Grant Nichols remains at the epicenter of a shit storm of his own making. Despite Nichols repeatedly blaming a co-worker for hijacking his cell phone, then posting insipid comments about the bathroom habits of Muslims on his Facebook page, the movement to dethrone the Columbia Heights School Board member continues to gain momentum. Most recently, Gov. Mark Dayton called for Nichols to step down ASAP.
Now we learn that Nichols' online comments from earlier this month were but a paragraph in a much larger moronic narrative.
Residents of the north metro suburb tell City Pages Nichols has a habit of cocking off online.
That appears to be the case during a Facebook exchange with John Dickinson. The men were talking about acquaintances with baggage, specifically mental illness baggage.
"Oh I got lots of crap on people. So much I could write a book," Nichols boasted. "I even feel bad for spilling this even though they are not friends. It is stupid to go around and slander people on the Web. Very childish. So this will be my one rip..."
The discussion focused on a particular person who was on disability because of their mental illness struggles.
According to Nichols, that constituted the individual as a parasite on the public dole.
"There are people who need help with life," he wrote. "Disability is one. But being nuts cause you won't take meds and taking money from the state. No. Better people nee (sic) it. Reapect (sic) starts with giving it to yourself and representing yourself. Not milking the system."
Representing himself is what Nichols did in a mean-spirited internet chat with Amy Herlofsky when he first ran, unsuccessfully, for the school board.
Herlofsky had pulled her kids out of Columbia Heights schools "due to circumstances that the staff/district did nothing about." However, she was still planning to vote in the incoming election and told Nichols that he would not have her vote, writing, "I will WILL NOT be voting for those I see UNFIT to represent a district that needs attention."
Nichols went for the throat, posting, "... Gloves are off. Unfit. Don't go pointing fingers. Simply put. You NEVER cared. You yanked your kid out and pointed fingers at the school. Point them back at yourself."
These kind of electronic meditations were enough to get Nichols elected — at last— to the Columbia Heights School Board in 2014. It would give him the platform to tackle new subject matter.
Last summer after more than 1,500 people rallied in Columbia Heights to voice their support for Palestinians living in Gaza, Nichols took to Facebook to lend his foreign affairs expertise.
Others wrote how the Palestinians had been displaced, that they were poor, and that the youth there were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers because they believed they were oppressed.
Nichols was quick to enlighten.
"Ever heard of the saying don't go poking the bear or don't bring a knife to a gun fight or don't throw a rock in a glass house," he wrote. "... [Israelis] have a right to protect themselves. Besides they are out numbered like 1,000 Muslims to one Jew over there in the Middle East. Kinda outnumbered arnt (sic) they. That is why they're armed. If they are oppressed [the Palestinians] got like ten other Muslim countries to lean on."
When Herb and Nicki Brown, two of participants in the dialogue, couldn't take any more of Nichols, they blocked him.
Nichols responded by going third person: "So I guess Herb and Nicky blocked me cause they cannot discuss.... Lmao.... Grant is no bully but Grant is No pussy either. I don't go blocking and running and hiding from a discussion."
When Nichols found out that a Columbia Heights social studies teacher taught her students about the Palestinians' ancestral claims to the disputed lands, he threatened an investigation.
"Glad our teachers are teaching political favoring oneside (sic) on this," he wrote sarcastically. "So looks like I got some studying to do cause I do not like that they are teaching students this if it isn't accurate. So now this does play a huge role in what I am involved in."
In the meantime, Nichols advised one of his antagonists to not "go bashing me [because I] will just ignore you because you are being a dick!"
But that description doesn't fit Nichols himself, a dolt's cap does, according to John Anderson, a former GOP House district chairman. Nichols' recent anti-Muslim comments have birthed a new Facebook group. Anderson offered his assessment of the embattled school board member on the "Remove Grant Nichols from Columbia Heights School Board" page last weekend.
"I had numerous discussions with Grant personally and within a group," wrote Anderson on September 19. "It had become very clear to me that Grant was someone of questionable intelligence and without any political ideology.... The best way I could describe him was as a populist. He simply sought power and tried to align himself with whatever he thought was a prevailing or popular opinion of the people as a whole. This was done without any underlying principles. Power for power's sake."
While Nichols' guilt lies in felonious boorishness, he's equally culpable of misdemeanor spite. He's not going down with magnanimity.
"I will go after ALL parties involved," Nichols vowed to '00 Columbia Heights High School graduate Frank Nordling during a conversation earlier in September.
Nichols, who has refused to resign from the board, did not return messages from City Pages seeking comment.
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