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Friday, March 16, 2018

Mayor Stephens Bullies Citizen with Baseless Statewide Public Attack Without Evidence. The Response.

On March 15th, the Mayor of Woodbury, Mary Giuliani Stephens, issued a Statewide email to thousands of registered republicans personally attacking my integrity in an email (below). It's titled "He's entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." It's a blanket attack filled with wild false accusations saying everything from that I work for the left wing, that I attack republicans, illegally used delegate emails, and more. All without a shred of proof or sources. In addition, no one asked if I've done anything she claims before sending it. 

Mayor of Woodbury, Mary Giuliani Stephens
This appears to come in response to my fully sourced article (from city data) on how, since taking office, Mary Stephens has nearly doubled the city spending; increased city taxes every year (except 2012); supports the Met Council's Gold Line; continues to fund white elephant programs such as the city owned Golf Course; and more... all sourced:  Gubernatorial Hopeful, Mayor Stephens Tries to Defend Tax and Spend Record.  

My article clearly revolves around how I first contacted Mayor Stephens asking her four questions about her tax and spend record that speaks for itself. She responded, then I wrote the post, and I included her full unedited responses. To this day, no one, including Mary Stephens has shown that any of the dozens of fully sourced facts from the city data in my post are false.

In stark contrast to my article with her full response; Mary Stephen's email issued many false accusations that were inflammatory and baseless to which no one asked me about before issuing. This is a damaging attack piece on me as a tax payer with no current tie to any political party, campaign, PAC, or any funded or volunteer run political group. My opinions are my own and the facts are fully sourced with direct links. Washington County Watchdog has over a dozen volunteers who write posts; we don't make a penny; and we don't endorse or work for any candidate or party. Our mission statement is clear that we are citizens here to keep government on both sides accountable.

I will go through each false statement Mary Stephens blindly issued without sources, facts, or thought to common sense in an attempt to try to repair my image. Unfortunately our WCW audience pales in comparison to the thousands she emailed. Hopefully the Minnesota GOP will review all the facts in this evolving situation and put a stop to it by sending out a formal response to the thousands of GOP members she emailed to help rectify the damage she personally caused me. They know how to contact me to discuss further on the best way to respond to the reckless actions of Mary Stephens that I hope do not reflect the Republican Party.

1.) Mary Stephens doesn't source the article or even mention Washington County Watchdog. Only a person refuting accurate information would go so far to distance themselves from the original content. Clearly an attempt to prevent readers from deciding for themselves.

2.) She never provides sources for any of the many false accusations. Including using GOP mailing lists to working for the Sierra club.

3.) "Matt Behning, a local blogger best known for attacking Republicans, and for his advocacy work for the hard left, anti-mining, extreme environmentalist Sierra Club. "

"attacking republicans": False, myself and dozens of volunteer citizens for the Washington County Watchdog keep both sides in check. Mary mistakes articles fully sourcing legislative records of politicians who claim to be a fiscal conservatives as attacking republicans. Fact is we defend the integrity of the republican party by researching about those who we find are not walking their talk claiming to follow the party platform. We always allow them to provide a full unedited quote to defend themselves.
"anti mining": False, I support the free market and safe mining, fracking, pipelines, hunting, farming, lumber, and every other responsible use of natural resources. I have never commented against mining or worked against it, nor would I. Again, we cover politicians who say one thing and then do another... My fiscal conservative political leaning is irrelevant.
"extreme environmentalist Sierra Club": False, I have never worked for the any of the "hard left" including the Sierra club. She may be may be referring to my post questioning the Democrat Karla Bigham on how she supports tax payer funded incineration of garbage which is against the Sierra Club's clean air policy. My article points out that the Sierra club would not pull their endorsement of her. The group appears to be hypocritical... hardly the words of someone who's working for them or on their side. Again Mary Stephens sources nothing for you to decide for yourself.

4.) Mary Stephens falsely claims, as if a matter of fact, and never asked for explanation: "Behning was able to secure the confidential Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) email list of statewide activists."
False: Here's the truth, I simply looked up on google "email of GOP leadership" it led to public data listed on the secretary of state website and public campaign finance report information the public contact info of select party leaders. There's not one email a person couldn't find looking for the information in the same legal and ethical way. No one paid me and I don't work or volunteer for any campaign, PAC, or other group. 

5.) "Behning has been served with a cease and desist order"  
I was not "served" with a ceases and desist order.  Matthew Pagano, executive director of the MN GOP, sent an unofficial email saying they got a report accusing me of using GOP email lists. He had no proof to provide and no one to source who issued the complaint or any details. The email appeared to be a huge eye roll and a copy and pasted response to entertain emotional candidates who don't have a record to stand on. Candidates who find themselves having to explain their voting record after someone emails party leadership with their fully sourced facts.

If it was a real Cease and Desist they'd have it served in person or by official mail to confirm it was received. It'd be sent by the GOP lawyers and not from the Party director. Matthew Pagano was basically saying the GOP delegate emails are private and they can't be used by anyone but the party (agreed). If it's true, please stop using the email addresses (it's not true, but agreed). He was clear: "I am writing you specifically about the misuse of any party lists. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. Thank you."

Obviously I'll respond denying that I used any list and certainly agree that I'd never use MN GOP email lists. I'll explain just as I have here how I found publicly listed email addresses of select GOP leaders from the secretary of State off Google like any person could.

6.) She moves on from her wild baseless accusations and name calling to questioning the fully sourced post, without sourcing it, saying it was "selective use of certain statistics, combined with his cherry picking other numbers and calculating his own liberal definition of “city spending” is exactly the type of fake news fabricated by the mainstream media and left wing bloggers. "
False: I posted data on every single year she's been in Woodbury office consecutively, without skipping any years. I posted spending, city taxes, city tax rates, and for reference to the 20% population increase to contrast the 83% spending increase she's backed since being elected. She follows with true cherry picked data and compared Woodbury to liberal cities of her choosing. She compares her yearly tax increases to the State average as if to provide evidence she's a conservative... Nearly doubling city spending from $46.8 million a year to $84.1 million a year is not my "own liberal definition of city spending" it is what it is! The fact is I'm a blogger on the Right pointing out the accurate data in context with the city itself... trying to compare yourself to the liberal cities of your choosing in the State and saying your more conservative is like any liberal tax and spend politician looking to point anywhere but towards their own district for evidence of what they want viewed. It's like saying "well my city is hemorrhaging less than the other cities so it proves I'm conservative... I'm only increasing taxes every year by single digits, not double digits."... it's all excuses, not leadership to get behind.

7.) "The property tax levy has been substantially reduced during my time on the city council and as Mayor, the position to which I was elected in 2010:"
False: she has only reduced the rate of the yearly tax increases compared to the extremely liberal predecessors twenty years ago (single digit increases vs double digit). Are fiscal conservatives supposed to be impressed with that? 

Again, I hope the damage can be repaired from Mary Stephens' reckless email. This can only be done if the Minnesota GOP gets involved and can contact all those who were emailed and explain I was falsely accused, I did nothing wrong, and that this emotional, baseless, personal attack on a citizen does not reflect how the MN GOP typically handles situations like this. 

On my own, this post will only reach a few hundred people in the east metro compared to the thousands and thousands that Mary Stephens emailed.

-Matt Behning 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mary for Minnesota Governor;;
Date: Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:01 AM
Subject: He’s entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

Dear John,

Recently, Republicans across the state received an email criticizing my record as Mayor of Woodbury from Matt Behning, a local blogger best known for attacking Republicans, and for his advocacy work for the hard left, anti-mining, extreme environmentalist Sierra Club.

Serious questions have been raised about how and from whom Behning was able to secure the confidential Republican Party of Minnesota (RPM) email list of statewide activists. Behning has been served with a cease and desist order from the RPM for the illegal use of party lists made only available to candidates who sign a legally binding list agreement.

Those legal questions aside, as a candidate for governor, my record as Mayor is certainly open to scrutiny and investigation.

But his selective use of certain statistics, combined with his cherry picking other numbers and calculating his own liberal definition of “city spending” is exactly the type of fake news fabricated by the mainstream media and left wing bloggers. Republicans know better.

Here are the facts on Woodbury city spending and taxes, and how Woodbury compares to other cities in the metro area, among our neighboring cities in Washington County, and among cities statewide.

Through conservative fiscal management, Woodbury has the 6th lowest property tax rates in the metro area:
The property tax levy has been substantially reduced during my time on the city council and as Mayor, the position to which I was elected in 2010:
As the largest city in Washington County, we have among the lowest tax rates of cities in the county:
And despite being one of the fast growing cities in the state, Woodbury’s annual percentage tax levy is typically well below the state and metro averages. In 2018, we are third lowest among peer cities.
I welcome questions about my record, but won’t stand by when funny math and ignorance of municipal accounting practices leads to false accusations.

I’m proud of my executive experience and bold leadership that has made Woodbury among the best cities to live in the nation. With your support, I’ll take this record to all of Minnesota!

Conservatively Yours,
Mary Giuliani Stephens