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2013 Columns
Quarter 2: April thru June ~ Columns #14 - #26

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June 26, 2013 Column #26: Equity Director Hired.nnMinnesota Sports Authority and Vikings Make their Selection

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

“Congratulations,” Alex Tittle, on being appointed Equity Director for the Vikings Stadium by the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA), as announced Friday, June 14, 2013.   “Welcome to an historic task”

Mr. Tittle, a nine year Army veteran (Company Commander and Platoon Leader), and Interim Director of the Office of Civil Rights, MN Department of Transportation, will now be the most significant player on the Minnesota civil rights stage.

I urge Mr. Tittle to read the results of my research as reported in this paper regarding the lack of diversity, equity, and fairness in Minneapolis and Minnesota hiring (archived on my web site). 

I urge Mr. Tittle to hold hearings, as authorized by the stadium legislation, in order for all to see whether plans submitted regarding equity commitment execution are actually followed, including the developer for the stadium, Mortenson, to see their commitment in public and in writing, with their acknowledgement that the legislation allows enforcement of any material breach by any or all not in compliance.  The Stadium legislation authorizes such hearings in Section 19, Provision 473.j15, entitled “Criteria and Conditions.”  See Sub Paragraph 9.   

Mr. Tittle has the opportunity and authority under Section 15-473j.11, “Stadium Design and Construction”, as well as lines 15.31 and 15.34 through line 16.30, to impose specific conditions, in concert with the authority and the Vikings.

The legislation also vests Mr. Tittle with the authority to research the history of those who would be pre-qualified.  Specific provision is under Section 17.473j.12, entitled “Employment,” at lines 18.33, through 19.13.  The African American community and its leadership needs to review these sections for specific tasks that will make it easier for Mr. Tittle to carry out his responsibilities.

Mr. Tittle needs to know that the Kansas City Group, Gentleman of the Round Table, as identified in previous columns, are prepared and ready to deliver qualified, skilled African Americans to works on the people’s stadium. 

I encourage Mr. Tittle to work closely with Kevin Warren, Vikings Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer and the highest-ranking African-American business executive with an NFL team.  He was a member of the Stadium Equity Review Panel.  In February, Mr. Warren stated, “The Vikings and the Authority are committed to ensuring a diverse and talented work force on this project.  We have worked hard to put together a comprehensive equity plan – one that will focus on outreach, recruitment, training and employment of all Minnesotans and will ensure inclusion of minorities, women and veterans.”  Missing are the words “hiring” and “African Americans.”

We expect Mr. Tittle and Mr. Warren to work closely together to keep their bosses, the NFL, and our community fully apprised of compliance regarding inclusion goals, including the category of “African American”, not just the category of “minorities.”

There must be no repeat of the state capital disaster highlighted by J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City, who confronted the state of Minnesota with evidence showing no qualified African Americans in Minnesota in certain categories and disciplines in refurbishing of the state capital, despite claims of our community leaders to have trained African Americans in the skills needed to perform within every trade category (so what did they spend that $10 million on that they were given to train workers in those skills?).

There must be no repeat of the scathing audit by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, issued on May 13, 2023, regarding MDOT’s failure to comply in diversity hiring (using the GFE - Good Faith Effort - “escape” hatch).

There must be no repeat of Twins and Gopher’s stadium non-compliance; they hired few African Americans (resulting in more scathing reports on non-compliance). 

There must be no repeat of what former African American Director of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department said, “we can meet all our minority hiring requirements without hiring a single African American.”  

For all of these examples, understand this:  making non-compliance legal through “good or best efforts” doesn’t make it right.

An early and important task for Mr Tittle is to select who will monitor hiring equity (verification of contracts, percentage of MBEs and WBEs, actual work hours).  I encourage Mr. Tittle to go beyond the literal following of the MSFA Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan:  Targeted Business goal of 20%  (11% women owned businesses; 9% minority owned businesses) and Targeted Workforce goal (32% minorities and 6% women) in all hours worked, so as to provide how many African Americans are hired, by number and percentage, not just as among “minorities”.

We have been given a second chance as a city and a state to do the right thing. May Mr. Tittle, Mr. Warren, the Vikings, the NFL, Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Sports Authority open a wide door of equity, a door that leads to success for all.

We wish success for all involved in the construction of the peoples stadium.

Stay tuned.
For Ron's hosted show's broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com, which also has my “Solution Paper #46, “Disparity/Compliance Studies,” and my Blog entry of April 20, 2013, on the Vikings stadium legislation.  

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).
Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for equal access and equal opportunty in community planning and development at his website, TheMinneapolisStory.com

Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 4:58 a.m.


June 19, 2013 Column #25: Franklin Case to County Attorney and then Grand Jury.
Will “all white” and “no bill” of indictment tradition continue?

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

June 19, 2013

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) announced two weeks ago that they completed the investigation into the shooting of T.T. Franklin, and forwarded its findings to the Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman. The Star Tribune reported that “The case will get an initial review from the county attorney’s office before it is sent to the grand jury” (Star Tribune, June 7, 2013, “County attorney's office to review Terrence Franklin shooting”). As Sportin’ Life would say: "It Ain't Necessarily So,” as all evidence is NOT in.

How can the city or the Black community craft response strategies without a finished evidence report (DNA, finger prints, wound analysis, blood, urine, etc., etc.)?

On May 18, 2013, the MPD said it would take at least four months to complete the forensic investigation, 4 – 5 weeks for the final determination from the medical examiner. Why? Is the County Attorney setting up a continuation of the “tradition” leading to another Grand Jury “no bill” indictment in the case of police killing a Black person? Let’s look at our state and federal civil rights “tradition”.

The last time a Grand Jury even came close to indicting a law enforcement officer in the death of an African American was 35 years ago, when a Federal Grand Jury failed by ONE vote to indict an Eagan police officer for the traffic stop execution-style shooting death of the unarmed son of then Executive Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, Robert Benford. His 20 year old son was home on leave from the United States Army.

The three African Americans on that Grand Jury were tenacious in their quest for justice, including the late Elmer Childress, the first and only Black Commissioner for Veterans Affairs in the history of Minnesota.

We thought this was the beginning of a positive trend. We were wrong. No other Grand Jury has ever come close to indicting a white police officer for killing an African American citizen. Our long uphill struggle continues. We are reminded of the climb when we remember that the ending of the filibuster of the civil rights bill in 1964, was the first time in history the U.S. Senate had enough votes to cut off a civil rights bill filibuster.

There are questions we in the African American community must ask as the County Attorney begins the process:
• Will the County Grand Jury hearing the case be all or mostly white?
• If we are told “minorities” are on the Grand Jury, what kind, as, in Minneapolis, “minorities” does NOT always mean African American?
• Will the instructions to the Grand Jury on how to interpret the evidence for determining whether to indict or not follow doctrines of fairness or racial bias?
• How will they make the case that the actions in that small basement space at 2717 Bryant Ave So, Minneapolis, justified the killing by 5 white SWAT officers and a canine as “normal and usual” to subdue just one young man, instead of tasering?
• Will we learn the criteria given the Grand Jury to evaluate the evidence so we can see if it was honest and fair?
• Will Mr. Franklin’s DNA, finger prints, or blood spatter be found on the MP5 that he allegedly wrestled from one of the five officers, wounding two before he was shot and killed by another officer?
• How true is “one shooter” when the medical examiner says “multiple shots”?
• How credible will the story be of the custody and control of the weapon, as it is crucial in justifying taking a life.
• Will the illustrations and drawings supposing to reflect the officers’ recollections of fierce hand-hand combat be credible?
• How will it be explained to the Grand Jury how Mr. Franklin was so good in fierce hand-to-hand fighting skills that he could combat 5 easily trained policemen, disarming one, lightly wounding two, and then “have” to be shot and killed instead of tasered to be subdued?
• Will the forensics evidence provided include how many weapons were fired and how many times?
• What will be said about how many shots are required to blow half of his head away?
• How many places on his body received the “multiple” shots?
• Wasn’t the savage anger officers reported of Mr. Franklin really their own?
• How will the Grand Jury be instructed regarding how to weigh and determine if there was probable cause to use lethal force against Mr. Franklin vs. racial animus?
• Will there be a “No bill” -- no indictment – leaving the history of Grand Juries in Minnesota and Hennepin County in tact regarding being O.K. to shoot young Blacks?
• Will the sentiments prevail of a former Supreme Court Judge, since reversed, at least on paper, that the Negro has no rights that the white man is duty bound, legally bound, or morally bound to respect?

Stay tuned.

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

For ongoing following of the T.T. Franklin story, go to Ron's Blog at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates].

Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 10:25 a.m.

==========

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).
Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for equal access and equal opportunty in community planning and development at his website, TheMinneapolisStory.com

Posted Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 10:25 a.m.


June 12, 2013 Column #24: Minneapolis police killed T.T. Franklin for being Black — Racism, individual and institutional, is alive and well in our fair city

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

There was a lot of hatred directed at and rained down upon T.T. Franklin May 10 in that poorly lighted basement at 2717 Bryant Ave. South, away from prying eyes, enabling public safety to once again turn its back on transparently serving the people, enabling public safety officers to engage in another wrongful death as they savagely mutilated and shot to death a young man hiding from them, not burgling.

Five SWAT members, all armed, in flak jackets, with a K-9 biting and chewing on T.T. Franklin, would have us believe that multiple shots and almost blowing his head apart was unavoidable as opposed to tasering him. How was that “protecting with courage”?

Minneapolis pays millions in wrongful death awards, doesn’t sanction its killers, while institutions that claim they care stay silent.

We need public safety. We need well-trained police. We honor those who serve honorably. But there is that contingent in the Minneapolis Police Department who are not honorable. We have written on it in many columns, listed by date and title in our July 14, 2008 paper (and updated since), Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department.

And yet, here we go again, as the bad apples of public safety again deliver the department’s long-held hatred of the Black community.

Bad apples have spoiled more than the police department. You can see the spoilage in the silence of White and Black churches, foundations, universities and colleges, public policy think tanks, other do-gooding nonprofits, corporations, and the elected: governor, mayor, city council. Their silence exposes the depth of that spoilage.

The hatred directed towards Mr. Franklin can’t be put back in its bottle. Hatred festers. Hatred ignores forgiveness of the small so it can act violently large. Dangerous people are applying hatred based on race that they have been given power to apply.

It’s in this city’s DNA. In 1991, the Star Tribune and Mpls-St Paul Magazine each acknowledged this hatred as widespread. One cover story: “We are still racists.”

People are scared to talk about it. We have the brutal death examples of Tycel Nelson, Sal Saron Scott, Quincy Smith, Dominic A. Felder, David Cornelius Smith, and now T.T. Franklin — all Black Americans. We also have the tragedy of Asian police officer Duy Ngo’s career-ending shooting at the hands of fellow officers. These cases represent the hatred within this department for its own officers of color.

The department destroyed the Black Police Officers Association in 2007. It took no action against Lt. Andy Smith and Sgt Pat King, who, in testimony in May of 2012, under oath, accused African American officers by name as being “scum of the earth,” unfit to be police officers, drug dealers, bribe takers, etc.

Sadly, there are some in the Minneapolis Police Department who equate Black officers with being like Afghan soldiers and officers who cannot be trusted nor depended upon in working with White officers in this police department.

Their chilling testimony, laced with disdain and hatred for fellow Black officers, demonstrates the hatred that brought about the death of T.T. Franklin on May 10. Even more chilling: no sanctions. Instead: transferred to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department. Result: a chilling and fatal message that reinforces the hatred in the killing of T.T. Franklin, almost blowing his head off with multiple shots. This is not public safety. This is not “protection under law.”

Those investigating this shooting will support and reinforce the hatred and malice aforethought that drives the actions and policies bringing about the deaths, mutilations and maiming of African Americans.

When DeMarco Hodges was almost beaten to death by Minneapolis police officers in November 2012, pubic safety protection was given the beaters, not the beaten. Will we see the same regarding the death of T.T. Franklin?

Too often, for their own agendas, Black leadership ignores the existence of such hatred against Black Americans. The ignoring of the hatred and disdain by both White and Black leaders jeopardizes the stability and future relationships between the Black community and the institutions that look the other way (churches, foundations, study centers).

Silence is not abstaining. It is affirming their "right" to speak and act with hate and disdain.

I repeat: The horrors in that basement at 2717 Bryant the afternoon of May 10, 2013 are chilling. Young Mr. Franklin was killed for no other reason than for being Black. He was a human being shown little regard, as the shooters’ sense of great comfort and immunity told them they could torture, beat, put their K-9 on Mr. Franklin, and then watch him die, knowing there would be no consequences for their action.

Shame, Minneapolis. Shame, Minnesota. This will not change until those standing silent on the sidelines step up and say, “No more.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from the Birmingham Jail, “Man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.” Who will stand up?

Stay tuned.

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

For ongoing following of the T.T. Franklin story, go to Ron's Blog at http://www.theminneapolisstory.com

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates].

Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 4:35 p.m

==========

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).
Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for equal access and equal opportunty in community planning and development at his website, TheMinneapolisStory.com

Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 4:35 p.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


June 05, 2013 Column #23: Justice for David Cornelius Smith, In spite of obstruction of justice from the Minneapolispls. Civil Rights Department.

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

Justice for David Cornelius Smith, In spite of obstruction of justice from the Minneapolispls. Civil Rights Department.

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

June 5, 2013

On Friday, May 24, 2013, the Minneapolis City Council awarded $3.75 million to the family of David C. Smith, a 28 year-old African American. This wrongful death law suit was handled by the Bennett Law Firm. All tax payers’ money.

Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has paid over $17 million dollars in tax payer money for wrongful death settlements against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Since mid-2010, the City has paid out over $8 million in such lawsuits, oftentimes due to being misdirected by intentional obstruction of justice by Director Velma Korbel’s Department of Civil Rights (DCR). Ms. Korbel has played a lead role in mis-advising City attorney Susan Segal and her staff, as the Department of Civil Rights aided and abetted the obstruction of justice. All the more reason why Velma Korbel should step down as director.

David Cornelius Smith was killed at the Metropolitan YMCA on September 9, 2010. Although Velma Korbel denied being a board member of the Metro YMCA, their roster showed that she was. When an official request was made to Ms. Korbel to open a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Smith’s death she declined, as usual. She even sent an email to my associate, Mr. Donald Allen, stating our facts were not right, that we were not truthful.

This award, on the recommendation from City Attorney Susan Segal, demonstrates otherwise. We continue to have our facts straight. We are truthful. But not Ms. Korbel and her Department of Civil Rights, which convinced the mayor, the city council and the city attorney that they could cover up this crime and obstruction of justice with impunity.

The Minneapolis Civil Rights ordinance provides the authority for both the Civil Rights Department and the Civil Rights Commission to conduct separate and independent examinations of the circumstances like those surrounding the death of Mr. Smith. In fact, we would encourage you to read our column of September 29, 2010 (“A pattern in practice. Example: The tasered death of David Cornelius”).

I knew then, as the $3 million award shows now, that the mission of obstruction of justice was the path the City allowed this so-called department of civil rights to follow.

Headline: Star Tribune: October 26, 2010: “$1.8 million for tremendous loss,” in the matter of the killing of Dominick Felder in 2006 by Minneapolis Police. $300,000 was imposed in sanctions by the Federal Court for judiciary misconduct, raising the City’s total outlay to $2.19 million. All tax payer money.

How much longer will this pattern and practice of covering up abuses and violations of the civil rights of African Americans be allowed to continue? How much longer will this pattern and practice of city officials going to extreme lengths in violating and obstructing the rights of the very people they are paid to protect be allowed to continue? Part of the problem: they are paid to protect; they are not required to swear an oath to defend the rights of those whose rights they have obstructed.

How much longer will the pattern and practice of negligence under the cover of law be allowed to continue? How long will the city wink at making legal that which is unethical and immoral? I was glad to hear that some justice is now rendered for the family of David C. Smith, just as it was for the family of Dominick Felder. Hopefully the same will be true for the families of Quincy Smith and Terrance Franklin.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asked, from the Birmingham Jail, how long would the forces of nullification and reversal be allowed to continue to force us to wait for justice? How long would the forces of obstruction and darkness be allowed to spin their foul magic against the rights and pursuit of justice of African Americans and others? How long will we continue to read headlines about tremendous losses as well as awards to families such as Officer Duy Ngo, a man who won his case but yet was so violated by the conspiracy and the obstruction in his case that he felt his life and spirit go to another place?

A city with those who would obstruct justice is a dangerous city, for it can be applied to anyone. So how long will this city allow the Department of Civil Rights to be an imperial bureaucracy? The breath of fresh air and justice every once in a while to the Duy Ngos, Dominic Felders, and David Cornelius Smiths are welcome but not enough.

Needed is an end to the patterns and practices that prevent the fresh air of justice. How long will the agent provocateurs in the Imperial Department of Civil Rights be allowed to be a sovereign obstruction of justice by the mayor, the city council and the city attorney?

For more background on these cases see these past columns:

From 2008:
December 17: Brutality continues against Black males in Minneapolis: Smith's death by police tasers brings his appeal to a tragic halt.

From 2009:
February 4: Homicide of Quincy Smith warrants federal inquiry
April 8: Dominic, Fong and Quincy: the death of three men of color at the hands of the MPDD
December 16:No justice yet for Quincy Smith. One year later, his family still awaits some resolution.

God bless America, and God bless the Black citizens of Minneapolis.

Stay tuned.

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates]

Posted Monday, June 10, 2013, 4:24 am

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


May 29, 2013 Column #22: Unanswered questions still cloud police shooting of T.T. Franklin

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

June 5, 2013

On Friday, May 24, 2013, the Minneapolis City Council awarded $3.75 million to the family of David C. Smith, a 28 year-old African American. This wrongful death law suit was handled by the Bennett Law Firm. All tax payers’ money.

Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has paid over $17 million dollars in tax payer money for wrongful death settlements against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Since mid-2010, the City has paid out over $8 million in such lawsuits, oftentimes due to being misdirected by intentional obstruction of justice by Director Velma Korbel’s Department of Civil Rights (DCR). Ms. Korbel has played a lead role in mis-advising City attorney Susan Segal and her staff, as the Department of Civil Rights aided and abetted the obstruction of justice. All the more reason why Velma Korbel should step down as director.

David Cornelius Smith was killed at the Metropolitan YMCA on September 9, 2010. Although Velma Korbel denied being a board member of the Metro YMCA, their roster showed that she was. When an official request was made to Ms. Korbel to open a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Smith’s death she declined, as usual. She even sent an email to my associate, Mr. Donald Allen, stating our facts were not right, that we were not truthful.

This award, on the recommendation from City Attorney Susan Segal, demonstrates otherwise. We continue to have our facts straight. We are truthful. But not Ms. Korbel and her Department of Civil Rights, which convinced the mayor, the city council and the city attorney that they could cover up this crime and obstruction of justice with impunity.

The Minneapolis Civil Rights ordinance provides the authority for both the Civil Rights Department and the Civil Rights Commission to conduct separate and independent examinations of the circumstances like those surrounding the death of Mr. Smith. In fact, we would encourage you to read our column of September 29, 2010 (“A pattern in practice. Example: The tasered death of David Cornelius”).

I knew then, as the $3 million award shows now, that the mission of obstruction of justice was the path the City allowed this so-called department of civil rights to follow.

Headline: Star Tribune: October 26, 2010: “$1.8 million for tremendous loss,” in the matter of the killing of Dominick Felder in 2006 by Minneapolis Police. $300,000 was imposed in sanctions by the Federal Court for judiciary misconduct, raising the City’s total outlay to $2.19 million. All tax payer money.

How much longer will this pattern and practice of covering up abuses and violations of the civil rights of African Americans be allowed to continue? How much longer will this pattern and practice of city officials going to extreme lengths in violating and obstructing the rights of the very people they are paid to protect be allowed to continue? Part of the problem: they are paid to protect; they are not required to swear an oath to defend the rights of those whose rights they have obstructed.

How much longer will the pattern and practice of negligence under the cover of law be allowed to continue? How long will the city wink at making legal that which is unethical and immoral? I was glad to hear that some justice is now rendered for the family of David C. Smith, just as it was for the family of Dominick Felder. Hopefully the same will be true for the families of Quincy Smith and Terrance Franklin.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asked, from the Birmingham Jail, how long would the forces of nullification and reversal be allowed to continue to force us to wait for justice? How long would the forces of obstruction and darkness be allowed to spin their foul magic against the rights and pursuit of justice of African Americans and others? How long will we continue to read headlines about tremendous losses as well as awards to families such as Officer Duy Ngo, a man who won his case but yet was so violated by the conspiracy and the obstruction in his case that he felt his life and spirit go to another place?

A city with those who would obstruct justice is a dangerous city, for it can be applied to anyone. So how long will this city allow the Department of Civil Rights to be an imperial bureaucracy? The breath of fresh air and justice every once in a while to the Duy Ngos, Dominic Felders, and David Cornelius Smiths are welcome but not enough.

Needed is an end to the patterns and practices that prevent the fresh air of justice. How long will the agent provocateurs in the Imperial Department of Civil Rights be allowed to be a sovereign obstruction of justice by the mayor, the city council and the city attorney?

For more background on these cases see these past columns:

From 2008:
December 17: Brutality continues against Black males in Minneapolis: Smith's death by police tasers brings his appeal to a tragic halt.

From 2009:
February 4: Homicide of Quincy Smith warrants federal inquiry
April 8: Dominic, Fong and Quincy: the death of three men of color at the hands of the MPDD
December 16:No justice yet for Quincy Smith. One year later, his family still awaits some resolution.

God bless America, and God bless the Black citizens of Minneapolis.

Stay tuned.

Posted Monday, June 10, 2013, 4:24 am

See also our “Solution Paper #31, July 14, 2008 with periodic updates, Ending the City's and MPD's COVER-UP OF DISCRIMINATION will help to end the Discrimination in the Minneapolis Police Department [Selected "Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues" columns and blog entries from our 2003-2008, with periodic updates]
http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/31minncops.htm

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


May 29, 2013, #22: Terrance Terrell Franklin’s police-shooting death. Many questions remain unanswered

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

The Star Tribune’s headline of May 18, 2013: “Sources: Burglary suspect fired shots that injured Minneapolis Officers.” What about the shots that killed the “suspect,” Terrance Terrill Franklin? Why, when surrounded by five SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) officers and a K-9 unit dog, was he not tasered instead?

How could he so easily wound two Minneapolis police officers with one of their own guns? I’m as puzzled as others, and, like them, raise obvious questions the Star Tribune does not raise or address. We wonder who “the sources” are for the Star Tribune.

The Chanen-McKinney story suggests a fierce, intense and deadly confrontation in the basement of the house at 2717 Bryant Avenue South. Really? A careful reading suggests a different interpretation of the evidence: that the confrontation was very one-sided and brutal, continuing to add more serious questions.

The questions I raised in last week’s column (“Terrance Terrell Franklin’s police-shooting death: Many questions remain unanswered.”) continue to go unanswered (note that this column is written eight days before publication). Franklin was surrounded by five officers, beaten and punched with flashlights after being weakened by a vicious attack by the K-9. Then shot and killed. “Multiple” shots. Why?

The Star Tribune story has the K-9 released by his handler. The dog then reportedly ran into the basement and confronted and attacked Mr. Franklin, who, to get away from the dog, went behind a water heater. There the unleashed dog clamped his jaws on him and dragged him out from behind the water heater. While in the grip of the dog, he attacked five officers. Really? The article says Mr. Franklin stood up. That means he was on the floor where the dog could deliver bites and wounds to his face, shoulder, and upper body, not just his leg.

After Mr. Franklin stood up, the Star Tribune says the K-9 handler shouted for Mr. Franklin to get his hands up. And then the Star Tribune story makes this interesting statement: The K-9 handler thought the situation was nearly under control. Really? Very puzzling. Doesn’t policy state that the only time a situation is under control is when a suspect is either handcuffed or incapacitated, such as being knocked unconscious?

The Star Tribune story states that officer Mark Durant stepped in, that Mr. Franklin broke away and charged the officer, wrestling his MP5 submachine gun pistol away from him, and that Officer Durant struggled to hold the weapon down but Franklin was able to point it up and fire twice. As both officers were shot in their lower leg, Mr. Franklin would have had to be lying on the floor to point up and still only shoot the officers below their knees.

At that point, state Star Tribune sources, Officer Peterson stepped in as Franklin was holding the pistol pointed at Officer Durant. Even if we assume that the two officers were each shot in a leg, that still left three highly trained, well-conditioned police officers on their feet, at which time, according to witnesses, Mr. Peterson did not taser Mr. Franklin but, instead, pulled out his side arm and shot Mr. Franklin dead. Why?

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner stated Mr. Franklin had been shot multiple times. Why?
Very puzzling: five officers chasing one guy, and yet only one shooter? Really? When will we learn how many shots? Why is there a huge hole in Mr. Franklin’s face, with half his face missing? The paper said one shot. One shot did all that? Really?

The MPD says it will it take at least eight weeks before the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) returns information on the forensics examination on the gun, including blood and urine samples of those involved. Yet none of the five police officers in the basement were required to give samples of blood and urine. This raises questions of credibility relevant to the investigation.

The sources available to the Star Tribune gave the paper the password used by the police department investigators. Really? Why? To enable a better cover up? Does the police department’s left hand know what the right hand is doing? Does either hand trust the other?

I’m sure that Chief Harteau now recognizes she is not only being undermined by her own department in this tragedy. The situation is compounded by politics being played out among other law enforcement entities in Hennepin County. They’ll get the big dollars in fighting crime if they can get involved. In some locales in Minnesota, some jurisdictions want to control their entire county.

Chief: You figure it out, but I think you already know.

We seek answers to questions to enable providing the truth and justice about the death of T.T. Franklin for his family. In the Black community we say, “God help us and guide us.”

What will White officers do to bring balance back to the force? Won’t public trust in public safety responders continue to erode when such travesties of justice are allowed to go unchallenged?

Stay tuned.

Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 8:45  a.m.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2013, 8:45 a.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


May 22, 2013 Column #21: Terrance Terrell Franklin’s police-shooting death. Many questions remain unanswered

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

 
Terrance Terrell Franklin died at the hands of the Minneapolis police in the basement of a home at 2717 Bryant Avenue South, Minneapolis at approximately 3:30 pm, Friday, May 10. Questions are being asked about the circumstances of his death and the pitched battle alleged in different police versions, including hand-to-hand combat with a K-9 and then with five highly trained officers of a SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team.

We raised these questions on May 13 — four days after the shooting (columns are written 8 days befor e paper is on newsstands) — that we hope will eventually be raised by other media:

The most recent version, as of this writing, is that after being released from the jaws of the dog, Mr. Franklin charged the five officers (who had guns drawn); and although an officer had punched him hard in the face, the claim is that the punch didn’t stop him, nor did beating him with flashlights, so that, as he reached for an officer’s gun, they “had” to shoot him.

Five SWAT team members. One suspect. One police shooter. Really?

The police report Mr. Franklin wounded one officer in the leg. At that point, according to what will be the police version, one of the five officers fired six shots into Mr. Franklin’s head, who then fell. The scenario will say a second officer fell when the officer shot in the leg fell into him, pinning both on the floor with Mr. Franklin falling on top of them. This suggests the police continued firing, resulting in a second officer being hit in the leg.
As the medical examiner eventually said, the 22-year-old Mr. Franklin had been shot multiple times. His family would be well advised to have an independent autopsy in order to verify the number of times Mr. Franklin was shot and the number of bites and tears on his body during the course of the attack by the K-9 before the shooting.

Consider this scenario: Mr. Franklin was dazed by a fist to his head and then rendered unconscious from a beating with flashlights; and then, in the animal frenzy, he was summarily executed. Although difficult to think about, we recall that several months ago, another African American, a little older, was killed in exactly the same manner in another incident, in a St. Paul basement, in which a K-9 was also involved. Are we looking at a larger pattern and practice?

Will there be a Grand Jury investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of Mr. Franklin or into the death of the Mexican motorcyclist killed by a speeding police squad car heading to the scene 30 minutes later?

Terrance Terrill Franklin’s death should be a chilling reminder to those of us in the African American community that we are targets of opportunity and fair game in an ongoing war against the African American community, not only here but across the country. In a word: business as usual. Worse: no outcry from our community leadership.

May Mr. Franklin’s family be provided with the forensic evidence that will allow a better understanding of the events leading to the death of their loved one.  Hopefully, somewhere between the police description of that struggle and Mr. Franklin’s death lies the truth.

Stay tuned.

Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 4:35  a.m.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


May 15, 2013 Column #20: Changing of the guard with the T-Wolves. Flip Saunders’ good calculations will replace David Kahn’s poor ones

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

May 15, 2013

Because of my November 7, 2012 column (“The smartest White team in the NBA: T-Wolves team return to the 1950s?”), we took heat from those who took exception with our prediction that there would be a “day of reckoning” (being fired) if David Kahn’s “smartest White team” strategy didn’t result in at least 45 wins (it was disastrous; they won only 31).

As I wrote in that November 7 column: “Play the best players, whether all White, all Black or a combination. To have the best game possible, Commissioner Stern has insisted on ‘color blind’ drafting/signing. So why not the Timberwolves?” Thus, get the fans “the best players playing so their teams have the best chance to win. It is quite clear that owner Glenn Taylor is of the same mind set.”

My prediction was the fruit of my being a life-long sports analyst/journalist/fan with a deep sense of the game’s history. Kahn’s great sin: compromising Glenn Taylor’s dreams. Kahn didn’t get it that it isn’t about race or money; it’s about winning, it’s about Taylor’s passion in his love for the game, the fans and his team. For Taylor it is not about making money; he has money. It’s to win. It’s to get rings.

In reaching back to Flip Saunders, Taylor overcomes his admitted mistake in firing Flip in 2005, the one who brought the team its greatest successes. Flip knows the game. Flip understands talent. Flip has personal roots here in Minnesota. I’ve known Flip since he first came to town. I know Flip can again lead the Timberwolves organization to success.

One of the most important features of franchise success is being able to evaluate available talent. Flip Saunders will display the kind of knowledge and intellect needed on NBA Draft Day. Flip is the best combination of being highly confident but not arrogant about it. Consequently, there will be a greater degree of harmony within the organization that will resonate harmony from ball boys and girls to trainers, to assistant coaches, to the coach, general manager, and as Flip said in the press conference officially introducing him, the most important key to harmony: keep owner Glenn Taylor happy, break the proverbial jinx, and win.

Clearly, working closely with the owner and the other integral parts of the franchise, Flip will bring back the level of respect that the Timberwolves organization deserves.

My November 7, 2012 column was not personal, only a concern for the future of this historic and once respected franchise. We Minnesotans reserve the right to speak out and to give our point of view. Some tend not to understand that doctrine, and some tend to cloud that doctrine by falsely assuming not all of us bleed red, white and blue.

David Kahn never understood the history of professional basketball in Minnesota. He didn’t understand the giants of the game here: George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Vern Mickelson, and Elgin Baylor.

Kahn didn’t understand the sacrifices of the first Lakers team owners (Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen) who purchased the Detroit Gems in 1947 and brought them to Minnesota as the Minneapolis Lakers, which was helped by Sid Hartman and General Manager Max Winter; Max later brought the Vikings to Minnesota. Nor did Kahn understand the sacrifices of T-Wolves’ first owners, Marv Wolfenson and Harv Ratner, who brought back professional basketball to Minnesota in 1989, after a 29-year absence.

Kahn didn’t understand the enthusiasm when over 1,000,000 attended games at the Metrodome the first year before the opening of the Target Center for season two. He didn’t understand the history of the enthusiastic years of a young Kevin Garnett and a young Flip Saunders, a great player and a great coach, how both enjoyed and respected the game. Flip has great respect for the basketball knowledge of Minnesota fans.

And don’t forget the Lynx. I would be remiss in not reminding people of the support that owner Glenn Taylor has given to our own Minnesota professional women’s team. Glenn supported the WNBA during the lean years, and that wasn’t too long ago.

I remember listening as a little boy to the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1940’s (before games were on TV) and I was there in the mid-1950’s as George Mikan was wrapping up his great career, and I can fondly remember the talents of future hall of famer from the University of Seattle, Elgin Baylor. I know Sid Hartman remembers those great basketball games.

Recall how devastated we were when the Lakers left to relocate to Los Angeles, California when an arena could not be worked out (which is why the NHL team, the North Stars, moved). It always costs more to get a new team. See Star Tribune writer Jay Weiner’s 2000 book, covering 50 years of stadium games, where state legislators and city councilpersons made poor decisions at the expense of fans.

The jinx that some talk about has not always been present in professional basketball in Minnesota, and I just feel that Glenn and Flip and the young talent of the future, will end the jinx and bring winning professional basketball back to Minnesota.

Stay tuned for a bright Timberwolves future.

Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 4:35  a.m.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, 6:55 a.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


May 08, 2013 Column #19: Update on MPD 2012 Assault on Ames Elks Lodge. No contact with MPD for over a year

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

My May 2, 2012  headline was about the April 21, 2012, Assault by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) on the Ames Elks LodgeWhat a shameful MPD disgrace.  My sub-heading:  A 150 year old Black Fraternal Organization was brutalized by police raid.   It has been 54 weeks since the last contact by the MPD with the persons who were assaulted and brutalized

The MPD assaulted 11 African Americans, male and female, the youngest 50 years of age, the oldest 73:  beaten, assaulted with weapons and verbally abused with racial epithets.

In a complaint I personally filed, as I was one of the victims, I detailed the events surrounding the assaults by over 60 white Minneapolis Police officers.  This was definitely not one of MPD’s finest moments.

Approximately two weeks later, Ms. Lisa Miller, the Exalted Daughter Ruler and I, did a reenactment for the Internal Affairs Officer assigned to the investigation.  That was the last time that we heard anything from the Minneapolis Police Department.   Seven African Americans, attempting to work within the system, also filed complaints stating the circumstances of the racially motivated April 21, 2012 assault upon them. 

The lodge was attacked verbally by WCCO.  WCCO falsely maintained guns had been fired within the lodge:  untrue, without foundation.

The verbal part of the white officers’ attack included such epithets as “niggers,” “black bastards,” “black SOBs” and other derogatory terms. What has been so troubling about this on-going cover up is the awards to those who helped to facilitate the assault.

For example, the head of Internal Affairs on April 12 was promoted to Deputy Chief.  The Lead Investigator was promoted to a very cushy job in training.  In fact, it appears that Internal Affairs did not ever provide a case file number for my complaint. 

There is more to this cover up.  Some of it is reflected in confidential correspondence dated October 8, 2008, to then 10th ward Minneapolis councilman Ralph Remington.  It is privileged correspondence, and if Mr. Remington agrees to release the contents of the letter, he and I will jointly release it. 

The letter was in reference to Lt. Michael Keefe, whose law suit against the department is still pending in the federal courts.  We have written columns on the saga surrounding the attempt to destroy Lt. Keefe because of his commitment to stand up for Black police officers in the Minneapolis Police Department.  For those who may not remember, Lt. Keefe is white.  See my columns of May 30, 2012 (Tensions within the MPD revealed in the case of Lt. Michael Keefe), and August 29, 2007 (A profile in courage and integrity—the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe).
The events of the April 2012 assault and the yellow journalism of WCCO and the Star Tribune, did irreparable harm and damage to the reputation of the Ames Elks Lodge.  And I cannot even begin to express the damage that was done both emotionally and physically to Ms.  Miller, to her brother, to Mr. Powell, and the others, who were beaten and threatened on that tragic night.

Many who read this column will have no idea that seven Black Americans filed formal complaints with the Minneapolis Police Department.  Many who read this column will have no clue that for 54 weeks there has been no contact.  In, fact, I doubt if a new investigator has been assigned to the case. 

Seven months ago the investigator of record was transferred out of Internal Affairs to a less stressful position within the department.  As I wrote in my complaint of May 2, 2012, that at least one of the female Sergeants acting as a superior that night, rained down upon us racial epithets and threats.  She was also very much involved, along with current high ranking officers in the administration, in destroying the African American Police Officers Association. 

These same officers renewed their hostility and lies against the integrity and the professionalism against Black officers in the celebrated trial in May of last year.  See my May 30, 2012 column cited above.  There are clearly significant rewards in this city for the abuse of the rights of African Americans, be they Black citizens or Black police officers. 

Let me take this occasion to apologize to the six members of the fraternal lodge that filed official complaints in their commitment to justice and their pursuit of justice.  They stood with me in the quest for justice and the quest to clear the good name of a Black fraternal organization.  No white fraternal organization would be treated in the manner as was the Ames Elks Lodge.

But it is quite clear that the racial animus and hatred of Black citizens by the MPD is the order of the day no matter who is the chief or mayor.  Will this be another part of Mayor Rybak’s legacy that he passes on to his successor?

Stay tuned.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of key civil rights organizations, including the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

Column posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 4:35  a.m. was in error, as it was a 2010 column
Column above is now the correct column for May 8, 2013, posted August 9, 2013 10:42 p.m.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Column posted Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 4:35  a.m. was in error, as it was a 2010 column
Column above is now the correct column for May 8, 2013, posted August 9, 2013 10:42 p.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


May 01, 2013 Column #18: People’s Stadium in trouble! Can the funding really be found?

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

How does “the People’s Stadium” stand at this hour? Answer: wobbly, as we see from the fierce and personal debates within the Minnesota legislature regarding how to pay for the “People’s Stadium.”

Why the silence from the state’s two major newspapers? Their silence raises serious questions regarding their journalistic integrity. Fear of transparency?

As I have stated unequivocally before, the financial plan to fund the People’s Stadium was ill conceived, rushed without fully vetting the details. As of the writing of this column, the realties are:

The State of Minnesota is significantly short their $348 million contribution by $346 million.

The City of Minneapolis is short $150 million of its $150 million contribution.

State and City interest payments on the debt alone will be close to one billion dollars.

The Minnesota Vikings met their statutory obligation with $50 million they put into an account in June 2012.

• Now it is being suggested that the Vikings have to come up with an additional $200 million besides the $477 million that they have already committed themselves to contribute.

The State wishes to drop its contribution to $148 million, which is $2 million less than what the City of Minneapolis is supposed to contribute.

Legislature adjourns May 20. If they haven’t approved a financial package or intimidated the Vikings into paying more, the stadium will be dead on arrival.

One of the most important foundations of American law is contract law (I warned of this 10 months ago, when it became quite clear that the stadium finance plan was being done with smoke and mirrors. See columns of May 23, 2012 and June 13, 2012. See also April 11, 2011 Blog entry, Legislative double-cross? Why?

But let’s say that the Vikings pretend that they do not understand the Anglo-Saxon doctrine of contract law and take on $677 million of the $1 billion People’s Stadium.

Isn’t the flip side that they could then insist that the contract with Mortenson as construction manager be invalidated too, enabling them to select their choice? The Vikings had no vote in the decision to select Mortenson. It was done by five individuals representing, at best, financial minority partners.

If contracts don’t count, what else do the state and city plan to invalidate? Wouldn’t the Vikings then have the financial right as prime financial contributor to determine all matters pertaining to design and construction, including replacing Mortenson? I’m sure the Vikings and the NFL are exploring this contingency.

The NFL did not become a multi-billion dollar enterprise by not understanding the rules of financial engagement and contract law. No one puts up 70 percent of a billion dollars without gaining control over how their money will be spent and the project runs, of how subcontracts will be rewarded and how profits will be directed.

It was no coincidence that, when the NFL approved a $200 million loan to the Vikings, some in the legislature and the business communities began to talk about reducing the State’s contribution by $200 million. Purpose: Take the Vikings to the cleaners.

It is troubling that those proposing cutting the State’s contribution seem to believe they don’t have to follow contract law except when they want to. The Vikings understand: When the State’s reduction game was firmly revealed, Les Bagley, Vikings official point man, said, “We can never agree to that because an agreement is an agreement,” clearly stating the Vikings’ and NFL’s legal talking points.

The legislative session ends May 20. There are strong vibrations in many quarters that the door has been opened for the Vikings to begin their journey west. The legislature would be wise to review the debacle surrounding the financing and construction of the MLB Marlin’s baseball stadium in Miami, Florida (Google it) [See Marlin links below]: no public vote, mayor recalled, Marlins didn’t meet their obligation, and general negative political fallout.

The Vikings stadium deal has cut the mayor’s political career short because he purposefully violated the rules of the city’s charter. In terms of city elections in November, there are clear indications that a lot of city council members may not be returning. Why? Because they ignored the wishes of the voters/taxpayers.

Someone has made the decision the Vikings could be played cheap, and that the voters and citizens of Minneapolis could be treated likewise. Big mistake. Agreements are agreements. Contract law is contract law, a strong and irreversible part of the legal doctrine and legal creed that is a strength of America.

In the spring of 2012, an agreement was reached by all parties, etched in legislative language. Some think that Minnesota and the federal courts will allow that agreement to be violated.

The citizens of the state of Minnesota deserve better. This could become an unparalleled disaster in the history of a professional sports team and its relationship with State and City governments and the taxpayers.

Why, Star Tribune, are you so silent in providing the kind of in-depth analysis of what is really happening in the people’s legislature in regards to the future of the People’s Stadium?

Stay tuned.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Marlin links referred to above:
SEC Is Investigating Marlins Stadium Deal - WSJ.com

Marlin Planning and controversy - Financing - Design - Features

Will an Empty Marlins Park Create Backlash Against Sports Stadium dium construction project

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 8:54 a.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


April 24, 2013 Column #17: Terror in Boston! Terror in America! How fragile is our precarious democracy in the face of senseless violence?

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

Two explosions exposed the fragile state of our precarious social contract at the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013, as three were killed and 175 or so injured, some badly, some losing arms and legs. As this column was written nine hours after the carnage (and published 8 days later), we don’t know yet if this was by domestic or foreign terrorists. 

Doesn’t matter. It was mean-spirited premeditation with malice aforethought, killing innocents to get attention and send a message.

Recall this paragraph from my March 28, 2007 column: “One of the things ahealthy society prides itself on is its commitment and ability to protect the most fragile, the most vulnerable, and the most innocent. Even the animal kingdom seems to understand that the newborn and the very young are to be protected and guarded at any cost.” My March 28, 2007 column was about the violent death of a 41-day old infant.

A 1960’s Black activist famously said, "Violence is as American as cherry pie," which would have been more accurate had he said violence is in all societies, which is all the more reason why we need the nonviolence preached by Martin Luther King, Jr.

King walked the nonviolence talk through his teaching, preaching and personal behavior. Nonviolence should be a beacon for the followers of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) that have turned their backs on “love your neighbor” and “turn the other cheek.” The “who is my neighbor?” question was answered for all time: Not just those like “us,” but also those who are “other” in race, creed, color and culture.

We don’t yet know what person or group with a glass-is-half-empty attitude is responsible for the well-planned, well-executed attack to intentionally kill and maim. We wait together, around the globe, to learn what sense of divisiveness, division, hatred, despair, failure, sense of being wronged, and/or different vision of the future contributed to this. We are not so naïve as to believe what we say in this column will stop such behavior. It’s been going on for millennia. It will continue to do so, human nature being what it is. Nonetheless, we keep our eye on the prize. Planned. Premeditated. Despicable. Unjustified. They knew the last mile and finish line was dedicated to the 20 children and six teachers slain in New Town, CT, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

These perpetrators repeat an old and chilling message: Nothing is sacred. They want to show that their
terror of us is their order of the day. We need to show that fear of them is not the order of our day.  Once again, children are among the casualties at an event participated in by over 100 nations, an event televised and seen around the world.

We are leery of continued excuses offered for those who plan and carry out such terrorist acts. At some point, we as a society and we as a world of nations must understand that there are angry people with no qualms about causing maximum harm and injury to others, including the innocent, including children, as we saw throughout the 20th century. It is more than simple ideology, with right and left camps filled with certitude that the other side is guilty, even as both sides do it.

Too many of both parties are too eager to attack the president, as seen especially during the previous two presidential elections with attacks based on skin color. We are in dangerous territory when people work to become comfortable accepting a doctrine that allows for fewer rights for some, inferior dreams for others, and distorted visions of success for everyone.

There is unjustified fanaticism on both the political left and political right. We need, as a society, as a nation, and as individuals, to confront the cause of the fanaticism of the day and work hard to guarantee that there will not be more violence and senseless acts of brutality. There are people not interested in understanding, just violence. We still need to work to be understood by them and work to get all to sit down to honest, transparent and truthful discussions, with respect for thedifferences, one to another.

This column does not intend to ask anyone to buy into friendly ecumenical messages, for only light can push away darkness, not more darkness. Yet too many answer or want to answer darkness with darkness. The antidote that we need is a little bit more of that old-time religion: giving love and respect, not demanding it.

When the emphasis of a society is not to prevent harm to the most innocent of our population, our children, or refrain from punishing those who do, it does not bode well for the future, be it in Boston, Moscow, Beijing, Minneapolis/St. Paul or any other great city on our planet.

Our prayers go out to the city of Boston and its citizens during these
troubling events. But let us not forget to also pray for our own survival.

Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

April 24, 2013. Posted Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 11:05 a.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


April 17, 2013 Column #16: Legislature caught whistling in the dark. Financial problems for Viking stadium construction project

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

For years I have defined as “ill-conceived” any planning that mostly serves the planners and their agency/bosses and not those they plan for, that too often leave African Americans out of their equations, purposefully failing or refusing to meet both diversity and equity hiring requirements and appropriate funding or financing best practices regarding construction, education, housing, jobs and public safety.

I have long written about the perils of such ill-conceived planning regarding the Vikings stadium. The Star Tribune reminded us of these perils in articles last week, April 8 and 9, perils that could lead to a failed stadium project and loss of the Vikings to another city:

Dayton puts in a $750M bonding request.

Time for a Plan B for Vikings stadium financing?
Sluggish sales of electronic pulltabs have legislators concerned.

Racino proposed as answer for Vikings stadium and budget

There is anxiety in the Minnesota legislature. Read from my over 25 columns on this gathered together in a solutions paper for the Vikings stadium situation.

As they used to say to Shoeless Joe Jackson, “Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.” We are again reminded of legislative missteps in Star Tribune writer Jay Weiner’s 2000 book about Minnesota stadiums, Stadium Games. Say it ain’t so, state legislature and Minneapolis City Council! Say it ain’t so!

[Editors's note: related books:

Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public
Money into Private Profit, Revised and Expanded Edition

Public Dollars, Private Stadiums:
The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums

Sports, Jobs, and Taxes:
The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums
]

Both Democrats and Republicans alike admit they could be forced to suspend action regarding construction on the People’s Stadium until the January 2014 legislative session. A scenario with that delay could result in no Minnesota Vikings in existence to play in the Peoples Stadium, as this would delay the opening to Fall of 2017, which the Vikings have stated is unacceptable.

The Vikings are not locked in. They can leave for any city, including L.A. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came to Minnesota in early 2012, he made it clear in meetings with Governor Mark Dayton and Republican and Democratic leaders of the legislature that if there is no new stadium deal, the Vikings are free to move.

Have you noticed there is no lease agreement signed by the Vikings regarding either the new stadium or to play here in 2013? However, because of the language of the NFL Constitution and the printing of the schedule for the upcoming season, the Vikings are past the 2013 last day for move announcements. But they can still play anywhere that will rent them a stadium for Sundays.

The Vikings, NFL and $477 million don’t have to stay in Minnesota. This is why the current situation in St. Paul has all of the characteristics of producing one of the most devastating collapses of an anticipated public-works project in the history of the state of Minnesota or of any professional athletic team. Stadium games indeed.

Given the fiscal problems, starting with increasing debt that is burdening Minnesota state government in terms of diminishing the quality of education, health care, and access to good housing, Minnesota is no longer financially stable. Come 2014, the new council and new legislature will be overwhelmed with what they will have to deal with if the current council and legislature don’t step up, which would automatically mean the only solution left: more types and amounts of taxes.

Clearly, our leadership needs to get really busy and really serious about quickly making a deal. As I’ve noted for a year, the financial plan was ill-conceived. The City of Minneapolis is not even close to having its $150 million portion, as laid out in the legislation.

Mayoral candidate Gary Shiff has calculated that it will actually cost nearly $800 million when interest is paid as well. In fact, the City of Minneapolis doesn’t have its $25 million to join with the State’s $25 million and the already-paid-in $50 million of the Vikings in order to guarantee the existence of the $100 million construction trust fund.

It is no accident the Star Tribune articles only identified the State’s obligation. About the City’s obligation: Have you noticed? Practically zero discussion since Mayor R.T. Rybak announced he is bailing out as mayor of the City of Minneapolis. Nonetheless, a serious financial crisis looms.

The new Minneapolis City Council will be sworn in in January 2014, with five to nine new members. How will these political novices — a new mayor and new council members — deal with this $150 million of City money to save the future of the so-called Peoples’ Vikings Stadium?

The chairwoman of the Authority is quoted as saying things can be worked out during the 2014 legislative session. If so, will a year’s postponement trigger a Vikings move? The legislative session of 2014 will overwhelm the newly elected city council. Will they punt and raise taxes?

November 2014 is the legislative election for all state senators and representatives. How will angry or provoked voters vote? People need to carefully study Mark Kaplan’s report and Gary Schiff’s projection. When will officials learn to read and understand a spread sheet, including the small print about the assumptions used to generate the numbers for and about state and municipal bonds and other revenue streams?

Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 8:54 a.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


April 10, 2013 Column #15: Congratulations, Tubby! Texas Tech hires Tubby Smith while U of M keeps looking.

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

There is no mystery about the well-designed plan to oust six-year University of Minnesota Gopher men’s basketball Head Coach Tubby Smith. Well designed, but ill-advised and poorly executed, as seen in various Star Tribune headlines Monday, March 25 through Monday, April 1, and ESPN April 2nd [Editors note:  article titles in the paper and online versions of the Star Tribune are often different]: 

25th: “Firing Smith would be big mistake by Gophers” (Sid Hartman)
25th: Tubby Smith is fired: what happened, what's next, reactions and more (Rayno)
26th: “Tubby out, U search in high gear” (Dennis Brackin)
26th: “U: time for a change”
26th: “Tubby’s best not enough”
27th: “Mn in position like sleeping giant”
28th: “Search moves on; Smart to stay at VCU
28th:  “Tubby Smith Says, “I’ll gong to coach Again.”
29th: “U leaders mold coaching network”
30th: “Stop fretting, Flip [Saunders] is the right fit
31st: “Flip says no to U”
 1st:   “Patience, U fans, as basketball coach search slogs on
 1st: “Minnesota basketball coaching job: Who wants it?”
 1st: “Tubby Smith to Texas Tech; Minnesota search continues
2nd:  Texas Tech Hires Tubby Smith

Have you wondered, as I have, as to why, even when the Gophers were 15-1, the Star Tribune’s little lady from North Carolina [by way of short stints — after graduating from college — at the Boston Globe and the Detroit Free Press] was so hostile in her sports coverage of "U" men's basketball? Sources within the "U" as well as Minneapolis sports scene movers and shakers enable us to connect the dots.

The announcement that Tubby found a new job April 1st at Texas Tech was no April Fool’s joke. The fool’s part is the "U" continually stumbling in their handling of coaching.

It was from ESPN, not the Star Tribune, that we first learned the "U" VA brain trust first offered the job to Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin before offering the job to Shaka Smart, VCU’s brilliant young coach. The only reporter who stood tall in this entire episode was Sid Hartman: “Firing Smith would be a big mistake for Gophers,” read his March 26 headline.

Dennis Bracken also showed integrity in his “Tubby out” piece, March 26. Brackin cleverly suggests AD Norwood Teague is not the brilliant basketball wizard "U" propaganda promotes (while the Star Tribune reporter who criticized Tubby, even when 15-1, continues to promote Teague as the greatest AD since burnt rice), noting the $6 million in recent buyouts to coaches Munson, Mason, Brewster and Smith.

What is so troubling about the Star Tribune, this once great newspaper, is how much it doesn’t get right, including about Flip Saunders, who subsequently also turned the U down. How were Norwood Teague and Mike Ellis so off point that they thought they created the best coaching carousel plan?

The decision to attempt to humiliate Tubby Smith by reporting his firing to the news media before extending the courtesy of informing him that he was out as the head coach of the Golden Gophers raises serious questions about the future and integrity of U of M sports’ future under the gentlemen from Virginia and the reporting of their actions by the lady from North Carolina, not to mention those of the Twin Cities press corps who worked hard to make this plan a success. It’s a plan that has gone the way of the Hindenberg: The U could not tie down the coach from Cincinatti, nor coaches from VA Commonwealth, Florida Gulf Course, Marquette, etc.

Having developed a Mickey Mouse plan, why didn’t the U just ask Disney to give them Mickey Mouse, as that is what they have turned the image and reputation of the U into during their coach search — a Mickey Mouse plan with Mickey Mouse results? They should have asked for the casting rights before putting this dog-and-pony Mickey Mouse show production on the big circuit.

Sid Hartman was on point. Dennis Bracken had the right idea. The rest, from VA and NC, were part of a mean-spirited plan to humiliate and destroy a good and decent human being.

Texas Tech, within less than a week, appreciating Tubby’s principles and values and recognizing his ability to uplift a program that had fallen on hard times, as he did in Georgia, Tulsa, Kentucky, and MN, hired him. Texas Tech is getting a man who won a national title, won five Southeastern Conference championships, and established a reputation as a successful program builder. Texas Tech is getting a coach who has had 20 or more wins in 18 of 21 head coaching seasons.

Even though we say “shame on you, U,” we still wish you all the best in getting a coach to give you what all schools want: wins. The responsibility for the U’s fix is the "U,"
not with the fans.
The Star Tribune lady from North Carolina blames the fans for the firing of and disrespect shown to Tubby Smith.

You "U" guys won that Oscar. You’ve become a living legend for futility, dishonesty, indecency, and just plain mean-spirited thinking. I hope you make it to the Final Four next year (the top final four, not the bottom final four).

God bless you, Tubby Smith. The hand of righteousness is still on your shoulder. We can’t say the same about the "U".

Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 3:15 a.m.

Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entries 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.


April 03, 2013 Column #14: Thank you Tubby for an excellent run! Tubby Smith: a man of principle and integrity.

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

First things first: we join and support the observations made by our longtime friend Sid Hartman in his columns last week that “Firing Smith would be a big mistake for Gophers.”

Once again, the University of Minnesota (1) showed no class; (2) showed no professionalism; and (3) lied, firing Coach Smith just three months after signing him to a three-year extension. They leaked it to the news media before telling Tubby. They tried to cover with “leaks happen” when it kept secret a year it’s extending the contract of its losing women’s basketball coach.

The U purposefully attempted to humiliate a great coach, a decent human being, and a recognized high-caliber coach with a national title to his credit. Instead, they humiliated themselves, showed their indecency, and exposed the pettiness of self-centered bureaucrats.

No wonder top coaches and athletes shy away from the UM. The university continues to be driven by the politics of cutting the ground out from under coaches in general and Black coaches in particular.

After six years of rebuilding, turning around what was a crumbling basketball program, and winning the UM’s first NCAA tournament game in 16 years, Tubby is unceremoniously fired. The tax payers will now pay for the arrogance and incompetence of the athletic department: $2.5 million to Tubby and a total of $6M overall.

Imagine: they fired all of his staff. There will be no continuity with coaching staff and players. Disrespect, manipulation, and deviousness oozes out of the UM athletic department.

Some say the next coach of the Gopher basketball team will be Flip Saunders, former UM and NBA star and coach. He would be advised to take the offer of Glen Taylor to be VP of Basketball operations for the MN Timberwolves. Flip, I have to say, that’s your best bet.

With this administration, how can anyone salvage what the university has done to the Gopher Basketball program? Some, such as former coach Dutcher, saw the chance to plunge the dagger into the back of Tubby Smith. I now have a better understanding of why former UM assistant basketball coach Jimmy Williams was denied the opportunity to go to work with Coach Smith and display his reputation as one of the top recruiters in America.

Maybe Jim Dutcher forgot the excellent recruitment that Jimmy Williams did for the Gopher program in the 1980s. Will any new coach be able to move the University to build that new practice facility that was promised Coach Tubby Smith six years ago? Will Norwood, Teague and Gopher alumni really be able do something about making the 82-year-old facility known as the “barn” a more attractive recruitment tool?

I was especially saddened, once again, by the silence of Black alumni for not standing up, defending and speaking out on behalf of Coach Smith. They have not spoken out before. When will they? There are now no Black faces in positions of authority and responsibility in the Gopher Athletic Department.

Black athletes can entertain us and make money for the University in football, basketball, baseball, and other sports but with few to none being employed by the University. That doctrine seems to be the cornerstone of Minnesota thinking, another reason as to why it is so tough to recruit Black athletes to the University of Minnesota.

Does the university want to return to the glory days of Bernie Berman and the White Golden Era of the 1930s? Will they be able to sign young Black players like Tyus Jones to lead them to the promised land of championships? You have to hope that whatever this young man does that he’ll do it some place where his skills and his pedigree will be respected instead of disrespected as done to Coach Tubby Smith.

Again, I must applaud Sid Hartman and other Star Tribune writers for not being silent about this big mistake made by the university leadership. Tubby Smith leaves MN with his head held high, his integrity intact and his legacy of greatness forever etched in the annals of collegiate sports. Tubby did it the right way.

Best of luck, Tubby. Your six years here should be a lesson on what is important: integrity, respect and love of the game. You exhibited all these. May God give you the strength to stay on the path of continued success.

And now, once again, there are no Black Big Ten Head Coaches. That doesn’t fit the statistics of most coaches being former players and half the players being Black.

Stay turned.

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

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

Ron's investigative reporting media message platforms:
(1) Column (since 2003): "Through My Eyes: The Minneapolis Story Continues", published weekly in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.;
(2) TV: Host of weekly Black Focus, Sundays, 5-6 pm, on Channel 17, MTN-TV;
(3) Blog Talk radio podcasts: host of “Black Focus V,” Saturdays, 3-4:00 pm,  Sundays, 3-3:30 pm, and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm; Archives here and here; On Point,
(4) Books: The Minneapolis Story Through My Eyes (2002); and A Seat for Everyone (2008); Order here.
(5) Solution Papers: for community leadership, planning and development;
(6) Blog: "Tracking the Gaps"
(7) CD: Hear his readings;
(8) Archives. (Columns, Blog entries, Solution Papers).

Posted Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 2:52 a.m.

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


Ron 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 entries 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.

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