A proposal for a municipal program

BY ED FELIEN

Here is a radical but practical program for the City of Minneapolis that would allow us to evaluate candidates for mayor and City Council.
The City of Minneapolis should:
1. Conduct a full public investigation of the police conduct surrounding the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Jamar Clark;
2. Subject complaints of police misconduct to review by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission;
3. Free wi-fi;
4. Free tuition at Minneapolis Community and Technical College for Hennepin County residents—paid for by a portion of the county ballpark stadium sales tax;
5. Free bus transportation for city residents—paid for by a portion of the city’s 3% entertainment tax and .5% city sales tax;
6. Support a $15 an hour minimum wage.
1.Conduct a full public investigation of the police conduct surrounding the deaths of Terrance Franklin and Jamar Clark:
Chicago cops and Minneapolis cops ride together in a motorcycle “club” called City Heat. They wear Confederate flags and Iron Crosses.
The fact that Chief Harteau and Mayor Hodges have not felt the need to fully investigate police conduct and procedures in the deaths of Jamar Clark and Terrance Franklin means they condone the behaviors of some members of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) that put young black, Hispanic and Muslim members of our community at risk.
This hurts all of us: the young victims; the communities they come from; neighborhoods that do not get the good police protection they are paying for; and the good police officers who are tainted by the thumpers in their midst.
This year we must hold our candidates for mayor accountable. Do they see a problem? What’s their solution?
There is no greater danger to our freedom than a charismatic national leader and a compliant police force:
From The Holocaust Museum, Encyclopedia:
“The Nazi state in fact alleviated many of the frustrations the police experienced in the Weimar Republic. The Nazis shielded the police from public criticism by censoring the press. They ended street fighting by eliminating the Communist threat. Police manpower was even extended by the incorporation of Nazi paramilitary organizations as auxiliary policemen. The Nazis centralized and fully funded the police to better combat criminal gangs and promote state security. The Nazi state increased staff and training, and modernized police equipment. The Nazis offered the police the broadest latitude in arrests, incarceration, and the treatment of prisoners. The police moved to take ‘preventive action,’ that is, to make arrests without the evidence required for a conviction in court and indeed without court supervision at all.
“Conservative policemen were initially satisfied with the results of their cooperation with the Nazi state. Crime did indeed go down and the operation of criminal gangs ended. Order was restored. But there was a price. The Nazi state was not a restoration of the imperial tradition. It was at its core thoroughly racist. The Nazis took control and transformed the traditional police forces of the Weimar Republic into an instrument of state repression and, eventually, of genocide.
“The Nazi state fused the police with the SS and Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst; SD), two of the most radical and ideologically committed Nazi organizations. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, also became the chief of all German police forces. His associate, Reinhard Heydrich of the SD, became at the same time the head of the Security Police, charged with safeguarding the Nazi regime. Nazi ideology became part of all police activities. The police were central figures not just in maintaining public order, but in combating the so-called racial enemies designated by the Nazi state. It was in this context that ‘preventive police action’ took on such terrible consequences. The SS, SD, and police were the primary perpetrators of the Holocaust.”
We must understand history.  We must never forget.
2. Subject complaints of police misconduct to review by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission:
The current Civilian Review Authority is a very bad joke.  It is much weaker than the previous Authority that only had the power to make recommendations to the chief of police, which he or she routinely ignored.  The Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission has the authority to investigate complaints about the violation of civil rights by any citizen of the city against any business or government agency, except the MPD.  It is a body of civilians appointed by the City Council.  It has the power to subpoena witnesses.  It could compel police officers to testify publicly and under oath, under penalty of perjury, and this body has the power to award damages to victims of police brutality.  This could prevent lawsuits against the city that have cost us more than $1 million a year.  All it takes is the will of the City Council to change this ordinance and make the MPD subject to the same laws as the rest of us.
3. Free wi-fi:
Why not?  Put an antenna up on top of tall building and send out a wave.  No password.  You’re on, once you’re inside Minneapolis. Minimal cost to us.  It will save every person in Minneapolis hundreds of dollars every year.
4. Free tuition at MCTC for Hennepin County residents—paid for by a portion of the county ballpark sales tax:
The annual tuition at MCTC is $5,366.  The total enrollment for 2010 was 14,609.  By the time you figure in the student’s eligibility for all the financial aid available, the cost per student could be as low as $500.  That would put the cost of free tuition for all the residents of Hennepin County at MCTC at about $7 million. Hennepin County charges a countywide .15% sales tax on all goods sold, and that brings in about $30 million a year.  The sales tax is so successful the county is thinking it can pay off the bonds used in construction of the stadium 10 years early.  Maybe that extra money could help young people from Hennepin County become nurses, welders, police officers, filmmakers, etc.
5. Free bus transportation for city residents—paid for by a portion of the city’s 3% entertainment tax and .5% city sales tax:
Buses would be free inside the city.  One of the great expenses for poor people is transportation.  We can solve that problem for everybody, and we would get people out of their cars and into public transport—reducing pollution, traffic and our carbon footprint.  There would be closed circuit TV in every bus.  All behaviors would be monitored, and police response would be almost instantaneous and passengers would be protected at all times.  The city’s original contribution to the Vikings stadium was $150 million.  Over the 30 years of paying off the bonds for this debt, the final cost could triple to $450 million.  In addition, the city agreed to maintain the stadium and pay for police and traffic control for 30 years to the tune of $7.5 million every year.  After 30 years that adds up to $225 million.  So, the taxpayers of Minneapolis are subsidizing the Wilf brothers’ stadium to the tune of at least $675 million over 30 years.  The Wilf brothers showed us how creative they could be in assessing ticket holders for additional fees, so we should re-negotiate our contract for maintenance and police with them, and help the Wilf brothers find $7.5 million in their magic money machine to subsidize public transportation in Minneapolis.
6. $15 an hour minimum wage—because no one who works for a living in Minneapolis should live in poverty.

Share this on Facebook.Share on Facebook

Leave a Comment