State senator reports screw in tire

Thought to be for support of West St. Paul council candidate

 

State Sen. Matt Klein, the DFLer for District 52, posted Sept. 20 on his personal Facebook page that he found a screw in one of his car’s tires.

“Well, this is almost a badge of honor,” Klein wrote. “Yes, I stand with her, and I support Wendy Berry for West St. Paul City Council. A screw in my interior sidewall won’t slow that train down.”

In a Sept. 25 statement, Klein said he was surprised to see his vehicle vandalized and his family placed at risk “in a manner that fits a pattern of politically targeted destruction of property in our district.”

“But I’m proud to stand by leaders like Mayor Halverson, Planning Commissioner Samantha Green, and others who have experienced this same vandalism, and I encourage them to continue their efforts to improve the city of West St. Paul and not be deterred by these debasing tactics,” Klein said in the statement.

Berry said in an interview there have been too many commonalities between all the screws found in tires for them to be random occurrences. She said the timing of the first screws this spring aligned with a council meeting when multiple women spoke out about sexism they have experienced at the hands of current and former council members. 

It was at a May meeting that Berry announced her intent to run for the city council’s Ward 3 seat.

“A few weeks later, screws started to show up in our tires — mine, Mayor Halverson’s and several of the other women who spoke out that night,” Berry said. “At that time, Sen. Klein reached out to several of us expressing his support and disgust over the situation.”

Berry said that since then, Klein has been supportive of her campaign and offered his front yard for one of her campaign signs.

“If it’s a coincidence, it’s certainly a suspicious one,” Berry said of Klein’s discovery.

She said while she hasn’t requested the police report she filed after finding a screw in her tire to see what follow-up work had been done, she said she trusts the West St. Paul Police Department did what it could with the little information there was to go on. 

In June, after five women reported screws in their tires to police, officer Joseph Sass said, “At this time, it does not appear to be random.”

In response to the incidents, Berry said a tire-changing clinic will be held in West St. Paul on Oct. 28 so women can be prepared “if these childish behaviors continue to take place.”

“If it’s an intimidation factor, it’s not working,” she added. “In fact, it’s just motivating the women of West St. Paul to do even more for our community.”

 

Hannah Burlingame

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