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Can Minneapolis taxpayers afford the CRA?

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Is it too expensive for the average citizen?  

The Star Tribune story “New names, old pains on Minneapolis police review panel,” February 20, 2012, reported on what we have reported on for a decade: the slow, continued collapse of the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) and, by extension, the collapse of its parent, the Civil Rights Department (CRD). Thus words in the story were not a surprise to us: “ranks depleted…investigative staff overwhelmed…recommendations routinely ignored,” with the CRA “far weaker” in its investigation “of complaints against the police.”

We know that the quality of professional investigation in the CRA leaves a lot to be desired. We understand why the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Tim Dolan thinks the CRA is incompetent. This is one the dark holes that the Rybak administration needs to be concerned about falling into. Continue Reading →

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MPD Chief Dolan hits back—Attempts by subordinates and the Civil Rights Department to oust him fail

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It is clear that Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Chief Tim Dolan has known that many of the recommendations coming from the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) were based on incompetence and dishonesty. So when an incompetent and dishonest recommendation was made to terminate two officers of color, the chief dug in and not only refused to fire the officers, but also reinstated them to duty. The action of reinstatement has revealed a significant and politically charged rift inside the top command of the MPD, along with an equally serious rift between the chief and his boss, Mayor R.T. Rybak. Contributing to the rift was the act of Assistant Chief Janee Harteau and Deputy Chief Scott Gerlicher when they terminated the two officers of color without proper consultation with the chief. Other actions include the leaking of the fact of the rift as reported in a December 19, 2011 article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Continue Reading →

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Black jobs promised on Vikings stadium construction

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Who will ensure the promises are kept?  

Mayor R.T. Rybak stated in his February 6 press conference that he was pressing hard for the Minneapolis City Council to support his dream of a Vikings stadium near the Metrodome. (Star Tribune, “Flanked by union workers, Rybak pleads for Vikings stadium”)

The mayor’s declaration reminds me of Isabel Wilkerson’s current best seller and Pulitzer Prize-winning The Warmth of Other Suns, a moving, well-researched story of the promises made to Negroes of the World War II era that influenced the great racial migration from the South to the North. Their dream: good employment, good education for their kids, and a good future. The Oct. Continue Reading →

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Nonprofit founder receives national honor

 

 
Guidance of elders, engaging parents keys to NdCAD’s success
 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

The Champions of Change program, created as part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative, recently honored Gevonee Ford, the founder/executive director of the Network for the Development of Children of African Descent (NdCAD), a nonprofit family education center in St. Paul. Ford was among eight “Champions” January 12 at the White House recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities, said an official White House press release. “Mr. Ford has continued a tradition of Black leadership by working with hundreds of children and their families each year to increase reading proficiency and learning confidence amongst students…as well as increased parental and community involvement,” wrote White House Public Engagement Associate Director Erin Hannigan on Ford, who has worked in early childhood and education in Minnesota for almost 30 years. “I knew I had been nominated by someone from the [Obama] administration a few months before,” Ford told the MSR after he returned from his first-ever trip to the nation’s executive mansion. Continue Reading →

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Aftermath of abuse: The end is only the beginning of healing time

 
HOBBES IN THE HOUSE
By Dwight Hobbes

If you’ve left an abusive relationship, congratulations, first and foremost. It could not have been easy. Unless it was a situation where, soon as he or she put her hands on you, you said “Adios,” grabbed your coat and hit the bricks, you were mired quite some time in fear, humiliation and, repeatedly wishing for the physical strength to just once, knock your victimizer square on his or her behind, powerfully pent-up anger. It took a considerable while for you to become so desperately miserable. Yes, it is — there’s no saying it strongly enough — wonderful that you got out. Continue Reading →

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The road to re-election—The president’s State of the Union message

 

 

 

The president’s “A Blueprint for an America Built to Last” State of the Union speech, on January 24, 2012, was a brilliant send-off for 2012 voters. The president, well prepared, vision clear, broad and inclusive, offered for discussion to all voters a blueprint for continuing America as “built to last.”
The author of the book on corporations the president referenced, Built to Last, has since written on why “built to last” didn’t. This is why this blueprint is so important for America, so the oldest constitution in the world lasts. In a word, the president was pitch perfect for the group that will determine the election: independents. Whoever wins in November, regardless of party, will use much of this blueprint. Continue Reading →

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Task force prepares for Affordable Care Act provisions

 

 
Group offers recommendations to ensure health disparities are addressed

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

One of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major provisions is the creation of insurance exchanges or state-based marketplaces for small businesses and people without employer health coverage. Although these exchanges, designed to offer choices of affordable health plans, are not mandated until 2014, Minnesota officials are now meeting to decide how to set them up. Will these insurance exchanges, which must be in place beginning in 2014, address health disparities? This was the oft-asked topic at the January 17 state health insurance exchange advisory task force meeting at Shiloh International Temple in North Minneapolis. Health disparities “are a high-priority issue,” says Task Force Chair and State Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman at the four-hour meeting at Shiloh Temple. Continue Reading →

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NCAA contenders looked like Black colleges

But they were not, nor do Black athletes or 
Black colleges share in the sport wealth
 

A week ago, tens of millions of Americans (with millions more around the world) tuned into the NCAA BCS national championship football game, played at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. A big game. And a big revenue generator. A great payday for all White colleges eligible to get their cut of the media and game-day millions. A big payday for White coaches dependent on winning records. Continue Reading →

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Only in the NFL: super rematch!

 

 

Storylines can sometimes make you scratch your head in disbelief. One such story is that of two brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh, both head football coaches of two of the 12 NFL teams that qualified for the 2012 playoffs, getting their teams within one victory of coaching against each other in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on February 5. John, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, lost 23-20 to New England; Jim, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, lost 20-17 in overtime to New York. Then there’s Eli Manning, New York Giants quarterback and little brother of Peyton Manning, the injured superstar of the Indianapolis Colts, proving again he is indeed an elite quarterback, leading the Giants back to the Super Bowl for a chance to win his second Super Bowl before older brother Peyton gets his second in Indianapolis, Indiana — where older brother Peyton plays, of all places, against the same team, Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, and Tom Brady that he beat in Super Bowl 42 (17-14). Just amazing. 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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