Winona County official sparks controversy with litter post on Facebook

Some said Steve Jacob was wrong to single out an individual in his Facebook post.
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A Winona County official has sparked controversy after a Facebook post led to him being accused by some of public shaming.

Winona County Commissioner Steve Jacob took to Facebook Sunday to call out what he deemed a pile of garbage intentionally dumped in a local ravine. He stated in this post that the community needs to keep the county “clean and green.”

Jacob noted a visible address on a piece of mail in the pile. Seemingly encouraging people to identify the name on the address, Jacob wrote, “Please share this post to put pressure on these people to clean this up before the taxpayer has to.”

Some social media users agreed with Jacob, calling out the litter.

“I hope the Sheriff make an appearance to the address or tickets them for littering!!” one Facebook user commented. 

Others were more hesitant. They noted the pile, which included a blank, laundry baskets and other personal belonging, could be the result of a partner, landlord or other resident and not the fault of the individual. Identifying the person by name, they said, was inappropriate for a public official.

Twin Cities journalist and blogger Tony Webster notes Jacob doesn't know the circumstances of the individual. 

In an emailed statement to Bring Me the News, Jacob defended the post and his intentions, stating he believes calling attention to such actions can help put a stop to them. 

"Cleaning up our environment and using sentence to serve to has been one of my initiatives as a local rural elected official," he wrote.

"Making it more uncomfortable for people to do illegal dumping helps in that cause. So I would say people are less likely to dump trash illegally after seeing the post and realizing that they could be exposed." 

Since 2012, Jacob has represented the Third District on the Winona County Board. 

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