Alex is home with me for 5 weeks of summer visitation, so readers will probably see plenty o' pictures of Alex, and hear about him more frequently. Having an affordable home where I can spend quality time with my son was the whole point of buying a house in NoMi in the first place. Neighborhood revitalization is something of an afterthought. But speaking of neighborhood issues...
There has been a fun new twist in the "True JACC" lawsuit in the Jordan Neighborhood, as the "Old Majority" and "New Majority" neighborhood council factions wait for a ruling from Judge Porter about which group is the legitimate leadership of the Jordan Area Community Council. It seems plaintiff attorney Jill Clark is really worried this blog will obtain a copy of the Ben Myers deposition video and put it on what she calls "U-Tube."
(The correct spelling is, of course, "YouTube")
An exchange of emails fell into my hands recently--as so many things have a tendency to fall into my hands in the Jordan Neighborhood--and here's what that little back and forth revealed...
The first email was sent Monday, June 8, 2009 3:26 PM, from "Old Majority" Plaintiff Attorney Jill Clark to Defense Attorney David Schooler, beginning with her customary petulent tone and then moving swiftly to seething legalistic anger, as follows:
"You are ignoring me, so you need to recall that for the May 5 hearing, Plaintiffs filed a motion for protective order re that video deposition of Ben Myers. Your refusal to even address this with me (after repeated attempts) will result in unnecessary court time, which my clients reserve the right to seek sanctions for.
"No one should disclose that video to anyone while the motion is pending.
"If you do not get back to me by Wednesday of this week, we will pursue a telephonic conference and/or hearing to address the issue."
Jill Clark, Esquire.
At 3:58 PM, mere minutes after the first email was sent, David Schooler replied as follows:
"Ms. Clark, I am not ignoring you. We addressed this issue befor the Mr. Ben Myers deposition on May 3 and I refused your demand to conduct the deposition pursuant to a protective order. If you look at p. 14-15 you will see my refusal and our agreement that the video was for attorney's eyes only until Tuesday May 5 when we each had motions scheduled.
(Paragraph break not in orginal)
For whatever reason, you chose not to seek a protective order on May 5 and our one day confidentiality agreement expired. You revisited this issue on the second to last day of the hearing, May 27. I indicated that I would again ask my client to see if anything has changed. Nothing has changed.
(Paragraph break not in original)
"There is no confidentiality agreement or protective order with regard to the videos of any of the witnesses nor should there be. This is a public lawsuit involving a neighborhood non-profit organization that involves matters of public record. I would think Mr. Myers would want his explanations available to the public.
(Paragraph break not in orginal)
"The only thing that was embarassing in that deposition was Mr. Myers insistance that he play with his Blackberry throughout much of the deposition. I doubt that is the kind of embarassment contemplated by Rule 26.03.
"Your motion became moot on May 5."
David A. Schooler
At 4:00 PM, Jill Clark responded as follows:
"You stated in the deposition that you would consider the issue before the May 5 motion hearing.
"Johnny Northside is already 'salivating' to put the video on U-Tube. If you don't agree I'll approach the Court. You know as well as I do that protective orders are routine in all types of litigation.
"Plaintiffs reserve the right to seek attorney fees for having to approach the court on this."
(End of email exchange)
Well, it seems sensible that I would add some kind of comment at this point. Yes, indeed, protective orders sealing videotape depositions may be routine in many types of litigation, but this particular litigation involves the self-proclaimed leadership of a neighborhood, and not just ANY neighborhood but one of the most high-profile neighborhoods in the entire state. Jordan is a hotbed of urban issues which constantly occupy the time and energy of public policy makers. This case is very much in the public eye and not just by virtue of this blog. Other media entities have covered aspects of this lawsuit.
The individuals involved are public figures by virtue of their past and current actions. The issues involved in the videotapes are not tawdry, juicy personal matters like the matters involved in (for example) a divorce, nor will proprietary business information be revealed. No, rather, this is a political matter--quite dry, really, to most individuals not personally involved--and, by virtue of being political, all evidence should be public and not private. A democracy decides things in sunlight, not in darkness. This case is rather like the Coleman/Franken recount. Keeping anything sealed in this case is an affront to democracy.
Those who have a stake in the Jordan Neighborhood--current and future residents, public policy makers, others who reside in Minneapolis and take an interest in current affairs--have a right to view the video deposition in question and take their own mental measure of Ben Myers and others involved.
Yes, this blog has been known to report things in a colorful and expressive way, but when it comes right down to it North Minneapolis (NoMi) is underserved by media, and I have assumed the role of being part of the media 'round these parts. My blog coverage is quite in keeping with the rapidly evolving and developing standards of the blogosphere, which is something of the "Wild West of Journalism."
In summary, Miss Clark, that videotape virtually has my name on it. It is my fate, my destiny to link that videotape from YouTube, and the twitchy likes of you will not stand in my way, by god. (Parody elements ahead) Yes, since me and Ben shared the same conflict-ridden womb and came out fighting, drunk on orginal formula Nyquil, our chubby little hands tight around each other's throats, I have waited for this ultimate moment of fiery revelation.
If it is said "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall," what on earth will fall HERE? NOTHING!!! A reputation which is already in the gutter will merely drop to a lower level of the sewer system.
Your Honor, let the deposition of this public figure become a public record, that the public may more fully know and judge the character of Ben Myers, self-described Vice Chair of the Jordan Neighborhood.