JACC: Still embattled

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Despite losing an election that was approved by the City of Minneapolis and the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, former executive members of the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) refuse to give up their power.

They have “removed all the records and checkbooks, along with computers and other property,” writes Ann McCandless, the newly-elected executive secretary, in an email sent out to Jordan community members. “They have moved into a church at 1922 25th Ave N. They are now trying to present themselves as the ‘legal’ Jordan Area Community
Council.”

In addition, McCandless writes that a former employee of JACC contacted COMCAST and had the phone and internet service disconnected. McCandless does not name the employee, but Jerry Moore, JACC’s former executive director, was fired last week.

There is no question, at this point, that the current JACC board, chaired by Michael K. Browne, is the only official board. Stacy Sorenson, the neighborhood specialist from NRP, wrote McCandless: “Based on these events and on the advice that we have received from the Assistant City Attorney on this issue, the NRP will recognize the JACC board with its full complement of members as elected on January 12th and with the officers elected on January 14th.”

Despite the clear message from the city of the board and executive officers’ legitimacy, the previous executive committee members have sent out a “cease and desist” message to the current executive committee members, claiming that the JACC executive committee elections were invalid. They have also refused to accept the dismissal of Jerry Moore, and have written him to tell him to continue working and to “acquire new office arrangements.”

McCandless writes that the JACC office is still located at 2009 James Ave N, and that their phone number is still 612-886-3202. The JACC website has detailed account of the board proceedings and elections.

What I saw
by Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet
I was there at the January 17 event, and it seemed to me that Flowers was acting out of order, that a crowd of people gathered around him to get him to quiet down. I didn’t see any assault, but you can make your own judgment from the video. As far as the free speech violation goes, does the first amendment give us the right to shout whatever we want whenever we want? It wasn’t as if he wasn’t allowed in the meeting in the first place. The opening remarks hadn’t even been made yet. What do you think?

To see the incident yourself, watch a YouTube video uploaded by someone who was there and a second video uploaded on the JACC website.

Meanwhile, an incident that occurred at a press conference January 17 has resulted in a lawsuit. Al Flowers, a non-Jordan resident began shouting at the very beginning of the press conference during JACC chair Michael K. Browne’s opening remarks. Flowers would not stop shouting despite continued assurances that all would be given a chance to speak, and was eventually escorted from the room by police. Now he has filed a complaint saying that he was “assaulted” by City Councilmember Don Samuels, and that his constitutional rights were violated by Samuels, the City of Minneapolis, police officer Timothy Gorman, and Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal.

This is not the first time Samuels has been sued by Flowers. In 2007, a trial ended with a verdict in favor of Flowers — and an award of three dollars in damages. The current complaint states that Samuels “elbowed” Flowers and “stepped on his toes.” Samuels was one of numerous people who were trying to get Flowers to stop disrupting the meeting.

Sheila Regan is a theater artist based in Minneapolis. When not performing or writing, she serves as educational coordinator for Teatro del Pueblo.

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