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2005 Columns
Quarter 2: April thru June ~ Columns #7 - #13

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June 29, 2005 Column #13: Can we eliminate ourselves through violence in our streets?

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

There is a word in Webster’s dictionary called “extinction.” It refers to the end, to the disappearance of a species. Given the increased violence in our city over the last twenty days, and with the loss of so many young men and women, the African American community is proportionally flirting with self-genocide. The end of a species. The disappearance of our race.

Oh I know in a serious vein, this is hyperbole, as based on all the arguments, it should be impossible for us to kill ourselves off. But oh my how we seem to be trying. I don’t know how many more 15 year olds can be shot in the head, how many 20 year olds can be executed in the middle of the street, how many girl friends can be gunned down in their homes, or how many small children just trying to get a good night’s rest can be shot in the shoulder or in other parts of their little bodies by stray bullets fired by young men who have lost their minds and moral compass.

That, my friends, is how you begin to take the dangerous first steps towards extinction, the disappearance of the species. Will we stop this madness? Will we reduce the violence? Will we save our children and protect our babies? The answer has to be yes because the alternative is our death.

The foundation of any species, any people, any race, are their young. And so we are going to have to make a commitment to do a better job of planning, of educating, and committing ourselves to the saving of our race. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to get it done tomorrow or even next year, but we must put in place an approach and a plan for the survival of the sons and daughters of the African. God judges a people by how they protect their young. Right now we are not doing a good job, and somewhere in the heavens, somebody is very unhappy with our efforts or, should we say, our lack of effort.

A professional who does her job. A little over a week ago we were all stunned by the coldness and the viciousness of the Minneapolis Board of Education and its so-called evaluation of Superindendent Dr. Thandiwe Peebles. One of the most important features and considerations of her selection was the importance of increasing the test scores, bringing them up, preparing children, particularly children of color, to be more enlightened and to be able to compete in the arenas of competition. The Black community has suffered terribly since the departure as Superintendent, the legendary Dr. Richard Green. Dr. Green, who was a product of the Minneapolis Public School system, understood the importance of and the need for success, and so he dedicated himself to the mandate given to him.

A little less than a year ago, we thought the same mandate had been given to Dr. Peebles: increase the test scores, reconstruct the curriculum, restore the confidence of parents in the mission of education. But lo and behold, less than nine months after being selected for the position and being on the job, Dr. Peebles found herself under siege. White folks didn’t like her attitude, didn’t like her style, didn’t like her hair, didn’t like how she talked, and so the board has made her aware of what is expected of her on this plantation called Minneapolis. She is expected to be obedient, subservient, do a little shuffling, do a little bucking and winging, and at the same time talk about how happy she is to be here.

Now you know that is sick, my friends, but we are dealing with small, narrow minded and vicious policy makers who are more concerned to kissing up to corporate Minneapolis than they are in guaranteeing the education of children of color. This represents a dark chapter in what the future holds for the education of the African American child. Dr. Peebles, you have done and are doing a good job. You are doing it with compassion, with caring and with reverence for your profession. Unfortunately, the people you report to have no appreciation or respect for those attributes, my strong sister. May God continue to guide you and provide you with strength to educate our children.

Problem solving. Our book and web site lay out solutions for consideration. We invite the City Council, the General Mills Foundation, the Minneapolis Civil rights department and the Police Executive Research Forum to discuss and consider them.

We need to reform the entrenched interests, reform the obstructionist teachers union, reform the hidebound public bureaucracies and move beyond the race/class/gender trifecta. We need to reform individuals AND institutions, and commit to achieving good education AND jobs.

To succeed as a community and not kill ourselves off we need to work with restraint and cooperation, be optimistic and hopeful, and be pragmatic and realistic. Let us be measured not by caskets but by building community, educating our young, and providing equal access and opportunity for everyone. Then all survive.

Posted 6-29-2005, 2:50 a.m.

June 15, 2005 Column #12: Operation CARE defends Fortress St. Paul

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

What puzzles us is the singling out of Black gangs

How appropriate it was that on June 1, Mayor Randy Kelly announced the implementation of the crime-fighting program dubbed Operation CARE (Comprehensive Area Reclamation Enterprise), just five days before America’s annual recognition of the anniversary of D-Day, the day our troops stormed ashore at Normandy and triggered the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.

We can just imagine the warm and fuzzy feelings tonight in St. Paul—no, make that all across Minnesota—now that 225 blocks of “terrorist hotspots” have been identified, blocked off, and made secure. Now all that is necessary are the sweeps, the roundups, the detentions, and, thus, an end to crime and terror as we know it.

Eisenhower would have been proud, had this been Omaha Beach at Normandy. But this is St. Paul. Nonetheless, Randy and his administration, in the spirit of those troops coming ashore at Normandy and MacArthur coming ashore in the Philippines, join the significant military hosts of history.

The June 4 Pioneer Press reports on the “hot spots,” but not, strangely, on actual crimes. But hey, we don’t need any other intelligence but the fact that they are Black blocks.

But there is a problem in paradise: The St. Paul Fire Department union is not too hot about their deployment to these “hot spots,” but Mayor Randy says, “Shut up and follow orders.” Nathaniel Khaliq, head of the St. Paul NAACP, has done the right thing, taking to the barricades and raising tough questions about the designation of 225 blocks of crime, insurgency, and just general disorder.

The only thing we lack tonight are the appropriate target names—Omaha, Juno, Sword—for clearly there is a threat to the safety of the fortress state, of the fortress city-state of St. Paul. As pointed out in the policy document of PERF (Police Executive Research Form, at, entitled, “Protecting Your Community from Terrorism: Strategies for Local Law Enforcement,” that is now the order of the day.

And so, hallelujah, we now know that within a matter of weeks the eradication of drugs and the halting of gun running will have been accomplished.

What puzzles us is the singling out of Black gangs. Eisenhower would not have allowed the equivalent of this to happen, to ignore his rear. What about the other gangs, such as the Hispanic, Asian, and certainly White skinhead gangs? This is puzzling because, working off of the PERF plan, all communities of terrorism are supposed to be dealt with.

Wouldn’t you feel safer in the announcing of Operation CARE if Mayor Randy and his command staff would have talked about these other enterprises of crime? Certainly General Eisenhower and General MacArthur would have never allowed such terrorist gangs to threaten their rear.

And so, as we move into Operation CARE in St. Paul, “Project Take Back the Streets” in Cincinnati, Ohio, and “Operation STOP” in Minneapolis, we can all rest just a little more comfortably, can’t we, knowing that the Plan is in effect and that the roundup has begun?

By this time next year, we will be able to talk about and make reference to our own D-Day. Let us hope it means Decisive and not Disaster. Do you get my drift?

Stadium groundhog still seeks shadow

We haven’t heard anything about the stadium. We have been waiting to hear from our civil rights institutions (the civil and human rights departments of the state of Minnesota and the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, NAACP, Urban League), to hear of their strategies to guarantee that we would be able to reduce the number of Black terrorists by making sure they have a shot—oh, sorry, had “an opportunity”—at some of the lucrative jobs developing across the metropolitan area (see our Spokesman-Recorder column of April 20, “Black share of $5 billion construction: Zero”).

But we haven’t heard anything. Sorry. Bad statement. Haven’t seen anything. You know that when it comes to opportunities for Black citizens, we hear a lot of lip service but see very few concrete plans unless it is for the purpose of putting Black citizens away, as in incarceration, as in jail (they are the same).

So to be sure that our reading audience understands, we will, every couple of weeks, be like the groundhog: We’ll keep poking our head up and asking in every column, “Where’s the plan?” until we can see the shadow made by a plan.

Zygi has his plan. What about the others? We just want to know, as Black folk, that we can come along also. Because not all of us can play football. We are waiting at the construction site bus stop. Will the White construction bus stop for us?

Jobs are important, no matter who you are or what you look like. You want crime fighting? What could be better than to make drugs and guns less attractive with paying jobs? That is how you preserve the life of the children. God bless America.

Posted 6-15-05, 3:40 a.m.

June 1, 2005 Column #11: Reggie who? A dream has faded; May It Rise Again

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

In the May 26 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there were eight stories and one poll on the sale of the Minnesota Vikings (the Pioneer Press ran five stories and one poll question). After a short period of deliberation and investigation, the NFL owners, in a unanimous vote, approved the transfer of the Minnesota Vikings’ ownership from Red McCombs of Texas to Zygi Wilf of New Jersey.

But in the hearts and minds of Black America, the question has to be: What the heck happened to Reggie Fowler and the dream so many of us shared of his being the first Black NFL owner, a breakthrough in the tradition of Jackie Robinson or of Paul Brown’s 1946 Cleveland Browns?

There was so much expectation that the NFL would join the NBA in allowing equal access and equal opportunity in the owner’s box, as on the field of play. One sensed, with the anticipated breakthrough that baseball would not be far behind. But oh, how dreams shatter, the sense of achievement disappears, and the reality of the American sports scene sets in.

The only thing that history will show is that the Jewish ownership has returned to reclaim the Minnesota Vikings. And, Reggie engineered something no one else could do for three years. So, in that respect, success has been achieved.

After the euphoria of Valentine’s Day, it seemed that Reggie’s color set the forces of obstruction to work. It appears that some of those who say they were on the inside misread totally what was happening in New York, and they sure missed what was happening at Winter Park. You have to stay on top of your game if you are a journalist, Black or White. In this corner, we like to think we raised the right questions in the right spirit with the right suspicions in mind.

Congratulations, Red. You drove your price up while scaring some folks. We don’t know who was more scared, the gang of 32 Augustans or the Oles of Minnesota. But for a league that receives so much from African Americans, we hope it learned from this that it can not only survive, but thrive by accepting and encouraging the spirit and actuality of inclusion in the owners’ suites.

America, 65 percent White, 35 percent minority, awaits NFL ownership to acknowledge its diverse fans. America is indeed ready for the image of Marion Motley, Fritz Pollard, Emlin Tunelle.

Although we don’t understand why the NFL loaned Red money to buy the team in 1998 but asked Reggie to have more liquidity than the price (to cover losses and a new stadium), we were glad to read in the Strib that Reggie said he finally achieved liquidity, just “too late,” and that Commissioner Tagliabue concurred that it was not a matter of Fowler’s net worth, but of his “liquidity.”

Race, my friends, no longer needs to be the order of the day. Congratulations, Red and Zygi. Thanks for the ride, Reggie. We were also glad to read in several of the stories that now the league really does want to see a minority as a majority owner.

The NFL got to know you, Reggie. In three years, you were the only man in America to step up with an acceptable offer. Let your dream rise again. The NFL didn’t die or turn to stone in your presence. You brought them millions of dollars in free publicity.

We are glad to hear the NFL state its desire to right the ship of equal access and opportunity to an African American. You have the desire. You now have the liquidity. Why not you for the NFL team in L.A.?

Wexler’s plan As you read this column, Charles “Chuck” Wexler will be in town, putting the final pieces of his initiative in place. Forums are being created, like in Chicago. Leaders are being paid. Many in our Black community are being unfairly and unjustly labeled “terrorists.” The silence about this is deafening.

A new era is emerging. A new doctrine is being put in place. The sins of the child are being said to be the crimes of the family, which thus must also be punished. Obedience is expected, as Alfred Flowers and Booker T. Hodges found out. Don Samuels has said if Blacks don’t do what he and others in power want, they’ll get no help from him. So much for “we the people.”

Who will have the courage and good citizenship sense to ask questions about and inquire into Wexler’s Plan? Silence is more and more becoming the order of the day unless you have been anointed by the Forum, who also, more and more, do not represent “we the people”.

And so another piece of the Constitution is going to be shredded, and with the help of too many of our Black “leaders.” And God help us all if crime doesn’t disappear.

Vikings department

Hey, by the way—no penalty for Mike Tice for scalping tickets, right?

Posted 6-1-05, 2:55 a.m.

May 18, 2005 Column #10: Black enemy of the state? Black terrorists in the hood?

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

Tyrone Terrill, Director of St. Paul’s Department of Human Rights, circulated his infamous open letter to the communities of color April 28, 2005, calling for drastic action against gangs and those related to them. We responded with our open letter to Tyrone on our web page (5/8/05/#51). We asked Tyrone why he was stabbing his own people in the back, making us the problem instead of part of the solution, and letting Whites off the hook.

Then Don Samuels emailed Tyrone saying “I am all for this,” and called for everyone to get on board, including “the black papers…KMOJ…black cable show hosts.” In the Will Smith movie “Enemy of the State,” Will’s character is chased by rogue agents who oppose the introduction of legislation that would limit their powers. It would appear that Tyrone Terrill and Don Samuels are eager to not only increase police power but to have it used against Blacks, even if innocent, guilty by association. This we cannot abide. This we cannot agree to. This we will fight.

75 years ago, Adolph Hitler prepared for his “Final Solution” for Jews in Germany (finally established all nice and legal in what historians call the Wannsee Protocol of January 20, 1942, that called for rounding up all Jews). Hitler wanted the social and legal fiber of the nation adjusted. A new doctrine, a new philosophy emerged for those who were declared enemies of the state, the crimes of the fathers also became the sins of the children.

In Minnesota, the same scenario seems to be a foot in 2005, but with a twist. The crimes of the children are now being called sins of the entire family. And so a whole host of appointed and paid so-called civil rights protectors and elected public officials are calling for rounding up not only gang members but their families (see our column of May 4 and our web log entries #44-48. We have received no disclaimers).

General Mills is applauding. Charles “Chuck” Wexler (paid by General Mills and keeping the details of the plan secret), is the architect of Minnesota’s new Nuremberg Laws, that the alleged crime seems to be seen as the crime of all, as defined by race. It is somewhat frightening when those who are asked to be shepherds of democracy, guardians of justice, and facilitators of what is right, become so poisoned by their views that they embrace the dark shadow of death, maintain that there are no rights that a Black person may enjoy, that the system is not required to respect and honor Blacks. And this is being done to us by fellow Blacks.

Most would agree that we should not accept money for services not rendered. How is it that a Black public official of the City of St. Paul and a Black Councilman of Minneapolis can indicate that Black police commanders cannot be trusted, that some kind of band aid, response, or program be initiated to make it appear that there is a caring for those who will be rounded up and dispensed with if the gangs don’t all quit by Tyrone’s June 1st deadline? This is neither new nor innovative (recall Nazi Germany’s “rehabilitation” program of concentration camps, our own Native American round ups, and our 1940s detention camps of Japanese).

We said in this column two weeks ago that Council members Johnson-Lee and Samuels needed to “convene a forum to answer these questions and to lay out the plan, and to give guarantees and assurances that constitutional rights will remain in place to protect African Americans.” We as Black people deserve at least that consideration, if for no other reason, out of respect for those African Americans who have lost their lives in the great struggles for freedom defending this nation.

Never, never, never should we declare that the value of our people and the crime of the father or the son shall render a punishment against the entire Black nation. That is neither Christian, nor Jewish, nor Islamic. It is frightening. Why do Tyrone and Don continue to ignore our web site’s “Solutions” section (including our comments regarding education, jobs, housing, public safety, environmental safety, governing and ethics)?

The terrorist act of 9/11 happened. The Patriot Act was passed to deal with such terrorists. No such terrorism exists within our community. Labeling our young people terrorists and enemies of the state and calling wrath down upon them only encourages the existing bias that resonates against the Black community within the American judiciary system. Thurgood Marshall is gone. Do we have attorneys prepared to defend the Black nation, and particularly our young of the allegation that they are carrying out terrorist acts and are acting as enemies of the state? We appeal to all who say they care about the future and the franchise of the African American to take a moment, give sober reflection, and refrain from self-genocide.

Posted 5-18-05, 2:55 a.m.

May 4, 2005 Column #9: The King Wexler Plan: The Round Up Has Begun

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

Rumors are circulating about pending Twin cities crime fighting plans. But the devil is in the details. Facts remain facts. The PCRC (Police Community Relations Council) was created by federal order to help. But we are shunned and left out. Why?

One of the most dangerous plans for communities of color is the King Wexler Plan (the General Mills funded plan of Charlie Wexler). Rumor has it that it is a successor to Hennepin County District Court Judge Lindsay Arthur’s Plan of 1971 and 1972, which reads like the King Alfred Plan. The King Alfred Plan was first revealed in 1965, in the book generally considered to be “one of the most important novels of the tumultuous 1960s,” entitled The Man Who Cried I Am, a novelized view of the harsh segregation of the 1940s (protagonist Max Reddick is the author, John a. Williams; Harry Ames represents Richard Wright; Marion Dawes represents James Baldwin, Minister Q represents Malcolm X). The “totalitarian King Alfred Plan [is] the ‘final solution’ for Afro-Americans” who must act to avoid “the snap of the white bear trap” (pp. 1-2).

This is why we call the General Mills funded plan “The King Wexler Plan.” We fear this plan does not provide for our constitutional protection. This is another reason why Wexler/General Mills needs to work with the PCRC. Why are “we he people” told that the King Wexler Plan is a private document/private plan, and that the public has no right or entitlement to see the plan? General Mills is enjoying a comfortable reputation for having a “final solution” answer to the colored problem. It has committed significant dollars to implement its King Wexler Plan. The April 15 Star Tribune wrote of how members of the PCRC attempted to call attention to the dangerous and diabolical aspects of the King Wexler Plan.

It is not General Mills but “We the People…form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity…establish this Constitution.” Our “government…deriving [its] just powers from the consent of the governed,” not from General Mills’s consent. The newly elected Black chairman of the city’s civil rights commission says that he helped shape the King Wexler Plan. And Minneapolis’ self-touted “Black leadership” group claims they met with General Mills and have also helped shape it.

It allegedly contains detentions, quarantines, and other significant “crime fighting” tools. The intent of the 1971 King Arthur Plan was to incarcerate African American families it would certify as incorrigible and un-rehabilitatable. The King Arthur Plan called for the creation of detention facilities at Glenn Lake, Mn. In February 2003, remembering the tragedy of 9/11, the Minnesota Legislature passed legislation creating holding facilities and quarantine zones in Minnesota state parks. Understandable for terrorists. Not for Black American citizens. In October of 2003, this columnist asked the Minneapolis City Council to withdraw their participation. They refused.

One of the authors of that King Arthur legislation was then State Representative Rick Stanek, later to be Public Safety Director Rick Stanek, and, after returning to his previous job, Captain Rick Stanek of the Minneapolis Police Department in charge of CID (criminal investigation/intelligence division).

And so today we again ask: why all the secrecy surrounding the King Wexler Plan? What would cause a major American corporation to commit millions of dollars to its implementation? And why will no one talk about the current features of the plan that includes large payments to selected Black “leaders” to keep the peace in the neighborhoods? Payments to who? Keep the peace how? Based on what information and what intelligence gathering? Are they making “detention lists”?

We call upon City Council members Johnson-Lee and Samuels to convene a forum to answer these questions and to lay out the plan, and to give guarantees and assurances that constitutional rights will remain in place to protect African Americans.

Secrecy undermines democracy. The government withheld important and relevant information from the Supreme Court and destroyed and altered evidence to justify relocating the Japanese. Will the King Wexler Plan do the same? Former California Governor and Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren endorsed relocating the Japanese, later calling that the worst mistake of his life. Is this why he backed “Brown vs. Education,” to try to end detention-like segregated education of Blacks?

The plans for “detention” and “quarantine” are real. The recent police round ups are real. Detention HAS occurred in Minnesota: Indian reservations, until casinos, were essentially relocation camps. Japanese citizens were relocated to internment camps in Savage, MN during World War II.

And don’t forget the quasi detention now of young Black men in America*: 1 in 3 in the penal system (projected to be 2 in 3 by 2020), 80% of special ed classes; 35% of drug arrests but 75% of drug prisoners; 17% of drivers but 70% of drivers stopped; 40% illiterate; 50% of those on death row; 67% of juveniles in adult court.

In 1922, after the “Red Scare” ran its course, Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone reined in J. Edgar Hoover and warned of the dangers of “secret police.” Is this a danger of the King Wexler Plan’s secrecy too? Why won’t they converse with us?

*See Chapter 9, pp. 154-156.

Posted 5-4-05, 1:22 a.m.

April 20, 2005 Column #8: Black share of $5 billion construction: Zero. What can be done to reverse “Blacks need not apply” for the coming great construction boom?

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

The big planning train has left the station, and even the porters on this train are White.
What can tribes be offered in exchange for funding stadiums?

“Blacks need not apply!” signs have been posted on nine major new construction projects: (1) a football stadium for the University of Minnesota; (2) a baseball stadium for our beloved Twins (possibly in Hennepin County behind the Target Center); (3) a new casino for Mall of America Phase II; (4) major “destination” development in Blaine, to include (5) a football stadium for the soon-to-be-newly-purchased Minnesota Vikings, and be (6) a hub to extend light rail from Minneapolis to St. Cloud, and (7) a new casino in that corridor; (8) ancillary projects that will be part of or next to these major projects; and (9) necessary infrastructure development for them.

We learned of these projects a month ago when we attended a four-hour meeting of a committee of the Minnesota House of Representatives that includes State Rep. Neva Walker (one of our great champions in the Minnesota House). The committee was looking at casino proposals, including Governor Pawlenty’s Native American Gaming Bill.

Testimony that caught our attention was by John Williams, president of the powerful trade and construction council. Williams, who is White, is also a board member of the Minneapolis Urban League. He talked about the wonderful upcoming opportunities for jobs in these projects. Here was opportunity once again for full inclusion.

But that bright light of “opportunity gained” turned to the dark night of “opportunity denied” on April 12, 2005, when the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the reality: a drastic and frightening decline from eight percent to 1.1 percent of “minority participation” in the construction set-aside programs of the City of St. Paul.

Set-aside programs were developed to provide for at least minority participation in projects using government funds. As a longtime, 45-year observer at court, we have known that one of the greatest “access” struggles in Minnesota for people of color is access to good jobs that have good salaries and good benefits. Once again, we are denied.

From various newspaper articles, my math tells me we are looking at a minimum, conservatively speaking (with cost overruns), of over $5 billion in public and private investment dollars. This is not about taking from one group to give to another. It is about involving everyone in an ever-expanding pie.

Except we African Americans are not invited. We in this corner have already been told that there is no opportunity for the African American community to submit anything now, or to be considered at any point in time, because the big planning train has left the station, and even the porters on this train are White. Five billion dollars—do we get eight percent? No. Do we get 1.1 percent? No. We get zero percent.

Thus, everyone who is a mover or shaker or a player or observer following this game of employment and economic development knows there are no intentions whatsoever by Anoka and Hennepin Counties, or by the Cities of Minneapolis and Bloomington, or by the State of Minnesota, to comply with their own compliance laws and include African Americans. Four hundred years of being consistently shut out of economic opportunity afforded by your tax dollar continues.

Blacks need not apply. Business as usual. Minnesota nice. Minnesota White.

Why have our Black leadership been so quiet when they had to know? Some sit on the planning boards. Why did we again assume that as soon as the governor began to talk about Indian gaming and the Twins and the Vikings and the University of Minnesota, and talking about building stadiums for each of them, our Black leaders on these boards would begin the discussion to put a plan in place to include the African American community? Why have they not stood up for us? How many will get their 30 pieces of silver for selling us out by being quiet?

But maybe all is not lost. We hope State Rep. Neva Walker can help, as well as the Native American community. The New York Times (4-8-05) reported Native American economic game plans.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho of Oklahoma have offered Colorado $1 billion to return to their ancestral home (Colorado) and build a casino near Denver. Tribes in Wisconsin and Oklahoma originally from New York State are offering to return and build casinos in the Catskills.

Three landless tribes in California are offering casinos on San Francisco Bay. In Portland, Oregon, tribes offered to pay 100 percent of a new baseball stadium if they could build a casino by Portland’s convention center. Turned down, they now have a deal for a casino in the Columbia Gorge 40 miles East of Portland. The NYT shows a map of 15 such casino offers.

So why not in Minnesota? Why not a stadium or two paid in exchange for casinos or other project opportunities? This is a once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity our tribes should be considering. We African Americans should support them in this.

Posted 4-20-05, 12:34 a.m.

April 6, 2005 Column #7: Has the community abandoned Reed and Clark?Why have those who benefited from their activism have fallen silent?

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

Why the silence in the Black community since the January 16 report in the Star Tribune of the indictments handed down and the arrests made of Ronnie Read and Larry Clark in the death 35 years ago, in 1970, of St. Paul police officer James Sackett? The St. Paul Pioneer Press has provided a fairly balanced reporting of this.

Yet our African American community has been extremely quiet. Absolutely silent. There was a time when there would have been ongoing discussion, including whether or not to set up a legal defense committee to guarantee that these two African Americans would receive the best legal representation possible in what is a capital case. [See also our January 17, 2005 web log entry, #1: “Questions from the past about the past: The James Sackett case reopens”]

As the federal government is involved, it is a capital case because the death penalty can be requested by the feds, particularly if the government can show that the planning and ultimate act were carried out with malice and forethought.

Take note of what is taking place on the Red Lake reservation with respect to 16-year-old Louis Joudain, son of the tribal chairman: much discussion about conspiracy, aiding and abetting, intent to carry out an act. Although he didn’t pull the trigger, he could face the charge of murder in the first degree, a capital crime punishable by death (although, in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, we can no longer execute juveniles).

We ask the emerging, burning question again: Why the silence? Why are we as a community, as a Black nation, not raising the question of reasonable doubt, innocent until proven guilty? And why have we not asked the question, “What was the evidence and who gave the testimony that led to the reopening of this 35-year-old case?

Why are so many who enjoyed the glamour, the opportunities, and the prosperity of that time 35 years ago remaining so silent? Because of the activism of Clark and Reed confronting the racism of the day, they were instrumental in helping to integrate the University of Minnesota, St. Thomas, Bethel, Hamline, etc. Many retiring comfortably today benefited from the actions of those then-very-young men.

Have Mr. Reed and Mr. Clark now been abandoned? And have we already determined that they are guilty? Are we frightened of an examination of the conditions and the environment of that period 35 years ago?

As the Star Tribune quoted former St. Paul Police Chief William Finney, who was counseling understanding, “Those were radical times. White kids, Black kids, all kids were antiwar or antipolice. That was the times.”

There is something not quite right here. As we said before, there was a time when our questions and our probing as a community would have made us proud as a people, as a Black Nation. How many readers have prospered and enjoyed the vitality, vision, probing and aggressiveness of the young Black activists of that day?
Have we lost the energy and the commitment and the sense of racial pride to ask the questions and to step up to the plate? Maybe we are closer to becoming an endangered species than even we in this corner would like to recognize and admit to.

The Vikings purchase—how’s it going?

We are most interested when the NFL will hand down its decision to allow or not allow Reggie Fowler to purchase our beloved Minnesota Vikings (even though we still maintain this is a private property affair solely between Red and Reggie, and it would be a violation of monopoly law if the NFL turns down what Red and Reggie have already agreed to).

It appears that our local media have had difficulty obtaining information. We still have questions. The 3-31-05 Star Tribune piece on the new bond of $37.5 million to launch the Northstar Corridor lightrail makes us wonder if the Blaine anchoring will include both the Vikings and a casino, or just a casino. We still wonder why the NFL is requiring Reggie to lay up another $300 million in liquidity to cover “losses” in the future when the new TV contract should more than compensate.

And when we read that Commissioner Tagliabue will meet in Blaine with the folks there regarding a stadium at a luncheon on April 6, we ask if he is meeting on behalf of Reggie or Glen Taylor? And does this mean the NFL will help finance a new Vikings stadium, as they will do for Los Angeles (and as we keep asking and insisting that they should do)?

How’s the NAACP doing?
I understand there are a lot of tape recordings in existence of meetings held. Why do we not have them transcribed and passed out to the membership? Is there something to hide? Again?

*Ron’s ongoing analysis of the Vikings sale to Reggie and those trying to block it can be read in “Solution Paper #25” at (see also #24 for the rollcll, by name, of those opposed to the Vikings).

Posted 4-6-05, 2:45 p.m. Posting didn’t hold. Re-posted at 11:50 p.m.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at

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

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