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A Renaissance Black Man in a White Man's World

A Beacon for Freedom in the City

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Ron's media message platforms:
(1) Columns since 2003)
pub weekly, MN Spokesman-Recorder.
(2) TV: Host, Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio: hosts “Black Focus,” Sundays, 3:00pm;
(4) Blog Talk radio:
Co-Host, weekly “ON POINT!",Saturdays, 5 pm;
(5) Book: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002);
(6) Book: A Seat for Everyone (2008);
(7) Solution Papers: for community planning and development;
(8) Blog:
"Tracking the Gaps"
at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com;
(9) CD: Hear his readings;
(10)
Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers)
Order
his books at http://www.BeaconOnTheHill.com.


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We have not waved a white flag!

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

July 17, 2013

Pull quote: Our children are being mis-educated, under educated, or not educated at all, as they are dismissed, betrayed and violated.

Why do White and Black leaders assume the Black community has waved a white flag of submission? However, we do raise questions about what is being planned for us as if we had, as seen during the various “summit” decision meetings ((see my columns of May 1, 2014 (Safe streets promoted for White baseball. Selective reporting keeps the true level of violence concealed), and May, 15, 2014 #20 (Gang summit in Minneapolis. Preparing for summer 2014).

We are a community under siege: inadequate education, few jobs, no meaningful plans for the future beyond endless planning meetings of Black and White do-gooder talk leaders on how to continue obstructing our access to equality and opportunity, on how to set us aside to make room for others, of how to plan the kind of genocide/extinction “round ups” discussed at decision “summits.

We celebrated our nation’s independence July 4th. Frederick Douglass, arguably the most famous fugitive slave of his day, asked in a historic speech, July 5, 1852: What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?

Douglass gave a ringing affirmation of America’s ideals of freedom and liberty, left stalled and unfinished while slavery and racial discrimination existed. Being neither despairing (he was hopeful, due to the principles laid out by the founders in the Declaration and the Constitution that he saw as affirming the truth of liberty and equality) nor was he unduly negative (slavery was a fact and the slow pace of abolishing slavery was maddening).

The Minneapolis weekend of the July 4-6, certainty sent a chill through the very fiber of Minneapolis (nine shot, two killed, all within a period of 12 hours, Star Tribune, July 7, 2014 (Aggravated assaults rise in Minneapolis). Our columns referenced, of May 1 and 15, 2014, reported aboveon planning “summits,” which viewed only a small number of African Americans acceptable to the White and Black leadership. That was a shot across the bow of the Black community, exploding especially before our young and elderly, viewed as expendable.

Why did the mayor and police chief think their July 9, 2014 walk on our streets would give our community under siege a sense of protection and leave behind equal opportunity? They came. They walked and talked. They left. Status quo neglect of community remained.

Black Americans did not slip into this country in the dead of night, or behind dark clouds of benign neglect, or by climbing over or crawling under fences. We have served this nation in war and peace, in growth and prosperity. We have shed our blood in the defense of our nation. And yet, today, in this city, we have the impression that Whites assume we are waving the white flag of surrender, that they can, unopposed, adopt policies of nullification and reversal as the appropriate order of the day. But we will be damned if we are to turn our backs and leave the struggle only half completed.

Our obligation is to protect our freedom, our franchise, our future. Our children are being mis-educated, under educated, or not educated at all, as they are dismissed, betrayed and violated.

Submission is not within our community and civil rights DNA. We sill continue to dream of being treated with respect and afforded equal opportunity based on the content of our character, not denied due to the color of our skin.

We, the sons and daughters of the African, understand when there is a plan and mission afoot to marginalize us and remove us from the American scene, and, in this case, from the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. We who believe we are equal to all will not let attempts at genocide and extinction happen on our watch.

May God save and protect our future and help prevent the flag of surrender from being forced upon us.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
.
To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014, 3:55 p.m.


A Civil Rights and faith leader passes from the American scene

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

July 10, 2014

As discussed last week, the Rev. Dr. Lillian Anthony was the first Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, appointed in late 1967 by then Mayor Arthur Naftalin. Dr. Anthony quietly passed from this life at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, June 26, 2014. Her memorial will be in Louisville, July 11, 2014.

The Rev. Dr. Anthony’s history, legacy and accomplishments are legendary. She was clearly the right choice to head the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, setting a new tone for race relations in the city. She was not a woman to be intimidated nor forced to abandon her principles and her commitment.

When Lillian Anthony accepted the appointment as first to head the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, she was an experienced and successful civil rights activist and administrator. On the occasion of her departure in an article in the Minneapolis Star, dated May 29, 1969, she articulated her concerns about the future of the city because of those who opposed having a Civil Rights Department and Civil Rights Commission. That opposition still exists today. She and long-term activist Josie Johnson formed a very close philosophical relationship that served them well over their careers.

I remember the first time I met Ms. Anthony. I was about to become the vice chair of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, and had been forever grateful for her friendship, fellowship and over all support, which allowed an active Civil Rights Department and Civil Rights Commission to make a difference carrying out the direction and dream expressed by Mayor Arthur Naftalin in his historic address to the Minneapolis City Council, June 30, 1963.

Dr. Anthony understood the principles of compassion and fairness. She knew the importance of not forgetting our history. As she stated at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Slave Memorial at Mount Vernon, VA, September 18, 1993, “The memory of our ancestors who are buried here is a tribute not only to the survival of a people but a tribute to our continued gifts to the world.”

Those memories and their significance are missing today from the Minneapolis Black leadership, as is their lack of commitment to the principles that created the Civil Rights Department and commission. Let’s not forget what the Minneapolis Star article, July 31, 1964, in which the legendary Mary Kyle, publisher of the Twin City Courier, and Ms. Josie Johnson, a member of the staff of then-Mayor Arthur Naftolin, reflected on the dangerous path that was being taken by women of truth and commitment in support of the missions of the Civil Rights Department and commission.

Lillian Anthony was ordained into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church USA, July 25, 1993. As noted, she served the national staff until retirement as Associate for Affirmative Action and Equal Employment. History will remember Dr. Anthony as a visionary, as a tenacious fighter for civil and human rights, and, for 40 years, a person of conscience on behalf of the Presbyterian Church, USA. She was known across the wider Presbyterian Church USA her work during and for her commitment to justice and advocacy.

She was honored February 20, 1990, for her role in the development of he Minneapolis Ordinance on Civil Rights and the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.

The Rev. Dr. Anthony has embarked on her final journey. We all pass this way once in life. We look at her journey with pride, and remember her wisdom and compassion that inspired others to take that journey as well. May God’s hand be upon Dr. Anthony’s shoulders, and may we applaud her achievements in the name of all.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
.
To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, July 11, 2014, 8:30 p.m.


The Need for a New Lillian Anthony
1st Director of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

July 3, 2014

Editor’s note: Lilian Anthony passed away June 26. This column was submitted June 24. We will have a tribute column to Lilllian Anthony next week, July 10, 2014

This column provides a time line to further understand our discussion of the failure of the Civil Rights Department and Commission, including that of current director, Velma Korbel (hence our call in last week’s column, June 26, 2014, for her dismissal: Velma Korbel must go! Resignation must be submitted immediately). Recall also the Star Tribune piece of June 21, 2014: Once again, Minneapolis Civil Rights Department in turmoil

We forget these dates and events at our peril:

  • June 30, 1963: Mayor Arthur Naftalin, in his 2nd State of the City address, warned about issues of racial division ripping the city (Minneapolis Star, July 1, 1963). 51 years later they still hold. Mayor Naftalin offered a “Blueprint for Action,” and called for institutions and instruments for the social justice, for a Civil Rights Department and Civil Rights Commission.
  • July 18, 1965, “Is non-violence wearing thin?” Minneapolis Tribune headline.
  • August 1967: creation of the Civil Rights Department and Commission, on which I was a member. Lillian Anthony became the first Director. A nationally known civil rights administrator, Lillian Anthony quickly addressed the race discrimination issues of the day. The new incoming chairman of the Civil Rights Commission, the Rev. Dennis Nyberg, pastor of Lake Harriet Methodist Church, declared his commitment to address the issues raised by Mayor Naftalin, echoing Martin Luther King, Jr., that we can’t wait any longer.
  • 1967: 159 urban race riots, mostly inner cities.
  • April 4, 1968: assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  
  • Summer 1968: 110 American Cities were in flames, including Minneapolis. National Guard called out.
  • August 21, 1969, “‘Tired of being angry, hostile’ headline in The Minnesota Daily. Lillian Anthony resigns, responding to new Mayor Charles Stenvig, who opposed the Civil Rights and Commission departments, “I am tired of … dealing with the hostilities of white racism, I have found it difficult to teach those who are paternalistic, racist, bigots or liberals much of anything about justice and equality.”
  • October 3, 1969, Evans and Novak, national columnists: New “law and order revolution” Mayor Charles Stenvig, appointed “mild mannered middle-class Negro Robert E. Benford” to replace Lillian Anthony. Benford said “that the question of race is far down on the list of priorities for his new job. The first priority, he said, is to see that all citizens are treated like Americans.”
  • In 1987, “Civil Wars Within the Racial Community and the City of Minneapolis,” City Pages headline.
  • January 1990 cover story of Mpls.StPaul Magazine: “’Nice’ Minnesotans don’t talk about it, but the ugly fact is that racism is alive and growing in the Twin Cities.”
  • June 10-24, 1990, 25 day Star Tribune series, Issues of Race: : “reflecting malice, insensitivity, … racism.”
  • March 2003 – 2014: the investigative journalism of these columns reports weekly on how the order of the day is to still embrace the nullification and reversal of Arthur Naftalin’s vision.

That vision has been undermined by Velma Korbel, certain predecessors, and those who support ongoing violations of the civil rights philosophy we have long fought to follow: to make a difference by working for social justice.

We still need a museum for remembrance, as the recently opened musem in Atlanta. If the history of our struggle is not remembered, it didn’t exist. If it is not understood, it won’t be ended. As a member of the board of directors of the Association of African American Museums recently stated, “We're going backward, not forward with the civil rights movement. … The whole future of this country is for different communities who care about social justice to get together, and work together.”

Let’s make a positive difference in education, jobs, and housing. Remember the question above: “Is non violence wearing thin?” Non-violence wears thin when the cause of social justice has worn even thinner.

Stay tuned.

Recent, relevant columns:

  • June 26, 2014: Velma Korbel must go! Resignation must be submitted immediately (to be posted)
  • April, 10, 2014: Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department
  • February, 19, 2014:A reappointment that is a mistake. Velma Korbel to again head the Department of Civil Rights
  • June 05, 2013 Column: Justice for David Cornelius Smith, In spite of obstruction of justice from the Minneapolispls. Civil Rights Department.
  • March 13, 2013 Column: When will MN’s ‘no Black workers need apply’ policy end? Who will monitor and enforce Black participation on the so-called ‘People’s Stadium’ project?
  • December 15, 2010 Column #50: Minneapolis Continues its Fairy Tale of Compliance. Only painful sanctions will make these tales come true.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
.
To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 9:20 p.m.


Velma Korbel must go!
Resignation must be submitted immediately

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

June 26, 2014

PULL QUOTE: The [civil rights] department has been a disaster through two directors and two mayors.

It is not often that a Minneapolis City Agency Department Director receives separate, negative stories in the Star Tribune on the same day, reporting incompetence and belligerent leadership. Velma Korbel accomplished this June 16, 2014. Star Tribune headlines:

Our earlier Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder columns on the department include:

  • April, 10, 2014: Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department
  • February, 19, 2014:A reappointment that is a mistake. Velma Korbel to again head the Department of Civil Rights
  • June 05, 2013 Column: Justice for David Cornelius Smith, In spite of obstruction of justice from the Minneapolispls. Civil Rights Department.
  • March 13, 2013 Column: When will MN’s ‘no Black workers need apply’ policy end? Who will monitor and enforce Black participation on the so-called ‘People’s Stadium’ project?
  • December 15, 2010 Column #50: Minneapolis Continues its Fairy Tale of Compliance. Only painful sanctions will make these tales come true.

As can be seen in the Star Tribune pieces and in our own investigative reporting, Director Korbel does not meet the dministration/management responsibilities entrusted to her office, nor does she follow the agency’s responsibility to fight discrimination and civil rights violations. Velma Korbel has been provided every opportunity to turn her department around, including the new mayor’s ill-advised recommendation for a second term, which received three Council “no” votes.

Star Tribune describes Velma Korbel’s tenure as civil rights director as toxic, ineffective and mean spirited. Paying off tax lawsuits with taxpayer money seems to be her leadership legacy. Why won’t she follow the key legacy requirements of her office: equity, diversity, and the stewardship of protecting civil rights?

The new mayor supports Korbel despite observations of the committee Korbel’s department reports to, as well as those of a council member who at one time worked for Korbel.  Korbel’s unwillingness to avoid political disaster takes the city’s eyes off the civil rights goals: end discrimination and exclusion.

Korbel’s unwillingness to play nice reflects a disregard to provide a “no harm” shield for her department. Some say the lack of significant accomplishments during her tenure as department director raises the thinking in some quarters that the department’s only purpose is to avoid civil rights issues.

The disparity report of October 2010 laid out the department’s problems, with solutions for correcting problems and meeting its statutory mission and obligations. Korbel’s belligerent lack of compliance is reflected in the number of lawsuits, originating internally by employees and externally from outside citizen plaintiffs suing the department, as she directs the violation of the very civil rights entrusted to the department.

Why are Director Korbel's belligerence and failures continually tolerated (not uncommon under previous directors as well)? The testimony of former employees outlines her unwillingness to uphold the purposes of this department to serve the city’s civil rights responsibilities: civil rights compliance. Instead: chaos, city civil rights non-compliance, and lawsuits. The department has been a disaster through the past and current directors and past and current mayors. When will the city finally get into full civil rights compliance?

It is good to see the Star Tribune finally addressing this in its two-part series. No one person or department has the answer or all of the truth, but we won’t find the answers or the truth until we all work together.

The city needs to govern fairly, to serve as a citadel of fairness and protection for its citizens, its employees, and its visitors. We as citizens deserve better than what the council and this department currently offers.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
.
To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, June 26, 2014, 1:45 p.m.


The Keefe Report has been released into the open.  Yet “they” continue to try to bury what can no longer be buried

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

June 19, 2014

On May 21, 2014, the District Court for Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota ordered released for review by the general public a 4,000-page report reviewing the six-year-old lawsuit filed by then Lt. Michael Keefe against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on behalf of himself and, by extension, the former Black Police Officers Association. The report’s suppressed content is sending shockwaves through our community and City Hall, as the light of day brings curing to a cancer in our body politic.

The 4,000 pages verify what I have long written about Lt. Keefe and the MPD’s Violent Offenders Task Force. 

See my earlier columns on Keefe:

Related events from 2004-2009 helped destroy the Black Police Officers Association. During that period, five members of the Association (“The Mill City 5,” Officers Harris, Arrodondo, Adams, Edwards — no relation to this columnist — and Hamilton), settled for $750,000, leaving $1.3 million on the table.  See my Blog essay of December 14, 2007, Five Black Officers Sue the City for Discrimination, fighting the forces of the Twin Towers of Minneapolis' Nullification and Reversal.”

The lone hero within City Government was Councilman Ralph Remmington, steadfast in support of the Black Police Officers Association and Lt. Keefe. Under tremendous criticism and pressure from City Council colleagues, he fought the racism and corruption targeted by these lawsuits. Unwilling to accept or give credence to the cover-up by City Hall, he did not run for reelection, leaving to take a position with the Obama Administration.

That now-released 4,000 pages of investigation information includes the results of depositions, wire taps, and other evidence regarding the City’s and MPD’s treachery and betrayal. The City Attorney redacted as many names as possible from this 4,000 page report, until that too was also uncovered and stopped.

The editors of the Minneapolis Star Tribune made a political decision to not report nor print any aspect of this 4,000 page investigative report (reminding me of the Star Tribune telling my publisher in 2003 that they would not review nor report about my book).

The 4,000 page report outlines the blueprint of how those at the highest level of government were obsessed with destroying the presence of African Americans in the MPD.

Unless steps are taken, the next two classes of police officer cadets/recruits will, for the first time in 30 years, have no African American cadets.

In the meantime, high ranking White police officers involved are quietly leaving for other jurisdictions, such as the University of MN, or are being promoted to make them appear honorable and trusted members of the MPD. Most stark: the culpability of our African American community “leadership” that lent support to actions resulting in the demise of the Black Police Officers Association, and the reduction of the presence of African American police officers in the MPD.

The 4,000 pages of evidence reveal how extremely effective racism and discrimination and cover-up was to ensure the demise of African Americans in law enforcement in Minneapolis. This should be troubling to all, Black and White. The disappearance over the next 10 years of African Americans in the MPD will contribute to guaranteeing a reduction in the quality of life for Black and White Americans alike and their public safety, which is what we are dependent upon for fairness and balance.

The 4,000 pages: one of the most significant recordings of the demise of a people because of the color of their skin and of how the major paper joined others in a commitment of silence to smother facts that supported truth. We maintain our eternal vigilance in the lonely pursuit of justice, fairness and equal opportunity. With this 4,000-page report, it won’t be so lonely.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
.
To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, June 19, 2014, 1:45 p.m.


The tragedy of guns in the streets.
Another senseless death.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

June 12, 2014

Maya Angelou passed May 28. She had her finger “on the pulse of morning.” She had her “caged bird” sing a prayer of freedom to rise above the “bitter, twisted lies” people of color must contend with, for, as she wrote, “Still I rise.”

The caged bird sings in classic Black gospel fashion, lifting up a prayer through its tears, yearning to be free. May our leaders raise their song for freedom too, rather than acquiesce to the gun songs that cage our young people or the bureaucratic dependency programs that cage their parents.

A 17-year-old was shot and killed June 1st on the 1600 block of Newton Avenue N. His death fosters another round of talking about solutions but not attempting to open cage doors. Unless you have lost a child to violence, its hard to know and understand the feeling. Some of us have been blessed: we have not lost a child. Others of us have not been so fortunate.

We continue to hear about “the plans” to patrol the streets with citizen patrols, to get guns out of the hands of our young people, to further education, to find youth meaningful employment. Plans, in a word, to enable them to look forward to a successful life and its amenities. Plans, yes, but not implementation.

I am an African American columnist writing for an African American paper. I’ve seen far too much pain as we continue to fail young people, making promises we don’t keep, discussing strategies we don’t implement, and promising comfort we don’t deliver. We cage our young. We shortchange them. We don’t just “bruise their wings,” we clip them.

Plans for faith patrols, soul patrols, community patrols, or marching for 40 days and 40 nights to highlight the need of a safety net for our most vulnerable are cages if we don’t also include education/training leading to good jobs and good housing. Instead, the city has succeeded in building perfect cages that prevent success.

Too many still think uncaging is not difficult, that all we have to do is say we did it and it will be so. It will be for those paid to develop “perfect” plans that they don’t implement. Some may suggest that is simplistic and shallow. But isn’t that how government, churches and nonprofits work today: hold strategy meetings to develop perfect plans and then not execute implementing strategies or plans in our schools and neighborhoods?

The Star Tribune reports that on the 16th of June, faith patrols will take to our city streets. We pray they are well organized, and effective. But what if bad boys are armed? Will we, in the summer of 2014, continue to face the challenge of tragedy, violence, and failure by causing more young people to believe nothing positive will be done?

I come from the old school that had the power and charisma of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, Mary McLeod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey, who understand the importance of struggle and delivering community victory.

Our African American community cannot be expected to stand idly by while our young are ravaged by the results of guns, drugs and violence.

We can be better than Chicago or any city in America
if we exercise the will to embrace implementing plans for seeking to achieve good, workable results in education and jobs by embracing positive commitments to tear down bars of community cages erected for Black Americans.

That’s what the previous Black Americans were all about, keeping our eyes on the prize. That continues to be our task.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
.
To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014, 11:59 p.m.


Keefe file now open to the public.
Sgt. Michael Keefe waits his day in court

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

June 5, 2014

Pull quote: Now testimony in open court will attest to the roles played and civil rights violations committed, in return for profits and gratuity for their betrayal.

“A profile in courage and integrity: Lt. Michael Keefe,” is the headline of my August 29, 2007 column. Lt. Keefe “would tolerate neither racial animus and discrimination nor departmental abuses under his command.” The closing two sentences of that column were, “Will the mayor and MPD chief act with the same courage and integrity? How they act will reveal the real heart of this administration and its police department.”

MPD retaliation included demotions and transfers, despite significant performance and command ratings. Although I had never talked with Lt. Keefe, I wrote several columns about this and filed a civil rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department and then-Mayor RT Rybak and then-Police Chief Tim Dolan. That 2007 filing number is A6457-EM-1F-RP.

As an outgrowth of my and Federal Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating, the DOJ created the five year PCRC (Police Community Relations Council), which I co-chaired. This lawsuit of Keefe, who is White, became one of the most significant litigations involving how MPD corrupted its ethics and service, and how it and the city fostered the racism leading to the destruction of the Black Police Officers Association.

Gandhi said, “The ‘good’ will win in the end.” We see that here, as at long last, the District Court for Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota, has ordered all investigation information — depositions, wire taps and other materials, however gathered — be released for review by the general public. These documents show the bravery and courage of Keefe, the real heart of the MPD, and reflect how accurate I’ve been in my reporting on the Keefe case and what I filed in my civil rights complaint in 2007.

Another corruption sign: the shredding, by the Office of the City Attorney, of various city responses and my responses, which was crazy, as I still had my copies. The fox continues to be in charge of the hen house.

On January 9, 2008, the city of Minneapolis sent their six-page response to my August 30, 2007 complaint filing, which clearly laid out the level of power that drove the complicity that destroyed the Black Police Officers Association (another sign: the $750,000 settlement with five of those African American officers). Confidentiality agreements closed any further discussions until the federal court stripped the city of its confidentiality agreements pertaining to the evidence regarding Lt. Keefe.

George E. Henderson, the legal council for the U.S. DOJ, in his letter of May 29, 2008, cited the City’s and MPD’s continued violations of Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42USC, 2000g. The two years of depositions for Keefe’s lawsuit showed significant complicity in violating Keefe’s rights as well as the rights of the five African American officers awarded $750K in damages.

The DOJ was concerned about the misconduct of the City of Minneapolis. Unfortunately, as Keefe awaits his day in court, the Obama administration continues to give aid and comfort to the local Democratic political machine.

Our so-called African American community leaders did all that they could do to undermine and destroy the Black Police Officers Association. Now testimony in open court will attest to the roles played and civil rights violations committed, in return for profits and gratuity for their betrayal.

These documents, now open to the general public for examination, offer a better understanding of the dark future and probable consequences facing African American communities that don’t make positive changes.

God bless those who continue the battle against those who betrayed and destroyed the Black Police Officers Association and wrecked the lives of so many in law enforcement.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. To date: 47 Solution Papers.

================

LIST of Columns, 2003-2014, on the racism and discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department

See especially:
---April, 24, 2014: The continuing battle of Sgt. Michael Keefe, and the disappearance of Black police officers from the MPD
---August 29, 2007: A profile in courage and integrity—the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe
---What it’s like to be Black in the MPD? August 7, 2013

Posted Thursday, June 4, 2014, 6:44 a.m.


Returning to an old order after 30 years.
A retreat for Black leaders to plan actions to enable Whites to feel safe
.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

May 29, 2014

Pull quote: We urge invitations go to young voices so the absent good shepherds can listen firsthand to the cries that come from the fear that grips the African American community.

What horn will play at midnight? The Calvary bugler sounding retreat from battle? Gabriel’s trumpet leading the Halleluiah chorus? The morning horn that calls reveille wake-up to retreat members to gather to begin discussions for addressing violence in the community?

History reveals good and bad leaders, good and bad shepherds, and the shifts that occur from making 19th and first half 20th century heroic sacrifices to keep the eyes on the prize (as during slave and Jim Crow days), to 2nd half 20th century and 21st century taking eyes off the prize and becoming paid bureaucrats of “solution organizations” that “look the other way” to maintain salaries, health care and pensions for them and status quo struggles for the “lessors”.

Today’s “leadership” (Black or White, government or corporate, foundation or church, traditional Black or White helper associations and leagues), have retreated into a “wish” world for themselves at the expense of the “is” world for everyone else. Meetings and mission statements not addressing Nellie Stone Johnson’s “Big 3” (no education, no jobs, no housing), won’t enable people to become qualified, independent, and active partners with employers, investors, planners, and money dispensers of government and nonprofit programs.

Where are the good shepherds of integrity? Why so many bad shepherds, allowing flocks to be shorn or devoured? Where are the Davids to beat back the Goliaths of “Big” that prefer the status quo, the utopians creating programs for our own good that merely serve their good?

The meeting I attended in North Minneapolis at Shiloh Church, May 17, 2014, addressed the upsurge and spike in violence and guns, and the bad people using them to terrorize the community, illustrating our crossroads’ choice: continue going in status quo circles or develop straight paths to positive goals. Young people at the May 17 meeting spoke with great eloquence and vision, offering recommendations dealing with the violence they face and fear.

The problem? Lack of ears. A panel of elders to hear them and offer guidance was mostly absent. It was a moving, emotional moment. Yet few leaders attended. Just V.J. Smith of MAD DADS, Ferone Brown, Rev. Yates, and community activists Jerome Copeland and Alfred Flowers. The absent leaders missed the compelling and serious questions raised.

Why are directions being given to “elite leaders,” Black and White, from powerful White political, corporate, and nonprofit figures more “for show and status quo containment,” but not real action solutions? For the first time in 30 years Blacks are to convene a retreat. By our publication time, a Planning Committee will have met to determine who would be the retreat’s King Fish.

Forty thousand dollars cash has allegedly been promised to pay for this “adult” retreat. Powerful elected officials are concerned that the Black leadership they helped elect and fund are not in the control Whites want, so they can feel they can sleep and rest in safety and comfort. How can they, if they don’t also have the young people who stood and gave testimony at Shiloh’s Missionary Church on May 17?

We urge invitations go to young voices so the absent good shepherds can listen firsthand to the cries that come from the fear that grips the African American community, especially in neighborhoods with gangs. Will the retreat be a running away from the past and future, or a thoughtful pause to discern how to learn from the past and present, in order to create paths to the future all can travel in safety?

How will “faith patrols” on our city streets bring order to control the chaos terrorizing and wounding African Americans and other communities of color? Are you as troubled as I am that young people that came to a holy tabernacle of the community on the 17th day of May, in the year of our Lord 2014, to give testimony, were not heard by those who meet in secret retreat to develop plans that will make the master feel his plantation will be safe once again but not for those in the field left with status quo lack of safety?

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, May 29, 2014, 12:35 a.m.


Equity in light rail postponed again

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

May 22, 2014

The Star Tribune ran stories last week about light rail in the metro area. The real interpretation: purposeful denial, again, of light rail equity for North Minneapolis.

Star Tribune reported, May 12, 2014, that African Americans believe North Minneapolis is “not getting its fair share of transit amenities, despite having a heavily transit-dependent population,” and that there is a “drastic difference between service and amenities in other parts of the city like Uptown and the south side.” In other words, jobs for White city plantation bureaucrats and White construction workers, and more transit for White areas. We need action, not more talk. [See Start Tribune, Minneapolis North Siders demand transit improvements, May 12, 2014. Sub heading: Cold shelters and rising fares drew fire at a community meeting with Met Council members.]

Back in 2008 and 2009, Black legislators and leaders were talking about a big public-works project involving light rail in North Minneapolis. But when it became clear the Vikings would get their billion-dollar stadium, the focus of Black leaders’ eyes shifted to stadium money potential, as they abandoned the much needed light rail, despite discussions and long-term promises made regarding light rail.

In the May 12, 2014, Star Tribune article above, Gary Cunningham, a member of the Met Council, Vice President of the Northwest Area Foundation, and husband of Mayor Betsy Hodges, gave views and observations about transportation equity that are troubling. He and other so-called leaders are now pushing for light rail at the southern end of Hennepin County. Mr. Cunningham’s statements favoring light rail outside North Minneapolis puzzle us.

The recent Star Tribune article increased the confusion over such things as equity plan, goals, and expectations in the hiring of African Americans in the far southern regions of Hennepin County. Where is the goal and commitment for well paying public works projects in North Minneapolis?

The question that must be answered, already out there for public review, is what will be different from what was undertaken a few years ago in terms of transportation plans and goals in North Minneapolis? Rumors swirl within the African American community regarding numerous projects that could have brought employment and prosperity to North Minneapolis but instead, employment and prosperity are being denied to Blacks on these projects:

• Viking stadium
• Light rail in the south
• Projects being proposed for Golden Valley Road and Penn
• Projects being proposed for West Broadway and Penn

There continues to be much discussion about equity, equity plans, and opportunity for African Americans, but more years of discussion over action forces the question: how will this be different than the many discussions and meetings, even those with 200 in attendance that talked hope and change but didn’t provide the hoped for change in North Minneapolis?

Commitment from officials must be made, in writing. What sanctions will the legislature, the Met Council, the City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County execute when, again, there is non-compliance with the promises made in the equity plan? Will there be a full accounting? Will there be disbarment? Will there be fines? Will action be taken to foster full compliance with the promises made?

We will continue to hope for more action and less meetings. We would love to celebrate success stories as opposed to ongoing failures by those entrusted with the power to bring about positive change.

We are reminded of the commitments and promises that were made, the plans put forth, and the many meetings held, after which little happened save more meetings causing more broken dreams and despair. See my previous columns in this paper, including:

Dec. 5, 2012, Still waiting for the Equity Plan for the new Vikings’ and Minnesota’s People’s Stadium
Nov. 24, 2010
, Disparity Study reveals City failed to monitor hiring, contracting jobs and income. Result for Blacks: shameful loss of jobs and income
Oct. 21, 2009
, From Hollman to Heritage Park: How well we remember. The Northside project is a model for displacing Blacks from American cities.
June 17, 2009
, New colonial masters fill our leadership vacuum. The Northwest Area Foundation and The Committee of 40 plan Black community changes.
July 13, 2005, Where is The Plan for Black’s share of jobs, development?
April 20, 2005
, Black share of $5 billion construction: Zero. What can be done to reverse “Blacks need not apply” for the coming great construction boom?

Our Black community deserves, nay, has earned the right to avoid having another round of purposefully failing the community through purposeful and forced non-compliance.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. To date: 47 Solution Papers.

Posted Thursday, May 22, 2014, 9:40 a.m.


Safe streets promoted for White baseball
Selective reporting keeps the true level of violence concealed

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

May 15, 2014

George Orwell’s masterpiece, 1984, helps us understand Minneapolis granting temporary “Big Brother” status to Major League Baseball for summer 2014’s All Star Game week: “temporary…and related special event permits will not be approved or issued by the City of Minneapolis without the additional approval of Major League Baseball.” (Star Tribune, For All-Star Game, what rights did we give up? May 3, 2014)

Minneapolis granted temporary Big Brother status earlier for the Vikings stadium, although the Vikings didn’t ask for it as did MLB. We want safe streets for all neighborhoods, not just for downtown stadium and lake neighborhoods.

We recognize we live in “1984” in government surveillance, manipulating and falsifying information for “the greater good,” and in newspapers re-writing history to match current party line: “selective reporting:”

• 18 straight days of shootings, few reported
• 18 homicides in Little Somalia over last three years, few reported.
Star Tribune reported May 6 two White girls stabbed May 5, and reported shooting in New Brighton
• 30 days earlier, three young African American females were shot and wounded in North Minneapolis, yet unreported

Those in charge of operating this system should be ashamed.

When authorities announced on May 6 the arrest of three young African Americans (Star Tribune, 3 charged in gang-related shootings in downtown Minneapolis, May 5, 2014), for the April 12, 2014 shooting and paralyzing of a young African American near the All Star site, the Star Tribune finally reported the shooting. Again: selective reporting.

Last week we reported the “Peace [Gang] Summit” goal to curb violence this summer was not about neighborhood safety but about safety for tens of thousands of baseball fans and MLB and media staffs in July for Major League Baseball’s All Star Week (Gang summit in Minneapolis. Preparing for summer 2014. Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, May 1, 2014).

The reporting May 5, following the Gang Summit (Star Tribune, April 19, 2014, North Side safety summit examines ways to fight crime in troubled Minneapolis neighborhoods, with sub head: “With warmer days coming, and typically more crime, public officials and faith leaders gathered to strategize”), reflects our city’s fears and heartaches, raising lots of unanswered questions, especially about granting Major League Baseball (MLB) temporary “Big Brother” status.

When federal officials met within the safe confines of the Federal Building in downtown Minneapolis, they were given names of gang members reaping terror moments across the Twin Cities. No one seemed troubled that one specific gang and its members were “forgotten” in the reporting.

And yet despite all the information given federal and local authorizes identifying gang members and their crimes committed, little is done in our communities. Leadership, Black or White, rarely speaks up or speaks out. The county attorney holds few press conferences. The mayor is often silent. Churches and nonprofits look the other way.

“Peace Summit” people pretend they wanted to discuss ending guns in the African American community, but their priority is a “peaceful” All Star Game week. Those urging discussing, identifying, and taking affirmative action to stop gun proliferation in our community were told, “Another time.”

A very dangerous pattern is emerging from African American communities as information comes forward, but only in exchange for protection of their loved ones and their gangs, as even gangs want to be Big Brother. That undermines attempts to address the problems of violence for our community under siege, be it violence with a gun, knife, or any other weapon that brings death and mayhem to human beings in our communities.

A segment of White nurses, doctors, and hospital administrators see violence, shootings and terror with their own eyes and sense the feeling of violation we as Black people actually experience, but our violation doesn’t rate the major response White baseball does.

If more White citizens knew about the numerous assaults and acts of violence the Star Tribune does not report, more would be concerned about our safety as well as theirs.

So what will it be? Enable out-of-towners to feel comfortable for one week, or work to enable all citizens of all neighborhoods to feel comfortable year round?

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, May 15, 2014, 8:54 a.m.


Donald, Donald, Donald: Sterling
A test for the NBA and Adam Silver

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

May 8, 2014

The specter of racism has long haunted professional sports.  Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA (National Basketball Association) team, The L.A. Clippers, is proving how wrong those are who deny racism exists any more.

Having held his race attitudes during his 30 years of ownership, well known to owners, media, players, fans, and sponsors, is Sterling a Rosa Parks “tipping point” for the collective “Social Conscience” of America, ashamed at the  “yassah boss” polite role of “to get money you go along with money,” even plantation money, at the community’s expense? 

The worst kept secret is again exposed of how white owner racism has long caused their chafing at the majority of players being Black, letting Sterling do their ranting.  That’s the true infamy.

The “oh my gawd, if we could have only known” wailing taking place is the OMG of false pretenses.  They knew.  The difference?   A woman scorned holding her smoking gun evidence fully recorded (albeit reported illegally).  Sterling’s trifecta of scorn, disrespect and racism and the NBA’s tolerance of it is no longer hidden.  

This incident exposes, tarnishes, and shreds retired NBA Commissioner David Stern’s image and reputation, as he allowed Sterling’s conduct, philosophy and racism in the NBA.  Is his protégé, new NBA commissioner Adam Silver, moving swiftly to save Stern’s reputation and his own job, and to sweep it all under the rug as soon as possible?  

With Silver’s election, white owners again turned their back on the valid idea whose time has come:  a Black Commissioner, as they instead denied yet another generation a position well earned for which they are well qualified.

Donald Sterling’s name and the L.A. NAACP will forever be joined in memory in infamy.  The L.A. NAACP has long defended Donald Sterling, being his apologist (money trumping principles).  Only the smoking gun caused the NAACP to stop the charade with Sterling and cancel his about to be awarded second NAACP life time achievement award, exposing how money to “community leaders” denies real community people, and enabling sports plantations.

When legendary Elgin Baylor sued Donald Sterling in 2009, for ageism and racism, it was the NAACP of Los Angeles that came to Sterling’s defense, calling Sterling one of the “greatest men” of our time, despite Baylor’s statement that Sterling had a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for the team.

When we hear talk of “meat rolls”, we have a clear indication of what happens when folks compromise principles and accept Judas dollars.  

The blind now see.  Advertisers are halting sponsorships for Sterling’s team (e.g., Kia, Red Bull, State Farm, Virgin America, CarMax).   Players bravely stepped off the plantation by demonstrating at center court and not wearing ID warmups prior to the game.  Economic sanctions trump riots or one-off protests, so follow these don’ts:  don’t buy Clipper tickets, don’t attend Clipper games, don’t watch Clippers on TV, don’t buy products and services from their sponsors.  Even the other 29 owners (all white except for Michael Jordan), have spoken against Sterling.  They support his ouster, a change from their three decade silence about his racism.

Former NBA player Kevin Johnson, now Mayor of Sacramento working with the NBA Players’ Association, made five recommendations: That the Commissioner (1) act swiftly and decisively, (2) outline the range of possible sanctions; (3) not allow Sterling to attend any more NBA playoff games this year; and, my two favorites for the future, (4) include the players' association as “full partners” in the investigation, and (5) explain why the NBA did not sanction Sterling after prior evidence of racism going back over 30 years. 

Stay tuned.

Ed note:  On April 29, 2014, Silver banned Sterling for life and asked the other owners to vote for him to sell.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, May 8, 2014, 7:20 a.m.


Gang summit in Minneapolis.
Preparing for summer 2014.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

May 1, 2014

Pull quote: Another lack of commitment example: when longtime Civil Rights Activist Spike Moss asked to be allowed to participate, they debated whether to let him.

The “invitation only” “North Side Safety Summit” (“Gang Summit”) was held April 18, 2014, in North Minneapolis at the School District’s West Broadway headquarters. The Star Tribune reported “why” April 19, 2014: “The city’s North Side has seen one-third of the city’s violent crime and half of the city’s shootings over the past 14 years… Violent crime rose 24 percent…due to more assaults and robberies…centered around the Folwell, Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods.” See Start Tribune, Aprlo 19 ,2014, North Side safety summit examines ways to fight crime in troubled Minneapolis neighborhoods (sub head: With warmer days coming, and typically more crime, public officials and faith leaders gathered to strategize).

The purpose of the summit was to find solutions for summer 2014’s anticipated gang violence. Star Tribune: “Some 70 public officials…gathered…to talk about pervasive crime numbers and how to lower them.” The “containment” until winter hibernation returns is not a solution. The real solution, as I wrote in my April 3, 2014 column, is to end the city political culture that results in providing little for the least among us in education, job opportunities, housing, health care, and further decline in families and community. It should have been called the Summit of Denial.

This is another example of what Minneapolis officialdom (Mayor Betsy Hodges, City Council, City agencies, foundations, Black churches, White churches, corporations) share, as I wrote in last week’s column: “the opposite of commitment to equity and fairness in the governance of the city.” Although geared for North Minneapolis, few African Americans were invited. Only 12 attended, including only two Black law enforcement officers, Keith John Harrington of the Metro Transit Police, and Eddie Frizell, MPD Deputy Chief.

Another lack of commitment example: when longtime Civil Rights Activist Spike Moss asked to be allowed to participate, they debated whether to let him. A City Council member was heard saying Mr. Moss was not welcome as they wanted a quiet meeting. That mean-spirited attitude reflects an older time of White America: wanting “our kind of Black folks,” not those who will raise tough questions. Happily, Mr. Moss had strong support, including that of the Hennepin County Sheriff, Rick Stanek. Mr. Moss was allowed to stay.

Nonetheless, gang warfare arose from its winter slumber. That evening of the Summit, two African American young men were shot in North Minneapolis; one was left paralyzed. Two young men were shot and wounded outside Target Field, one left paralyzed. Another was shot and wounded when major fighting broke out along 5th and Hennepin, in downtown Minneapolis. Within a 12-day period, two were shot and paralyzed.

Neither “containment” nor “camps” are the right solutions, nor is dusting off and redeploying community patrols in so-called hot spots, which raises three questions: Will they have trained backup? Will they receive necessary intelligence data? Will they be given police powers? Experience tells us: “of course not.” So what purpose will be served?

The Chamber of Commerce will be nervous, but not about North Minneapolis.  Rather, about whether White citizens will come to spend millions of dollars in the Twin Cities for summer events, including baseball’s all-star game.

Seventy public officials at the summit (judges, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, etc): all nervous and anxious. Do they have a plan? If so, why wasn’t it revealed?

Why weren’t a larger number of African Americans trusted to be a party to the discussion? The plan seems to be to continue to contain Black youth in poor education, poor housing, poor family structure, poor job and employment prospects. That is the greater violence.

Black law enforcement was disrespected and dismissed when only two Black officers were there, and yet not involved in the discussion. That we are not expected to ask “why” speaks volumes exposing the North Side Summit of Denial.
Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, May 1, 2014, 3:20 a.m.


The continuing battle of Sgt. Michael Keefe
And the disappearance of Black police officers from the MPD

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

April 24, 2014

Pull quote: [Somali-Americans] will find out, as did African American police officers, that there cannot always be a love affair or even a relationship of trust with some of those in City Hall.

See my August 29, 2007 column regarding the courageous battle waged by Lt. Michael Keefe of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), “A profile in courage and integrity — the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe” (link below). Keefe was demoted to sergeant as part of a mean-spirited vendetta against this White officer and against some African American Police officers

My August 29, 2007 Column, A profile in courage and integrity—the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe, provides insights into the latest battles currently being fought within the city and wth its police departtment.

And even though Mayor Betsy Hodges and city council members have said they are committed to equity and fairness in the governance of the city of Minneapolis, a couple of major battles centering around equity in the MPD questions their commitment

The first deals with the attempt by the City of Minneapolis, in State District Court, to avoid releasing information from the now six-and-a-half year lawsuit battle brought by then Lt. and now Sgt. Keefe. This lawsuit addresses the undermining by city officials of both Lt./Sgt. Keefe and the Black Police Officers Association. The Star Tribune has declined to report on Keefe’s lawsuit because of allegations and charges against some of their reporters

The second recent battle centers on the promise made by the Hodges administration to the Somali-American Community that there would be a significant increase of Somali-American citizens recruited as members of the MPD. For example, the very talented Somali-American candidate who was supposed to be hired by the St. Paul police department but was not, being denied entry into the cadet class. Thus, in January and February of this year, the Hodges administration indicated that this Somali-American would become a member of the next recruitment class of the MPD. But: denied again. Why?

Recall the fact that the last recruitment class was all White. There is concern about the shrinking number of officers of color in the MPD. Thus the surprise within the Somali-American community, and I assume by the Somali-American City Council member, when their man did not make the top 60 of a recruitment class that was cut off at 40

In fact, Police Federation President John Delmonico indicated to the Hodges administration that the Federation would not oppose Chief Harteau’s reaching out to pull this Somali-American candidate into the top 40. The chief declined, giving no reason, stating only that it was not a matter for discussion. Again: why?

When one reviews some of the police personnel who were involved in the 2004-2007 dismantling of the Black Police Officers Association, we find the city redacting names in the requested report. Why this rejection by the Hodges Administration and Chief Harteau of the offer of the Minneapolis Police Federation’s call to support the Black Police Officers Association

Where are the Lutherans who worked so hard to bring Somalis to Minneapolis, only now to abandon them?

The Somali-American community has been betrayed. How they decide to deal with it is up to them. They will find out, as did African American police officers, that there cannot always be a love affair or even a relationship of trust with some of those in City Hall. And so the number of MPD Somali-American officers, which is five, will not increase anytime soon, while the number of African Americans in the police department continues to shrink

Why is the African American Leadership Council pressuring other Black organization leaders to stand down and not raise this issue in any way, shape or form? And so, as then Lt., now Sgt. Michael Keefe predicted, the continued demise of African Americans and others of color continues apace.
Stay tuned

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, April 24, 2014, 3:16 a.m.


Congratulations Kevin Ollie!
Congratulations University of Connecticut!

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

April 17, 2014

Pull quote: We discuss race because race is always the “unseen” elephant in the room, always “at work” in the room.

Kevin Ollie’s UConn (University of Connecticut) basketball team was crowned national champion Monday, April 7. They beat the University of Kentucky, 60-54. And how also very special: UConn women won the women’s national championship too.

This is only the second time in history that both the men's and women's Division I basketball titles were won during the same year by the same school.  The last time:  2004.  Same school: UConn.

This tournament presents us with a teaching moment, with history as our guide. Why have only four Black Head Coaches in history won the national championship, when there are 351 Division 1 college programs? Why is it so rare for an African American to win the national title as a coach in any college sport?

Most basketball coaches are former players, so why, when 52.2 percent of players are Black, are only 18.6 percent of coaches Black? Black assistant coaches: 31 percent, but the are often called “recruiting assistants” to recruit Black players, but not to be groomed to run programs as Head Coaches. Those who determine programs, and who gets on the Head Coach track: the Athletic Directors: 89 percent White.

Ollie joins the legends, such as John Thompson (1985), Tubby Smith (1998) and Nolan Richardson (1994). Yet Smith was pushed out of both Kentucky and Minnesota.  Richardson was “fired for being Black and outspoken” (see my column of March 27, 2014).  May Ollie be treated better.

Kevin Ollie, former Timberwolves team captain (2008-2009), crafted, molded and shaped his young men into national champions under tough conditions: the NCAA had banned them from tournament play for previous player low grades, causing several coaches and five key players to leave for other schools or the NBA.  So Black Americans and Huskies fans are understandably delighted and proud.

We discuss race because race is always the “unseen” elephant in the room, always “at work” in the room. Did you notice that during the 48 hours before the championship game, neither Black nor White commentators pointed out that Kevin Ollie could very well join the legends in a rare feat, a Black man coaching a team at a White university and win the national championship?

We remember the greats: the legendary Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlin, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul Jabaar, the great Oscar Robinson, and, certainly Michael Jordan. All coaches are given opportunity to enjoy the vast resources and alumni contributions that pour in to help win a coveted national championship, be it in football, basketball, baseball, or any of the dozens of other sports, but mostly for White coaches.

So while we celebrate with joyful and jubilation, and dream of happy fans winning in the future in Minnesota, we pause to congratulate Kevin Ollie, a Black man that led a team many thought would not make it to the championship, let alone win it.

Coach Ollie was trusted with the resources and assets of a great university. Many more White coaches have earned that opportunity. Too many coaches in Black America have to continue to wait for their opportunity that doesn't come. Don’t forget: our Black young men have been involved in winning national championships each and every year, ever since the great days of Bill Russell of the 1950s, at the University of San Francisco.

And so now we have a former player and captain of the Minnesota’s Timberwolves who overcame adversity to win the national championship with dignity and respect for the game. Coach Kevin Ollie honors the memory of those we previously named. He proved we can do it.

We congratulate Kevin Ollie, and the young men and women of the University of Connecticut.

Congratulations also to the administrators at the University of Connecticut. They believed that if students could shoot the ball and score the points and direct the game on the floor, they would be able to develop winning strategies for whatever they do after they graduate, including becoming Black Head Coaches.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, April 17, 2014, 416 p.m.


Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the weekly Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

April 10, 2014

Pull quote: To suggest council have the city attorney’s office investigate is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. attorney’s

Retaliation continues in the department I now call the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Misconduct. Former employees of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department affirmed this in testifying to its “toxic” environment, at the March 19 hearing on the reappointment of Velma Korbel to head the department. Among those testifying were Ms. Semone Desal and Ms. Kristin White.

Ms. White testified that when she reported to human resources of the environment of corruption and cronyism inside the department, she was fired the next day. It is telling that the council votes was split, 9-3 to reappoint.

Journalistic corruption accompanies city corruption. Although we have reported the misconduct of this department for a decade, Star Tribune rarely does so unless forced, as they are now by public testimony in a public hearing before Council. And although the paper’s March 19 blog reported on the retaliation firing of Kristin White, it left it out of its main articles of March 19 and 31, which had wider circulation, and left it out of its March 31 blog story as well.

Only the mayor’s office, the Council, and the Star Tribune know the answer to why this startling testimony is being suppressed.

Given the past bullying we have reported in the department, we are forced to wonder how much bullying was done to get new Council members to vote for the Korbel reappointment. Of the carry-over members, Cam Gordon, Green Party/Democrat, Second Ward, is less than fully truthful when he pretends to have no knowledge of the allegations made by Ms. White.

In order to help Council clean its bloody hands, documentation pertaining to Ms. Whites’ statements to Human Resources and their communiqué back to Velma Korbel, have been shredded (we reported such shredding and vanishing files for a decade, so it is not new; just rarely reported in the Star Tribune). The city would have us believe that there will be some sort of outside consultant investigating allegations and making recommendations. We’re not convinced.

How can we trust this council and new mayor when Ms. White, a licensed attorney, acting under color of law, informs the Minneapolis City Council at a public hearing that criminal corruption, collusion, and conspiracy was being conducted in the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, and they do nothing? What other acts in other departments are they not admitting?

To suggest council have the city office investigate is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Given our latest report of shredding, last week, we doubt an investigation of White’s allegations will take place unless forced, whether in a lawsuit or DOJ investigation. Too many documents have been falsified, shredded or disappeared, and too much money has passed through too many hands to enable it to happen voluntarily.

Shame on Star Tribune for again withholding reporting of charges made against this department. March 19, 2014, will forever live in infamy as the death knell of any future trust of the department under Velma Korbel and this council, not to mention the weakening of the credibility among new council members of the new mayor and old council members.

It is further troubling that a sitting Hennepin County judge, despite Ms. White’s testimony, still chose to testify on behalf of the Korbel reappointment.

It is for these reasons that this should be turned over to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., as the city refuses to act against such corruption, circumvention, and betrayal of our city’s civil rights ordinance, a betrayal that is like shredding civil rights along with other evidence shredding and disappearing.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, April 10, 2014, 4:07 p.m.


A Silent Campaign For The Mineapolis Board Of Education Election

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

April 3, 2014

Pull quote: Despite Mayor Rybak’s new position and meetings about new directions in education, we hear little about the three Rs: reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic…

Let life be breathed into the education debate. At stake are not only the lives of our children but also the prosperity and happiness killed by the poverty in our urban neighborhoods.

I recommend that the following organizations hold at least three major Minneapolis School Board candidate forums, in May, July, and late September, 2014: The NAACP, the Minneapolis Urban League and the Leadership Alliance. They should commit themselves to an active and shared leadership role and no longer stand in the shadow of silence.

With all of the pretense that goes on in the City of Minneapolis regarding education, you would think that three months into 2014, an election year, we would already be listening to and weighing passionate thoughts and policy recommendations to deal with the continued mis-education of children of color in Minneapolis public schools.

Nellie Stone Johnson’s mantra remains relevant regardless of race or color: “No education, no job, no housing.” (and thus, in a word, no family, no childhood stability).

In 1965, before Watts, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a Democrat and a sociologist (and later a U.S. Senator from New York), predicted today’s state of our Black urban neighborhoods if we didn’t pay attention to education (to prepare for jobs), economic development (jobs, for prosperity and happiness), housing (where families live), marriage and family (community and consistent child rearing), and health (reduce smoking, drinking, drugs), and how not doing so would lead to poverty for many. The big difference: it’s now with Whites too. It’s no long just “a Black thing.”

Just eight months ago, we were hearing about pitched battles between education reformers and their opponents. The reformers seem to have been a group of African American leaders led by Gary Cunningham and the Leadership Alliance, with significant support from outgoing Mayor R.T. Rybak. Yet they blame lack of money or misbehaving students rather than a “cultural” or “community attitude,” and thus dismissed the work ethic of education and training needed to avoid a downward spiral, not to mention that they deny the role of government policies contributing to these negative results.

Needed: forceful, resilient, and constructive debate on real-world solutions, not just words that sound good. Our children are in danger of educational extinction in the current education “culture/climate.”

Where is the real outcry? Reformers only seem to want to contain the wreckage rather than actually fix the fact that Black students drop out, are untrained for work/jobs, have babies out of wedlock, and perpetuate the poverty cycle? You would think this would be high on the agendas of government, public schools, foundations, and churches instead of just more meetings on the wreckage and their reports about how good they are to be thinking about it.

When Mayor Rybak was hired to take on the challenge of educating children of color, reformers sounded like a good ol’ Baptist choir as they sang Halleluiah!, as if talk and bank checks would guarantee a new education initiative. The Minneapolis Board of Education needs to determine real reform, not recycled meetings and recycled reports.

Despite Mayor Rybak’s new position and meetings about new directions in education, we hear little about the three Rs: reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic, which is why some maintain Minneapolis public education has died. There have been occasions when it has been difficult to determine whether the Superintendent of Education still believed in public education.

What happened to the anticipated, intense education debate?

Unmarried women with children in poverty are no longer just a “Black problem,” it is spreading to all the races. In 1965, 23.6 percent of Black children and 3.07 percent of White children had unwed mothers. Today, almost half of all first births (Back, White, Brown, Yellow) are from unmarried women: 30 percent White, 54 percent Hispanic and 72 percent Black.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, April 3, 2014, 7:46 p.m.


Was it Tubby Smith’s Fault?
Gophers miss NCAA Basketball Tournament.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

March 27, 2014

A year ago this month, the Minnesota Gophers Men’s Basketball team played in the NCAA Basketball tournament. The African America Head Coach, Tubby Smith, had retooled the team. It was on the move again. But even when 15-1, Star Tribune started a series of negative, anti-Tubby columns. To his credit, Sid Hartman didn’t agree (writing the day before Smith was fired that it would be a “mistake by the Gophers). Coach Smith went deep into the tournament last year, losing only in the 3rd round, the “Sweet 16”, three games from the championship. Next day: fired.

The century long peculiar smell in the UM athletic culture raised the bar so high so that if he didn’t win the National Championship he would no longer be UM Men’s Head Basketball Coach.

For those who know the University of Minnesota history with Black coaches, this was not surprising. In 1951, Head Basketball Coach Ozzie Cowles said no African American would ever step on his court of competition. His teams played slow, “control basketball.” There are still those slow at acknowledging either civil rights or Blacks as Minnesota teams head coaches.

When the great All American Quarterback, Sandy Stephens arrived in 1959 as a UM Freshman, and was designated by Mississippi born Head Foot Ball coach Murray Warmath, as the next QB, replacing Smokin’ Joe Salem, white alumni and the white media in MN put up a howl. They hadn’t won a championship in nearly 30 years. Sandy Stephens, along with fellow Black All Americans, Bobby Bell, Carl Eller, Bill Munsey, and Judge Dixon, put up with the hatred and venom directed towards them. They led the U to a Rose Bowl win and its last national football championship. None,, now, for over 50 years.

Four years later, the greatest trio of Basketball Players ever to select UM basketball, all African Americans, Lou Hudson, Archie Clark, and Don Yates, led the Gophers to three successive winning seasons. The constant besides winning: criticizing and attacking Black players.

The culture: there were too many “shadows” on the court. Five year later, Brewer, Turner, Young, and Taylor came to the Gopher Basketball program. The white media in this city said there was too much racial imbalance on the basketball court. How to balance? White coach.

And then there was Clem Haskins, brought here to rejuvenate and breath life back into UM men’s basketball. Also forced out. When Lou Holtz left he told Clem that these folks don’t want a winning program, football or basketball, if Blacks are given starting and star roles. And soon, Clem Haskins was sent on his way. Little has changed. A decade later, when Tubby Smith came here from Kentucky, and turned around a Basketball program that had fallen on hard times, he too, despite winning, was told to move on (in one of the most cowardly displays in big time sports).

Tubby’s replacement was not negatively critiqued by the white media, so, in the final analysis, the dark shadow of Raymond “Red” Presley, a friend of mine who was the legendary UM 3 sport athlete not always allowed to play, continues to speak volumes about a culture that really doesn’t want too many blacks, and certainly doesn’t want them in positions of power and leadership, and that never wants to refer to them as heroes. Its why, other than hockey, the U of Mn will have a hard time winning championships. The late, great Bobby Marshall, stated in 1903, about how difficult it was to be a Negro in the culture of Golden Gopher Sports. It still is.

Stay tuned.
============================
============================

Sid Hartman, Star Tribune, March 25, 2013: “Firing Smith would be big mistake by Gophers

My columns of a year ago:
March 28, 2013:  “Tubby Smith Says, “I’ll gong to coach Again.”
April 3, 2014, Thank you Tubby for an excellent run! Tubby Smith: a man of principle and integrity.
April 10, 2013: Congratulations, Tubby! Texas Tech hires Tubby Smith while U of M keeps looking

About Tubby on UM Athletic Dept web site, 2013: Smith came to Minnesota with a reputation for winning at the highest level not matched by many coaches in the country. In his 20-year career, he has claimed a National Title (Kentucky in 1997-98), made four "Elite Eight" appearances, nine "Sweet Sixteen" appearances and has posted 17 straight 20-win seasons. His 407 wins entering the 2008-09 season was the sixth-best record of any head coach in their first 17 years in NCAA Division I basketball, joining such names as Roy Williams, Denny Crum, Jim Boeheim, Nolan Richardson and Jerry Tarkanian.

On five different occasions, Smith has been named a conference coach of the year (1994 & 95 in the Missouri Valley Conference and 1998, 2003 & 2005 in the SEC). He has also collected national coach of the year honors on three different occasions (1998, 2003 & 2005).

UM, 03/25/2013: Tubby Smith Relieved of Coaching Duties [Fired day after losing Sweet 16 game to Florida]
Director of Athletics Norwood Teague made the announcement today.
UM 03/24/2013: Florida Too Much for Gophers, 78-64
Minnesota falls in the third round of the NCAA Tournament [ “sweet 16” round]

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Thursday, March 27, 2014, 11:26 a.m.


Nine hundred complaints disappear.
Only 16 cases under investigation.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

March 20, 2014

Pull quote: It would be more accurate to change the name to the Office of Civil Rights Misconduct, as that is too often the prevailing action within the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department.

The Police Misconduct Board operates under the custody and control of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department. The Police Misconduct Board has hired a significant number of attorneys over the last year. They receive a nice stipend to review and make determinations regarding allegations of police misconduct.

Observers as well as workers in City Hall want to know why, under Michael Brown, 900 police complaints, going back several years, have now been jettisoned with no more than 16 active investigations. Police officers call this “bait and switch” and unidentified “Xs and Os.”

Nine hundred complaints have been passed through a shredder. This is not public service; it is sabotage of public service.

The tax payers of Minneapolis are being assessed a significant dollar amount to hire more case reviewers even as the number of cases is reduced. It is clear that, once again, City Hall has adopted its own version of “have a pen and phone” to bypass its own laws, using a shredder and a dumpster for cases, rather than properly reviewing them so that determinations can be made relevant to the statutory importance of these cases to be reviewed.

I am reminded of the cases that came out of the Civil Rights Department itself due to its patterns and practices of dumping cases, as I have reported in this column about how the department sent letters to citizens about their complaints, indicating that their cases had been investigated when they had not been investigated.

Nine hundred complaints represent a lot of citizen expectation that concerns would be taken seriously by government officials, and that the integrity of investigations would be maintained and honored. This is clearly not the case with the Department of Civil Right’s Office of Police Misconduct.

Given the failure of the Department of Civil Rights to stand up for civil rights and to honor and investigate complaints of violation of civil rights, it would be more accurate to change the name to the Office of Civil Right Misconduct, as that is too often the prevailing action within the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, which has made its business not the investigation of civil rights complaints but dismissing the complaints without review or investigation.

How far is too far? An indicator of the answer is when even police officers, who are members of the tribunal, shake their heads in disbelief at such patterns and practices in the City of Minneapolis. These are signs that the tax-paying citizens of our city are in big trouble, and should feel very concerned regarding the application of good government.

We are not watching the breakdown of our government system. “Breakdown” implies natural degrading, as with an old car, an old roof, an old furnace, etc. Rather it is deliberate, premeditated, and purposeful.

Different leadership groups are given to “getting theirs” at the expense of others who do not get theirs. Remember how the newly elected council person of the b, came to her office only to find most of the files missing? This paper included a picture on its front page. The Star Tribune tried to avoid the story.

There are enough laws and statutes on the books. What we have is system sabotage — unnatural, on purpose. Too many Black officials no longer mimic the great civil rights leaders of the first half of the 20th century. They now, as Whites, mimic the sabotage of the Black community in order to better facilitate their being able to say, “we got ours.”

In other words, self-sabotage of today and, thus, sabotage of the education and jobs of future generations.

Stay tuned.

Editors note: this column fits into what a book sub-title calls "Self-Sabotage in Black America."

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2014, 1:00 a.m.


What happened to the receipts?
Re
visiting the Tornado Relief Funds.

March 7, 2014

As submitted to Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, March 6, 2014
for their March 13, 2014 edition,
for the column "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

A shock wave rolled like a tornado through the March 3, 2014 meeting quietly held in an out of the way University of Minnesota location, as the representatives of the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota, gathered to consider questions raised regarding how tornado relief money following the May 22, 2011 tornado was spent.

Though quietly held, the meeting was not one of secrecy. It was one of quiet inquiry. These oversight agencies finally realized they had incomplete accounting for tornado relief funds spent. Their reputations were at risk. They were caught napping in our age of “forensic accounting” (doing financial autopsies on what some hoped were dead accounting records). This is why they confronted relief distribution organizations and their leaders with specific questions regarding tornado relief funds distribution, as sums in the hundreds of thousands of dollars are unaccountable. How much was actually used to help tornado victims and how much was diverted from such help? Incompetence? Embezzlement? Both?

Recall questions raised in late 2011 and early 2012, because of the Status Update Report of June 3, 2011, of the Minneapolis Foundation’s Minnesota Help North Minneapolis Recovery Fund, a fund set up to accelerate distribution funded by tremendous donations from corporate Minnesota.

On July 6, 2011, the Minneapolis Foundation and the Greater Twin Cities United Way announced they had raised $513,258 for the Northside Community Response Team (NCRT) relief effort. Elim Transitionary Housing, Inc. had receipts for every penny received and distributed.

This column reported and raised questions about the distribution of relief money (see our columns of 2011):
Disaster accelerates gentrification of North Minneapolis. Reconstruction proceeds without Black workers, June 01, 2011.

When experience and knowledge truly mean something. Real vs. Fake Ministry Responses to the North Minneapolis Tornado, June 8, 2011.

For two and a half years the general public has been told all is in order. No longer. How was over $700,000 marked for tornado relief actually spent? Far less than what the minutes of the Northside Community Response Team of June 10, 2011, at 2 pm, suggest, falsely suggesting happy days were here again. Were over 5,000 families/people really accommodated with these relief funds?

Documents awaiting examination by investigators show tremendous amounts of cash money paid to tornado victims, 80% of whom were African American, out of the benevolence and compassion of organizations who proclaimed membership on the Northside Community Response Team. Was it so?

Why was it that the very respected and beloved African American woman who had worked for 23 years for the Minneapolis Foundation, and who had receipts for every dollar of relief paid out or items bought, lost her position, while others who were unable to produce a record of receipts for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they said they had provided to residents of North Minneapolis did not lose their positions?

Overseers at the March 3rd meeting want to know accounting documents are accurate, authentic and complete. We know there will be estimation. We await an explanation of the accounting details and why receipts cannot be found.

Given the status update of the June 3, 2011 report and the impressive response to the call to arms to help and provide for citizens who had been battered by the May 22, 2011 tornado, one wonders why blue tarps are still up and why not all people claimed didn't receive any of the close to $1M in direct contributions, as well as the millions of dollars in federal funds poured into North Minneapolis, in the ensuing months and years after the tornado, as discoered. May those identified June 3 2011, have the opportunity to retrieve their lives and look forward to a more steady future. Anything less is unacceptable.

Stay tuned.

Editors note: this column fits into what a book sub-title calls "Self-Sabotage in Black America."

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Wednesday, March 7, 2014, 3:10 p.m.
Originally submitted to Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, March 6, 2014, for their March 14, 2014 edition.


M.A. Mortenson not up to the task for an NFL stadium
Construction manager track record in construction: Junior Varsity.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

March 5, 2014

Pull quote: The “accident” a couple of weeks ago of the massive beam falling during demolition, out of sequence (resulting in a change to dynamiting the rest), shows they were unprepared…

In these columns a year ago, I called attention to the concerns making the Minnesota Vikings uncomfortable with the selection of M.A. Mortenson as construction manager for the now over $1 billion Vikings "multi purpose" stadium, concerns shared also with the NFL. Nothing against Mortenson. It’s a really nice square peg, but they are trying to fit it into a round hole and it doesn’t fit.

Mortenson, great at smaller venues (see below), is out of its league with the Vikings, lacking the expertise, experience, and success history with projects of this size and magnitude. Contrast this with those the Star Tribune reported as rejected (January 21, 2013): Hunt Construction, of Scottsdale, AZ, builder of nearly 50 professional sports venues, including NFL stadiums (two with retractable roofs), and Skanska, the international firm that has also built NFL stadiums. Mortenson has built none.

But Minnesota politics dictated Mortenson receive the project. It is becoming clear each day that the Vikings were correct in their suspicions that M.A. Mortenson was junior varsity and not first-string senior varsity as Hunt and Skanska.

The “accident” a couple of weeks ago of the massive beam falling during demolition, out of sequence (resulting in a change to dynamiting the rest), shows they were unprepared, couldn’t fix their plan, and thus resorted to dynamite. They currently lack an integrated plan.

The conclusion is clear: M.A. Mortenson has never undertaken a project of this size and magnitude (see list below), raising serious questions about the investment and trust made on behalf of Mortenson by the elected representatives of the tax payers of Minnesota that was forced onto the Vikings and the NFL.

The decision to change — in mid-stream — the method of demolition of the Metro Dome should worry investors, bond holders, and others who have a stake in this stadium and now worry about the consequences if these and future delays prevent on-schedule completion.

The fact that Mortenson now talks about a second plan, one that is not as of the writing of this column in place, is troublesome to bondholders and other investors, now having to wonder what additional costs will be incurred and additional moneys needed. At no point in time during the legislative and planning process was there ever a discussion involving a second plan protocol.

July 2016 is the stated date of completion. I continue to maintain that just as in the case of delays with the specialty steel now being prepared in Luxemburg, certain political powers knew that this stadium would not be ready until the year 2017 or 2018. That’s the reason there was discussion to avoid a four-year operational contract, as with TCF stadium. Here are the “largest” of Mortenson contracts. Size (or lack of size) matters (the Mortenson portfolio is here:

2013: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, NB, $161 million, 15,147 seats
• 2012: St. Paul, Union Depot restoration: $243 million.
• 2011: Mortenson to build largest concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power plant in the world (solar arrays are very different from stadiums)
• 2010: Target Field, $412 million, 40,000 seats, open air
• 2009: Third largest sports arena in China, $220 million; will seat 18,000.
• 2009: Gophers’ TCF Stadium, $288 million, 50,000 seats, open air
• 2008: the $139 million IBCT Company Operations Facilities project at Ft. Bliss, TX, “one of the company’s largest design-build projects,” consisting of 12 separate buildings, with operational support space for more than 7,000 soldiers.

Mortenson’s Vikings stadium claim: “7,500 construction-related jobs and…substantial business opportunity for hundreds of local subcontractors and suppliers.” We still await diversity numbers.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2014, 12:40 a.m


When bribery and corruption causes death!
In the deaths of five children in North Minneapolis

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

February 26, 2014

Pull quote: Saying the tenant is at fault for faulty setting of the controls passes the buck to sidestep poor wiring and unsafe space heaters.

On Saturday, February 15, 2014, Minneapolis Fire Department units rushed to a blazing and fatal fire at 2818 Colfax Avenue, North. Five beautiful, precious and innocent children lost their lives. The father, who lost his wife to heart disease a couple of months ago, now loses five of his children.

He tried to rescue them. Three were burnt beyond recognition. The father, suffering burns and smoke inhalation, is still in the hospital.

This tragedy will forever have an enormous impact on the father, Troy Lewis, and his surviving daughters, as well as on the many friends, family and loved ones. This tragedy raises two major question: (1) why the continued lack of good affordable housing in Minneapolis, and (2) why does the pattern and practice continue in the City of Minneapolis inspections that allow slum land lords and city inspectors to prey upon the poor, specifically people of color?

The Fire Department did everything that could be done professionally and humanly for this fire that should never have happened. This father and his children had only been in the house a couple of months. Yet the house passed city inspection. How, when they were forced to use space heaters for heat, one in the middle of the apartment? This calls for an examination of the inspection reports.

Rules and procedures, codes and statutes governing government protocols for inspections and examinations and clearances for houses to be occupied are too often ignored. It’s a win win for slum landlords and inspectors but not for those in danger due to inspection deals. It has long been felt — and many know stories about —that too many envelopes are passed back and forth under the table that allow inspectors to look the other way.

Any damn fool would have recognized the red flag: space heaters situated throughout the apartment, and a neglecting land lord, Paul Bertelson. Why did the Star Tribune intentionally spell his name with an “o” instead of an “e”? Could it be because another member of the family, Philip, was involved in the death of two African Americans on November 3, 2013, in North Minneapolis on Olson Highway?

In fact, the company that is used by these landlords, Mission Inn Minnesota, Inc., has a history defined by inspectors ignoring what they find and the White media not investigating. The number of properties that they control and their ability to get them to pass inspection, particularly in North Minneapolis, again raises serious questions about bribes and kickbacks.

It is bad enough that the November third vehicular homicide has yet to receive a complete a reconstruction. Why does the Star Tribune make no effort to report this drunken murderer?

Yes, it is murder, vehicular homicide. We know that if it was an intoxicated Black driver killing two Whites, he would be under the jail as we speak.

Will statements made by Bertleson that the walls and ceilings were insulated when they were not be investigated? Saying the tenant is at fault for faulty setting of the controls passes the buck to sidestep poor wiring and unsafe heat. The Star Tribune has a responsibility to the public to use the Freedom of Information Act, to pull inspection reports.

Blaming the victims is the sad default of too many dealing with tragedy in the Black community. We can only offer prayers for those that have survived and for the five beautiful African American children who perished, whose deaths again remind us that there are serious questions of the culture of corruption at work in the city of Minneapolis.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press
Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2014, 5:20 p.m


A reappointment that is a mistake.
Velma Korbel to again head the Department of Civil Rights

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

February 19, 2014

Pull quote: Ted Mondale admitted the lack of diversity for the Twins stadium. He pledged it wouldn’t happen with the Vikings stadium.

Velma Korbel’s reappointment by newly elected Mayor Betsy Hodges to continue as Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) director is a huge mistake that nonetheless exposes the city culture we have long reported: that city government, regardless of who is in charge, is a culture opposed to diversity (the silence on this by the DFL, churches, foundations, and Black nonprofits places them in the same culture). Shamefully, leading Black organizations participate in this culture as they compete for their share of the spoils at the expense of those they are supposed to serve and represent.

Velma Korbel’s reappointment continues a departmental disaster going back through two permanent directors and one interim director. The African American community will continue to be ill served as seen by the 99 percent White work force of the Vikings stadium.

Last week the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an investigative report on former regulatory services director Rocco Forte, former Chief of the Fire Department. Reporting that he served with distinction and effectiveness, it then incorrectly reported that he was a bully and disgrace to his position of authority.
For the Star Tribune to be accurate, it must report the biggest bully and the department producing the most law suits costing tax payers money: Velma Korbel and her Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). A local weekly paper, City Pages, last November, reported on the bullying and discrimination within the MDCR.

Although ineffective in fighting for diversity, she is highly effective in fighting against diversity, hence her reappointment. She will gladly massage stadium work force numbers (people working categorized by race and gender). The MDCR expects a significant payday from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for assisting in developing bogus numbers.

The MDCR demonstrated for the Twins Ball Park Authority that they could help further Chicago-style corruption in Minneapolis. Consequently, with the exception of two contracts awarded to African American firms, the kickbacks went to majority firms as part of their “arrangement” from which the African American community was excluded.

The same is true regarding the construction of the University of Minnesota’s TCF Gopher’s stadium: African Americans excluded. Ted Mondale admitted the lack of diversity for the Twins stadium. He pledged it wouldn’t happen with the Vikings stadium.

Yet he continues it. A former African American MDCR director bragged Minneapolis could meet minority hiring requirements without having to hire a single Black person. The laws suits settled or currently in litigation involving the MDCR under Velma Korbel are smoking guns, including the cases of the late Marvin Taylor, the late Lauren Marker, and former compliance director, Ronald Brandon.

Diversity is a sham in the MDCR, as it shreds evidence and documentation, especially regarding the Twins Stadium. This is a disturbing pattern and practice of corruption that continues the falsification of information pertaining to compliance on the Twins stadium, which has strategically positioned Mr. Tittle to help facilitate a second round of falsified numbers about the Vikings stadium. Watch for falsified existence of personnel and falsified compliance of the goals set by Kevin Lindsay, Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights.

Mayor Hodges and her new administration know of the MDCR musical chairs and obviously believe they can continue this practice with impunity. Looking back: for two years many scoffed at my reporting that Star Tribune land was all part of the Grand Stadium Deal, and that it, too would also exclude Black Americans.

Deny no longer: Star Tribune headline, Feb. 11, 2014: “Star Tribune land sold to Ryan [AND] stadium authority.” Why? For their “proposed $400 million project next to the new Vikings stadium.”

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 6:47 a.m


Significant economic surge for the Black community by Sports Authority? Or manipulation of numbers to conceal few Black workers?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

February 12, 2014

Pull quote: The 34 percent workforce suggests significant economic uplift, not unlike that occurring in the energy fields of North Dakota. But is it?

A week ago, at the meeting of the Stadium Equity Committee, created by the stadium authorizing legislation, Alex Tittle, director of equity for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) reported that “hours” — not persons — in the workforce would be how the 34 percent minority workers on the stadium doctrine would be counted. Thirty-four percent was advanced almost two years ago by State Human Rights Commissioner, Kevin Lindsay and put into the legislation. The euphoria was understandable. The disappointment and disillusion today is just as understandable.

The 2009 joint study by Mortenson Construction and Conventions, Sports & Leisure, International (CSL) reported: “construction of a new stadium will support approximately 13,000 jobs, including 7,500 construction and trades workers who will be employed during the three-year building process.” Also: “Nearly 4.3 million work hours with almost $300 million in wages for construction workers will be required for this project.” The 34 percent workforce suggests significant economic uplift, not unlike that occurring in the energy fields of North Dakota. But is it?

Here is how the Mortenson/CSL figures pencil out when tallied over three years:
• 34 percent 13,000 total jobs equal 4,420 jobs for minorities.
• 34 percent 7,500 construction jobs equal 2,550 jobs for minorities.
• 34 percent of 4.3 million hours equal ,462,000 hours of work for minorities.
• 34 percent of $300 million in wages equal $102 million in wages for minorities in salaries, wages, bonuses, subcontract profits and other compensation.

Key question as always: how many African Americans will be included in “minorities”?

The January 15, 2014, report delivered to the legislative commission overseeing the stadium reflected the potentially significant economic benefit for communities of color if the state follows through on its commitment as expressed in stadium legislation Section 17, Article 473j.12, “Employment,” line 19.12: the percentage applies to current city goals: workers from zip codes with high rates of poverty and unemployment. Is the change of 34 percent minority persons to hours to again manipulate the numbers and exclude African Americans, as with the Gophers and Twins stadiums?

This is historically significant as it is the same formula used on the construction of the Minneapolis School District Headquarters, at 1250 West Broadway, which resulted in few actual African American workers. When asked, the district could not produce for this paper the actual dollar amount, although they showed each day on a bill board situated at the site the posting the hours worked by minorities. But few actual African Americans.

Why did Commissioner Lindsay decide this was the clever protocol to adopt, which they announced at the equity committee meeting on January 31, 2014? Will the accounting in three years show few actual African American workers on the Vikings stadium just as with the Gopher and Twins stadiums?

What clever manipulation will be used to make it appear they met Section 13 of the stadium authorizing legislation, 473j.09, entitled “Powers and duties of the authority”? Sub paragraph nine of Section 13 authorizes the MSFA to conduct research, collect and analyze data, and hold hearings to inform decision making.

What study/analysis led them to make the change from number of “persons” to “hours,” and how will it possibly enable ensuring the full inclusion of people of color, especially African Americans, in this stadium project? How were the details of this change expressed in the 2nd Annual Legislative Report presented to the legislature on January 15, 2014?

It is important that the real economic infusion, or lack thereof, into the African American community be made on an annual basis so the enthusiasm and bright future expected for and on behalf of the African American community is realized.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 4:05 a.m


State of Emergency in Minnesota:
When corporate and government greed take over America

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

February 5, 2014

Pull quote: We need to be more sensitive to the importance and safety of all of our citizens, not just the top five percent.
“State of Emergency!” declared Governor Mark Dayton, January 27, 2014. "Minnesota is cancelled due to the cold," said Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas, tongue in cheek. But it’s no joke.

Governor Dayton activated Minnesota’s National Guard to help with safety and rescue situations, opened Minnesota National Guard armories as shelter for people without heat, and called for a meeting with propane sellers and distributors to discuss price gouging.

The Governor pushed to the sidelines issues not of life and death, lesser issues like the Vikings stadium and the Minnesota bid for Super Bowl 2018, as he spoke to the hardship suffered by Minnesotans and others in the upper Midwest due to the dangerous shortage of propane gas to combat the cold in a nation of abundant energy.

Why a shortage? Because of two dangerous ideas: (1) place profit over compassion, denying propane to those without heat who can’t afford the price gouging, and (2) a shortage of propane due to the change from 1968’s discussion of the need for fuel for warmth in a new ice age to claiming there will be no more polar ice caps and no more extreme cold due to global warming. We see the protection of profit, price gouging, and fees (whether both “green/sustainable” and “regular”), as seen in the Minnesota State Supreme Court’s ruling on Viking Stadium law suits, in the extra fees for delivery charged by propane distributors, and in the governor’s statement that additional costs have to be passed on to the consumer, even though the shortage and higher costs were created by planners ignoring (due to “warming”) the Farmer’s Almanac warning of this cold.

Over abundance of potential energy for heat has been crippled by over abundance of regulations and “warming planners” ignoring the over use of propane last fall to dry out water-soaked corn crops, making our beloved Minnesota sound like an underdeveloped nation. Some Minnesotans are being asked to pay five dollars per gallon for propane gas that last year was going for $1.59. Some are told they must pay $1,000 for 150 gallons of propane. To regulators, sellers and propane distributors alike: Shame! Shame! Shame!

I shudder thinking of families with babies, children and elderly without propane, facing plunging temperatures and wind-chill readings of minus-55 degrees below zero, as wind-driven blizzards sweep across the state, freezing solid everything in its path, with their primal fear and survival anxiety made worse by federal planning interfering with where such planning should occur (denying state and local levels: Minnesota knows cold).

We have been locked in a block of ice for over a month. I commend Governor Dayton for recognizing the desperate situation facing Minnesotans. Although we hope that by July 4th we’ll be laughing when we speak of The Great Winter of 2013-14, this is not the time for levity when facing the uncompassionate greed of big corporate or the lack of cold planning by global warming bureaucrats. We need to be more sensitive to the importance and safety of all of our citizens, not just the top five percent.

Those seeking excuses for not being compassionate ignore the moral framework of Adam Smith, who wrote of the need for “compassion” in the marketplace of the “invisible hand” in pursuit of economic benefit: “All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” For Smith, society survives when there are rules for not harming each other.

This senselessness must be explained. Those responsible must be held accountable.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 1:22 a.m


NAACP activates legal strategy
Local branch joins Doug Mann in Sports Authority law suit

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

January 29, 2014

Pull quote: The financial settlement should be significant for the economic future of African Americans in Minneapolis and throughout the state.

One of the traditional strengths of the NAACP movement has been its shrewd planning for taking legal action against those violating rights of African Americans. When you think of the successes of NAACP legal redress committees, you think of such leaders as Walter White, Roy Wilkens and Thurgood Marshall, as well as such historic actions and legal milestones as the 1954 decision of Brown vs. Board of Education and Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor Peoples March.

The legal redress committee, a historic pillar of strength of NAACP branches across America fighting for African American civil rights, is seen once again in the local NAACP branch’s crafty move on the legal front to join the suit of long time NAACP member Doug Mann against the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for its failure to meet its diversity pledge.

With the appointment of long time local branch NAACP supporter Louis King to its executive committee, the trap door has been slammed shut on the MSFA. It is clear that Louis King and others would be the chief negotiators in a significant financial settlement involving the NAACP groups organized to carry this out.

The MSFA failure to create a diverse work force is clear. Its time of stalling by again saying “wait” has run out (see Martin Luther King, Jr.’s seminal 1963 book regarding this, Why We Can’t Wait.  Hint: injustice and unfairness).

We understand the historic and brilliant legal redress strategy to support the action initiated by NAACP member Doug Mann. The MSFA shell game has been exposed. After all of the chest-thumping bragging, we see the MSFA cannot show an equity or affirmative action plan on either the front end or back end of whatever plan the MSFA has talked about (hence Louis King’s statement that only 100 workers are on board stadium construction now with the majority not until mid-2015). No wonder the NAACP is officially joining with Mr. Mann.

Now it will be even tougher for the State Supreme Court to reject the NAACP legal brief to be heard on this matter of a continued violation of the civil rights of Black Americans and others of color. This column will be watching closely as announcements are made of pending legal actions against the MSFA’s misrepresented commitment to equity and inclusion of African Americans in jobs at and contracts for stadium construction by the MSFA.

The sleeping giant of the NAACP, re-awakened, marches with its time-honored NAACP legal redress committee strategy. It is a bright day, a triumphant day. The local NAACP branch joins a long line of legal redress committees in the forefront of successful challenges and strategies as used by Thurgood Marshall, Nellie Stone Johnson, and Cecil Newman, etc., who would be proud of this very clever plan being activated.

The financial settlement should be significant for the economic future of African Americans in Minneapolis and throughout the state. Of those involved, we know “the color of their skin.” Now we’ll learn about “the content of their character.”

To the graduating class of Morehead college in 1959, Martin Luther King, Jr said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

In his 1963, “Letter from a Birmingham jail,” Dr. King wrote: "The question is not whether we will be extremists but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice?"

Stay tuned.

Ed. Note:  Columns are submitted 8 days prior to publication.  Following submission of this column, the Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed the suit, “stating in a five-page order handed down Tuesday [Jan 22, 2014], the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled it does not have jurisdiction over the matter.”  This is a troubling decision, as it not only leaves unresolved the question of the City ignoring its own charter but also turns a blind eye on the fact that the stadium enabling legislation gave the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the issuance of bonds.  It is one thing to go through the process of changing the Charter.  It is quite another to ignore it when it is felt to be inconvenient.  The precedents this set will come back to haunt.  The same is true of the Supreme Court finding a narrow way to side step its legislatively determined bond sale jurisdiction.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 12:38 a.m


Financial disaster for Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

January 22, 2014

Pull quote:

Pull quote: The MN Supreme Court has to decide whether they will protect the rule of law or continue to break the law in the name of favoritism, cronyism, and rich privilege.

When Douglass Mann filed his motion with the Minnesota Supreme Court, early Friday morning, January 10, 2014, no one knew his motion was being sent to the State Supreme Court, raising serious constitutional issues with regard to the funding of the $1 billion “people’s stadium.”

As of the writing of this column, three days after the filing, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) did one of the most peculiar things in the modern legal history of Minnesota: asked to be a defendant in this landmark constitutional case, peculiar because one thing that never happens in America is for people to rush into court to be a defendant, especially when there are allegations of constitutional violations.

Besides obviously believing they can’t/won’t lose, the MSFA is employing a shrewd strategy: requesting that the Minnesota Supreme Court impose a $50 million bond upon the Mann group to stop their pursuit seeking justice and fairness for the taxpayers of the City of Minneapolis, and, by extension, the taxpayers of Minnesota, The MSFA, in about 16 months or less, has gone through $74 million, including the $50 million in cash provided by Ziggy Wilf and the Minnesota Vikings.

Before the Supreme Court does anything, it should require a forensic audit as to how the MFSA conducted its business from July of 2012 through December of 2013, and how it has spent its money ($74 million) and doesn’t have money to pay the bills due ($28 million) later this month (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board says one in three company audits have “high levels of deficiencies.” How high for government agencies like MFSA?).

The MSFA is paying more for the foreign steel they purchased than they are confirming, and have apparently consummated contracts that are $50 million beyond what they have ever had in their bank accounts. And Thursday evening, Jan 9, MSFA Equity Director Alex Tittle not only pointed out that 46 percent of current stadium work force were women and minorities (hard to believe), but that “to date more than $120 million have been awarded in contracts.” Really? With what money?

I’m not sure who is doing the math for the MFSA or the state, but this offers a better understanding of how $50 million was on the MFSA radar scope (if the MFSA loses and the deal falls through, MSFA would have to pay the Wilfs back their $50 million), when they asked the MN Supreme Court to impose those conditions on Mr. Mann and his group (or any other MN citizen who challenges the breaking of the rule of law by officials embracing the doctrine that it is okay to break the law as long as it is the rich and privileged taking care of the rich and privileged just as bank robbers rob to take care of bank robbers).

The MN Supreme Court has to decide whether they will protect the rule of law or continue to break law in the name of favoritism, cronyism, and rich privilege. This is a historic test for the state that produced Floyd B Olson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Nellie Stone Johnson, Cecil Newman, and other great Minnesota initiators of principle.

Many great legal scholars who have sat upon the bench of the Supreme Court of Minnesota will be looking down from afar to see if the rule of law is still in place. We know the MN Sports Facilities Authority is broke, but woe to us if breaking the rule of law is authorized by the state Supreme Court. Will the Court establish a dangerous precedent or take the constitutional and moral high ground?

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 1:48 a.m


Promises, Promises, Promises.
What good is an Equity Plan with no follow through?    

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

January 15, 2014

Pull quote:

The current mayor and six members of the city council did nothing to address the inequities that were pointed out in the $500,000 taxpayer study on the lack of equity access and opportunity in the city of Minneapolis.

Liberals have become extremely proficient at making promises to the constituent base of people of color. The theme song is “come vote for me so that me and my people get paid to distribute a few tax dollars to you,” not “come fly with me to prosperity.”

Betsy Hodges, our incoming mayor [Mayor Hodges, city council off to a raucous start in Minneapolis, January 6, 2014], made the traditional liberal promises last Monday, January 6, 2014, in her inaugural. Under the guise of equity, the constituent base, people of color were told to wait on another five-year plan. The Soviet Union communist five- and 10-year plans were not funny. With the African American community no longer having access to City Hall, it’s still not funny: plans as promises made with no intention of being kept.

Someone pointed out the other day that the Bush Foundation gave a $100,000 grant to a member of city council to develop an equity plan. As we can’t get an equity plan implemented for the Viking stadium, how for the entire city?

The Somali community announced (January 5, 2014, Star Tribune) that it has been rewarded with a special Somali Advisory Committee attached to the mayor’s office. And yet, despite all the pain and broken promises that slave-descended African American communities endured over the decades, no previous mayor — liberal or conservative — created a Native American or African American Special Advisory Group to the mayor of the city of Minneapolis.

The City Council could not muster enough votes last Monday to allow 100 citizens to have input on a proposed equity plan. The suggestion made: “You people” do it through the committee structure, not public testimonies. So, even the council rule of only two minutes per person never happened.

This is how the least of our citizens (in this case a powerless Black community) is left dangling, despite the funding and expectation of the Bush Foundation that the City Council will begin to craft an equity plan. The waiting for a stadium equity plan now shifts to waiting for an equity plan for the building of a light-rail system (that represents 100s if not 1,000s of jobs in North Minneapolis that. at best, cannot begin until 2017), and then shifts to wait for the next big or small projects.

The equity plan/promise also talks about housing and education. Nellie Stone Johnson always said “no education, no jobs, no housing.” And yet, after the equity study report of October 2010, the current mayor and six members of the city council did nothing to address the inequities that were pointed out in the $500,000 taxpayer study on the lack of equity access and opportunity in the city of Minneapolis. So why should we think they will now?

The observation from people aware of what did and didn’t happen have every right to say, in a public manner, that we can expect nothing but broken promises in a broken city with broken morals that goes to great lengths to pretend they care for the least of our citizens and children of color.

Clearly, their pretense is as false as their mission. No promises kept. No expectant future. That is the sad, immoral, and corrupt Minneapolis Equity Plan. The failed $10 Trillion War on Poverty begun 50 years to beat poverty which is now at a 50-year record high. President Lyndon B. Johnson, January 8, 1968: “unconditional war on poverty in America to attack causes not just symptoms of poverty;…a fair chance to develop their own capacities;…an investment…[that will]…return its cost manifold to the entire economy;…to replace their despair with opportunity.”

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 5:50 a.m


The Rooney Rule is dead.
Next Vikings coach “must” be White

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

January 8, 2014

Pull quote:

The Vikings will go through the motions, bring a Black guy in for an interview, and then say to the world they have satisfied the Rooney Rule requirement.

With the firing of Leslie Frazier December 30, the NFL is down to two African Americans head coaches out of the 32 teams that make up the National Football League (none were hired in the 2013 hiring cycle; Big Ten: none in the last 10 years).

This is not about Affirmative Action; this is about affirmative discrimination. With 65 percent of players being African American and most coaches being former players, statistically, all things being equal, to get the best of the best you would have at least 20 Black head coaches. I’d settle now for 10.

Statistically the NFL numbers reflect discrimination. The real number that counts is how few entry-level Black coaches are hired who can then compete for moving up. Closing the beginning of the coaching pipeline guarantees fewer qualified for the coordinator to head coach move.

Not since the mid-1970s has there been so few African Americans as NFL head coaches. To head off comments, NFL propagandists, late Monday afternoon, December 30th, started to feed information to the sports media that former Chicago head coach, Lovie Smith, was the leading candidate for the Tampa Bay job.

How ironic that the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers is owned by the Rooney family, the same people who crafted the Rooney Rule, which says that wherever there is a head coaching vacancy, at least one of those interviewed must be an African American, or a candidate of color. It will be interesting to see who the Minnesota Vikings will interview and pass over in an effort to “abide” by the Rooney “rule.”

Let’s be realistic, my friends. The Vikings need to sell a lot of seat licenses in order to sell season tickets. The false liberal philosophy of equity will show its ugly side. Likewise, the false NFL belief that they need White head coaches to get viewers or sell tickets. The Vikings will go through the motions, bring a Black guy in for an interview, and then say to the world they have satisfied the Rooney Rule requirement. Did you find it as telling as I did that in all the White sports media in this city the commentary about replacing Frasier did not include a single African American candidate.

This helps heighten the significance of the miracle hiring of Denny Green as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings over a decade ago in the late 1990s. Have no doubt: Leslie Frazier was the type of human being, coach, father figure and mentor that the NFL pretends that they support, but in reality they do not, as seen by the fact that the NFL is now down to two African Americans in a head coaching position as of this writing on December 30, 2013. That speaks volumes to the return of overt racism regarding the coaching ranks of America’s biggest sport.
If you tie this into the almost non-existent African Americans as head coaches at prestigious White colleges, you understand the doctrine whispered about, that Blacks can play and entertain us, but they are not smart enough to lead or provide inspiration for young men and women, Black or White. Even greater irony is the National Football League having fewer African American head coaches during the administration of a Black president. There is something very symbolic about that and it has a lot to do with the games people play and the lack of a sincere commitment to the Rooney rule by the NFL.

We conclude that Leslie Frazier was in the wrong city with the wrong team at the wrong time in history.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014, 11:50 p.m


Looking at 2013 Through Real Eyes

"Through My Eyes,” by Ron Edwards
Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder News Online

January 1, 2014

We wish to convey to all of our readers and the staff at the Spokesman Recorder, all the best for a bright future.

Our last column of 2013 ended with “We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites.” 

In this first column of 2014, we celebrate another Black man, Barack Obama, who has moved beyond proving that a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites:  he proves that a Black man can be President of the most powerful country in history.

Although some say President Barack Obama is a lame duck president, a failure with no legacy, we disagree.  “Lame duck” is short hand by ivory tower public policy academics who don’t get out from behind their lecterns but still think they should be in charge.  President Obama has succeeded with health care where all, from Teddy Roosevelt forward, have failed (Ted Kenney and Jimmy Carter each wrote, in their last books that Ted purposefully killed health care under Nixon and again under Carter).  We don’t know what the final shape of health care will be but it will be, and it will be part of his legacy.

The President shares everyone’s dream:  a free, democratic, prosperous society for all.  Disagreements are over how to achieve this shared dream, whether through centralized or "localized" influence, or federalist as Congress/White House or federalist/constitutional as states/cities/neighborhoods.  Required is compromising forward, engaging “the politics of moderation,” making haste slowly to allow for the peaceful inclusion of diversity.  Those opposed to real diversity are tyrants.  

Nelson Mandella fought for a South Africa constitution modeled on ours.  Too many in the world today, left and right, want to dispense with constitutions.  If we spent more time ensuring the survival of our institutions of democracy, the greatness of our First Amendment’s protections of minorities of religion, speech, press, gathering, and redress of grievance, we would not have to worry.  That is the true sense of compassion and caring that is needed by our democratic institutions that President Obama brings to the conversation.

Too many of both party’s self defined “betters” are committed to the failure and nullification of those they define as “lessers”. This column continues to subscribe to the doctrine that there are more of us who believe in what is right, who believe in compassion, who believe in humility, who believe in opportunity, than those who are opposed to those doctrines because of ugly visions and devious motivations (such as racism and opposition to diversity).

The elections of 2014 will reflect voters rolling up their sleeves to support our institutions of democracy and democratic dreams of people.  We are a good nation with great institutions of freedom and liberty (history reflects this).  We have good people with achievable dreams.  President Obama is committed to this.  It is in that spirit that this column encourages all Americans to work to achieve fairness, justice and inclusion that will allow the least, the youngest, and the most compassionate to see success on the horizon.

We live in a city of Scandinavians who brought the spirit of Martin Luther and the Reformation’s sense of renewal, new beginnings, and second chances.  When will the Lutherans of this city stand up for their consciences and Luther’s “no ruler” (secular or religions) perspective to aid our new Mayor and new City Council to finally achieve the reform needed to enable true diversity and inclusion?

I stand with President Barack Obama as he declares at each speech’s end:  God bless the United States of America.

Stay tuned.

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press

Posted Thursday, January 2, 2013, 3:13 a.m.


Minneapolis NAACP on the move?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

December 25, 2013

Pull quote:

Without change, projections indicate that by 2025, there will be no African Americans in either the police or fire departments.

Congratulations to the Rev. Jerry McAfee, newly elected president of the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP, and to the new board members. This is an auspicious time.

We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites. Along with Archbishop Tutu’s “ubuntu,” he demonstrated that “truth” and “reconciliation” are more than slogans: they are action paths to unity.

Minneapolis needs unity and reconciliation within the Black community and between White and Black people and institutions. Eyes are to be kept on the prize of equitable education, jobs, and housing.

Our hope and prayer is that the branch will move to carry out the NAACP mission: “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination,” helping to reverse the shattering of the African American political juggernaut from the outside and its implosion from the inside.

We look to Rev. McAfee and the local branch to make this New Years’ resolution: provide the spark needed by a beleaguered and under siege African American community enduring well-calculated outrageous and dangerous attacks that are forces of nullification and reversal of the African American community, in:

• Education: reactionary forces, left and right, saying mis-education of African Americans is a mental health problem.

• Jobs in the police and fire departments diminishing: lowest number of African American applicants for police officers (first class in 25 years without an African American) and fire fighters (the lowest recruiting class number in 40 years).

• Jobs in general: diversity in hiring purposefully denied. Examples: transportation (road and light rail), Vikings Stadium (the largest public works project in Minnesota history, etc.).

• Justice: white washing police action. Example: T.T. Franklin.

• Housing. Example: substandard government housing, the American Heritage/Hollman project.

• Politics: no Black representation in City Hall and only two Black state senators.

Without change, projections indicate that by 2025, there will be no African Americans in either the police or fire departments.

In the city of Minneapolis, as in Detroit and Baltimore, liberals and Democrats have used their majorities to turn back the clock, while Republicans and conservatives approvingly watch.

That is the wrong kind of unity. Our great need is to reconcile and unite within our community and, as in South Africa, with Whites. African American school youth, especially Black males, are being suspended in record numbers, with “mental health” being used as a procedural justification.

We also need New Year’s resolutions from the incoming mayor and other liberals on the city council (who claim once again that they are working on a racial equity plan): to provide equity action results, not more plans. The African American community is not a part of the planning: “plantation” all over again.

Circumstances are further complicated by the absence of an African American presence in City Hall. These are desperate times, and desperate circumstances calling for precise plans and precise strategies. Abundant outlines for finding answers exist (UM, HHH School of Public Affairs, archives of NAACP, Urban League, past Civil Rights commissions, my web site, etc.).

The re-emergence of NAACP branch to move with dispatch and effectiveness to recapture lost opportunities and prevent future losses would be a godsend to help reverse the demise of the African American community as a viable group of citizens. We urge the branch to hold hearings on issues that foster a house divided (see list above), and add hearings about the purposeful reversal of historic achievements of success in government and private sectors.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted radio and TV shows’ broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. For 47 “solution” papers, go www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocsolutions.htm.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. For 47 “solution” papers, go www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocsolutions.htm

Posted Wedneday, December 25, 2013, 3:07 p.m.
Column submitted Dec. 18, 2013.

From the Archives:
--- 10 Suggestions/themes for the [national] NAACP Board to consider for its next annual convention if it is to again obtain relevance and significance…, Based on "Tracking the Gaps" blog entry of June 8, 2007
--- Diversity and Compliance Studies regarding Job Hiring and Contracting with African American: Minneapolis has practiced disparity and purposefully and actively avoids compliance , Solution Paper #46, posted November 22, 2011,
Future updates as of top entry posted.
--- "PLANNING": UPDATED/EXPANDED: For The Positive Future Possibilities Of Minnesota, for Minneapolis in General and the African American community in Minneapolis in particular, May 25, 2011.
--- "Ubuntu" Reconciliation of Communities and Races, November 11, 2003.
--- State of Emergency For Black Youth, posted August 16, 2003, from Chapter 9 of “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” by Ron Edwards as told to Peter Jessen. The page heading is “Jobs, Not Drugs and Jail: The White Man’s War on Young Black Men.”


A great injustice: the death of T.T. Franklin.
Why another farce of a police report?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

December 18, 2014

Pull quote:

The family and the African American community are owed more than the sham that was the Grand Jury investigation under the current county attorney, Mike Freeman.

When the police version of the circumstances surrounding their May 10, 2013 basement shooting death of Terrance Terrill Franklin was published September 26, 2013, so-called leaders, Black and White, seemed to finally breathe a sigh of relief. Since writing four 2013 columns on Mr. Franklin’s death (May 22 and 29, June 12 and June 19), I have waited to see how protesters and defenders alike would express their opinions. Were opinions expressed truly passionate or just merit badges of protest or defense to wear in public and do nothing else?

These protest and defense rituals have been too long the routines in this city and cities across the country. Rallies and statements of either outrage or reports white washing the suspicious death of yet another African American, are followed by the silence of protestors and defenders alike. Why do print, broadcast and digital media continue to avoid relevant questions about that May 10th police shooting death of Terrance Franklin?

The 228-page police report of September 26, 2013, is a cover up, pure and simple. It became more ridiculous and suspicious the longer it took to be released, reinforced by the so-called Grand Jury “findings.” It is rumored that the family is considering filing a civil law suit in January, in state or federal court. We would hope so. In the spirit of the pursuit of justice, Terrance Franklin’s family and the Black community is owed that examination, an examination that should include:

That officers involved in Franklin’s death be required to testify under oath in open court about the circumstances and conditions of police actions on the afternoon of his death.
• That forensic evidence be examined under oath.
• That Mr. Franklin’s side of the aisle be allowed to cross-examine those testifying.
• That Mr. Frankliin’s side be allowed to put their own experts on the stand.
• That investigators of those three days, May 10-12, be required to testify under oath and be examined by Mr. Franklin’s attorneys.
• That those who prepared the police version of Mr. Franklin’s basement death be required to give testimony under oath.

The family and the African American community are owed more than the sham that was the Grand Jury investigation under the current county attorney, Mike Freeman. Justice calls out that this clear and concise examination process be initiated and made the order of the day within the public arena of the court system. From discussions and conversations in our community, I know our community has not accepted as credible the sham report of the so-called circumstances that led to the death of T.T. Franklin on May 10, 2012.

It is only fitting that as we reach the close of 2013 and as we witness the crushing of the African American community’s political base, that we at least attempt to have one last great hurrah in 2013, in the search for justice in the name of justice.

Reflection
This is written on December 10, the day of Nelson Mandela’s Memorial Service broadcast around the world. We pause to say prayers for his family and for his nation of South Africa. We remember him by the words used to describe him and wonder when Minneapolis leaders, Black and White, will earn these words also: truth and reconciliation, forgiveness and compromise, Constitution and Bill of Rights, comfort and consolation, freedom and justice, liberty and democracy. A humanitarian supporter of human rights, Nelson Mandela had the same dignity, grace and humility of such great warriors for peace and justice as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Mother Teresa. Farewell and God bless you.

Merry Christmas.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. Column submitted Dec. 10, 2013.

Posted Wedneday, December 18, 2013, 4:08 a.m.


Hallelujah: the project begins
Constructing the new Peoples’ Stadium

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

December 11, 2013

Pull quote:

Giant trucks with White workers rolled onto Metrodome property celebration morning, December 2nd.
No people of color.

Hallelujah! The great occasion of the beginning of construction preparedness and building of the Peoples’ Stadium arrived: December 2, 2013. “Mission accomplished” or another December day in infamy?

“Success” is to be measured by the language of promises and guarantees in the stadium legislation and by the pronouncements of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA). Promised: full participation of all Minnesota’s citizens:

• Nothing but Minnesota workers on the stadium

• All steel produced in the United States, preferably from Northern MN’s Iron Range

• No cost overruns

• Equity Plan and Diversity Plan for Minnesota’s minorities and communities of color.

• MSFA Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan: targeted business goal; 20 percent (11 percent women-owned businesses; nine percent minority-owned businesses) and targeted workforce goal (32 percent minorities and six percent women) in all hours worked.

• At the October 12, 2012, MSFA meeting, I asked Ted Mondale, MSFA CEO/Executive Director about those numbers. He said, “This is not like the Target Field project. They had no numbers for compliance, nor was there a plan. You need to give us a chance, Ron.” OK, Ted, 400-plus days have passed. Where’s the promised plan?

• February 8, 2013: MSFA Chairwoman, Michele Kelm-Helgen, said that serious questions had been raised about the equity plan implementation passed by the MSFA that same day. Hey, Ted, that was 296 days ago. When will we be able to shout out a halleluiah for an equity plan?

EDITOR’s NOTE: See column of October 17, 2013: Vikings stadium officials promise 32 percent diversity hiring! But no one seems to have a copy of the equity plan:

Eventually Ted Mondale stepped up to help reverse decades of public and private lying: “This is not like the Target Field project. They had no numbers for compliance, nor was there a plan.” He then stated the heartening, “You need to give us a chance.” Both Mondale and Kelm-Helgen, during and after the meeting, said they hoped I would work with them, help them, and advise them.”

They never asked.

Are choirs of angels singing “Hallelujah,” as we echo “We have overcome,” and sing “Free at last, free at last, God Almighty, free at last,” or are those shouts of lamentation and the shedding of tears?

Giant trucks with White workers rolled onto Metrodome property celebration morning, December 2nd. No people of color. Excluding people of color from this great historic event must not be allowed to stand.

Hey, Ted Mondale, recall stadium legislative language, Section 17, Subdivision 473J.12, “Employment,” lines 18.33 through 19.7. Why are you again allowing the shattering of opportunity dreams of enjoying economic benefits of the Peoples’ Stadium for people of color?

How many of both stadium law suits for failure to comply with diversity and equity legislation and for environmental concerns will have to be filed to get your attention, and at the cost of much delay costing many more millions?

Minnesota can’t be “whole” when people of color are again betrayed. Using designated programs as equity, diversity, affirmative action, minority business operations will no longer work as smokescreens hiding false promises.

Do the sports authority and our own Black leadership, making out together in the back seat of the stadium convertible, think no one is watching in this day of iPhones that record audio and video?

Do Black and White “leaders” not know that not all of our dreams can be bought off and corrupted? Do they not understand that with Martin Luther King, Jr. we too “have a dream?” Ask quickly and with dispatch: was there ever any intention to allow African Americans to participate in and enjoy working on this one billion-dollar project?

The chilling absence of African Americans on site December 2nd bears frightening witness to the absence of a plan (or a refusal to follow one). We will remain positive and upbeat until we see the intent of the “powers” clearly, to be revealed by the first legislative directed report and evaluation of the overall stadium work and statistical data on minority participation.

The report must be submitted annually on January 15 (per stadium legislation section 14.16 under sec 13, 743J.09, “Powers and Duties of the Authority,” lines 14.16). Not so ironically, January 15th is Martin Luther King’s birthday.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. Column submitted Dec. 3, 2013.

Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 1:46 a.m.


“To the extent practical” escape language in legislation allows steel purchase outside Iron Range.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

December 4, 2013

Pull quote: No outrage when Blacks are left out of diversity hiring, but there is outrage in this lack of White diversity in distribution of tax payer dollars.

The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority met November 22, 2013, to sign the contract to put the final stadium construction process and procedures into place. The local daily newspaper’s picture of John Wood of M.A. Mortenson, shaking hands with a colleague, with a large group of people smiling and applauding in the background, shows how well steel facts were withheld as happy faces turned unhappy within 24 hours of the signing, as people realized not all the steel would come from Minnesota, as “promised.”

The legislative language: “to the extent practical…MN steel” (see Stadium legislation, Section 11, lines 2423-2424) is the escape hatch from “all Minnesota” steel. This is how the State and City continually get away with not hiring Black Americans on construction projects, using equivalencies of “good-faith” effort, as we’ve long reported. Now its the Iron Range White man’s turn, as 20 percent of stadium steel will come from steel mines of ArcelorMittal (in the Duchy of Luxembourg, Ruhr Valley, near Germany). After Mittal bought Arcelor in 2006, the Mittal family of India has owned 40 percent of ArcelorMittal.

The issue is not where the steel comes from (you want the best so the stadium doesn’t collapse). The issue is a few legislators deliberately misleading the rest to get their vote, needlessly creating controversy and rage when Iron Range voters learned of the 20 percent coming from the Duchy of Luxembourg only after the contract was signed. Minnesota stadium dollars will now go overseas, to Luxembourg and India (this also reduces credibility for future discussions and negotiations).

Key politicians would have taxpayers believe that in early 2012, while finalizing the legislative language, they didn’t know that the best quality steel for part of the stadium would be found outside Minnesota (but they did, hence the escape language: “to the extent practical.” This column (2012, 2013) has consistently raised questions about the steel needed to erect this mammoth “people’s” “multi-use” stadium. Their silence got the legislation passed. How many other “surprises” are waiting?

See October 17, 2012, column: Vikings stadium officials promise 32 percent diversity hiring! But no one seems to have a copy of the equity plan, and December 5, 2012, column: Still waiting for the Equity Plan for the new Vikings’ and Minnesota’s People’s Stadium. See also the November 22, 2011 aggregate of columns and solution papers at DISPARITY/COMPLIANCE STUDIES: Minneapolis Practices Disparity And Purposefully And Actively Avoids Compliance (list of columns going back to 2005).


The anger, outrage, and sense of betrayal in the Iron Range is understandable, as they had been led to believe that all steel preparation would come out of Northern Minnesota. Now if this Black journalist understands that the steel would have to come from other global locations, the legislators, key Iron Range movers and shakers, and Star Tribune knew also. They just chose to be silent until the contract was signed.

As ArcelorMittal has two subsidiaries in the Iron Range, Essar Steel Minnesota LLC and ArcelorMittal Minorca Mine in Virginia, MN, ArcelorMittal will double dip as Minnesota tax payer money goes to Luxembourg and India.

No outrage when Blacks are left out of diversity hiring, but there is outrage in this lack of White diversity in distribution of tax payer dollars. Even though the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says high quality out of state steel will only cost $5 million, it is clear a forensic auditor is needed to make sure the integrity of Minnesota taxpayers is protected. That would include an examination of the production of the steel made by the ArcelorMittal company in Luxembourg and the work of their Essar and Minorca subsidiaries in the Iron Range.

There is no mystery. The discipline to withhold information until after the contracts were signed is impressive. Again: what else has been withheld?

Business interests with relationships with the European subsidiaries in Northern Minnesota knew about this 20 months ago, and so too did those behind the scenes working for “escape” language in the legislation. So, Minnesota taxpayers, dig deeper while thinking of the wonderful stadium that is supposed to be under your Christmas tree by 2016. By 2016? Really?

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. Column submitted Nov. 26, 2013.

Posted December 4, 2013, 8:20 a.m.


Is President Obama a ‘lame duck’?
You be the judge
.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

November 27, 2013

In the last 20 days, discussion on both the left and the right has been about the failures of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the real name of what both sides call “Obamacare,” long a term of pride for Democrats and one of derision for Republicans, and now one of confusion for both.
With the elections of 2014 and 2016 looming, both parties are nervous, with the most scared trying to summarize it all in the term “lame duck.” This is another way for both sides to not address the problems they fear: health care, education, housing, immigration, foreign affairs, entitlement programs, etc.

“Lame duck” won’t work. Obama has the courage and determination to persevere.

One of two things will happen to the ACA: (1) repealed and replaced, or (2) kept but greatly modified. Regardless of which, it will be resolved and be part of Obama’s lasting and positive legacy, regardless of the election results of 2014 and 2016.

Those complaining about how the president is being treated didn’t say a word when people ripped into “W”, including calling for his assassination. And the conservative complaint that Obama is trying to get the government to be in charge of everything also won’t wash as a left-only goal, given what Reagan and “W” did, and given that the first to propose it was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt.

So both sides, not the “other” side, are to blame. How to return power to the people is a needed debate.

On this 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, let’s live by his rejuvenating words: “All men are created equal…unfinished business…a new birth of freedom…government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Lincoln recognized the need to provide freedom and full citizenship to all, especially African Americans. We must persevere until we can stop obstacles being created, even now, 50 years after the civil rights legislation.

Calling the president a “lame duck” is wishful thinking, showing how silly and lazy even some serious people can be. This president will persevere. History will mark his accomplishments, including those yet to come during the remaining three years of his term as he addresses how to stabilize quality of life, security, and the economy.

The president won’t fold. As he said in an address to the nation, none of us is perfect. But neither were the Founding Fathers perfect, and neither was the implementation of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights perfect (slavery being the most serious imperfection).

One of the problems in the discussion of President Obama’s performance is the inability for some and outright refusal by others to discuss racism. No race, no people, and no nation are perfect. But we can step aside from what is clearly imperfect and take corrective action that brings respect, protects the rights of others in shared community, and rises above the difficulties of racist biases and prejudices, individually and as a society.

As “utopia” is literally impossible, so let’s concentrate on the possible: the promises of opportunity and hope for all in education, jobs, housing and public safety. President Obama will not believe the “lame duck” propaganda. He will continue his commitment, love and respect for the nation he leads.

Let us not think “lame duck” but instead think about our future, our children and our children’s children, because that is what is at stake. We need the kind of leadership that made Barack Obama so attractive to the American voters, not once but twice. We pray that, with God’s help, he will continue to persevere in serving the people of this nation, and do so successfully.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. Column submitted to MS-R on November 20, 2013.


Chief Janeé Harteau is doing a good job.
No need to replace her.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

November 27, 2013

Pull quote: For the first time in three decades there is no African American on the City Council.

Minneapolis celebrates the election of its second female in the history of City Government, Betsy Hodges, bringing discussion about her representing diversity balance. Really? How, when for the next four years there will neither be an African American nor Native American on the City Council (and not in St. Paul either)?

This is another reason why it is surprising that less than a week after her announced victory the first rumors about change to emerge from City Hall was consideration being given to replacing Police Chief Janeé Harteau with an assistant police chief from Seattle, Washington. Why are she and her advisors so politically tone deaf?

This is not good stewardship of our politics. Chief Harteau has been on the job barely a year. After some missteps (typical of all new chiefs of anything, just as it is for any new mayor and will be for our new mayor), Chief Harteau has begun to work herself into the job and into her responsibility. She has been building bridges both within the department and between the department and the community.

In light of that, I do not understand the thinking of the mayor-elect and her advisors to create friction between Native American and other communities, even in light of the fact that the rumored desired replacement in Seattle is an African American. Why would mayor-elect Hodges want to drive a wedge between Native Americans and others, especially African Americans, when such a change has no discernible merit?

For the first time in three decades there is no African American on the City Council. So let us repeat: for the next four years we will have a Council with no African American and no Native American. The rumored “safe” way to make the change — pay the chief a one-year severance in January and demote her back into the ranks — is any thing but, especially in light of the center-stage, high-profile, police-misconduct cases in Apple Valley and, specifically, Green Bay.

This does not bode well for the future given the delicate circumstances requiring delicate resolution by both the mayor and the chief. The chief has been working tirelessly to make sure everything is done to properly resolve these cases.

If the decision of the mayor to remove Chief Janeé Harteau is simply because she can, then the Hodges administration would be getting off on the wrong foot, causing injury in this city across the board (racially, politically, socially). Chief Harteau has done nothing to cause consideration of being removed and be so greatly disrespected.

The new incoming mayor has said she is sensitive to the concerns and thinking of all communities of this city. Really? We call upon her to show needed sensitivity, due diligence and, dare we say, wisdom, by maintaining the tenure of Chief Janeé Harteau.

How did this issue top the list when so many other important development and service issues need to be dealt with to get the city back on track?

Development issues: Vikings stadium, peoples plaza, light rail, Nicollet Mall, rehabilitation of Target Center, rehabilitation of E block, etc.

City services issues: improving education, job growth, housing policies, interacting with other government agencies and bodies (federal, state, county, other cities), diversity in hiring with the Vikings stadium, and reducing law suits against the city.

These issues place a tremendous weight on the new administration. The idea of starting out with steps whose goal seems to be pitting one community against another will not bring stability in race relations nor harmony in general to the city, regardless of such demographic distinctions.

This is unacceptable. Tell us it isn’t so, Madam Mayor.

Chief Janeé Harteau must stay.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. Column submitted to MS-R on November 20, 2013.

Posted Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 2:30 a.m.


Violence grips downtown
One dead, three wounded, in night of terror.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

November 13, 2013

When shots rang out around 11:53 pm, Saturday night, November 2, 2013, at the Epic nightclub in downtown Minneapolis (or 1 am; reports vary as this is written just two days after the shooting) the crowd of over 2,500 partygoers disbursed in panic. See Star Tribune, Epic nightclub faces pressure after fatal shooting at rap concert, November 3, 2013).

The concert featured Yo Gotti, a prominent and legendary rapper. Because of violence associated with his concertgoers, the Minneapolis Police Department prepared for violence outside Epic with pepper spray and riot equipment, but not inside, where there were 40 well-trained security personnel along with six off-duty Minneapolis police officers.

The assassin was able to approach the VIP section, gun down and kill 27-year-old Tyrone Washington with precision and dispatch, and then leave, unnoticed and unapprehended. Clearly this was not a shooting of random victims (as at schools, theaters and workplaces). This was a well-planned, well-coordinated, purposeful murder by assassination of a gang world individual. The precision suggests this had nothing to do with the concert or African Americans, just the victim.

A chilling question: Why was Mr. Washington picked up and removed to the sidewalk outside the club, where he expired, instead of being given first aid medical attention? The attacker’s precision raises questions about complicity and conspiracy.

How the city will address this is not yet clear. Politically, since Mr. Washington’s death, the question has been raised whether Black entertainment groups should be allowed to perform in the City of Minneapolis (See Star Tribune, November 3, 2013, Epic nightclub faces pressure after fatal shooting at rap concert. Too many of these statements are painting the entire Black community with a broad brush of recrimination and lawlessness. Why aren’t Whites painted the same way for their behavior at heavy metal concerts?

The city goes to great lengths to maintain that when a peace officer is out of control — be it Apple Valley or Green Bay or in the death of TT Franklin — that the department should not be painted with a similar broad brush. It is vastly unfair to incriminate many for the actions of a single individual. I’m told the downtown Council and others in the business leadership are pressuring the city to stop allowing entertainment engagements that will attract large numbers of African Americans. Shame on Don Samuels for saying the same thing, sacrificing our community in an attempt to obtain White votes.

The lack of leadership in the White and Black communities and the lack of adequate debate about the issue of racial, economic, and entertainment profiling, is drawing attention away from all events that took place prior to and leading up to the death, as this death is not considered relevant to the bigger picture: a safe downtown for White citizens.

Needed is a commitment to end racial, economic and entertainment apartheid by Whites. Needed is the admitting of the fact that there are a lot of problems brought to town by White, heavy metal and other kinds of entertainment groups. The popular and effective attack on the character of our Black community and fear of a Black presence in downtown and the city as a whole must stop.

It would be unfair for the new mayor and new council to strip the license of the club and close the property down. As it is a very economically attractive property across from the Twins ball park, whites will be able to do all kinds of things with it once it is racially cleansed.

It is unfortunate that this agenda continues. Sadly, it is questionable whether the assassin of the African American will be apprehended. We can only hope that racial, economic, and entertainment profiling will be ended.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Wednesday, November 13, 201, 2:50 a.m.


Mr. Bellecourt is right!
“Redskins” Controversy Heats Up Again.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

November 6, 2013

This column identifies with, respects and supports Clyde Bellecourt’s request to NFL, Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, don’t use “Redskins,” even if the NFL does. We stand in unity against racism, for far too long a part of the American and Minnesota landscapes.

The Jewish owner of the Washington Redskins NFL team, Dan Snyder, is doing one of three things: (1) carrying on the racist legacy of George Preston Marshall’s ghost, (2) being tone deaf to fans who understand how racist it is, or (3) at first didn’t know but now knows and doesn’t care, an example of both #1 and #2. This is a wake up call to racism deniers: foul racism still exists.

George Preston Marshall, the owner who gave the team its name in 1932,was a leader in the NFL movement that officially banned Blacks, league wide, in 1933, a ban not lifted until 1947. Before the Washington team integrated in 1962, Jim Brown, as one sport writer wrote, regularly integrated the Washington end zone. Marshall had “Dixie” played before “Star Spangled Banner.” Marshall died in 1969, leaving most of his money to the creation of the Redskins Foundation, stipulating that none of its money be directed to “any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration in any form.” [See The Racist Redskins, a New York Review of Books book review of Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins, both by Thomas G. Smith]

For half a century, Clyde Bellecourt has been in the forefront of championing human rights, civil rights, and respect for all Americans, going beyond Native American rights to the wars in Vietnam, Black civil rights, and police misconduct and brutality.

Mr. Bellecourt, co-founder and Director of the American Indian Movement, directs Peacemaker Center for Indian youth, organized the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, and is founder and Chairman of the Board of American Indian OIC, an innovative jobs program that has moved over 14,000 people from welfare to full-time employment.

At the 1991 World Series between our beloved Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves, Mr. Bellecourt challenged the disrespect Atlanta’s mascot showed to Native Americans.

The long standing battle over the disrespect and continued use of “Redskins” has come to a head once again. “Redskin” is not a term of endearment but a term of disrespect and justification to use violence against Native Americans. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “redskin” as a term that is “usually offensive,” as other terms like “darky,” “kike,” “Sambo,” “dago,” and “N..ger.” Would current Jewish owner of the Washington franchise change the name to the Washington Kikes?

The Federal Government is now looking into "overhauling how it recognizes Indian tribes." New rules were proposed in June for dealing with contemporary conflicts between communities and the  566 American tribes recognized by the Federal government.

After the NFL integrated, Marshall said he would “start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.” Current owner Snyder said he would “never” change the name.

All people have feelings and sensitivity about how they are referred to. Mr. Bellecourt and the Native American nation has indicated it is never acceptable to disrespect by name or inference the rich, proud history of America’s first nation.

So I say once again: Mr Bellecourt is right. Americans of conscience and good will should stand with America’s first nation to bring respect to all who are part of this great nation (Canada doesn’t use the term “Indian.” Canadians use “First Nation” or “Indigenous People”).

I invite Washington team owner, Daniel Snyder and Vikings Black executive Kevin Warren to join by phone on my radio program to talk with Clyde Bellecourt and answer two questions for him: (1) isn’t “never” change the name continuing George Preston Marshall’s racist legacy?” And (2) how does the policy match what the great Chief Joseph said: “I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated.”

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.

Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Security reduced at Vikings games
Sheriff Richard Stanek objects: Why didn’t others?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

October 30, 2013

The National Football League’s Directors of Security ordered all 32 NFL teams to ban law enforcement officers working NFL games from being armed: no more bringing their weapons to work at the stadium. Besides the obvious “why?” question,  why did they try to keep it secret?

Two stood up against it. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek stood their ground. Our Sheriff Stanek reminded them that he is in charge of law enforcement at the stadium, following Minnesota law.  So why did the Minneapolis chief of police, the Minnesota Sports Authority, and the Vikings cede control to the NFL’s desk riding ex-FBI agents acting as Wild West sheriffs?

Why would they think they could keep this low key as if it never happened? Any law enforcement officers or security personnel that resisted would have risked being fired. Once again we pull the covers off, exposing the unintended consequences:  not only inviting bad people to bring even more guns to Vikings games, but leaving the fans as their mercy.

Now don’t get me wrong, in a perfect world of perfect people we could have a gun-free society. But the pursuit of perfection in an imperfect world of imperfect people throws everything out of balance. And after shootings at Sandy Hook, the Naval Yard in Washington, D.C., and the elementary school outside of Reno, Nevada, among others, we know how being out of balance can cause bad things to happen to good people.

In Reno, Nevada two weeks ago, a 12 year old terrorized an elementary school and killed a beloved teacher. A student’s anger issues took over. 

How does the NFL, the Minnesota Sports Authority and the Minnesota Vikings think they will be protecting the fans at Vikings games by disarming security personnel, all of whom are sworn police officers authorized to be armed? We expected to hear something from the police chiefs of Minneapolis and St. Paul and the State Highway Patrol.   These three departments supply the majority of sworn police officers that work security at Vikings games. As of the writing of this column, they remain silent. Why?

Vikings fans have gone through enough, especially in the last month, to now be faced with the possibility that while at a Vikings/NFL game with their family, friends and loved ones, if bad people decide to perpetrate violence there will be no one who can protect them.

I don’t understand this kind of thinking. I don’t understand how they could possibly consider such a decision with all of its political, procedural and safety ramifications. And I don’t understand why only Sheriff Stanek is saying no.

As we have said before, Vikings fans and the general citizenry need to be protected and respected at every level, in every community, at every event. You can’t have balance if you disarm the protectors.

We applaud Sherriff Stanek and Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones, and wonder, given Minnesota law, what Minnesota Vikings General Counsel, Kevin Warren said about it. Or did the NFL order him to be silent also? Better and accurate legal advice is needed.

Law enforcement heads needs to join Sheriff Stanek in demanding that the policy decision by the Sports Facilities Authority and the Vikings be reversed immediately. Banning law enforcement security personnel from having their weapons doesn’t make any sense in an America that, unfortunately, is extremely fragile in her battle against those who would do harm to our citizens and threaten the safety of all.

This is not England of the 1840s when all police needed were night sticks. This is America 2013, where bad guys can get guns no matter how many laws are passed against guns.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Posted Wedesday, October 30, 2013


Minnesota Lynx: We thank you!

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

October 23, 2013

Pull quote: …we have never seen such perfection and dominance as we have when watching these last three seasons of the Minnesota Lynx….

It is quite clear that the most successful and winningest professional sports team in Minnesota history is now the two-time champion and three-time finalist, The Minnesota Lynx. Our profound congratulations and our deepest appreciation for a quality franchise and a quality team with quality players and a quality owner.

Minnesota has long been desperate for a dynasty. The young ladies of the Minnesota Lynx have created that dynasty. Their march through the WNBA playoffs, 7-0, has only been done one other time in the history of the league.

Much appreciation and congratulations must go to team owner Glenn Taylor. A year ago, October 2012, Minnesotans thanked Glenn Taylor for committing his resources, including his money, to put a winner on the court at Target Center. Think of how impressive The Lynx have been: three final appearances, two championships. The Lynx is one of the most dominant teams in the history of Minnesota professional sports. It is a continuous joy to watch the unselfishness, the togetherness, and the commitment to perfection that will forever be the legacy of the Minnesota Lynx.

During the celebration last Monday, October 14, I saw a lot of tears from a lot of young ladies, as well as tears from those of my age group in appreciation of their accomplishment. Minnesotans supported this dynasty by filling the stands in each and every game, a tribute and show of respect for the success the team brought to Minnesota, as well as their appreciation for an owner who did not turn his back on the goal of winning.

We know it can be done here in Minnesota, and over the last 50 years, we have seen different franchises — basketball, football, hockey, and baseball — obtain the success of winning. But we have never seen such perfection and dominance as we have when watching these last three seasons of the Minnesota Lynx, and thus we say, thank you Minnesota Lynx for reminding us of the joy of winning a championship, and, most importantly, reminding us that “class” is the order of the day in competition.

The Minnesota Lynx are all class: the players and the organization, with a franchise owner who is among the classiest owners to ever grace the Minnesota sports scene. This is not to take anything away from our other franchises. But it is what it is. We look forward to Minnesota men’s professional teams to take a page out of the success playbook of the Minnesota Lynx and work to set up their own dynasties.

The future of this franchise is solid. Ownership is committed and players have very productive years in front of them. We hope their success is contagious and provides a lot of inspiration to others.

Sadly, it seems to be difficult for the Minnesota Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press to keep from displaying negative bias in their coverage of these young ladies, as they have not only been less than enthusiastic in their coverage of the success of these young women, but they have not given them the same level of coverage as they do to the male professional sports teams, as the latter fall flat on their faces and continue not to excel.

Discrimination knows no gender or racial boundaries. There are still those who find it difficult to except others as successful and as winners. Nonetheless, after three successful championship seasons, be it the league finals or conference finals, we tip our caps to the success of this dynasty and its owner.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Ron Edwards is the former head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League. He continues his"watchdog" role for Minneapolis, anhis work to contribute to the planning discussions in order to help mold a consensus for the future of Black and White Americans together in Minneapolis.

Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 12:18 a.m.


The Wilfs Prevail. Vikings Owners Make Clean Sweep.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

October 16, 2013

The Vikings and Sports Authority signed their new stadium agreement on October 3rd, resulting in Vikings ownership prevailing on their stated goals regarding the Lease Agreement, Licensing, Naming Rights, Concession Ownership, and Development Package.

The day before the Vikings-Sports Authority deal was signed, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder ran my column (written 8 days earlier), repeated 18 months of warning: “the Vikings will have to be given everything they want in order to stay.” At signing the next day, Governor Dayton admitted “yes:” failure to satisfy Vikings ownership demands would guarantee losing the team: “we had to make a deal”:

...the economics of professional sports are highly questionable all over this country. ..... We wouldn’t have an agreement here and we wouldn’t have a team staying here if we hadn’t been willing to accede to demand[s] on the team’s part from the very beginning of the process.”

Experts estimate Vikings can generate at least $100 million more a year. Will they put it in their pockets or use it to sign /hold better players? Minnesota ticket holders and taxpayers alike: is it all worth 10 games a year that most can’t attend but can watch only from TV? Yes, there will be temporary jobs during construction (but many to workers from outside Minnesota). Ten games/year won’t create year-round stadium jobs. Tickets will cost more and season tickets will require first purchasing a license to make them eligible to purchase a season ticket. The Vikings had the best of all hands: five aces, no reshuffle, and no redeal.

Now the Vikings await the successful completion of construction by M. A. Mortenson, with the Sports Facilities Authority, with both shouldering the obligation to pay any cost overruns. The Vikings out of state ownership juggernaut is in place. Minnesota gave away its leverage. Time will tell if this will really be a “peoples” stadium?

When will the Star Tribune, a key component of the people’s plaza development, give us a better understanding regarding how this affects Minnesota taxpayers? When will Star Tribune do a three part series on who won and who lost? As I have long maintained: the guys from the East Coast had the best plan going in and the best plan going out, all the way to the bank. And Minnesota had none.

History has been made. The Wilfs have their stadium. They await the 2016 opening. Then their beloved Vikings will reap profits for the Wilfs Sports Empire. Empire building is about knowing the terrain, knowing the weaknesses and strengths of whom you deal with, and having a Plan to implement all aspects of the creation of a Great Empire. Minnesota never replaced its “Leave Plan” with “Stay Plan.” Wilfs did.

Maybe the University of MN and other colleges can develop business courses on “How to Create a Sports Empire in the Mid-West by those from the East Coast.” What a historical journey as we watched the creation of the Wilf Sports Empire. It ranks with the development and planning of the Continental Railroad from the East to the West, with a new 30-year stopover in Minnesota. Not blinded by vanity, Wilfs knew how to get the job done. Blinded by vanity, Minnesota gave it away.

I write this because I care about our community and the failure of not only our Black leaders but also white non-profit do-gooder leaders who all failed to stand up for stadium hiring diversity compliance. Failure in hiring Blacks will now strike the Vikings Stadium as it did the Gophers and Twins stadiums and other large construction projects. When will any leadership stand up against “blacks need not apply”?

Stay tuned

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Ron Edwards is the former head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League. He continues his"watchdog" role for Minneapolis, anhis work to contribute to the planning discussions in order to help mold a consensus for the future of Black and White Americans together in Minneapolis.

Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 2:47 a.m.


Attack on the Teachers Federation
Why have friends become foes?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

October 9, 2013

“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
--- Mary McLeod Bethune

For decades, a workable relationship between organized labor and African American leadership existed in Minnesota. They do not necessarily speak with one voice, but, regarding financial consideration, they do. But for the last decade, this relationship has frayed, not in terms of financial considerations but in terms of standing up for real education for African American children.

Legendary civil rights activist Nellie Stone Johnson clearly stated: no education, no job, no housing. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that although many Blacks were not qualified (lacking education and training), we are qualifiable through education and training.

Bussing was a misguided policy of racism in education: that Black children could only learn when with White children. We expect that from Whites but not Blacks. And so we were quite shocked to hear the recent attacks on Lynn Norgren, White President of the Teachers Federation by powerful Black leaders and their Black organizations.

For a number of recent months, the Teachers Federation, the Minneapolis Board of Education, and the Superintendent, have met at least 19 times, in extremely intense negotiations.

These negotiation sessions, by law, can be made open to the general public. It s only when negotiations break down and mediation is asked for that such negotiations can be legally closed, according to legal sources familiar with Minnesota law.

After Federation President Norgren revealed discussions about others in the meeting, especially by Twin City foundations who talked of the incompetency of African American children – not because of poor education but because the are incapable of benefiting from a good education -- she became an enemy of the state. She became a target of those who embraced statements by African American leadership against the Teachers Federation and organized labor.

For them, only the “adult who’s” on all sides and their organizations matter, and not the “student who’s” (the children, whether American or immigrant, whether Black or White). This is rather stunning in light of the Federation’s ten point proposal, offered in negotiations, that would improve educational access, opportunities, operations and options for African American children and other children of color, not just whites.

We are hearing that deals have been cut within different racial communities, including the African American community, but for adults, not children. This questions the presence and effectiveness of pubic education.

Community leadership conspiring to help themselves will hurt the educational opportunity of our children by denying them many opportunities to move forward with the general masses. Efforts must be made to assure African American parents and their African American children, that they are still valued and important , that their future is important to all who seriously support the African American child.

As the Federation has stated, “the opportunity gap [for Black children] is a problem that has its roots in the racism, classism and white privilege of our city. We know that we must accompany social and economic reforms with education change in order to solve it.

Conditions facing Black America and the African American community in the Twin Cities are too threatening and too dangerous for brinkmanship. We don’t need John Foster Dulles leaders type leaders with a cold war doctrine of “to the brink.”

This is not about building a wall. It is about tearing down walls. This is about supporting the need for excellence in education, employment and housing on behalf of African American children and their parents. Expect nothing less from those who say they stand in defense of the African American child and their communities. Expect nothing less from those who say they stand in defense of the African American child and their communities.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Ron Edwards is the former head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League. He continues his"watchdog" role for Minneapolis, anhis work to contribute to the planning discussions in order to help mold a consensus for the future of Black and White Americans together in Minneapolis.

Posted Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 3:11 a.m.


Eighty-four million dollars levied against the Wilfs. The question of Vikings future still under discussion.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

October 2, 2013

Pull quote: Will the Wilfs stay or look toward the golden West?

On Monday, Sept 23, Minnesota media reported, almost breathlessly, New Jersey Judge Wilson’s verdict, using headlines with a different slant than coverage in New Jersey.

Newark Star Ledger: Judge announces damages of $84.5 million against Wilfs in long-running lawsuit.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Wilfs fined $84.5 million in New Jersey real estate fraud case.
Attorney fees of $16 million could push it over $100 million.

Minneapolis reporting leaves out three key points.
(1) The Wilf position: How little, if anything, those suing the Wilfs contributed to their joint enterprise (hence Wilf actions and subsequent lawsuit).
(2) The bogus concern: Can the Wilf’s pay? Bogus because the legislation allows stadium, team, and NFL revenue sources to pay the Vikings share, not the Wilfs personally
(3) Number two is because of Minnesota arrogance, as seen in Ted Mondale’s 2011 statement that is the essence of how the governor, legislature, and sports authority have acted. Mondale said that “a stadium deal is not complicated.” The Wilfs not only recognize the complexity of the deal, they actually understand contracts and finances and are better negotiators.

We’ve written on this for a decade. But those in both government and at the Vikings have not listened, which is why they are at this cross roads, with the Wilfs in the stadium driver’s seat. Don’t force them into an either/or decision: get the parking space they want or park in L.A.

Within a half hour of the decision in New Jersey, the Wilfs’ attorney conducted a conference call with Minnesota press. Was the attorney correct when he said they are prepared to “move forward,” are “committed,” and “look forward” to a new stadium for kick off 2016? Or are these “must say” Madison Avenue-type PR clichés, saying all the right things but maybe for all the wrong reasons as they study the road map options: stay, sell or drive to L.A.?

According to the stadium schedule, by the time this column is printed (we submit eight days prior to publication), the Wilfs will have signed a lease agreement, the state will have found purchasers for the $348 million in bonds it issues (we have no idea what the city will do regarding its $150 million obligation), and the Vikings will be back on track for their Fall 2016 opening. We are not convinced it will have happened. If it does, the state has already caved. [Editor's question, 9-4-13: as Star Tribune, October 3, 2013, reports the deal signed October 3, 2013:, allowing the state to issue $498 million in bonds to finance the public portion of the project, does this mean the State is covering the City's portion? And if so, what was in the deal?]

To make the sale of these bonds attractive, purchasers need a permanent tenant, which is needed to negotiate seat licenses and other revenue generation considerations that will pay the Vikings stadium half. So, is this a back-door strategy, as believed by NFL insiders, to humiliate the Wilfs to the point where they will sell to a local buyer, or is this an exercise to explain why the Vikings will have to be given everything they want in order to stay?

Will the Wilfs stay or look toward the golden West? Nothing suggests the Wilfs want out of pro football. Nothing suggests that the gods/owners of the NFL would force the Wilfs to sell.

Will the Minnesota Vikings faithful enjoy their beloved Vikings for another 50 years in the people’s stadium, or will Minnesota foolishness, arrogance and pettiness result in the “move” scenario or give them what they want scenario?

We wrote in an earlier column of an under current of anti-semitism directed toward the Wilf family. The Wilf family survived the Holocaust. I’m sure Zigi Wilf does not want to feel anti-semitism is widely in place in Minnesota.

Minneapolis media needs to do a better job of reporting actual facts and issues in the Wilf’s New Jersey lawsuit. The Wilfs may very well be able to demonstrate to the appeals court in New Jersey who had a personal bias against the Wilf family, given their complex web of holdings.

Stay tuned.

Posted Saturday, October 4, 2013, 5:32 a.m.


Death warrants in Faribault
State of MN ignores deaths at State prison hospital in Faribault

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

September 25, 2013

"Today there are more African-Americans under correctional control — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850… Our system of mass incarceration…has devastated many of our communities…literally turning back the clock on racial progress in the U.S.”
— Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in An Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2010)

So who will lead the battle against this injustice of mass incarceration? Will Churches, nonprofits and government agencies? No, as to many of their jobs rely on keeping the incarceration status quo.

So who is doing it? Right now: the gritty work is being done by courageous Black mothers, whose numbers will hopefully grow into a national movement (think of the Argentine mothers marching daily at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, to protest the 30,000 that were “disappeared,” 1975-1983).

Were it not for the mothers of two African American inmates, Courtney Clark and Robert Hosely, at the Minnesota Corrections Medical Facility at Faribault, Minnesota, they would die without notice (Justice for all” means justice for everyone — no exceptions, and July 25, 2012 (The policy of retaliation:  continuing the story of Courtney Clark).   Since mid-2012, at least nine inmates, both Black and White, have died at Faribault as a result of the State of Minnesota and its Department of Corrections policy of neglect, a kind of genocide against those who, for whatever reason, have been targeted.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Hosely have both been retaliated against by the Department of Corrections (and, thus, the State of Minnesota). Death warrants have been issued in a state whose constitution forbids capital punishment. But being sent to Faribault means it is only a matter of time before a form of capital punishment takes place.

Both Mr. Clark and Mr. Hosely are being denied medical attention and their medications. Both of these men have previously suffered, at different points in time, serious and massive strokes, which have confined them to wheel chairs and, in the case of Mr. Hosely, serious brain damage.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune and this column have worked together to bring to the public’s attention the Department of Corrections policy of retaliation and the issuance of death warrants to both Black and White inmates. This is not unique to Minnesota. Pennsylvania newspapers have been reviewing circumstances of a gentleman by the name of Robert Mims, who was transferred from a Pennsylvania institution to Faribault, where he was allowed to die without medical attention.

Regrettably, shamefully, there is little interest, little concern, and little compassion for human beings who have been informally sentenced, without a formal charge or formal sentencing, to capital punishment by the judiciary system’s policy of death warrants. “Why?” is not the issue; the issue is the injustice of not providing constitutional protection against executions, without due process, in a non-death penalty state. See our July 7, 2010 column (Whose mental health issues incite Black violence? It’s not poor Blacks propagating dysfunctional social policieses).

Once again: if it was not for the tenacious and loving care of two African American mothers, these two men would be allowed to die without a legal, formal sentence of death. If you have a loved one in the MN correctional system, pray you don’t receive a call telling you they are being transferred to Faribault, as it could easily mean a life-ending death warrant.

The appeals of these two mothers to the director of corrections, the governor and members of the legislature have been met with silence and indifference. So much for Minnesota compassion.

Whites need to consider this: What will you do now that the government that had been doing this to us is now also doing it to Whites?

As long as churches and nonprofits treat symptoms (crime, poverty) and not causes (poor education, training, family breakups, lack of jobs), they turn their back on “lost sheep” and perpetuate the status quo.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, see our The MinneapolisStory.com home page.

ADDED to this column for on-line:
Legal Scholar: Jim Crow Still Exists In America

Argentina Mothers of Plaza de Mayo: Living legacy of hope and human rights. “more than 30,000 estimated missing sons and daughters who became part of ‘the disappeared’ during the reign of Argentina’s military juntas from 1975 to 1983.”

Posted Saturday, September 25, 2013, 5:55 p.m.


The Ghost of Neville Chamberlain
President Barrack Obama Stands InThat shadow


"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Sept 18, 2013

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain, went to Munich, Germany to seek peace with Hitler in the 1930s. The “ghost” of Chamberlain refers to his miscalculating achieving “peace in our time” (the Chamberlain phrase used by President Obama in his second inaugural). Historians say Chamberlain’s miscalculation enabled World War II.

As this column is written, the president has not yet addressed the nation or the congress. Was he persuasive? Did he convince Congress to commit to the doctrine of “We go to war in our time to achieve peace in our time?” [Note see my column of May 11, 2011, Peace in our time? I don’t think so, excerpts belo.w]

The president painted himself into a corner, as victimized by his staff as Jimmy Carter was by his. Was Secretary of State Kerry’s unscripted remarks that the U.S. would not strike if Syria turned over its chemical weapons within a week a gaffe or clever transition to what is now U.S. policy, preventing having to take action, especially as the vast majority of Americans oppose intervention?

Russia’s Putin, ever the master geo-politician, manipulating both Europe and the United States, accepted it, check mating us. Kerry has enabled The Putin Plan.

If the president acts contrary to congressional wishes, impeachment could result, not just from Republicans who dream of tarnishing his legacy, but also from Democrats who say if he goes to war in Syria they would support impeachment. That’s not to say impeachment would be successful, but, as we saw with Clinton, it is an exhausting, time-taking process, bringing much senior level activity in government to a standstill that could cause security vulnerability.

Our country is weary of war, weary of sending sons and daughters into conflicts on foreign soil, weary of there being no end game, weary of not being told the truth. Even the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated, when asked at a recent congressional hearing, he didn’t know what the end game was. Will acting or not acting in Syria deter or encourage would-be terrorists?

When then Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the misleading information given him by our intelligence community to the U.N., it enabled wide agreement to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now Americans and most of the world are cautious and suspicious of American intelligence community’s statements of “facts.

Can the president sell the American people and Congress on limited surgical strikes? Will the Putin Plan’s end game enable the president to not bomb and still save face? Why am I’m writing about Syria? Because war interferes with American education, jobs and housing in general and in Minneapolis in particular.

As Charles Rangel, the respected African American senior congressman from New York, said last week, in a message he sent to the president: instead of getting involved in another war, he should combat poverty, gun violence, and discrimination at home with “a war on poverty, a war on income inequality, and a war on food insecurity.”

We hope the president listens to how weary people are of talk of war with neither a plan for jobs, better education, better housing, nor for a fairer criminal justice system. For a dozen years, this column has emphasized jobs (the Vikings Stadium still excludes Blacks), better education and training (too many Blacks still being poorly educated, thus being unqualified to get a good job), housing (affordable only with a job), and public safety in Black communities (which would be greatly enhanced if equal access was provided instead of discrimination against Black youth, dispersing them to gangs on city street corners instead of to careers and families.

Let us hope that the shadow of Neville Chamberlain does not suffocate another American administration in our time. Will it be peace through strength (“speak softly but carry a big stick”) or merely “peace through war”?

Stay tuned.

P.S. Added to column online only:  a quote from Winston Churchhill and then excerpts from my column on Chamberlain of May 11, 2011, Peace in our time? I don’t think so, with the opening and closing paragraphs of that column.

Winston Churchhill:  “You were given the chice between strikes and dishonor.  You chose dishonor and you will have strikes.”

Excerpts from May 11, 2011:  Peace in our time? I don’t think so.

How many times will papers be waved to proclaim “Peace in our time”? What of the Emancipation Proclamation’s “Slavery is over,” or the Gettysburg Address echoing the Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal”?

How about “Reconstruction in our time” leading to Jim Crow, or “Civil Rights in Our Time” leading to fewer Black businesses than before the Civil Rights Movement and worse results in education, jobs and housing?
And let’s not forget the War on Poverty that led to more poverty rather than “the end of poverty in our time.”

And now a new proclamation: Osama bin Laden is dead, so it’s “peace in our time” again. I don’t think so.

Real peace features equal access and opportunity, equal employment, equal education levels and equal neighborhood quality of life; in a word, prosperity.
…………………….
Are we now to assume the demise of Osama bin Laden will lead to peace and prosperity in our time, and that again the African American will enjoy prosperity and access to opportunity? Or is this just one more partial process?

Historically, wars bring prosperity, first to both sides (as the House of Rothschild demonstrated for three centuries), then just to the winner. We urge peace and prosperity. Answer this: Why, after a decade of wars, do Blacks have a much higher percentage of unemployment than Whites? Go to my website for ways [solutions] to bring prosperity as well as peace. Who will stand up for it? Who will actually act on it?

NOTE: “Go to my website” means go to my section on Solution Papers

Posted Saturday, September 21, 2013, 4:09 p.m.


How does the State of MN pay its $50 million?
Has there been a breach of contract?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

September 11, 2013

“Drop-dead” dates sends chills through lawyers advising legislators, executives and investors, because of the consequences of failing to comply with legal/contractual obligations on time. Minnesota’s Vikings drop-dead date is February 15, 2014: the date the NFL requires teams to submit notice if they will not play in their city in 2014. Will we save the stadium and our beloved Vikings?

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” (“I have a dream”), Minnesota is pushing aside stadium employment equity and diversity considerations. Note the irony that it is two Black guys who have stood up for the Vikings and a new stadium and warned of the efforts to force them out (Dennis Green’s 1997 book and my 2002 book).

It is also ironic that as the governor and Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) have questioned the Wilfs’ ability to comply. Their ability is also in question, as their failure to comply could cause the Vikings to leave Minnesota. How about an audit of the stadium activities of the governor, legislature and MSFA?

When the MSFA chair recently rushed to New York City to meet with the NFL, did they discuss the NFL’s concern about the drop-dead date for paying the State’s $50 million initial payment? The 68-page legislative document authorizing the stadium has sections (e.g., see p. 18, lines 22.11 through 22.22) now giving nightmares to the MSFA attorneys, Dorsey and Whitney who should have better prepared and advised the MSFA chair before the meeting with the NFL.

The Governor and MSFA have questioned the business practices and integrity of the Vikings ownership. What about their own, including their potential default on the State’s first $50 million, that was to be paid into the construction fund?

The Vikings paid theirs. When? And can Minnesota honor its mutually agreed-to financial responsibilities, especially in light of their seriously and disastrously miscalculation on revenues, and failure to yet sell the tax-supported bonds?

The legislature insisted upon, and all parties — Vikings, NFL, State, and MSFA — agreed to the legislation, including its lines 22.17 through lines 22.20 of p. 18. Is the MSFA justifying its delay by saying the forensic accounting audit should be completed first (this month) and that the Vikings must first return to the negotiating table? Are they skirting agreements just as they accuse the Wilfs of doing?

Here is another key question: because no one has accepted responsibility for cost overruns and all other financial issues as discussed at line 18.11 through 18.17 (page 14), how can the Vikings be obligated to do so? Vikings’ attorney Warren was warned about the potential cost overrun of $273 million, with this quote from my 2002 book, p. 132 (the Vikings and many state officials have copies): the Journal of the American Planning Association reported that 28 percent was the average cost overrun for major construction projects, 1910-1998. Thus, $975 million times 28 percent equals $273 million in cost overruns (its how both sides’ special interests get a piece of the action).

Another drop-dead date: November 15, for the signed purchase agreement and advance payment if steel for the stadium is to be ordered and delivered by July of 2014, if the stadium is to be NFL ready and NFL certified by August 2016. How much of a financial setback and an additional burden on the taxpayers of Minnesota will now come into play to keep the Viking? These are questions that must be answered by September 15.

Stay tuned.

Posted Wednesday September 11, 2013, 3:43 a.m

======================

Relevant related links added for this web listing of September 11, 2013:

Vikings owners look to keep their family finances from public
Star Tribune Updated: September 4, 2013 - 12:14 AM
Lawyers for the Vikings owners will ask a New Jersey court next week to seal documents with the family’s net worth.

Party plaza near Metrodome at center of Vikings stadium disput
Star Tribune, September 3, 2013 - 5:20 PM
" The party plaza in front of the Metrodome is now Ground Zero in a legal dispute between the owners of the land and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MFSA), the public body overseeing construction of the new $975 million Vikings stadium."

Authority fires back in dispute over land near Vikings stadium site
Star Tribune, Updated: August 30, 2013 - 9:29 PM
"Authority accuses plaza’s owner of overstating value."

Vikings, stadium authority make progress on audit of Wilfs
Star Tribune, Updated, August 28, 2013 - 11:06 PM
"Despite substantial progress on audit, stadium construction could still be delayed, an official warns."

List of ten columns since 2005 and one book Chapter, 2002, offering solutions for how to Save the Vikings! First posted on "The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes" Home Page Blog side, October 12, 2011.  Updated September 2013.

2001 and 2002: This sequence theory: Vikings out, Twins in renovated Metrodome, Gophers new stadium, written about specifically in columns by sportswriter Larry Fitzgerald in Minneapolis (in the Spokesman-Recorder, July 12-18, 2001, July 25, 2002, August 27, 2002). Don’t forget today’s (9-4-13) column that listed MSR column of Larry’s: “Vikings are Going, Going, Gone!” May 8, 1997.

Ron Edwards is the former head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League. He continues his"watchdog" role for Minneapolis, anhis work to contribute to the planning discussions in order to help mold a consensus for the future of Black and White Americans together in Minneapolis.

Posted Wednesday September 11, 2013, 3:43 a.m.


Tensions divide stadium partners.
Vikings and MSFA At Odds

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

September 4, 2013

Is there a future for reconciliation between two partners who thought they had the world at their finger tips just a year ago, when, in August of 2012, it was like a lovefest, as the Vikings (Wilfs) and the state of Minnesota (MSFA:  Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority) both declared their love, trust, and respect for each othe?  What difference a year can make.

The New Jersey court ruling against the Wilfs led Minnesota (state, Sports commission, city) to question the integrity of the Vikes owners, the Wilfs, by ordering a forensic audit and an analysis of the Vikings’ owners ability to pay their portion of the $975 million so-called “Peoples” stadium. 

People tend to forget that just a year ago, as required by the legislation of 2012, the Vikings delivered $50 million to the Sports Facilities Authority, when the MSFA was extremely cash flush ($50 million from the Vikings, $24 million transferred from the now defunct ball park authority). 

Everyone expected that by now the State of Minnesota would be reaping the millions of dollars in revenue expected to be coming in from electronic pull tabs (and later electronic bingo), isn’t happening.  And where will Minneapolis get its $150 million obligation?

What else in their revenue forecasts won’t happen?

Do you see the obvious:  only the Vikings have put major money in the big account.  Yet the law firm of Dorsey and Whitney, after the sports authority meeting of Friday a week ago, called the Vikings’ Les Bagley a liar. 

On Thursday the 22nd of August, Les Bagley was told to inform the sports facilities authority that the Vikings  were breaking off negotiations until after the audit.  And again, two weeks after ringing their hands about the New Jersey law suit, officials pretended they cannot understand why negotiations have broken off.  This is a bona fide crisis.   

The NFL has already said “no” to more money.  The Governor errored strategically by suggesting that the Vikings’ Wilfs were poor business managers.

Minnesota has not treated the Vikings well (and now the Wilfs):

  • 1995:  NFL Commissioner: if no new stadium, team moves.
  • 1996 Owners:  if no new stadium, team moves.
  • 1997: In his book, “No Room For Crybabies,” Dennis Green outlines how team must sell to a local buyer to prevent being sold to an outsider who might move it.
  • 1997: May 8:  “Vikings are Going, Going, Gone!” Larry Fitzgerald, Sr., Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.
  • 1998: October, Henry Savakoul, Chairman of the Sports Facility Commission:  the state (meaning box seat buying corporations) is only prepared to support three pro sports:  baseball, basketball, hockey.
  • 2000:  Star Tribune reporter Jay Weiner’s book, “Stadium Games,” confirms Savakoul:  “Minnesota can’t truly afford four major-league teams,” as the business community and legislators identify the Vikings as the team to move.
  • 2001:  Dennis Green proposed a stadium plan approved by Red McCombs that was killed without either  being told in advance. 
  • 2004:  Vikings “Information Brochure” for buyers prepared by JP Morgan:  “Anoka County and City of Blaine are developing … a mixed-use development anchored by a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.”
  • 2011 deal for mixed-use development proposed by Ramsay County in Arden Hills.
  • 2012:  NFL Commissioner:  if no new stadium , team free to leave.

How will the audit change minds?  Will they finally sign an agreement to pay and build?  Or not?

This is ugly.  What will prevent the Vikings from moving to California?  Will the covered wagons be loaded up and driven to the land of 10,000 lakes of the basketball Lakers?  Many of us don’t want that.  We expect local authorities to provide a clear, concise, honest response.  Will they do so?

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

See our web site’s “solution” section, Solution #24, 2005, listing those who called for the Vikings to leave town,
First posted with our January 29, 2005 column.
Solutions Paper #24. The Roll Call Of Those Who Either Called for the Vikings to Move out of Minnesota or Who Stated They Would Have to be Moved As They Could Not Remain Competitive and Profitable Without a New, Tax Payer Subsidized Stadium.”  No one/no official has refuted any of the claims of this paper.

Posted Wednesday September 4, 2013, 2:44 a.m.

====================

2011:  Star Tribume and Newark news paper articles on the Wilf court case:

2011:  our key columns re the Vikings, the Wilfs, and Stadium locations:

  • May 25, 2011, Budget battle threatens Vikings’ Future, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder “Will Zygi Wilf’s personal legal problems in New Jersey impact on whether the state thinks it can trust him? Will he take L.A.? Sell? Moving, the best business deal for the Vikings, is still a significant betrayal of loyal Minnesota Vikings fans in Minnesota, in the upper Midwest, and throughout the nation, a betrayal by all Minnesota “leaders.”

2005:  our key columns re the Vikings and the Stadium question:

Posted Wednesday September 4, 2013, 2:44 a.m.


The Chief Reaches Out.
Chief Harteau Meets With Black Officers

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

August 28, 2013

The last couple of months have been challenging for the administration of Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau. She is showing she can meet challenges and seek solutions.

The incidents embarrassing to the department — in Apple Valley, Minnesota, Green Bay, Wisconsin, downtown Minneapolis, the shooting death of Terrance Franklin, etc. — show how the rank and file have become their own worst enemy, creating problems for the department, seeding suspicion in communities of color, and reducing their credibility in White communities (see my August 14, 2013 column, Chief Harteau announces ... a public dialogue.

Chief Janeé Harteau’s recent decision to reach out to Black officers in her department shows a commitment to healing, as she shows she is developing a keen understanding of why and how to bring everyone to the table, demonstrating growth and maturity. Prior to the Chief reaching out to them, Black police were not sure of their standing in the department, even though the President of the Police Federation reached out to them.

She obviously recognizes and is turning away from the bad advice and false information she had been receiving. Black police were not sure of their standing in the department, even though the president of the police federation reached out to them (see my August 7 column, What it’s like to be Black in the MPD?).

Now the chief is reaching out to show a similar commitment and respect. Chief Harteau is doing what all good leaders do, grow into the position and its responsibilities rather than be diminished by them.

As a person of color, and as a person who has fought discrimination and bias in this department, she understands the pain and the burden that one must carry, no matter how far one rises in an organization still discriminating due to old prejudices. But as chief of the department, she appears to be moving towards reconciliation between her department, her office, and the city as a whole.

Not everything will be a success. We’d like to see perfection but we’re realists. Human nature being what it is, there will always be those obstructing and blocking progress (hence the need to continually work for reconciliation and healing).

The good news is that Chief Harteau seems to be thoroughly committed to recruitment, promotion, training, and, most importantly, improving police-community relations. Part of the current challenges are due to her predecessor and city administration not being committed or interested.

As I served five years as co-chair, facilitator and monitor for the Police Community Relations Committee established by the U.S. Department of Justice, along with 17 other colleagues, I understand how challenging and exhausting the chief’s job can be. Hopefully the newly-elected administration’s new mayor and new council members will embrace the spirit of Chief Harteau, so together they can reach out to make this a better city for all who live here, now and in the future.

It is important to recognize and respect courage and commitment to change and a commitment to reconciliation. And so we watch the various agendas closely. We expect the chief to be provided support and resources to continue the healing process, perhaps with a “truth and reconciliation commission” as established by Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Despite visits by national police expert Wexler, the studies of his police institute, studies by the Federation, the MPD and others, the efforts until the chief’s current action, have been merely to have more meetings to forestall having to take real action. May the City government and MPD heed the chief’s call to demonstrate action for reconciliation and healing.

May Minneapolis heed the wise words of Chief Joseph: “All men were made by the Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers.” And: “Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow.”

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

From the archives:
--- Police Department racism and discrimination (in “Solution Papers,” aggregate of columns on MPD, 2003 – present)
---Assault by the MPD on Blacks at the Ames Elks Lodge, column of May 2, 2012
---Update on MPD 2012 Assault on Ames Elks Lodge. No contact with MPD for over a year, column of May 8, 2013.

Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 1:54 a.m.


“We didn’t know about Zigy!”  Really?
Everybody pretends ignorance or amnesia on Zigy’s dealings. 

August 21 , 2013

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Many intelligent, knowledgeable people purposefully said they were surprised by the Judge’s ruling against the Wilfs, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, that ended their 21 year-old court case.  Surprized?  Really?  Why do they think we believe them (Star Tribune wrote of it in 2011)?   They believed the Wilfs who said they would win.  

What they “won” is loss of credibility.  The Wilfs also “won”   these words from the Judge: fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, violated civil racketeering statute, and, most damning by the Judge: “The bad faith and evil motive were demonstrated in the testimony of Zygi Wilf himself,” and that “I do not believe I have seen one single financial statement that is true and accurate.” 

[Editor’s note:  see referenced articles below from Star Tribune, Newark Star Ledger, and San Antonio Express News.]

When Red McCombs was encouraged to relinquish Vikings ownership, Reggie Fowler, an African American from Arizona, bid for the team.  Kevin Warren, also an African American, introduced Fowler to the Wilfs.  When Fowler was not granted additional time to raise the required amount to purchase, Fowler became a Limited Partner, Zigy Wilf the General Partner, and Kevin Warren was rewared with being Zigy’s VP of Legal Affairs & Chief Administrative Officer.

So who do we trust? 

Do we trust the NFL, who loaned Red McCombs $100 million so he could outbid local bidder, Roger Hedrick, after which the NFL denied Hedrick the right to counter-bd, leaving the Vikings in the hands of an out of state-er? What did the NFL do to keep the Vikings out of Minnesota hands and instead in the hands of more non-Minnesotans, the Wilfs. What did the NFL do to pave the way for the Wilfs to be owners, who are not rooted in Minnesota?

Do we trust the Governor and legislature, as we ask what else have they winked at that hasn’t been discovered?  Yet.  What other shoes will drop?

Do we trust local leaders, who helped Red’s right hand man in San Antonio and his right hand man in Minneapolis kill the stadium campaign outlined by Dennis Green and approved by both Red and Charlene McCombs in 2001, leading to their departures? 

Do we trust the State, City, and Vikings, all of whom either signed off on or turned a blind eye to the city violating its own charter, benefiting themselves at voter/tax payer expense?  Is the announced “due diligence” and “forensic accounting” analysis for cover up?   

Reggie Fowler was vetted when he attempted to become the first African American owner of an NFL team.  So how, given their history, did the Wilfs pass an NFL examination of their finances and ways of doing business?   Even if the Wilfs won the court case, what it reveals about “The Wilf Way” of doing business should be raising loud alarm bells.

Why does Minnesota accept the NFL backing non-Minnesotans over Minnesotans?  How are Minnesota tax payers to believe the legislators, their teams of attorneys, and their financial consultants, not to mention those with a financial interest (such as the Star Tribune)?  Even a blind bat couldn’t miss the Wilf’s refusal to follow court orders for 21 years.

Who will pay Minnesota’s $348 million and Minneapolis’ $150 million (which the Kaplan Report states, with interest, will cost the city over $700 million, raising the question of what will be the true cost for the state)?   Answer:  the general fund, at the expense of education, road repair, health care, social servicers, while also adding higher taxes.

The Wilfs will pay very little personally, as the Vikings $447 million portion (including the NFL loan of $200 million) will be paid through stadium naming rights, sponsorships, seat license fees and other sourcing. 

The Vikings have paid their initial legislatively directed obligation of $50 million.  The state and city have yet to pay theirs.  

The city of Minneapolis, through its city council, has voted to award millions of tax payer dollars to the Ryan Construction Company’s development plan for the Peoples Plaza.  No one has seen a detailed and concise plan that would not burden the tax payers of the city of Minneapolis even more over the next 30 years.

We need transparency and honesty.  Now.

So again I ask, who do we trust, and why?

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

====================
Editors note:  here are the links to the articles referenced above that appeared in the Star Tribune, Newark Star Ledger, and San Antonio Express-News:

Inquiry into Wilf's business dealings adds pressure to tight stadium timeline, Star Tribune, August 18, 2013.  
“Any delays caused by a review of his finances would ripple through the construction schedule.”

Wilfs are on notice: Keep Minnesota dealings cleanSTRIB EDITORIAL BOARD, August 13, 2013, New Jersey lawsuit should intensify scrutiny of Vikings stadium dealings.”
Schafer: Wilfs may rue how they treated N.J. partner, Star Tribune,  August 13, 2013.

Vikings stadium deal is put on hold for probe of Wilf family finances, Star Tribune, August 13, 2013.  “Key stadium agreements on hold during a “due diligence” financial review of Vikings’ owners.

Dayton questions business dealings of Vikings owners,  August 8, 2013,  Star,  Star Tribune, “The governor wants assurance that stadium dealings are “truthful and accurate.” ”

Gov. Dayton 'deeply concerned' by Wilfs' legal case in New Jersey, Star Tribune, August 8, 2013.

Real estate moguls on losing end of epic lawsuit.  Judge rules Wilf family cheated their partners, Newark Star Ledger, August 6, 2013.

Is stadium McCombs' goal?,  San Antonio Express-News, August 8, 2002.
Auto magnate selling Clear Channel stock shares in complex deal to pay debt on Minnesota Vikings.”
“Woods, who manages McCombs' finances, said the money primarily would be used to pay off most of the debt on the Vikings purchase. McCombs borrowed $100 million from the National Football League and another $100 million from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. McCombs hired J.P. Morgan Chase earlier this year to shop the team to potential buyers after the Minnesota Legislature failed to approve a new stadium for the team.”

For more on these concerns see list of our past columns on the Vikings and the Legislative Double cross.

From the archives:
Vikings Stadium Legislature doublecross?
Vikings: Is the "Plan" for them to leave or stay?

Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013, 1:18 p.m.
Due to technical error, reposted Thursday, Augusg 22, 2013, 12:30 pm


Chief Harteau announces dialogue
A public dialogue? Really?

August 14, 2013

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Pull quote: Extremely serious issues confront needed dialogue and reflections for recommended solutions, issues as old as Minneapolis with a police department.

The last time we were with you, we were talking about the racism travel brochure of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), including stops in Minneapolis, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Apple Valley, Minnesota. Let’s hope for the future of the chief that we don’t have any more MPD racism travelogue stops.

The chief indicated to local White media that she is embarking on a dialogue about MPD problems of racism (Star Tribune, August 2, Chief Harteau calls for dialogue following racial incidents). The Minneapolis Police Federation, under its President, Lt. John Delmonico, has stated clearly that the federation must also be at the table. I concur. And let’s not forget those conveniently forgotten “others,” Black police officers, who must also have a seat at any MPD table.

Last week’s column, “What it’s like to be Black in the MPD,” reported Black police officers’ embarrassing pain and humiliation. To the credit of MPD Federation President Lt. John Delmonico, he has demonstrated more racial sensitivity and understanding, and, thus, more wisdom, than the mayor, the city council, the chief and Black leaders. And it would appear, based on the names of individuals the chief met with August 7, that not one single person in this so-called dialogue group reached out to Black police officers to ask about their understanding and responses and sense of solutions (Star Tribune, Racial incidents lead to calls to investigate Minneapolis police, August 7, 2013).

[ Editor’s note:  added to this online posting:  two columns, May 2, 2012 and May 2, 2013, on police beating Blacks, including Ron Edwards, at the Ames Elks Lodge, a year ago, April 21, 2012:
----- Assault by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on the Ames Elks Lodge
----- Update on MPD 2012 Assault on Ames Elks Lodge. No contact with MPD for over a year.  ]
----- See also our aggregate of columns and blog entrees on the racism toward police officers in the MPD and the MPD’s coverup of them. ]

Hopefully it is not too late to repair the damage to Black MPD officers. But with the help of Lt. John Delmonico, who I have known and worked with for many years, maybe, just maybe, that breach can be repaired sooner rather than later.

Velma Korbel, Minneapolis Civil Rights director, and one of the greatest civil rights failures in the history of the city of Minneapolis, but one of the best at meeting former director Jordan’s infamous standard, “we can meet minority hiring requirements without hiring a single African American,” is the latest in faux leaders presented as a person who can bring parties together. Assisting her is faux leader Michael Brown, her trusted left hand. They represent rough not tranquil waters. How will they be able to set a steady course of reconciliation for the great ship USS MPD?

Extremely serious issues confront needed dialogue and reflections for recommended solutions, issues as old as Minneapolis with a police department. Many will be watching this group closely, most of whom have probably never been at a crime scene in their lives nor been involved in mediating conflict between police and community in their lives, and clearly could not personally identify even five Black police officers with whom they have had a meaningful and professional discussion in their lives. Blind leading the blind?

This is not to be negative. Just stating the facts and nothing but the facts. The beginning of resolution must come quickly for there is too much tension, too much distrust, and too much hopelessness about repairing these relationships.

We look forward to the chief’s plan, and await evaluating the rest of the plan’s components, for without them we are truly in big trouble, with little hope to improve relations between the African American community and this city.

As Robert Peel, considered the father of modern policing said in the 19th century: “The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”

May God give us strength and have mercy on our souls.

Stay tuned

See Solution Paper #31, our aggregate of columns and blog entrees on the racism toward police officers in the MPD.

For more on these concerns see our past columns on the Vikings and the Legislative Double cross, at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/2013/blogs/1304apr.htm

Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 2:07 a.m.


The Chance for another Cincinnati?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

August 7, 2013

One cannot begin to understand the current racial tensions within the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) until one reviews the history of this tension.  The tensions are there.  Extremely dangerous tensions.  Many do not understand while others don’t care about the level of hatred and disrespect, professional and personal, within the MPD towards the small core of Black police officers by many of their white colleagues.  It is not unknown.  It is ignored.

During the five years I served on the Police Community Relations Council (PCRC), which the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) established in 2003 (to last until 2008), we warned the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. of the dangerous level of racism in the MPD.   What was so troubling was the indifference of Federal, State and City Officials to the dangers of racial conflict within the department.  The revelations now coming out of Green Bay, Wisconsin about outrageous statements laced with racially derogatory and threatening statements against Black citizens by visiting Minneapolis police officers symbolizes and reflects a department that ignores instead of corrects.

Another example is the racial strife inside the Cincinnati, Ohio Police Department in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The link at the end of this column’s tag line shows the MPD history, year by year since this column began, demonstrating the hell that can come from being Black in the MPD.   The level of disrespect accorded Black officers is reminiscent of that under South Africa apartheid, where Black policemen and constables were treated like 3rd class citizens by their white comrades in arms.  We forget at our peril the treatment in slave days, Jim Crow days, and periodic days since then.
 
The continued silence of the Governor, Mayor, City Council, and civic and state leaders is chilling.  Black leadership is silent too.   Indeed, remember “the Mill City Five” and the Black leadership betrayal of them and of the Black Police Officers Association.  Black leaders sided with then MPD Chief Tim Nolan against the concerns of Black officers in the MPD, unwilling to give up snitch pay.  And even after the Black officers filed their law suit in 2007, against the city and the department, Black leadership refused to support their contention and lawsuits.  The Obama administration and the US Attorney General today have also passed, as have many non-profit leaders and white church leaders, as there is resistance to condemn a city run by Democrats (think also of Chicago and Detroit).

The history is quite clear:  Black Police Officers have had little support in their quest to correct past grievances and to provide support today.  A sobering reminder of the history is seen in the attention to the culture of racism in this department provided by the legendary Inspector Raymond Presley, now deceased.

When we think back to the 1930s and 1940’s, we also think of Lt. William Colson, one of only three Black officers in a one thousand man department, yet a man who became its first African American Lieutenant, just as Raymond Presley became the first Inspector in the history of the department.

Those who know the history of race relations in this department know it has been a continuous struggle since the first time a Negro patrolman walked the beat and yet did not have the authority or power to detain or arrest a white citizen.

The danger today is from those who would take us back to the 1890s and make the African American Police officer an endangered species.

Black officers suffer in silence and pain without support in the lonely battle they wage in the dark, racist corridors of the MPD, and without support from the citizenry they protect.  This is not a healthy situation.  It provides all the worse possible circumstances at a time when we need all of the MPD to work together in the face of future eruptions of racial conflict.

Neither white nor black will be able to continue to hide behind the ignorance of “we didn’t know”, “we didn’t have an idea”, “golly if someone just told us we could have sat down and corrected this problem.”  Such statements would be erroneous, hollow, and untrue.  All that can be authenticated is the continued perpetration of the Big Lie that racism does not exist here in our beloved Minnesota.

All need a better understanding of what it is like to be a Black member of the MPD (see link below). It is out of place in any institution but in particular it is out of place in an institution that is supposed to provide hope for justice and fairness and a sense of trust for all citizens.  As I wrote in 2008, “…equal access and equal opportunity, …and a seat for everyone."

God bless America.  And God bless our Black police officers in their hour of need.

Stay tuned.

See Solution Paper #31, our aggregate of columns and blog entrees on the racism toward police officers in the MPD.

For more on these concerns see our past columns on the Vikings and the Legislative Double cross, at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/2013/blogs/1304apr.htm

Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 1:22 a.m..


Vikings Stadium Day of Judgment:  August 20, 2013:
Doug Mann takes on the State of Minnesota

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

July 31, 2013

“Let’s kill all the lawyers” is a misunderstood quotation from Shakespeare. The character in the play wanted lawyers who would create chaos and unrest so he could become king. The character was referring to killing attorneys and judges who stood for justice in society, those who would follow the law.

So what kind of lawyers are “the big three,” Kevin Warren, NFL Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota’s Attorney General Lori Swanson, and Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal? None protested the violation of the City’s charter requirement that mandates a public referendum for any expenditure of over $10 million for any professional sports facility. The Minnesota legislature tried (and failed) to legislate exemption of the charter provision. Then seven city council members overrode the other six, voiding the charter provision.

The key question of democracy: Why do Mr. Warren, Ms. Swanson, Ms. Segal and their bosses not care about the will of the people? Why are they supporting this unlawful dictate? What’s with today’s federal, state and local officials ignoring laws, unconcerned about violating the trust of the people and setting terrible precedents for the future?

The Minneapolis City website defines the City charter as “the constitution governing the municipal government. The charter defines the powers the citizens agree to give their city government and how the government is to be structured.” Yet our city council voted to ignore the city charter.

The U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 3): officials are to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Our officials are unfaithful, taking dictatorial and unconstitutional and dangerous precedent-setting actions. As I wrote in my 2002 book, “it shows how little respect the bosses have for the people” (p. 264).

Enter Doug Mann, acting pro se (representing himself and the citizens of the state of Minnesota). He filed suit, Mann vs. the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Vikings, and the NFL, for violating the city charter. Why are people shocked? How can Mr. Warren and the NFL, Ms. Swanson and the State, Ms. Segal and City, Mayor Rybak and the city council be shocked by this when they knew they were against the law?

Why is their view of citizens and their constitution (the city charter) so low and their arrogance so great that they won’t stand up for the law? They don’t realize they risk poisoning the golden goose. On August 20, 2013, Mr. Mann will present his case to Hennepin County District Court Judge Philip D. Bush.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Ryan Construction, Mortenson Contruction, Thor, a whole host of big corporations, and the State and City must think they had slipped one by the voters. How wrong they are. When one reads the brief filed by Doug Mann, one cannot fail to remember the legendary Frank Alsop, one of the great legal minds of our time, who said, “I come into court carrying my brief, and fighting to serve and protect the interests of the masses, and let no king nor potentate stand in the way of my quest for justice.”

We now have elected officials acting as kings and potentates, blocking the will of the people. August 20, 2013 will be a historic day for the rights of the citizen. I don’t know how Judge Bush will rule, but I’m sure he will rule based on the law and nothing but the law and not on the lure of favors and other considerations.

The citizens/taxpayers/voters of the State of Minnesota expect nothing less. And yet the action of the City of Minneapolis in the spring of 2012 essentially shredded the City’s charter, its constitution.

Judge Bush will have the opportunity to set things right. We hope the appellate court does not overrule Judge Bush. If it does, Minnesota will be as a Banana Republic, a government of cronies, not a government of the people.

Mr. Mann has made persuasive arguments regarding the rights of the people to speak without impediment, without gamesmanship, and without further corruption. This is truly a test of the future of democracy in this state. May the state of Minnesota, the city of Minneapolis, the Vikings and the NFL, all do the right thing.

August 20, 2013, in Judge Philip D. Bush’s courtroom: a constitutional day of reckoning. It will either reaffirm the power and the sanctity of the City charter and its grounding in law or it will declare that the City charter is to be trumped by chaos and indecision as the order of the day, with laws then being whatever those in charge declare them to be for their cronies and friends on any given day. If Doug Mann loses, it will be a truly dark day for the future of Minneapolis and the tearing down of its historic legacy of standing for democracy and the people.

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. For more on these concerns see our past columns on the Vikings and the Legislative Double cross, at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/2013/blogs/1304apr.htm
For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 3:33 p.m.


Trayvon Martin is guilty…
…of being a young, Black male in the wrong place at the wrong time

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

July 24, 2013

The headline in this column is not a mistake. Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was guilty of being Black.

All of us know of jokes about being arrested for driving while being Black. It was no joke for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, killed for walking in the rain while Black, wearing a hoodie, looking “suspicious,” and walking close to the townhouses to protect himself against the elements in a neighborhood that feared young Black men due to recent burglaries by Black youth.

Two men: both young, both male, both wanting respect, but only one with a gun. And only one with all the privileges of being White in America, including getting a “pass” if White.

An episode of the TV show 30 Rock had the Tina Fey character protesting a mailroom clerk seeking advancement as he was not qualified for anything. But look, her boss said, “He’s male, he’s White, he’s got great hair. There is no limit for him.”

That “no limit” was not extended to Trayvon Martin. It was extended to George Zimmerman, a man whose father is a federal magistrate, his mother a clerk of the court in the adjoining county. It is no coincidence that they were the only two witnesses that neither the prosecution nor defense asked what jobs or professional credentials they held.

That’s White privilege. That’s having “a fair head start.” Trayvon Martin, guilty in the eyes of the White privileged who were uncomfortable with him, had done nothing illegal. But he was “legalwhile being young and Black.”

In the end, though dead, it was up to Trayon Martin to defend himself, unheard of under Anglo Saxon law. White privilege, White anger and White denial came together to judge him guilty.

There are those in this country still angry at the late Johnny Cochran for getting a jury in 1995 to acquit O.J. Simpson. Some commentators, Black and White, suggested Zimmerman’s attorney Mark Omera was American’s new Johnny Cochran. Mark Omera is no Johnny Cochran. Mark Omera and Zimmerman’s other attorney, Don West, had White privilege on their side, the great “fair head start” privilege.

Black America needs to be concerned. Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney, in 1859, ruled regarding Blacks as “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the White race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the White man was bound to respect.”

We thought, after the enactment in 1863 of the Emancipation Proclamation, that we would finally have access, opportunity, respect and protection of law. Instead, there were more tragedies in which Black Americans lost their lives, their freedoms, all the while being told to be patient, that our time would come.

Black America knows deep within her soul that we still await equal protection under the law, hence the headline in this column. Trayvon Martin was found guilty of being Black, young and offending White privilege.

The solution for the future is not more conversation but an education system that doesn’t push Blacks to drop out, and training and economic opportunities leading to employment in living-wage jobs that enable good rather than inferior housing.

The elephant in the room remains: racism. Its cousin: White privilege. George Zimmerman’s cleverness has served him well. All of his 49 calls to the police over the years in Neighborhood Watch were all about African Americans. But the judge denied mention of the elephant. When the prosecutor failed to challenge that ruling, I was overwhelmed with the sense that the fix was in.

The prosecution team came from Jacksonville, FL, Duval County, which has one of the most atrocious records of intentionally overcharging African Americans in criminal matters. No African Americans were seated as jurors. The State of Florida made a calculated decision to undermine their own “case in chief.” Once again, the tragedy that is so much a part of American justice was in play.

But let’s not forget the other elephant in the living room — us. Charles Evers, after taking over from his assassinated brother Medgar in 1963, said “We realized that all the hardship we had came from elected officials.”

In 1961, Martin Luther King said to a congregation, "Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58 percent of its crimes? We've got to face that… We can't keep on blaming the White man. There are things we must do for ourselves."

The concentration on Trayvon is taking our eye off the fact that many of our worst cities are run by Blacks who have become as corrupt as Whites. Until Black leaders put their eyes back on the prize, we’ll continue to be considered guilty while being Black.

Stay tuned.

Posted Thursday, July 25, 2013, 3:45 a.m.


Stadium contract under negotiation
Mpls. Civil Rights Dept. to monitor contractor and worker inclusion

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

July 17, 2013

It appears the Minnesota Vikings will sign off in the next 30 days on the contract for monitoring hiring compliance on the construction of the Vikings’ stadium. It is rumored that Viking General Council Kevin Warren will handle the final say for the Vikings (Warren, a member of the Stadium Equity Review Panel, is the highest-ranking Black American business executive with an NFL team).

The negotiations between Alex Tittle, Equity Director for the Sports Facility Authority overseeing the Vikings stadium construction, and the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) have been going on for at least two weeks, as of the writing of this column. Why are they being held in secret?

The selection of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) to monitor hiring compliance raises troubling questions, which I assume the Authority’s and Vikings’ attorneys are examining. Re-read the excellent July 4, 2013 Charles Hallman article in this newspaper, “Minneapolis Civil Rights to post monitored construction projects online.” His investigative report raises serious questions about MDCR competency and transparency, despite the promise that the monitoring chart will show who is or is not meeting workforce goals.

Mr. Hallman’s article is another in the occasional reporting by this paper reflecting upon the MDCR’s inability and/or unwillingness to both measure and complete statutory responsibilities. Mr. Hallman reported that the MDCR was unable to respond by press deadline to clarify certain projects and the issue of non-compliance, continuing a practice we have reported on for a decade: the absolute refusal of the MDCR to provide reliable and transparent information consistent with the requirements of ordinances and laws.

The MDCR’s multi-colored chart won’t display two key Minnesota elephants in the middle of the hiring compliance living room. One, the refusal to use “African American,” so that, as before, “minorities can be hired without hiring a single African American,” and two, the good-faith-legislative escape hatch remains wide open: minorities don’t have to be hired if “best efforts” don’t generate “qualified” workers.

Contractors have already said there are no qualified workers. We look to Mr. Warren to make sure that travesty is not continued. Our consistent warning of this since 2005 regarding the coming $5 billion in construction has been consistently ignored. It’s a good thing that the African American Gentlemen of the Roundtable in Kansas City are available.

Is it naïve to assume that Mr. Tittle, the Sports Facility Authority, and the NFL Vikings’ Mr. Warren will place absolute requirement and protocols into the contract language that will provide for immediate sanction against any and all, be they the general contractor, subcontractors, or the monitoring entity, if there are violations of provisions of contracts and Memorandums of Understanding, and that “African Americans” will be specified as such, not just as “minorities”? We will be monitoring them.

The MDCR purposefully mismanaged monitoring the Twins Target Field and Gopher’s TCF stadium construction efforts (few if any African Americans were invited). Who will staff monitoring and carry out the responsibilities: monitoring compliance, implementation of workplace goals, and provide immediate recommendations to initiate actions in cases of statutory non-compliance and/or non-performance by those working on the Vikings’ stadium?

All concerned must pay attention to the lawsuit filed involving the construction of the Hudson, Wisconsin hospital, done by Mortenson Construction (Vikings’ stadium’s general contractor). WCCO, Channel 4, broke the story Monday, July 8, 2013. According to the lawsuit, current workers at that hospital are working under dangerous conditions and circumstances (glass used wasn’t suitable to protect x-ray/imaging workers from radiation exposure). Given the amount of glass to be used in the Vikings’ Stadium, what needs to go right with the choice of and installation of the stadium glass? And what is Mortenson doing to make sure nothing goes wrong as it did in Hudson?

The construction of the Vikings stadium will be one of the most demanding undertakings in recent memory. Given the deadline of July 2016, there is not time for slowdown, work stoppages, or litigation that obstructs meeting the July 2016 opening date. And yet here we see secret negotiations taking place by Mr. Tittle. Why?

It is important that Mr. Tittle, Mr. Warren, Mr. Wilf, and NFL commissioner Mr. Goodell, and a host of others, make sure that the interests of the citizens and interests of the tax payers of Minnesota are provided for and protected. And that means that the expectation of the African American community is met to participate fully and without the restriction of the traditional failure in Minnesota to retain and hire African Americans and others of color.

So we look forward to hearing of intentionally meaningful and fruitful negotiations resulting in a monitoring team that knows, understands and will willingly carry out their responsibilities, acting with integrity and transparency in building the Vikings’ Stadium. This we truly hope.

Stay tuned.

Posted Monday, July 8, 2013, 11:40 p.m.


God bless Rachel Jeantel, a courageous witness

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

July 10, 2013

During the first week of July, some in America showed their true colors by once again viciously attacking, with malice aforethought, a 19-year-old Black woman, Rachel Jeantel. She was the last person to speak to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin just seconds before he was to die at the hands of George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012.

Ms. Jeantel was born in the nation of Haiti but has been a resident of the United States since age three. But English is not her native tongue. It is her third language. How many languages do her tormentors speak?  

Rachel Jeantel is important for two reasons. First, she teaches us about the lessons of respect. Second, she brought credibility and truth to her testimony.

As the State’s witness, Ms. Jeantel was viciously attacked by Don West, the defense attorney, who did everything he could to insult, malign, disrespect, and just literally beat her up verbally. Black and White bloggers chastised her, raising questions ranging from her testimony to her vocabulary, her physical appearance and her race. (Justice may prefer to be blind but sometimes can’t resist sneaking a peek out from under her blindfold.)  

I watched on cable stations. Ms. Jeantel is a courageous and accurate witness. Surprisingly, many did not know that Mr. Zimmerman considered himself a martial arts expert — he has taken martial arts classes three times a week for at least two years. He is a “lethal weapon.”

Mr. Zimmerman had been arrested before for assaulting a policeman, and he was under treatment for psychological problems related to anger. So how is it that this 28-year-old wannabe cop who killed this unarmed 17-year-old was still allowed to legally carry a firearm?
Mr. Zimmerman, in his own words in interviews, stated he was on top of Mr. Martin after shooting him. Some say Mr. Martin was on top. Which is it?
The reenactment tape conducted on February 27, 2012 with Mr. Zimmerman and the Sanford, Florida police department was an eye opener. To me, it provided sufficient credence to the statements Ms. Jentel gave under oath. 

How she was treated and continues to be maligned should be an eye opener for those in both Black and White America who no longer trust the system (police, prosecutors, the courts). Is it any wonder there is now less confidence in both Black and White America in terms of fairness and respect than was the case 20 or 40 years ago?

Because of the manner in which Ms. Jeantel has been ridiculed and criticized by both Blacks and Whites, I would not be surprised if fewer young Black Americans reach out in the future to become involved by doing the right thing, giving testimony, and, as Ms. Jeantel did in court, being courageous and honest.  

It is a sad commentary to reflect on how jury nullification is still the order of the day: no Black members despite the number of Black people in Seminole County. Thus, the jury of six are all women, five White and one Latina, another sign of institutional disrespect for the right of Blacks to be allowed to participate in the jury process.

My sense, given the number of hours I’ve watched this trial, is that there is a 70-30 chance for the acquittal of George Zimmerman with Trayvon Martin’s death ruled just another “no fault tragedy.”  I hope, as God is my witness, that I am wrong and it doesn’t become more “business as usual.”

Last week, Thursday through Sunday in North Minneapolis and downtown, groups of young Blacks as large as 250 and as small as 100 fought pitched battles among themselves and with police. Also last week, in North Commons Park, there was another wakeup call as more youth were roaming the streets. 

But it’s not just Black youth. In Greensboro, N.C. on July 1,400 teenagers, mostly White, rampaged. Are we are on the abyss of an outbreak of public disorder as in the days of the 1960s, only this time it is high unemployment and under-employment for both the under- and over-educated, both White and Black? 

Will White and Black communities reach out to help save their young with education and jobs, or will it take an American version of Tahrir Square, Tiananmen Square, or the streets of Paris and London to get adults in the USA to wake up? No one seems to have a clue or a plan, as eyes close in the naïve hope that they will open to show no clouds of darkness.

A word of simple advice:  Nothing is going to happen unless we are prepared to stand up and be counted like Rachel Jentel, who took it upon herself to do the right thing in that courtroom. I say God bless her and God bless the courage she showed in Sanford.
Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com (where "Archive" section has earlier March 28, 2012 column on the shooting of Trayvon Martin.)  

Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:10 a.m.


Snowden, Hastings and surveillance? Were they right?
The “here we go again” relevance for Black America.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

July 3, 2013

Young journalists have stepped forward to warn again how we continue to lose our government to growing “Big Brother.” Thirty-year-old document leaker Edward J. Snowden has fled to a secret place. And 33-year-old journalist Michael Hastings was killed in a fiery auto crash in Los Angeles June 18, 2013. They have shocked the nation by exposing the extent of the secret crypt of America’s intelligence network’s surveillance abuse of American citizens.

Black America is not shocked. It’s been part and parcel of our lives ever since the first Black foot stepped off the boat in Virginia, on through failed Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the 1920’s, on through to today, blocking our access and freedoms.

We especially remember the surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. Dr. King’s father and mother were the subject of government surveillance as early as 1921. Now Whites learn and experience as we have. They don’t like having that surveillance shoe on their White feet. Whether or not you view Snowden and Hastings as patriots and heroes, they exposed governmental abuse of surveillance power.

Michael Hastings’ reporting brought down the careers of director of the CIA General David Petraeus, about to be supreme commander of NATO General John Allen, and top commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal. Prior to his fiery death, Hastings had texted his close associates that the FBI was making deep inquiry of his friends and family.

The stories of these brave young men, Snowden and Hastings, are chilling reminders for all Americans and journalists as we reflect this July 4th weekend on what we are losing of our freedoms under the guise of national security. Mr. Snowden seeks asylum where he won’t be extradited. Few have discussed the sacrifice he discussed in his forthright Hong Kong interview several weeks ago: his fear that his patriotic actions may cause the forfeiture of his life and prevent him from ever seeing his family again.

We in Black America understand the power and abuse of Big Brother. We remember the tragedy of the annihilation of the family of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the continued surveillance of activists in pursuit of civil rights for the American Negro. Dr. King’s brother died mysteriously.

Others victims of surveillance and persecution include Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Medgar Evers, and, in our beloved city, Nellie Stone Johnson, Dr. Thomas Johnson, the founder and publisher of this newspaper, Cecil Newman, and the legendary Frank Alsop, all targets of Big Brother’s surveillance (FBI, military intelligence agency, state and city).

Many of us warned that the passage of the Patriot Act a decade ago meant that rights, values, freedoms and liberties we hold dear and fight for and are passionately committed to would be blocked even more. Will Mr. Snowden survive? Only God and time will tell.

Journalism comes with risks and dangers, not only in regards to the right of free speech, but also of the right to make inquiry, ask questions and investigate the facts.

The Snowden revelations raise serious questions about what those who claim to be defenders and protectors of the constitution of the United States are trying to hide, especially when this is not so much about information released but about the extent of their “Big Brother” secret surveillance.

Why are powerful individuals so uncomfortable and uneasy when asked questions about such massive surveillance? Why, in the name of national security, do they push our constitutional rights into a dark closet? Snowden and Hastings revealed troubling threats to our constitutional rights.

It is our elected public servants in the congress, judiciary branch, and executive branch and their appointees that should bring forward information of questionable conduct by powerful government institutions. Instead it is by journalists and reporters living under a cloud of threat (think Daniel Elsberg during the Vietnam War).

The Edward Snowdens and Michael Hastings of this world are courageously reminding us that as Americans we have constitutional rights that include the right to be told the truth about our democratic and constitutional institutions from those we have entrusted both their guardianship and the responsibility to uphold to the fullest “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God”.

All public servants have that in their oath of office. Sadly, they are not driving the debate tonight in America about the importance of truth, transparency and constitutional rights. The drivers are the actions of elected public servants and their appointees against truth, transparency and constitutional rights. We are learning it from courageous journalists who are then harassed and threatened for doing so. This is the awesome and dangerous burden of real journalism.

Americans should be very concerned about the life expectancy of Mr. Snowden and the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Hastings.

God bless America.

Stay tuned.

Posted Monday, July 8, 2013, 11:40 p.m.


Equity Director Hired.
Minnesota Sports Authority and Vikings Make their Selection

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

June 26, 2013

“Congratulations,” Alex Tittle, on being appointed Equity Director for the Vikings Stadium by the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA), as announced Friday, June 14, 2013.   “Welcome to an historic task”

Mr. Tittle, a nine year Army veteran (Company Commander and Platoon Leader), and Interim Director of the Office of Civil Rights, MN Department of Transportation, will now be the most significant player on the Minnesota civil rights stage.

I urge Mr. Tittle to read the results of my research as reported in this paper regarding the lack of diversity, equity, and fairness in Minneapolis and Minnesota hiring (archived on my web site). 

I urge Mr. Tittle to hold hearings, as authorized by the stadium legislation, in order for all to see whether plans submitted regarding equity commitment execution are actually followed, including the developer for the stadium, Mortenson, to see their commitment in public and in writing, with their acknowledgement that the legislation allows enforcement of any material breach by any or all not in compliance.  The Stadium legislation authorizes such hearings in Section 19, Provision 473.j15, entitled “Criteria and Conditions.”  See Sub Paragraph 9.   

Mr. Tittle has the opportunity and authority under Section 15-473j.11, “Stadium Design and Construction”, as well as lines 15.31 and 15.34 through line 16.30, to impose specific conditions, in concert with the authority and the Vikings.

The legislation also vests Mr. Tittle with the authority to research the history of those who would be pre-qualified.  Specific provision is under Section 17.473j.12, entitled “Employment,” at lines 18.33, through 19.13.  The African American community and its leadership needs to review these sections for specific tasks that will make it easier for Mr. Tittle to carry out his responsibilities.

Mr. Tittle needs to know that the Kansas City Group, Gentleman of the Round Table, as identified in previous columns, are prepared and ready to deliver qualified, skilled African Americans to works on the people’s stadium. 

I encourage Mr. Tittle to work closely with Kevin Warren, Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer and the highest-ranking African-American business executive with an NFL team.  He was a member of the Stadium Equity Review Panel.  In February, Mr. Warren stated, “The Vikings and the Authority are committed to ensuring a diverse and talented work force on this project.  We have worked hard to put together a comprehensive equity plan – one that will focus on outreach, recruitment, training and employment of all Minnesotans and will ensure inclusion of minorities, women and veterans.”  Missing are the words “hiring” and “African Americans.”

We expect Mr. Tittle and Mr. Warren to work closely together to keep their bosses, the NFL, and our community fully apprised of compliance regarding inclusion goals, including the category of “African American”, not just the category of “minorities.”

There must be no repeat of the state capital disaster highlighted by J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City, who confronted the state of Minnesota with evidence showing no qualified African Americans in Minnesota in certain categories and disciplines in refurbishing of the state capital, despite claims of our community leaders to have trained African Americans in the skills needed to perform within every trade category (so what did they spend that $10 million on that they were given to train workers in those skills?).

There must be no repeat of the scathing audit by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, issued on May 13, 2023, regarding MDOT’s failure to comply in diversity hiring (using the GFE - Good Faith Effort - “escape” hatch).

There must be no repeat of Twins and Gopher’s stadium non-compliance; they hired few African Americans (resulting in more scathing reports on non-compliance). 

There must be no repeat of what former African American Director of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department said, “we can meet all our minority hiring requirements without hiring a single African American.”  

For all of these examples, understand this:  making non-compliance legal through “good or best efforts” doesn’t make it right.

An early and important task for Mr Tittle is to select who will monitor hiring equity (verification of contracts, percentage of MBEs and WBEs, actual work hours).  I encourage Mr. Tittle to go beyond the literal following of the MSFA Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan:  Targeted Business goal of 20%  (11% women owned businesses; 9% minority owned businesses) and Targeted Workforce goal (32% minorities and 6% women) in all hours worked, so as to provide how many African Americans are hired, by number and percentage, not just as among “minorities”.

We have been given a second chance as a city and a state to do the right thing. May Mr. Tittle, Mr. Warren, the Vikings, the NFL, Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Sports Authority open a wide door of equity, a door that leads to success for all.

We wish success for all involved in the construction of the peoples stadium.

Stay tuned.

Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 4:58 a.m.


Franklin Case to County Attorney and then Grand Jury.
Will “all white” and “no bill” of indictment tradition continue?

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

June 19, 2013

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) announced two weeks ago that they completed the investigation into the shooting of T.T. Franklin, and forwarded its findings to the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman. The Star Tribune reported that “The case will get an initial review from the county attorney’s office before it is sent to the grand jury” (Star Tribune, June 7, 2013, “County attorney's office to review Terrence Franklin shooting”). As Sportin’ Life would say: "It Ain't Necessarily So,” as all evidence is NOT in.

How can the city or the Black community craft response strategies without a finished evidence report (DNA, finger prints, wound analysis, blood, urine, etc., etc.)?

On May 18, 2013, the MPD said it would take at least four months to complete the forensic investigation, 4 – 5 weeks for the final determination from the medical examiner. Why? Is the County Attorney setting up a continuation of the “tradition” leading to another Grand Jury “no bill” indictment in the case of police killing a Black person? Let’s look at our state and federal civil rights “tradition”.

The last time a Grand Jury even came close to indicting a law enforcement officer in the death of an African American was 35 years ago, when a Federal Grand Jury failed by ONE vote to indict an Eagan police officer for the traffic stop execution-style shooting death of the unarmed son of then Executive Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, Robert Benford. His 20 year old son was home on leave from the United States Army.

The three African Americans on that Grand Jury were tenacious in their quest for justice, including the late Elmer Childress, the first and only Black Commissioner for Veterans Affairs in the history of Minnesota.

We thought this was the beginning of a positive trend. We were wrong. No other Grand Jury has ever come close to indicting a white police officer for killing an African American citizen. Our long uphill struggle continues. We are reminded of the climb when we remember that the ending of the filibuster of the civil rights bill in 1964, was the first time in history the U.S. Senate had enough votes to cut off a civil rights bill filibuster.

There are questions we in the African American community must ask as the County Attorney begins the process:
• Will the County Grand Jury hearing the case be all or mostly white?
• If we are told “minorities” are on the Grand Jury, what kind, as, in Minneapolis, “minorities” does NOT always mean African American?
• Will the instructions to the Grand Jury on how to interpret the evidence for determining whether to indict or not follow doctrines of fairness or racial bias?
• How will they make the case that the actions in that small basement space at 2717 Bryant Ave So, Minneapolis, justified the killing by 5 white SWAT officers and a canine as “normal and usual” to subdue just one young man, instead of tasering?
• Will we learn the criteria given the Grand Jury to evaluate the evidence so we can see if it was honest and fair?
• Will Mr. Franklin’s DNA, finger prints, or blood spatter be found on the MP5 that he allegedly wrestled from one of the five officers, wounding two before he was shot and killed by another officer?
• How true is “one shooter” when the medical examiner says “multiple shots”?
• How credible will the story be of the custody and control of the weapon, as it is crucial in justifying taking a life.
• Will the illustrations and drawings supposing to reflect the officers’ recollections of fierce hand-hand combat be credible?
• How will it be explained to the Grand Jury how Mr. Franklin was so good in fierce hand-to-hand fighting skills that he could combat 5 easily trained policemen, disarming one, lightly wounding two, and then “have” to be shot and killed instead of tasered to be subdued?
• Will the forensics evidence provided include how many weapons were fired and how many times?
• What will be said about how many shots are required to blow half of his head away?
• How many places on his body received the “multiple” shots?
• Wasn’t the savage anger officers reported of Mr. Franklin really their own?
• How will the Grand Jury be instructed regarding how to weigh and determine if there was probable cause to use lethal force against Mr. Franklin vs. racial animus?
• Will there be a “No bill” -- no indictment – leaving the history of Grand Juries in Minnesota and Hennepin County in tact regarding being O.K. to shoot young Blacks?
• Will the sentiments prevail of a former Supreme Court Judge, since reversed, at least on paper, that the Negro has no rights that the white man is duty bound, legally bound, or morally bound to respect?

Stay tuned.

For ongoing following of the T.T. Franklin story, go to Ron's Blog at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates].

Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 10:25 a.m.


Mpls police killed T.T. Franklin for being Black — Racism, individual and institutional, is alive and well in our fair city

June 12, 2013

There was a lot of hatred directed at and rained down upon T.T. Franklin May 10 in that poorly lighted basement at 2717 Bryant Ave. South, away from prying eyes, enabling public safety to once again turn its back on transparently serving the people, enabling public safety officers to engage in another wrongful death as they savagely mutilated and shot to death a young man hiding from them, not burgling.

Five SWAT members, all armed, in flak jackets, with a K-9 biting and chewing on T.T. Franklin, would have us believe that multiple shots and almost blowing his head apart was unavoidable as opposed to tasering him. How was that “protecting with courage”?

Minneapolis pays millions in wrongful death awards, doesn’t sanction its killers, while institutions that claim they care stay silent.

We need public safety. We need well-trained police. We honor those who serve honorably. But there is that contingent in the Minneapolis Police Department who are not honorable. We have written on it in many columns, listed by date and title in our July 14, 2008 paper (and updated since), Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department .

And yet, here we go again, as the bad apples of public safety again deliver the department’s long-held hatred of the Black community.

Bad apples have spoiled more than the police department. You can see the spoilage in the silence of White and Black churches, foundations, universities and colleges, public policy think tanks, other do-gooding nonprofits, corporations, and the elected: governor, mayor, city council. Their silence exposes the depth of that spoilage.

The hatred directed towards Mr. Franklin can’t be put back in its bottle. Hatred festers. Hatred ignores forgiveness of the small so it can act violently large. Dangerous people are applying hatred based on race that they have been given power to apply.

It’s in this city’s DNA. In 1991, the Star Tribune and Mpls-St Paul Magazine each acknowledged this hatred as widespread. One cover story: “We are still racists.”

People are scared to talk about it. We have the brutal death examples of Tycel Nelson, Sal Saron Scott, Quincy Smith, Dominic A. Felder, David Cornelius Smith, and now T.T. Franklin — all Black Americans. We also have the tragedy of Asian police officer Duy Ngo’s career-ending shooting at the hands of fellow officers. These cases represent the hatred within this department for its own officers of color.

The department destroyed the Black Police Officers Association in 2007. It took no action against Lt. Andy Smith and Sgt Pat King, who, in testimony in May of 2012, under oath, accused African American officers by name as being “scum of the earth,” unfit to be police officers, drug dealers, bribe takers, etc.

Sadly, there are some in the Minneapolis Police Department who equate Black officers with being like Afghan soldiers and officers who cannot be trusted nor depended upon in working with White officers in this police department.

Their chilling testimony, laced with disdain and hatred for fellow Black officers, demonstrates the hatred that brought about the death of T.T. Franklin on May 10. Even more chilling: no sanctions. Instead: transferred to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department. Result: a chilling and fatal message that reinforces the hatred in the killing of T.T. Franklin, almost blowing his head off with multiple shots. This is not public safety. This is not “protection under law.”

Those investigating this shooting will support and reinforce the hatred and malice aforethought that drives the actions and policies bringing about the deaths, mutilations and maiming of African Americans.

When DeMarco Hodges was almost beaten to death by Minneapolis police officers in November 2012, pubic safety protection was given the beaters, not the beaten. Will we see the same regarding the death of T.T. Franklin?

Too often, for their own agendas, Black leadership ignores the existence of such hatred against Black Americans. The ignoring of the hatred and disdain by both White and Black leaders jeopardizes the stability and future relationships between the Black community and the institutions that look the other way (churches, foundations, study centers).

Silence is not abstaining. It is affirming their "right" to speak and act with hate and disdain.

I repeat: The horrors in that basement at 2717 Bryant the afternoon of May 10, 2013 are chilling. Young Mr. Franklin was killed for no other reason than for being Black. He was a human being shown little regard, as the shooters’ sense of great comfort and immunity told them they could torture, beat, put their K-9 on Mr. Franklin, and then watch him die, knowing there would be no consequences for their action.

Shame, Minneapolis. Shame, Minnesota. This will not change until those standing silent on the sidelines step up and say, “No more.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from the Birmingham Jail, “Man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” Who will stand up?

Stay tuned.

For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

For ongoing following of the T.T. Franklin story, go to Ron's Blog at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates].

Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 4:35 p.m


Justice for David Cornelius Smith, In spite of obstruction of justice from the Minneapolispls. Civil Rights Department.

"Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues"
A weekly column by Ron Edwards
Featured in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

June 5, 2013

On Friday, May 24, 2013, the Minneapolis City Council awarded $3.75 million to the family of David C. Smith, a 28 year-old African American. This wrongful death law suit was handled by the Bennett Law Firm. All tax payers’ money.

Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has paid over $17 million dollars in tax payer money for wrongful death settlements against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Since mid-2010, the City has paid out over $8 million in such lawsuits, oftentimes due to being misdirected by intentional obstruction of justice by Director Velma Korbel’s Department of Civil Rights (DCR). Ms. Korbel has played a lead role in mis-advising City attorney Susan Segal and her staff, as the Department of Civil Rights aided and abetted the obstruction of justice. All the more reason why Velma Korbel should step down as director.

David Cornelius Smith was killed at the Metropolitan YMCA on September 9, 2010. Although Velma Korbel denied being a board member of the Metro YMCA, their roster showed that she was. When an official request was made to Ms. Korbel to open a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Smith’s death she declined, as usual. She even sent an email to my associate, Mr. Donald Allen, stating our facts were not right, that we were not truthful.

This award, on the recommendation from City Attorney Susan Segal, demonstrates otherwise. We continue to have our facts straight. We are truthful. But not Ms. Korbel and her Department of Civil Rights, which convinced the mayor, the city council and the city attorney that they could cover up this crime and obstruction of justice with impunity.

The Minneapolis Civil Rights ordinance provides the authority for both the Civil Rights Department and the Civil Rights Commission to conduct separate and independent examinations of the circumstances like those surrounding the death of Mr. Smith. In fact, we would encourage you to read our column of September 29, 2010 (“A pattern in practice. Example: The tasered death of David Cornelius”).

I knew then, as the $3 million award shows now, that the mission of obstruction of justice was the path the City allowed this so-called department of civil rights to follow.

Headline: Star Tribune: October 26, 2010: “$1.8 million for tremendous loss,” in the matter of the killing of Dominick Felder in 2006 by Minneapolis Police. $300,000 was imposed in sanctions by the Federal Court for judiciary misconduct, raising the City’s total outlay to $2.19 million. All tax payer money.

How much longer will this pattern and practice of covering up abuses and violations of the civil rights of African Americans be allowed to continue? How much longer will this pattern and practice of city officials going to extreme lengths in violating and obstructing the rights of the very people they are paid to protect be allowed to continue? Part of the problem: they are paid to protect; they are not required to swear an oath to defend the rights of those whose rights they have obstructed.

How much longer will the pattern and practice of negligence under the cover of law be allowed to continue? How long will the city wink at making legal that which is unethical and immoral? I was glad to hear that some justice is now rendered for the family of David C. Smith, just as it was for the family of Dominick Felder. Hopefully the same will be true for the families of Quincy Smith and Terrance Franklin.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asked, from the Birmingham Jail, how long would the forces of nullification and reversal be allowed to continue to force us to wait for justice? How long would the forces of obstruction and darkness be allowed to spin their foul magic against the rights and pursuit of justice of African Americans and others? How long will we continue to read headlines about tremendous losses as well as awards to families such as Officer Duy Ngo, a man who won his case but yet was so violated by the conspiracy and the obstruction in his case that he felt his life and spirit go to another place?

A city with those who would obstruct justice is a dangerous city, for it can be applied to anyone. So how long will this city allow the Department of Civil Rights to be an imperial bureaucracy? The breath of fresh air and justice every once in a while to the Duy Ngos, Dominic Felders, and David Cornelius Smiths are welcome but not enough.

Needed is an end to the patterns and practices that prevent the fresh air of justice. How long will the agent provocateurs in the Imperial Department of Civil Rights be allowed to be a sovereign obstruction of justice by the mayor, the city council and the city attorney?

For more background on these cases see these past columns:

From 2008:
December 17: Brutality continues against Black males in Minneapolis: Smith's death by police tasers brings his appeal to a tragic halt.

From 2009:
February 4: Homicide of Quincy Smith warrants federal inquiry
April 8: Dominic, Fong and Quincy: the death of three men of color at the hands of the MPDD
December 16:No justice yet for Quincy Smith. One year later, his family still awaits some resolution.

God bless America, and God bless the Black citizens of Minneapolis.

Stay tuned.

Posted Monday, June 10, 2013, 4:24 am

=====

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates]
http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/31minncops.htm

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

Ron Edwards is the former head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League. He continues his "watchdog" role for Minneapolis, and his work to contribute to the planning discussions in order to help mold a consensus for the future of Black and White Americans together in Minneapolis.

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Monday, June 10, 2013, 4:24 am


A Seat For Everyone, by Ron Edwards

About my new book: A Seat for Everyone

We are all part of a great country that still has what Lincoln called "unfinished business," about which Martin Luther King, Jr. said we can no longer wait to have it completed.

Thanks to all who have offered congratulations and asked questions. You can order the book on my publisher's website, www.beacononthehill.com. It is subtitled "The Freedom Guide that Explores a Vision for America."

The sad part is that this is a book that should have been written by the NAACP, the Urban League, the leadership forum, or the ministers association. They have remained silent. Worse: acquiescent silence.

The Urban League tossed Nellie Stone Johnson and me out a while back, and five years ago the NAACP national expelled me for writing my first book. So much for the First Amendment.

I will not be silent. I will not lie down. Sadly, our once young and energetic civil rights leaders have atrophied and become keepers of the status quo they once fought against. They have brought the Civil Rights Movement to a standstill in the inner city.

My hope is that, win or lose, the candidacy of Barack Obama rejuvenates the Civil Rights Movement with its lost energy and enables it to again refocus its eye on the prize, a seat for everyone, not just for the self-appointed leaders who now serve the mastuh. They have their seats at the table. I say there must be a seat for everyone.

You won't read about what is in my book in the Star Tribune and mainstream media. They don't want you to read all the news, only the news they want you to read. Only the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder provides you with the news they won't.

A Seat for Everyone: The Freedom Guide that Explores a Vision for America discusses the major status quo areas that have shown little or no progress: inner-city education, jobs, housing and public safety. I also reference key past columns and where to find them on my Minneapolis Story website.

Also discussed in detail are the two historic lawsuits against the Minneapolis Police Department brought by Black officers. The conditions resulting in this litigation have had a profound impact on public safety in our city and in the City/MPD's treatment of its Black officers. The outcome will also have significant impacts.

Minneapolis is so delusional that it has defined "minorities" to include so many "diverse" groups that it proudly boasts it can now comply with minority hiring without having to hire Blacks. My book discusses this insult as well. Why is everyone else silent about this?

A unique feature is that the book "marries" the online world with that of traditional book publishing. I present my argument in less than 100 pages. This slim volume (literally, as it is easy to put it in your pocket and carry around for easy reference) includes five columns and one blog essay and lists additional columns that can easily be found at: www.TheMinneapolisStory.com/tocarchives.htm.

The book presents a beacon of hope for the current lows in inner-city education, jobs, housing, and public safety. We need to work together to stand up for Black youth and stop waiting for the city government and its teachers unions as they continue to lie down also, rather than stand up for our kids in our schools.

It all starts with education. As Nellie always stated, "No education, no jobs, no housing." Senator Obama would add, "No hope." My book brings hope back to the discussion.


A note from my publisher

From Beacon on the Hill: "Thank you, Mr. Edwards, for allowing us space to announce more details about the publication last week of your new book, A Seat for Everyone: The Freedom Guide that Explores a Vision for America. We want your readers know that they can not only learn more about it on our website, www.BeaconOnTheHill.com, they can also order the book on that site.

"Mr. Edwards presents his arguments and vision in just 55 pages. The rest of this slim volume (easy to put it in your pocket and carry around for easy reference) lists specific columns that can be found in the archive at: www.TheMinneapolisStory.com/tocarchives.htm. He combines the printed word with the new online world of the Internet in a small package that packs a giant wallop.

"In addition to covering major Minneapolis civil rights events, Mr. Edwards shares with his readers the background to the historical lawsuit by the Black police officers of Dec. 3, 2007, against the city and the department."

Two books by Ron Edwards


Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order Ron's books at Beacon on the Hill Press. Hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” on this site, www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for the columns. Please cite www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for blog entries and solution papers.

Ron's media message platforms:
(1) Columns (since 2003): "Through My Eyes:
The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio: hosts “Black Focus,” Sundays, 3:00pm;
(4) Blog Talk Radio:
Co-Host of weekly “ON POINT!",Saturdays at 5 pm;
(5) Book: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); (6) Book: A Seat for Everyone (2008);
(7) Solution Papers: for community planning and development; (8) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps" web log at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com;
(9) CD: Hear his readings;
(10)
Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers)
Order
his books at http://www.BeaconOnTheHill.com.

Column Archives | Blog Archives | Solution Papers | Order the Book | Back to Top

BLOG SIDE
"Tracking the Gaps,”
"Connecting the Dots"

of "The Key 7": (1) Education, (2) Jobs, (3) Housing, (4) Public Safety (& the war on young Black men), (5) Safe Environment, (6) Governing, and (7) "ubuntu" Moral/Ethical Stances (access & opportunity, fairness & justice, liberty & freedom, rights & responsibility), in the on-going contest over ideas. See key suggestions for Black organizations here, here and here. Archives here.


7-7-14: Will Mayor and Chief walking in street lead to substance or just more show?

Will they inspire a pause for when the Major League All Star Game is in town?

Tuesday, July 2, 2014, at noon, the Minneapolis Mayor, with the Chief of Police, will walk the streets of North Minneapolis. They are welcome during this period of significant violence and tension, as Minneapolis has just experienced two days of mayhem and : 9 shot, 2 killed, 4 injured, all within a period of 12 hours (see Star Tribune, 7-7-014, Aggravated assaults rise in Minneapolis). Friday and Saturday night groups of 75-100 African American young men squared off and fought each other. See my column of May, 15, 2014 #20 (“Safe streets promoted for White baseball. Selective reporting keeps the true level of violence concealed”). What was planned, if anything, at the May 1, 2014 “Gang summit in Minneapolis. Preparing for summer 2014”?


7-7-14: Mannifesto of Peace: a community response to community mayhem and city hesitancy. The Community Standards Initiative will hold a meeting Wednesday, July 9, 2014.

The spectre of violence that has been haunting Minneapolis that we have warned about in our various platforms (column, books, Blog Radio show, public access TV, will need more that a prayerful “Please Jesus, help us” (the ministers have disappeared). It will need more than a brief PR walkathon by the Mayor and Chief of Police. Needed is not urging people to put down their guns but to give them a reason as to why they should act peaceably. We’ve come a long way since 1995 designation of Minneapolis as Murderapolis. But we still have a long way to go.

Needed instead are non-violent peace programs that prepare young people for a peaceful and prosperous future through educations, training, and jobs, and not discrimination, drugs, and desertion. Blacks in the suburbs are as afraid as are the whites. When will Twin City safety net organizations (corporate philanthropies, churches and charities, non-profit and non-government organizations, and state, county and city safety net agencies, going to stop their carousel of conventions and meetings and instead develop a frontal forward assault in order to fight the status quo that seeks to keep Blacks dependent because of mediocre education, increasing not reducing unqualified blacks, and lack of living wage jobs, as too many whites still too often hang out “blacks need not apply” signs, as seen in how few Blacks are working on major construction sites as roads, commercial buildings, and, most angering, not only a lack of jobs for Blacks on the new Vikings Stadium but a lack of any attempt to make such hires.

My suggestion: start with these 47 Solution Papers, with suggestions for reducing the city’s average of 43 homicides a year.


Sunday July 6, 2014

In Memorium
Of
The Rev. Dr. Lillian Anthony
By R. A. Edwards
Colleague, Friend, And Fellow Civil Rights Movement Advocate
Mentored by Lillian Anthony

As saddened as we are by the passing of The Rev. Dr. Lillian Anthony, June 23, 2014, we celebrate with joy and thanksgiving her life in the active efforts for civil rights, social justice, and reflective programs in the Presbyterian Church, USA, which celebrates her life in a service July 11, 2014..

Lillian Anthony was ordained into the ministry of the Presbyterian Church USA, July 25, 1993, serving the national staff until retirement as Associate for Affirmative Action and Equal Employment. History will remember Dr Anthony as a visionary, as a tenacious fighter for civil and human rights, and, for forty years, a person of conscience on behalf of the Presbyterian Church, USA. She was known across the wider Presbyterian Church USA for her work during and for her commitment to justice and advocacy.

I remember the first time I met Ms. Anthony. I was a young eager beaver, 28 years old, about to become the Vice Chair of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission due to her support of me against those who opposed my appointment. I have been forever grateful for her friendship, fellowship and over all support and wise guidance, which allowed her active Civil Rights Department and my Civil Rights Commission to make a difference carrying out the direction and dream expressed by Mayor Arthur Naftalin in his historic address to the Minneapolis City Council, June 30, 1963.

But it took 5 years of tireless work on her part and that of the Mayor to obtain the implementation of the ordinance to establish the department and the commission. The resistance she and the mayor overcame remains today, as do principles stood for, her commitment to the advocacy of justice and civil rights, clearly continuing action points for those seeking to achieve full social justice and an end to purposeful discrimination on the basis of color. Those of us she mentored continue to work for this end.

She was honored February 20, 1990, for her role in the development of he Minneapolis Ordinance on Civil Rights and the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. Lillian Anthony had a significant hand in the drafting of the Minneapolis Ordinance, which also established the Department of Civil Rights and the Civil Rights Commission.

I also remember how awed I was when I first saw her home museum of Black History. She understood the need to remember our history and to keep our memories clear and not take our eyes of the prize of full freedom. The mini-museum she built in her home helped her and all of us who saw it to literally keep our eyes on the prize of freedom.

Dr. Anthony’s life, including her mini-museum, remind us of the need in every community -- and, dare we suggest it, every major church – a museum that helps us to remember and not forget. If the history of our struggle is not remembered, it didn’t exist. If it is not understood, it won’t be ended. As a member of the board of directors of the Association of African American Museums recently stated, in discussing the new, major museum in Atlanta, “We're going backward, not forward with the civil rights movement. … The whole future of this country is for different communities who care about social justice to get together, and work together.” Dr. Anthony would shout a hearty “Amen!”

For Dr. Anthony, the question of race and social justice remained at the top of her list of priorities, especially as she brought that method to the Presbyterian Church, USA. All her life she worked to help the church make a difference working for social justice.

Dr. Anthony understood the principles of compassion and fairness. She knew the importance of not forgetting our history. As she stated at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Slave Memorial at Mount Vernon, VA, September 18, 1993, “The memory of our ancestors who are buried here is a tribute not only to the survival of a people but a tribute to our continued gifts to the world.”

The Rev. Dr. Anthony has now embarked on her final journey We all pass this way once in life. We look at her journey with pride, and remember her wisdom and compassion that inspired others to take that journey as well.

May God’s hand be upon Dr. Anthony’s shoulders and ours, and may we applaud her achievements in the name of all.

July 11 2014, 8:45 p.m.


Gary Cunningham leaves position at NWAF (Nortwest Area Foundation) to take position with MEDA (The Metropolitan Economic Development Association); Gary Cunningham is the Minneapolis Mayor’s husband. 

June 12, 2014

Question #1:  What happened to cause Gary Cunningham to be downgraded from his VP/Executive position with  the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF, in top 100 foundations in the USA) to The Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda), a county organization?
Question #2: Why did only whites know about it before the deed was done? 
Question #3: Thus, when was he first approached and told he was leaving the NWAF for Meda? 
Question #4:  Did the NWAF not meet its vision under Cunningham's watch ("Thriving communities through equal economic participation") nor achieve its mission ("Help entrepreneurs of color succeed!")?
Question #5:  Why is it Cunningham only stays 3 years in any job? 
Question #6:  why do the white power brokers who establish boards and councils and advisories and then appoint who will serve on them, install those who will maintain the status quo by “talking and walking in circles” in order to ensure maintaining no-change containment, so problems remain unsolved and thus their jobs for dealing with them are not eliminated).
Question #7: do so-called "black leaders" serve in the House to contain the field hands, the status quo and, therefore, their jobs?
Question #8: is the status quo maintained by the so-called non-profit do-gooders (churches, foundations, charities, government safety net agencies), the not so hidden "job profit" they get by keeping their non-profit jobs by spending time on planning but not solving so that problems remain and, thus, their jobs remain?

Posted June 15, 2014, 8:48 a.m.
Edited with 2 changes, 11:59 p.m. 


SCOOP: May 9, 2014: Law suit is filed US District court for the Federal District of Minnesota against the city on behalf of the young man slain by police: Terrance Terrill Franklin, Friday, May 9, 2014.

Posted May 9, 2014, 8:35 am.


SCOOP: May 9, 2014: Whistle blower forced out of Civil Rights Dept in retaliation.

The battle continues: 32 year employee Robin Lawler, DRD Chief Investigator for the police misconduct board, was forced to resign May 7, 2014, for passing department documents to those investigating the department (she was caught red handed 3 weeks ago after hearing of Korbels reappointment passing documents to another official in support of her not being reappointed.  She was IN the Civil Rights Dept, assigned to CRD office of police misduct.

Posted May 9, 2014, 7:55 am.


Integrating whites and blacks in condoning the consistent pattern and practice of corruption by the Department of Civil Rights Misconduct.

March 29, 2014

It was truly a dark day for African Americans in Minneapolis, when the new City Council continued former City Councils' consistent pattern and practice of corruption in the nullification and reversal of  civil rights in Minneapolis, as seen in the Council’s 9-3 vote to reappoint Velma Korbel as head of what I now call the City of  Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Misconduct.  Where it used to be whites blocking civil rights and opportunities for African Americans, now it is blacks, as they are cheered on by whites happy to be relieved of their white man’s biurden of denying civil rights to inferiors, as black leadershi groups,black and white churches, governments, corporations, and foundations now provide relief of that burden: joining blacks engaged in self-sabotage on top of the white sabotage of blacks in the areas fairness and diversity in education, employment, housing, health, and implementation of civil and human rights.

Posted Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 8:48 a.m.


Local NAACP and other Black leaders:  discriminating like the white man.  Do the NFL, national NAACP and the Governor know?

March 11, 2014

In a series of extremely secretive meetings, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission, has authorized one of the prime sub-contractors on the Vikings Stadium to violate legislative intent and violate executive orders by Governor Mark Dayton, by bringing workers in from outside the state of Minnesota.   The widely publicized 32% agreed to goal for Minnesota minority hires is now being reduced to 18%, with the actual number of MINORIworkers physically there: half a percent of the workforce.

What happened to the money to train Minneapolis workers of color?  Why are there not trained Minnesota construction workers of color?

Why are workers of color, Blacks and Hispanics, being recruited from Florida?  What happened to the deal with the 100 African Americans from Kansas City? 

It gets worse:   Thor, a local minority contractor, long a part of the stadium planning discussions, has now been frozen out by local Civil Rights leaders in Minneapolis (including those from the NAACP), in order to position small construction companies in which they have ownership interests, so qualifications and locals be damned and bring on the coflicts of interest.  

Diversity in Minnesota remains a Black and White farce.  Ted Mondale, Velma Korvel, Alex Tittle, all promised it wouldn’t be this way with the Vikings Stadium.

The testing grounds to see if they could get away with this kind of conflict of interest are the construction projects involving these same civil rights leaders with the Mayo Clinic construction in Rochester, MN.  In a series of secret meetings in January [which, when whites hold secret sessions they are condemned] civil rights leaders laid out the scenario to purposefully violate affirmative action laws by bringing in what are called “pass through companies,” being paid by presenting bogus numbers representing non-existent workers “passed through” as real.  There is no reason to suspect that the Mayo Clinic is aware of this conspiracy, as civil rights leaders in Rochester, Minneapolis, and St. Paul have worked very hard to disguise their real intent. This has led to activating the big prize:  the Vikings stadium, in violation of discussions held with African American labor organizations in Minnesota and Kansas City, MO, who would have been able to have provide qualified and eligible African American workers to work on the Vikings Stadium.

The decision to bring in workers from the southern US also violates the legislative mandate that calls for respective workers of color to be given preference based on zip codes and areas (as North Minneapolis). 

We call upon Governor Mark Dayton to have the Attorney General of Minnesota convene a special Grand Jury to subpoena and take evidence and, if necessary, to prosecute what has become one of he most outrageous and scandalous rejections of civil rights laws in the State of Minnesota.  We will continue to monitor this for the citizens and workers of Minnesota and the nation.  This is a dark day for civil rights in Minnesota, especially as it is being perpetrated by African Americans on other African Americans.

For more details, see:
2011: list of our over 20 columns on violations of diversity in Minneapolis in our “Solutions” Section:   DISPARITY/COMPLIANCE STUDIES:  MINNEAPOLIS HAS PRACTICED DISPARITY AND PURPOSEFULLY AND ACTIVELY AVOIDED COMPLIANCE.

2009:  The Role of Minneapolis BLACK ORGANIZATIONS in the Minneapolis Story:  …..   Being Part of the Problem Rather than the Solution, as they Move Toward White-Like Black-Elite Rule, for Spoils Not Principles and Sell Out Inner city Black Community Interests.

Posted, Tuesday,March 11, 2014, 11:14 p.m.


More deadline woes, as we anticipated, 2-17-14.
Star Tribune, 2-17-14: Demolition stops at Metrodome after beam falls out of sequence.
"Work at the site has been suspended." Another example of why the Vikings didn't want Mortenson. Haste makes waste + poor demolition engineerin to bring project in under deadline.

Posted Saturday, Feb 22, 2014, 2:35 a.m.


In Memorium: MATT LITTLE
Matthew Little stood up for civil rights in Minnesota for 60 years, Star Tribune headline, 1-27-14.
“A longtime President of the Minneapolis NAACP" (half century, until 1993; died January 26, 2014). Little, 92, played a pivotal role in the struggle for civil rights  …  struggles that played out in Minnesota.”

January 28, 2014, 11:50 p.m.


Minneapolis Police Officer in Trouble Again

October 28,2013

Every attempt is being made to suppress the story of a Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officer, Grant Snyder, who attempted to board a New Mexico bound commercial aircraft with a loaded gun last week, which, according to Federal, State and MPD protocols, he was to have declared, in writing and then receive authorization from the chief of his department and the Transportation Safety Board (TSB).  

After being discovered with the weapon, Sgt Snyder lawyered up and refused to answer any questions as to why he was attempting to board the flight and what police business he had in New Mexico that required him to carry his weapon aboard a commercial aircraft.  The matter is now under investigation by multiple jurisdictions, federal, state and city.  At this time, the MPD is declining to answer any questions.  Sgt. Snyder, who is a former member of the Violent Offenders Task Force, and has gained a legendary reputation as one of the whtie police officers who helped destroy the black police officers association, and has given testimony, though unfounded, against the reputation of numerous African American police officers in the MPD.

We will continue to update you on the ongoing federal investigation of this threat.

Posted Monday, October 28, 2013, 4:12 pm


Viking Stadium Unravelling or pivoting to reboot?  We warned!  We advised!  Will we finally be heeded?

October 25, 2013

For full blog entry, go here.

Read a full recap of our warnings went unheeded, of the intentional failure of MN and Minn to adhere to go Diversity Compliance  in Job Hiring of and Contracting with African Americans, and the Roll call of those not wanting the Vikings in Minneapolis. Read about how even thoug The Governor blames professional sports, the NFL and the Wilf family, the real blame goes to a combination of the NFL and Minnesota, not the Wilfs (see 2000 book Stadium Games, for how the stadium waters have been poisoed for decades for everyone).

Continued here.


VIKING STADIUM DEAL SIGNED, revealing winners and losers.

October 4, 2013

WINNERS: Vikings and Fans.
LOSERS: Tax payers, Black Community, Diversity Compliance, Those hoping for Stadium Concession Stands for Blacks.
--- Our column Wednesday, October 2, said it best: " an exercise to explain why the Vikings will have to be given everything they want in order to stay."
--- Key Question: does Star Tribune report of State to issue $498 million in bonds mean the City is covered? What deal had to be made to get that?
--- Seven concessions / promises died:
1. Stadium work place diversity compliance and Black jobs.
2. Black stadium concession stands (they go to Vikings).
3. Non-Vikes: Vikes get it all, as we warned.
4. Governor sold out standing up for the people and the Authority to win next election.
5. Black leadership sold out standing up for our community to get hoped for and now denied concessions and deals.
6. White political leadership sold out standing up for tax payers to get part of the action and/or to get re-elected.
7. White non-profits, foundations, churches, and other white do-gooders sold out standing up for Stadium work place diversity compliance and Black jobs to stay in the good graces of the political leadership.
8. Minnesota football/sports sovereignty: given to the NFL & the Vikings.

Posted Friday, Oct 4, 2013, 7:01 am.

See also:
--- The Wilfs Prevail. Vikings Owners Make Clean Sweep, Oct 4, 2013
--- Vikings: Is the "Plan" for them to leave or stay? Our columns and chapters since 2002.
--- Diversity and Compliance Studies regarding Job Hiring and Contracting with African American: Minneapolis purposefully practices disparity.
--- On Planning for economic development. Not all are incluuded. See here, here and here.

Edited Oct 6, 2013, 10:07 p.m.


COLUMN LISTS ON KEY TOPICS, SINCE 2003:
1. Vikings: Is the "Plan" for them to leave or stay? Our columns and chapters since 2002.
2. Police Department racism and discrimination
---Assault by the MPD on Blacks at the Ames Elks Lodge, column of May 2, 2012
---Update on MPD 2012 Assault on Ames Elks Lodge. No contact with MPD for over a year, column of May 8, 2013.
--- What it’s like to be Black in the MPD?
August 7, 2013
3. Leadership (too many ministerial, government, foundations non-profits) not leading. Also see here.
4. Diversity and Compliance Studies regarding Job Hiring and Contracting with African American:
Minneapolis purposefully practices disparity.
5. On Planning for economic development. Not all are incluuded. ee here, here and here.
5. Star Tribune journalism silence on discrimination.


Questions regarding the deaths of Franklin & Romero as reported by the Star Tribune,
May 13 June 7, 2013.
When will print and broadcast media begin to ask relevant questions about police shooting of Terrance Terrill Franklin and the police vehicle collision death of Ivan Romero?


County attorney's office to review Terrence Franklin shooting, Star Tribune, June 7, 2013.
Star Tribune says the polilce have "finished" their investigation of the fatal shooting of Terrence Franklin.
Star Tribune says County Attorney Mike Freement said the "review process could take months."
Question: how can the investigation be "finished" when all of the forensic evidence is not in yet (DNA, finger prints, blood and urine)?
Question: How can the city or the community craft response strategies when they don't know what exactly happened without all of the eidence?
Question: why will it take another 4 months?
Posted Monday, June 10, 2913, 5:03 a.m.


Posted Thurs, May 23, 2013, 1:09 pm.  
Funeral today of Terrance Terril Franklin.
11:00 a.m.  Packed church.  Because of disfiguring injuries, casket was closed (most of his face was blown away).  Investigation into his death continues under a cloud of suspicion and unaswered questions, such as
Posted Saturday, May 25, 2013, 4:53 a.m.


Headline Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8;20 p.m.:
Questions posted May 25, 2013, 12:26 p.m.
Link:
Sources: Burglary suspect fired shots that injured Minneapolis Officers.
Questions:

  • Who are the sources?
  • How could one man, surrounded by 5 SWAT team members & a K-9 dog so easily wrest a gun away from them and wound two in the leg with their own gun?
  • Why, really, was one man surrounded by five not tasered instead of being beaten, punched with flashlights after being weakened by a vicious attack by the K-9, and then shot multiple times?
  • Why “Multiple” shots? 
  • As he wounded the two officers in the lower leg with gun pointing down, doesn’t that mean that much of his beating and being shot took place while he lay on the floor?
  • Five officers chasing one guy and yet only one shooter?  Really?  When will we learn how many shots and how many shooters? 
  • Why is there a huge hole in Mr. Franklin’s face, with half his face missing?  The paper said 1 shot.  How many shots does it take to make that big a hole and take off half his face?
  • Is the reason it will take 8 weeks to get the forensics examination information a stall hoping the media attention will by then have gone away?
  • Why weren’t the five police officers in the basement required to give samples of their blood and urine?    
  • Was the Star Tribune give the MPD computer system password to enable a cover up?
  • Does Chief Harteau now recognizes she is not only being undermined by her own department in this tragedy?
  • Does Chief Harteau realize other law enforcement entities in Hennepin County are playing politics with this case?
  • Won’t public trust in public safety responders continue to erode when such travesties of justice are allowed to go unchallenged?

Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, 6:24 p.m.:
Links: Questions
  • What were the real reasons that Mr. Franklin was stopped and questioned after he hit the rear of a police vehicle?
  • What really happened during the foot chase after the stop? 
  • What happened when police entered the home at 2717 Bryant Avenue South, after being told by the owner that a man was breaking in, had broken in, or was burglarizing his home?
  • How long did it take to remove the cat from the house in order not to impede the K-9 search of the house?
  • Why did the K-9 officer order the dog to release Mr. Franklin before he was handcuffed?
  • As SWAT teams are highly trained, why wasn’t Mr. Franklin tasered?
  • As of this writing, why hasn’t the Star Tribune reported that Mr. Franklin was shot in the head six times?
  • Were the six shots to the head to cover up his being beaten senseless, first by a fist hard to his head followed by raining blows on him with flashlights, suggesting he was shot in the head as he lay unconscious on the floor? 
  • Had he been standing up, in such a small space as the laundry room, wouldn’t one or more of the other five officers have been hit?
  • Why wasn’t it reported until Sunday that the shooting took place in the basement (I first reported that on my Saturday blog radio show)?
  • Why, as late as Sunday, was it not possible to determine how many shots were fired when crime scene protocol is to gather and catalog all shell casings, not to mention counting bullet wounds revealed by the autopsy?
  • Were urine and blood samples taken from all officers involved in both incidents within48 hours of both incidents
  • Why did the story change with new sets of explanation talking points, as seen in this series of Star Tribune stories:

Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, 6:24 p.m.


May 2, 2013, 2:45 pm. TV announces Timberwolves terminate David Kahn and hire Flip Saunders. I predicted this "day of reckoning" in my colume of November 07, 2012 Column: The "smartest" White team in the NBA. Timber Wolves team return to the 1950s?

May 3, 2013, 10:43 am: Star Tribune: Kahn out, Saunders in as Timberwolves president.

Posted Mon, May 6, 2013, 11:43 p.m.


LISTS OF COLUMNS ON KEY TOPICS SINCE 2003:

1. Diversity and Compliance Studies regarding Job Hiring and Contracting with African Americans: Record of Minneapolis purposefully practicing disparity and avoiding compliance.
2. On Planning: for education, jobs, housing, and economic development that includes a seat for everyone. Also see here and here and here.
3.a. Vikings: Is the "Plan" for them to leave or stay?
3.b. Vikings Stadium Legislature doublecross?
4.
Leadership (too many ministerial, government, corporate, foundations and other non-profits) are not leading. See here also. List of columns coming soon.
5. Police Department Racism and discrimination
6. Star Tribune journalism
silence on discrimination.


Vikings Stadium Legislature double-cross? Why? To make them move to L.A. or to distort more money from them and the NFL? Can't just be confusion.

April 11, 2013

When you break a deal or try to, you lose both credibility and trust.  Recent proposed legislation, whether passed or not, has broken the credibility and trust developed with the Vikings.  As Yogi Berra said, “Déjà vu all over again.”  Is this another inning or quarter in Minnesota’s perennial Stadium Games (2000 book by Star Tribune sports writer Jay Weiner, with subtitle,  Fifty Years of Big League Greed and Bush League Boondoggles).  From Minnesota nice to Minnesota nasty:  what the legislators are proposing to do, from the Star Tribune, KMSP-TV, and NFL links:

--Legislator asks for larger Vikings commitment to stadium
--Vikings Stadium Plans Could Be On Hold By State
--Bill would put Vikings stadium on hold
AT THE CAPITOL:
-- Stadium funding

--Dayton's stadium chief backs pro sports gear tax
--Racino proposed as answer for Vikings stadium and budget

The Proposed Doublecross as taken from the preceding links:

1.  For Minnesota to slash $200 million from its $348 million commitment, proposed out of panic as the electronic pull tabs that were to pay the state’s portion is only bringing in 5% of what was projected.
2.  Delay issuance of bonds for the stadium until viable revenue source are found/created.
3.  Extend sales tax to luxury boxes and seat licenses
4.  10% tax on athletic memorabilia:  the only acceptable part of the doublecross, but too little too late
5.  Ill-advised action hiding behind the skirts of false “do goodism:” that the stadium will “take money from education, health care and maintaining roads.”  If so, why were new stadiums built for the Gophers, Twins, Wild, and  with proposed upgrading for Timber Wolves?
6.  Remember:  Stadium and arena promises were broken to Bob Short, Norm Green, and Red McCombs. Now the Wilfs. 

Consequences of the Proposed Doublecross
1.  Vikings and the NFL won’t play Revenue Roulette:  they won’t pull the trigger on the Vikings
2.  Won’t force the Vikings and the NFL to put up more money
3.  Will more than likely force the Vikings to L.A.
4.  Kelm-Helgen, Authority Chair, correctly notes that the luxury seat proposal infringes on the deal struck by state negotiators
5.  Hence Lester Bagley, Vikings vice president, correctly points out that the proposal "would dramatically change the deal that was negotiated and ratified by the Legislature in May of 2012."  Why would the Vikings trust the state and city again?
6.  Will cause cost increases.  New 49er stadium will now need $29 million in design changes and another $50 million for emerging technology upgrades.  What design and technology upgrades (and their costs) will become necessary after a 1-2 year delay in Minnesota? 

Revenue realities behind the Proposed Doublecross

1.  Owner of Atlanta, GA NFL Falcons to pay $800 million of the proposed $1 billion retractable-roof stadium, with the remaining $200 million public contribution to be paid by a city hotel-motel tax.  But the Falcons owner is a billionaire; the Vikings owner is only a millionaire.

2.  Owners of MLB team in San Francisco paid for their stadium:  but this is not San Francisco

3.  The public contribution to the San Francisco 49ers new stadium of $800 million will be covered by seat and suite sales (if the latter don’t cover it the team will make up the difference but at current rate of sales in post-Super Bowl fever, they expect to make more that the $800 million.  Here is a big difference:  “The 49ers team loaned Santa Clara $400 million, the NFL loaned out $200 million.”   …  “The first team to draw from the so-called "new stadium fund" that came out of the league's new collective bargaining agreement.”  Never the less, they are LOANS.  But Minnesota has no Silicon Valley, and no longer has 19 Fortune 500 companies in the region with their highly paid employees able to buy expensive seats.  And the 49ers took years to work it out; Minnesota kept avoiding real negoatiations and then did it hastily.

4.  Racino proposed as answer for Vikings stadium and budgetwould not get tribal approval.

Solutions:  Begin with My Solution Paper #47:  SAVE THE VIKINGS! OR DO THEY MOVE?  Includes key columns since 2000,  my 2002 chapter on the Vikings, my 2003 roll call of those opposed to the Vikings staying in Minnesota.

I proposed answers to key solution questions as proposed to the State, City and the Vikings, all ignored, including:

1.  My December 11, 2011, Stadium Solution Paper #47 (and updated since)

2.  My 2002 book, The Minneapolis Story: Through My Eyes.

3.  January 29, 2005, Solution Paper #24, The Roll Call Of Those Calling for the Vikings to Move

4.  And references to outside proposed solutions submitted to the Vikings in 2000 and again in 2004:  (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

5.  KEY QUESTION from my 12-11-11 Solution Paper #47: Save the Vikings or do they move?    “Why haven’t the elected (Govenors, Legislators, City Council) and/or their staffs or the Vikings ever asked for a ‘how?’ conversation/demonstration when given documents regarding how to build a new stadium without raising new taxes (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here)?”  That “no new taxes” solution presented in 2000 and 2004, if followed, would have yielded another $1 billion for the Vikings since then, the amount of the proposed stadium today.

Posted Thursday, April 18, 2013, 4:27 a.m.


October 23, 2012: Timberwolves: Pale in comparison to the rest of the NBA (Star Tribune,October 28, 2012). The T-Wolves racism (white talent hunting) in a world where talent and character are to trump color is just racism by another name. Online comments to the article accuse me of reverse racism. These commenters obviously have not read my columns which stand only for fairness and justice, advocating for equal access and equal opportunity in education, jobs and housing: give me those and let the color and race chips fall where they may. I am not beating a dead horse (it is very much alive; see examples here).

Read my full Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder column of November 14. Here is a key statement, a question, and a challenge to Glenn Taylor from the Nov. 14 column:

Statement: "I agree:  play the best players, whether all white, all black or a combination.  To have the best game possible, Commissioner Stern has insisted on “color blind” drafting/signing.  So why not the Timberwolves? 

Question:
"Are white European players chosen because they are better than black players or because they are the best players after excluding black players?"

Challenge: "I challenge Glenn Taylor to have [your] 'smartest' white team in the NBA (Coach Adelman's claim) win 45-50 games and be in the playoffs."

Posted November 5, 2012, 11:58 a.m.


October 10, 2012: CONGRATULATIONS TED MONDALE, for being the first official, white or black, for being willing to break the silence and point out that there was no Equity Plan for Target Field, that they had no numbers for compliance, but that it will be different for Vikings Stadium.

The lonely exception to this has been this web site and its columns and solution papers (see my 30 columns, listed in my Solution Paper 46, DISPARITY/COMPLIANCE STUDIES).

Ted Mondale, as the Executive Director for the staff of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority that will oversee the construction of the Vikings Stadium and all the myriad of projects and complexities that such will entail, is in position to help facilitate compliance.

He made his statement at at a small meeting October 10, 2012, that included MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen, and several others (I had the opportunity to work with Chairwoman Kelm-Helgen’s father in civil rights activities when she was a little gir (see my June 27, 2012 Column: A Sports Authority chair who understands the Black struggle, Kelm-Helgen’s family civil rights history is a rich one.

This statement, this opportunity for a new dawn in fairness and justice in Minnesota, came about in the discussion when others in the meeting, echoing the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department and others, lied again, saying there was an equity plan, and that it was available on the Internet. We showed that this was a continuatiin of an old falsehood.

Mr. Mondale has broken the logjam of unfairness and injustice that has too long denied jobs to African Americans, often denying African Americans by defining “minorities” as other than African Americans (white women, white gays, etc.). The African American former head of the Minnesota Civil Rights Department infamously said that the city could meet it minority hiring compliance without hiring any African Americans. This has been aided and abetted by the so-called Black “leadership,” who have maneuvered contracts to see that they get theirs but not African American contractors and workers.

We welcome this New Dawn, this New Era for finally working toward actually really working to bring about the goal that is the purpose of Equity Plans: be truly inclusive and represent the diversity of our community.

The time was finally right when this could be stated and rather than be dismissed by the “Black and White Establishment,” be the start of something truly significant and historic in Minnesota. One would expect no less from the son of the legendary Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale (U.S. Senator, Vice President, and Presidential candidate), and friend of Minnesota’s legendary civil rights champion, former Minneapolis Mayor, U.S. Senator and United States Vice President, Hubert H. Humphrey (I was an advanceman for him during his Presidential run).

I worked with the head of Construction Project that was the Metrodome lo these many years ago. He made it work. He often had to go out of state for not only qualified African Americans, but also for qualified whites. The precedent has been set. There is no reason it can’t be done again for the Viking Stadium and all major construction projects.

I look forward to working with the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and the Vikings to develop contract language and participation so that the inclusion is actual and real and not just “best efforts, we tried.” Actual and factual will be the best for Minnesota in both the short term and long term.

Posted October 12, 2012, 7:50 pm


October 7, 2012.
Does Stadium Equity Plan exist?

Aaron Costco told the meeting of the newly formed Vikings Stadium Consortium, October 4th, 2012, that not only did the Equity Plan exist but that it calls for a Viking Stadium workforce that will be 19% minority (whatever “minority” means). Keith Baker, a MNDot administrator is the Chair of the VSC.

But Baker made no mention of a monitoring plan (Equity Plans without monitoring plans are like hen houses in a foxes den without any locks on the door).  I asked for a copy:  Baker had none with him.  I asked when the Equity Plan was completed and when it was issued.  Baker could not answer the questions. 

Baker also incorrectly stated that the Met Council would be involved in overseeing the stadium and its hiring compliance.   I had to correct them:  only two entities have the authority and standing to make decisions about what is to happen and when and by who:   the Stadium Facilities Authority and the Vikings, as clearly stated in the stadium legislation.  So neither the Met Council nor the VSC have “oversee” roles.  As I have read the legislation, I can only conclude that, clearly, some have not read the legislation, or have read it but don’t understand it, or have read and don’t believe they have to follow it, or regardless of whether or not they have read it are being used as conduits for giving misleading information to others.

Posted October 9, 2012, 2:55 pm
Corrected October 10, 2012, 1:47 pm.


10-2-12
Carole White, two time elected official in Minneapolis and Blyville, Arkansas, is another example of why the NAACP has become irrelevant except for its “leaders” feeding off a corpse that still gives off civil rights money for its "leaders."  Carole was denied access to the NAACP HQ in Baltimore, on the grounds that she is a national security threat without any information afforded to her about this charge.  The instigator was Gale Ford wh ohas taken his Minneapolis NAACP corruption game to another city.  Carole’s real “crime:”  letters to NAACP President Ben Jealous exposing corruption that she can document.  Its not unlike what I’ve written about regarding corruption in the NAACP in Chapter 14 of my book, The Minneapolis Story, that also caused my being expelled (not for what I wrote but that I wrote). 

Posted October 2, 2012, 5:18 pm.


STADIUM CONSTRUCTION  MONITOR/WATCH/SCORECARD
(posting begun on Saturday, Aug  11, 2012, 2:05 a.m.

Concerns that will impact on the Black Community:
1.  Diversity, inclusion job hiring compliance
2.  Delays
3.  Cost Overruns
Predictions in past columns:
1.  Fight to achieve hiring compliance given record of diversity non-compliance. As examples, see
April 20, 2005 column, Blacks Need Not Apply” that lists 9 project examples of non-compliance.
2.  1-2 year delay of opening
3.  Lots of pigs fighting at the trough, offering nothing
4.  Local liars will lead to out of state contractors
5.  Hearings will reveal information disqualifying local firms
6.  City and state will continue to fight excellent planning suggesions (see here, here, and here).
7. We will continue to raise the question:  as companies working on the last five major projects (Target Field, TCF gophers Minn Board of Ed HQ on broadway, Fairview Children’s Hospital, Light rail in St. Paul), were not in compliance minimally through 2010 (and we await proof of compliance since then), projects which essentially serve as auditions for their contractors, what now, given they can’t qualify for the Vikings stadium according to the Stadium legislation?
Posted Saturday, Augut 11, 2012, 2:10 a.m.


TUESDAY, August 4, 2012.
Could it be that the Vikings had to go out of state to Wisconsin to not only find a qualified firm, Hammes Company (did similar work on Laubeau Field, and on the Giants/Jets Stadium in New Jersey), but also to find one that has a record of diversity compliance lacking in Minnesota companies, that also has a “clean” record in hospital construction and can’t be disqualified for failure to be in past compliance? 
Posted Saturday, Augut 11, 2012, 2:10 a.m.

FRIDAY, August 3, 2012
1.  34 contracts awarded, none to Blacks
2.  1 year delay probability announced:  open in 2017
3.  1st category of cost overrun announced:  design delay up to a year.
4.  Mondale:  each year of delay adds $50M to cost
5.  Design RFP for $40-50 million seems very high.
6.  $750 million for environmental study suggests another year delay from findings.
7.  Legislation mandated equity plan still not completed and thus not in place, will add more delay.
Posted Saturday, Augut 11, 2012, 2:10 a.m.


Seeking justice for Courtney Clark’s mother.
Courtney Clark is no angel, but he is still his mother’s son, one who is incarcerated in the Faribault prison.  She called me about his conditions, seeking help in her attempt to get justice for her son.  She fears that his treatment is hastening his death.  Though a prisoner for unlawful deeds,  nothing changes the fact that he is her son and that he is still one of God’s children and that he, as everyone else, is due what we call “civil” and “human” rights (the U.N. has versions and recently Arabs signed on to versions of human rights as well).

No “declarations” or “conventions” of humah rights allow for retaliation, reduction or elimination of meds, official “tossing” of one’s cell (taking of personal materials and case research), nor being dumped into the “hole” (as especially egregious form of solitary confinement).   All the while, he is in a wheel chair.  This has happened to Courtney Clark.  He blew the whistle on experiments being conducted in Faribault on Black prisoners at the Faribault Reformatory.  For that he was shipped off to the California Corrections System which, upon seeing how ill he was and that he ahd been denied his meds, sent him back.   Others have died from such treatment (as happened to Robert Mims last week:   …Mims dies in prison, at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Faribault.  Here is more Mims background from the Philadelphia Inquirer).  Courtney Clark is near death.  Read more about it in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Star Tribune, and Spokesman-Recorder.  Never forget:  what “they” can do to “them,” “they” can do to “us.”

Posted 7-13-12, 8:44 p.m.


In Memorium: 5 year old Nizzel Anthony George, shot in his sleep from shots from outside the home, was taken to his final rest today, July 3, 2012,following a beautiful service, in a beautiful white casket pulled on a breautiful horse-drawn funeral caisson, heading for the beautiful Chrystal Cemetery, very fitting resting place for the latest fallen soldier in Minneapolis' on-going "street justice" war between young Blacks deprived of equal acess and equal opporunty in education and jobs, fueled by white refusal to bring equality to education opportunit,y a refusal to bring equal access to job training and jobs of any kind any where for Black young people, the result of a refusal to honor diversity in employment, whether white collar or blue collar. Having paid professionals continue to schedule planing meetings with other paid professional won't meet he simple need: equal education, equal access to all job training and jobs..

Posted Tuesay, July 3, 2012, 3:20 p.m.


In Memorium:  The legendary Marvin “Corky” Taylor, died at 60, June 28, 2012. Corky was Deputy Director of the City Department of Civil Rights,  35 year employee of the City of Minneapolis, and winner of a national award for his work in Affirmative Action. Corky was the a 6’9” power forward and member of the University of Minnesota “Fab 7” 1972 Big Ten Title Basketball Team basketball team with Ron Behagen, Jim Brewer, Clyde Turner, Keith Young, Bob Nix, and the legendary Dave Winfield.  A proud Minnesotan.  A proud Gopher.  A proud African American contributor to our community.  He will be sorely missed.

1.  Record of city's purposeful and intentional practice in list of 20 columns posted 11-22-11: Disparity and Non-Compliance: how Minneapolis purposefully avoids compliance and sets barriers to diversity. Background to the serious violations is reported in the Disparity Study that found Minneapolis, current and past, is not and has not been in compliance.  See columns on the Disparity Study, Part I November 17, 2010, and Part II November 25, 2010See also the list of 12 additional columns written since 2005 on the disparities (web log entry of August 28, 2009).


2. Re Planning for education, jobs, housing, and economic development: Lists of columns and book chapters regarding plans and planning for all citizens in all of our communities, Black and white, at this link, Solution Paper #42: Planning, with suggestions for use in resolving the issues of unequal access and unequal opportunity in education, jobs, and housing. Also see here and here and here, and here: "Disaster accelerates gentrification of North Minneapolis. Reconstruction proceeds without Black workers." Another list of columns, blog entries, solution papers."


3. VIKINGS: Stay or Move?

We see a stadium bill — but where’s the inclusion plan? We Await the Diversity Plan from the Civil Rights Department For the Vikings Stadium, Planning, Development, and Construction, May 23, 2012.

Our Vikings appear to be saved. But did legislators still leave the exit door to L.A. open? May 16, 2012

Sid Hartman and Star Tribune confirm our stadium analysis, April 25, 2012.

Will the Vikings stadium be in Minnesota or L.A.?, April 11, 2012.

Vikings stadium plan in place??? March 14, 2012

Black jobs promised on Vikings stadium construction. Who will ensure the promises are kept? February 15, 2012 Column.


NOTE: Star Tribune: Council group urges minority hiring for Vikings stadium, February 29, 2012.

Our revised November 09, 2011 Column: Stop the punting of the Vikings! Minnesotans: Unite with a ‘Fan Response Movement’ to keep the team

May 25, 2011 Column: Budget battle threatens Vikings’ future. Lists columns on leave/stay since 2005.

April 13, 2011 Column #15: Can Minnesota afford another stadium? Difficult times force difficult choices

Our January 26, 2005 Plan: Let’s Save the Vikings!
Zippidy do da, zippidy ay, my oh my who do we blame for “who lost the Vikings” day?

GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS OPPOSED TO THE VIKINGS STAYING:

1. University elitists who want the University first in the hearts of football fans, and are jealous of the Vikings being in town, taking away the University’s thunder?

2. Corporations
that don’t want to spend money on suites for four teams, so bye bye Vikings?

3. Any of the 37 “influencers”
on the 2005  The Roll Call of those who say the Vikings, have to go?

4.Key Minnesota leaders' "The Plan": have the Vikings leave town, 2002.

5. Stadium and arena promises were broken to Bob Short, Norm Green, and Red McCombsAre theWilfs  next.

KEY QUESTION: why haven’t the electeds or their staffs or the Vikings ever asked “how?” when shown how to build a new stadium without raising new taxes (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here)?

Original set of 3 posted January 19, 2011 column.
Vikings lists added October 12, 2011.
Edited/expanded November 22, 2011.
Updated and re-ordered January 12, 2012, 8:22 a.m.
Updated March 14, 2012, 9:50 a.m.
Updated May 31, 2012, 5:10 p.m.


3. Re Black Leadership:
DETAILS OF THE LISTS RE LEADERSHIP, PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS:
GOAL: closing the gaps in education, jobs, and housing by first looking back in order to better contest the ideas allowing intentiional discrimination in order to break down the barriers to equal access and equal opportunity for today and the ongoing future.

Still open for consideration: local NAACP December 12, 2010 assertion in this paper that “Its time for leaders [who] put personal agendas ahead of community interests to go." In othert words, there are too many ministerial, government, corporate, foundation and other non-profits) not leading. See here for what, who, when, where, why. List of columns coming soon.


4. “Minneapolis POLICE Department Racism and Discrimination.” See list of July 10, 2008, updated through September 14, 2011 column (lists 60 columns, 31 blog entries, and 12 “solution” papers. The subhead, “Speaking over the silence of the major Twin Cities Dailies,” speaks to the scooping by this newspaper of the major dailies that often refuse to thoroughly report on this topic.


5. Ending the Journalism SILENCE by the Star Tribune about discrimination will help end discrimination. Lists columns and blog entries posted since 2003.


6. Re Planning for education, jobs, housing, and economic development: Lists of columns and book chapters regarding plans and planning for all citizens in all of our communities, Black and white, at this link, Solution Paper #42: Planning, with suggestions for use in resolving the issues of unequal access and unequal opportunity in education, jobs, and housing. Also see here and here and here, and June 01, 2011 Column:"Disaster accelerates gentrification of North Minneapolis. Reconstruction proceeds without Black workers." Another list of columns, blog entries, solution papers."

August 2, 2011
1. To empower or overpower, that is the real debt ceiling question.

2. What happens now that other peoples' money is running out?
3. Where has the love and acceptance gone for neighbors?

There are two developments troubling to the Black community in the debt ceiling battle. 

The first is the one as seen by the Vice President and many others who refer to Tea Party Republicans as “terrorists” (which is also what King George called the colonists dumping tea in Boston harbor who wanted to break free of his centralized rule). 

The  second troubling development is the attempt to establish a centralized ruling council within centralized rule.  The Super Congress is now creating an unconstitutional Super Imperial Congress of 12 individuals, abdicating its power to this committee of “the 12” (note the Biblical ring) of 6 Senators and 6 Representatives, who are to determine how revenues are to be raised and spent.  They will give cover to what both really want: tax money for their districts/states so they can be reelected, doing so at the expense of the Black community.  In other words, our job as citizens is to get between the politicians and their access to public money.

The battle for empowering (e.g., the civil rights movement) and the powering over others (such as political elites, whether white or Black) has come to a head with the debt limit battle.  We can't afford both any more.

This battle has shown that we have too few people acting as thoughtful adults.  As St. Paul in the Bible’s “love chapter” (I Coriinthians 13) put it, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  The rhetoric of calling each side terrorists does not bode well for answers to the question of “who decides” and what they in turn decide should be done and how.

Lincoln said it best:  government of the people, by the people, for the people.  Washington has turned it into government of/by/for the white elite.  The Constitution does not say, as some on the right are prone to say “no government,” nor does it say, as some on the left are prone to say, centralized government.  The Constitution speaks of a “federal” government of a republic that has legislators standing astride the question of enumerated powers, not standing on one side of it or the other. 

Blacks are citizens who should be allowed to be in that debate.  The deplorable state of our cities’ in terms of jobs, education, and housing for Blacks shows just how much Blacks have been left out of the actual power discussions (Black Mayors of cities without money or jobs is not being among the powerful). 

We in the Black community are highly aware that neither party has a Black Senator, so whatever the Senate members of this super elite group say or do, there will be no one reflective of Black wishes other than to tell us to be quiet, stay in our place, and wait for our turn to vote for them in the next election.

And we are equally concerned that the good ‘ol white boys will make sure that if any Black representative from the House of Representatives should be appointed to the committee, it will be one who shares their view of seeking power over people, not empowering them (yes, that battle is in the Black community as well as the white one).

During slave days, it was a capital crime to learn to read.  They didn’t want slaves reading maps and road signs and figuring out themselves where they wanted to be, where they wanted to go.  That continued during Jim Crow days as it does today in America’s Black bureaucrat run ghettoes, examples of how the Republicans and Democrats continue to conspire to keep young Black people, especially young Black men, from a good education, from training, and from jobs.  Blacks understand the white rule:  last hired, first fired.  The wealthy and government workers/unions (including education) have all carved out entitlements regarding jobs, pay, retirement and other benefits for themselves, but not for the Black community. 

We are not opposed to folks getting together to carve up the pie (that’s been going on since at least ancient Rome).  What we oppose to is not letting everyone have a seat at the table to participate in that carving up of the pie.  How will this super group of 12 provide equal protection (access and opportunity) to the poor and uneducated, precisely continuing government policies espoused by Congress, Republican and Democrat, that purposefully and intentionally attempt to keep Blacks poor and uneducated? 

By providing 12, six from the Senate and six from the House of Representative, they will falsely claim that it is equal as all will get cuts and all will have to suffer together.  Really?  Cutting ten percent from a man with a $100 is far more severe than cutting 10% from a man with a million dollars. 

The white factions will begrudgingly allow the women’s faction and the Hispanic faction and other approved “victim” factions to join them, while Blacks will cointinue to pushed to the back of the line, or, using an older phrase, assigned to the back of the bus, to sit there while the buss is parked outside while the rest have gone into the roadside restaurant to sit at the table and divvy up the pie.

A Super Imperial Congress indeed.  In the days of Rome, they too elected a small number of their elite to make decisions for the whole.  We all know how that worked out.  Black congresspersons who represents the Black community, not Black elite leaders, need to be one of the 12. 

The road less traveled must be found:  the road to self-governance through empowering communities and neighborhoods, not overseers and comfortable bureaucrats.   This is what Judge Brandeis called “laboratories of democracy,” incubators that invite all to sit at the table to work together to create jobs and benefits. 

Too many Black congress folks have lost their civil rights mojo:  too many have joined those who believe they are entitled to rule, as they oppose us who will not be ruled but seek to participate in the ruling, especially in the areas of education, jobs, housing, energy and the environment.  It is time to renew the concept discussed in the 70s that was then shoved aside:  the devolving of power to communities as much as possible and as would be appropriate.

Needed is not more government stimulus but private-sector stimulus programs involving not government outlays but instead getting government out of the way of investors and entrepreneurs, as even Nancy Pelosi championed at a hearing in December 2010.  We urge Congress to use the criteria of a calculus of meaning and a calculus of pain, as I have written about in my books. 

The Black community knows all about being on the wrong end of economic pain and given secondary status as meaning.  Let all leaders stop calling names like “terrorists” and start brining all people to the same table to reconcile differences.  If South Africa could do it after apartheid, the United States can do it too after its own economic earthquake.

As guidelines for how the Committee of 12, and any federal, state, or city legislative body should go forward, see the section following on Planning as applied to America's Black Americans, as well as other suggestions and solutions in the "solutions" section of this web site.

1-12-12: Remember this: the current model of taking money from the young to give to the retired no longer will work as there are fewer workers and more retired (10,000 baby boomers a day going on Social Security and Medicare). The robbing the young to pay the oldmodel has run its course. Needed is a model that facilitates real investment, life long, that will cover retirement income and appropriate (not all) health care costs. Blacks and all minorities need to be part of that discussion and negotiation.

Stay tuned.

Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2011, 9:21 a.m.


----BREAKING NEWS FOR SOME----
Long known by others:  Problems at The River City.
Star Tribune, 1-7-10:  The City Inc. May Be Closing Its Doors

The City Inc.’s board voted Monday, January 3, to close their school today, Friday, January 7. So far, none of their kids have been placed/accepted in other schools.
Basic questions:

  1. When was the last audit of The City Inc.?
  2. When was the last Form 990 filed with the state (financial status form), as required by law?
  3. When is the last time they filed the results of their students’ test scores?
  4. How could failure to file any of the above not be known?  Are organization’s oversight staffs self-vouching, ignoring it as unimpodtant, or getting "under the table" arrangements to "waive" filings?
  5. The "Watergate Question" of the 1970s, "what did they know and when did they know it?", must now be answered by those with oversight or who gave funding: the county attorney’s office, the Minneapoois Public School system, City of Minneapolis administration, State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, private and corporate foundations, and any others that providing funding. 
  6. Is it their low scores that prevent the kids from being placed, as they may bring down their new schools’ test scores and standings in the state school ratings?

Posted January 7, 2011, 6:57 a.m.
Edits on January 7, 2011, 11:55 p.m.


--CONTINUOUSLY BREAKING NEWS FOR 15 YEARS IS FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED--

The columns of 11-24-10 and 11-17-10 not only report 15 years late what we have known for 15 years, that there has been a tremendous disparity in hiring and wages between whites and Blacks, the Disparity Report also cries out for an answer to the question of why neither the Civil Rights Commission nor the City Council have called for hearings about it now that the shameful Disparity Report has finally been released. Hearins need to be held to investigate why Minneapolis "does not monitor compliance during performance in contracts and employment". The Civil Rights Commission has the authority, by statute to call such hearings (I know, as I was a member from 1968-1983, including being Chairman, and in those days we called such hearings). The Commission must call public hearings and take testimony on this Disparity Stud that details the denial of jobs to African Americans and, thus, the economic rape of African American economic opportunities and, thus, the denial of its access to the wealth of this city. Half the Commision is appointed by the Council, half by the Mayor.  Are they blocking hearings? There must be public hearings to hear from the Civil Rights Department, from citizens, and from the Council as to why this has been allowed to happen. For more information, see my blog entry of August 28, 2009, in which I list 12 of the columns I’ve written on this subject since 2005.

Posted Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010, 2:00 a.m.
Updated Nov 29, 2010, 1:00 a.m.


--BREAKING NEWS--

IS THE VIKING PLANTATION IMPLODING?
Randy Moss is Waived By Vikings for holding impromptu press conference and criticizing the coach. What are the 1st amendment implications? Its Good Bye Playoffs.  Will it be Good Bye Vikings too? Will they be punted to L.A.?

Details in our column of November 10, 2010.

Posted Monday, November 1, 2010, 3:00 p.m.


--BREAKING NEWS OF 2006 IN MS-P IN STRIB 2010-

2006: Minnesota Spokesman Recorder had it right in The Wrongful Death of Dominic Felter:
2006: Sept 27, Loss of Life, Death of Another Dream
& 2007: Jan 3, "
a whitewash is a whitewash, a cover-up is a cover-up.... Dominic Fielder was executed along Bloomington Avenue in South Minneapolis. At some point in time..., the truth will become known. And hopefully, within the lifetime of his two children, justice for them and their late father will come about."

2010, Oct 25: The Star Tribune finally is forced to come clean, 4 years later, when the jury spoke: Family of man killed by Mpls. police awarded $1.8M.
Posted Tues, 10-26-10, 6:15 p.m.


— B R E A K I N G   N E W S — AGAIN

ARE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO BE USED IN DISMANTLE MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

From October 19, 2009 column: Question re the closing of North High School:  what will be the future of NHS in the academic year of 2009-2010? Will it be a public high school or a charter school operating under the authority of a Dunwoody private charter or something else? Stay tuned.
Posted October 19, 2010, 11:00 a.m.


— B R E A K I N G   N E W S — AGAIN

STAR TRIBUNE: NORTH HIGH TO CLOSE
To be announced on October 19th.
People are dismayed. I called it in 2008, and suggested a solution. No one would listen. Now North will close. See my June 11, 2008 Column #21: How can we save North High School? Its end looks near, a sacrifice to Northside gentrification

Posted October 12, 2010, 5:30 am; edited 9:15 p.m.


07-30-10 #3: This is a call to Council President Barb Johnson to empanel an ethics committee, as authorized by the city’s charter, to review the relationships between Mayor R.T. Rybak and Councilman Don Samuels in regards to their obvious conflicts of interest regarding the program "Ceasefire."

My concerns: the $2.2 million funding allocations, program content, and program execution of the crime program Ceasefire Chicago, and the recipient organiations affiliated with the Mayor’s administrative aide and the Councilman’s wife: Mad Dads, The Peace Foundation, and Shiloh International Ministries.

"Ceasefire" is a program, from Chicago, for dealing with crime, being recommended for Minneapolis. Many want to know what is behind this Ceasefire program in terms of who receives the monies in terms of both administrators and those delivering the program on the street, the plans to be approved, who approves the plans, who executes the plans, and why Ceasefire.

What we have heard so far extends beyond the ethics of the Mayor and the Councilman to the ethics of the program as well. Martin Luther King, Jr. consistently offered as criteria "character", not "color". Ceasefire seems to be offering the "situation ethics" of ethnic/racial sets of values, in this case white over black.

The values that ensure political and economic progress and fairness are universal, not ethnic nor racial, yet Ceasefire came to town this week in the embodiment of all white people with a program for Black people, with no discernable Black input, as if crime was a Black problem, not a universal problem, black, white, yellow, brown.

All of us support the goal of ending violence in our community, especially the Black on Black killings by our young men. As I wrote in my June 21, 2006, column, the mistake then, as now, was/is labeling this "a Black problem", as this was "a gang and crime problem". Recall history: when John Dillenger and other white gangs headquartered in St. Paul in the 1930s, they didn't call it a "white problem," but "a gang and crime problem.” See also related columns: March 1, 2006 and July 5, 2006and August 16, 2006 and October 11, 2006 and November 22, 2006.

The founders of the DFL, a Black woman and a white man (Nellie Stone Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey) would both ask, why aren't the top two "crime preventors" engaged: (1) reforming education so that it actually educates for working and jobs, and (2) inclusive economic development that creates jobs for non-whites as well?

Where are the Nellie Stone Johnsons and Hubert H. Humphreys of today? Thank goodness their spirit lives on in the newspaper of their friend Cecil B. Newman: The Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder).

Cecil introduced Nellie and Hubert. And, along with their friend Charlie Horn, a key white businessman of the day, the four of them (Nellie and Hubert, Cecil and Charlie) liked to refer to themselves as "The Four Horsemen". So where are our four horsemen of today? Who of the new generation will step up and again carry the banner: “Eyes On The Prize,” and fight for freedom's prize, equal access and equal opportunity, especially in education and jobs?

Let the ethics investigation begin.

Posted Saturday, July 31, 2010, 11:57 am
An additional paragraph added 3:15/11:01 p.m.


3-18-10, #2:  Alert:  Is our lack of plans and their execution drawing us to a plan to execute in Mexico?
Is the Minneapolis 2010 homicide total to date that averages one a week since the beginning of the year a precursor of larger battles in American border towns along the Rio Grande?  Has former Mexican President Fox’s comment that there is no border, that Mexico extends all the way to DesMoines being misunderstood by Mexican gang bangers as permission to cross our border and commit acts of violence with impunity?  We have a reversal of Saddam Hussein who said that when there are 10,000 body bags on the Tarmac, the Americans would leave.  Once we get a body count in some American town of 15-20 piled up after a murderous incident by Mexican gang bangers, the only question will be how many American troops will be sent to Mexico to fight drug traffickers as done in Panama and El Salvador.  Will this be a response to the legacy of Che, who hoped to bring down the U.S. through sending drugs to American cities?  How will this alter the battle of minorities for government funds?  Will it result in more money “lost” from American inner city Black neighborhoods and sent to Hispanic border ones?  What is the number of dead bodies on a single day that will be the tipping point to send in American troops?  What plan will Minneapolis develop now for Minneapolis to deal with this kind of gang violence and drug trade, instead of making citizens suffer through the deaths necessary to reach our own tipping point? Stay tuned.

Posted Thursday, March 18, 2010, 6:15 p.m.


01-07-10 #1: Alert: Police: aiding and abetting, just incompetent, or ran out of cover ups? Different standards for white citizens than Black citizens?

It is all over the TV today, January 7: Minneapolis Police Officer Tim Carson, a 3 year veteran and Iraq vet, was arrested for robbing a dozen stores and banks, raising the obvious questions: 

(1) how many other police officers are taking advantage of their positions? 
(2) will there be yet another aiding and abetting cover up by the Mayor and his Police Chief? 
(3)
 As the Mayor and his Chief claims to know all and do all, are they aiding and abetting or just plain incompetent, or is their laxity regarding letting white officers do what they want gotten so bad that even this could not be covered up as so much else in the past has been covered been?

These are not questions I take lightly. Nor am I surprised as I raised these issues with the MPD while serving on the PCRC (Police Community Relations Council);  we especially asked about background checks and rumors of white police officers out of control, being involved in drug dealings and thefts. The MPD would not answer; would not cooperate. Our concern was that questionable white candidates were passed while qualified Blacks were not, raising another question regarding whether the tests were rigged toward whites or just scored that way. Certainly we ask, "How did Officer Carson pass his profile tests?"  And, we suggest, the city must lean to the best candidates, regardless of their color, and recognize the value to the city of having qualified Black officers rather than unqualified white ones.  

And how is it that when things happen to whites, nothing is said to the white "community" about "coming forth", but when it happens to people of color, they are asked to cooperate and come forward with information. This is currently going on regarding the 3 Somalis gunned down (some say executed). How can the community come forward when it doesn’t feel safe? The MPD terror investigation last year in the Somali community regarding killings that are essentially not street crimes as defined but political killings, have left Somalis feeling unsafe and unprotected.

The mayor, broadcasters, and others follow the cue of the FBI and make the community the problem, not the public safety system. Many young Somalis are survivors of the Civil War in Somalia, and are here seeking a peaceful chance at life, something made more difficult with police like Tim Carson, whose precinct locker revealed guns and money.  Carson reflects a department still out of control, which is what led to the establishment of the PCRC in the first place. The MPD continues to cover up the Metro Gang Squad, recently disbanded for their own law breaking.  Public safety is more important than any Governor's race.

We want to know how many others are like Tim Carson there are but who are more clever in avoiding getting caught, and why, if the MPD leaders claim to know all that's going on, why they let it ride and don’t act on it?  Some have said it is because they are in on it. Others have said it is because they would rather have poor white recruits that excellent Black ones and thus have to admit more candidates of color to a department they'd prefer was all white.  

Stay tuned.

Posted January 7, 2010, 11:30 pm, CST  
Edited January 8, 2010, 9 pm, CST


9-17-09, #11: The demise of the Minneapolis Urban League.

At 5:15 p.m., today, Thursday, 9-17-09, Minneapolis Urban League Branch President Scott Gray announced, in closed session, the new austerity: 10% salary reduction across the board; termination of ten employees within 30 days; and an indication that the staff of the Urban League Street Academy would go on part time employee status (thus loosing their benefits). Ever since the sell outs kicked Nellie Stone Johnson and me out 20 years ago, when I was the President of the Urban League with 118 employees, they have cannibalized the organization, reducing it from the 118 employees then to what will be less than 20 employees now. We show how this got started in Chapter 14 of The Minneapolis Story.

Posted 9-18-09, 1:32 a.m.


Read More 2009 Blog Entries »

8-30-09, #10: Who is our neighbor and how do we "do unto them"?

8-29-09, #9: Minneapolis Police Training Chickens Come Home to Roost. The key for police seeking to achieve public safety is the same for people of color seeking to achieve jobs: training.


8-28-09, #8: Trainers or plunderers? Demonstrating for jobs for people or money for selves?

Yesterday we applauded the demonstration to draw attention to the plight of minority jobs and the efforts of those who train African Americans for jobs to obtain funding for jobs. We support the battle seeking the end of discrimination in economic development, especially that by the city and its contractors who openly violate City compliance laws by not hiring minority workers and contractors.

Oh oh. It turns out their concern was money for their budgets that paid them, not jobs for those they trained. It turns out that money set aside for them has not been released by the State of Minnesota, and if not released by September 1, it goes back to the general treasury where, as one observe has put it, these hustlers can't plunder it.  

To "send a message" to the Department of Transportation in an effort to get it released, the demonstrators blocked traffic. We believe they would have a better chance if they admitted the truth reported in the columlns listed at the end of this blog entry and started there.

In May of this year, Insight published a story about Louis King of OIC saying he had federal funds to create 1,000 jobs in the African American community. Last week Louis King had to admit he did not have the funds, that they had not been released. And so the demonstration was held about the funds for the leaders, not funds for jobs. As listed below, we will continue to advocate for jobs for workers, not funds for "leaders".

This is what happens when the Governor of Minnesota and the Department of Transportation get tired of playing the games of the Mayor of Minneapolis and his allies that want to use government funding for themselves but not for the community. The state understandably doesn't want to take the blame for that. What is not understood is why the city and its minions think they can get away with their posturing.

Our "leaders" spend much time training African Americans for jobs but little in standing up for their being hired to use their newly acquired skills. A lot of young men were expecting to get jobs. They will be disappointed, at the hands of Black "leaders." As seen below, we have written about the economic stimulus and its potential to help our community. It is the right cause with the wrong people in charge, as they plunder and tear asunder. We first published about this in The Corrupt and Racist Construction Contract System, Chapter 9 of our book, The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, in 2002. We have continued updating this shame in our columns since then. Why haven't the "leaders" used the facts in the book and columns to plead their case for jobs? That is the best way to get funds for their organizations.

We first published a roundup of columns in the Minnenapolis Spokesman Recorder in our Blog entry #21 of July 31, 2008 (Star Tribune...Denying Discrimination and Disinforming About the Black Community). That list is reproduced and updated below. It is with these that we urge Black leaders today, and those interested in "planning" for the communities of color, to start: advocating   for jobs rather than seeking funds to plunderor or to recycle among nonprofits, neither of which profit the community. Here is that updated list of selected columns, 2005-2009:

4-20-2005: Black share of $5 billion construction: Zero. What can be done to reverse "Blacks need not apply" for the coming great construction boom?

7-13-2005: Where is The Plan for Black's share of jobs, development?

6-07-2006: Hallelujah! Good Times Are Here Again! "Best Effort". False alarm.

5-09-2007: Blacks remain barred from big-money projects

7-04-2007: Where's The Jobs Plan? Minneapolis Kremlin initiates retaliation

8-08-2007: Where is the jobs plan for Blacks for the bridge cleanup and re-construction?

1-23-08: Who will challenge discrimination in this city?

3-5-08: Response to a Challenge Baseball Authority Responds

6-4-08: Stadiums go up while compliance system breaks down

2-18-09: Where's the plan to ensure Blacks benefit from economic stimulus? Now's the time to ask your representatives.

2-25-09: With stimulus funds coming, where's the plan for inclusion?

7-15-09: Mismanagement forced re-bid of Marquette and 2nd Avenue Project. Cover-up keeps city council in the dark.

We urge the Black leadership of the Twin Cities to begin with these columns if they are to be truly successful in obtaining jobs for our community and, in the process, funding for their organizations. Right now they have it backwards. We suggest they turn around and get it right.

Posted 8-28-09, 11:10 p.m.


Read More 2009 Blog Entries »

08-27-09, #7: In Minneapolis, training doesn't equal jobs for the trained, only the trainers (we are a city of over employed trainers with an "army" of underemployed, underutilized trained workers).

06-26-09, Blog #6: The Role of Black Organizations in the Minneapolis Story...

06-06-09, Blog #5: Welcome NNPA (National Convention of the National Newspaper Publishers Association)

06-06-09, Blog #4: Thanks for thrilling us

04-10-09, Blog #3: Minneapolis settles law suit with the Mill City Five, causing more questions to be raised than answered.

04-05-09, Blog #2: "Why, in an information age, they attempt such cover-ups, mystifies us. The truth will out."

03-31-09, Blog #1: The revealing of the truth: nearly three years in the making.


EXCERPT FROM: July 31 2008 Blog Entry #21

Check out our columns of 2005, 2006, and 2007, when we raised the question: "When will Blacks be included in the billions worth of jobs in construction for stadiums, bridges, and other big money projects?" Here are six examples:

  1. 04-20-2005: Black share of $5 billion construction: Zero. What can be done to reverse "Blacks need not apply" for the coming great construction boom?
  2. 07-13-2005: Where is The Plan for Black's share of jobs, development?
  3. 06-07-2006: Hallelujah! Good Times Are Here Again! "Best Effort". False alarm.
  4. 05-09-2007: Blacks remain barred from big-money projects
  5. 07-04-2007: Where's The Jobs Plan? Minneapolis Kremlin initiates retaliation
  6. 08-08-2007: Where is the jobs plan for Blacks for the bridge cleanup and re-construction?

Posted July 31, 2008, 3:55 p.m.

Read the Complete July 2008 Blog Entry »


Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

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