CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


A lawsuit has been filed by the Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis, alleging that the SWLRT does not comply with state law. The lawsuit is addressed to the mayor and the City Council, and also to the Federal Transit Administration (Chicago) and to the Compliance Office of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at the office of the US Environmental Protection Agency (Chicago), stating that there was a failure to perform an environmental review by SWLRT.  Some groups believe that the environmental concerns have been satisfied and that the risks to the environment are minor by comparison to the benefits it will bring to the Twin Cities.  While many residents of Minneapolis don’t have a problem with the new system, many have a problem with the process by which the decisions have been made.

Join TTT co-hosts Siobhan Kierans and Tom O’Connell as they discuss this contentious issue with Pastor Paul Slack (ISAIAH and a member of the People’s Transit Coalition), Judy Meath & Mary Pattock (LRT Done Right), Stuart Chazin (Lakes Park Alliance), Susu Jeffrey (Friends of Coldwater) and Anthony Newby (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change).


Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or post on Truth To Tell's Facebook page.


Monday, August 11, 2014

This Wednesday, August 13th, the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County will hold a joint hearing on amendments to the Minneapolis portion of the Southwest Light Rail Transit plan (SWLRT).  The hearing marks an important stage in what has been a lengthy, complicated, and contentious planning process.  On June 14, the equally controversial Green Line opened, connecting the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, with many stops in between.  And, looking to the future, planning is underway for the Bottineau Transit Corridor.

Clearly the light rail train has left the station, but it’s not too late to ask some basic questions. 

  • What is the purpose of light rail in the first place? 
  • Who does it really serve?
  • How can light rail contribute to racial and economic equity?

How are urban neighborhoods and communities of color organizing to make that happen?

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or post onTruth To Tell's Facebook page.


Sunday, August 3, 2014


This week, Truth to Tell took a compassionate, in-depth look at the border issue, discussing the history and politics behind the current humanitarian crisis. Along with (from left) co-hosts Siobhan Kierans and Tom O'Connell, guests included Prof. Andrea Moerer, Latin American History-Hamline University, Deepinder Singh Mayell, director of the Refugee & Immigrant Program-The Advocates for Human Rights; Michele Garnett McKenzie, advocacy director-The Advocates for Human Rights; and retired Pastor Keith H. Olstad.
For more information on this issue, check out the links below:

The Advocates for Human Rights

Amnesty International

The links from the show include:
Migration Policy Institute, Washington DC

Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP)

"Which Way Home" - the documentary-movie about undocumented children



Monday, July 28, 2014

This Monday at 9 a.m. on TruthToTell,  we celebrate the life and work of the late Andy Driscoll, longtime host of Truth to Tell and founder of CivicMedia/Minnesota (CMM).

Back in December, 2012, Kel Heyl, the current chair of CMM, convinced Andy to turn the spotlight on himself.  With the help of KFAI news director Dale Connelly and some of Andy's friends and family, Andy reluctantly moved across the table.  What followed was an interesting look at Andy's life and motivations for some of the work he's done over six decades of broadcasting, public service, and acting.

Please join host Siobhan Kierans and Andy's son, Brian Driscoll, on Monday morning for this special edition of TruthToTell.

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or post onTruth To Tell's Facebook page.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fifty years ago, more than a thousand mostly young people from the North joined thousands of black Mississippians in a courageous campaign to win voting rights for African-Americans. Of course, the campaign was about more than voting.  In bringing together whites and blacks as social equals in a campaign led by the Southern Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and other predominately black  organizations, Freedom Summer was a direct challenge to Mississippi’s white supremacist social order. Segregationists responded as they always have—with violence. The murders of civil rights workers shocked the nation and directed attention to a state where violent repression of African-Americans was almost routine.

Freedom Summer did not end the Jim Crow system in the South, but it galvanized a movement that would bring that day much closer. Thousands of black Mississippians participated in Freedom Schools, where they learned the basics of political organizing while honing their skills at reading, writing and arithmetic. Many participated in the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which directly challenged the legitimacy of the whites-only Mississippi delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. 

For both white and black participants, the experiences of that summer were life changing. Joining Truth to Tell co-hosts Siobahn Kierens and Tom O'Connell to recount his experience as a participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer is Dean Zimmermann. Zimmermann is well known to citizens of Minneapolis.  He served 10 years on the Minneapolis Park Board and represented the 6th Ward on the Minneapolis City Council from 2002-2005 as a member of the Green Party.

Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison will be joining us for the second half of the hour to discuss the legacy of Freedom Summer. First elected to Congress in 2006, Ellison is one of our country’s strongest advocates for economic equality and racial justice.

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post onTruth To Tell's Facebook page.


Andy Driscoll (1940–2014)

"It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of our friend, journalist, and founder of TruthToTell and Civic Media/Minnesota, Andy Driscoll.

On behalf of the board of directors for CMM, we extend our sympathy to his family and friends. We have lost an amazing individual and valued colleague."

 Siobhan Kierans                           

 Executive Director                                                                                                        


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just as Christians fast and make sacrifices during Lent, Muslims sacrifice during the month of Ramadan that leads to the feast called Eid Al-Fitr , on July 28. Islam, derived from the Arabic word salam, which means peace, is one of the fastest growing religions in the U.S., and probably one of the most misunderstood.

Former boxing great Mohamed Ali and Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison are some of the people we know who adhere to the Muslim faith, but some people would be surprised to know that TV talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, and comedian Dave Chappelle also practice Islam.

While most believe that religion is a very personal thing, it is a right granted to the United States based on the First Amendment to the Constitution. As founding father Thomas Jefferson has so eloquently stated:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions in matters of Religion.”

What does it mean to be a Muslim in America in the 21st century?  What are the core beliefs of the faith? How different or how similar are Muslims to Christians and to Jews?  What is Jihad, Sunni and Shiite? What do we really know about Muslims, and what do we assume to know based on misinformation and media bias?

Join us Monday morning when TruthToTell co-hosts Siobhan Kierans and Ahmed Al-Beheary discuss the meaning of Ramadan and the rise of Islam with Kim Olstad of the Minnesota Council of Churches, Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim-American Society of Minnesota, Kaethe Eltawely, an American who converted to Islam, and Islamic educator Sheik Joussef Soussi.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

In honor of the 80th anniversary commemoration of the strike on July 20th, Truth to Tell explores the dynamics of this history-changing struggle.  What was life like for workers in Depression-era Minneapolis?  Why was Local 547 successful in defeating the all-powerful employers group, the Citizen’s Alliance, when other efforts had failed?  What were some of the struggle’s defining moments?  And what was the impact of the ’34 strike on the city of Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota, and the nation as a whole?

On-air guests: 

  Bryan Palmer is author of Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Teamsters    Strike of 1934



 Mary Wingerd is an associate professor of history at St. Cloud State University, with  a focus on working class and community history and is the author of North Country:  The Making of Minnesota



 Dave Riehle, is the retired chair of Local 650, the United Transportation Workers,  labor historian and active member Remember 34.

Monday, June 30, 2014

ADJUNCT ACTION: Part-time faculty organize for fair wages and working conditions — KFAI FM 90.3/106.7; Streaming @

This week, TruthtoTell will explore issues facing higher education’s growing class of low wage workers: part- time adjunct faculty who are doing more of the teaching at wages that are little short of scandalous. In response, growing numbers of adjunct faculty are joining unions.  

Three St. Paul private colleges are part of this national trend.  Two weeks ago, adjunct faculty at Hamline University voted to form a union.  At the University of St. Thomas, adjunct faculty will soon be holding a vote of their own. At Macalester College, an intense conversation continues. Meanwhile at Metropolitan State University, where adjuncts  already have the option to join the faculty union, issues facing the university’s large pool of part time professors are receiving renewed attention.

Co-hosts Siobahn Kierans and Tom O’Connell will talk with adjunct professors about their experiences as part- time faculty.  What brought them into teaching?  What keeps them going?  And how can union organization lead to a greater recognition of their critical role on the front lines of higher education? 

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on Turth To Tell's Facebook page.


Monday, June 23, 2014

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



Today is something of departure from our usual public affairs focus to catch up with one of Minnesota’s critical cultural institutions – The Minnesota Orchestra. It’s actually back with a vengeance after nearly two years of roiled relationships between the Orchestral Association and its musicians. This group of extraordinary talents found itself confronted by the take-it-or-leave it offer during negotiations of a 32% cut in their pay, among other items, or face a lockout. The predictable outcome was to reject the offer. All music activity ceased.

Lockouts have increasingly used by management of all sorts of industries, but to counter strikes by union employees. The public simply was caught unaware that this could happen to a revered bunch of professionals like the 95 tuxedoed classical musicians. The management – Michael Henson and the board chair at the time, Jon Campbell, wanted to pare the orchestra’s size – significant, according to the members, to maintain the high quality of musicianship.

After 15 months of a very painful lockout during which the world class conductor, Osmo Vänskä, resigned when a Carnegie Hall concert long scheduled had to cancel. Last straw for Vänskä, so he moved to the sideline, but not too far. He conducted several concerts staged by the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra in a few local venues, joined by well-known concert soloists like pianist Emanuel Ax. Other former music directors came “home” to lead the ensemble in other concerts - Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Edo de Waart and Eiji Oue.

Finally, the swords were sheathed enough to come to agreement and the lockout ended January 14th.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS will talk with three men intimately in the Orchestra’s operation, negotiations, performing and reporting on it all. Then, we’ll hear selections from the Grammy-winning recording of the Jean Sibelius’ symphonies, and a treat – some live cello from Tony Ross, and the amazing season now planned.


TONY ROSS - Principal Cellist, Minnesota Orchestra and part of the musicians’ negotiating team.

KEVIN SMITH - formerly President of the Minnesota Opera, will serve as interim President and CEO, following Michael Henson’s August 31 departure until a permanent successor is identified.


MICHAEL ANTHONY – Long-time StarTribune Minnesota Orchestra critic, reviewer and observer, now a Minneapolis-based free-lance writer and critic.

Monday, June 16, 2014



This last weekend the Green Line (Central Corridor) started rolling for its inaugural trip along the 11 miles connected downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, to the so-called “Target Central” station, where most of the rail systems serving the Cities and the region hereabouts will ultimately converge  and become the Metro region’s transit hub and even an entertainment venue (presumably to keep. Keeping our focus on the LRT and other transit equity issues seems apropos in returning to this topic this week.

A whole hell of a lot of angst emerged from the disruptions for small business outlets along University Ave, especially, in St. Paul, most of them owned and operated by entrepreneurs of color.

Equity issues can still be found in most aspects of the design and construction of the Green Line well beyond the impacts on business. New lines are planned to cut through sensitive neighborhoods, but not necessarily ready to serve the equity needs for the new parts of North Minneapolis and the entire Southwest Corridor stretching to Eden Prairie. Some of the issues rearing their heads again, many new ones have highlighted the uniqueness of each project – how does the Northwest-bound Bottineau Light Rail Transitway (Blue Line extension) actually serve the nerve center of the North Side’s African-American community. The natural corridor, Broadway Ave, weaves through already distressed neighborhoods, too narrow without the capacity to carry a standard light rail system. Smaller-gauge rails – like those of streetcars – would fit. Is that a solution to fair and equitable access to transit for Northsiders. Riders there could connect to the Bottineau via streetcar. But what other issues confront these folks?

Then, not far from the Bottineau, the Southwest Light Rail system (Green Line) planned through the near-North Harrison neighborhood before swinging Southwest through five cities – Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The battle lines here have been complicated by the role older freight rails and the alignment through the Cedar Lake complex of lakes, bike and hiking trails.

Southwest will be covered as the Metropolitan Council, the Minneapolis City Council and the City of St. Louis Park where well-heeled West Minneapolitans and St. Louis Parkers are demanding their amenities of one sort or another be preserved as they see it. Some of the issues have been partially resolved, but where does the equity play out in this scenario selecting the routes for those segments of the SWLRT.

This time out, we’ll explore the equity issues for the two lines on the west of the city and its suburban sisters and North Side under serious debate and organizing around them along their respective corridors.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with the active organizers directing their efforts to ensure equity and neighborhood concerns are addressed.


RUSS ADAMS – Executive Director, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability

KENNEDY WILLIS – Executive Director, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Mpls.



MICHAEL MCDOWELL – Transit Organizer, NOC (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change)

AASIM SHABAZZ – Co-Chair, Blue Line (Bottineau Transitway) Coalition (North Side)