Colorful Minnetrista electoral history

History is destined to repeat itself if we ignore it and it’s my hope Minnetrista is more aware now of our city’s political history. But I also know from door knocking that a good many residents have never paid much attention to our local government, so for those voters here is some history.

Minnetrista’s last contested mayoral election was in 2014 when council member Mark Vanderlinde ran against previous council member Lisa Whalen. Despite Whalen’s illegal political committee Our Minnetrista outspending Vanderlinde by 300% it appeared Vanderlinde, a well respected and well liked candidate, was going to win the election.

Knowing a fair fight wasn’t going to produce the desired outcome for Whalen, the Our Minnetrista political committee, which concealed their involvement in the election and didn’t report a single contribution, decided to drop a postcard full of false allegations against Vanderlinde just days before the election so he wouldn’t have time to respond to it. The postcard hit-piece is below and the bill for it was invoiced to the Westonka School District and paid by Whalen’s campaign.

Mark Vanderlinde lost the 2014 mayoral election by only 190 votes

Lisa Whalen, according to her latest 2020 disclosure report has raised over $15,000 and spent most of it on direct mail. Her campaign has already begun to post false allegations about illegal contributions by my campaign that never happened, has attempted to tie me to controversial actions I was never a part of and implying that the proven campaign violation charges for which she was sanctioned by the court were just my conspiracy theories. They know all they have to do is repeat things a few times and people will start believing even the most egregious lies.

The Our Minnetrista group is alive and well and their tactics haven’t changed. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and I ask that Minnetrista voters not let history repeat itself on election day.

The pattern continues. Whalen flyer selectively distributed

One thing everyone knows about me is everything I say or write is public, available for everyone to read and I don’t distribute campaign material secretly or selectively. That’s not been our incumbent Mayor’s pattern, however.

Door knocking this past weekend several people shared Whalen’s flyer with me and after asking around I found it had been selectively distributed. None of my neighbors received one and neither did many in other parts of Minnetrista that I contacted.

The flyer has the statement from Whalen saying “My leadership style is quite different from that of my opponent.” I couldn’t agree more.

If I have something to say I will say it directly and am not afraid to call out corruption, deceit, or pay-to-play politics…all too many of which have been documented with evidence on this blog. Whalen, on the other hand, pretends to be positive, civil and respectful on camera but then secretly distributes hit pieces like the one below on her last opponent. This was the artwork on her campaign’s invoice to the Westonka School district:

Vanderlinde hit piece
Artwork associated with Whalen campaign committee’s invoice to Westonka School District

Old habits die hard and we see the pattern continuing with selective distribution of Whalen’s 2020 campaign flyers implying her opponent is “dismissive or divisive.” Anyone that disagrees with Mayor Whalen is labeled or discredited, but not openly. Secret postcards appear in mailboxes, mailing lists are scrubbed to eliminate those that might challenge misinformation and on and on the pattern repeats.

Someone once told me that people with nothing to hide, hide nothing. I’ve always believed that’s true. Selectively communicating to residents reveals a troubling pattern that’s not likely to change.

I believe every Minnetrista resident, whether they agree with me or not, deserves to know what I’m saying about Minnetrista or the election.

Digging in to high speed internet for Minnetrista

I met with a new internet service provider (ISP) that had recently contacted the city of Minnetrista about providing services here and learned a lot about how the city could remove obstacles preventing new service providers from entering the Minnetrista market.

Did you know that in order for a new service provider to mount an antennae on top of one of the city’s water towers it costs $40,000? That may not be a lot of money for Verizon or T-Mobile but for new providers entering the market it can be prohibitive.

In addition to leasing the space on the water tower there are engineering fees and application fees for each repeater and small cell tower location, which could be on an existing telephone pole or a new pole, provided by the ISP or possibly the city.

Assuming the city would need more than just existing telephone poles to accommodate the bandwidth required to reach all residents, the question of who builds out the infrastructure for the grid needs to be answered. Do we let companies put up their own or does the city plan out the grid and lease access to providers?

If the goal is to create a robust, competitive marketplace for high speed internet then the decisions we make must focus on encouraging competition and limiting barriers to the Minnetrista market. Some of the ways we can do that include:

  • Waive the city’s solicitation fees for new ISPs coming to the area so they can sign up new customers
  • Simplify the permitting process
  • Allow one application to cover multiple locations if technology is identical instead of an application for each repeater/ small cell tower location
  • Provide ease of access to the city’s right-of-way (ROW)
  • Waive engineering fees unless the city incurs a cost
  • Set infrastructure leasing costs for providers to reflect the actual costs incurred by the city to provide and manage that access.

I noticed our current mayor added the following to her reelection campaign “Roadmap” on her website yesterday: “Support a feasibility study of internet connectivity for all of Minnetrista.”  Internet connectivity is not the problem, Mayor Whalen. Everyone has connectivity. The problem is it is slow, unreliable, customer service is horrible and there is no competition. The mayor doesn’t get it.

We need an ordinance dealing with these small cell wireless issues so that providers see Minnetrista as a viable market opportunity and the city doesn’t see them as just another revenue stream.

Stay tuned for an announcement of a Zoom meeting with some broadband industry professionals from our area.


Minnetrista election integrity?

I received a very concerning email on May 26 from our city clerk in response to my inquiry asking for the identities of those individuals who will be appointed to Minnetrista’s statutorily required absentee ballot board and who will be processing (accepting, rejecting, and counting) Minnetrista’s absentee ballots and was told “In past years, staff members have been trained to do so.”

The legislative intent in establishing the rules for appointing election judges and absentee ballot boards was to ensure impartiality in those appointments and Minnesota Statutes (203B.121, 204B.19-.22) reflect the important role party balance, and that absentee voteimpartiality, plays in the activities of election judges and absentee ballot boards. The city of Minnetrista appears to have been routinely bypassing the statutory requirements that provide for their governing body to act as the appointing authority for these positions and are improperly allowing the appointment of city staff members to accept, reject and count absentee ballots.

The moment an individual, however qualified they may be to perform election duties, becomes an employee of a city or county, earning an income from that city or county, that individual’s impartiality is compromised due to the authority the city has over the individual as the individual’s employer. An inherent conflict of interest is present that can influence the individual’s ability to impartially perform their election duties.

An election judge or ballot board member not in the employ of a local government entity is free to perform their duties unencumbered by a supervisor that may have influence over their continued employment. That is the reason the legislature gave the appointment authority for these important functions to elected representatives, not city clerks. It is also the reason for party balance requirements and for these individuals to be chosen from party lists, rather than local government staff, yet there is no evidence I can find of individuals other than city staff being given the important role of processing absentee ballots.

Party balance rules require ballot board members and election judges to be from different political parties and appointed by “the appointing authority” which is the “governing body,” i.e., city council. This Minnetrista city council has never been given a list of election judges or ballot board appointees showing party balance, even though the council is statutorily responsible for making these appointments. This city council has also never been given the specific names of individuals appointed to the ballot board responsible for processing absentee ballots.

This concerns me as it should every voter in Minnetrista.

Related posts: Head Scratcher and Emergency Orders are for what?

Minnetrista poll results are in!

Minnetrista has spokenMinnetrista poll* results are in. The top three concerns of Minnetrista residents polled were:

  1. Conflicts of interest with city contractors and consultants (89.7%)
  2. Wasteful spending (86.7%)
  3. Corruption of Minnetrista political process and history of campaign finance law violations (86.2%)

Below are all the questions showing the top response in each category highlighted. Thank you to all the participants for your “other” comments many of which were too colorful to publish but appreciated nonetheless.

Poll Results

*Not a scientifically conducted random sampled poll

Fake Facebook accounts…hmm

I discovered 39 fake “Shannon Bruce” Facebook accounts today (that weren’t there last week) and reported them all to Facebook this morning. All were identical but set up with a different id#. If anyone sees any Facebook posts appearing to come from me that they suspect may be “fake” please let me know as we investigate who is behind this. Thank you!

fake shannon bruce fb accountsfake accounts

Meet Minnetrista candidates Wed Jan 22 at 7pm Woodland Cove

PLEASE SHARE WITH MINNETRISTA NEIGHBORS! Candidates for the Minnetrista city council and mayoral race will be at the Woodland Cove Clubhouse, 3800 Woodland Cove Pkwy, Minnetrista, next Wednesday, January 22 at 7pm. Come join your neighbors for a cup of coffee and conversation about Minnetrista. Hope to see you there! Please RSVP to: (Woodland Cove host) so there’s enough coffee!

Event is paid for by the Shannon Bruce for Mayor Committee.




Shannon Bruce announces bid for Mayor of Minnetrista

I announced my bid for Mayor of Minnetrista today. Please visit to learn how you can get involved in Minnetrista’s future. It’s in your hands. Here is the official announcement below:

Council member Shannon Bruce announces candidacy for Minnetrista Mayor
Bruce pledges to bring a customer service culture back to city hall and end Minneapolis-style top-down governance

Minnetrista Council Member Shannon Bruce announced her candidacy for Mayor on Tuesday, December 3, 2019, citing a need to restore trust in city leadership and refocus city hall on serving local residents.

“Far too often I see decisions being made at city hall without considering long term rubber stampconsequences to residents. Unelected officials from Minneapolis/St. Paul want to tell us how to run our city, and Minnetrista needs a mayor that puts Minnetrista first and won’t rubber stamp their agendas. Under my leadership, I will work with the council to protect our community from decisions that will lead to heavier traffic, more crime in our neighborhoods, higher fees and property taxes” said Bruce.

“I will refocus city government on its core responsibilities: public safety, roads, infrastructure, and zoning. Unfortunately, as a council member I’ve seen taxpayer dollars wasted and special treatment given to vendors and outside interests. As mayor, I pledge to put an end to special vendor relationships and will require open bidding for all significant city contracts, regardless of whether state statutes demand it.

“Minnetrista is a growing community, so we need to have an open dialogue with residents about their needs and adopt an attitude of customer service at city hall. Whether it’s responding to a 911 call, paving roads, or helping a property owner navigate a variance, Minnetrista residents deserve to have an excellent experience every time.”

Bruce also cited election integrity as a reason for running for mayor. The current Minnetrista mayor, Lisa Whalen, was sanctioned earlier this year for violating campaign finance laws. A three-judge panel ruled in June that Whalen’s arrangement with the Our Minnetrista political committee had “corrupted the political process,” in Minnetrista’s elections.