New thinkers in Twin Cities City Hall: Will they bring change?

Congratulations, Minneapolis Mayor-elect Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor-elect Melvin Carter III, and their new council members

After the November 7 election, Star Tribune and Pioneer Press gave their ritual “change is coming,” headline. But as we asked in our previous column, “Will there be real change or fake change to maintain the status quo?”

As the new and the old leadership talk about plans for political evolution, we await their new messages, filled with great thoughts and plans to be announced from on high. They promise improved education, more employment, more housing, at less economic development, and a place at the table for all. Will they keep their promises?

We understand our mayor-elect stated he wants more patrols in downtown Minneapolis to provide greater citizen protection. But for which citizens?

Minneapolis is at least 200 police officers short for what a city our size needs to adequately protect citizens. The public safety doctrine discussed police and public safety protection for those who contribute most to society and less protection for those who contribute the least. Will downtown Minneapolis become as militarized as the streets of Paris, where rifle toting police are on many downtown corners?

Leadership knows cuts to other areas are needed to fund more police. But cuts from where? Education? Training? Jobs? Housing? These temporary changes answer the question of who will suffer so others don’t have to.

In St. Paul, Mayor-elect Melvin Carter III has a clear mandate. In Minneapolis, the council will have to determine the leadership of the City Council because both Mayor Betsy Hodges and City Council President Barb Johnson were defeated. A determination will have to be made regarding who will lead the council. This comes at a time when meetings are being called to develop an operational plan, in a meeting at Franklin Junior High in Minneapolis.

With the old and the new leadership coming together, this columnist is sure there will be concise recommendations to produce resolutions. But will what happens just be planning for more meetings?

In the words of the old Negro spiritual, a new day is a’comin.’ How much division and hostility will be brought into the plans for the future?

My concern about public safety is when it is treated as an entitlement for those who contribute the most; whereas, protection decreases for those who contribute less.

Black Americans have waited like a bridesmaid to be incorporated into the great success stories that are Minneapolis and St. Paul. Each must be extremely vigilant to ensure that new thinkers join us all to bring about cohesive leadership. Anything less will defeat the purpose of the election of Nov 7, 2017.

Will positive change be thwarted by the reversal of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s (paraphrased) judge not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character to now — judge by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character?

We rest comfortably as change is a’comin.’ But whose change and for whom? And why?

Stay tuned.


Ron has hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books, and archives, go to