NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Sunday July 21st 2019

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State Commissioner Recklessly Alters Locally Initiated Window Safety Legislation

by Jim Graham

Three years ago Minneapolis’ own Linda Berglin and Karen Clark, with a little help from yours truly, got legislation passed to require window fall protection, such as security screens, on all new window construction for multi-unit buildings. It was limited to multi-unit buildings as a compromise, and as a beginning, but also because a huge proportion of child falls came from apartment buildings. It was anticipated even that limited law might prevent up to 80% of child falls. And that it would eventually result in even concerned parents with single family homes installing such screens. Much like the CO regulations has successfully done.

The attention and work on that legislation came about because of the sudden awareness of the problem due to Laela Shagobay falling from a window four floors up in a newly constructed building that met ALL construction codes and regulations at the time. That building and some others put on “Safety” screens as soon as they could be designed to retro-fit the windows, and before “Laela’s Law” went into effect.

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“On Behalf of” or is it “In Behalf of?”

By Robert Albee

I consider myself a fairly experienced writer, though I wouldn’t call myself a “man of letters” or anything as strong as that. You might have caught my story when I tried for a clever headline entitled, Five Separate Suitors Seek Space in the Phillips Community Center in last month’s Alley newspaper. Two weeks later, I received a terse email from Crystal Trutnau of the Phillips West Neighborhood Association that was sent to me, the Alley editor, various neighborhood representatives and every Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner—indicating that I had falsely misrepresented the truth by stating “… the Phillips Community Partnership proposal…was submitted by Ventura Village on behalf of all four Phillips Community neighborhoods and other long-term stakeholders.” The email said, “Phillips West made it clear they were supporting Waite House and not part of the proposal submitted by Ventura Village on behalf of the 4 Phillips Neighborhoods. It should have been the 3 Phillips Neighborhoods. I read the proposal submitted by Ventura Village yesterday [August 5th]. Phillips West is included in the entire proposal without our knowledge. My Board is not happy having our organization name associated with something they did not approve. As I stated yesterday Phillips West did not endorse the Phillips Community proposal and had no knowledge we were included in this proposal.

I painfully realized that I had overstepped my boundaries both as a community organizer and as a writer for the Alley. I immediately responded with an apology. Then I thought more about the situation and decided to go to the dictionary. There, I learned a very valuable lesson: I was technically incorrect when I used the words, “on behalf” in my story and my submission to the MPRB and the Alley. Here’s what it says, “On behalf of… In behalf of… Usage Note: A traditional rule holds that in behalf of and on behalf of have distinct meanings: In behalf of means “for the benefit of,” as in We raised money in behalf of the earthquake victims. On behalf of means “as the agent of, on the part of,” as in The guardian signed the contract on behalf of the minor child. The two meanings are quite close, however, and the phrases are often used interchangeably, even by reputable writers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dave’s Dumpster September 2010

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Corrected past to remain “just” a story, replaced by “ trying to live a just life.”

by Frederick Fisher

Dear Editor in Charge:

Months ago I read an article in your paper from an ex-offender, who was maintaining his “Survival” in this world. [See June, July, and August, 2009 The Alley, “Starting Anew” and “Changing your life means hard work and no excuses.” all by James Davis] Upon reading these, I was inspired to Continue my Journey in this world. Upon my walk I have been forced to deal with harassment from cops, since they’ve discovered my status as an ex-offender and being Native American. I moved out of the city and into the suburbs of Minnetonka, hoping for a better life and free from the troubles of the inner city; only to discover scrutiny and racial profiling from these officers.

What I am hoping for is that your paper will print this and give me some exposure, so that I can connect with people in the Community who may be able to help me with this problem.

Because I do not live within the city limits of Mpls., the Police Review Authority will not investigate my complaints and the Chief of Police disposed of my written complaints. Please believe me, I am not one to “cry wolf” and I am exhausted and very distressed. I do not know what to do. I am calling out for help from my people, the Community, and people in position, who can give voice to a genuine complaint.

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Pull Together

By Peter Molenaar

Given the unprecedented economic, political and military power of the U.S. ruling class, it may seem like a pipedream to believe that we “ordinary” folks can advance socially even by small increments. But when the foundations of this colossal power are examined, definite weaknesses are revealed.

First, the system of corporate-capitalism is malfunctioning big time. Witness: the Wall Street meltdown, massive unemployment, stagnant wages, fruitless wars, and the developing life-threatening environmental crisis.

Second, only 1% of the population now owns over half of all stocks and bonds and the richest 5% holds 60% of all our country’s wealth. In reality, there are a few thousand families with hundreds of billions in assets who control the main financial, manufacturing, extraction, media, communications, transport, aerospace and real estate corporations. Clearly, the wealth behind the power is concentrated in the hands of an extremely tiny group.

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Young Leaders’ Program

Young Leaders Carmen Salviidar (left) and Sami Pineda (right) painting a mural in the 2800 alley between 14th and 15th Avenues during Summer of 2010’s Young Leaders’ program.

The Young Leaders program was begun in 2006 by St. Paul’s Lutheran on 15th Ave and 28th Street. After talking with hundreds of people in the area, one of the issues that rose to the top was the lack of programs for youth in the critical ages of 11 to 15. Based on successful programs in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, St. Paul’s designed the program as a way to build job and leadership skills in youth. Each youth goes through an application, interview and probation process that is similar to the real world of work. If accepted, they are placed in a career team that does work to benefit the community, for which youth receive a stipend. They also receive training in such skills as interview techniques, oral and written reports and workplace safety, and make career day visits to workers in different fields. This summer’s career days included discussions with Becky George of Mercado Central and Inspector Lucy Gerold of the 3rd Precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The Young Leaders’ work will be on display at the third annual “A Taste of Phillips” at St. Paul’s, October 1-10. For more information on Young Leaders, contact Pr. Patrick Cabello Hansel at 612-724-3862 or stpaulscreate@aol.com.

Young Leaders’ Questions and Answers

by Sami Pineda

Do you like helping or seeing others help the community? Young Leaders is a program that teaches young people how to love and care for their community while acquiring job skills.

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The Power of Story in the Backyard

by Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center

Throughout the process of bringing together residents to work together to improve health in the Backyard area, we are constantly reminded of the importance of story. When the Cultural Wellness Center first convened residents to hear about plans for the Backyard Initiative, residents told many stories – stories about the history of the community, about residents’ relationships with Allina and other organizations, about people’s hardships as well as hopes.

“I see a lot. I see street level negative activity. I see garbage everywhere. I see people struggling. I see people on street corners, standing off the freeway. I see prostitutes. I see people going to work. I see people like Carol and Shirley and Miss Phoebe, people with conviction.”

“I see more diverse businesses, more activity up and down Lake Street coming back. I own a business. There are so many smaller, family owned businesses, which is great because they tend to grow and develop the community. I’ve also seen a lot of manufacturing leave the area, which needs to come back.”

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i think i can i think i can-“Thinking I can,” just ain’t enough

Commentary By Harvey Winje

For decades neighbors here have said, I think I can. I THINK I CAN! That “Little Engine That Could” chant became “We think we can. WE THINK WE CAN!” Thinking alone wasn’t enough so they added hard work—phone calls, meetings, leaflets, lobbying, money raising, and much more. Finally, they were often able to say, We thought we could, WE THOUGHT WE COULD, We Did, WE DID!”

Remember this old ad? “When America has a problem, America turns to Black and Decker.” In America, after 911, when the United States government had a problem it began increasing employment of Blackwater and other private, profit making companies for high level security intelligence work.

Locally, when we have a problem, we don’t turn to Black and Decker or Blackwater. Initially, we don’t turn to private companies, politicians, or bureaucrats to solve our problems and innovate. We depend again and again on neighbors. Hats off to those neighbors who voluntarily under-gird our community year after year, decade after decade with dedicated work to improve the quality of our urban life.

Their optimism behind each of our page one stories really began four decades ago in this “Community that Could.”

The Phillips Pool and Gym story began when neighbors envisioned and worked for a pool and gym to be attached to Phillips Junior High School. They were successful only to see the school itself torn down a decade later by a school board and city council run amok. They weren’t able to stop the demolition of the school building but were able to save the pool and gym building albeit without a heat source. Ironically, had e-mail and other electronic communication (forcing the transparency that alerted neighbors in March 2010 to the filling of the pool with dirt and concrete) been available in 1984 to rally neighbors and more quickly expose the ill-conceived plans of the bureaucracy and politicians; then perhaps the school could have been saved. Had they saved the school, they wouldn’t have had to buy Mt. Sinai Hospital five years later and remodel it into a school.

The East Phillips Park site was well on the way to be developed with dense housing until neighbors initiated action to have it changed into a park after houses were demolished. Neighbors knew the overwhelming needs of a high youth population that needed recreation facilities in equal ratio to children in other parts of the City. The drive for a park facility and staffing has also been neighbor driven.

In 1992 after a 12 year struggle, Phillips neighbors prevented a garbage transfer station from being built in Phillips and anywhere in Hennepin County. Out of that struggle arose the Green Institute and the ReUse Center. We will soon find out whether the signs of reduced hours, lessened inventory, a suburban store closing, week-long 50% off inventory clearance, many employees laid-off, diminished service, and executive leadership forced to resign mean we neighbors need to embark once more in preserving the fruits of those labors.

Along the paths of each of these projects there has been set back after set back. Often the adversity has been the doing of others by whom the projects were managed –bureaucrats, politicians, or non-profiteer executive directors many of whom were driven by mercenary goals or otherwise divergent goals than the goals of the neighbors who fashioned the projects with their volunteer leadership.

Let us hope that the current efforts of community building and enhancement last for years because safeguards are included to protect the work for the “Community that Could.

See the articles about the Changes to the Phillips Pool and Gym, building of the East Phillips Community Center and the Open Letter.

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Five separate suitors seek space in Phillips Community Center (2323 11th Avenue)

by Robert Albee, Secretary of Ventura Village

The 9th of July was the due date for submissions to the Mpls. Park and Recreation Board’s Request For Proposals (RFP’s) for future use of the currently closed Phillips Community Center. Scheduled for a reopening in early fall, the 49,000 square foot center has been shut down for replacement of heating, insulation and plumbing since November of 2009.

Proposals were submitted by:

  • Waite House (Pillsbury United Communities) that would execute a complete relocation from their 13th Avenue and 25th Street location into the PCC facility and
  • The Phillips Community Partnership proposal, which was submitted by Ventura Village on behalf of all four Phillips Community neighborhoods and other long-term stakeholders.
  • SOOS Early Childhood Learning Center (SECLC) is a Phillips-based group proposing to open a day care center.
  • Freeport West, which was a tenant before the building closed down wishes to continue operating a wellness program for youth ages 11-18 and possibly include entrepreneurship activities as well.
  • Minneapolis Swims, a Phillips-based group is seeking to restore the swimming pool to its original shape including diving boards and bleachers to enable sanctioned swim meets along with various recreational and instructional uses.

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East Phillips Community Center project set for Completion State and County Add $571,328 for Environmental Cleanup

The EPCC building project is guaranteed completion because $571,328 was made available for removal and replacement of contaminated soil.

The Minnesota Dept.of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Hennepin Cty Environmental Response Fund (ERF) were thanked by John Erwin, Mpls. Park Bd. Pres. on July 7th. “The Park Bd appreciates the support this project has received from the State and County. So many people and organizations have worked hard to develop a facility that will effectively meet the needs of many populations and interests, and these funds ensure that the project maintains momentum,” said Erwin. [also] …thanks to Dist. 61A State Rep. Karen Clark and the State Legislature, Cty. Comm. Peter McLaughlin and the HN Cty Bd, Councilmember Gary Schiff and the Mpls. City Council, and Brad and Carol Pass and EPIC…”

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