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2006 Columns
Quarter 1: January thru March ~ Columns #1 - #7

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March 28, 2007 Column #7: 41 days of life, 41 days of terror: the death of a baby

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

A baby's death reflects our community's crisis

One of the things a healthy 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.

Thus we were shocked to read the March 22, 2007 front page headline that in an apartment in the 1200 block of Thomas Avenue N, 41 day old tiny Delijahjuan Winden had his life brutally and wantonly snuffed out (Star Tribune, "Baby's fussing ended in a brutal death....").

This was not just a brutal death. This was the murder of an unprotected and undefended 41 day old infant.

This was a vicious, savage attack that crushed the skull. The autopsy showed that previously the baby's ribs had been broken. As old folks tell us, God doesn't love the ugliness and meanness of brutal people.

None of us can know what went through the mind of the 25 year old man who beat and abused this infant, beginning in the first days of that child's life, who finally, on the 41 st day of that infant's existence, savagely threw him with full force into a car seat, fracturing his skull, and silencing for all time his life and his future dreams.

At some point in time, young mothers and fathers are going to have to make some serious decisions. Not all men nor all women are a good fit to be good parents. Young men and women are going to have to remember that not every man or woman may love a child and meet the expectations to protect and to preserve.

When a tragedy like this takes place in our community, we all suffer. We have watched closely in this corner, as the drug culture has ravaged our young, and too many leaders have been silent about it, that there has grown a certain carelessness with respect to the importance and the preciousness of life and the accountability to protect and preserve lives.

Where was tiny Delijahjuan's advocate, his protector, his defender, the mother who gave him birth? And what about the village? How many were there who, knowing the perils tiny Delijahjuan faced in the care of this known "predatory offender," remained silent anyway?

We as a community cannot and should not allow his story and his legacy to ever be forgotten. It is the way we think his soul would want it, and it is certainly what God would expect of his chosen people.

When will the organizations, Black and White, that use to stand up for those they were formed to serve stop insisting that everyone serve them? When will they awaken from their slumber to condemn the narcissism and self-centeredness of those whose "rights" and "ways" are to be served by even infants rather than standing for serving the rights of infants?

A related effort: an organization that is trying. On March 23, 2007, another series of workshops about violence in the community in the "Mending the Nest" series was held by the Urban League. Participating were a cross section of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Whites.

A series of votes were taken among the over 40 participants at the final session. It was the young people, students 12, 13, 14 years of age, who took the leadership, raised tough question, and came up with excellent suggested solutions for the epidemic of violence on the streets of our city. We need to listen to them rather than continue to insist that all that needs to be done is that they listen to us.

The results of this series will soon be released, including the interesting votes taken in the workshops dealing with everything from social services, law enforcement, neighborhoods, education, youth training, jobs, and family. Now I have to tell you, my friends, that there were some very compelling and deep reflections by these young people that we need to heed about the fiber of families, and especially families of color.

We hope that such efforts continue. They are desperately needed. It is refreshing to see that some organizations will engage and look at the tough issues of the day.

And let us be clear: no one person, no one community, no one neighborhood, nor any one effort, in a short period of time, is going to resolve the problems and deficiencies. But at least these young minds are being engaged, expressing their fresh views. That is how successful visions are created and positive results come about and how neighborhoods and communities are transformed.

At the workshop last Thursday, I laughed a little bit thinking of the positive things Nellie Stone Johnson and Cecil Newman would have said, had they been there to provide the leadership they were legendary for. Also last Thursday, Bob Herbert's column, "Stepping on the Dream," was about funding higher education. He asked why, In a nation as rich as ours, it is easier to pay for wars than education.

Posted Mar 28, 2007, 6:05 a.m. MS-R edits added 3:25 p.m.

March 14, 2007 Column #6: A terrorist in the Congress? Why does White MPD seem to view us as terrorists?

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

Strib headline, March 2, 2007: "Cop accused of slur against Rep. Ellison." Sub-headline: "A veteran Minneapolis police lieutenant denies implying that the Fifth District DFLer is a terrorist, but the chief already has apologized" (also see our weblog entry of 3-3-07).

White police Lieutenant Bob Kroll made disturbing comments about both Democrat Keith Ellison and City Coordinator Stephen Bosacker. Ironically, this was during an in-service training session dealing with ethics.

Despite hand-wringing and consternation in different quarters, as co-chair of the federally mandated Police Community Relations Council (PCRC), I was neither surprised nor disappointed by the level of animus and disrespect shown to Representative Ellison and to Mr. Bosacker, because, in the words of Malcolm, the chickens continue to come home to roost. How can you be surprised when you remember the federal jury 10 years ago that talked about the culture of brutality and hatred that had become the legacy of the Minneapolis Police Department?

What should be of concern to the general public is whether there will be a fair investigation and examination. We can answer that: There won't be. There can't be. The culture against it will not allow it.

You can see this in the unfortunate consequence of this ugly MPD culture for the only Muslim police officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, a Somali, Ali Mohammed. He began active patrol on December 16, 2006. News accounts of his December swearing in reported the Rybak administration patting itself on the back with respect to this historic first.

Now, six weeks after reporting for duty, Officer Mohammed was stripped of his police duties on grounds that he doesn't know how to write a police report. We know he passed the police academy where they teach them how to write reports. So it is a set up.

The MPD plans to continue to demean him, to insult him, and then, within the next 30 days, to fire him outright. In the meantime, think of the pain, the insult, and the degradation this Somali was put through in less than 60 days. Whites should be as outraged as Blacks.

Folks didn't understand that the March 2 story unveiled a much deeper plot to prevent future Muslim recruits while continuing to shrink the number of African Americans in the MPD. To suggest that U.S. Representative Keith Ellison is an Islamic terrorist, an enemy of America, and a threat to national security, is an insult to many.

It insults those who voted for him, to his 434 colleagues in the House of Representatives that have embraced him, and to the Bush Administration, specifically to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is offering Representative Ellison as a poster child to the Middle East.

It is this kind of cultural thinking of hatred expressed by Lt. Bob Kroll that explains why so many African Americans, particularly the innocent among young Black males, are the subjects and the victims of so much police misconduct in this city and in this state. To White MPD, we all look like Islamic terrorists, but Billy Joe Bob can be a White Christian fundamentalist terrorist, and that's okay.

The walk across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama, on "Bloody Sunday" 3-7-65, 42 years ago, was about America's values being for everyone, not just White Scandinavians. That means including the Iraqi and Afghanistan refugees who will join our Somali refugees.

We remember the federal jury that 10 years ago awarded over $2 million in damages to a White citizen beaten by a White cop. The jury said it was an outgrowth of the culture of the police department. That type of culture prevails here. But here, when it's done to Blacks, we promote them rather than punish them.

Connecting more dots

This is about the future of our society.

Recall the DC snipers' 22 days in October 2002. Until apprehended, retail sales were off 50 percent. Think what suicide bombings in our downtown and suburbs would do? Ending the war on Black men and bringing marginalized Blacks into the civic fold is an act of enlightened self interest.

Bob Herbert (3-7-07 New York Times ) wrote: "Education, Education, Education" [as we have stressed for years] "is the closest thing to a magic potion for black people that I can think of." Thus, "for boys and men, it is very often the antidote to prison or an early grave."

This week, before Congress (NYT, 3-7-07, Gates Voices Concerns About U.S. Education), Bill Gates said our economy is threatened unless there is "an overhaul of the nation's schools." Gates says jobs are being exported to where people are better educated. Too bad it only gets addressed now when Whites too are threatened.

Education is controlled by Democrats. To work, the "overhaul" must include everyone. Will Democrats overcome their Kerner Commission Report bias against Blacks being unable, which is pulling down education for Whites, too?

Posted March 14, 2007, 6:06 p.m.

February 28, 2007 Column #5: Early warning, late response: an upsurge in homicides

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

The early warning signs of increased violence in Minneapolis appeared in the mid-1990s. Since then: much discussion, much money spent, and more lives lost.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2007, we attended the funeral of 23 year old Ricardo Walker, an African-American gunned down February 11, 2007, on the corner of Washington and Broadway. Providing justice and bringing about the apprehension of the predator is not enough. We must prevent the need for such funerals .

It is these single occasions in life that cause us to feel the hurt and the heartbreak of a failed effort of a community putting our people in danger and at risk.

We have documented in these columns the systematic nullifcations and reversals of our community perpetrated by both Black and White leaders and organizations. We have lamented with Nellie Stone Johnson, who asked, "Have all the good Black people lost their voices?" And now: a glimmer of hope: good Black people finding their voices, first at the funeral on the 21st, and then at an all day conference on homicides the next day.

At the funeral we saw and felt the pain, the suffering, the heartache and the rage, as we listened to the words of family, friends and loved ones, about this murdered young man. The Rev. Albert Galmon, profound and compelling, appealed for a return to sanity, respect, and love in the community, words echoed at the conference the following day. Hopefully, we are a people again finding our voice, as the understanding dawns regarding how close the dark forces of nullification and genocide are with respect to the future of our young men of color. Whites and Blacks have made our students the left behind in the classroom and the denied at job sites, as thy carry out their genocidal war on young Black men. Thus, Rev. Galmon wondered, where would the young Black men come from, from whom his daughter would find a husband?

When a minister wonders if there will be future generations, we are beyond early warning signs.

The following day, the 22nd , over 200 attended an all day conference focusing on homicides, Facing the Rage and Turning the Page, at the University of St. Thomas in downtown Minneapolis. 90% were Black: young folk, middle aged folk, older folk. They expressed the same words, the same concerns, the same laments as at the funeral, reflecting on our participation in leisurely strolling down the road of genocide of our young men.

The Urban League is to be commended for forcing this issue onto the table, for discussion and reflection. There were powerful words, powerful statements and powerful thoughts offered by many, including the words of the key note speaker, Dr. Bravada Akinsanya, speaking on "African American Community: Healing Here and NOW." A panel of young African Americans, two men and one woman, had the audience mesmerized, as they talked about the lives of young people and the failure of the community's systems, and yet their commitment to prevail by any legal means necessary.

The atmosphere and the emotion generated clearly represented a response, and maybe, as Rev. Albert Gallmon said, an opening that gives us a chance to right this great ship that has carried for so long, the dreams and aspirations, the visions and the commitment of the sons and daughters of the African, that our children and grand children achieve maximum excellence and the pursuit of happiness and, most importantly, life.

And yet, as that conference was going on, gunfire could be heard along the 2600 block of Lyndale Avenue North. During the Walker funeral, a 42 year old African American man was gunned down, shot eight times, just blocks away. Out of this funeral and the conference at St. Thomas the next day, was the thought that although we may bend as a people, we must not break, for if our children are to have a future, if they are to have any chance at all, it is incumbent on us to see that we find solutions right away that will sustain the long term and work to guarantee the preservation, survival and continuing of our people.

Dr. King said "A right delayed is a right denied." Malcolm X said that "Dr. King wants the same thing I want -- freedom!" and, echoing Nellie Stone Johnson, said that "Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today." The 1968 Kerner Commission report dishonored their deaths by saying we Blacks are different and couldn't prepare to make it on our own. We can. We have. We must do so again.

To strive for anything less is to betray the principles that gave us the strength to survive the great Middle Passage, to survive slavery, and to survive the adversity of racism. May God continue to bless us and give us the strength need to bring the ship back, to upright it and to stay the course in the pursuit of the survival of the sons and daughters of the African in America.

Posted 2/28/07, 2:03 a.m.

February 14, 2007 Column #4: The "Redlining" of Black rightsThe Betrayal of Dominic Felder

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

Pullquote: As an elected official, Councilmember Samuels cannot be removed from his council seat, but he should be removed as chair of the Public Safety Committee.

The sunlight of the hope for justice has just exposed a chilling betrayal by two lead agencies of the civil rights apparatus in Minneapolis, the Civil Rights Department and the Civilian Review Authority. They stopped their investigations and did not report what they had found to the Grand Jury investigating the September 20, 2006, gunning down of Dominic Felder.

Felder was shot by two Minneapolis police officers on the 3900 block of Bloomington Avenue South (see our columns #20 and #27, September 27 and December 27, 2006). On Thursday, February 8, a Hennepin County Grand Jury embraced and endorsed one more betrayal in the civil rights history of this city. This betrayal was played out during the week of the 17th of January.

When the Police Community Relations Council (PCRC) met on the morning of January 17, it first learned what these two agencies had done. We had trusted that the civil rights apparatus would do the right thing in investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Dominic Felder. It didn't.

The betrayal took place January 15 (Martin Luther King's birthday) and 16, under the direction of powerful political forces, with no regard for justice, as the Civil Rights Department and the Civilian Review Authority agreed to shut down their investigations and obstruct the presentation of evidence gathered by them that should have been reported and presented to the Hennepin County Grand Jury on February 1. It is just as simple as that, my friends.

Thus it was that, with Chief Tim Dolan, so-called special examiner Todd Jones, and other high-ranking Minneapolis police officers present, the police department, in a most cavalier manner, announced that an agreement had been reached the previous morning, shutting down these investigations into the death of Dominic Felder.

When asked if the Felder family had been notified, the response, captured on the record, on tape and by a stenographer, was that it was not their responsibility. I'm not sure how many laws have been violated with respect to interference and obstruction, but you see, it makes no difference now. The Grand Jury has issued its rulings despite important evidence being withheld and, it appears, important witnesses not interviewed.

Only the investigative reports of the internal affairs unit and the homicide unit for the Minneapolis Police Department were offered as evidence regarding the death of Dominic Felder. That's like asking the fox how well he guarded the now-empty hen house.

We will have more to say about this. Be aware that there are other redlining issues that we will also review and make known to you, our reading audience.

Two of the most egregious are the assaults and rapes last month of two young African American females, 17 and 16 years of age, on the North Side of Minneapolis, on the 23rd and 27th of January. These were not officially reported until the release of a press statement on Tuesday, February 6, 2007, at 4:14:51 pm.

The rationale of the authorities in off-the-record discussions with the Star Tribune newspaper and at least one member of the PCRC was that these two African American juveniles were not believable, and that their stories were, quote unquote, "murkey." This despite the fact that, in both cases, sexual assault kits and internal police reports confirmed their rapes and physical assaults.

But the department's private declaration was to submit and maintain that they didn't have enough time to do these investigations -- this from a department that, due to overtime, has run $4 million over budget. Why won't they spend some overtime on the case of these two girls?

You understand that if these were White female juveniles raped by any individual irrespective of color within days and a few blocks of each other, we would have massive notification and a massive roundup of the usual suspects. So once again, this department, this city, these liberals, have redlined and made the victims criminals. Stay tuned.

Freedom from cremation

Burn down the school, and the children with it. Part of that theme was stated, the other part implied, in a chilling quote by the very powerful chairman of the Minneapolis City Council's Public Safety Committee, Donald Samuels.

There has been a tremendous uproar, and rightly so, from an African American community that finds itself being disrespected, marginalized and disenfranchised. We are all reminded of Columbine, an American tragedy, where careless expressions and declarations led two young men to descend upon their fellow students with mayhem and murder.

As an elected official, Councilmember Samuels cannot be removed from his council seat, but he should be removed as chair of the Public Safety Committee. His statement neither embraced nor encouraged the importance of public safety, nor tolerance for the perceived "least" of our citizens.

African Americans have a right to be educated, and they have a right not to expect to be cremated, even if someone perceived that they have a right to nullify their pursuit of excellence in education. Councilmember Samuels should be going after the school system and union that created the state of education in our city's schools.

Posted 2-14-07, 3:37 a.m.

January 31, 2007 Column #3: Minneapolis backpedaling on civil rights protections in the matter of Rule 8.03B

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

How can this city claim it has no history of discrimination?

On January 23, 2007, at a Minneapolis Civil Service Commission meeting, we learned that the City confirmed, in a January 12, 2007, memorandum from Assistant City Attorney Caroline Bachun to Pam French, the director of human resources for the City of Minneapolis, that the city attorney is recommending that the rule used to remedy past/current discrimination by the City in its hiring processes, Rule 8.03B, be allowed to expire on its March 14, 2007, sunset date.

The reason given? "There does not appear to be a history of discrimination by the city to remedy....[not] in the past [nor] currently."

We were stunned. We could feel the earth tremble beneath our feet, the shifting of the anti-civil rights tectonic plates of nullification and reversal.

The significant, historic, and compelling Rule 8.03B, so central for diversity (equal access and equal opportunity for all) in the City of Minneapolis, and specifically in the Minneapolis Police Department, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, is ruled no longer needed.

We noted that a hearing is required (which now will be scheduled and held).

Why "nullification and reversal"? Because this legal rationale of the City Attorney's Office is a rationale for the disenfranchisement of the African American and other persons of color. We have not heard such since the Supreme Court decisions of the 1880s and 1890s that reinstated the Black codes and disenfranchised the African American by essentially nullifying Article 14 to the Constitution (that granted enfranchisement), placing Blacks back on plantation status.

The City is essentially saying the court is too dumb to see what is real and thus attempts to remedy for the court a future "could be." Shockingly, the opinion goes on to further state that this is because the City does not have significant enough evidence.

Say what?

Now, my friends, as a former chair of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission (1967-1972 and 1979-1983), as the individual who filed a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department in 1980, and as the individual who sat on a federally appointed oversight committee for the Minneapolis Fire Department for 21 years (17 as the chairman of the committee reporting to the federal court), I am absolutely floored, shocked, and dismayed by the declaration that there does not appear to be a past or current history of discrimination to remedy.
Minneapolis rewrites history in its denial of reality. And who opposes this March 14, 2007, sunset of Rule 8.03B? Only the beleaguered and besieged Black Police Officers Association, with no support from the civil rights community, including but not limited to the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, the Civil Rights Department, the highly touted civil rights and Black leadership community, the U of M, the Star Tribune , nor, ironically, the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

We predict that if Rule 8.03B is allowed to sunset, we may only have a total of six African American officers left in the Minneapolis Police Department by the year 2017.

I knew that these were difficult times for the sons and daughters of the African, but I did not realize that liberals, led by liberal democrats in city government, academia and the nonprofits, would be so silent at the so violent reshaping of the configuration of racial discrimination that has historically abounded in this, the city of Hubert H. Humphrey, Cecil B. Newman, and the beloved Nellie Stone Johnson.

In the matter of Sergeant Joey Lash

On September 21, 2006, Sergeant Joey Lash, one of only two African Americans in the Park Police and the highest ranking African American there, filed a grievance with the Minneapolis Police Federation. This decorated police officer has put his career on the line as he laid out chilling examples of what it is like to be an African American peace officer in the City of Minneapolis.

In a five-page letter to Police Federation President Delmonico, Sergeant Lash lays out some very disturbing allocations, which included but were not limited to the violation of Civil Service Rules, the tampering with Civil Service testing protocol, and the refusal to promote Sergeant Lash because of his race. In the agreement of September 1, 2006, Sergeant Lash began to raise questions with respect to the firmness of the school liaison program given to the Park Police in 2003.

The Minneapolis School District Board of Directors should be quite disturbed with what Sergeant Lash lays out about structure, process, availability, and how the money was being spent. With the rumors now being circulated against Sergeant Lash that all of the problems are of his making, we are now concerned about the safety of children in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

We at this column have been further informed that despite the fact that the Police Federation under President Delmonico did, in fact, find valid the allegations and evidence submitted by Sergeant Lash, all documents and evidence have been lost or cannot be found. Why, in the age of the Xerox machine, do they believe they can evaporate truth into the musty air of nullification and reversal, and thus deny fairness and justice?
Stay tuned.

Posted January 31, 2007, 11:15 a.m.

January 17, 2007 Column #2: The End Of Diversity In The MPD: Another example of "The Forces of Nullification and Reversal"

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

In four short weeks, on March 17 th , the Minneapolis Civil Service Commission will act on a legal opinion provided by the City Attorney's office, with concurring pressure from the office of the Mayor, and with the full blessing of most of The Minneapolis City Council (the exception, apparently, Ralph Remington, Democrat, 10 th Ward). The action? To eliminate (purge), "expanded certification" in all city departments, and specifically in the Minneapolis Police Department.

These discussions have centered on the importance of neutralizing the Black Police Officers' Association through demotions and other disciplinary action within their ranks, as has occurred with Lt. Banhan, Lt. Harris, Sgt. Adams, and veteran officers like Mike Roberts, Tony Adams, and others.

We recently learned that this is the result of secret negotiations to end diversity by eliminating all "instruments," "mechanisms" and "devices" (technical terms for policies, procedures, protocols, process, and the general application of law) that would allow ongoing diversity. This would legalize the city's record of non-compliance in education and jobs, but won't remedy the essential on-going problem: denial of equal access and opportunity by continually denying mandated inner city quality education and mandated access to jobs on government projects.

In early summer of 2006, Councilman Remington raised serious questions pertinent to the future of diversity, particularly in the fire and police departments. It was our observation that not only did he not have much support, but that he was quietly being isolated for pushing this issue. We have been told that the upcoming vote on March 17 th to purge diversity from the city is a slam dunk.

This is all part of a national debate about diversity and affirmative action. In her ruling of 2003 on affirmative action in colleges, then Justice Sandra Day O'Conner [see note below] stated her hope that affirmative action won't be necessary in 25 years. A recent study addressing this question concluded that without an "improvement in pre-collegiate performance," that is in public eduation, Blacks will still be behind. Minneapolis has not fought the public education complex's refusal to change the status quo Thus, Blacks in the cities will continueto fall behind which in turn reduces the pool of those who could otherwise be eligible for work in the police and fire departments, resulting in more who are not qualified because, in Martin Luther King's term, they were not accepted as "qualifiable."

There are a number of ironic aspects to this American tragedy.

First is the silence of the Minneapolis Police Federation against their brother and sister colleagues in the Black Police Officers Association. The secret vote of the police union illegally excluded notifying and including Black officers in the vote.

Second is the silence of the so-called city liberals, what we could call the "new Democrats" (bringing the illegal 0ld Southern Democrat jim crow mentality to northern cities).

Third, and most tragically and upsetting, is the silence of the so-called civil rights leadership of this city (especially of the NAACP and Urban League, who can't tell they have been plantationed in Minneapolis, a failure of nerve caused by ethical blindness).

The discussion in city hall is this: once the vote is taken on March 17 th , the Rybak administration will be in a position to finalize the purging of all "instruments" and "devices" that would enhance diversity. This is another example of why we refer to Minneapolis as the last outpost of the great experiment to keep minorities of color "in their place," as Minneapolis remains a City of Non-Compliance

This vote is a well-coordinated action. Neither the Civil Rights Commission nor the Civil Rights Department lent support to councilman Remington in the summer of 2006, nor now. I have been absolutely shocked by the capitulation by leadership groups and individuals (again, read NAACP and the Urban League). In addition, the notification required by law to the Police Community Relations Council was illegally ignored.

The strategy further dictated that the White media, led by the Star Tribune and WCCO, would do all that they could to suppress any information on this historic vote. This is another example of the value of The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

Now, for all you naysayers out there who are whining about a tax on your handlers and your master, we would propose the following: that the Mayor's office make available the City Attorney's legal opinion reversing affirmative action and ending diversity in the City of Minneapolis. This legal opinion was delivered over a month ago. Although Councilman Remmington initially attempted to protest, he was clearly overwhelmed by the forces of nullification and reversal. These are the new Democrats. It makes us ask why Blacks keep voting for Democrats.

And here is a stunner: the plan is so devious, that a report that had been commissioned that examines underutilization of African Americans is not to be released until after the vote on March 17 th . You see, the City Attorney's opinion says there no longer needs to be a preponderance of concern about the loss of diversity and equal opportunity in city government.

A clarifying joke told in City Hall by a high ranking city official is a joke at the expense of people of color: "it's too bad we couldn't have taken the vote on Martin Luther King's birthday."

Be safe, my brothers and sisters, and pray for your children and your future in beautiful Minneapolis.

[NOTE: The Supreme Court, December 22, 2003, narrowed affirmative action by ruling that race can be a factor ( Michigan Law School Grutter v. Bollinger, on a 5-4 ruling) but not an overriding factor (Michican undergraduate college, Gratz v. Bollinger , on a 6--3 ruling). O'Connor said she hopes affirmative action won't be necessary in 25 years. But that assumes increasing black students' pre-collegiate performance. Democrat run inner city schools assures it won't happen, meaning that for many, the intended corrective to enable generation to generation improvement and wealth development is sabotaged again.]

January 17, posted January 31, 11:24 a.m.

January 3, 2007 Column #1: The Star Tribune's demise: another story not told

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

One of the seemingly self-serving cardinal rules of too many in journalism is to never write badly about yourself. Certainly the Star Tribune practiced this in attempting to pawn off a huge $700 million loss as a $700 million benefit ("Private Group Buys Star Tribune," December 27, 2006).

The Strib lost 56 percent of its financial worth -- what it bought for a net of $1.2 billion in 1998 it sold in December 2006 for $530 million. Folks, that is a lot of financial value lost. That is a financial bath. [See also Worst newspaper in US destroys value. See notice here as well.]

The Strib reporting a $700 million loss as a $700 benefit reminds us again why the Minneapolis-based web log Powerline (Time Magazine 's web log of the year for 2004) calls the Strib "The Worst Newspaper." So even in defeat, the Strib continues its "art" of obscuring and distorting rather than informing and reporting as it serves its agenda, not the community. And now the long arm of a Houston investment firm has reached to Minneapolis to learn from the best regarding how to keep us in our place.

I thought something was going on when the paper announced in December the very sudden departure of the Strib 's number-two man, Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, to take the top editorial position at the smaller-circulation McClatchy paper The Miami Herald . Obviously, Anders doesn't believe his own report that there would be no changes following his departure.

We have been one of many who have raised questions of this once-great newspaper, questioning its direction, its politics, and its continued slide into dishonest and agenda journalism. Not once, until the time of the purchase, did the Star Tribune ever talk about its future. We assume the owning McClatchy Group in Sacramento didn't think it was important that the farmhands out in Minnesota know anything.

But folks, I have to tell you, to lose better than half a billion dollars of your asset value raises serious question about the newspaper's management, vision, and future ability in this community, as it continues to be tone deaf about the many ways people can get information, including on the Internet.

Now, we know the response from our Golden West boys is to ask how a Black journalist dares critique their White Anglo business practices. But hey, that's what it is all about in a democratic process. We are just disappointed that this is what has become of the legacy of John Cowles, Sr. and the journalistic capability we once enjoyed from the young Carl Rowan.

See our last "Tracking the Gaps" web log entry for 2006 [to be posted later today], for a list of dozens of columns in which we have discussed this descent of the Strib from reporting journalism to skewed agenda journalism.

The Star Tribune continues to lose a little more of its character, doing so on the heels of its refusal earlier in December to report on the White supremacist Nazi upsurge in the Twin Cities, including their firing on police officers in North Minneapolis who didn't fire back. (Yet they can fire dozens of bullets at unarmed Blacks; see our column of December 20, 2006.)

We wonder how much more prejudiced censorship the Strib will practice. Stay tuned.

In the matter of Dominic Fielder

We have not forgotten the circumstances surrounding the police killing of this young, unarmed, African American in early September of 2006 (see our column of 9-27-06). A couple of items still of interest in this tragic event is what happened to the Grand Jury investigation, and what happened to former U.S. Attorney Todd Jones' outside independent examination of the inside independent examination.

As we wrote in our column of September 27, and as we repeat again in this first week of January, a whitewash is a whitewash, a cover-up is a cover-up, and the life of an African American, snuffed out by police gunfire, is in the minds of some, both Black and White, of no importance. But we in this column don't believe that to be true.

Dominic Fielder was executed along Bloomington Avenue in South Minneapolis. At some point in time in 2007, the truth will become known. And hopefully, within the lifetime of his two children, justice for them and their late father will come about.

Honoring a great American: James Brown

"I'm black and I'm proud!" are the words of a great artist. James Brown was a man who, starting in the mid-1950s and lasting into the 21st century, set the tone and the direction in America's one true art form.

An American legend and icon, James Brown brought pride. A genius and a visionary, he was doing rap before people knew what rap was. He talked Black pride when promoters were telling Black musicians and artists that they could not even whisper about it. That type of genius is hard to duplicate.

You only pass this way once. James Brown was a great man leaving a great legacy that was the course of his life's journey.

Posted 1-3-07, 4:10 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

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