Ron Edwards

Recent Articles

Gang summit in Mpls

Preparing for summer 2014
 

The “invitation only” “North Side Safety Summit” (“Gang Summit”) was held April 18, 2014, in North Minneapolis at the School District’s West Broadway headquarters. The Star Tribune reported “why” April 19, 2014: “The city’s North Side has seen one-third of the city’s violent crime and half of the city’s shootings over the past 14 years… Violent crime rose 24 percent…due to more assaults and robberies…centered around the Folwell, Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods.”

The purpose of the summit was to find solutions for summer 2014’s anticipated gang violence. Star Tribune: “Some 70 public officials…gathered…to talk about pervasive crime numbers and how to lower them.” The “containment” until winter hibernation returns is not a solution. The real solution, as I wrote about in my April 3, 2014 column, is to end the city political culture that results in providing little for the least among us in education, job opportunities, housing, health care, and further decline in families and community. It should have been called the Summit of Denial. Continue Reading →

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The continuing battle of Sgt. Michael Keefe

And the disappearance of  Black police officers from the MPD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See my August 29, 2007 column regarding the courageous battle waged by Lt. Michael Keefe of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), “A profile in courage and integrity — the saga of Lt. Michael Keefe” (link below). Keefe was demoted to sergeant as part of a mean-spirited vendetta against this White officer and against some African American police officers. The August 2007 column provides insight into the latest battles currently being fought within the city and within its police department. And even though Mayor Betsy Hodges and city council members have said they are committed to equity and fairness in the governance of the city of Minneapolis, a couple of major battles centering around equity in the MPD questions their commitment. The first deals with the attempt by the City of Minneapolis, in State District Court, to avoid releasing information from the now six-and-a-half year lawsuit battle brought by then Lt. and now Sgt. Continue Reading →

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Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department

Retaliation continues in the department I now call the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Misconduct. Former employees of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department affirmed this in testifying to its “toxic” environment at the March 19 hearing on the reappointment of Velma Korbel to head the department. Among those testifying were Ms. Semone Desal and Ms. Kristin White. Ms. White testified that when she reported to human resources of the environment of corruption and cronyism inside the department, she was fired the next day. It is telling that the council votes were split, 9-3, to reappoint. Continue Reading →

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Gopher fans’ website doesn’t play fair

 

Some all-sports websites and fan “chat rooms” are as fair and balanced as Fox News. MSR Columnist Ron Edwards recently was double-roasted by readers on GopherHole.com, a pro-Minnesota college sports website. Edwards is regularly featured on the editorial page. His column on former Minnesota coaches Clem Haskins’ and Tubby Smith’s treatment as Gopher coaches (“Was it Tubby Smith’s fault?” March 27) got reposted on the site and drew seismic-like comments, some of which crossed the line of fairness. It’s unfortunate that many readers on that site totally missed Edwards’ main points: Black coaches, whether in Minnesota or elsewhere, are unfairly held to double standards unlike their White counterparts, and many U of M Black players left the school with bad tastes in their mouths. Continue Reading →

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M.A. Mortenson not up to the task for an NFL stadium

Construction manager track record in construction: junior varsity

 
In these columns a year ago, I called attention to the concerns making the Minnesota Vikings uncomfortable with the selection of M.A. Mortenson as construction manager for the now over $1 billion Vikings stadium, concerns shared also with the NFL. Nothing against Mortenson. It’s a really nice square peg, but they are trying to fit it into a round hole and it doesn’t fit. Mortenson, great at smaller venues (see below), is out of its league with the Vikings, lacking the expertise, experience, and success history with projects of this size and magnitude. Contrast this with those the Star Tribune reported as rejected (January 21, 2013): Hunt Construction, of Scottsdale, AZ, builder of nearly 50 professional sports venues, including NFL stadiums (two with retractable roofs), and Skanska, the international firm that has also built NFL stadiums. Mortenson has built none. Continue Reading →

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When bribery and corruption causes death!

In the deaths of five children in North Minneapolis
 
On Saturday, February 15, 2014, Minneapolis Fire Department units rushed to a blazing and fatal fire at 2818 Colfax Avenue, North. Five beautiful, precious and innocent children lost their lives. The father, who lost his wife to heart disease a couple of months ago, now loses five of his children. He tried to rescue them. Three were burnt beyond recognition. Continue Reading →

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A reappointment that is a mistake

Velma Korbel to again head Dept. of Civil Rights
 

Velma Korbel’s reappointment by newly elected Mayor Betsy Hodges to continue as Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) director is a huge mistake that nonetheless exposes the city culture we have long reported: that city government, regardless of who is in charge, is a culture opposed to diversity (the silence on this by the DFL, churches, foundations, and Black nonprofits places them in the same culture). Shamefully, leading Black organizations participate in this culture as they compete for their share of the spoils at the expense of those they are supposed to serve and represent. Velma Korbel’s reappointment continues a departmental disaster going back through two permanent directors and one interim director. The African American community will continue to be ill served as seen by the 99 percent White work force of the Vikings stadium. Continue Reading →

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State of emergency in Minnesota

When corporate and government greed take over America
 

 

“State of emergency!” declared Governor Mark Dayton, January 27, 2014. Minnesota is cancelled due to the cold, said Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas, tongue in cheek. But it’s no joke. Governor Dayton activated Minnesota’s National Guard to help with safety and rescue situations, opened Minnesota National Guard armories as shelter for people without heat, and called for a meeting with propane sellers and distributors to discuss price gouging. The Governor pushed to the sidelines issues not of life and death, lesser issues like the Vikings stadium and the Minnesota bid for Super Bowl 2018, as he spoke to the hardship suffered by Minnesotans and others in the upper Midwest due to the dangerous shortage of propane gas to combat the cold in a nation of abundant energy. Continue Reading →

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NAACP activates legal strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 
Local branch joins Doug Mann in Sports Authority law suit
 

One of the traditional strengths of the NAACP movement has been its shrewd planning for taking legal action against those violating rights of African Americans. When you think of the successes of NAACP legal redress committees, you think of such leaders as Walter White, Roy Wilkens and Thurgood Marshall, as well as such historic actions and legal milestones as the 1954 decision of Brown vs. Board of Education and Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor Peoples March. The legal redress committee, a historic pillar of strength of NAACP branches across America fighting for African American civil rights, is seen once again in the local NAACP branch’s crafty move on the legal front to join the suit of long time NAACP member Doug Mann against the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for its failure to meet its diversity pledge. With the appointment of long time local branch NAACP supporter Louis King to its executive committee, the trap door has been slammed shut on the MSFA. Continue Reading →

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Financial disaster for Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

When Douglass Mann filed his motion with the Minnesota Supreme Court, early Friday morning, January 10, 2014, no one knew his motion was being sent to the State Supreme Court, raising serious constitutional issues with regard to the funding of the $1 billion “people’s stadium.”

As of the writing of this column, three days after the filing, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) did one of the most peculiar things in the modern legal history of Minnesota: asked to be a defendant in this landmark constitutional case, peculiar because one thing that never happens in America is for people to rush into court to be a defendant, especially when there are allegations of constitutional violations. Besides obviously believing they can’t/won’t lose, the MSFA is employing a shrewd strategy: requesting that the Minnesota Supreme Court impose a $50 million bond upon the Mann group to stop their pursuit seeking justice and fairness for the taxpayers of the City of Minneapolis, and, by extension, the taxpayers of Minnesota, The MSFA, in about 16 months or less, has gone through $74 million, including the $50 million in cash provided by Ziggy Wilf and the Minnesota Vikings. Before the Supreme Court does anything, it should require a forensic audit as to how the MFSA conducted its business from July of 2012 through December of 2013, and how it has spent its money ($74 million) and doesn’t have money to pay the bills due ($28 million) later this month (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board says one in three company audits have “high levels of deficiencies.” How high for government agencies?). The MSFA is paying more for the foreign steel they purchased than they are confirming, and have apparently consummated contracts that are $50 million beyond what they have ever had in their bank accounts. And Thursday evening, Jan 9, MSFA Equity Director Alex Tittle not only pointed out that 46 percent of current stadium work force were women and minorities (hard to believe), but that “to date more than $120 million have been awarded in contracts.” Really? Continue Reading →

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