COMMUNITY VOICES | Corporate candidates pre-selected for Minneapolis mayor

I rarely ever buy or read the Star Tribune any more.  However- this week I had to drop off my sister in law at a Same Day Surgery Clinic and had 3 hours to spare while I  waited for her. With nothing better to do, I decided to have breakfast and yes- read the paper. There was a fairly large article in the local section on the Minneapolis Mayors race. Without realizing it, the Star Tribune exposed the Kabuki Theater aspect of local politics in this town.Of course it only covered the “main contenders” Mark Andrews and Betsy Hodges, with a very brief mention of Gary Schiff dropping out and throwing his support to Betsy Hodges. Cam Winton, the Republican who is pretending that he is Independent, got another brief mention.One sentence admitted “some others” who were also running. What made this article so interesting to me was how it framed  the campaign: Mark Andrews as the “political soul mate”  of former Mayor RT Rybak; Betsy Hodges has many former Rybak staffers working on her campaign and at the DFL Convention; Gary Schiff, had “opposed” Mayor Rybak, but, now supports Betsy Hodges. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Mayor RT Rybak proclaims Social Enterprise Week

Never heard of social enterprise?  Well, it’s here and growing.  That’s why RT Rybak has proclaimed this to be Social Enterprise Week in Minneapolis.  Minnesota has sometimes been called the “Land of 10,000 Non-Profits,” so deeply embedded is the culture of compassionate support. It’s not surprising that the Twin Cities is ranked #1 for volunteering.  But there are a few new twists on this story. Many Minnesota nonprofits are functioning as “social enterprises” – and yet they might not identify themselves as one.  It’s a new term for a growing national and international trend. Social enterprises bridge the for-profit and non-profit worlds because they operate with a “double bottom line” — profits and social mission.  They sell products and services, which then generate funds that can be used to address social issues.“Not enough people know about the depth of social enterprise leadership and innovation in our area, many started decades ago,” said Mayor RT Rybak.PPL Industries, for example, was launched 30 years ago.  Instead of being primarily funded by grants or donations, they relied largely on fees generated by providing light assembly for larger businesses.  Their operation provided essential work skills and job training for individuals with multiple barriers to employment.  Following a merger with Rebuild Resources last year, the new $6 million organization has been rebranded as Momentum Enterprises.Why are more nonprofits starting or expanding a social enterprise?  Some say it is because they are experiencing the “new normal”, based on increasing competition for both charitable dollars and government contracts.  To become more self-sustainable, nonprofits are increasingly considering the “earned-income” strategies of social enterprise to support their mission.In 2002, CityKid Java was created to raise funds for a worthy cause: the revitalization of the South Minneapolis community.   Since then, they have grown to become a $2 million business selling coffee through Target, Cub, and Whole Foods as well as businesses and faith-based organizations.  The “profits” are used to fund Urban Ventures.  CityKid Java is undertaking an aggressive growth strategy to use this “business model” to expand and support youth in other states.   Social enterprises are as varied as the communities they serve.  Twin Cities based social enterprises include the Beez Kneez, The Arc Value Village Thrift Stores, DumpTech, Finnegans, Genesys Works and Tasks Unlimited.  Another twist is that more for-profit companies are operating with a double bottom line as well, such as Moss Envy and The Data Bank.The Social Enterprise Week proclamation is one way to raise awareness about the social and economic benefits of social enterprise in our communities.  St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman signed one for St. Continue Reading

Will Minneapolis’s next mayor be a hipster like R.T. Rybak—and is that what the city needs?

I have a long-held belief that the Portlandia mayor is secretly based on R.T. Rybak. Okay, I know, I know, it’s probably more likely that Portlandia’s mayor is based on Sam Adams, who was mayor of Portland when the IFC show—a satire of contemporary hipster culture—first aired in 2011, and who made a cameo on the show. Still, you have to admit that Portlandia’s mayor has a bit of a Rybak-esque quality, or vice versa.As a matter of fact, I think I like the show so much because it reminds me of Minneapolis and the progressive, bike-loving artsy community here, even if the show makes fun of that culture. Plus, R.T. Rybak is always doing hipster things like body-surfing at rock concerts. He’s definitely got an adorkable appeal, you have to admit. Continue Reading

The best of Northern Spark: A whole lot of Twin Cities love

Negotiating Northern Spark, the Twin Cities’ annual all-night art and culture binge, requires a distinct set of skills. A nocturnal disposition is handy, though faking it courtesy of a caffeine-tempered gut is an acceptable substitute. Equally indispensable is a smartphone and an ease with social media. Lastly, of utmost import is an ability to just let go. With over 150 events spread across the city in only a 12-hour window, there’s simply no way to see it all. Continue Reading

Artie and Barbara: A Short Story

Once upon a time, in a small Midwestern town, a young couple, new to the area, were expecting their first child. So they decided to visit the town hospital to make arrangements for the baby’s delivery. “Viking Hospital” seemed a strange name to them for a hospital, but it was the only one in town.


Their conversation with the hospital administrator, Mr. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Occupy Minnesota Confront Mayor RT Rybak On Police Brutality

Exerpt from Minneapolis Star Tribune by Randy Furst Tuesday April 10th”A man who identified himself as Osha Karow tried to question Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak after Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall.”Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told protesters from the Occupy movement on Tuesday he’d pass along complaints of police brutality to Police Chief Tim Dolan for investigation, but the mayor declined to criticize police for how they handled demonstrators Saturday.”About 75 protesters crowded into a room in City Hall, where they fired questions and blasted police for the mistreatment they said they received when they marched through downtown Minneapolis.”The article above is the example of the very “best” coverage that corporate media did in this event. The Minneapolis Star Tribune was there, along with KSTP Channel 5 (whose cameraman was allegedly assaulted by Minneapolis police) WCCO TV, Fox 9/20 and MPR.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. The opinions expressed in the Free Speech Zone and Neighborhood Notes, as well as the opinions of bloggers, are their own and not necessarily the opinion of the TC Daily Planet.They all either ignored the story completely or like KSTP only ran the story on their web page. I was there and know for a fact that the assembled journalists were filming it.All of it was cut to shreds or as stated not ran at all.Below is that the corporate media refused to run or show the people of Minnesota and Minneapolis.The only ones who believe or state that KSTP is doing a “good job” are those who are apologists of or indeed part of the rotten corrupted political system in Minnesota.As an aside, in the fourth section you can hear me making a statement. Continue Reading

Saving the Electronic Commons

In the 1970’s, civic minded visionaries created a federal plan to insure that the corporate cable giants wiring our communities would have to share a piece of the profit with the people, public access television was born.

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FREE SPEECH ZONE | Rybak Target Center Renovation, Statewide Vikings Tax

Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak wants to have it both ways. On the one hand, this Tuesday (Feb 1, 2011), he appeared with billionaire publishing magnate Glen Taylor, hawking a plan to spend $155 million, much of it public money, on a “facelift” for Target Center, which the City owns and Taylor’s Timberwolves and Lynx basketball teams play in. On the other hand, Rybak wants to be seen as a practical mayor who shares the priorities of city residents and neighborhood activists.Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Of a potential Timberwolves Tax to pay for his grand plan for Target Center, Rybak tells Minnpost “I don’t want to deal with this issue, frankly, but we simply have to do it.” Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | With deafening silence, City Council fails to reappoint Dave Bicking to Civilian Police Review Board (CRA)

Original article from Twin Cities Indy Media Submitted by smiley on Fri, 04/02/2010 – 12:06 Despite widespread community support and a history of fighting for better police accountability, Dave Bicking failed to be reappointed to the CRA at the April 2nd City Council meeting.  Dave Bicking was seeking a 4-year term to the board that deals with issues of police accountability and investigates complaints against the Minneapolis Police Department. For his dedicated work, Bicking has the support from over 314 community members who signed a petition online or offline. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 1st, the council listed four names for recommendation for the open spots: Arlene Santiago, Dean Kallenbach, Pramma Elayaperumal, and Mary Pargo. These candidates included two of Mayor Rybak’s pre-emptive choices. Dave Bicking was absent from this list along with other qualified candidates who also applied for the open positions.Free Speech Zone The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Continue Reading