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New Members Take Seats On Minneapolis Council; Mayor Vows To End Racial Gaps

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A new era in Minneapolis and Minnesota politics began Monday (Jan. 6) as seven new City Council members — including the first Latina, the first Somali and the first Hmong-American to be elected to the 13-member body — were sworn in and new Mayor Betsy Hodges called for an end to the “gaps” between white people and people of color in the city. Continue Reading →

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Privacy Watch Dog: State Cops Are Tracking Your Cell Phone

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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 →

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

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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 →

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Vikings, State, Dig Billion-Dollar Hole In Minneapolis

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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 →

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

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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 →

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Gun Safety Advocate Michael Paymar: Still Shooting For Gun Safety

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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 →

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

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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 →

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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 →

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

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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 →

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ELECTION EVE SPECIAL: A Trove Of Coverage From The UpTake

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Still making up your mind about who to choose as your Top Three candidates for Mayor of Minneapolis?  

The UpTake is proud to present a last-minute Grab Bag of election stories going back to May, including one story on the Ward One St Paul City Council race and seven videotaped debates among the Minneapolis mayoral candidates. Our intent is merely to help you as you pull an All-Nighter and bone up on the issues and the candidates in Tuesday’s election. We start with our compendium of video interviews with 18 of the candidates for mayor, presented here in alphabetical order. (All 35 mayoral candidates were invited to talk to us; these 18 agreed, including six of the leading candidates: Mark Andrew, Jackie Cherryhomes, Dan Cohen, Betsy Hodges, Cam Winton and Stephanie Woodruff) . Continue Reading →

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