Last night, at the Willmar City Council meeting, the Public [spoke] about Willmar City Councilor Christianson's social media activity, Shelly Lindrud reports at the West Central Tribune. We noticed this tidbit:
. . .There were also comments from those who supported Christianson and the Facebook posts in question.
"I'm tired of the Somalis too. They've taken over the whole damn town. You guys need to take your blinders off," Joe Fernkes said. . . .
Yes, it's that Joe Fernkes, the guy who threw a pickled pig's foot on the booth run by young Somali people involved a gardening project, as we reported in Don't hate with your food: Willmar anti-Muslim pig foot harassment tale hits Washington Post. After some deliberation, the kids and project manager invited Fernkes to tea, but the criminal justice system moved forward with charges of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, and one count each of third-degree and fourth-degree criminal damage to property.
For Fernkes, the behavior was an exercise in free speech, as we reported in Willmar hater guy says using pickled pig's foot to bug kids is free speech, not disorderly conduct.
At Willmar Radio, JP Cola reports that the case is still pending in Anti-Somali comments made at Willmar City Council meeting:
Then Joe Fernkes, who is facing criminal charges for placing a pig's foot on a Somali vendor's table at the Willmar Farmer's Market earlier this year, spoke. Fernkes openly said he did not like Somalis and felt they were taking over Willmar and urged the council to"open their eyes" to the rising number of minorities in town...
. ..He said Somalis were rude and had filthy hygiene habits. Then Bob Skor spoke and called Willmar "Little Mogadishu. Skor defended Christianson, saying he wasn't racist, never voted against minority issues in 24 years on the council, and was a proud American. And Edward Peterson defended Christianson and questioned Ben Larson, asking how old he was, where he worked and if he'd ever served in the military. He accused Larson, who was wearing a Bernie Sanders t-shirt, of being a democrat. . . .
Bluestem is happy to read that Fernkes is able to express himself without throwing his food around. It's a start. As for Peterson's remarks, Bluestem doesn't think military service is a necessary condition for public expression, as this well-known example from twitter clearly demonstrates.
Skor is no stranger to what Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) blogger Bob Collins notes in Willmar confronts its ugly underbelly. Skor's own ugly underbelly prompted the City [to pull] the plug on [Skor's] Kandi Rapper show due to rules violations, the Tribune reported earlier this fall. Too much slander.
The Willmar Town Crier Facebook page has provided a video of the public comment period. We embed it here:
As the Crier keeper Jason Dougherty noted, this is well worth a watch. Fernkes slams the garden the kids kept for weeds, claims Somalis are chasing "blonde, blue-eyed girls" in downtown while calling them names, claims Somali women "take dumps in the aisles at Walmart," etc.
The press coverage cleans up "anti-Somali" remarks considerably, especially those by Fernkes.
Screengrab: Willmar Town Crier screenshots of the sort of posts upon which council member Christianson like or favorably commented.
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