Issues

Recent Posts

Privacy Watch Dog: State Cops Are Tracking Your Cell Phone

logo_bca

From UpTake contributor Rich Neumeister, at Open Secrets

Since 2005, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has paid nearly $750,000 for what they call a “cellular exploitative device.” After the state’s top cop agency got their new spy tool, the Hennepin County Sheriff had to get one, too. In 2010, Hennepin County got a similar evice for nearly $400,000. The BCA wants to keep you from knowing about these secret tools. They have pulled a shade of “total” secrecy, a blackout. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Workers: Keep The Fries; We Want That $15 Hourly Wage We Need To Live

via-MN-Fair-Economy

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

On the heels of last week’s large Black Friday protests in the Twin Cities, demonstrations calling for better wages for fast-food workers were staged in three Minnesota cities Thursday: Protests demanding a living wage were held outside fast-food restaurants in Minneapolis, Lakeville and Cambridge as part of a nationwide effort called Fast Food Forward, a campaign which originated in New York City demanding that hourly wages be increased to $15 an hour. In Minneapolis, about 45 people gathered in front of the McDonalds and Burger King restaurants on Stinson Boulevard in Northeast Minneapolis. The local action, organized by SEIU and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, lasted about 20 minutes in the sub-zero windchill. Organizers said that no workers left their jobs to strike in Minnesota, as was the case in some other states, but that the action here was meant to raise awareness of the issue of poverty wages. Anytrea Baker, a food service worker at Minneapolis Public Schools and a member of SEIU, said she came out to support her fellow food service workers. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Vikings, State, Dig Billion-Dollar Hole In Minneapolis

Image-2

Football fans, elected leaders and Vikings big shots assembled under a heated tent on Tuesday to celebrate the symbolic groundbreaking for a new Vikings stadium and the demolition of the old Metrodome. Pastries, coffee and ranks of gold-painted shovels and purple-horned hard hats were arrayed for the event, which was celebrated with a round of fireworks in the east parking lot of the Metrodome. The explosions may have been apt: Despite the festive celebration, the groundbreaking was carried out with an air of urgency: The $1 billion stadium, facing a host of political and financial problems, is still under the gun and the fake hole — the dignitaries used their shovels on a carefully arranged foot-deep pile of dirt that had been manicured above the cement parking surface, the black dirt surrounded by green swatches of indoor-outdoor carpeting giving the appearance of a freshly dug grave site — is not likely to be the end of things. (more…) Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Fight For Living Wages Ends In 26 Black Friday Arrests in St Paul

snelling

Twenty-six people were arrested Friday during the “March to end Poverty Wages,” the culmination of a week of Black Friday actions pressing for better pay and working conditions and the right to organize for retail, janitorial and other low-wage workers in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Gun Safety Advocate Michael Paymar: Still Shooting For Gun Safety

images-16-e1385413980529

The Minnesota Legislature’s leading proponent of tougher gun-safety measures, Rep. Michael Paymar, announced last week that he won’t run for re-election next year, but he plans to go out with gun-control proposals blazing. Paymar, a nine-term DFLer from St. Paul, made another in a series of attempts at Tuesday’s meeting of the Advisory Committee on Capitol Area Security to impose tighter controls over guns being carried into the Capitol before — as many legislators privately say they fear — someone gets shot. Paymar proposed that guns be banned completely from the Capitol (except for law enforcement officers) and that metal-detectors and security stations be installed to keep guns out. The proposal failed on a tie 2-2 vote of the six-member advisory committee, with one member absent and another — Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, abstaining, she said, because the measure might come before her court some day. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , ,

Thanksgiving Surprise: Jaymie Kelly Gets Help From The Top In Fight To Keep Her Minneapolis Home

JamieKitchen

Jaymie Kelly got a surprising answer after she sent an email to President Obama describing her trials with JPMorgan Chase and Freddie Mac. Eight days later she got a call from the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency telling her that her case is under review. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Real Indians Protest Racist Name Used By Fake Ones: Fighting “The R Word”

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan/Video by Todd Billings&Bill Sorem

Celebrities, sports stars, politicians and civil rights leaders joined hundreds of American Indian protesters and their allies Thursday night as they stormed the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis to protest against the Washington D.C. football team whose team name they say is racist and offensive. Among the all-star cast of supporters of the protest, which was organized by the American Indian Movement (AIM), were former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills (a Lakota Sioux from Pine Ridge, S.D.), St. Paul Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Ex-Minnesota Viking Joey Browner and Minneapolis’s newly elected mayor Betsy Hodges. They stood with AIM leader Clyde Bellecourt and an estimated 700 Native Americans who marched to the Dome to demand a stop to “the R-word”. The protest was a response to Washington team owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change the team’s name, as well as the Minnesota Sports Authority’s denial of a request by the American Indian Movement and the American Civil Liberties Union to block the team’s name from appearing in the stadium. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Minneapolis Election: Betsy Hodges Almost Claims Victory; RCV Count Goes Slow

Hodges-3

It was a dark and stormy election day that began with frost on car windshields and ended with snow and slush that got more media attention than the voting, at least on the 10 p.m. TV newscasts. But the day also brought smiles to the faces of the proponents of Ranked Choice Voting, who liked what they saw as the new voting system got its first serious tests in the Twin Cities, and to supporters of Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges, who led in first-preference voting by a wide margin and seemed to be the odds-on favorite to formally claim victory Wednesday Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

St Paul’s Ward One: Racial Diversity And RCV In The Mix In Hotly Fought Election

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

A diverse mix of seven candidates, many of whom have backgrounds in community organizing, faced off in a forum Tuesday night at the Wilder Center, sparring for a chance to fill the Ward One City Council seat vacated by Melvin Carter III when he resigned to take a post in the Minnesota Department of Education last July. Among the candidates in the forum hosted by The League of Women Voters were former City Council member and St. Paul’s first female police officer Debbie Montgomery (she was knocked off the council by Carter in 2007), and Carter’s former council aide, Noel Nix. Other candidates included former St. Paul School Board Chair Kazoua Kong-Thao, Johnny Howard, founder of the Thomas-Dale Block Clubs, Dai Thao, an IT Manager, poet and contributor to Hmong Times, and Mark Voerding, past president of the District 7 Planning Council and aide to former council member Bill Wilson, plus Paul Holmgren, who has been endorsed by the St. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

New Citizens Step Up To The Voting Booth: Somalis Hold Key in Minneapolis’ Sixth Ward

Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

Redistricting and changing demographics have put Minneapolis City Council incumbent Robert Lilligren on the defensive as he vies to keep his seat without the DFL endorsement in Ward 6. Lilligren’s main challenger is Abdi Warsame, a Somali candidate who wrested the DFL’s endorsement away from Lilligren, a three-term incumbent, and appears to have strong support in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, which has the highest population of immigrants in the city. Lilligren, an Ojibwe Indian, is the City Council’s openly gay vice president. He and Warsame have butted heads a couple of times, with Lilligren challenging Warsame’s capture of the DFL endorsement by complaining of intimidation tactics and homophobia during the DFL convention in June and Warsame volleying back by denouncing Lilligren for “Jim Crow tactics,” accusing the incumbent of encouraging other Somalis to file as candidates in the hopes of diluting Warsame’s Somali backing. “I’m not sure that these other East Africans know what they are doing,” Warsame says. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Dead Men Walking: Vampires March Against JPMorgan Chase

Occupy Homes MN led a march to the Minneapolis U.S. Attorney’s office and the offices of JPMorgan Chase to demand a settlement that keeps people in their homes instead of just providing “blood money” by way of paltry settlement checks to people who wrongly lost their homes. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Ranks And Choices: A Dozen “Minor” Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates Speak Their Piece

There are 35 candidates running for Mayor of Minneapolis in the Nov. 5 election, from one who calls himself a pirate to one whose campaign videos have made himself an Internet celebrity (he says so, at any rate). The UpTake invited seven of the leading candidates to participate in our mayoral forum on Oct. 22. The other 28 candidates all were invited to sit down with us for brief video interviews. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Why Asian-American Artists And Activists Are Protesting The Ordway’s Production Of Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon: Protesters in New York City in 1991. Despite more than two decades of cultural-awareness actions, the show -- and the protest -- goes on. Photo by Corky Lee.

St. Paul’s Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is one of four theaters co-producing a revival of “Miss Saigon” — which begins an eight-performance run tonight in downtown St. Paul — despite outcries from Twin Cities activists who say the performance is racist, colonial, romanticizes sex trafficking and re-enforces harmful Asian stereotypes.
Continue Reading →

Filed under: ,

Ordway Production of “Miss Saigon” Ignites Renewed Protests Over Racist Stereotypes

Artist Ricardo Levins Morales lampooned Miss Saigon with a Gone-With-The-Wind-themed poster. Click on poster to see Miss Saigon protest Tumblr blog.

Over the past few months, community leaders have disparaged the Ordway’s pending presentations of Miss Saigon — a play that details the strife of a Vietnamese “bar girl” who falls in love with an American G.I, eventually bearing his child and committing suicide so the child can be raised in the United States. The community leaders have taken their cause to social media and the press to deter patrons from purchasing theater tickets, which range from $26 to $103. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Gov. Dayton on Vikings Stadium: Shocked, Shocked to Find Seat Licenses in Here!

The Temple to the Gods of Football. Click photo to see video of Gov. Mark Dayton Approving the Seat Licenses He Opposes

Story for The UpTake By Andy Birkey/Video by Bill Sorem

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority met Thursday evening to finalize agreements with the Minnesota Vikings for a new stadium scheduled to open in 2016. Instead of a celebration, however, the meeting devolved into an angry shouting match at times, as residents criticized the lack of public input in the process. To add to the strained atmosphere, Gov. Mark Dayton held a press conference before the meeting at which he begrudgingly accepted that private seat license fees — a revenue-raising gimmick he has said he strongly opposes — are part of the deal. It was all part of an increasingly pressurized effort to keep the $1-billion stadium deal rolling despite a number of problems that have cropped up in recent months — from the fraud conviction of the Vikings’ owners in a New Jersey court to Dayton’s claims that he didn’t know that the legislation he signed last year allowed the Vikings to collect millions in seat licenses. Unless ground is broken for the new stadium this fall — no date yet has been set — the timetable for the project may be thrown off schedule. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,