COMMUNITY VOICES | The Big E sizes up MN GOP candidates

The Big E, confessing to Minnesita Progressive Project (MPP) readers and contributers, recently wrote that his heart no longer pines to hose down right wing sparkle ponies like Michele Bachmann or even review books by the likes of a Keith Ellison.  The Big E (known to his Minneapolis neighbors as Eric Pusey), is the founding scold of the MPP lefty sentry post and appears on the current edition of Democratic Visions as he retires from political blogging. After a moment of posing as a weary blogosphere elder  (as if blogging was old enough to earn elders), the smart, liberal confederate, prompted by an actual DFL elder,  Tim O’Brien, shines with bemused and bewildered takes on the current state of the Minnesota Republican Party and its clownish, hopeful State and Congressional candidates.   Mr. Pusey, who has splashed gleefully in the rushing stream of blogs, Tweets, Facebook twerking and probably Skype, does quite well in the “legacy” medium of television where I operate.  Fox Nine News knew that and for a while put him on from time-to-time.  But the Fox 9 News producers didn’t have the cojones to make him a regular pundit.   Too bad.  Mr. Pusey has good chemistry. This ten-minute Eric and Tim segment is yours to consider.  Its “tagged” (the TV producer’s sense of the word) with an homage to the late, great, populist troubadour Pete Seeger and Twin Cities activism thanks to the air guitar wonders -The Junk Yard Democrats, a peoples’ anthem, and creative editing.  Enjoy!  Enjoy!  Democratic Visions February Segments Ex-blogger Eric Pusey and Tim O’Brien on senate and gubernatorial hopefuls.Jon Spayde as a clinically depressed motivational speaker with advice for Republican hopefuls.I report on the DFL 48 Precinct Caucuses and present an award winning short film making change. Democratic Visions is handcrafted by Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka volunteer Democrats at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission. Democratic Visions Cable ScheduleMinneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m.; Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Bloomington – BCAT Cable Channel 16 – Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. The entire Feburary program and 183 archived Dem Vis segments can be seen on the Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube. Democratic Visions has become the  liveliest political issues show in Minnesota.   I know.  I produce the darned thing.   Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Bethune Soccer wins on the field and in the community

On Tuesday night, October 15, the Bethune Park soccer team won the 2013 Minneapolis Parks citywide 13u tournament championship.  Bethune defeated Kenwood in the tournament finals 3-2 with a come-from-behind overtime victory. The tournament win caps a year of victories both on the soccer field and in their community.Most of the Bethune soccer players live at City View apartments, north Minneapolis’ largest predominantly Latino housing complex.For over a year the City View soccer players have been working hard to get La Montaña razed. La Montaña was a 30 foot tall pile of construction debris, nearly as high as the three story tall City View apartments next door. The construction rubble was left over from when the Heritage Park housing was built several years ago.   Hidden behind the weeds was a hangout where  men partied, slept and drank.  The hangout was littered with beer cans,  liquor bottles, bedding, toilet paper, underwear and used hypodermic needlesStarting in the spring of 2012, residents of City View apartments worked with Councilmember Don Samuels to get La Montaña taken down.City View Soccer Players Share Findings with Councilmember SamuelsThe City View soccer players  were leaders in the drive to raze La Montaña, meeting with councilmember Samuels in his office and on the soccer field, giving him tours of  the site, documenting problems, and keeping the councilmember up to date on developments. City View Soccer Team Stands Next to The Steam Shovel That Ate La MontañaLast fall, residents of City View apartments cheered as they watched a steam shovel, a bulldozer and other construction equipment ripping into La Montaña.  It took two weeks for La Montaña to be leveled.Councilmember Samuels Drops First Ball for New Soccer Field Where La Montaña Once StoodThis spring, grass seed was laid down on the field which replaced La Montaña.  This summer, Minneapolis Parks donated two soccer goals and set them up where La Montaña once towered.  And on August 5, over 70 residents of City View apartments cheered as councilmember Don Samuels dropped the ceremonial first ball onto their brand new soccer fieldBethune Soccer Players arrive at University of Minnesota UROC Community Open House Two days after their tournament victory, City View soccer players came to the University of Minnesota UROC open house, and told their northside neighbors and U of M faculty about their hard work and their successes.  The soccer players are already talking about what else needs to get fixed in their neighborhood, and inspiring others to join with them.Bethune Soccer Players show U of M Provost Karen Hanson Pictures of La Montaña and players inside the steam shovel diggerBethune Soccer Players Guess Where CURA Ambassador Jeff Corn was Born (Answer:  England)  Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | City View residents celebrate new soccer field, razing La Montaña

This past Monday, August 5, over 70 residents of City View apartments and their supporters gathered to celebrate the razing of La Montaña and the installation of soccer goals and a grassy field for neighborhood youth and families to play on. The neighbors were joined by councilmember Don Samuels, and the event was covered by Jessica Miles and Channel 5 news.Soccer players thank councilmember Samuels for his helpLa Montaña sas a 30 foot tall pile of construction debris, nearly as high as the three story tall City View apartments next door. The construction rubble was left over from when the Heritage Park housing was built several years ago. Hidden behind the weeds was a hangout where men partied, slept and drank. The hangout was littered with beer cans, liquor bottles, bedding, toilet paper, underwear and used hypodermic needles. Continue Reading

Are Minnesota schools supporting black students? Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators hears parent, community distress.

About 30 community members, including several former educators, attended the August 8 community public hearing sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators.  Some expressed anger and disagreement with the effectiveness of current practices and strategies in Minneapolis Public Schools. They were confused as to how new programs would help and just how their involvement would increase effectiveness as they’ve not really been given the voice that MABSE is promising them.The August 8 hearing at the Minneapolis Urban League was hosted by Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, Minnesota Department of Education commissioner Brenda Cassellius and MABSE president Francine Chakolis as speakers. As the Minneapolis Public School district is a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, Johnson spoke of the district’s connection and ongoing partnership with MABSE. The hearing was the first of three in a series titled “Reclaiming our Village from the Pipeline to the Penitentiary.”Community members at the meeting had a variety of connections with Minneapolis Public Schools. Continue Reading