on October 16, 2018.  On October 31st, 5,541 signatures were certified as valid -- more than the 4,932 required.


      Ramsey County 

      Pioneer Press

  • As we see it, the people's right to petition and require a vote existed long before St. Paul's garbage contract was signed.  The people's right to petition is NOT preempted by MN Statute 115A.94.  And the people's right to require a vote should not be shoved aside by hasty publicity plus an onslaught of garbage carts. 

    • On 10/16/2018, we (temporarily?) suspended our collection of signatures. 

    • BUT, depending on City garbage program activity, something could change.   Stay tuned, because ... 

  • City officials disagree.  Week after week after week, the essence of officials' response has been:  The contract is valid.  There may be confusion but the garbage program will roll despite petitions, regardless of unpopular provisions, and with or without citizens' support.    We hear you;  BUT, our City Attorney says you're stuck with our mistakes.

  • Meanwhile, Haulers create and enforce privacy intrusions.

Minnesota's Senator Amy Klobuchar, on September 28, 2018, was not talking about the organized collection of our household trash.  Her underlying message can, however, be applied to local policy-makers.  Senator Klobuchar's closing words to the Senate Judiciary Committee ring all too true in Washington, DC, and in St. Paul, MN:

"I come from a state that believes in process..."

"Right now, the way this process is run, we're not running it like We the People.  It's being run like We the ruling party."

PLEASE:  Contact Elected Officials.   

Give your opinion of St. Paul's new garbage program and the process by which it has been "rolled out."  Explain how the program, as currently designed, affects you, your family, and/or your neighbors.


Honest input can highlight the depth of citizens' disappointment, frustration and more. 

  • On November 14, 2018, the City Council's resolution chose an unfortunate course into the future. 

    • Over the coming months and years, the City Council's vote will cost a few thousand targeted garbage customers Millions of dollars in oppressive fees. 

    • There is no easy path out of this city-created mess.  

    • The City can choose to create a better future by honoring the best interests of all the people. 

    • Thousands of garbage customers hope they will.

  • Let's move beyond ruling party attitudes and start running this like We the People.


Mayor Melvin Carter

Join me in building a city that works - for all of us.

Web Page:  mayors-office 

Office #:  651-266-8510               Mayor's Online:  Contact Form

Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher

Web Page:  deputy-mayor-jaime-tincher 

Email c/o Christine Rider, Senior Aide to the Deputy Mayor:

Saint Paul City Council

Web Page:  city-council 

Fax:  651-266-8574

Contact or send comments to one or more councilmembers at: 


District Council & Ward Lookup



Petitions have been submitted and signatures verified as sufficient.  A resolution was discussed and adopted on Wednesday 11/14/2018.  Language says, in effect,


We hear you;  BUT, our City Attorney says you're stuck with our mistakes.


Pioneer Press - 11/10/2018


This continues to be an enormous task.   Thank you for joining us.





Links to City's Web Pages


Precludes sharing & opt-out (plus other details).  Amends existing Chapter 357 which has allowed sharing & opt-out for many years...

RESOLUTION  18-1760 

(1) Determining sufficiency of petition on ORD 18-40; and (2) Requesting that the City Attorney prepare an ordinance (# 18-xx) for the Council to (sometime later) Repeal ORD 18-40.

ORDINANCE  18-xx? 

Repeal of ORD 18-40    (Anticipated, but not yet drafted)

This "Main" Garbage Ordinance creates new Chapter 220.  Rules, prices, etc. for entire program; including NO sharing & NO opt-out...

& adopted   

TITLE:  Finding the Petition for a referendum of Ord 18-39 is legally sufficient but that the subject matter is not appropriate to submit to the electorate.

     (1) RESOLVED: the Petition is sufficient to satisfy the minimum signature requirements; and 

     (2) FURTHER RESOLVED: that the provision of the City Charter allowing referendum for the subject matter of the Petition is preempted by Minnesota Statutes, is an unconstitutional interference, and conflicts with state public policy; and 

     (3) FINALLY RESOLVED: the City Clerk is directed not to submit Ord. 18-39 as a ballot question for placement on the ballot for the next election.



Screenshot of City's Web Page(s)

The City's helpful links to "Text" and "Public Comments" are easily overlooked

and cannot be bookmarked, emailed, or directly accessed via non-City web pages.

Please see below for where to click your mouse cursor

after you arrive at the City's page(s).

Although some of these items were adopted long ago,

it is NOT too late to add Public Comments.

Doing so will create an easily visible archive of public opinion.


(Example only; this is not a link or an active page)



This petition drive is a first step toward
achieving these GOALS:

  • Ability to Opt Out
  • Ability to Share Containers
  • Reduce Excessive Price Increases
  • Reduce Excessive Space Requirements
  • Make the Program FAIR TO ALL
Real-Life Examples
Financial & Space Implications
Then What?

Petitions now.  What's next?