Gary Schiff

Recent Articles

Mayoral forum focused on Mpls communities of color — Candidates acknowledged inequities but lacked solutions



By Jamal Denman

Online Editor


On Thursday, June 6, the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis hosted the One MPLS Mayoral Forum, giving candidate hopefuls the opportunity to address the questions and concerns of members of Minneapolis’ communities of color. Questions were collected from the audience before the start of the forum, and the candidates were randomly selected to answer each question. While it is assumed that the participants in the forum were made aware of the forum’s overriding theme, because of the candidates’ constant inability or unwillingness to directly answer questions posed to them it would not be hard to believe otherwise. The auditorium in the Sabathani Community Center was packed with a diverse crowd of community activists, politically active young people, and concerned citizens eager to hear what the people vying to become the next mayor of Minneapolis had to say. Mayoral candidates Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Betsy Hodges, Tony Lane, Doug Mann, Don Samuels, Gary Schiff, and Jim Thomas faced the 500-plus people in attendance and their questions that centered on addressing issues facing communities of color. Continue Reading →

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Decision announcement days: January 15 & 18, February 1, 2013

Sports Facility Authority and the Minnesota Vikings

Will the “Stadium Powers” (Minnesota Legislature, Minneapolis City Council, Vikings, NFL and the Minnesota Facilities Sports Authority that oversees the stadium construction project), all regarding the Vikings (“people’s” “no new taxes”) stadium, stand up for fairness in employment and equity or hide behind the skirts of a “best effort” calendar? January 15, 2013: The Sports Authority is to file its first annual report to the Minnesota State Legislature’s super-commission. Report only. No public hearing. No public comments. Continue Reading →

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City election 2013 candidates face some tough funding issues — Paying for the Vikings stadium is chief among them


The City of Minneapolis is preparing for the elections of 2013. It will, in all probability, be a very contentious election, with a three-term mayor on the political ropes. The key factor that will influence candidates to run and determine how citizens will vote centers on developing intended and unintended consequences of the Vikings stadium funding, which in turn centers on four areas:

1. How the mayor deliberately and knowingly violated the City charter by refusing to let voters decide on any stadium bill over $10 million (the mayor being quite comfortable with having the City absorb the stadium debt);

2. How the actual numbers, with interest, are nearly 10 times the original projection for the City’s costs;

3. Continue Reading →

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A good man departs public service — Fire Chief Alex Jackson to step down Feb. 29, 2012



When Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) Chief Alex Jackson announced his retirement two weeks ago, it was not necessarily surprising to us in this corner. We saw it coming as far back as April 2010 in the rush to judgment over the April 28, 2010 fire that was used to unfairly yet purposefully undercut Chief Jackson. As I wrote in my April 10, 2010 column, “All the Star Tribune and City Council Member Gary Schiff (DFL, Ninth Ward) have managed to do as shameless, vocal town criers against the department’s Chief Jackson, Assistant Chief Penn, and Fire Marshall Tyner, all African Americans, is get egg on their faces.”

Despite how he has been treated, the good news is that Chief Jackson is leaving for retirement on his own terms, his head unbowed. Due to my long experience as one of the federal court-appointed overseers of the department, I am extremely familiar with the MFD and its demands. It was not always an easy task to convey to the union and the politicians the importance of adhering to the orders of the federal court. Continue Reading →

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