Soucheray: Imagine a bright future. Except the crime.


This email arrived 10 days ago.

“Hi Joe, it’s hard to believe there are only 60 days between now and November 8. With so much at stake during the midterm exams, I can’t stop thinking about everything we need to do to get our candidates across the finish line.

Our endorsed champions in Congress are fighting to restore the Iran deal and protect the civil and human rights of Iranians everywhere. Our endorsed state and local candidates champion NIAC Action’s values ​​of diplomacy, peace and inclusive communities at every office level. … Our approved candidates need your help Joe. Would you like to make a donation of $10 or more so we can help our approved candidates get elected and continue to fight for peace and diplomacy in elected offices?”


“Thank you, Joe.

Mitra Jalalic
Senior Political Adviser, NIAC Action.”

Well, not every day, but it seems like not a day goes by that I don’t get a similar request from Jalali. Recently I received a nice memory about Grandparents Day. This has been going on for a while. At first I didn’t pay attention to it because I assumed it wasn’t our Mitra Jalali. There had to be one more. Our Mitra Jalali represents the fourth ward in the St. Paul City Council.

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But I looked further. It is her. Yes, our Mitra Jalali is apparently an employee of the NIAC, the National Iranian American Council, a 501(c)(4) organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to “choosing candidates who reflect our values ​​through a variety of activities aimed at influencing the outcome of the next election.”

I called Jalali, to no avail. You would think that someone who writes to me so often would be happy to talk to me, even if only to ask me for money in person.

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According to the bylaws of the city, councilors are “part-time” and thus allowed to have outside employment. Working for a 501(c)(4) is not necessarily problematic, but these types of nonprofits are allowed to engage in advocacy, and so are churches. Because NIAC Action promotes political candidates, Jalali should abstain from voting on issues where her job/PAC funds candidates or issues relevant to NIAC. To date, there is no evidence that Jalali’s NIAC duties have overlapped with the responsibilities of her city council.

Now I can imagine that the concerns of Iranian Americans are the concerns of all Americans, safe streets, good schools, jobs, get a grip on inflation. Closer to home, here in St. Paul, not only do we have no safe streets, we have streets that are not even navigable because of decay.

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There seems to be a theme running through the NIAC emails and they are not safe streets. It’s all about what’s best for NIAC. For example, in the most recent mailing we learn that NIAC management has recognized the NIAC Workers Union and that they envision a bright future for the organization through the union.

There is nothing to indicate that Jalali’s work for NIAC has in any way moved her away from her responsibilities to the taxpayers of Hamline-Midway, Merriam Park, St. Anthony Park and parts of Mac-Groveland and Como. Like NIAC, there is a bright future for department 4, and all departments for that matter.

Except the crime. We’ll just have to get used to that.

While writing this column, three NIAC emails came in.

Joe Soucheray can be reached at [email protected] Soucheray’s “Garage Logic'” podcast can be heard at

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