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2003 Blog Entries
September ~ Entries #118 - #162

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Blog #162. September 30, 2003: Is learning personal or collectivist, and measured in student performance or school budget?

It has been the contention of “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” that our Minneapolis story is also the story of inner cities across this country. In my Chapter 7, on education, kids are referred to as being like baby seals being clubbed into inferiority and helplessness. Instead we need to teach skills, optimism, and hope. And I’ve laid out some suggestions for how to do so in Chapter 17 of my book and in the Seven Solutions Solution Paper on this web site. Society offers a minimum wage. In Chapter 7 of my book I write about society offering only a minimum education. Indeed, courts in New York City ruled they were obligated “only to provide a minimally adequate opportunity,” an “opportunity” that was defined as an eighth grade education. This attitude is in Minneapolis also, as only 17% of Black males graduate from Minneapolis high schools (p. 120 of my book). What we are finding out is that our city only offers inner city kids a minimum education. “Beat the odds” schools (see p. 122 of my book) means they are bad to begin with and that success comes not as a byproduct of the system but despite it, that they have beaten the odds of not getting a good education. Here’s the kicker: regarding fourth grade literacy in America, as noted in my Chapter 7: 63% of African American fourth graders are illiterate, 58% of Hispanic.

It was announced last week that Bill Gates is giving New York City $51 million to help create smaller high schools. BUT: New York City spent more that $12 billion on its public schools last year, up from $10.6 billion in 2000 and $8 billion in 1997, a 50% increase. AND: the teaching staff today of 90,000 does what 35,000 did far better 50 years ago for roughly the same number of students. YET: half of this year’s freshman class in New York City is not expected to graduate in four years (a number that is unchanged in a decade). So it is not surprising that 40% of the city’s schools, including most of the middle schools, don’t meet federal standards. And in Washington D.C., the nation’s capital? It spends $12,046 per student, highest in the nation, yet only 10% of D.C. fourth graders and 9% of D.C. eighth graders read at grade level, and only 10% of D.C. eighth graders can write at grade level and only 6% of D.C. 4th and 8th graders can perform math at grade level. The U.S. Senate is saying no to a voucher program offering $7,500 vouchers to let parents have choice to send their kids to private or parochial schools (see Blog #113 below) that the Senators have for themselves but deny to the citizens.

It took the Russians decades to realize that collectivized farming was a terrible idea: Lenin said he would rather everyone in Russia die of hunger than allow free trade in grain. How many of our kids have to be clubbed before we recognize that collectivized education is just as bad and that we need free trade in education too? Or, for Blacks, to “keep them in their place,” is this what is desired (the racism bit)? Side note: no U.S. Senator sends his or her kids to the D.C. public schools. Having said that, why, then do U.S. Senators want to keep poor kids trapped in bad schools? Seattle: some years ago, Seattle hired a non-educator, a retired general, to clean up its failing school system. He had no academic credentials. He succeeded. Minneapolis: if, as it has been said, that war is too important to be left to the military, perhaps education is too important to be left to educators. As I write in my book, p. 119: “As a school system goes, so goes a city.” The examples here show that no one, especially educators, have a monopoly on a solution although education as currently constituted continues to short change minorities, especially Blacks and Hispanics, with the latest excuse being its the parents of the kids fault. Thus I write, on p. 119: “The reality is that only education on one end and jobs on the other end can save the city, something which is not accepted nor appreciated by either the City or the schools’ controlling body, the teacher unions, based on how they have allowed education to go downhill for minorities in the inner city, just as they have allowed it to go uphill in terms of pay, benefits, and retirement in the suburbs.”

As I wrote on p. 119 (which is still true, which is why the book is as relevant today as it was the day it was published): “The struggle for schools to succeed is not about who is in charge but about loosing poverty’s grip on the wards where the schools are.”

The polar bears of the suburbs get theirs. The baby seals of the city get clubbed. We need our school system to be led by leaders who will declare equality of access and opportunity for all, not just for suburban Whites. Our kids are being clubbed by those who are supposed to teach them. Why should those who gave us this apartheid system (see pp. 122-123 of my book) be allowed to be in charge? Our schools are not the product of bad parents. They are the product of bad DFL education policies. Even more disgraceful is that the NAACP supports the status quo. As I conclude my education chapter, p. 126: “will we continue to lead the nation in showing how to club our Black kids or will we lead the nation to demonstrate how to give them as good an education as the suburban schools?”

Learning is personal, not collectivist. And history has shown us that money spent on adult educators and bureaucrats will not make kids learn. So who heads up education is not as important as what they will be taught and how it will be taught. The school leader should be someone who will pledge to (1) work for the Common YESes and against the common NOs as listed on pp. 100-102 and 302-303 of my book, and pledge to (2) give a fair hearing to and discussion of the education solutions section of my Seven Solution areas listed in the Solution Papers section of this web site. But before the Superintendent can do that, the Board must make that commitment first. Wouldn’t you agree? And if not, why not?

Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 7:28 a.m.

Blog #161. September 29, 2003: NAACP: Rescuing the Seals or Joining in the Clubbing of the Seals?

The PPS Superintendent controversy continues to stir the passions over. As I wrote yesterday, that’s not really the issue. The issue, as I discuss in my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” Chapter 7, is education in the Minneapolis Public Schools in terms of how well the kids are educated, in terms of how many are “at grade level.” Whether White or Black, male or female, liberal or conservative, DFL or Republican, it hasn’t mattered much who has been Superintendent, as the results in terms of the kids have been the same: The school system, for Blacks in the inner city, has been corrupt and racist, as reflected in my chapter subtitles: “Poor Schools for Poor Kids to Keep them Poor: Clubbing the Cubs into Inferiority and Helplessness.” And thus I pleaded “Stop the Clubbing and Teach Skills, Optimism, and Hope.” Now we have a leadership change again. But what is being debated? Education? No. Performance of kids? No. Reducing the illiteracy of our kids, where, in America, 63% of Black fourth graders and 58% of Hispanic 4th graders are illiterate? No, not at all. Debated is political party, education certification, and color. How can they say any given candidate is or is not qualified when the evidence suggests that, from the standpoint of outcomes, none have been qualified (White or Black, male or female, DFL or Republican) if we judge by outcomes? The issue is not who gets the baton of the education orchestra, but what music is going to be played. Before we debate the who we need to debate the what and the how. But I don’t reprimand without suggesting a solution. I offer solutions in my book (Chapters 7 and 17) and have expanded on those in my “7 Solutions” piece posted on my web site’s Solution Papers section. Without a discussion of outcomes, the current debate won’t make a difference. Let’s not put the cart before the horse. When the national NAACP held its hearing earlier this month to find out why the local NAACP under Rev. Gallmon kicked me out and banned me from the NAACP, the local branch said much of it was because of what I wrote in my book. When asked what I wrote Rev. Gallmon couldn’t answer and had to take a ten minute recess to have aides provide him with passages, which, when he read them, the audience responded positively, in agreement with what I wrote. And many of the Black leadership of this town told its members a year ago not to buy or read my book. This is not leadership. This is a plantation mentality (some what a Plantation run by Whites, other by Blacks; take your pick; the process is the same). We need to have an open and honest discussion of the issues. We need to get away from the who and ask what and how. We need to stop fearing open dialogue. How can we ask to be listened when we won’t listen to each other? Is it any wonder we don’t make a difference? Until such time as we are willing to listen to each other, starting with the suggestions I’ve laid out, why will “the powers” feel they have to listen to us? Clearly it won’t make a difference who is Superintendent, as far as Black kids in the inner city are concerned, as the clubbing will continue as long as the Black community doesn’t stand up to the clubbing. Again, lets discuss the issues in my Chapter 7 and in my 7 Solutions paper, for if its going to be the same ‘ol same ‘ol, we are wasting our time. It has been said that war is too important to be left to the military. Maybe education is too important to be left to the educators. Certainly my book outlines in chapter after chapter that the city is too important to have been left to a single party and it’s elected, appointed, and hired officials.

Monday, September 29, 2003, 12:15 a.m.

Blog #160. September 28, 2003: Hollman: Clean Bill of Health or Health Cleaning Bill?

On Thursday, September 25, 2003, The Minneapolis City Council passed a bill authorizing $1.2 million to Bassett Creek Valley, which is the creek behind OIC and across the street from Hollman/Heritage Park and the site of the next phase of Hollman/Heritage park. How, given the clean bill of health a month ago does it now require a clean-up bill of $1.2 million? Or is this intended for the area of the new Ball Park Village that is to run along Bassett Ceek just west of the Target Center and their planned 2,000 new homes and neighborhood shops there?

Sunday, September 28, 2003, 4:22 p.m.

Blog #159. September 28, 2003: Local control of education or just control of the locals?

Leaders of the African American Community held a press conference Friday to denounce the appointment of David Jennings as the new Minneapolis School Superintendent. Once again the focus settles on the concept of “respect” for the adults involved when in fact the focus should be the respect shown to students. To rally against this decision on the grounds of the lack of community input and involvement in the decision misses the mark (especially when the previous Superintendent, a Black woman, was also hired without a national search and without public input). There are really only three issues. All the rest is political posturing. The issues are local control, educational outcomes, and the process for dealing with the performance or lack thereof. Before we can know who the right person is we have to have the right process. This process clearly reflects the title of Chapter 7 of my book: “The Corrupt and Racist Education System.” The announcement of a search that is cancelled by an announcement done without notice shows not only the corrupt nature of the process but a disrespect for the Black community (not the so-called leadership, whatever that is, but the community). Perception is sometimes more damaging that reality. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the state requirement of certain academic credentials for the position, that is still not the issue: the system is. Having said that, the system, which created rules, owes the community an answer to its questions when it decides not change the rules. In other words, when did the state receive and authorize the waiver regarding having academic credentials? Who made the application? Who granted it? And why?

And we have the Open Meetings Law. The tradition in America is to have schools responsive to local control. Over the past four decades this has become little more than a charade as the control has been usurped by the state and federal governments. To have 70% of the students be of color and yet not involve the communities of color is an affront that goes beyond the notion of pettyness on our part as Blacks. It goes to the heart of the plantation system of education (and the “irony” is not lost on me that these same groups have often gone along with supporting bad education policy as long as there was something in it for them or as long as there was a Black in charge. My interest is not the adults involved but the kids). It reminds me of Senator George McGovern’s asking the Black leaders at the 1972 national Democratic Party convention to gather to discuss and provide input as to who should be the Vice Presidential choice. And while they gathered to discuss it the announcement was made on TV as to who McGovern had selected. This is not being thin skinned (although it does provide another example to how easy it is for some to sell out and others to just be suckered by attention). This is not unfairly or incorrectly playing the race/racist card. This is recognizing the deliberate and intentional exclusion of the Black community (they have always gone along before, so why would they protest now, unless it was because this time there is no payoff for the “leaders”). Would this happen in the White community? Do not suburban school boards discuss who will be their superintendent with those who are the majority there, Whites? The statistics in my book show how poorly the schools have served our children, whether with Black or White Superintendents. What is at issue is not the credentials of the new superintendent (the outgoing Black superintendent backed the decision) but the credibility credentials of the state and city in the process and the credentials of the school system in teaching our kids how to read and write and do math at grade level. This entire process smacks of one more attempt to keep local control out in order to control the locals, typical of apartheid systems. It used to be a capital offense to teach Blacks how to read and write or for them to learn. We find it offensive to our kids and our future that the school system continues to greatly underperform in its mission to teach and provide learning. That is the key issue. Academic credentials aside, we want to know the credentials of commitment to reversing the abysmal failure of the MPS system to teach our young. Let’s face the truth: something is wrong with the theories that have been used in education given the results we have to day. These theories have been corrosive and destructive to both our children and our communities. The notion of “liberation” for young Black children in the schools is still a dream. Let’s make the dream a reality. So tell us, school board, how will you turn it around so that the majority of Blacks achieve grade level, not just the majority of Whites? I asked this in my book. I’m still asking it.

Sunday, September 28, 2003, 4:22 p.m.

Blog #158. September 28, 2003: February 2002: RT Rybak plays snake in the Garden with Minneapolis’ Black Ministers

Snakes are great at making promises and even greater at not keeping them. Mayor Rybak has some real snake oil to sell last February. He talked about bringing a Black in at the senior level when all the while he had cut a deal with the Federation to can Olson and replace him with Lucy Gerold. His selective memory is such that he never talks about the meetings he had with high ranking Black officers. And now we see the slithering again as both Lucy Gerold and Sharon Lubinski are again meeting with Black officers, as they tell them how much they need their support and work in the community, and that they are the person for the Chief’s job and there will be something in it for them if they get their support and win the position.

Sunday, September 28, 2003, 4:22 p.m.

Blog #157. September 28, 2003: The plan for no plan. Hiding behind the skirts of the “budget crunch” to crunch hiring of Black police officers

Let’s be clear: the city of Minneapolis has no plan to increase Black hiring in the police department. Indeed, the same ‘ol same ‘ol is to keep the old plantation plan: hire as few as they can get away with and hope attrition reduces the ranks “naturally.” There are currently just 46 African Americans in this department, 42 males, 4 females, out of nearly 860. This is another example of how “diversity” in definition dilutes Black participation and continues the real plan, deferring the Black dream, as the “minority” hires of significance are women, that is, White women.

Sunday, September 28, 2003, 4:22 p.m.

Blog #: 156. September 28, 2003The Rhetoric of the RT Rybak Campaign: Safe Streets a high concern, was merely rhetorical, a flourish for votes and a signal to Whites that Blacks would be clamped down on.

In the campaign, the rhetoric was about his concern for diversity, more minority hiring, etc. It was Mayor Rybak’s clever way to criticize what Chief Olson was or was not doing, which was easy to do as there was plenty of blame to go around. But he has had nearly two years, now, and yet nothing has changed numbers wise. Instead, he is falling back on “budget crunch” and to make the governor the bad guy. But Governor Pawlenty doesn’t run the City of Minneapolis. RT Rybak and the city council do, and what they have been doing is giving basic lip service to Black hiring of police, at best.

Sunday, September 28, 2003, 4:22 p.m.

Blog #155. September 28, 2003: Hey Community Grow Man (or is that just a tambourine you play on?)

Paul Harvey talks about “the rest of the story.” In the same vein, we wonder why Doug Grow of the Strib no longer writes much about “the rest of the community.” For instance, when the State troopers descended upon us recently for the first time in 10 years (see Blog entry #s 74, 81, 87, and 118), they had fewer Blacks on the force than a decade ago. Why not write about all the money and grand ideas that combine in all the Homeland Security money. Where is that money going? Is it going to protect just the Whites? What is the plan for the full community.

Sunday, September 28, 2003, 4:22 p.m.

Blog #154. September 27, 2003: Taking care not to revise the past so the truth needed for tomorrow doesn’t get tossed out too: It was White actions that led to the decline of Black neighborhoods, not Black actions. Think four words: urban renewal and freeways.

At a recent meeting in the Jordan community, Don Sammuels (on Jim Mork’s web site, states that it was the riots of the 60s (by Blacks) that caused the disintegration of the Black neighborhoods (in other words, they did it to themselves). Don, sincere in his belief is also sincerely wrong. Don came in 1977, so I’m happy here to provide historical perspective. One of the few advantages of being older (and there are few advantages) is that one can comment on events of history that one lived through that others only discuss from filters of others, the latter also often not present. Don said that before the 1960s, the neighborhood capacity was lost by the flight of residents due to the riots. This is patently false. Not a lie, just false, one of the many urban legends used to blame the victims. Let’s be clear: the decline in the economic base did not happen because of the riots of the 60s but because of urban renewal. We must take care not to revise history to shape our own personal and/or political needs, for then we won’t be addressing what is. The economic base had already been destroyed before the riots by urban renewal, starting in the mid-1950s. By 1959, Black businesses (of which there were many and certainly far more than exist today) were wiped out by urban renewal/highways. We did NOT destroy our own community. It was White policy that again helped defer the dream. What was destroyed by the riots in the 60s were businesses owned by Whites as there basically were no Black businesses left. So what does Don speak of, his experiences in Jamaica before he came here in 1977 (or thereabouts) and what reflects his experiences here? I would be delighted to sit down with him to discuss these things, although, as mentioned before, I provide a very complete historical picture in my book.

Saturday, September 27, 2003, 2:44 a.m.

Blog #153. September 26, 2003: Call To The Minneapolis Black Churches: Become Apart Of The Solution Again, And Give Up Being Part Of The Problem. Be People Of Solution And Resolution To No Longer Defer The Dream So We Can Achieve The Prize.

People have asked me to explain my emphasis in my book on The Golden Rule with my comment in a Spokeman-Recorder interview in its issue of 11-6-02, that “I’m a person of disbelief.”

I see no contradiction. As I stated in the 11-6-02 Spokesman-Recorder interview:

I don’t play games, I don’t go to church. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t raised in the church; I have great respect for it…But I maintain that you only pass this way once. And to pass this way and leave nothing and to do nothing, I think is the greatest insult that you do to yourself as a being and whatever spirit it is that you reach out to.

Indeed, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, it was the “good people” and the “priests” that passed by on the other side that were the problem. I would love to work with the churches. The problem is that they don’t want to work with me, let alone follow the Golden Rule. I believe the churches would be able, as they were in a former era, to involve themselves in the life of their communities to achieve something transformative for people spiritually and community wise, if they served our people and not their sense of being a part of the local political establishment in general and the DFL in particular. Loyalty to party is wonderful. But not when the party is not loyal to them. Even when the establishment fought us and tried to hold us back in education, jobs, housing, etc., the church, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so ably showed us, was there for us. But where is it for us today?

Today, too many ministers and their churches have become part of the problem rather than the solution. Indeed, when my book came out, the Black Ministers Association/Leadership Forum condemned my book, primarily because of what they thought it said. From the hearings held by the national NAACP earlier in September in Minneapolis, we learn that most have never read the book they rail against. Therefore, I urge them to read the book. As I said a year ago in the 11-6-02 Spokesman-Recorder interview: “One of the things that was insisted upon was that we had to authenticate everything, so that when people get ready to be critical or to attack or praise the book, that you can authenticate that which has taken place.”

I can authenticate. They cannot. So they ban the book without reading it. As I also said in the 11-6-02 interview:

But the book is also a teaching instrument. Particularly in the latter part of the book, I talk about solutions and resolutions. Everybody maintains that—and this is one of the criticisms that has emerged far too often for Black America (and it’s used also as a race card, if you will)—that we bitch and complain and ‘never got no solutions.’ I’ve seen many. I’ve seen many authors in this country—Cornell West and others. Men of solution and resolution.”

The book is available to be used, especially by young people, as one of these solutions. The book is also a resource for getting information that might not otherwise be available. Any church wishing to buy the book in bulk for a study group may do so at a special price of $10 each for orders of 20 or more. And for $25/participant, including the book, Beacon on the Hill Press will hold 6 hour seminars on the book and the solutions in the book, for groups of 20 or more (or less participants but fee for 20 is the minimum, even with less people). Beacon can be reached through the web site.

Friday, September 26, 2003, 10:36 a.m.

Blog #152. September 25, 2003: The Bill of Rights were signed September 25, 1789, 214 years ago today.

Where would we be without the Constitution’s Bill of Rights? Under the thumb of the state. Without the Bill of Rights, we’d have few freedoms beyond the freedom to obey the state. Indeed, sixteen of the fifty-five delegates refused to sign the Constitution without the Bill of Rights added, including Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams. Kings can have constitutions. Abuses around he world are done under Constitutions. Most don’t have a Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights limits the powers of the Federal Government. Let us not forget that the govenment thus exists to serve the people, not the people to serve the government.

Thursday, September 25, 2003, 3:12 a.m.

Blog #151. September 25, 2003: Have the Democrats no Shame?

On September 18, 2003, the Rev. Jesse Jackson campaigned in California, with Gray Davis, against the recall election and campaigned for California Governor Gray Davis. After Mr. Jackson introduced the governor, Mr. Davis thanked him by calling him “the strongest voice on civil rights in my lifetime, with the possible exception of Dr. King.” Possible? There is doubt? Is this how far the Democrats have slid from Nellie Stone Johnson? Jesse Jackson never paid the price in thinking nor in action to be equal to Dr. King. Dr. King dreamed the dream. Jesse Jackson is one who helps defer the dream. I can appreciate and understand why Jesse does what he does. But for a White Democratic Governor to make this claim shows the Democrats have no shame and will pander even more than Jesse does. Now they want to dilute the dream maker King by equating him with the dream stealer Jackson (a preacher who “gets his” by extorting money from corporations and hobnobbing with foreign tyrants). The “possible” is that he has possibly done more to ruin the image and face of Black Americans than anyone else by urging our young men to see themselves as victims rather than victors, as unable rather than able, as unqualified or unqualifyable rather than qualified and qualifyable. Dr. King left us with a living civil rights legacy. Jesse Jackson leaves only his own legacy of profligacy. Dr. King dreamed for all of us. Jesse dreams for himself. Dr. King had Whites believing it was OK for Blacks to be like them, ambitious and striving to get ahead, whereas Jesse has Whites yearning for the time when Blacks were passive, seeing, through Jesse, ambitious Blacks as violent and not to be trusted.

Thursday, September 25, 2003, 3:10 a.m.

Blog #150. September 24, 2003: Minority Police Officers: Another Version of the Dream Deferred

How many times have we all heard the salesman soften us up by asking us about our concerns about what we have that we want to replace (is not a new model almost always sold to us as newer is better?). But experience is not like metal fatigue. Time may wear a machine down but time is what makes all of us better at what we do. And yet that siren song of the new, the transformed, the changed, always draws us. And so too did RT Rybak to the senior Black police officers when he was a candidate: just talk to me about your concerns about the mayor, let me know how things could be better. This expressed “concern” got him information, sincerely expressed, that was then turned into flame throwers that he used to burn the mayor during the debates. And since he was elected? He won’t give them the time of day. They can’t get a meeting with them. I don’t know about you but I know what kind of message that sends the rest of the police force, and it sends an obvious message to those sitting silenced in the police-community mediation sessions. Even when passed in the hall and stopped to be reminded of the attempts to see him, he responds “innocently” about having to check his schedule and getting right back to them, and then doesn’t. Devious? Cowardly? Doesn’t care? Take your pick. What do you think it is? How would you interpret that treatment if it was directed at you? How is it helping city hall/police relations? How is it helping the mediation between police and community? And how is it helping relations between Black and White police officers?

Wednesday, September 24, 2003, 2:45 a.m.

Blog #149. September 24, 2003: Police – Community Mediation: Another Version of the Dream Deferred

Confidentiality now has a new name: stilting. Transparency is lost, communications are prevented, and the process can drag on seemingly forever, as the high sounding concept of confidentiality works for the side that doesn’t want to cooperate or work with the other side, as no information is allowed out to enable everyone else to follow what is going on. 1st amendment rights have many ways of being waived. Mediation should not be one of them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003, 2:46 a.m.

Blog #148. September 17, 2003: Where should police live? In the city or outside the city? A curious thought. Or maybe not. Maybe there is merit here. It would certainly provide the ultimate in accountability. Is it place of residency or place of of priorities of performance results that count?

There is a curious debate going on suggesting that all police officers, and certainly the chief, should live inside Minneapolis so they would have a stake in their community and somehow provide better service. Why? Is professionalism now something proven only by place of residence? By this logic, all teachers and public school administrators should live in the city. Indeed, they should live in the neighborhoods of the schools in which they work and their kids should go to those schools. And, of course, the real powers of Minneapolis, the bureaucrats who cook up the rules and regulations not thought of by the state legislature or city council, should also ALL live inside the city where the consequences of their work unfold. Hey! On second thought, that’s a great idea. Let’s have ALL city workers live in the city if they are to draw a salary AND lets mandate that they all must spend the first five years of their retirement also living in the city. Can you imagine how great the city would become, overnight, if the services they mandate and execute are the same ones they receive? That would be the ultimate in accountability, would it not? But then, we’d be a dictatorship. The real issue is accountability. The frustration at its lack drives the residency proponents. What they should be driven by is performance accountability, for in the end, it won’t be the residence that counts but the professional performance and the results measured against what the policy makers claim will happen if their policies are followed. When we turn to the Seven Solution areas in my book and hold our professionals accountable in them (education, jobs, housing, public safety, safe environment, governing, ethics), then, and only then, will these be areas of pride for all rather than pride for some while shame for others. It is not place of residence that counts but performance and the place in [MISSING TEXT!!!]

Wednesday, September 17, 2003, 2:30 a.m.


Blog #138. September 16, 2003: Community oriented web sites can be of enormous help to our neighborhoods, in terms of resources, ideas, programs, ways to set and achieve goals, etc. These resources originated in Philadelphia and are for America’s neighborhoods nationwide.

These resources should be reviewed to see what applies that could help our Minneapolis neighborhoods. These resources are the result of the work of Ed Schwartz and the Institute for the Study of Civic Values that he founded in 1973. He is the pioneer in America in using the Internet for community based groups. These are their web sites:

Our aim is to provide fast access to information and ideas covering all aspects of neighborhood revitalization, as well as to create a national network of activists and people in government working on problems that affect us where we live. If you want to become part of our network, subscribe to the build-com listserv that we have created to support neighborhood activism and empowerment. Build-com gives you direct access to hundreds of organizations, government agencies, and researchers working on the problems and issues that we address through Neighborhoods Online. We are indebted to the William Penn Foundation and the Surdna Foundation for the support provided to develop Neighborhoods Online.

From here, you can use the searchable list archives ( to access exchanges on specific problems. You can also learn about the build-com participating organizations, their programs, and the materials we find useful in our work from the other links here. Finally, as they say on this site: If you are active in a non-profit organization, business, or government agency that is working to strengthen neighborhoods, we invite you to use the form below to subscribe to build-com. When you’re done, click “Contact Us” to email us this information.

For Tuesday, September 16, 2003, posted 9-15-03, 9:30 p.m.

Blog #137. September 15, 2003: Another example of the city-DFL-national trough

For those of us concerned about fiscal health, Hollman is merely a symbol of a bad trend in government that tends to get worse, not better. It no longer seems to matter who is in charge, the DFL or the GOP, as the results are the same: bigger trough, more pigs. This is an issue that we, as concerned citizens, need to unite behind regardless of our party affiliations or leanings. What messed the Hollman monies up was the expectation of doing trough business as usual. For instance, in Secretary Russell’s letter that I discuss in my September 10 column, he points out that “in February of this year, Congress, in HUD’s FY2003 appropriations legislation, Public Law 108-7, enacted a provision that significantly altered the manner in which Section 8 voucher funds are distributed to housing authorities.” And the city, so used to its collusion with HUD, essentially ignored this. I heard a wonderful phase about an attribute that fits the city and individuals involved in this. It is a phrase from the 19th century literary critic Matthew Arnold that describes this attribute of the DFL and the local branch of the NAACP: that they have a “passionate, turbulent, indomitable reaction against the despotism of fact.” In other words, facts don’t matter, their minds are already made up. The Russell letter had a cover letter from HUD’s trial attorney, Harold J. Rentton, who indicates that despite trying to work with Minneapolis, the Minneapolis response was to ignore HUD (sometimes one party foolishly does this when the other party comes to power, which is not very smart, as this has nothing to do with party but with Minneapolis people, and so our paid government workers, regardless of party, should rise above this). The law was changed regarding how Section 8 voucher funds are to be distributed to housing authorities. The new folks have picked up on the fact that the MPHA misrepresented the amount of dollars they could be set aside by almost $5 million. Misrepresentation is rarely taken well by anyone, especially when they realize the monies have been allocated and spent for something obviously not for what it was intended for. The federal money came, the federal money went, but obviously not to Hollman as intended. The new party in power in Washington is now following the money trail of the old party in power. Thus, the Russell letter pointed out that the city had not been acting “in good faith.”

Monday, September 15, 2003, 12:47 a.m.

Blog #136. September 14, 2003: MPHA’s #2 came from Legal Aid. This is bureaucratic incest at its best.

So Tom Strike MPHA’s Deputy Director, who was the attorney for the Hollman project when he was at Legal Aid, has been feeding information to Thompson at Legal Aid. How cozy. They want us to think the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing and that these things “sometimes just happen.” Oh please. The hands know. How? Because they are holding hands. So we get another lesson in Minneapolis City Government 101. In tougher times, say World War II, these guys would have been called quislings, collaborators against country (in this case, the city). But these are easy times. So I won’t call them quislings. I’ll just call them turncoats, snake oil salesmen who open their coats and try to sell us fake watches and fake actions, taking our money either way. And to cap off this shamelessness, Legal Aid is asking to be paid a fee of $300,000 to help make right what it was involved in making wrong. How does this serve the city?

Sunday, September 14, 2003, 12:35 a.m.

Blog #135. September 13, 2003: 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Part 3 of 4: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Supporting Each Other, Not Segregating Each Other

Part III.

Supporting each other in war with many fronts: fighting terrorism, replacing permanent job loss, meeting the need for education and jobs, ending the continued deferred of Black dreams. I still hold out for the positive possibilities for our nation of neighborhoods.

How do we support each other in this era of fighting the war on terrorism and change in economics as manufacturing joins agriculture in permanent and steady loss of jobs, as we work to find the replacement for manufacturing just as manufacturing replaced agriculture? Supporting each other and inviting everyone to the table is the liberating ideal of The American Way although not always the practice, as our miserable failure with slavery, Jim Crow, post 1968 Kerner Commission Report saying Blacks can’t make it on their own, etc. so clearly demonstrate. But we must not let go of the ideal. It is part of the prize on which we have set our eyes. We can read more about our American ideal of supporting each other at, which has statements supporting this, from Alexis de Tocqueville to the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and Martin Luther King, Jr.). At first they applied to White males, then White women, then to Black professionals. Now I fight to include inner city Blacks and other minorities. An excellent resource place is the web site (The Institute for the Study of Civic Value), a community based web site. It helps put the question regarding the war on terrorism into perspective:

How will the War on Terrorism shape America’s civic values? Already, this new war has united us in a way that we have not experienced since World War II. Will this solidarity remain? What forms will it take?
On the other hand, will the War Against Terrorism undermine many of the critical civic values that we work to preserve? As an example, will the Bush administration’s new Department of Homeland Security become a 21st Century version of J.Edgar Hoover’s FBI? There are real risks here—but surely it ought to be possible to fight a war against terrorism without becoming terrorists ourselves.

Tomorrow I will offer a pair of “pathways”, with web sites, that can be followed to maintain our civic liberties and security, the American Way, and do so for We the People, to help us insure that in our war on terrorism we don’t bring terror to innocent citizens. The leadership, White and Black, can run but they can’t hide. The spotlight of justice is upon them. When will they join in that honest discussion of our inner cities and our economy and invite everyone to the table, not just the professional therapists, planners, and other assorted program bureucrats serving their retirement accounts while not being held accountable for denying our access to the table?

Saturday, September 13, 2003, 6:59 a.m.

Blog #134. September 13, 2003: The City still feeds at the Hollman trough

In my column of September 10, 2003, I discussed the letter from Legal Aid’s Mr. Thompson. What I didn’t mention in my column is that Mr. Thompson recommended that $300,000 be set aside as compensation to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. But that fund doesn’t do anything for people of color in this town. It is a White liberal feel good fund. Thompson mentions “there has been no single person since the departure of Council President Jackie Cherryhomes with sufficient stature, authority, and commitment to bring all the parties together to assure timely completion.” That is an outrageous statement. Timely? When Jackie left the project was already five years behind (and her taking her city files ensured the fog of secrecy would continue). Is he saying the Mayor has no stature or authority or commitment? Is he saying that the city council members don’t have stature, authority, and commitment? Or is he saying he doesn’t want any non-DFLer to have stature and authority to back their commitments? This can only be a direct shot at new CM Natalie Johnson-Lee, whose office files were spirited away by Jackie Cherryhomes without a word from the Mayor, the city attorney, or the other then all White council members. The DFL, in its eagerness to get rid of Green Party candidates is willing to attack the messengers. There was a saying in the “old West” that “the only good Indian was a dead Indian.” We now see that the Democrats see the only good minorities are dead Greens or dead Republicans, politically speaking. They seem to only want equal access for minorities if they are “good minorities,” i.e., DFL. And that’s one of the reasons they kicked out DFL co-founder Nellie Stone Johnson. I’m a Nellie Stone Johnson Democrat. So I’m not surprised by their behavior. And I’m not surprised that the only advocate for Hollman/Heritage Park as it was meant to be is now the Judge, not the Mayor, not MPHA, not Legal Aid, not the city council. They have all contributed to killing the affordable housing dream. How much longer will they be able to get away with this?

But the trough is not limited to the DFL. Nationally, the GOP has hiked the number of pigs and expanded the size of the trough by increasing domestic discretionary spending 20.8 percent (.7% under Clinton) with even more people working directly and indirectly for the federal government. This is what I call “the debt gamble.” Certainly airport and other security measures and the War on Terror on part of this. However the solutions must go, they must include America’s inner city, they must include allowing everyone at the table.

Saturday, September 13, 2003, 6:58 a.m.

Blog #133. September 12, 2003: 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Part 2 of 4: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Not Giving Up our Bill of Rights And Become What We Fight.

Part II.

Part I is Blog Entry #131. The second issue is that of Homeland Security and our Bill of Rights. This is a real national defense political tightrope we must walk. We now live in a time when their are “sleeper cells” in our midst. This creates threats to us that if not handled correctly will create threats to our Bill of Rights. These are hard, agonizing questions. Supporting each other is he American way/tradition, not searching each other (the un-American way). Hence the agony and the dilemma. A nation (US) and state (Minnesota) that allows the power grid to become so decrepit that rural schools and the outer suburbs had to close for a day earlier this month because of a “brown out” is about local and wider than local governments that have forgotten its people. We must never forget that the heart and soul of this country is We the People.

Just because 9-11 washed away the “we’ve got it made” post-cold war era of 1989 – 2001, doesn’t mean that we can wash away what we stand for in a cold bath of fear. We, as a country, still stand for the best and do so better than any other. We will endure. We will prevail. But only if we do it together, with everyone at the table. This is not the time to exchange sacrifice for compassion, or deferment again for our progress. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can defend our homeland and what makes our home something we sing about as “this land is our land,” our freedom, our liberty, our Bill of Rights. This is what matters. It is what gives us the integrity of a democratic society and a model to emulate to the world. We must be “always vigilant.” But out of good cause, not paranoia. This means we must be vigilant not to let our civil liberties collapse under the understandable desire for action nor let our love for our civil liberties block the authorities from being vigilant with those showing cause to be investigated.

We owe a debt to our people first while at the same time protecting them against those who would take the country away. As Nellie Stone Johnson said, “no jobs, no education, no peace in America.” That has to be our concern. Not just peace for the country as a whole but for its parts as well, including peace in the inner citeis. And who could help lead the way in our inner city Black communities? The NAACP. But will they? More importantly, can they? Not the way they are behaving today (see “July 21, 2003 NAACP Takes Eye off Prize” Solution Paper on this web site). The local branch of the NAACP has also taken its eye off the prize of freedom for all. Indeed, as demonstrated by the local branch of the NAACP on Saturday the 6th of this month, the White power structure has the Black leadership whipped into line in this city (as in the country). They no longer stand for us. When will others join me in having an honest discussion about these issues? I have laid it out in my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes” and in the Solution Papers on this web site (“The 7 Solutions”). The leadership, White and Black, can run but they can’t hide. The spotlight of justice is upon them. When will they join in that honest discussion? It is one thing to say to the Justice Department, after 9-11, “don’t let this happen again.” It is another thing to take our civil liberties away without reason to protect them and then have the NAACP take them away in our local elections.

We are now at the point where talk won’t cut it. The Justice Department and the NAACP both have to perform their way to credibility. Insincerity talks. Credibility walks. We can tell the difference between these by whether or not everyone is invited to the table. That is my definition. What is yours?

Friday, September 12, 2003, 12:37 a.m.

Blog #132. September 12, 2003: NAACP violates its own articles of incorporation: so says a federal court

The federal court has had to remind the NAACP that under its own articles of incorporation, they are a membership organization and consequently the membership must be the entity that addresses and gives direction on the matter of its actions with the court. This is causing moneys to be denied to the NAACP. And we are talking BIG money here.

The $250 million Hollman Project is now in jeopardy. The Dean Carlson statement that we may not have to worry about a wrecking ball may be mute because, in light of HUD’s decision, there may not be any completion of Heritage Park. How does the city respond to that reality?

Friday, September 12, 2003, 12:36 a.m.

Blog #131. September 11, 2003: 2nd anniversary of 9-11: Pausing to Ponder on the Possibilities: American or Un-American: Part 1 of 4: Not Supporting Iraq at the Expense of the U.S. but Parallel to the U.S.

Part I.

9-11-01 changed the United States and world (their war protestors this year represented the majority of their people whereas ours represented a minority of our people). Certainly there would have been no war without 9-11, when we were forced to finally give relevance to the mad men tyrannizing their people and their neighbors and ourselves. But our response is at the expense of our dream, to once again defer our aspirations. We may debate how and when and where what we did/are doing in Iraq but there can be no debate about what they did on 9-11 and what their intention continues to be. But as Paul Harvey says, there is also “the rest of the story.” The full story is not just that because now a few men with a few thousand dollars can wreak the havoc of 9-11, we live in the era of pre-emption, in which this war would be waged regardless of which party occupied the White House. But the rest of the story is how we got here. Both political parties have been involved in making Saddam a friend of ours, even while he was invading Iran, even when he was killing his own people, especially the Kurds and later the Shiites. That means there are unanswered questions that make up the rest of the 9-11 story. But the answers to these questions must be answered within the context of making sure there is a place at the table for all Americans (see my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” pp. 106, 297, 302, 328, and for fun, 271).

The first question is about the spending of billions of dollars to remake Iraq while our inner cities are allowed to decay or funds spent are on White bureaucrats and planners managing the decay. We fed and helped Europe rebuild after World War I and again with the Marshall Plan in World War II. Where is the Marshall Plan for our inner cities? Where is the GI Bill for education for the service of those who descend from the service of slaves? Patriotic fervor is fine, and we all sing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” But where is “We shall overcome” and “Amazing Grace” and “His Eye Is On The Sparrow?” Saddam and guys like Norreiga and Pinoche and others were our “friends” at the expense of their people when it suited the purpose of this country. The $87 billion asked for Monday night is twice what we are spending on Homeland Security and 50% more that we are spending on education. We stood by and allowed brutality and genocide in Eastern Europe and Africa, even as we did in the Middle East. Those are concerns but not my chief concern. My chief concern is the brutality and violence in the inner city. My concern is that White America still stands by and ignores the inner city neighborhoods of Black Americans except when it can use it to create jobs for White therapeutic and planning professionals.

Let’s use a baseball term: the doubleheader. Let’s address the rest of the story and have a double header so that we address also the loss of jobs, about which a report released Monday of this week by the Federal Reserve stated that the lost jobs won’t come back, “permanent changes in the economy mean new economic sectors will need to be created to revitalize the labor market.” In 1900, agriculture, that once employed 80% of Americans, enjoyed productivity increases that eventually enabled 8% to do more than the 80% did before. Now manufacturing is going through the same development: more and more products being manufactured with fewer and fewer laborers. The world’s economy squeezes profits from wages rather that stopping the over production of existing goods no longer needed in that quantity and finding new sectors to create jobs in that won’t squeeze workers. I want, dollar for dollar, the rebuilding of America’s inner cities as well as the American economy as a whole to parallel the rebuilding of Iraq. Without that emphasis of funding our ball game over here, I’m not interested in funding their ball game over there. Tomorow: the second issue: Homeland Security and the Bill of Rights.

September 11, 2003, 1:07 a.m.

Blog #130. September 11, 2003: Response 4 of 4 regarding Eric Mitchell’s wondering if Ron Edwards has anything to say about bigotry. You’re kidding, right?

Part IV.

For Parts I-III, see Blog entries #125, #126, #127 Minneapolis now has Somalis in town. They came here to escape the civil war in Somalia, where Blacks were killing Blacks, not because they are Black but because they don’t support “the other side.” The Somalia civil war is cultural (Islam against Christians) and political (over which tribe or group should control). Since the 17th century, almost ALL immigrants to this country were running from the prejudices and bigotry and discrimination and racism of their home land (in the 19th century, the Irish were considered “a different race,” hence the shop window signs in Boston said “No Irish Need Apply.” As for the statement that the Somalis “have a belief system and culture that preclude anti-social behaviors,” well, what can I say? Somalis are not robots. No group is. There is NO such thing as a culture or belief system that precludes anti-social behaviors. Why respond to every outlandish claim? There is work to do. All groups argue against anti-social behaviors (or at least against the group or sub-group) but that has never stopped any group or sub-group from doing so. Certainly no parent with teenagers can make the claim that their culture or belief system precludes their teens from anti-social behavior.

And lets not dodge the bullet here: Radical Islam (whether by Somalis, Arabs, Indonesians, Whites, Blacks) want an Islamic world. In every country, including the U.S., where there are those who are of Radical Islam (as opposed to moderate Islam), all have stated that they want their new country to become Islamic and will work for that. But that is another topic for another day. My point here is to encourage every one to learn of and leave their ignorance so they can reduce their own bigotry, prejudices, and racism, and end discrimination, and thus hold everyone, White or Black, native born or immigrant, Christian, Jew, Muslim or nothing, to live according to the rules and laws of this nation and follow the basics of upholding the rights outlined in the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights, for everyone. That is my goal. Provide it for everyone and you provide it for your group and your self. This is clear in my book. If people would read my book rather than act in a knee jerk kind of way to be the messenger boys and water carriers for the DFL, where the messengers look silly and the DFL behind the scenes puppeteers go unscathed. When will the messengers learn? My goal remains the same: a seat at the table for everyone.

Thursday, September 11, 2003, 1:05 p.m.

Blog #129. September 10, 2003: Hey Dean: what was the environmental and probative value of digging up the Hollman playground? Will you tell us?

Two weeks ago, the entire playground was dug up at Hollman/Heritage Park. Since then Dean Carlson has written that all is fine environmentally and every other wise. So I’m puzzled as to how it can be said that all is in order. What did they find, Dean, when they dug up the playground? What did it tell them about the black goo? What tests were run on it and what were the results? When will we get a third party independent testing? What is your assurance that such testing won’t be “gamed,” which is why there are those calling for testing from a firm that is out of state? Cementing over goo and gunk (I’ve run the video tape on my TV show), watering the dust daily, etc., makes inquiring minds wonder. Now we get the digging up of the entire playground (a sample to test, yes, but all of it)? What’s missing here?. In Blog entry #116, I discuss the strategy of choice of this city, “deny, deny, deny.” Honesty is not a strategy, it is a necessity. Without it there is no credibility. We now have a huge credibility gap. And thus because either you or the city or McCormack Baron or Braun Intertec say it is no longer enough. You may be correct. But the credibility gap won’t let us get there. But given the history of illnesses I discuss in my book before the current construction project and the most recent reports afterwards, you’ll forgive me if I don’t trust what you or the city say. For a place that is without problems, your agency is sure going to great lengths to do different things. For examples, see my Blog entries #44, #62, #102, #103 and #114 below). So we want to know: are we getting the truth or a cover up? We know eventually the truth will out. Will it come from you, the city, McCormack Baron, Braun Intertec or some other organization or not is the question. We can handle the truth and can accept the truth, especially if it comes from an independent third party (preferably from University or out of state) but we won’t accept a cover up, which, so far, is what all of this activity looks like. The ball is in your court.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003, 1:27 a.m.

Blog #128. September 10, 2003: Response 3 of 4 to Eric Mitchell’s wondering if Ron Edwards has anything to say about bigotry. You’re kidding, right?


For Part I see Blog entry #??? And for Part II see Blog entry #???Apparently Eric felt the comparison of Somalis with American Blacks was flagrantly bigoted. “Bigot” and “bigotry” refer to someone who is “obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own opinions and prejudices.” In that sense, both Eric and the writer he complains about, N.I. Krasnov, demonstrate bigotry. Never forget the wisdom of the saying “opposite in content is the same process.” Prejudiced, as in preconceived judgment or opinion? Of course. But so are Eric’s comments about my book. Racist? Of course not, because Somalis and us are both Black. Culturalist? Of course. Discriminatory? Ah, now we are getting somewhere. Up till now, free speech was in play. I support free speech even when I oppose the view. But I don’t support discrimination, which is about actions, based on bigoted/prejudiced/racist views. Now let’s cut to the chase: ignorance? Yes, of course, but so too is Eric about my book. So let’s look at ignorance, which this certainly was: it is nearly devoid of any historical and anthropological understanding. Ignorance is not in itself bigoted or racist but it leads to them and alone or together they lead to discrimination (slavery, apartheid, Jim Crow, etc.). First, the general charge that I don’t discuss bigotry (prejudice/discrimination/racism too?) shows, hello, ignorance of my book. I discuss them throughout my book. Let me flip open my book. On p. 179 I write about racism in city government. Pick your own page. There it is. So once again I have to ask: why do people comment on my book without reading it? This takes away any way to have an objective discussion. The chapter on justice and fairness, Chapter 5, again outlines clearly the existence of these White attributes in Minneapolis. Interludes 2 and 10 report the reports of them in the Star Tribune and Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. So these attributes of bigotry/prejudice/ racism that lead to discrimination, call them what you will are, per se, not news. Now we even sent Eric a copy of my book. We do hope he gets a chance to read it and then instead of me or instead of my publisher pointing out where topics of concern are located, he can help do so too. I look forward to that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003, 1:26 a.m.

Blog #127. September 9, 2003: Can Vikings move? “Without a doubt,” says Red McCombs in Strib yesterday, “Without a doubt.”

The University of Mn announces it will build an on-campus stadium. An alum announces a $35 million matching gift to build that stadium. The Legislature says it will work up a bill to help. And Red says no stadium no stay. This, of course is part of “The Plan.” In my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” I subtitle Chapter 15 “Say Goodbye to the Vikings: They Are Leaving. That is the Plan.” The silence of the Strib until now verifies for me that they are in on the grand scheme. See my earlier pieces on Blog entries #31, 32, 91, 94, and 100 below. We’re proud of the fact that these entries have apparently gotten the so-called mainstream media to finally write about it, even as they continue to hedge and community columns like Doug Grow’s write enraptured about the wild when there is plenty wild stuff going on in Minneapolis that needs covered. As I say in my book, Chapter 15, p. 254, “So they have made sure that the Vikings are leaving. I will show you how they did it. It will be our loss. But the powers do love the University of Minnesota Gophers, so they will be the ones to get a new stadium. The Twins will get a renovated Metrodome.” About Red the Strib reported that “McCombs said he’s inclined to let the courts make the call if it comes to that.” The lease clearly has an escape clause: a penalty clause, which requires so many millions paid per year left, which, with 8 years left is chump change in a deal of this magnitude. The so-called “Rozelle letter” is merely a gesture.

We still live in a land that respects private property, as we should. The team is owned by Red. He didn’t sign the lease. An owner, if he pays the penalty, is free to do what he wants with his own property. The NFL “won’t voluntarily” allow the team to go is a cop out, as either the court or the owner can do so and, in this case, both. As he should be able to. And will Red relocate without a new statium? He said “Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” saying it twice for emphasis (which he wouldn’t say without having check with his attorneys. Both Red and the NFL know the Vikings are heading for L.A. The Strib knows this. As I report in my book, one of their reporters, Jay Weiner, in his book “Stadium Games” states that the legislative and business leaders want only three teams, and so one has to go, and that team is the Vikings, which was also said by Henry Savelkoul, former Metropolitan Sports Facility Commission chairman (p. 259). The Strib, rather than leading the charge to keep the team, serves as cheerleader (either by commission or omission) for their leaving.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003, 1:30 p.m.

Blog #126. September 9, 2003: Response 2 of 4 re: Eric Mitchell wondering if Ron Edwards has anything to say about bigotry. You’re kidding, right?


See Blog entry #125 For Part I. Now, Part II: about the Somalis. While Eric comments, I have been in the field working with the Somali community on a wide array of issues and events for five years, including the recent killing of Somali cab drivers on the streets of Minneapolis. I haven’t seen Eric there. I invite any and all who are concerned to join us in working with the Somalis. And yes, people have attempted to drive a wedge between the Somalis and American Blacks. Three weeks ago we all met together at the Urban League and then shared in a press conference at the Urban League Family Day, and have continued to work to maintain a tightness and to heal any wounds that may have opened. Just because the Star Tribune, the Pioneer Press and the Democratic Party does not report these events doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. We continue to work together regardless of the attitudes or slights from the press or the DFL.

I’ve been meeting with the Somalis and the Elders in this town for the last 5 years on differences and am pleased with the progress. These are good people. The animosity between our groups started over American brothers hitting on the Somali brothers’ women, which they take as an affront to their culture and their religion. That is being addressed. And yes there are Somali gangs. But every group, including Whites, have gangs, especially immigrant groups. That’s the history (check out the movie “Gangs of New York”). The mainstream of all groups don’t like the gangs of any color or ethnic group, including gangs of their own people, and we and the Somalis are no different on that. As noted below, I have an open invitation to talk to anyone concerned with community. We’d love to have Eric on board. And as for how to solve all of these problems, I draw your attention to my Solution Paper, “Seven Problems and their Solutions For Stopping the Deferment of the Dream in order to Actualize The Dream,” on my web site,, a paper some are already calling a Minneapolis Agenda for Change.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003, 1:25 a.m.

Blog #125. September 8, 2003: Eric Mitchell wrote: “I guess Ron Edwards doesn’t have a chapter in his book on old fashioned bigotry.” You’re kidding, right? Response 1 of 4


It has been called to my attention that Eric Mitchell, in a post to the Mpls.Forum Email discussion group of E-Democracy, has asked if there is anything in my book against bigotry because no comment was made by me regarding the example used suggesting that as Somali’s were fine upstanding people North side Blacks could be too. Eric said, about the “godsend” comment regarding the Somalis of N.I. Krasnov, that Somalis “show Whites that Black people moving into a neighborhood is not defacto synonymous with crime” because the Somalis “have a culture and belief system that preclude anti-social behaviors” is “the most overtly bigoted remarks I’ve seen on here “ and then says “I guess Ron Edwards doesn’t have a chapter in his book on old fashioned bigotry.”

Well, first of all, I spend my time in the community, not reading the Issues Forum, as wonderful and useful as it is, and so I appreciate those who draw my attention to various posts. But I can’t respond to all of them. I appreciate it when my publisher does to some. But Eric has been so attentive to my book lately that I did want to pause to respond to this report of his concern. I hope after he reads my book he calls me and we can sit down and talk about his concerns. To that end, I had my publisher send him a book. Had he read it he would not have made that statement. I’ll outline this in my next three commentaries on Eric’s comments and indicate relevant places in my book that address Eric’s concern.

Tomorrow, in Part II, I’ll discuss the Somalis. The day after that, in Part III: a discussion of the concept of ignorance and how it leads to of bigotry, prejudice, and racism, which in turn lead to discrimination, whether de jure (legally, as in Jim Crow) or defacto (done anyway, as in the efforts after the 1968 Kerner Commission Report (see Blog entries #99 and #113) said we weren’t capable of making it on our own. Finally, in Part IV, I’ll discuss the Somalis again and what this discussion means and what we should do about it.

Monday, September 8, 2003, 4:08 a.m.

Blog #124. September 7, 2003: NAACP still wears its “emperor’s new clothes.” The NAACP marches naked, thinking it is robed in sheep’s clothing while we see the naked wolf helping to defer our dream

On my TV show Sunday, September 2nd, I discussed the fact that Tom White, the attorney for the NAACP thought the newly elected Chair of the Housing Committee, Alisha Clemens, was a member of the Gallman faction and would “do as she was told” (how is it that certain Blacks now want to keep us in our place just as the Whites do?). White wanted her to sign a series of false documents to the court stating that scattered site housing had already been built when in fact it had not been. In his conversation he stated matter of factly, demonstrating how routine this is and how it is felt that it can be done with impunity, that this was not the first time the local NAACP branch had submitted false information to the court. But she, like many, is not a puppet. She is within her rights to file a motion with the court, as she has standing as Chair of the local NAACP Housing Committee, to ask for a special hearing based on the suggested conduct and admitted past conduct of the attorney for the NAACP local branch. Clearly the NAACP has stepped over the felony line with others involved, guilty by either collusion or conspiracy or both. If I hear about it, one can only wonder who else has heard about it, which would have to include the court hearing about it too.

Sunday, September 7, 2003, 2:21 a.m.

Blog #123. September 6, 2003: NAACP hearing today, Saturday, September 6, 2003, has an unintended consequence: it puts the National NAACP “on trial” as well

The national NAACP are sending their local big guns a three member delegation, assistant general counsel, regional director of all field operation, and State Conference President Claudie Washington. But they will first have a series of meetings with the NAACP national people themselves. They have put the National NAACP in a spot: to support the branch and become a known participant in the cover ups of the local branch including felonious acts and malfeasance/misappropriation of funds if they go along with the local action to ban me, or censure them for their acts. So the Saturday meeting is not just Ron Edwards on “trial;” so too is the integrity of the national organization. A year ago, for example, the branch attempted to appeal Judge Rosenbaum’s decision to allow HUD to no longer be a party to the Hollman consent decree. The local branch made the appeal without ever bringing it before the membership and without informing us. The documents show that the NAACP contested the action and decision of Judge Rosenbaum. Their appeal was dismissed. This was never shared with the general membership as it was supposed to be. So the local has put the national on the spot. Now we’ll find what the national is made of.

Saturday, September 6, 2003, 7:55 a.m.

Blog #122. September 5, 2003: Reality Check from Mother Jones Magazine: One Worlders? Not Yet. But we community activists will continue to pursue our ideal. And we in Minneapolis have an AGENDA for change for doing so.

Mother Jones magazine has some interesting things to say about community activists that I have long maintained, that:

People, and nations, are not altruism machines—never have been, never will be—and it is about time activists learned to live with this fact rather than endlessly, generation after generation, trying to ignore it or wish it away. To say this is in no way to disparage activists. Without them the world would be even more savage and cruel than it already is. But most people commit their lives to their families and, at most, can be mobilized only occasionally in the name of some ideal. They are quite comfortable seeing themselves as citizens of a specific locality, not as global citizens.

…such founding U.N. documents as the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were nothing more than empty stipulations of collective moral ambitions. By any objective criterion, the world remained the same tragic place it had always been, as unredeemed by international law as it had been by religion, or Marxism, or liberal capitalism.”

Read the full article at We learned of the article from the August 25, 2003 blog of

Nonetheless, I pursue the ideal that I outline in Chapter 5 of my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” and the calculus for judging how well we are doing, the YESes and NOs. Many in Minneapolis pursue the ideal (albeit often a different ideal, which is why mine includes the “common ground” of the YESes and NOs). As Mother Jones says, without activists pursuing an ideal, “the world would be even more savage and cruel than it already is. “ And yet America, in comparison to the rest of the countries of the world, is the closest to the ideal of any country in the world, and although the climb remains steep and long, I remain bullish on Minneapolis (as I state on p. 294 of my book). I still believe we can write a story that reflects the ideals of all, whether the “all” are inspired by religion, Marxism, liberal capitalism, international law, or other frame of reference. And as an activist, I believe there is a solution, which I have outlined in my recent Solution Paper, which is my agenda for the future, my agenda for change: “7 Themes, 7 Problems, 7 Solutions: For Solving the Problems of America’s Inner Cities: IN ORDER TO STOP DEFERRING THE DREAM AND ACTUALIZE IT.

Friday, September 5, 2003, 3:03 a.m.

Blog #121. September 4, 2003: AN AGENDA FOR CHANGE

The Solution Paper just posted on the 7 Themes/Problems/Solutions For stopping the deferment of our dream and enabling us to actualize it, is getting very interesting responses. The “now” crowd says “let’s go” and says they dont’ need permission to implement it. All they need is to get with like minded individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods, and use it and the book “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes” as agenda, goals, and guide. The wait” crowd says “let’s think about it for we really are not up to or capable of doing it.

Which crowd are you in? Now or wait? Do you follow the unqualified not qualifyable crowd or are you with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. crowd: those unqualified today are qualifiable to be qualified tomorrow?

Thursday, September 4, 2003, 4:57 p.m.

Blog #120. September 3, 2003: Solution Paper on the 7 Themes/Problems/Solutions.

Taking a second look at (1) Education, (2) Jobs, (3) Housing, (3) Public Safety, (4) Safe Environment, (6) Governing, and (7) Ethics/Morals of Policies and Actions.

The question has been asked: what is local government for? I believe these seven answer the question. The question then becomes, how is it doing in these seven areas. The question for all of us is how to evaluate government’s performance and what to do with the results we find. My answer is in my paper entitled “The 7 Key Themes, 7 Key Problems, and 7 Key Solutions for Solving the Problems of America’s Inner City, in order to stop Deferring the Dream and to Actualize it,” which is in the “Solution Papers” section of this web site. What do you see as the key problems and their solutions? How are the like or different from what I have outlined?

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Blog #119. September 2, 2003: 7 KEY THEMES, 7 KEY PROBLEMS, 7 KEY SOLUTIONS

NEW “Solution Paper” on How to Stop Deferring the Dream for our inner city and to Actualize It.

Click on “Solution Papers” and then click on “7 Problems and Their Solutions.” I wrote this new “Solution Paper” because of people continually askiing me to articulate what I think are solutions to the problems facing us in Minneapolis today. When asked I just sigh. After 40 years of trying orally, I still got asked. So, to make it known, I resorted to writing my book, “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes,” complete with solution suggestions. And I still got asked. So I started my web page with my daily web log. And I still got asked. But I’m patient. So I’ll try again. My main themes spring from the words of DFL co-founder, Nellie Stone Johnson: “No education, no jobs, no housing.”

What follows is based on my book and has references to its pages, chapters, and interludes, as well as to my weekly columns. It is also a kind of agenda, open to any to use, whether public or private sector, whether volunteer or paid. Those who outline problems should recommend solutions. That is what the book did. That is what this new Solution Paper does. As I wrote in my book, “I am bullish on Minneapolis.” I write not about what is wrong so much as what can make it better. The dream has been deferred too long for those in the inner cities. Read carefully, because as you do, you’ll see that deferring it for Blacks also defers it for Whites.

Tuesday, September 2, 2003, 6:40 p.m.

Blog #118. September 1, 2003: We don’t want state troopers serving as the new vanguard of the new Black leaders serving the Mastahs under the culture of honor and not conscience

We understand the effort of RT Rybak and the down town bosses to try to raise up new Black leaders to do their bidding, given the loss of credibility in the old group. Lets not repeat the past that we know won’t deliver for the Blacks of North Minneapolis (although it will deliver for the massas). We know the game. We explained this colonial/plantation view in our book “The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes” The majority of us stand for the progress made in this great country and stand for continuing that progress, not reversing it, and bringing it to this last outpost of plantation mentality: America’s inner city in general and Minneapolis in particular. Pulling in state troopers is not the answer (only one state trooper is African American, and he is in Duluth; this is down from two ten years ago). We are not fooled. They can ignore my book but they can’t ignore the truth in the book, for that truth will eventually set us free. If they want progress, the solutions are in the book (which some of the city council not only refuse to read but have sent back the copiesof the book sent to them; see #69 below). The NAACP is not on board either (see web log entry below #89). No matter. We are watching. I state again: we are not fooled. We will continue to be the watchmen for fairness and justice. We will continue to urge adoptions of the solutions laid out in my book. We know Americans can do better, that Minneapolis can do better, than to perpetuate the old school approach of violating our trust and betraying our people.

Monday, September 1, 2003, 4:05 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

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and for the columns. Please cite for blog entries and solution papers.

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