Structural Racism At Root Of Offensive Remark About North Minneapolis

Others booed, but Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St.Paul) thought for several hours before responding to an offensive remark Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker) had made about North Minneapolis.During a debate on funding for the North Star rail line Newberger said “Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient, to have that rail line going from the prison to North Minneapolis.” After hearing some grumbling he quickly added, “or to any section of our state.” Boos were heard in the House chamber.As the clock was approaching midnight, Moran got up to address the body on a point of personal privilege.“So often we say let it go, let it pass. You know, don’t respond to it. But I feel that I have a need to respond to Rep. Newberger’s comments that he made earlier.”Moran said she found Newberger’s initial comment offensive. “I truly felt disrespected myself. And I know I don’t stand alone in feeling disrespect but North Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading

Union Organizers Call McDonald’s Wage Raise “Publicity Stunt” – April 15 Strike Still Looms

 Organizers of a fast-food worker strike scheduled for later this month say the strike threat prompted McDonald’s to announce it is giving workers a pay raise. However, the strike is still on because the raise is not enough and most McDonald’s employees won’t get it.McDonald’s President and CEO Steve Easterbrook announced on Wednesday that the company would be paying workers at least $1 more than the local minimum wage starting in July. McDonald’s will also let workers who have been with the company for more than a year earn up to five days of paid time off each year. However, that only applies to corporate owned stores. There are three corporate owned stores in the Twin Cities area — two of them in Minneapolis — with the rest owned by franchisees. Continue Reading

Professors Join Fray Over Mall Protest Prosecutions- Bloomington Responds

University professors and researchers are joining the call for City of Bloomington prosecutor Sandra Johnson to drop charges against organizers of a “black lives matter” protest at the Mall of America in December. The protest was in response to highly publicized police violence against blacks in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City as well as some cases in Minnesota.117 university professors and researchers based mostly in the Twin Cities metro, but some from greater Minnesota signed an open letter calling the plan to charge the organizers “political persecution.”“We are deeply disappointed in the City of Bloomington’s decision to use its considerable power to actually add to the obstacles that are blocking the movement toward a better, more peaceful, and more just society. We urge the City of Bloomington to drop all charges against those who participated in the recent peaceful protest at the Mall of America.” (Full text of the letter is below)The letter comes a day after more than 100 faith leaders signed a similar open letter.Eleven people will appear in court on March 10th for their arraignment on charges ranging from trespassing to disorderly conduct for their attendance at the peaceful demonstration which included nearly 3,000 individuals on December 20, 2014 at the Mall of America.Bloomington City Attorney Johnson issued her own open letter on Tuesday responding to the faith leaders. In it she said “the criminal justice system must look at the conduct not the content of the messages behind the illegal conduct. To approach protest or demonstration cases any other way would result in viewpoint discrimination based upon the popularity of the message with the prosecutor and with the community. Continue Reading

City Of Bloomington? 100+ Faith Leaders Want A Word With You

The City of Bloomington’s insistence on prosecuting organizers of a “Black Lives Matter” protest at the Mall of America is getting more pushback from Minnesota’s religious leaders.A letter signed by more than 100 faith leaders asks City Attorney Sandra Johnson to have a community-wide dialog about race instead of prosecuting people.“The energy you have put into this aggressive prosecution needs to be redirected to a community-wide effort toward open dialogue between our justice system and those who do not receive equal and fair treatment and protection from our current system,” says the letter. “We would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss these matters.”Eleven people are charged with crimes ranging from trespassing to disorderly conduct for their attendance at the peaceful demonstration which included nearly 3,000 individuals on December 20, 2014 at the Mall of America. The protest was part of a larger nationwide demonstration reacting to police violence against African-Americans.This is the second letter faith leaders have sent to the city. The previous letter was signed by 41 clergy and also asked for the city to stop its prosecutions and invited the city to charge them too. Full text of the letterBlack Lives Matter Minneapolis Faith Leaders Letter of SupportDear Sandra Johnson,We, the undersigned, members of the clergy in the city of Bloomington, write to express our support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As a matter of background, on January 20, 2015, individuals working with the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis group were invited to present to the Bloomington Conference of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Minneapolis Area Synod at our monthly gathering, at which some of the undersigned were present. A representative from the synod office was also in attendance.We did not know what to expect when we invited this group to meet with us. Continue Reading

Press Jumps On MN House Speaker For Budget Surplus Claim

  Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt says one of the reasons Minnesota’s predicted budget surplus has increased is higher economic confidence since Republicans won a majority in Minnesota’s House last November. The state revenue forecast released today showed Minnesota will have a $1.86 billion surplus, an $832 million dollar increase from the last forecast. State revenues go up mostly because of increased sales tax revenue and income tax revenue.“Part of this economic confidence is there is balance restored in state government,” Daudt told reporters.Pioneer Press reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger almost immediately pressed Daudt if he “could reiterate that theory… the theory that this forecast is good because Republicans now have the House and there is balance restored to the Capitol? Tell me more about that.”Daudt responded that Minnesota Democrats lost the House because the revenue forecast in November (also a surplus) showed that the policies Democrats put in place the last two years “didn’t help Minnesota’s families and didn’t help Minnesota’s economy.”Daudt said the increase in this latest forecast is mostly because gas prices are low “But I think Minnesota’s economy also understands that we don’t have a runaway government that when we didn’t need to raise any taxes put in place one of the largest increases in state history.”Governor Mark Dayton with Democratic majority in both the House and Senate raised the taxes on the top 2 percent of earners in Minnesota. Dayton was re-elected by a large majority.“I think that people have confidence in that balance has been restored in state government,” said Daudt.More reporter questions and video of the exchange Another reporter asks if Republicans are claiming credit for the portion of the surplus that happened after they took office. Continue Reading

Your Skin Cleanser Could Be Killing the Environment

Senator John Marty explains his bill for a Minnesota ban personal products such as skin cleansers that have microbeads and microplastics. The beads, which can’t be screened out at water treatment plants make fish toxic. That’s why Illinois recently enacted a ban. A hearing on Minnesota’s proposed ban will be held Tuesday February 10, 2015. He says the bill has bipartisan support and says a ban in Minnesota will lead to a national ban. Continue Reading

Navell Gordon, smeared face of #Pointergate, tells his story

Navell Gordon became famous when KSTP-TV blurred his face in a photo where he was standing next to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and broadcast it because police said the two were flashing gang signs by pointing at each other. Social media dubbed the story #Pointergate. Gordon says he is not a member of the kind of gang KSTP-TV insinuated he belonged to. “I’m a member of the NOC gang,” he says with a laugh. “Knocking on doors, and organizing and getting more people involved.”

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