Bella Abzug is taking over Maplewood's government!

Minnesota's most dysfunctional suburb has not disappointed this election season. The city council primary campaign featured eight candidates vying for four slots on the November ballot. Incumbent Will Rossbach and newcomer John Nephew easily outdistanced their opponents, each garnering support from roughly a third of voters. Rebecca Cave, a member-in-good-standing of the city's current ruling troika, and ally Delray "Rocky" Rokke secured the final two ballot spots. They'll battle it out for two council spots in November.

But the real fun has occurred away from the polls. On September 4, Robert Schmidt, chair of the Maplewood Voters Coalition, filed a complaint with the state's Office of Administrative Hearings charging that Cave violated election laws by distributing misleading campaign materials. Cave's lawn signs stated that she was endorsed by "Maplewood Fire"--even though the fire department doesn't actually endorse individual candidates.

On September 14, an administrative law judge ruled that probable cause existed that Cave had indeed violated campaign laws. The matter will now proceed to a three-judge panel on Monday. Cave has since altered her signs, but Schmidt argues that the damage has already been done. "The courts will decide what punishment is appropriate if any," he says. "We can't rectify what has been done."

The high point of the Maplewood election season so far, however, has to be a mailing sent to Rossbach. It features a picture of Paul Wellstone on the front, along with this warning: "A Will Rossbach role model." The back of the postcard features a rogues gallery of liberal bogeymen, including Jesse Jackson, Janet Reno, Ted Kennedy--and Bella Abzug (who it should be noted has been dead for a decade)!

It's unclear whether the mailing was sent out to other residents, but Rossbach notes that it had a bulk mailing stamp on it. "It just seems like a very desperate type of move," he says. "They apparently will say and do anything to try and keep me from getting reelected."

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(Postcard cribbed from What's Left of Maplewood)


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