Home | 2003 Columns » | All Columns » | 2003 Blogs »
Blog #59. July 31, 2003: Anniversary of infamy: only Ron Edwards votes against Jackie Cherryhomes and friends’ on the Implementation Committee to whitewash the Hollman/Heritage Park environmental minefield cover up to the federal government.
The Federal Environmental Assessment Document completed by SRF and signed off on and sent to the federal government July 2000, listed the names of those who participated and certified to the federal government that all was well:
hundreds of people have been involved in the creation of this master plan. We would like especially to thank the Public Housing residents of the north side community for the time they have given to attend roundtable discussions and community meetings over the past six months. We would like to thank numerous community organizations that have supported the community planning effort.
The list of people on this key document of this entity, the Near North Side Implementation Committee, were Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Jackie Cherryhomes, Commissioner Mark Stenlein, City Coordinator Kathy O’Brien, And Cora McCorby, Steve Cramer, Rock Khan, Kevin Teeneth, Randall Bradley, Merrill Anderson, Top Strikes, Howard Goodman, Carolyn Olson, Amy Ryan, And Ron Edward. This ENTIRE list is made up of public or elected officials With the single exception of Ron Edwards. BUT: moving on from this Whitewash document applauding themselves for being diligent regarding the environmental cleanup with this assessment agreement, to the MINUTES of the vote on this plan. The only person to vote no on this plan, due to environmental issues and others, was yours truly, Ron Edwards. Now you can see why in my column yesterday, I call out the city for its Violation of a Trust, Betrayal of a People. Thursday, July 31, 2003, 4:20 a.m.
Blog #58. July 31, 2003: Deny now, no one will see the retraction later as it will be buried
The strategy for liars, crooks, and other haters of the truth, is to smear truth tellers right away, for who will later read the retraction after the false information or disinformation has done its damage? This is why McCormack Baron and the City’s Ken Havey maintain and issue bogus statements. Taint me and hope people will stop listening to me. But Minneapolis knows I’m a truth teller. That’s why I wrote my book, because they would not listen to the truth. That is why I maintain this web site so that you will get the truth, for you certainly won’t get it from the city or the Strib. They can keep my book out of the major paper but they can’t keep the truth out of the minds of our citizens if we listen to each other instead of to them. These pillars of our city said I lied about the lead poisoning, that I was arrested for trespassing, and that I circulated false rumors. These are their lies about me. They can’t keep covering up the fact that the baby has lead poisoning. Indeed, on my July 26, 2003, TV show Black Focus, I showed the Children’s Hospital report that confirmed what I had said. So how much else is the city and McCormack Baron denying? How many other lies have they told? How many other citizens are they trying to ruin? How can we believe those who purposefully and intentionally violate our trust by betraying its citizens? Thursday, July 31, 2003, 4:18 a.m.
Blog #57. July 30, 2003: Challenge to the Disinformation People: Stop with the Lies about Nuclear Waste. These and other lies detract from the truth and working together to resolve the problems
People are telling me that they are hearing that we have spread the notion that there are nuclear wastes under Holllman/Heritage Park. NO WAY! We have never said that. I challenge anyone to come up with even one such statement. They can’t. There are none. No one, least of all me, is happy about the environmental problems at Hollman/Heritage Park. I am hear to mobilize the citizens to exert themselves to work with the city and the developers to resolve the problem for the people. But that won’t happen if the city and the developers turn down the extended hand of friendship and instead offer the poison cup of lies and disinformation and stalling and stonewalling in the hope that people will get tired of it and go away. I am not tired. I am not going away. So, as the Biblical verse puts it, “come and let us reason together.” Wednesday, July 30, 2003, 11:41 a.m.
Blog #56. July 2003: Common Sense says it makes sense to study the nature of the old glacier lake that lies beneath “the commons” we now call Hollman/Heritage Park
As an experienced environmentalist (one of my positions with NSP was as one of two Managers of Environmental Affairs, tracking regulations and developing policy strategies for the CEO), lets start with the basics: Hollman/Heritage Park sits on top of an ancient glacier lake. That means there are burning peat bogs below which can cause upward pressures to push up. That is nature at work. Caught in the middle are the industrial pollutants dumped there that are being pushed up from the bottom. Now how is it that organizations like NRRC (Northside Residents Redevelopment Council) that want a piece of this action haven’t done their environmental study due diligence to have learned this about this 40 plus acre “commons” sitting next to downtown?
Blog #55. July 30, 2003: Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Strategy.
The government used situations in Chicago, the Mississippi Delta, New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania, and others, for their legal rationale and concern. “EJ” or “Environmental Justice is the name of a local private group. It is also a branch of the EPA. I am referring here to the Federal Government’s EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, and is part of the strategy of Executive Order 12898 (see my July 30 column). This is the genesis of Federal policy and environmental strategy for dealing with situations akin to our Hollman/Heritage Park. For either the State of Minnesota or the City of Minneapolis to claim to know nothing about this is again a stick in the eye of the citizens and one more reason why we need to be ever vigilant if we are to maintain our freedoms in this Plantation City that sees us as field hand chattel to be treated as they please. This is seen in their feeble attempt to cover this up by stating that because this was a private development they couldn’t do anything, that everything had to be left to the fox the City had put in charge of this hen house, McCormack Barron. And, oh yes, all of you White tax payers out there: they are treating you this way too, for it’s your money they are using for this boondoggle. So you too are included in this Violation of a Trust, Betrayal of a People. Wednesday, July 30, 2003, 1:19 a.m.
Blog #54. July 30, 2003: For the children: KSTP confirms lead poisoning in baby at Hollman/Heritage Park.
Last night, KSTP reported that the baby we talked about earlier does indeed have lead poisoning, which is in contrast to the city and developer denying it exists (see #s 29, 30, 44 and 49 below). As KSTP stated, “the mother is concerned about where her child was exposed and who is responsible for it.” The city still denies knowledge. As the reporter Rex Chapman said in breaking this story of truth, “City officials tell me they have not been officially notified about this lead poisoning case.” Nonetheless, “the mother believes her son’s health problems are connected to the place she now calls home, Heritage Park.” The mother “wants to know how and where her son was exposed to lead and why it has taken so long for the right people to know about it.” The mother said she has a friend there whose baby has lead poisoning also. The reporter then showed the document from Children’s hospital that shows “the baby’s level of lead exposure is higher than his body can deal with.” The mother said that during the two months before they moved to Heritage Park, the baby was never sick. Chapman went on to say “Lead exposure experts tell Channel 5 that the main concern should be finding the source of contamination. They say a small, long term exposure to lead poisoning for a child can be devastating. The experts say this test proves this child has fully been exposed to more lead than his body can get rid of.” Wednesday, July 30, 2003, 1:17 a.m.
Blog #53. July 30, 2003: No problem. No kidding? Then why is the dust watered down several times daily?
Is there no end to the problems of Hollman/Heritage Park? If there is “no problem,” why is Hollman/Heritage Park being wet down several times a day? Because of the dust from all of this. That makes me wonder whether this Dust is blowing into other neighborhoods and causing problems there. Wednesday, July 30, 2003, 1:14 a.m.
Blog #52. July 29, 2003: McCormack Barron and Heritage Housing LLC. Is this the gift from the city that keeps on giving? And where does Urban Strategies fit into all of this?
Three city committees met today: (1) Transportation in the morning, (2) Community Development, and (3) council members acting in their role as commissioners of the Minneapolis Community Development Agency (MCDA). Guess what they sent to the full City Council? The summary of the recommendations for Heritage Housing, LLC. Note four things: (1) they sent it forward without comment, (2) they sent it forward despite the fact that many of the financial questions could not be answered, (3) the only concern raised by Public Works was the land use in general and pollution control in particular, and (4) the city is now to sell to McCormack Barron and Heritage Housing LLC, a section of the project for $668,000. And they are to set aside $200 for soil cleanup.
This raises another set of questions: (1) where is McCormick Barron and Heritage Homes LLC getting the money? Now Urban Strategies, an organization of Jackie Cherryhomes, is asking for a piece of the action, around 20%. Is this the same Urban Strategies, the non-profit organization of McCormack Barron that was incorporated in St. Louis, Mo? And what does it mean to say that McCormack Barron is a “redeveloper”? And how does NRRC, the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council fit into all of this? Through my eyes It looks as if McCormack Barron controls this pie, owning the land and using tax payer dollars and then saying the legislation won’ let them tell us (see #51 below; is it any wonder they wanted legislation with a built in “cover up” dimension?). The answers are probably in the files Jackie took with her from her office (she took at least 98% of the files from her office which address this project). We can only surmise (it is interesting, isn’t it, that only the Black CM complained about Jackie taking the files, that the White Mayor and the rest of the CMs—at the time all White—didn’t raise a peep, and that this was an issue only for the Spokesman Recorder, something that was barely and only cursorily covered by the Strib? Makes you put your finger at the side of your head and repeat the Arsenio Hall mantra: “Hmmmmmmm.” Tuesday, July 29, 2003, 8:50 p.m.
Blog #51. July 29, 2003: McCormack - Barron plays its “legislation won’t let us” card and says it is prohibited from releasing its survey report.
In my weekly column and daily web logs I’ve informed you of the toxic pollution of Hollman/Heritage Park. The city has deferred to the developer saying only the developer can test and release the results of tests (see #48 below). They have taken their tests, done their survey. But when the Council Member of the Hollman/Heritage Park’s ward asked for the results today, she was told they could not release it because of city public-private partnership legislation, and that such results are the property only of the McCormack Barron firm. They can’t be protecting national security hiding behind the skirts of legislation. So it must be their own back sides that they are protecting. We know with certainty that neither they nor the city think the buck stops with them. Because they they can legislate away any responsibility. Well, they are wrong. I’ll prove that tomorrow. And by the way, they cannot legislate away morality on legislative grounds either. Tune in tomorrow for the proof of what I say. , 5:59 p.m.
Blog #50. July 29, 2003: Cover up or clean up? Hard to tell, but it looks like a cover up masquerading as a clean up (kind of like wolves in sheep clothing).
At 10:05 a.m. this morning, I was at the Hollman/Heritage Park site. A company, Braun Intertec, was there drilling and the city was changing water filters and piping next to where the baby contaminated with lead poisoning lives. Recall this sentence from my July 16, 2003 column about Braun Intertec: “a company contracted by city officials ($1.2 million contract) to conduct a study of soil conditions and other problems involving toxicity.” Now if, as they say, they certified that there is no contamination, what Is this work for? If it is part of a clean up, doesn’t that suggest that something needed cleaning, like toxic pollution? Is this why McCormack Barron won’t release its report? That’s the way the scrambling of the city, Brau Intertec and McCormack Barron looks like through my eyes. July 29, 2003, 5:57 p.m.
Blog #49. July 29, 2003: The City is like a spider web: touch it on strand and it vibrates on another: The police were used to try to discredit me with a falsified police report that was later quietly “disappeared” (hidden) from the police computer.
Three of us who were investigating at Hollman/Heritage Park are also on the mediation team between the police and the community (I serve as one of the chief negotiators). By their actions they obviously thought that if they could discredit us, especially me, it would diminish our ability to be effective in the mediation. In reality, what Ken Havey and others in the city, as well as the developer, have done, is make false claims (that we told people that the buildings were sinking, and offered a “terrorist” threat that there was leaking gas). They used dictatorial methods (creating a false arrest report, having the police threaten us) and they told outright lies about the real status of Hollman/Heritage Park (that there are no environmental problems, especially no lead poisoning). In reality, they have left us more effective and more credible than before. Thank you, Ken. Thank you McCormack-Barron. Tuesday, July 29, 2003, 12:02 a.m.
Blog #48. July 2003: Content Missing
Blog #47. July 2003: The forgotten (hidden? shredded? taken?) federal document delegating environmental responsibility to Minneapolis. Oops.
The document known as “The Minnesota Environmental Assessment Worksheet and Federal Environmental Assessment for the Near North,” prepared by SRF Consulting Company, has this statement: The City of Minneapolis has also prepared a federal environmental assessment, EA, for this project in compliance with the national environmental policy act, 24CFR, part 58, and all applicable rules and regulations. On October 14, 1996, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development delegated its responsibilities to complete required EA’s [Economic Assessments] to the appropriate
Blog #46. July 27, 2003: Bottoms up. Hollman’s Drinking Problem: See VIDEO of it, TODAY, Sunday, on MTN-TV, Channel 17, 5 pm, on my TV program.
McCormack Barron, and their publicists and defenders, the Star Tribune, claim that the problem is drainage. Nope. The problem is not coming from the sky’s rainwater. The problem is coming from the underground pushing up of polutants. Otherwise, how do explain its continued presence after they drained? It is still there, despite no rain. How? Its not coming from the top down. It is coming from the bottom up. See what they cemented over that could not possibly have been from a drainage problem. See video proof on my show tonight, 5 pm, Channel 17, MTN-TV. Sunday, July 27, 2003, 5:33 a.m.
Blog #45. July 27, 2003: Hollman Residents at Heritage Park and Other Sites Locked Out: Real vs. Unreal Relocation
Document of August 7, 2000, providing the number MHOP and CHOP units (the poor people) 10, 9, 5, 6, 10, 12, 5, 8, 8, 4, 4, 3. By county the count would be: Washington County HRA, Carver, Scott, and St. Louis Park: units of 60, 50,61, 12, 8, for 273 made available for allegedly former public housing residents (Sumner Field, Glenwood, Olson, Foster, Lund. These numbers would be given to Judge Rosenbaum as part of the annual filing of the compliance report. These are planning numbers, representing vapor, not real numbers of actual people displaced from Hollman/Heritage Park living in these units. That let them use 105, 162, 226, 256, 316, with over 300 occupied, yet very, very few are actually occupied by former Hollman residents. The consent degree was signed April 20, 1995. This was exposed in my column two weeks ago when we asked where are the 200 units assigned to Lake Side Redevelopment in 1999 that were to be completed in 2001. So what’s going on? They want us to believe they are doing a wonderful job of relocating people in new units after displacing them, when in reality few have been relocated in the new units. The city has been falsifying their compliance reports. Why? Because they can. Why? Because we trust them. Why? Because no one calls them on it and holds them to account? Why? Because the major information delivery system, the Star Tribune, muzzles and shelves the information given them about Hollman/Heritage Park (see web log entry #32 below). Time is up for believing and trusting the city. Knowing what we know now, why would we trust them? And given what new information is coming out, how can we continue to trust them? Sunday, July 27, 2003, 5:32 a.m.
Blog #44. July 26, 2003: VIDEOS of Hollman Cover-Up on MTN-TV, Channel 17, 5 pm, Sunday To Go Along With Misleading Testing Report.
People can’t find the bubbling ups sludge I reported. I have it on Video, and will show it Sunday on my show on MTN-TV, Channel 17, at 5 p.m. Where is the sludge and ooze? It was cemented over. But I have the video. Don’t forget, as soon as my column came out on July 16, 2003, what was The first thing McCormack Barron did? They cemented over the problem area: in my judgment, that is covering it up. When an oil field blows or catches fire, what’s the first thing they do? Plug it. How? With cement. McCormack Barron did the same. The cement had been eaten through by whatever was bubbling up from underneath. A metal grid had to be put in place as the sidewalk was too weakened. People who have gone to investigate can’t find that ooze. Why? Because it was cemented over. That’s OK. I have video of it and will show it on my TV show, Sunday, at 5 pm, on MTN-TV, Channel 17. I also have samples of that ooze. I invite those saying the water is safe to drink from it (but only after signing a release of responsibility for all but themselves). McCormack Barron has released the results of its water sample tests: The report states they isn’t a problem. But guess what? It was tap water, not seepage or drainage water they tested., You can see why I say this is another example of the city putting the developer foxes in charge of the tax payer’s hen house. Until I have the location from which tests are taken certified by an impartial source, I will have a hard time believing them, as they have already denied any lead contamination despite Children’s Hospital report to the contrary. Saturday, July 26, 2003, 5:57 p.m.
Blog #43. July 26, 2003: Replacement Units: Concrete or Vapor? Real or “Virtual”?
Hollman/Heritage Park is supposed to have some replacement units for those displaced with other locations receiving the other replacement units. City Progress and Status Reports to the Federal government commingled numbers to avoid having to show how little progress is actually being made in terms of the time taken and money spent. The replacement units, in order to end the “pockets of poverty,” were to be in Chaska, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, Moundsville, New Hope, Maple Grove, Watertown, St. Francis, Chanhassen, Blaine, and Columbia Heights, for a total of 273 for the suburbs. For the city of Minneapolis, it was supposed to be 298 units. PPL10 units, Midtown Community Works 10 units, MPHA 80 units, and Northside Residents Redevelopment 200 units. The City refuses to keep its numbers straight. Currently, months ago, the Strib reported 75 units occupied at Hollman/Heritage Park yet now the City Pages says it is being told 220 (referring to Hollman/Heritage Park). The shell game played by the city is clear. In the city’s document to HUD, the Hope 6 proposal, they were proposing total sources of income of $219,351,423. The people got vapor. The developers and city got concrete gold. The city has gotten rich off of this. The tax exempt bonds carry service fees, so the city collected, in one case, over $800,000 for $10 million in bonds. And for some bonds the bad are paid by the tax payer, and in others the bond holder is stuck holding the bag. The developers got their fees from this gold mine. The agencies got their fees from this goldmine. And the displace poor people and the tax payers of all income levels got the shaft from this goldmine. Saturday, July 26, 2003, 2:45a.m.
Blog #42. July 25, 2003: We stand behind the efforts of State Representative Ellison
We stand behind the efforts of State Representative Ellison to pull together the citizen coalition and taking the lead in putting the pressure on McCormack-Barron to end the circumvention of environmental justice and adverse human health conditions at Hollman/Heritage Park. Friday, July 25, 2003, 5:46 a.m.
Blog #41. July 25, 2003: The Mayor’s “Shanghai Move” Made on the CM of Ward 5 to “Protect” the City From the Consequences of the Truth.
The Ward 5 Council Member has traditionally the one with oversight of Hollman/Heritage Park. The Mayor took it away from her and transferred it to Ken Havey (the Empowerment Zone director for the city under the former mayor). Word on the street is that he got involved and supposedly guaranteed the environmental cleanup of the site. Why did they do this to Natalie Johnson-Lee? What are they afraid of, Johnson-Lee’s color, or her integrity, or her honesty, or her championing of the citizens, or her stand on justice and fairness, or all the above? Friday, July 25, 2003, 5:47 a.m.
Blog #40. July 25, 2003: Self Improvement Site Redemption or Just Improving Selves? Special entities for special people? That isn’t special: its tax paid privilege at tax payers’ expense.
The city originally asked for $8,695,000 for “self improvement site redemption” for Hollman/Heritage Park although they told Jerry Anderson of City Pages it was $5.8 million. What happened to the difference? They also asked for $100,000 for professional fees and consultant services to deal with the environment. In other words, they wanted to be paid fees for doing their jobs. This, of course, is the same scam used by Enron to pay itself for doing what it did internally by setting up hundreds of special purpose entities. It has become the scam game of choice in American cities, and is the shame of the Democratic Party, because it is legal (not moral, not just, not fair, but legal). When their developer buddies have too much profit or their agencies have money left over, the developers, to prevent paying taxes, and the agencies, to prevent giving back unused money, create their own Enron like special purpose entities to absorb the money. That is special privileges, something out of place in a democracy and certainly out of place if we are to inspire investments to help people prosper (do the math: it is the Whites who get these “specials” and their Black runners who get the special crumbs), all paid for by the tax payers. Friday, July 25, 2003, 5:48 a.m.
Blog #39. July 24,2003: Identifying the real quagmire
One of our themes lately has been to advocate for the supremacy of evidence over emotions, evidence over ideology (left or right). The Republicans are called the party of the rich and the Democrats the party of the poor. Then how come, for the 2001-2002 election cycle, “the Democratic Party gobbled up an astounding 92% of all individual contributions totaling $1 million or more,” whereas “the Republican Party took 65% of all contributions of less than $200 per donor.” The Democrats, relying on Hollywood, unions, and Wall Street, reflect the narrow world view they are expressing in this 2003-2004 election cycle. Is this good for people of color and other minorities?
Why are they fixated like lawyers trying to get Saddam Hussein off on technicalities, as if it would be best he had his old job back, as if liberating a people and eliminating an Arab Simon Legree was not a good thing? Now we can all agree that we would have preferred to see Iraq liberated without a war. We can disagree on the means. But why the continued disagreement on the ends of liberating a people? Former President Bill Clinton said it best yesterday when he said: “We should be pulling for America on this. We should be pulling for the people of Iraq. We can have honest disagreements about where we go from here, and we have space now to discuss that in what I hope will be a nonpartisan and open way. But this State of the Union deal they decided to use the British intelligence. The president said it was British intelligence. Then they said on balance they shouldn’t have done it. You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can’t make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in awhile. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now…It is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted-for stocks of biological and chemical weapons [in Iraq]. We need to come together in America, and link the freeing of peoples everywhere with the final act of freeing our own people in the United States. Let us start with (1) the residents of Hollman/Heritage Park; (2) those displaced from Hollman/Heritage Park to make way for White gentrification; and (3) the tax payers, White and Black, who will be on the hook to clean up, literally, the mistakes of too many decades let slide by too many mayors and council members.
It was important to free them. It is important to free ourselves. Lets make the call for civil rights, for democracy for the world, and for liberty and freedom for all our people. Lets acknowledge our mistakes, which we’ll make, and let us pledge, commit and promise to always focus on doing the right thing. We all know, in our hearts as Americans, what that is. Let’s start with Hollman/Heritage Park. Let’s do it. Let’s overcome. Let’s bring it on. Let’s roll. Thursday, July 24, 2003, 3:18 a.m.
Blog #38. July 23, 2003: $5.8 million for “Contamination Remediation” for Hollman/Heritage Park. Say what? Where?
In today’s City Pages newspaper, in the article “What Lies Beneath,” we read that “Current city documents show $5.8 million earmarked for ‘contamination remediation’ and ‘land preparation’ at the site, of which $1 million is left.” The city can’t have it both ways. It can’t say its only drainage with a budget line like this. And with money left it would suggest the “problem” was taken care of. If the monies were for both Hollman/Heritage Park and housing elsewhere, how much of that was actually spent at Hollman/Heritage Park and how much elsewhere? The article says money and units are combined, counting BOTH Hollman/Heritage Park AND those sites where they are “creating new units in more affluent parts of the city and the suburbs.” So let’s put it this way? How much is Hollman/Heritage Park being shortchanged by the spending of the project’s money on sites other than the Olson Road site? How much in the various spending categories was spent at Hollman/Heritage Park, how much at the other sites, and how much was diverted away from both? Tax payers have a right to know and the city has an obligation to so inform. So I’m asking. I’ll see what their answer is. Stay tuned. Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 3:30 p.m.
Blog #37. July 23, 2003: Strib Reporting Puzzlement: Lazy or Cover Up?
When I read today’s issue of “City Pages” newspaper, and its account of the current environmental problems at Hollman/Heritage Park (headline “What Lies Beneath?” by G.R. Anderson, Jr.) as well as its report of the site’s past history, I am all the more puzzled by the Strib. In 2001, the day after Mother’s Day, at Penditos, the Mexican Cafe at 48th and Chicago, I gave the information to Strib reporters Doug Grow and Roshelle Olson, including documents showing the cover-ups and rip offs. We spent at least 30 minutes on the environmental stuff. I had also given this information to Steve Brandt in 2000. Why does the Strib squash such information? Are they part of the cover up or just lazy? Is there something in it for them or do they ignore it because there isn’t anything in it for them as they don’t think their White suburban readers would be interested? See #32 below. It is a puzzlement. Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 9:05 a.m.
Blog #36. July 23, 2003: Drainage Control as Damage Control: The Strib Writes Another Whitewash.
After nearly a week of silence since the story broke in the Spokesman-Recorder newspaper, the Star Tribune finally reports on “the drainage problem” at Hollman/Heritage Park in this morning’s edition (headline: “Heritage Park drainage prompts a rash of complaints,” by Steve Brandt). It has other puns too, such as “public-relations headache”, as if to suggest this is merely an issue that has become overblown “e-mail fodder” (posts on the local Email list called Mpls.Forum Issues List?) but little more. Brandt quotes the developer as saying “the problem simply involves clay soils that inhibit drainage.” Thus, they would have us believe that it is just a matter of drainage control. But if I am correct (the Strib seemed to gag in its inability to print my name—see #32 below—as it identified the story as a report rather than the topic of my column) then this Strib story is part of what public relations experts call “damage control.” Please note: this is not “new” news. In my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” p. 134, I exposed the fact that Hollman/Heritage Park was “built on the tops of brown fields, environmentally toxic areas.” Neither the city nor the Strib acted then. Soil and water samples would have helped. Evidence is evidence. Now water and soil samples have been taken. We’ll soon know the results. Stay tuned. Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 6:11 a.m.
Blog #35. July 22, 2003: Modern Sifting of Evidence Or Ideologically Disdaining Evidence: When will the NAACP be open to evidence?
In my “NAACP Takes Eye Off Prize” in the Solution Paper” section, one of the examples about the NAACP given is that the NAACP just issued a “report card” for the auto industry. It gave Toyota a D minus despite it record of hiring resulting in 28% of its work force being minorities. Why? Because rather than go by the rules of evidence, the hall mark of the enlightenment, the modern, it went by the tribal notion of obedience to itself first as the most important evidence. How can the NAACP be considered seriously if it won’t be modern and instead reverts to the tribal, when the only evidence it admits is that which it itself declares admissible and which serves it? Again, is this anyway for the NAACP to treats its friends. No wonder it is losing credibility and following.
Automakers in Detroit topped the list with Cs, while Toyota trailed with a D-minus in the examination of 10 companies. Now isn’t this preposterous, that the NAACP gave a D minus to a company whose workforce includes 28% minorities, giving the lie that we should therefore not buy Toyotas, which is obviously a veiled threat of a boycott? It is discouraging to contemplate that the NAACP did this and even more discouraging that other so-called Black leaders don’t protest. Tuesday, July 22, 2003, 2:00 a.m.
Blog #34. July 21, 2003: Local Minneapolis NAACP Branch Must Stand Trial for Election Fraud.
District Court Judge Kathleen Anderson has ruled in the lawsuit of 25 members of the NAACP claiming irregularities, by-law violations, and election fraud in the November 2002 local branch elections. She has ordered the case to go to trial. Monday, July 21, 2003 5:28 p.m.
Blog #33. July 21, 2003: NAACP Takes Eye Off Prize
See my new Solution Paper on the NAACP convention, where presidential candidates shucked and jived and the NAACP got blinded by its own sense of self importance and showed that the actions of the local branch was no fluke: top to bottom, they have taken their eye off the prize, which helps to explain why it has abdicated its responsibilities re Hollman/Heritage Park. Monday, July 21, 2003, 3:25 a.m.
Blog #32. July 20, 2003: Star Tribune Star Chamber Again Kills News: Examples: Hollman/Heritage Park and the Vikings Leaving Town
This is post one of three today. Obviously, there are more examples than Hollman/Heritage Park and the Vikings leaving town (my book is filled with many more), but lets start with them. People have asked me why the Star Tribune has not reviewed my book, not mentioned it in any article, and not even included it in columns that deal with the communities and neighborhoods. Why, I am asked, have they “shelved” the book? The answer is all too obvious: it is because the book talks about things they don’t want you to know about or think about. Hey, how else can they play like they are like The New York Times? They have their own editorial star chamber: they kill news they don’t want you to hear about. This is why I wrote my book. Yet they still refuse. So I started my column and my daily web log. And they still refuse. I scoop the Strib all the time. But they don’t care because they don’t want you to have this news. This, I suspect, is also why they turned down my offer to provide my information in a column. Example #1: Hollman-Heritage Park environmental minefield: I gave this information to reporters of the Strib two years ago. The paper refused to print it. And they STILL haven’t printed anything. See this week’s column and other web log enries below.
Example #2: The Vikings leaving town: The writer of the article this morning, Sunday, July 20, 2003, “California Powerball: NFL hungry for the SoCal market,” asks the question: “Will the new team be the Vikings.” Of course. But the Strib can’t say they didn’t know, as I outline in web log entry #31. BOTH the author of this article AND Sid Hartman were both given a copy of my book last November (as were senior editors, who refused to direct anyone to cover the book, a book about Minneapolis). And yet NEITHER one has written on my Chapter 15 about the Vikings leaving town. Why? They didn’t want you to know yet. Is this a paper you can trust? We know that with any Plans for this town, there is the Strib in the middle of them; they just don’t want to publish anything as “nasty” as the truth or real news if it gets in the way of “the plans.” The book was given to half a dozen columnists, Black and White, and their book editor, as well as to the senior editors. And yet none will write about the book, a book about Minneapolis (indeed, none responded to even say thank you for sending us copies)? Maybe this is their way of trying to be like the New York Times. This is why I keep urging people to subscribe to the Spokesman-Recorder and the City Pages. It is a small price to pay to get the news and the truth on a daily basis. Sunday, July 20, 2003, 7:00 p.m.
Blog #31. July 20, 2003: Say Goodbye to the Vikings: They Are Leaving. That is the Plan.
That heading of this web log entry is the page heading of Chapter 15 of my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes. My full title is “Chapter 15: The Story of Punting the Minnesota Vikings. Say Goodbye to the Vikings, They are Leaving, Say Goodbye to the Vikings, They Are Our Loss. That is the Plan.” The heading in the Star Tribune today, Sunday, July 20, 2003? Says it all: “California Powerball: NFL hungry for the SoCal market.” Read my chapter 15: this is not new news. The Strib knows the Vikings are leaving. Indeed it was the reporter of today’s article who wrote about it in his book “The Stadium Games” that “the powers” (the legislature, the business community, the sports commission, the “West side” millionaires, the Strib, etc.) had already decided the Vikes are going because they don’t want to have to fork over money for big suites for four teams. That is why the team was sold to an outsider AND why the NFL loaned Red an extra $100 million so he could outbid the local buyer, Roger Hedrick. By selling to Red, the local “stalwart” rich guys won’t have to take the heat. Red will get the blame. That is “the plan,” the decision: the Vikings are to leave town. Maybe this is another reason why the Star Tribune refuses to acknowledge my book, “The Minneapolis Story” (see entry #30 above).
St. Paul invested in Excel center for its White hockey team (that is not playing the race card; that is just plain fact). Minneapolis is on the hook for the Target Center, but that is OK, it’s such a small number of Blacks). And the Twins are the “old faithful” of the old money in town, a team that has traditionally been mostly White (by 2002, only 10% of major league ball players were Black; in 1997, the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier, his No. 42 was retired by each big league team, but his team, the Dodgers, had to bring a player up from Triple-A ball that day to have a Black player on the team). So whose the “odd man out” in Minnesota? The Vikings, of course. And Larry Fitzgerald has written of it in his columns in the Spokesman-Recorder. But the Strib? A few winks here and there about it. Now comes the real thing. The Gophers will get the new stadium. The Twins will get a rennovated Dome. And the Vikings will get the same treatment as the Lakers: a bye bye. This is all in Chapter 15 of my book.
I smell a deal, don’t you? Now my book with its Chapter 15, has been in the hands of the reporter who wrote this article since November. And a copy was given to Sid Hartman also (not to mention their senior editors and other columnists, Black and White). Why have none of them written about it? Because it wasn’t time. Now’s the time. So the Strib is in on the plan to move the Vikings and all those dozens of Black Bucks on the team. Hey, why do you think their reporters joined in on the fun to run the Black coach out of town? So they can sell the team with a White coach. Now before you say this is playing the race card again, look at what happened in Detroit. The NFL did nothing. See how easy this is? As I keep asking: hey Star Tribune: are you listening? Why of course you are. But not to the people. Who needs to fear the first amendment with the Strib around? They have their own censorship going quite nicely, thank you. They won’t write until its time to screw over the people again, like with Hollman/Heritage Park and now the Vikings. This is why I keep saying: you want real news, the truth, the straight stuff? Then subscribe also to the “alternative papers” like the Spokesman-Recorder and City Pages. Sunday, July 20, 2003, 7:55 p.m #30. Distraught Mother; A City in Denial; My Music Tracks about Minneapolis as Part of America the Beautiful”
As noted in #29 below, Children’s Hospital has verified that the baby has lead poisoning. The Federal Government and the State are now investigating. As they should be. But why now? How many more distraught mothers will we have to have before someone acts? You would have thought something would have happened when I gave the Strib this news two years ago (see #32 above), or that the NAACP would have acted on the information instead of relieving me of my position as Housing Chair and instead continue to cover it up. And you would think that the Mayor when he got the book last November would have acted. No, No, and No. None did. But I persist. I am confident. I have hope. Hence my work of the past 40 years. This is not the time to get angry and act up. It is time to keep on keepin on, to be positive, patient and persevere. Listen to my readings from my book over music tracks on this web site. Listen to my waving of a wonderful flag, the American Flag, a flag for Blacks and a flag for Whites. Do we have the country and government we would like? No, as it is always a work in progress. Do we have a country and government better than any other? Yes. Winston Churchill said that democracy is the messiest form of government, but still better than all the rest. And so I still believe in the ideals of America. I invite the Strib to believe. I invite the NAACP to believe. I invite the Mayor and the City Council to believe. I invite all to believe in them and to act on them, together, so we can clean up the existing Hollman/Heritage Park, prevent future ones, and bring all together on the common ground of enabling all equalaccess and equal opportunity in the good society we envision for all. Sunday, July 20, 2003, 8:58 p.m.
Blog #29. July 19, 2003: Lead poison verfied on the site of Hollman/Heritage Park.
In my July 16 column, I wrote about the toxicity of Hollman/Heritage Park. The first test results are back. As more details become available, they will be reported here. Watch daily. An 8 month old African American baby from Hollman/Heritage Park was diagnosed at Childrenís Hospital with lead poisoning. The doctors first thought it was from a home over 35 years old. No. It is from the brand new Hollman/Heritage Park, the environmental mine field I identified in Chapter 8 of my book and now finally, sadly, confirmed. This is the lead post of three posts today on this topic, with more explanations in the following two posts. Saturday, July 19, 2003, 2:05 p.m.
Blog #28. July 19, 2003: City, NAACP Fail Test as Protectors of Citizen Health and Safety, Offer Denials or Threats instead
Now we will find out what kind of city we are really in, whether actions of the past week are policy or aberations, and whether the Rybak administration will stand up for the 1st amendment or will continue to stiffle the 1st amendment. Your author and fellow concerned citizens were threatened when we were at Hollman/Heritage Park this week, and I quote: “we will blow you under the ground,” said a security guard under the employ of McCormick Baron, with his hand on his gun, with MPD standing by. And then the police wonder why they are not trusted. It is partially the cityís fault, as it doesnít trust its citizens. But we understood: the city, through its officials, told lies about us and our intentions to the armed security guards, to the Minneapolis Park Police and to the Minneapolis Police Department. McCormack Barron issued a statement stating that I lied in my current column regarding the environmental problem. The city official in charge, Ken Havey, told the Council Member in whose ward Hollman/Heritage Park resides, that it was not her job, none of her business, and told her that her need to know was when the problem was over and solved, “after I take care of it.” And his people threatened us. The NAACP, in the consent degree leading to Hollman/Heritage Park, is the plaintiff given responsibility to watch over the safety and health of the property.
They have shown no interest, even after my book came out. They are not only in denial, they are in a state of serious malfeasance. Three “rules”: are being followed by the City, McCormack-Barron, Ken Havey, and the NAACP. The first “rule” is: deny, deny, deny. The second “rule” is accuse, accuse, accuse. And the third “rule” is threaten, threaten, threaten. We expected this, for after all when you are caught red handed, people like this try to ride out the storm when they are exposed by denying, shifting the blame, and threatening. Now none of this about Hollman/Heritage Park and its environmental problems is “breaking news.” I covered it when I was Chair of the NAACP Housing Committee and in Chapter 8 of my book. No one can say they didnít know. Both the DFL and the NAACP should have come to the rescue long ago. Instead they collectively deny, accuse, and threaten. Now the political party to get involved is the Green Party. And the DFL still wonders why its members are gravitating out of the DFL. Star Tribune: are you listening? Why can we only trust City Pages and the Spokesman Recorder to cover in depth and with objectivity this kind of story but cannot trust the Star Tribune to do so? This is why in my book I urge people to subscribe to these “alternative” newspapers, where together more truth about Minneapolis resides than in all of the Star Tribune. We hope the Star Tribune will again cover the community in depth, accurately, and truthfully. This is the second of three posts on this topic today, including the one before and the next one. Saturday, July 19, 2003, 2:06 p.m.
Blog #27. July 19, 2003:How will the City respond to the Environmental Minefield of Hollman/Heritage Park: with a traditional response using political ideology or a modern response of sifting evidence?
In trying to understand what is going on, we can interpret the actions of the city as a tug of war between “the cult of dictatorship” and the “culture of the modernity” (terms taken from the title of an article in the July/August 2003 journal “Society,” by the renown social scientist Irwing Louis Horowitz (it is not on line). His thesis, and we see it proven in Minneapolis, is that we live in a world torn by the cult of ideology (another word for dictatorship, as ideology only admits one way of thinking, one way of acting) and the culture of modernity (another word for using the scientific method of gathering accurate evidence and then, with reason and analysis, evaluating without pre-judgment, how to interpret and act on that evidence). The environmental problem at Hollman/Heritage Park represents a momentous decision cross road for the city. The entire Hollman/Heritage Park saga, as written about in my columns and daily web log of this web site and in my book (Chapter 8), have screamed for a modern approach (evidence, not ideology) and has condemned the ideological approach (ideology regardless of race or religion or gender or orientation or budget or any other special interest working counter to what is best for the people). Evidence is evidence. Nonetheless, this is not the time to point fingers of blame (although there is plenty to throw around. We just have to remember that (1) for every one willing to point the finger at others there will be always be three pointing back at them, and (2) it is the goal we seek, restoring Hollman/Heritage Park, not punishing (as most of the damage was done on the watch of others, not those in charge now). But our current leaders, although they did not individually cause it, are part of a political party that did, and so rather than acknowledge it and act on it, rather than following the best that the physical sciences and social sciences have to offer in terms of evidence of what is and evidence about what might work in doing something about what is, they instead deny, accuse, and threaten. What should be done? In my book read Chapters 5 (seeking to bring about agreed to YESes and ending or preventing agreed upon NOs), 8 (housing in general and Hollman/Heritage Park in particular), and 17 (all the suggestions throughout the book briefly outlined in one place). It is all there for the taking. Who will take it? Star Tribune: are you listening? This is the third of three straight posts on this topic today. Saturday, July 19, 2003, 2:07 p.m.
Blog #26. July 19, 2003: Missing, lost or destroyed documents?
People have asked me about the documents I discussed in my July 16, 2002 column, regarding minutes of meetings the citizens group called the Nearside Implementation Committee held on July 21, 2000, August 18, 2000, October 20, 2000, February 9, 2001, May 11, 2001, September 21, 2001, and October 19, 2001. My response is that I am not alone, that despite all of the documents taken (shredded? hidden away?) by Jackie Cherryhomes from her office, leaving virtually none for her successor, as discussed many times in front page stories of the Spokesman-Recorder (and in my book), the silence of the Mayor, City Attorney, and all but one of the then City Council, remains deafening. Jackie may have tried to destroy or hide them. But if we have copies, such as documents used in my columns and web log, so too do others. How long before others with key documents come forth? I canít wait. And if they bring them to me Iíll be glad to write about them in my column and in my web log too. July 19, 2003, 4:30 a.m.
Blog #25. July 18, 2003: The NAACP Takes Its Eye Off The Prize in Miami.
People have asked me to comment on the NAACP Convention in Miami. It took a strange turn. “NAACP Takes Eye Off Prize” will soon appear in the “Solution Papers” section of this web site as my interpretation of the convention and how the NAACP has left behind the concept of the modern of sifting evidence and accepted the ideology of partisanship. Friday, July 18, 2003, 3:15 a.m.
Blog #24. July 17, 2003: Modern Sifting of Evidence Or Ideologically Disdaining Evidence: Education and testing
Ah me. The poor performance of teaching in our schools that is part of my education discussion in my book (Chapter 7), were reflected in the recent stories in the Star Tribune about schools not making the grade in the performance of their students. This is a teaching problem. The schools now say it is a parental problem. Tell me what employer would stand for the excuse of poor work performance as the home? Doing so destroys the whole modern notion of sifting evidence without partisanship or ideology. This is another fallout in the fight against standardized testing (opponents say it is unfair to Blacks, to women, to gays, to any other claiming to be slighted). How can we standardize testing in the schools, say “the concerned”, especially those who call themselves “educators” without offending any or all these groups? But the most pernicious is the cultural argument: Blacks and other non-Whites need different tests. Who benefits when we do away with standards? Not kids. Only teachers’ jobs and their unions. If there are no standards, there is no way to hold teachers accountable, who have now shifted all failures to learn to the home. The guilty du jour are now parents. But how can you have different tests regarding “2 + 2 = 4” or about “See Spot run”? Math and reading are not White or male oriented. Gravity and aerodynamics are not White or male hierarchical.
If 2 + 2 = 4, that is a standard that applies to all states, all schools, all races, all religions, all political parties, all genders, all orientations. When Islam, unrivaled in astronomy, chemistry and mathematics, declared a thousand years ago their new doctrine of “Taqlid,” a doctrine that said “no truth exists beyond that revealed in the Koran,” they banished their scholars, their men of science and evidence. We can see the results in the Middle East today and in Islam around the world. And the Chinese, a few years before Columbus, burned their ocean going vessels to the water line (they were five times bigger than those boats of Columbus) because they said there was “nothing beyond their Celestial Empire worthy of discovery” (to read more about this, see “The Death of Science” address at the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter Minnesota, in 1989). Shall we allow our modern day educational ideological mullahs condemn all that is not in what they consider to be their holy texts of multiculturalism and diversity? Math and science know no culture, know no diversity. Do we allow standards in testing to be dumbed down so there is nothing left to discover except the tenants of the groups battling to approve or disprove the tests (how to you dispute 2 + 2 = 4?). Has education not gotten to be too important to be left to educators, who rob the kids of learning, and continue the drift in education, especially for poor neighborhoods, away from the sciences to no science so that any “creative” answer will to? Do we allow the left and right to use their ideologies to dismiss evidence or do we establish standards based on the sifting of evidence and prevent ideology from dictating what is to happen? Thursday, July 17, 2003, 11:30 p.m.
Blog #23. July 16, 2003: Hollman/Heritage Park: An Environmental Minefield as well as a budget/race relations minefield
In my book and in my columns, we have written of Hollman/Heritage Park as an economic and race relations mine field (Chapter 8 of the book, and my July 16 column today). But my book also covers the project as an environmental minefield. From the book, p. 130: the original Hollman law suit was:
…about the living conditions and the toxic gasses (as the project, as so many in this country, was built on old brown fields, whether known by all involved or not; a brown field is land contaminated with toxins), seeking the dual goal of getting the toxic land cleaned up and getting new housing for those who lived there.
The displaced Blacks are being replaced by gentrifying Whites. Would they be so eager to buy if they knew they would be living on a Brown field that is still not cleaned up? We are talking especially about that part of Hollman/Heritage Park along the 700 block of Van White Memorial Blvd. I was removed from my post as Chairman of the Housing Committee of the NAACP for wanting to call hearings on Hollman. I was concerned then regarding the illness befalling those living there just as I am concerned by the outbreak of illness now, at the new Hollman, now called Heritage Park (as well as being concerned about where the money was going, as addressed in earlier web log entries and in my weekly column that also appears on this web site). What is bubbling up from the ground? Is it now time for a public hearing? I think so. Donít you? July 16, 2003, 8:50 a.m.
Blog #22: July 15, 2003: Support from Beacon on the Hill in Letter to the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor of Minneapolis
In light of the work we are all trying to do to resolve critical problems facing Minneapolis, it is heartening to know that my publisher has felt moved to send free copies of my book last week to each of our City of Minneapolis Council members, as well as to the Mayor, outlining it for them and listing both the recommendation in the book for Minneapolis the specific things that need to be changed if Minneapolis is to move forward into the future for the better. Beacon on the Hill Press’ letter is on this site under “Solution Papers” as Letter to City Council. July 15, 2003, 7:35 p.m.
Blog #21. July 14, 2003: Why Hollman? Am I obsessed?
People ask me why I keep dwelling on Hollman. Am I obsessed? No. Am I on a vendetta? No. We could also ask why good intentions are always questioned. Oscar Wilde has been quoted as saying “Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we don’t like.” The issue is not Ron Edwards. The issue is Hollman/Heritage Park. My concern is expressed on p. 129 of my book:
Housing is one of the Big Three of education, housing, and jobs/economic development. I seek equal access and equal opportunity for all. To repeat: To be self-reliant, people need an asset base. Without human, financial or physical capital, they cannot prosper. It starts with education (Chapter 7). It is manifested in housing (this chapter). It is enabled by jobs (Chapter 9). Minneapolis has and continues to systematically deny these to inner city poor, especially the Black inner city poor.
And as long as this is the case, I will continue to work to reverse it. July 14, 2003
Blog #20. July 13, 2003: NAACP: Mediate or Muddle?
People who are watching are asking me if the NAACP is participating in the mediation. I say Iím not at liberty to speak about it. They ask why they hear that either the NAACP doesnít show up or only stays a few minutes and then leaves. “Whatís with that?” Iím asked. Again, as I tell them, those of us participating in the mediation have been told not to discuss what happens behind the closed doors while the mediation is ongoing. I can report that Iím asked. I tell them to ask the NAACP what is with that. July 13, 2003
Blog #19. July 12, 2003: Whites and Blacks working together in Atlanta in the 60s. Why not in Minneapolis in the 2000s?
Learning more from the past can help us see into the future. We get a glimpse of what could be possible in Minneapolis by looking back at Atlanta. The July 14, 2003 Newsweek magazine (p. 11) marks the “transition” (Newsweekís euphemism for “death”) of three men over the past three weeks in Atlanta, (1) White businessman and integrationist Ivan Allen, Jr, who became Mayor of Atlanta in 1962, (2) Black integrationist Maynard Jackson, who became Atlantaís first Black mayor, in 1973, and (3) White segregationist Lester Maddox (who lost to Allen in 1962 but became Georgiaís governor in 1967; Maddox gained fame providing poor restaurant service to Blacks: he brandished an ax as he chased Blacks out of his lunch counter). Two remind us of our better natures. One reminds us of our worse natures. Two show that Times can change, positively, peacefully, without having to be “consumed by riots and defiance” to achieve change. Allen was “the descendant of a Confederate cavalryman,” Jackson was “the great-grandson of a slave” and Maddox embodied all that was wrong with the segregationist-Jim crow South. Allen and Jackson “embodied hope and pragmatism.” Allenís “enlightened leadership” helped Atlanta thrive “when the rest of the South, particularly Alabama and Mississippi, was consumed by riots and defiance.” Allen helped “[integrate] White lunch counters…embraced Martin Luther King, Jr.” and ushered in “the Braves, Falcons and Hawks.” We remember Allen in the 60s making possible Jackson in the 70s, and the future that followed. We hope such enlightened leadership becomes part of the hall mark of Minneapolis in the 2000s, as well. Minneapolis owes itself hope and pragmatism, not defiant riots. July 12, 2003
Blog #18. July 11, 2003: Support from Beacon on the Hill Press to the NAACP
In light of action of the local branch of the NAACP (see Blog entry below #7), it is heartening to know that my publisher has recommended my book and work for recognition by the NAACP at its national convention that begins tomorrow, July 12, in Miami, and runs through July 15. Whether they respond or not is not as important as is the support Iím offered by my publisher and that they recognize the work we are doing in Minneapolis. Their letter to the NAACP is on this site under “Solution Papers.” July 11, 2003
Blog #17. July 10, 2003: Mediation as Independent Interdependence or as Genuflection to the Plantation Masters?
Because of questions asked of me about the membership of the mediation group and how it is to be formed, as briefly discussed below in Blog Entry #14 below, more detail is provided here to further clarify for those who are not clear yet on what it is and how it is to be done. BOTH the city AND the community are to appoint/elect their own representatives to mediation, as seen in Department of Justice document called “The US Dept. of Justice Community Relations Services Fact Sheet” and “Ground rules for Mediation” that the DoJ gave to the city and to the community participants to explain what this arm of the DoJ does as: “a specialized conciliation services available to state and local officials to help prevent and resolve racial and ethnic conflicts, violence, and civil disorder.” Here is the money quote: “CRC requires selection by both sides of independent membership in representation.”
This document, handed out to the city and our group in November of last year can be obtained from us, the city, or the Department of Justice. Despite the “confusion” in the minds of some that the city should appoint both sides, this is not so. And this is not really about confusion (me thinks that those who say so protesteth too much). This is, instead, clearly about trying to grab power, as any good Plantation Master would do. They would have you believe it is a city venture, and that we should feel lucky that they are talking to us. That is their fiction. We are the citizen tax payers. We know better, just as the City knows better and just as the Justice Department has told them this. It is a community venture. It is both/and NOT either/or, although either or both can request it. In the case of Minneapolis today, it was the community who requested and the city which long tried to avoid it in order to deny us our citizenship and keep us in their perception of what “our place” is. When the city felt it could avoid mediation no longer, it sought to control the selection process of who it would mediate with, hoping, essentially, by doing so, to mediate with itself. Logic would suggest how wrong that is. But you have to admire their attempt to so nakedly grab the power, even if, in doing so, the City has shown that the Emperor wears no clothes. We canít achieve mediation without collaboration. But there is nothing to collaborate with or mediate about if one side picks both sides of the table. This is why the Department of Justice has set up its mediation process as noted above. The City ONLY selects those to represent the city. The City is NOT to select NOR to attempt to influence who represents the community. In other words, the Minneapolis fox wants to be put in charge of guarding the community hen house in opposition to DoJ rules. The community knows better. So does the city. Now you, dear reader, know better also. Only the city can answer why it wants to so often demonstrate its naked grabs for power even while the city is, in the process, clearly seen to be wearing no clothes. A good way to look at mediation as a way of conflict resolution is the Chart below in Blog entry #13. July 10, 2003
Blog #16. July 9, 2003: Medgar Evers and Leon N. Weiner: Celebrating fairness and justice for all
Learning from the past. 20 years ago, Medgar Evers, a Black civil rights activist, was assassinated by a White man. We want to pause to remember his work. His wife reminds us that he worked for fairness and justice for all people, Black and White. Letís also pair remembering Medgar with remembering the passing last year of Leon Weiner, a White man who pioneered affordable housing for minorities and the poor (where Levitt after World War II pioneered it only for Whites in the famous Levittowns). Weiner proved it can be done for minorities as well. Where is the Minneapolis company that will do it for Minneapolis? It is Weinerís company we should be talking to rather than McCormick Baron or McKinsey (the latter being the consulting firm that advised Enron and Global Crossing, among others that have had accounting scandals, and which has advised Minneapolis to consolidate all its housing agencies). We pause to celebrate the lives of these men, Evers and Weiner, a Black man and a White man, both of whom fought for integration and equal access, equal opportunity for all people, men who understood fairness and justice as being for all people, not just for Blacks and not just for Whites, and whose lives actually walked the talk rather than merely talked the walk. They lived their words. Who in Minneapolis will honor them by living their words of fairness and justice and affordable housing for all people? July 9, 2003
Blog #15. July 8, 2003: Riots or Rebellion? Or Mediation and Negotiation? Get angry or get along? Dependent, independent, or interdependent?
In light of recent articles in both the Star Tribune and the Spokesman Recorder, it is important that we understand that our position is NOT the one that suggests that riots and rebellion are the way for Blacks to get their point across and make progress. The position I hold to is the opposite, one that is articulated in my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” and that is that we need to mediate and negotiate, not riot and ruin. We are interdependent with each other not independent of each other and no one group of citizens should not treat other citizens as dependent on them. To us it is quite clear that riot and rebellion have never gotten anything, and that to succeed we must be at the table to negotiate with the powers, for, as citizens, we are already guaranteed a seat at the table. In these same news papers I am quoted making this point. This is clearly stated in the subtitle of Chapter 16 of my book: “Unrest, Disturbance: The Status Quo Price Minneapolis is Willing to Pay.” Let us not give some of the police what they want: an excuse to use their night sticks and rubber bullets to force us back in what they consider to be “their place.” We need neither riot nor rebellion. We need to get along. We need to mediate our differences. We need to make forward progress for all citizens. We are mediating, not demanding. We are merely asking that the civil rights laws already on the books be enforced. We need to push for participation. We are interdependent, not dependent. See also entry #13 below for a diagram on why we should collaborate: it is the best way to get win-win for everyone. July 8, 2003, 12:10 am
Blog #14. July 7, 2003: Mediation structure: according to Hoyle, as the Feds set it up, or by Dilbert, as the city has set it up?
The fact sheet in the previous entry by the Department of Justice shows that the rules are clear. It states that the mediation is to be conducted “by representative negotiating groups, each of which typically consist of 3-5 members, who are expected to participate in all negotiations. Each group is expected to represent the interests and concerns of its membership or parent body in seeking a negotiated settlement. Final authority to approve agreement must rest with the larger membership or parental body.” The federal mediator, Patricia Glenn, thus made it clear that one of the ground rules is that neither side can impose terms or membership on the other side. Clearly, the city has violated this. This is all predicated on Title X of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation and statute that governs this is 42USC2000G. Thus, the city has been way off base in the way it has attempted to dictate the process and who does and does not participate from the community. July 7, 2003, 8:19 p.m.
Blog #13. July 4, 2003: A 4th of July Meditation: Mediation as Collaboration and Interdependence, not conflict
In our mediation activity with the city, we seek not to have the city accommodate to us or vise versa, as that means one side loses. And unlike the city, we do not seek to avoid mediation (despite the cityís gallant efforts to avoid us), for with avoidance both lose, although the city defines that as a win for them. We are not in competition with the city, seeking to control them (nor do we feel it wise for the city to try to control any of its citizens in a free democracy). And we are not seeking to compromise, to give a little, get a little, for to settle on fewer unwarranted beatings and fewer unwarranted deaths is not the goal, nor should it be, as the goal should be NO unwarranted beatings, NO unwarranted deaths. We seek true resolution of the difficulties through collaboration with the city and with the police department so that the police department truly serves all the people. We expect there will be warranted beatings and warranted deaths. We also expect an end to UNwarranted beatings and Unwarranted deaths. Here is a chart that illustrates this.
For more on this, see 16 Models for Conflict Resolution and Mediation. July 4, 2003, 1:00 a.m.
Blog #12. July 3, 2003: Holmann/Heritage Park: turning dirt or turning paper?
How can dirt be turned to develop this land on the North side of Olson Highway at the corner of Aldridge (the so-called Phase I-A) if the money has been spent and the developer, McCormick Barron, is demanding yet more money? Where are the 120 units the $7.5 million was supposed to build? Where is the money? What happened to the $10 million bond, the Hope 6 and other monies? And what about the two parcels of land that are supposed to be part of Holmann/Heritage Park for which the money was supposed to be used to purchase land that is still not yet owned by the project? Where did that money go? July 3, 2003 11 p.m.
Blog #11. July 2, 2003: Mediation as Not Unique to Minneapolis, An Example from Alabama
There are many sites on the web that discuss police - community mediation. Here is a site (click on site), from Alabama, that is a real treasure trove of information, reports, and facts about police brutality around the country. Great outline, great sets of rules. Here is part of the table of contents outlining the heart of what it reports. July 2, 2003 9 A.M.
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.
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.
Home | 2003 Columns » | All Columns » | 2003 Blogs »