blog post by John Hoff
"A Damned Update," said the title of the email in my inbox, and when I opened the attachment it was a recent court order dismissing a lawsuit by Dave Bicking and Michelle Gross against Donald Bellfield, the former chair of the Civilian Review Authority. Click here to read the court order.
The title of the email, I realized, refers to my "Roll Call Of The Damned" phrase describing the effect of Jill Clark's suspension from the practice of law and the effect of the suspension upon her clients, like passengers aboard a sinking ship.
With Jill Clark as their attorney, Bicking and Gross filed a defamation lawsuit against Bellfield that was weak, flawed and half-assed even by the abysmal standards of Clark litigation.
During the bitter and final "Twilight of the Gods" phase of the doomed lawsuit, Clark wasn't the attorney for Bicking and Gross because of her mental health issues. While unrepresented by counsel, it appears Bicking and Gross used a typical layman strategy of just, um, not filing anything and perhaps thinking the whole mess would go away? No doubt they were crying in their beer about how unfair it was that their attorney was suspended for mental health issues when, really, all Clark was doing was "speaking truth to power"?
More like speaking PATHETIC DELUSION to power...
Not the same thing, actually.
It is expected that now the attorney(s) for Bellfield will make a motion for sanctions and attorney fees and, ultimately, seek to enforce a judgment against Bicking and Gross very similar to what is happening in the "Spanky Pete" lawsuit. In fact, it is not a coincidence that similar activity is taking place in lawsuits with so much in common, including the crazy attorney.
The last several years could be described as a time of epic battle in which "crazies" filed bizarre lawsuits against citizens who were involved in efforts to sensibly reform local government and to revitalize North Minneapolis. Jill Clark was at the epicenter of virtually all those lawsuits, with the exception of a few crazy suits that Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer filed on his own before becoming part of the Clark camp.
But now it appears the war between "crazies" and "Northside revitalizers" has entered a new phase in which revitalizers are mostly advancing without significant opposition, mopping up, and enforcing judgments. Within the metaphor of World War Two, this represents the phase of the war following the Battle of the Bulge (European Theater) and The Battle of Midway (Pacific Theater). The Allies had turned the tide, but the war was not yet over.
Nor was the ultimate outcome necessarily determined, quite yet.
Like the Axis forces in World War Two, the "crazies" are now in full retreat. Jill Clark, Spanky Pete, the "Old Majority" JACC faction, Al Flowers, the Yzaguirre family, Dave Bicking and Michelle Gross as well as others beneath mention have all tasted overwhelming defeat.
The only question is how EFFECTIVELY and quickly will the forces of neighborhood revitalization move forward to consolidate their hard won victories by, for example, enforcing judgments against the crazies instead of growing tired and not bothering to file and enforce judgments?
From where this blogger is standing, I see it as very tactically necessary to drive back the crazies, punish the crazies, and slap harsh judgments upon any property own up to and including garden tools, office supplies and harshly-treated inflatable "love dolls."
This kind of aggressive, take-no-prisoners strategy is necessary because there are always new crazies ready to spring up. So if the current crop of crazies like Dave Bicking and Michelle Gross are not crushed and made into stark and terrible examples, they will send out their "crazy spore" and new waves of crazies will take their place to occupy our precious time and resources for the next five years.
Every moment spent fighting crazies in court is a moment lost to making our neighborhood better by, for example, taking long walks punctuated by dozens of 311 calls. And yet, if we slack off when it comes to enforcing judgments, we'll be spending even more time in the future fighting more lawsuits. So at the very moment we feel exhausted and sick of the endless lawsuits and just want to walk away with our victory, we must find a second wind and move aggressively to enforce hard-won judgments.
But I don't think any "slacking off" will happen in the Bicking v. Bellfield lawsuit. In fact, it appears the Bellfield lawsuit and the judgment held by Michael Browne against sex offender Peter Rickmyer are going to be textbook examples of how to handle a faction of crazies by strictly enforcing a fat monetary judgments.
Keep kicking updates my way. You know who you are.