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2005 Columns
Quarter 4: October thru December ~ Columns #20 - #26

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December 28, 2005 Column #26: Best of “Through My Eyes” in 2005: Minneapolis still trying to teach America how to keep us in our place

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

We continue to report “through my eyes,” often scooping major daily and weekly papers regarding our communities of color. That saddens more than gladdens, for it means that their agenda doesn’t include telling our truths as they play the “see no evil, hear no evil, and thus report no evil” game.

This underscores the great need in Minneapolis for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder to give voice to our community through its reporting and its columns, a voice still denied by White Minneapolis media and other Black weeklies.

John F. Kennedy said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” Our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, said take “actions [to] inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.” We have done this through our columns and our “solution papers” on behalf of the “remnant” of the communities of color in Minneapolis and for any that are still waiting for full inclusion in terms of equal access and equal opportunity.

Our columns, web log, and “solution papers” track Black gaps in seven areas: education, jobs, housing, public safety, environmental safety, governing and ethics, with special attention on the state of emergency for Black inner-city adult men and young men.

Our columns, web log, and solution papers are posted on our website, We advocate fairness, justice and the racial reconciliation needed to enable all people to acquire assets and build wealth. In terms of the “four freedoms,” we report how well we fare in freedom of speech and of religion, and how poorly we fare in freedom from want and from fear, as we continue to work for ways to end the violence in our schools and communities.

Our overarching themes are, first, how the Plantation Mentality still works to put us in our place, and second, how Minneapolis continues to show America how it is done (Column 18 on Katrina’s aftermath in New Orleans). We resist both.

We continue Nellie Stone Johnson’s fight against what she called the “culture of welfare dependency” and what it has done to our young men. We have stood up for our adult Black men and Black young men, even when they themselves would not or could not (Columns 3, 4, 6, 13, 14). Too many have lapsed into either a learned helplessness or have transformed into passive men seeking handouts for keeping their place serving the Minneapolis Plantation.

Our columns have exposed how the City regularly and openly works to choke off Black economic development, individuals and organizations, in both the private and public sectors, in City job compliance failure (Column 14), Enterprise Zones that exclude Blacks (Column 22), and shutting down Black-owned MPI (Column 25).

We reported on how Black individuals, elected representatives, and private citizens were put back in their place, as with MPS Superintendent Peebles (Columns 14, 17), faith community leaders (Column 19), Black police (Column 20), Natalie Johnson Lee (Column 23) and Neva Walker (Column 25).

We reported the parade of injustice to Ronald Reed and Larry Clark (Columns 7, 16, 17, 19, 20, and 24).

As a past head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission (1967-1983), I have sadly reported its transformation into an organization that now co-opts The Dream (Columns 15, 25).

We were the only ones in town to stand up for our Vikings brothers (Columns 2, 22) and the only voice in Minneapolis to stand up for a new first: a Black NFL owner (Columns 4, 5, 11). Related to this was our report on anti-Semitism (Column 21).

Two new questions arise: First, why no coverage in Twin Cities newspapers of our hometown athletic hero, the Arizona Cardinals wide receiver phenom Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.?

Second, who is pressuring State Sen. Richard Cohen (DFL-St. Paul) to demand public punishment of the four Black Vikings charged for partying on a private boating excursion with other consenting adults in acts that have yet to be proven, an almost hauntingly 1935-style of ignoring due process and dismissing the “innocent until proven guilty” principle?

We appreciate Strib columnist Patrick Reusse admitting the racism of Minnesota as seen in the way fans quietly give White Brad Johnson a pass for his errors while screaming for Daunte Culpepper’s Black neck for his.

We were the first to expose the City’s “round-up” of Blacks plans (Columns 9, 10, 11, 12, 23, 25) in what would be a replay of WWII Japanese detention camps. The 1970s King Arthur Plan (Columns 9, 25) is still alive and well. Most discouraging was the call of the St. Paul Civil Rights Department for the round-up not only of gangs, but their friends and families as well (Columns 10, 12).

We also raised our concern about the denying of due process (column 21) and how the University of Minnesota remains Plantation University (Column 1).

And, of course, the NAACP continued to come under our scrutiny (Columns 3, 5, 12, 14, 18).

We will continue to report on our seven areas in 2006, and will continue to urge the Black community to stand up for The Dream, as the Minneapolis Story continues through my eyes.

Posted 12-28-05, 11:59 p.m.

December 14, 2005 Column #25: Black opportunity crushed by council ramp vote. Keeping us in our place is the City’s priority.

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

Two weeks ago, the Minneapolis City Council took action, on a 9-4 vote, that sent a chilling message to communities of color: Get back in your place. You can work, but you can’t own and you can’t build wealth.

African Americans and Somalis, who had entered into a joint venture a scant nine and a half months ago ( Strib , “On Business: Ramp workers are their own bosses,” 9-29-03) purchased the company they worked for, MPI, that operated the City’s parking ramps. It was called “good local politics.”

But now the city’s 2005 elections are over, it’s back to business as usual, teaching America how to keep non-Whites in their place. The City voted MPI out, even though their bid was $500,000 less than the airport parking lot managers (AMPCO). Most will be hired by AMPCO. They just won’t own.

The “cover” given was that AMPCO had more marketing experience. But before, the City didn’t want MPI to advertise aggressively against private, tax-paying ramp owners, and thus, by contract, at City orders, they were limited in marketing ( Strib , “City Parking deal…leaves local workers out in cold,” 12-1-05).

Now the City kicks them out for not doing what they were not supposed to do. The Strib says that Mayor R.T. Rybak and Council President Paul Ostrow wanted this. Why do they want out-of-staters running a City contract?

In reality, all ramps, city and private, have fewer cars. It’s not for lack of marketing. It reflects the downtown office vacancy rate that has climbed from seven percent to 20 percent. So, the move by the Short family came because they knew this was in the works and they saved themselves.

And what rationale do the city council members give? Because the City staff recommended it, they did it. No hearings. Just as City bureaucrats run and ruin education for minorities, creamed Black housing in Holman, and refuse to enforce hiring compliance regulations, they now take away minority ownership.

No Black organization and no feminist organization has raised a voice. When Council Member Don Samuels (DFL 3rd Ward, soon to be 5th Ward due to the gerrymandering), who voted for this, says, “I am convinced that none of my values will be violated in this decision,” one has to ask, “What are his values?” ( Strib , “Minneapolis switches ramp firms,” 12-2-05).

Let us ask the unasked question to which we already know the answer: Were the new employee owners of PMI told that this contract, which drew down $34 million in revenues yearly, would have a life expectancy under their ownership of less than one year, when the Short family and City agency obviously knew that?

Why wasn’t PMI released from the limitations on marketing? What discussions were held with them by City representatives and PMI before this action?

Why no public hearing? Aren’t they required by ordinance? What was the position of both the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department and Commission? Isn’t this the largest contract held by African Americans in the city of Minneapolis? Are we looking at a strategy and a decision that is using as cover the December 25, 2005, sunset of contract compliance in the city of Minneapolis?

What does this say about the contract compliance provision of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance? It is not as if the city of Minneapolis has other contracts with other African American/Somali firms.

How long before we can prove that when these people of color were encouraged to purchase the company, people in city government and the world of finance knew the contract was going to be pulled and these coloreds would be put back in their place?

Now do you see what I meant in my December 1 column about the Minneapolis version of hell?

Crime-fighting meetings

Why was the recent closed meeting at Follwell Community Center (Jordan neighborhood) by invitation only (where closed meetings are not allowed), when 160 people, mostly white, met with elected and appointed city officials?

Two African American officials were invited (elected Council Member Samuels, DFL 3rd Ward, soon to be 5th due to the gerrymandering, and appointed Civil Rights Commission Chair Sherman Patterson). Three other Black males were also present. Purpose: harsh attacks and allegations against and about Black children, ages 8-12.

The statements were so hostile against the franchise of Black children (how to handle little four-feet-tall armed thug-preteens carrying .38 caliber pistols on the streets of Minneapolis), that even Chairman Patterson finally had to take exception. But, according to a source at the meeting, Patterson was shouted down by the White gathering.

No other Blacks stood up for our children. The mayor and police chief didn’t stand up for them, nor did any of the representatives of all of the leading foundations present. The program they seek is remindful of the Minneapolis King Arthur Plan of 1970 that proposed that entire families of Black people be rounded up and incarcerated.

What explanation do our City officials offer about this plan directed toward Black juvenile genocide? My, my, my, how dangerous the times have become. Will no one stand up and rock this hellish boat?

Posted, 12-14-05, 11:59 p.m.

November 30, 2005 Column #24: City Escalates Disrespect for the African American Family of State Representative Neva Walker is the latest target

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

The news is full of stories opposing the war on terror and some of the interrogation techniques used to gather information. We want to know why the DFL Party, through Mayor Rybak, Council Member Don Samuels, and the rest of the city council, doesn’t mind bringing terror and interrogation to the Black community of Minneapolis.

November 16-22, 2005: a week to remember when the level of disrespect reached new lows and the imposition of fear reared its ugly head against our Black community—again. The events of this week speak to the campaign of terror and interrogation being imposed on the communities of color by the Rybak administration, flush from electoral victory.

On Monday, November 21, 2005, the atmosphere of disrespect and disregard for the rights of people of color was demonstrated at a meeting at Sabathani Center attended by over 60 Minneapolis residents. Smugly expecting no one to attend, the mayor sent no one. And Rep. Keith Ellison didn’t show either.

The meeting confirmed that (1) surveillance by the police of State Representative Neva Walker’s family, including her mother, her son, grandson, and other members of her immediate family, had been going on for quite some time; (2) a short period of time prior, a six-year-old African American child of mixed race had been handcuffed by Minneapolis police; (3) in another incident, a nine-year-old was forced to lay down on a bed full of broken glass during the course of another raid in South Minneapolis, while (4) at the same house a two-year-old on the floor was stepped on by a White officer who said, “The child was too small to be seen.”

Handcuffing a six-year-old? Making a nine-year-old lay on glass? Stepping on a two-year-old? And if they had been White children, Boss Mayor, would it still be okay?

Additional information received by this columnist reveals that the raid on Rep. Walker’s mother’s house was regarding alleged running of weapons and drugs. Apparently, for the police, now any accusation will do. It is now raids as due process.

As police units surveiled Rep. Walker’s mother’s house, SWAT teams prepared to gain entry. Then two young Black males exited the house. Authorities maintain that an armed robbery had taken place just hours before aloång 4 th Avenue.

These two individuals did not fit the description of the gunmen (other than being Black), yet both young men were handcuffed and taken to the 3 rd Precinct. Rep. Neva Walker’s 18-year-old son was held there for over five hours, interrogated while handcuffed to a basement railing.

Attorneys representing Rep. Walker had been searching frantically for her son. They were initially told that young Mr. Walker was not at the 3 rd Precinct location. The police returned Mr. Walker to his grandmother’s house at approximately 4:30 am, November 18. Also disturbing is that the report of his detention and interrogation was not submitted for 12 hours, which is contrary to the established procedures the MPD has told the general public it follows.

There is more to these incidents. Our thanks go out to Spike Moss and others who have been working with the family of the nine- and two-year-old children, and to those working with the handcuffed six-year-old and his family, and for those who came in support of Rep. Walker and her family on the 21st of November. And why wasn’t the other Black state representative, Keith Ellison, there?

These incidents follow reports of strip searches and beatings of suspects of color. We have a mayor and a council that feel no shame for abusing and disrespecting African Americans. We have a mayor who is not committed to diversity but committed to torture. As we said in our last column, welcome to the new version of Minnesota Hell, Minnesota Bad.

Clark and Reed

These incidents, and those in Chapters 3 and 10 of my book, make me wonder how the police got the statements they did regarding Read and Clark (whose trial has been pushed ahead to February 8, 2006).

Civil Rights Commission

We also learned at the November 21 Commission meeting about the investigation of the Empowerment Zone moneys: same ol’ same ol’. (1) Those favoring the mayor identified this paper as without credibility. (2) Commissioners indicated they will continue to receive kickbacks on the one hand and obstruct the investigation of the Blackwell Commission on the other hand. (3) The mayor, Council Member Don Samuels, and EZ Director Jonathan Palmer provided a letter to the commission encouraging them not to move ahead with its investigation.

Dangerous times

What warning signs, my friends: police department out of control, Civil Rights Commission and apparatus saying to hell with the Ethics Code of Conduct. These are dangerous times for people of color in this city that is split by more than the river that runs through it.

We pause also to remember the terrible day in our history when the clash of ideas got out of hand and felled President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

Posted November 30, 2005, 11:59 p.m.

November 16, 2005 Column #23: The Legacy of Natalie Johnson Lee: She Carried Out Her Mission With Dignity and Grace

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

The barracudas are back in charge…There will now be hell to pay by the Black community.

The election for public office in the Fifth Ward of the City of Minneapolis is now history. Ten of 10 precincts representing the voice of the people voted: 1,718 for Don Samuels and 1,376 for Natalie Johnson Lee. The DFL has recaptured a part of its political discontent, the cherished Fifth Ward seat of “Boss” Jackie Cherryhomes.

Four years ago, both Black and White DFLers moaned and groaned and screamed to the high heavens that all semblance of sanity had been lost forever when Natalie Johnson Lee beat the powerful 12-year incumbent, Jackie “Big Boss” Cherryhomes. According to The Book of DFLism , it was a dark day to be equated with near Biblical apocalypse, of dark forces of unwanted change and reform taking over.

The DFL feared the Black populace of North Minneapolis would once again have a voice that, unlike the DFL, would support them. Within hours of that historic victory four years ago, many, both Black and White, set about to undermine, circumvent, and ultimately defeat the newly elected Black council woman.

It took four years. They are the real forces of darkness and nullification.

So once again, as of November 9, it is business as usual.

So let us talk about a lady who conducted her business, and the business of the people, with dignity and grace. When Judgment Day comes, one of the questions we will all be asked is, “Did you carry out your mission with dignity and grace, humbly serving the needs of the people, pursuing the mission that was part of your oath of office, meeting your responsibilities?”

Natalie Johnson Lee will be able to face her God and say, “I have,” that “Mine was one of dedication against the obstruction of destroyed records, missing files, gerrymandering, and efforts to improve neighborhood life, as well as to stand against legal opinions that said that if it is a White woman sticking it to you, that makes it okay.

Clearly, Natalie Johnson Lee worked with, shepherded through, and maintained a posture of honesty with some of the greatest hypocrites this city and the world have ever known. Some will say that she was naïve when she first took office. But you see, naiveté is a part of a fragile thing called trust, of which the Good Book says that if you embrace it, good things in turn will happen to you.

Johnson Lee believes there is good in all people. Her four years of experience in Minneapolis City Hall provided many lessons, one being that the horsemen of the Apocalypse are everywhere, in every shape, male, female, or whatever, and in every color scheme. It will be interesting to see in the coming months and years how much of an appreciation there will be for the naiveté, the fragileness, and the sensitivity of Natalie Johnson Lee, as people realize that the barracudas are back in charge.

Make no mistake: There will now be hell to pay by the Black community. You don’t have to take our word for it. Just wait and see.

In closing, let us give you a small example of what we are talking about. On Wednesday, November 9, the Public Safety Committee met to review the continued decline of the number of officers of color in the Minneapolis Police Department. Although Natalie Johnson Lee is not a member of that committee, she attended. Don Samuels, gerrymandered into the Fifth by the DFL, who is the committee’s vice-chair, did not attend.

Here is what is written on page eight of my 2002 book: “Something wonderful happened in Minneapolis in November of 2001…Natalie Johnson Lee, a Black field hand, won a City Council seat, beating the White president of the City Council, Jackie Cherryhomes. This was the biggest upset in the history of Minneapolis politics. It was a people’s victory.

…there was a furious response from the White DFL city Mastuhs, who then turned against both the field hand who had won and the house Negroes who were supposed to prevent it. The DFL cut off the house Negroes and then tried to redistrict the field hand out of any power by permanently disempowering and impoverishing her Ward (Chapters 12 and 13).

No matter how often in history this happens, it eventually sits like ashes in the mouths of the house Negroes, even though at first it looked like a sweet apple.”

Natalie Johnson Lee fought with great passion and commitment to keep the door of opportunity open for African Americans and other people of color to become law enforcement personnel in the City of Minneapolis. That is class. Why wasn’t Don Samuels there?

It isn’t important enough for him. It is important to Natalie.

Natalie, we take this opportunity to thank you for four years of grace and dignity, and for the kind of class that proves that a Black woman once again had earned the right to represent what was abandoned by so many Black men who continue to be terrified by the grace, the dignity and the class of a Black woman.

Posted November 16, 2005, 2:30 a.m.

November 2, 2005 Column #22: White piggies grab 88% of EZ funds Rybak keeps dumping on Black community

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

In May of 2003, the African American community asked the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission to examine Empowerment Zone Office violations of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance. We raised questions in this column about the serious disparities in grants going to White communities rather than, as Congress intended, communities of color.

(The year before, HUD had issued an audit extremely critical of the Minneapolis Empowerment Zone Office and its administrator.)

Through the remainder of 2003 and into early 2004, a small but aggressive group on the Civil Rights Commission, led by attorney Larry Blackwell and community activist Kenneth Brown, persevered and finally convinced the commission to create a special subcommittee to examine the allegations of noncompliance.

For over a year, the Blackwell subcommittee met fierce resistance from the mayor’s office and from the head of the Empowerment Zone Office, Jonathan Palmer. We call attention to the following correspondences that demonstrate the fierce resistance:

October 17, 2005, City Hall, Room 241: a hard-line coalition of commissioners attempted to block and obstruct the report prepared by the Blackwell subcommittee (”The Report on the Granting of the City of Minneapolis Empowerment Zone Funds to Recipients by Racial and Ethnic Groups”).

Blackwell’s subcommittee prevailed: We were stunned to learn that two commissioners received, during the course of this examination, $245,000 in Empowerment Zone dollars, and had chosen not to recuse themselves from participating in attempts to block the subcommittee’s report. Chairman Patterson, recipient of $45,000 in Empowerment Zone monies, also chose not to stand down from his initial opposition to the Blackwell Report.

According to the Blackwell Report, a little over $3 million of the $25 million placed in the DFL-controlled pork barrel went to communities of color. The White piggies received nearly $22 million.

Why is Mayor Rybak so nervous about the Star Tribune’s report this week on Enterprise Zones? Is it because of the list of White organizations getting money intended for poor communities of color? Why does Palmer say the EZ money is about locales, not race or gender, the opposite of the intent of Congress?

Register your judgment on this type of conduct at the polls on November 8.

A chief without a department

Mayor R.T. Rybak has long proclaimed he was neither micromanaging nor interfering with the stewardship of Chief of Police William McManus’ duties. Documents reviewed over the last 10 days reveal Rybak’s claim is false.

The smoking gun/cannon: 9:03 pm, September 2, 2005, Chief William P. McManus stated in an email to Deputy Chief Don Harris and Assistant Chief Dolan regarding the list of those to be trained as policemen, “I have some concerns with this list. Let’s talk before any offers go out. Thanks.”

The mayor and his administration ignored the chief because they rejected out of hand his concern regarding the lack of diversity in the current class in the Minneapolis Police Department’s Academy.

Illegal maneuvering: Clearly the chief was told that the list of mostly White males was going forward over his objections. He could accept it or be fired. Since March of this year, we have heard stories about the mayor’s lack of interest in diversity or in communities of color, as he sees no votes in it for him. His only interest: putting 71 police officers on the streets to assuage his White voters.

In the final count, 67 of the 71 will be White. This mayor’s longtime lack of commitment to diversity can no longer be hidden. He leaves the chief to be hung out to dry. The mayor attempts to sabotage the chief’s relationship with communities of color.

William McManus has earned a second term. His contract will be up December 2006. Win or lose on November 8, the mayor can’t wait to dump William McManus just as he dumps on the Black community.

Register your judgment on this type of conduct at the polls in November.

Award? How?

How is it that McCormack Baron has been called the most significant organization of color in Minneapolis to receive EZ funds ($6 million for McCormick Baron for Heritage Park) when it is a White St. Louis company making a fortune displacing people of color from Heritage Park so Whites can move in?

Home away from home

What happened to $300,000+ designated for Katrina victims not sent here? What has the disbanded organization and its Black church members done with the money?

Vikings cruises

As the boats were out such a very short time, were the accusations of the White women crew members projections from their minds of things talked about but not done?

White Sox win at last

Congratulations—88 years is a long wait.

Red Cross racism

Why no outcry over the Red Cross racism with Katrina victims ( Jasper Texas Newsboy newspaper, 10-19-05)?

Rosa Parks, rest in peace

We honor the memory and work of Rosa Parks, who died last week. Rosa (human rights), Mary McLeod Bethune (education rights), and Nellie Stone Johnson (political rights) were the mothers of the 20th century’s Civil Rights Movement.

Posted November 2, 2005, 2:12 a.m.

October 19, 2005 Column #21: The Vikings Story: Wink Wink. The heck with due process.

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

Last week, Twin City newspapers expressed African Americans guilty regarding the Lake Minnetonka boat party: Vikings cruise was allegedly a sex party.

Columnists were outraged, especially Patrick Reusse. The Strib’s layout design has changed but not its dark content of denying due process and beating up and defaming African Americans.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall dedicated his life to the theme of due process, seeking “justice for the Negro.” My book illustrates Minneapolis winking at justice and too often denying due process to Blacks.

The continued playing of the race card does not serve the interests of fairness. It plays to the newspapers passionate commitment to inflame the lynch mob.

Last Thursday, KSTP-TV’s Ross Sturgis smirked telling the story and reveling that it was national news. Note that the instant reports of fear by boat employees were later withdrawn as untrue. Were 90 people really engaged in prostitution, drugs and live sex? Had not all on board consented to being there? Why aren’t Whites mentioned? 17 Vikings. 73 non-Vikings. And the Vikings get the press, without due process.

Why does Reusse so blatantly remind everyone that Zygi Wilf is Jewish and then paint him with cruel satire at the expense of Zygi’s revered dad? Zygi is Jewish. Everyone knows that. So what? We have a great appreciation for the affiliation of religious holidays, religions and races. So why did Reusse (and his approving editors) satirize Wilf’s relationship with his father in the context of making fun of his religion and the high holy day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, making his father the punch line, and doing so with them going to Synagogue? Reusse’s advice To Zygi: Seek forgiveness for risking family fortune on no-class operation.

We see the continued racism of the Twin City press corps and their editors. 90 people on two boats. 17 Vikings. No report of Whites. Are sharks hoping for blood in the water because a couple of the lap dancers might have been White?

Obviously it is Max Winter time again for the Twin City press corps and their editors. Recall the press beatings of Max Winter as the team was taken from him by Mike Lynn and the Golden West Boys. Ever since, there has been a covenant in the NFL: the Jewish community was owed for Max being forced out by racism and anti-Semitism. Minneapolis Jewish and Gentile judges at court fought each other openly about it. Atone? Yes. Atone for what was done to Max. Reusse doesn’t get that Zygi is the Atonement, as Reusse opens that Pandora’s box with his savage satire.

The mainstream press corps regularly denies due process to Black athletes they think stepped over their line (not “the line” but “their line,” meaning that subjectively imposed by the writers an their editors). We remember the due process denied Kirby Puckett. Krby was later acquitted. But not before the mean spirited and race baiting journalistic tactics extracted its pounds of flesh. Innocent. Acquitted. But no justice for Kirby, who then severed his relationship with the Twins’ organization and with the Minnesota community forever. We also remember the beating in the press of Michael Olowokandi, being called a thug and a malcontent. He was acquitted two weeks ago. Why no comparable coverage, no retraction? Is not the pattern clear?

Even before the investigation is complete, the Black Vikings are found guilty. For three years the Vikings have been the wink-wink organization of the NFL due to Mike Tice’s cover ups, lacking integrity and lacking a sense of honor about its word.

Tice says, “I fashion these young men as an extension of my family.” Say what? These are independent men, not his sons, nor workers on his plantation. After with what he has allowed for the past 3.25 seasons and done himself in terms of his behavior, why would players think he was on the same page as the new owners? Mike’s hands are not “tied by contracts or union guidelines” but rather by his own bad behavior and alienation from many on the team.

After it was made clear that the Arctic Blast non-consensual, forced sex was by a white QB and the White Exec VP, the press responded with boys will be boys, and then quietly ended their coverage.

The newly acquired cornerback, Fred Smoot, has the right idea: don’t worry about the innuendoes. Declare they will see you in court. He will clear his record. The attorney for the charter company has already suggested a figure for settlement, according to the Pioneer Press on October 13.

Finally, why is the press tying the stadium issue to these allegations when ten days before the boat excursion on Lake Minnetonka, the Republican governor was told by the Republican leadership in the legislature that the effort to move the stadium bills—Gophers, Twins, Vikings—in that order, was dead? Is Minnesota gearing up for another attempt to have the Vikings leave town?

What do you think about? My thoughts are of Kirby Puckett, Arctic Blast, White fears of Black men being with White women, and about a columnist who seems to have been waiting all of his life to write about a pathetic penis in his column. Sometimes we need to really talk about the dark side. My God, where is Luke Skywalker when we need him?

Posted 10-19-05, 11:59 a.m.

October 2, 2005 Column #20: Clark and Reed: The subpoenas are served

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

The government prosecutors began serving subpoenas on Monday, September 25, 2005, to those they want to testify at the trial in the criminal matter of the federal and state governments against Ronald Reed and Larry Clark, as they begin their “trial of the century” October 16.

What is startling are the number of subpoenas—we are told a minimum of 75 have already been served. And, the prosecution has changed its theory regarding who the real conspirators were on May 22, 1970. Lo and behold, it was not Black Panthers but “Black militants.”

Now, I haven’t a clue what “Black militants” means. In fact, the phrase “Black militant” was coined in the 1960s by the White media and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. I can’t remember anyone of that period referring to themselves as “Black militants.” Can you?

The jury (which I still maintain will be all White) will receive its mandatory “crash course” on, in alphabetical order, Black communists, Black militants, Black Panthers, Black people, Black radicals, Black revolutionaries, and whatever other “Black categories” the prosecutors concoct.

Clearly, the jury will have to be given a program of the players and a scorecard so that they can decipher what all of these different labels mean if they are to be able to not miss the prosecution’s cues on how to vote. This raises the question of whether or not the jury will also be given a crash course regarding the dissent against the racism, lynching, and Jim Crow laws and practices of the time, including those here in the Twin Cities.

How many subpoenas have been served to those who would have to have been 11 or 12 years of age at the time? Are they being scripted with some kind of “future memory” as if some kind of pre-pubescent “repressed memory” can be provided for them?

In a trial in which a capital crime is the matter under review, and the jury must make a determination of guilt over innocence, the jury needs the prosecutor’s scorecard and crash course. Think about it.

We are still trying to figure out what 75 people will testify to. But hey, the government is in charge of this production. No eye witnesses. A convoluted web of concocted circumstantial strands. They’ll determine the script and the storyline, and maybe even some adlibs for their 75.

We wish we could be certain that this will be a jury of 12 fair and impartial citizens that determines guilt or innocence. We’d love the opportunity to give them our scorecard and crash course from a Black community activist’s standpoint. Stay tuned.

Lt. Arradondo: a man who got it right

Some very serious questions about the City of Minneapolis, its DFL administration, and its relationship to the Federal Mediation Agreement of September 2003 were raised by the “Officer taken off panel, causing stir” story in the September 29 edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Dispatch .

The story raises troubling questions about the future of police-community relations and the under-appreciation of those officers of color who work to get it right, who enjoy the rare trust of the community, and who desperately want to make a difference. It is becoming clear that this is an attribute in decline and in short supply in the DFL-controlled corridors of Minneapolis’ City Hall.

If as great a human being and solid citizen as Lt. Arradondo can be disrespected and, by association, communities of color, as the story reports, God help the average citizen who happens to be a person of color on the streets of this city.

We continue in this column to work for the day when the City and its departments get it right. We continue in this column to work for the day when dignity and honesty will become the order of the day. We join with our friends in the Hispanic, Latino, Native American and Asian communities in hoping, desperately, for a change in the attitude that now exists in the DFL government of the City of Minneapolis on the question of race.

Council on Black Minnesotans a Pawlenty target

It appears that the Council on Black Minnesotans, under the leadership of Lester Collins, has become a major target of the Pawlenty Administration and its version of the conservative agenda in Minnesota state government. We predict in this corner that there will be some rancorous sessions when the Minnesota legislature next convenes in January 2006.

The Black community would be well advised to develop a plan of action to support the Council on Black Minnesotans and its efforts to develop an economic and political agenda to serve the needs of the African American community of Minnesota.

The councils (Black, Indian Affairs, Chicano-Latino, Asian-Pacific) remind us of the racism that still needs eradicating, especially in education, jobs, housing and public safety. We need to work against the insult that we are different and therefore need separate and different treatment. We shall overcome.

Posted October 5, 2005, 2:44 a.m.

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

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

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