It was a slow night at the River Falls City Council meeting on Jan 10. After holding no meetings for the last month due to the holiday break, council members returned to approve three minor agenda items.
The bulk of the meeting came from public comment.
Town of Clifton resident Dana Linscott was the only speaker during the public comment portion of the meeting. He took the podium to provide council members with his ongoing efforts to fight homelessness in the city.
Linscott accused city administrators of not wanting to help the current homeless population. He accused the city of not willing to work with him to solve the problem.
Linscott told a story about a disabled man he referred to as “Mr. Killebrew” who experienced homelessness. He met the man through his efforts to address homelessness in River Falls.
Linscott claimed the man was harassed by police officers. He added that the police department has discriminated against the homeless population.
“The city’s discrimination based on disability and skin color is so thick it can be cut with a knife and is the complete opposite of its claimed goal of equity, diversity and inclusion,” Linscott said.
Linscott made a plea with council members to stop ignoring the homelessness issue. He asked council members to consider creating an agenda item in the future.
Linscott was polite and respectful during his speech. He has presented homelessness issues at previous public comment sessions.
When Linscott finished, council member Sean Downing asked City Administrator Scott Simpson if he received any aid requests from homeless people during the recent frigid weather. Council member Scott Morrissette was quick to end the discussion.
Morrissette asked for a Point of Order, arguing the discussion is not on the agenda. Downing agreed but gave a brief statement of his experience.
Downing said he asked Simpson one week ago if any homelessness people had asked the city for aid. Simpson told Downing nobody requested aid.
Simpson reminded the council of the work the police department does. He stated the department has not violated any procedures.
“I believe our police department is extremely lawful in their individualized and compassionate approach. There are too many inaccuracies in public comment to even begin to correct,” Simpson said.