Vikings

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VIKINGS STADIUM: Skirting the Voters Legal?

While the state and Stadium Authority wrangle with the Wilf family over the latter's personal and business financials before it approves a new Viking Stadium, a Hennepin County District Court case is asking a judge to order enforcement of a City Charter provision for a public vote on any city expenditure of $10 million or more on private entities has been awaiting a ruling.

TruthToTell, Monday, Sept 2−9AM: VIKINGS STADIUM: Skirting the Voters Legal?; CivicMedia/MN LEGACY SPECIAL: Part Two of CIRCLE OF THE WITCH: 1970s Feminist Theatre Collective; TruthToTell, AUG 26: COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS: Unheralded Housing Affordability

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, September 2, 2013

 

Call and join this conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us@TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruthToTell’s Facebook page.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid),

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

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While the state and Stadium Authority wrangle with the Wilf family over the latter’s personal and business financials before it approves a new Viking Stadium, a Hennepin County District Court case is asking a judge to order enforcement of a City Charterprovision for a public vote on any city expenditure of $10 million or more on private entities has been awaiting a ruling.

Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Doug Mann – one of the 35 candidates now running for that office – chose to make this one of his main issues in that race. In an uphill battle and representing himself, but supported by a resurrected Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association and opposed by the City of Minneapolis and other defendants, Mann contends that the city’s share of the stadium – $309 million – cannot be paid out without a public referendum called for in the City Charter after a 1997 voter–passed initiative. This would contravene a specific legislative override of that charter provision by the law authorizing public involvement in building the Vikings Stadium – the override language saying, “…without regard to any charter limitation, requirement, or provision, including any referendum requirement.”

Reportage on this has pointed to some inconsistencies in Mann’s lawsuit, but it was taken under advisement, in any event.

Mann is up against state law allowing for special legislation empowering city councils to act as they see fit on a given project if not already authorized under state or local law. With a home rule charter like that governing Minneapolis, voter-approved amendments normally carry great weight with courts, but the state override, once approved by the City Council, theoretically negates any local laws to the contrary. Mann insists this goes against the state constitution.

As quoted in the StarTribune, Mann’s argument is that, yes, “The legislature has authority to repeal laws, including the city charter provision,” said Mann...“It’s another question if they have the right to disenfranchise the voters of Minneapolis by overriding a right that the local governments have under the state constitution” to approve special laws through a governing body or public referendum. But the judge warned Mann that constitutional questions can only be resolved in Ramsey County court – the jurisdiction for resolution of state legal questions.

At this writing, the judge, Philip Bush, has not likely issued his ruling. But he acknowledged that Mann has raised some intriguing questions about the role of the state constitution in special legislation overriding certain local laws and ordinances.

These are some of the questions we want to explore with Mr. Mann and David Tilsen, a former Minneapolis School Board member and a leader in the Farmer-Labor Association, on the one hand, and at least one labor leader, Wade Luneburg.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL will talk with these guys about the stadium issues and about the deeper issues surrounding the overriding of local charters and ordinances by state fiat.

GUESTS:

DOUG MANN – Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate; Plaintiff in the case of Mann v. Minneapolis

DAVID TILSEN – Member, Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association; former Mpls. School Board member

WADE LUNEBURG – Member, Stadium Implementation Committee; Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 17, of Hospitality workers union in the Twin Cities.

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In addition to our weekly public affairs program, TruthToTell, CivicMedia produces documentaries on culturally and politically important Minnesota and Twin Cities organizations of historical note, originating as“Minneculture” specials on KFAI Radio and financed primarily by Minnesota’s Legacy Fund. Our planned series recalling the Vietnam era’s activist 1970s in Minneapolis-St. Paul and their influence on our political and cultural landscape starts with a two-part retrospective of the collectivist Circle of the Witch Theatre troupe, a premiere feminist change agent of early 1970s Minnesota, presenting homegrown plays and dealing out lessons in women’s social and economic change. Parts One and Two first aired on KFAI FM 90.3, 106.7 & live at KFAI.org.

These were plays, sketches and multimedia presentations that jerked a tear or two or took a good bite out of conscience and traditional sensibilities about the roles and pigeonholes to which women were so often assigned back then. Most say the change to real equity has, like the issue of race in America, been far slower than it should have been. Comedy and tragedy shared the stage.

The “ouch” musical satire of “Sexpot Follies” was met with the occupational hazards for women and the internalized conflicts between mothers and daughters of “Lady in a Corner”, or the history-tracing and often sad “Time is Passing” and the abstractions of the “The Changebringers.”

Many of the women that formed the collective and shared all its original playwriting, composing and performing duties also lived communally with other women, and some men as well, including this series’ co-producer, Tom O’Connell, a freshly retired political science professor from Metropolitan State University and CivicMedia’s Board Chair.

Andy Driscoll wrote, produced, recorded and edited this Special.

Minneculture Producer is Nancy Sartor

The four women here of the founding seven members formed the core in what would become a company of some 24 rotating cast members and creators, and as you will hear, took their often biting and pointed satirical sketches to college campuses across the state:

Sandy Pappas helped found the small company. She started life as an actress and theatre major, but her politics simmered and ultimately boiled over into running for elected office. For 27 years, Sandy’s held state Legislative office, the last 21 as a Minnesota state senator, and, now, President of the Minnesota Senate.

 

 

 

 

Company co-founder and Pennsylvania transplant Susan Gust would co-found a construction and community development company here at age 23, then start the ReUse Center in Minneapolis after working  on economic and environmental justice issue. Today, Susan teaches and consults on social justice through Community-based Research.

 

 

 

Circle of the Witch company member Jo Haberman, a near North Minneapolis native, has devoted the last 30-odd years to community organizing and collaboration, especially working with young people, and now with the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board.

 

 

 

Another Circle of the Witch original, Micaela (Mickie) Massimino, arrived here from the East Coast for her baccalaureate studies in feminist art at the University of Minnesota, jumped into the theatre troupe, ultimately departing for journalism jobs and college teaching back east before settling into her present job as an editor for the Sacramento Bee.

 
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RECENT SHOW

TruthToTell, AUG 26: COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS: Unheralded Housing Affordability - AUDIO is UP HERE; VIDEO Coming
 
On-air date: 

  Mon, 08/26/2013

Listen to or download this episode here: 

 

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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NOW! Hear TruthToTell live OR later on the KFAI Community Radio App

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid), 

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and 

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

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How many conversations have we had about affordable housing options around the state and Metro and, especially when foreclosures mushroomed, plus what to do about underwater mortgages when home values tanked?

And about all those unenforced efforts to create affordable housing options under Minnesota and Met Council policies, especially in suburban areas panicked over a surge in “those people” if affordable housing came to fruition?

And, then, the seemingly unstoppable flood of absentee property acquisition and ownership – and neglect – by landlords unwilling to maintain rental units and spawning the very creation of our inner city slums in what became a cycle of conditions that had institutionalized that neglect so that a century of poverty and exploitation became the norm in too many neighborhoods?

Then, the flood of well-intentioned quest for using homeownership as a tool to combat absentee neglect only to find subprime mortgages flourish and unscrupulous banks and mortgage brokers willing to throw buyers into houses they could ill-afford and into debt that took those properties away again, leaving them to fend in the streets.

And what about all those properties abandoned turning entire blocks into ballparks or prairie?

Did anyone mention community land trusts as a serious way of providing perpetually affordable land use options and affordable housing opportunities? If we did, it was in passing. No dwelling.

Monday morning, we’ll dwell on the subject a good deal longer and learn much more about what on the surface seems like an sensible and underutilized option for cities, states and Metro areas feeling responsible for providing adequate and affordable shelter for their citizens.

We can start with this question: is housing or some form of shelter a right of societal or community membership? If so, why haven’t we explored these options and supplied such shelter for all over the last 200 years around here – longer elsewhere?

What is a land trust, anyway? What and who started this concept? And why does it seem on the surface to make so much sense even for smaller communities within communities?

 

Of course, one must qualify and be willing to give up ownership of the land to own the house on it. We’re a land-hungry breed, so this may be tough even for the poorest among us.

Lots of questions to answer.

But we’ll do our best enlighten us all about this concept and its possibilities for all of our communities. TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with at least one Community Land Trust executive and get our questions answered about the potential for– and the limitations of – community land trusts.

On-air guests: 

JEFF WASHBURNE – Executive Director, City of Lakes Community Land Trust, Minneapolis


GREG FINZELL – Executive Director, Rondo Community Land Trust, St. Paul


TruthToTell, Sept 2: VIKINGS STADIUM: Skirting the Voters Legal? - AUDIO HERE-VIDEO COMING

On-air date: 
Mon, 09/02/2013
Listen to or download this episode here: 

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PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid),

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While the state and Stadium Authority wrangle with the Wilf family over the latter’s personal and business financials before it approves a new Viking Stadium, a Hennepin County District Court case is asking a judge and jury to order enforcement of a City Charter provision for a public vote on any city expenditure of $10 million or more on private entities has been awaiting a ruling.

Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Doug Mann – one of the 35 candidates now running for that office – chose to make this one of his main issues in that race. In an uphill battle and representing himself, but supported by a resurrected Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association and opposed by the City of Minneapolis and other defendants, Mann contends that the city’s share of the stadium – $309 million – cannot be paid out without a public referendum called for in the City Charter after a 1997 voter–passed initiative. This would contravene a specific legislative override of that charter provision by the law authorizing public involvement in building the Vikings Stadium – the override language saying, “…without regard to any charter limitation, requirement, or provision, including any referendum requirement.”

Reportage on this has pointed to some inconsistencies in Mann’s lawsuit, but the jury continues to deliberate, so the issue is no slam-dunk dismissal, in any event.

Mann is up against state law allowing for special legislation empowering city councils to act as they see fit on a given project if not already authorized under state or local law. With a home rule charter like that governing Minneapolis, voter-approved amendments normally carry great weight with courts, but the state override, once approved by the City Council, theoretically negates any local laws to the contrary. Mann insists this goes against the state constitution.

As quoted in the StarTribune, Mann’s argument is that, yes, “The legislature has authority to repeal laws, including the city charter provision,” said Mann...“It’s another question if they have the right to disenfranchise the voters of Minneapolis by overriding a right that the local governments have under the state constitution” to approve special laws through a governing body or public referendum. But the judge warned Mann that constitutional questions can only be resolved in Ramsey County court – the jurisdiction for resolution of state legal questions.

At this writing, the judge, Philip Bush, has not likely issued his ruling. But he acknowledged that Mann has raised some intriguing questions about the role of the state constitution in special legislation overriding certain local laws and ordinances.

These are some of the questions we want to explore with Mr. Mann and David Tilsen, a former Minneapolis School Board member and a leader in the Farmer-Labor Association, on the one hand, and at least one labor leader, Wade Luneburg.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL will talk with these guys about the stadium issues and about the deeper issues surrounding the overriding of local charters and ordinances by state fiat.

GUESTS:

DOUG MANN – Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate; Plaintiff in the case of Mann v. Minneapolis

ED FELIEN – Editor-Publisher, Southside Pride newpapers, Minneapolis; Member of Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association

WADE LUNEBURG – Member, Stadium Implementation Committee; Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 17, of Hospitality workers union in the Twin Cities.

Unable to appear, David Tilsen. David's iconic father, Ken Tilsen, had died the night before.

DAVID TILSEN – Member, Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association; former Mpls. School Board member


TruthToTell, Dec 26: RAMSEY COUNTY STADIUM PETITION - AUDIO BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 12/26/2011

Over more than five years, CivicMedia and KFAI have brought you over 300 conversations about the critical issues our communities face on a daily and weekly basis in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Now, as 2011 comes to a close, you can score a year-end tax deduction by donating to our parent CivicMedia-Minnesota, and we'll do an even better job, we know.

PLEASE HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST –

DONATE to CIVICMEDIA-MINNESOTA HERE!  And THANK YOU!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We, the undersigned registered voters in Ramsey County, hereby petition the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners for the purpose of enacting an ordinance, as follows:

Ramsey County shall be prohibited from making expenditures, incurring debt, or entering into any agreement, directly or indirectly, related to a stadium on the TCAAP* site in Arden Hills.

Advancing an initiative petition for an ordinance preventing Ramsey County from taxing county residents to finance a Vikings stadium on the former *Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills is Ady Wickstrom, a current councilmember in the nearby suburb of Shoreview. She’s not alone in her quest. Other councilmembers and mayors in other Ramsey County municipalities, St. Paul included, support the initiative of NoStadiumTax, which would, if the proper number of signatures are collected and verified, be placed on the 2012 election ballot.

A slim majority of the Ramsey County Board has been pushing a $1.2 billion combination development deal with Minnesota Vikings ownership to clean and fill that polluted site with an entertainment, hospitality and residential complex, including a massive stadium with moveable roof. First, they proposed a .5% increase in local sales taxes (with nothing from other Metro counties), which was dead on arrival in both the Governor’s office and the Legislature. Now comes a proposal to tax food and beverages a 3% tax to fund the county share, a preliminary approval coming last week by a 4-3 vote.

Ramsey County is the only one of Minnesota’s 87 counties with a home rule charter of its own – the county’s version of a municipal constitution – and, as such, its governance is subject not just to state law, but to its own specific code of laws county voters approved some 15 years ago, right after legislators gave counties the option of doing so.

The charter allows for initiative, referendum and recall (I&R) – the three legs of citizen democracy usually exercised when elected officials, in this case the county board of commissioners, are viewed as unresponsive to the public will. The Ramsey County initiative process is convoluted – much more so than in many states. Ady Wickstrom will explain it to us, but her job and that of her supporters is to secure signatures from Ramsey County registered voters equal to 10 percent of those who voted for President of the United States in the last general election. 27,817 signatures are required this time around, given the Presidential votes of 2008. Several steps intervene first, including a chance for the County Board vote to pass it themselves. Not likely. The primary movers on the Board, Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, are unavailable Monday, but we’ll re-visit this item when things heat up over the next several months.

GUEST:

STADIUM PETITION:  ADY WICKSTROM –  Shoreview City Councilmember; past president, Arden Hills/Shoreview Rotary; Leading the NoStadiumTax initiative

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners

Ramsey County Home Rule Charter

Minnesota Vikings

 


55:43 minutes (51.01 MB)

TruthToTell, Dec 26: HUNGER BOOK - AUDIO BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 12/26/2011

Over more than five years, CivicMedia and KFAI have brought you over 300 conversations about the critical issues our communities face on a daily and weekly basis in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Now, as 2011 comes to a close, you can score a year-end tax deduction by donating to our parent CivicMedia-Minnesota, and we'll do an even better job, we know.

PLEASE HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST –

DONATE to CIVICMEDIA-MINNESOTA HERE!  And THANK YOU!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A series of Christmas stories published and sold as a way of beefing up the fight against hunger in Minnesota plus a brief chat with the leader of a petition to stop Ramsey County’s pursuit of a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills are our post-Christmas/end-of-Chanukah discussions come Monday.

The Christmas stories, penned over several years by St. Paul author and education activist Roger Barr, center on the Bartholomews of St. Paul and the odyssey their family crèche endures each year, including its partial destruction at least one year. We follow Matt, Deidre, Allison and Christopher Bartholomew as well as Matt’s brother, Tim, through their Christmas adventures in Barr’s book, Getting Ready for Christmas and Other Stories – twelve others, to be exact, over a 13-Christmas period. Things said and unsaid over the years pile up toward the end until everything spills out to reveal histories for both Matt and Deidre neither had addressed, despite the years and two children spent together.

Barr is putting all the receipts of the book’s sales toward the Emergency Food Shelf Network and the quest to provide 100,000 meals to EFSN and toward eradicating hunger. We talk about the plague of hunger in this most prosperous of countries where the imbalance between the rich and everyone else grows greater every day, felt most acutely as these holiday season come ‘round yet again and very little has been done thus far.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We, the undersigned registered voters in Ramsey County, hereby petition the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners for the purpose of enacting an ordinance, as follows:

Ramsey County shall be prohibited from making expenditures, incurring debt, or entering into any agreement, directly or indirectly, related to a stadium on the TCAAP* site in Arden Hills.

Advancing an initiative petition for an ordinance preventing Ramsey County from taxing county residents to finance a Vikings stadium on the former US Army ammunition plant site in Arden Hills is Ady Wickstrom, a current councilmember in the nearby suburb of Shoreview. She’s not alone in her quest. Other councilmembers and mayors in other Ramsey County municipalities, St. Paul included, support the initiative of NoStadiumTax, which would, if the proper number of signatures are collected and verified, be placed on the 2012 election ballot.

A slim majority of the Ramsey County Board has been pushing a $1.2 billion combination development deal with Minnesota Vikings ownership to clean and fill that polluted site with an entertainment, hospitality and residential complex, including a massive stadium with moveable roof. First, they proposed a .5% increase in local sales taxes (with nothing from other Metro counties), which was dead on arrival in both the Governor’s office and the Legislature. Now comes a proposal to tax food and beverages a 3% tax to fund the county share, a preliminary approval coming last week by a 4-3 vote.

Ramsey County is the only one of Minnesota’s 87 counties with a home rule charter of its own – the county’s version of a municipal constitution – and, as such, its governance is subject not just to state law, but to its own specific code of laws county voters approved some 15 years ago, right after legislators gave counties the option of doing so.

The charter allows for initiative, referendum and recall (I&R) – the three legs of citizen democracy usually exercised when elected officials, in this case the county board of commissioners, are viewed as unresponsive to the public will. The Ramsey County initiative process is convoluted – much more so than in many states. Ady Wickstrom will explain it to us, but her job and that of her supporters is to secure signatures from Ramsey County registered voters equal to 10 percent of those who voted for President of the United States in the last general election. 27,817 signatures are required this time around, given the Presidential votes of 2008. Several steps intervene first, including a chance for the County Board vote to pass it themselves. Not likely. The primary movers on the Board, Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, are unavailable Monday, but we’ll re-visit this item when things heat up over the next several months.

GUESTS:

HUNGER: ROGER BARR – Fiction and Nonfiction Writer; Playwright; Author, Getting Ready for Christmas and Other StoriesExecutive Director, Support Our Schools

ADDITIONAL HUNGER LINKS:

Emergency Food Shelf Network

Hunger-Free Minnesota - a large coalition of food shelves and networks - CLICK TO REACH SPECIFIC SITES

Hunger Solutions Minnesota – provides food to those in need, advancing sound public policy, and guiding grassroots advocacy

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STADIUM PETITION:  ADY WICKSTROM –  Shoreview City Councilmember; past president, Arden Hills/Shoreview Rotary; Leading the NoStadiumTax initiative

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners

Ramsey County Home Rule Charter

Minnesota Vikings

 


55:43 minutes (51.01 MB)

TruthToTell, Mon., Dec 26 @9AM: HUNGER BOOK / STADIUM PETITION; TTT Dec 19: CRYSTAL SUGAR LOCKOUT: No Sweet Deal on the Table

Over more tha five years, CivicMedia and KFAI have brought you over 300 conversations about the critical issues our communities face on a daily and weekly basis in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Now, as 2011 comes to a close, you can score a year-end tax deduction by donating to our parent CivicMedia-Minnesota, and we'll do an even better job, we know.

PLEASE HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST –

DONATE to CIVICMEDIA-MINNESOTA HERE!  And THANK YOU!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TruthToTell, Mon., Dec 26 @9AM: HUNGER BOOK / STADIUM PETITION

A series of Christmas stories published and sold as a way of beefing up the fight against hunger in Minnesota plus a brief chat with the leader of a petition to stop Ramsey County’s pursuit of a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills are our post-Christmas/end-of-Chanukah discussions come Monday.

 


The Christmas stories, penned over several years by St. Paul author and education activist Roger Barr, center on the Bartholomews of St. Paul and the odyssey their family crèche endures each year, including its partial destruction at least one year. We follow Matt, Deidre, Allison and Christopher Bartholomew as well as Matt’s brother, Tim, through their Christmas adventures in Barr’s book, Getting Ready for Christmas and Other Stories – twelve others, to be exact, over a 13-Christmas period. Things said and unsaid over the years pile up toward the end until everything spills out to reveal histories for both Matt and Deidre neither had addressed, despite the years and two children spent together.

Barr is putting all the receipts of the book’s sales toward the Emergency Food Shelf Network and the quest to provide 100,000 meals to EFSN and toward eradicating hunger. We talk about the plague of hunger in this most prosperous of countries where the imbalance between the rich and everyone else grows greater every day, felt most acutely as these holiday season come ‘round yet again and very little has been done thus far.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We, the undersigned registered voters in Ramsey County, hereby petition the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners for the purpose of enacting an ordinance, as follows:

Ramsey County shall be prohibited from making expenditures, incurring debt, or entering into any agreement, directly or indirectly, related to a stadium on the TCAAP* site in Arden Hills.

Advancing an initiative petition for an ordinance preventing Ramsey County from taxing county residents to finance a Vikings stadium on the former US Army ammunition plant site in Arden Hills is Ady Wickstrom, a current councilmember in the nearby suburb of Shoreview. She’s not alone in her quest. Other councilmembers and mayors in other Ramsey County municipalities, St. Paul included, support the initiative of NoStadiumTax, which would, if the proper number of signatures are collected and verified, be placed on the 2012 election ballot.

A slim majority of the Ramsey County Board has been pushing a $1.2 billion combination development deal with Minnesota Vikings ownership to clean and fill that polluted site with an entertainment, hospitality and residential complex, including a massive stadium with moveable roof. First, they proposed a .5% increase in local sales taxes (with nothing from other Metro counties), which was dead on arrival in both the Governor’s office and the Legislature. Now comes a proposal to tax food and beverages a 3% tax to fund the county share, a preliminary approval coming last week by a 4-3 vote.

Ramsey County is the only one of Minnesota’s 87 counties with a home rule charter of its own – the county’s version of a municipal constitution – and, as such, its governance is subject not just to state law, but to its own specific code of laws county voters approved some 15 years ago, right after legislators gave counties the option of doing so.

The charter allows for initiative, referendum and recall (I&R) – the three legs of citizen democracy usually exercised when elected officials, in this case the county board of commissioners, are viewed as unresponsive to the public will. The Ramsey Countyinitiative process is convoluted – much more so than in many states. Ady Wickstrom will explain it to us, but her job and that of her supporters is to secure signatures from Ramsey County registered voters equal to 10 percent of those who voted for President of the United States in the last general election. 27,817 signatures are required this time around, given the Presidential votes of 2008. Several steps intervene first, including a chance for the County Board vote to pass it themselves. Not likely. The primary movers on the Board, Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, are unavailable Monday, but we’ll re-visit this item when things heat up over the next several months.

GUESTS:

 HUNGER: ROGER BARR – Fiction and Nonfiction Writer; Playwright; Author, Getting Ready for Christmas and Other StoriesExecutive Director, Support Our Schools

 STADIUM PETITION: ADY WICKSTROM –  Shoreview City Councilmember; past president, Arden Hills/Shoreview Rotary; Leading the NoStadiumTax initiative

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TruthToTell, Mon., Dec 19 @9AM: CRYSTAL SUGAR LOCKOUT: No Sweet Deal on the Table - AUDIO HERE


This final week before Christmas brings into sharper relief than usual the plight of giant Red River cooperative American Crystal Sugar’s lockout of its 1,300 workers – still going as it has since August 1, the day after the members of the consolidated union, Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), rejected the company’s final offer by a 96% margin. Talks are suspended, despite Governor Mark Dayton's letter offering to help with negotiations. The company did not respond and a federal mediator asked that the Governor not be involved. Crystal has plants in both Minnesota and North Dakota.

This is a break with the long company tradition of cooperation between the long-time farmer-owned sugar beet processing co-op and its organized workers. This was hardly the time to leave the bargaining table, but American Crystal Sugar’s management, especially President/CEO Dave Berg and his chief administrative VP, Brian Ingulsrud, have decided, they say, to go with replacement workers, all of them nonunion and inexperienced, according to insiders.

*SUGARBEET PROCESSING TO CRYSTALINE SUGAR:

Lockouts appear to be the coming thing as a way to pressure already stressed workers into caving into company demands that wage cuts, health care burdens and reduced pensions all be accepted as concessions to the lousy economic times the company claims are stifling profits. It seems contrary to reports since the lockout began that American Crystal enjoys record profits after a banner crop of sugar beets and significant contracts for their sugar product as well as a fair jump in pay granted to senior executives.

The issues here are rippling across Minnesota and North Dakota as unemployment compensation benefits dry up for the Minnesota-side workers. North Dakota’s workers remain out of work without unemployment benefits because of the definition that state’s laws give the type of work stoppage at American Crystal.

Fewer and fewer American workers are creating the goods and performing the services we consume. Most of the core work of this society is being shipped elsewhere, reducing real income and economic stability for those left behind. Like the P-9 union working for Hormel Meats in Austin, the sugar workers and the farmers who own Crystal Sugar for decades enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. This is disintegrating in the current climate, a climate that leads to statements like that uttered by Crystal CEO in effect, they say, likening the workers to “a 21-pound cancerous tumor.”

As unions membership diminishes and strikes and lockouts have left even fewer workers members of unions, rank and file workers and their leadership have shown a willingness to ignore long-term effects of their work on environments and health as long as work is created.

“Jobs!” has become the rallying cry for conservatives and corporations insisting that if government and workers fail to yield to demanded concessions and bailouts, everyone will be out of a job. This sort of thing scares politicians and a jobless workforce into conceding and redirecting wealth to the already wealthy. In fact, more union members are voting for Republicans or Tea Party candidates these days than their traditional cheerleading Democrats.

What are the issues causing such a serious split between this huge cooperative and its workers? Is it possible to resolve this dispute as long as a lockout is allowed and replacement workers hired? What is the definition of a cooperative like Crystal Sugar? (Land-O-Lakes, Cenex and Great River Energy are also large coops.) The BCTGM is a consolidation of several unions seeking strength in numbers. Where is that strength in the face of the company’s lockout tactic?

Where will this take us? Have corporations grown so large and powerful and unions less and less relevant that fair resolution of labor stoppages is less likely now and later?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and guest co-host PROF. TOM O’CONNELL will ask this week’s guests these questions and more.

GUESTS:

MARK FROEMKE – President, AFL-CIO West Minnesota Area Labor Council and Representative of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Union

NIEL RITCHIE – Executive Director, League of Rural Voters

Our attempts to invite American Crystal Sugar executives CEO DAVE BERG and Vice President of Administration BRIAN INGULSRUD were unsuccessful.

TruthToTell, Dec 26: HUNGER BOOK / STADIUM PETITION - AUDIO BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 12/26/2011

Over more than five years, CivicMedia and KFAI have brought you over 300 conversations about the critical issues our communities face on a daily and weekly basis in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Now, as 2011 comes to a close, you can score a year-end tax deduction by donating to our parent CivicMedia-Minnesota, and we'll do an even better job, we know.

PLEASE HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST –

DONATE to CIVICMEDIA-MINNESOTA HERE!  And THANK YOU!

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A series of Christmas stories published and sold as a way of beefing up the fight against hunger in Minnesota plus a brief chat with the leader of a petition to stop Ramsey County’s pursuit of a Vikings stadium in Arden Hills are our post-Christmas/end-of-Chanukah discussions come Monday.

The Christmas stories, penned over several years by St. Paul author and education activist Roger Barr, center on the Bartholomews of St. Paul and the odyssey their family crèche endures each year, including its partial destruction at least one year. We follow Matt, Deidre, Allison and Christopher Bartholomew as well as Matt’s brother, Tim, through their Christmas adventures in Barr’s book, Getting Ready for Christmas and Other Stories – twelve others, to be exact, over a 13-Christmas period. Things said and unsaid over the years pile up toward the end until everything spills out to reveal histories for both Matt and Deidre neither had addressed, despite the years and two children spent together.

Barr is putting all the receipts of the book’s sales toward the Emergency Food Shelf Network and the quest to provide 100,000 meals to EFSN and toward eradicating hunger. We talk about the plague of hunger in this most prosperous of countries where the imbalance between the rich and everyone else grows greater every day, felt most acutely as these holiday season come ‘round yet again and very little has been done thus far.

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We, the undersigned registered voters in Ramsey County, hereby petition the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners for the purpose of enacting an ordinance, as follows:

Ramsey County shall be prohibited from making expenditures, incurring debt, or entering into any agreement, directly or indirectly, related to a stadium on the TCAAP* site in Arden Hills.

Advancing an initiative petition for an ordinance preventing Ramsey County from taxing county residents to finance a Vikings stadium on the former *Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in Arden Hills is Ady Wickstrom, a current councilmember in the nearby suburb of Shoreview. She’s not alone in her quest. Other councilmembers and mayors in other Ramsey County municipalities, St. Paul included, support the initiative of NoStadiumTax, which would, if the proper number of signatures are collected and verified, be placed on the 2012 election ballot.

A slim majority of the Ramsey County Board has been pushing a $1.2 billion combination development deal with Minnesota Vikings ownership to clean and fill that polluted site with an entertainment, hospitality and residential complex, including a massive stadium with moveable roof. First, they proposed a .5% increase in local sales taxes (with nothing from other Metro counties), which was dead on arrival in both the Governor’s office and the Legislature. Now comes a proposal to tax food and beverages a 3% tax to fund the county share, a preliminary approval coming last week by a 4-3 vote.

Ramsey County is the only one of Minnesota’s 87 counties with a home rule charter of its own – the county’s version of a municipal constitution – and, as such, its governance is subject not just to state law, but to its own specific code of laws county voters approved some 15 years ago, right after legislators gave counties the option of doing so.

The charter allows for initiative, referendum and recall (I&R) – the three legs of citizen democracy usually exercised when elected officials, in this case the county board of commissioners, are viewed as unresponsive to the public will. The Ramsey County initiative process is convoluted – much more so than in many states. Ady Wickstrom will explain it to us, but her job and that of her supporters is to secure signatures from Ramsey County registered voters equal to 10 percent of those who voted for President of the United States in the last general election. 27,817 signatures are required this time around, given the Presidential votes of 2008. Several steps intervene first, including a chance for the County Board vote to pass it themselves. Not likely. The primary movers on the Board, Tony Bennett and Rafael Ortega, are unavailable Monday, but we’ll re-visit this item when things heat up over the next several months.

GUESTS:

HUNGER: ROGER BARR – Fiction and Nonfiction Writer; Playwright; Author, Getting Ready for Christmas and Other StoriesExecutive Director, Support Our Schools

ADDITIONAL HUNGER LINKS:

Emergency Food Shelf Network

Hunger-Free Minnesota - a large coalition of food shelves and networks - CLICK TO REACH SPECIFIC SITES

Hunger Solutions Minnesota – provides food to those in need, advancing sound public policy, and guiding grassroots advocacy

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STADIUM PETITION:  ADY WICKSTROM –  Shoreview City Councilmember; past president, Arden Hills/Shoreview Rotary; Leading the NoStadiumTax initiative

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners

Ramsey County Home Rule Charter

Minnesota Vikings

 


55:43 minutes (51.01 MB)

WEDS, APRIL 21 - 11AM: STADIUM WARS REDUX: Now Come the Vikes

On-air date: 
Wed, 04/21/2010

Audio file of this show is available below.

Wednesday's conversation with guests, the Metrodome's Bill Lester, Federal Reserve VP Art Rolnick and Vikings Public Affairs Assistant Director, Jeff Anderson made for a lively exchange on the worth of public financing of professional sports facilities. Callers were NOT neutral on this controversial issue.


57:54 minutes (26.51 MB)