NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Wednesday October 20th 2021

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Letter to the Editor: Responding to “Ebenezer Land”

Public Housing: The Best-Kept Secret I think it's worth noting that the summary of the article on public housing that you quoted from us was "The best-kept secret about public housing is that most of it actually provides decent, affordable housing to many people. Properly run, it remains one of the best options for housing the poor." The quote you selected describes not something intrinsic to public housing, but what happens when it is designed and funded in a cynical manner by people who would like to see it fail. I encourage readers to explore the full article. shelterforce.org/1994/09/01/public-housing-what-went-wrong/ Miriam Axel-Lute CEO/Editor-in-Chief Shelterforce

Something I Said

By DWIGHT HOBBES This is but one reason I don’t give a tinker’s damn who wins what office in Minneapolis next month: if you can name single candidate for mayor, city council or dog catcher who’s stumping as an agent for change in the prevalence of violence against women, I will eat his or her hat. Yet there isn’t a single one who wasn’t born to a woman. Safe Haven Shelter out of Duluth documents that in this so-called progressive state the stats of women being abused in the home is an unmitigated disgrace. Only a few notations made at http://safehavenshelter.org/: domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than injuries by muggings, stranger rape and car crashes put together; almost a third of homeless Minnesota women were abused; about 76% of women killed by their partners were stalked by their partners before their murder. There’s more at the website, a lot more – look it up. And, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, 22 women were killed in 2015, 18 in 2016 and 19 in 2017. How much would you like to bet that number has not gone down since. But, here, in 2021, in the aftermath of that damnable contagion having cornered women with their abusers during last year’s lockdown, we can fully expect it to have considerably risen.     What are seated politicians as well the glad-handing would-be’s who want you to vote them into a nice cushy job and a fat salary doing to address this ongoing civic catastrophe? That rhetorical question demands a straight answer, at least some indication they give a damn about so much as approaching a solution to this widespread problem. But it is a non-issue.     It’s not like abused women don’t vote. Which wouldn’t be an excuse anyway, but, we know how so-called political movers and shakers think: show me the money. Show me where and how I can get in power and control [...]

Raise Your Voice

Raise Your Voice

By PETER MOLENAAR Patriot’s Call: Tax the Rich “It is shameful that billionaires profit off the suffering of working families as the pandemic ravages the economy…”, so said our congressperson, Ilhan Omar. In fact, because of gaping loopholes in the tax code, the wealth of America’s billionaires can go untaxed forever, and even when taxed, the rate is about half that of taxes on wages. Consider organized labor’s Sept. 9 letter to lawmakers: â€œThe wealth of our country’s 708 billionaires alone rose by $1.8 trillion, or 62%, during the pandemic—enough to pay for half the ten-year cost of the $3.5 trillion package.” What package? President Biden’s â€œBuild Back Better” vision includes a vital infrastructure plan which will create millions of jobs. Universal childcare along with universal preschool is also in the mix. Hey, let’s lift up every child. Tuition free community college (okay, let’s take it all the way). Let the nation building begin! Will â€™Tax the Rich/Build Back Better’ also address the pressing matter of climate change? Well, for example, if nothing is done, a young worker entering the outdoor workforce today can expect his or her exposure to hazardous heat conditions to quadruple before retirement. Outdoor workers are already 35 times more likely to die from heat exposure. So, for farm workers and construction workers the answer is most definitely: yes. Here in â€œthe hood”, more than once I personally suffered heat exhaustion while working at Smith Foundry. However, it was indoors with fans in place, plus a livable wage. Want to try your hand at farm labor, 100 degrees under the sun, at the current average $10.80 per hour? In any case, for the time being, it seems to me that we should unite around the social-democratic policies which are emanating [...]

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Manoomin Speaks

Manoomin Speaks

RAISE YOUR VOICE By PETER MOLENAAR Indigenous leaders at the State Capitol. Photo courtesy Camp Migizi social media. Manoomin is the â€œwild rice” which sustains the Anishinaabe. The word is especially familiar to the Ojibwa among us. Sadly, the manoomin has faded due to habitat loss, degraded water quality… climate crisis. Like the canary in the mine shaft, manoomin speaks… and speaks to us all. My place in the world… Molten iron flows just north of Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, and just south of the Roof Depot on 28th Street. Smith Foundry is the place I labored for 35 years: repetitive motion, 500,000 molds of sand… ankles worn down to bone on bone. Was once a â€œpeople’s soldier”. Now with titanium and plastic surgically implanted, perhaps I will march again. July 14, 2021… The old soldier sported a fancy ankle brace and wielded an aluminum crutch. Hobbling along, he traversed the granite flat before ascending. Minnesota’s grand rotunda was occupied by the manoomin spirit. The call rang out: STOP LINE THREE! Actually, the original Line 3 was the source of millions of gallons of oil spills (check online: line 3 pipeline). Want to go tit for tat over the merit of fresh pipe? Hey, we are talking tar sand oil here, at a time when we desperately need to be weaned from fossil fuels, period. No number of temporary high wage â€œman camps” will compensate for the loss of a viable planet. To which I will add: the assertion of â€œwhite privilege" by some of these campers must end immediately. WORKERS AND OPPRESSED PEOPLES UNITE! The fog of COVID has lifted now. So, let’s self-educate and begin marching in stride. Ilhan Omar put it this way: The decision that U.S. entities make on line 3 is a decision for the entire [...]

In This Time of Need, Minnesotans Have Stepped Up; It’s Government’s Turn

In This Time of Need, Minnesotans Have Stepped Up; It’s Government’s Turn

https://minnesotareformer.com/2021/06/15/in-this-time-of-need-minnesotans-have-stepped-up-its-governments-turn-opinion/ By Allison Sharkey, Felicia Perry, and Chad Kulas This guest commentary first appeared in the Minnesota Reformer The civil unrest that unfolded in the wake of George Floyd’s murder has had a deep and lasting impact on the Twin Cities. Buildings burned, family-run shops were robbed, and local health care clinics and nonprofits were broken into and damaged. The places where people lived, worked and relied on for essential services were destroyed and entire communities were left reeling. During the summer of 2020, KB Balla stands near what remains of Scores Sports Bar at 2713 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis. Photo by Hannah Black/Minnesota Reformer. In this moment of pain, Minnesotans did what they do best: They lent a hand and got to work. Volunteers swept the streets and sidewalks. People organized pop-up food shelves. Donations — of $5, $20 $50 — came in from across our state and the country to help small businesses. This generosity has accomplished a lot. Thanks to these donations, local nonprofits like the Lake Street Council, the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition, and the Midway Chamber of Commerce have been able to provide more than $10 million in grants to more than 400 small businesses. We have seen firsthand how these grants have helped repair building damage and replace lost inventory and equipment. These donations have supported local business owners’ abilities to reopen their doors and hire back employees. But rebuilding our cities cannot be done through philanthropy alone. Together, Minneapolis and St. Paul sustained more than $500 million in damages. As the Star Tribune previously noted, this makes the Twin Cities riots the second most costly civil disturbance in our country’s history, behind the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Entire buildings were [...]

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Scratch Your Head

Raise Your Voice By PETER MOLENAAR “The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You!” Such was a recent caption in the New York Times. For the first time, thanks to Trump’s tax cut, the 400 wealthiest Americans now pay a lower overall tax rate than any other income group… and some folks had the gaul to steal the election by casting their votes! Actually, wages have always been taxed at a higher rate than stock dividends, etc. Naturally then, for generations the ruling class has spawned progeny who inherit the lot without lifting a finger. Never mind that the value of a commodity is determined by the socially necessary labor time embodied in it, i.e., labor is the source of all wealth. What’s this got to do with our neighborhood? Think â€œbuild back better” jobs, and note: the East Phillips Urban Farm has received something of a green light… but what? The Republican Party is working overtime to blunt Biden’s infrastructure vision in favor of â€œno new taxes". How then will a marketing professional and technical staff be paid if and when the farm is launched? The idea that capital gains taxes should be raised to the level of taxes on wages is a modest one. Even so, Republicans are keen to smash it and thereby blunt the rebuilding of our nation.  Standing to the left of Biden are senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who, with the support of progressive congress persons (note: Ilhan Omar is once again functioning under death threats) have proposed a special tax bracket for â€œultra-millionaires”. The measure would provide some $3 trillion over 10 years for our people… but no, not a chance with Republicans sucking up air. Obviously, were we in a revolutionary situation, the call for outright expropriation would be the patriot’s demand. However, for the time being, two suggestions: 1.) elected representatives who [...]

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By DAVE MOORE

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