CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

Here you can find a listing of all shows ...

Monday, September 13, 2010

CivicMedia Executive Producer/Host Andy Driscoll looks at the first two of four major community centers in Minneapolis and St. Paul which started life as Settlement Houses, where well-heeled families bought buildings, lived in poor neighborhoods and served their neighbors and new Americans providing opportunities to eat, play, gather, and learn how to be citizens, homemakers, and speak English, while preserving tradition, language and culture. LISTEN BELOW to the Podcast/Audio File.

* * *

Some called it Americanization (a good thing at the time-or was it?), some called it social engineering or control (always controversial), but Settlement Houses are celebrating yet another milestone with the 100th anniversary of Jane Addams’ biography, the story of the patron of Chicago’s Hull House among the great celebrated advocates of the East End London-born movement of 1880.

In this Part I, Andy speaks with key movers at Minneapolis’ Pillsbury United Communities (which combined Pillsbury House, Waite House and Unity House in Cedar-Riverside, South Minneapolis and North Minneapolis) and St. Paul’s Hallie Q. Brown Community Center – a tribute to St. Paul’s African-American leaders’ resolve to provide the same serves other settlement houses had provided for some 30-40 years, but had denied access to them.

In Part II, we hear from leaders at two other historic settlements – Phyllis Wheatley Community Center – the Minneapolis counterpart to Hallie Q. Brown – and long-lasting Neighborhood House, which started serving St. Pauls’ Russian Jews in the 1880s, became a Mexican centerpiece and evolved into a  durable community center serving all new Americans and always on St. Paul’s West Side.


On-air guests: 

TONY WAGNER - President, Minneapolis’ Pillsbury United Communities

JONATHAN PALMER - Executive Director, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

DOROTHEA BURNS - Retired Associate Director, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

TOM O'CONNELL - Historian and Professor of Political Science, Metropolitan State University

This MinneCulture Production is funded by a Legacy Amendment grant to KFAI and CivicMedia/Minnesota.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nonprofits are feeling the pinch - not only financially, but politically, in this economic climate. Why politically? Because nonprofits stand to lose their tax status if they promote candidates or become too political. But their hands aren't complete tied, and the *Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) counsels their thousands of members to advocate and collaborate and coalesce to push for public policies that benefit the organizations and their hurting constituencies.

FPR's LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK (Seneca) and RICHARD LaFORTUNE (Inuit) talk with MCN stalwarts, retired Public Policy Director, now Fellow, Marcia Avner and long-time Executive Director, Jon Pratt about the conditions nonprofits must face these days and days to come.


JON PRATT – Executive Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

MARCIA AVNER – Public Policy Fellow (Retired Director), Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day - once a lively celebration of both work and workers on the first Monday of September – is rapidly becoming a frighteningly clear symbol of where work and the economy have flown over the past many years - offshore. As almost every facet of the economy (except banking itself) is dropping to rock bottom with little hope of recovery except the wealth of investment bakers and corporate CEO's, etc. Two weeks ago, JobsNow Coalition director, Kris Jacobs, said it as simply as it can be said: "the jobs aren't coming back because employers no longer need workers to make money."

With Kris Jacobs on that TTT show was Steve Francisco of the Minnesota Budget Project, neither feeling at all sanguine about the future, but before our conversation, on that same program, we heard the first half of a great talk by DC Economist Dean Bakerthat sets the stage both for our later discussion and for his proposal for a special sort of revenue stream to feed the treasury and the deficit from the millions of stocks and bonds transactions occurring every day, despite the Great recession.

Join TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN as we listen to Baker's complete talk, then welcome once again political science Professor and labor historian Tom O'Connell of Metropolitan State University to talk about where we've been and where we might go as a people, given the state of economic affairs facing us for the foreseeable future. Then we hear how fast food workers are organizing and protesting low wages and working conditions from IWW organizers.

DEAN BAKER - Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy ResearchAuthorBeat the Press blog

TOM O'CONNELL – Metropolitan State University Political Science Professor and Labor Historian

DAVID BOEHNKE – Organizer, Jimmy Johns Workers Union, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

JACOB FOUCAULT - Organizer, Jimmy Johns Workers Union, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mike Goze (Ho Chunk) of the American Indian Development Corporation joins producers and co-hosts Richard LaFortune and Laura Waterman Wittstock for a discussion of neighborhood housing needs and a new elder housing project coming soon to the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, thanks to a HUD grant. Laura joins the show by telephone from Seneca country in Western New York State.

Monday, August 30, 2010

We've talked before on TruthToTell about Peak Oil and the inevitability of higher prices at the pump, not to mention the rapid depletion of easily accessible supplies of crude oil and our voracious appetite for the black blood of the earth here in the good old USofA. The slow transition of some vehicle manufacturers to hybrid gas/electric automobiles has spawned some serious interest in driving greener and cleaner.

The purchase of a Prius to make driving greener by using hybrid gas/electric technology is seen as but the first step to moving off petroleum-based transportation. Now comes ReGo - a homegrown company taking the Prius - and, eventually, they hope, all hybrids, nay, all vehicles – to the highest possible level of green efficiency: extending the electric part of the Prius by a factor of ten and turning 50 MPG to 85 MPG and more - and all with an extension cord to your standard home or garage outlet.

TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN (who owns a Prius) talk with ReGo Electric conversion partners SHAYNA BERKOWITZ and ALEX DANOVITCH about what makes this technology so innovative and where it may take us next, and KEN BRADLEY, Director of Environment Minnesota, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization and sponsor of the 2010 report, "PLUG-IN CARS: Powering America Toward a Cleaner Future.", all talking about the future of personal transportation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Labor Day approaches - an ironic icon of the core human need to work, to produce, to contribute to one's wellbeing, one's family and one's community in a time of job scarcity. The nation's lingering economic mess is having mixed results in Minnesota with respect to jobs and the highly touted "recovery." Most economists are saying, "What recovery?" Job creation, not wealth creation, should be our main priority at every level of public and private sector business. But, where could they possibly come from?

This week, TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk about the reality behind the recession, job losses and permanent low wages, and how to even out the economy with portions of a talk by Economist Dean Baker to the annual meeting of the JobsNow Coalition - and a talk with local jobs and economic policy advocates.

Economist Dean Baker reminds us that it's not simply pessimistic to believe joblessness will remain high through 2017, 2018; the facts ensure it.

DEAN BAKER - Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy ResearchAuthorBeat the Press blog.

KRIS JACOBS - Executive DirectorJobsNow Coalition

STEVE FRANCISCO - Federal Policy Director, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN)

Monday, August 16, 2010

From Free

“The FCC recently announced that up to 24 million Americans don't have access to broadband. The exclusion of millions of people from the defining technology of our time only widens the existing gulf between those that have and those that don't. Everyday people like you and me must have a voice in shaping the future of the Internet. This hearing will give members of the public the chance to communicate their ideas, experiences and concerns directly to the commissioners.” – amalia deloney, grassroots policy director for the Center for Media Justice.

A recent court decision left the FCC’s authority over Internet providers in legal limbo. Without this authority, the agency cannot protect Net Neutrality, the principle that guarantees free speech online, and cannot ensure that every American has access to affordable broadband service. 
In a recent speech, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken called Net Neutrality “the free speech issue of our time.” 

The FCC will Hear from Minnesotans on Future of Internet Thursday, Aug 19 at Minneapolis' South High School (MAP)TruthToTell's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN explore the issues and testimony Minnesota media justice types will deliver to Federal Communications Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn at a hearing on the future of the Internet.


STEVE RENDEROS - Media Justice Coordinator, Main Street Project

MARGARET KAPLAN – Operations Director, MN Center for Neighborhood Organizing (CURA)

CHAKA MKALI - Director of Organizing and Community Building, Hope Community, Minneapolis

LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK - Author, Consultant, Co-Producer/Host - First Person Radio (KFAI)

Monday, August 9, 2010

IS THERE A MORE THANKLESS JOB than sitting on a local board of education? Worse – an urban school board, with its multiple issues of funding, student achievement, teacher contracts, charter schools, parent involvement – or lack of it, volatile management and lingering desegregation requirements? It’s powers are limited, the compensation meager, the polarization inevitable.

Despite the ever-pressing – and for many, seemingly irresolvable – burdens school board members face day in and day out, despite the rapid burnout rate of board members, the refusal by teachers’ unions to back beleaguered incumbents – parents, education activists,  and just plain concerned citizens continue to jump into the fray – perhaps believing that they will be the ones to make the difference between failure and success.

[Illustration by Paulo Jimenez (

This year will be first for a new Minneapolis Board of Education configuration passed in 2008 requiring nine instead of seven members, six of which are district-based, the other three at-large. Too few candidates filed for of the District seats to need primaries; but ten candidates filed for the two at-large positions. (Shirlynn LaChapelle is not campaigning.) (Listen online by clicking on the KFAI logo in the right-hand column.)

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL hosts a conversation among the six most viable of the ten on the ballot:(in alphabetical order):

Monday, August 2, 2010

TTT airs at 9:00 AM Mondays on KFAI FM 90.3 Minneapolis (and Westend St. Paul) or 106.7, St. Paul. Stream us online (or click on the banner to your right). Podcasts will be up as soon as we can mount them following the show.

On August 2nd, another large group of candidates seeking that rare open judicial seat that, absent a governor’s appointment to fill the vacancy, will actually elect a new judge to succeed retiring Ramsey County District Court Judge Michael Monahan. We will hear from several of those candidates. Of the nine candidates appearing on the ballot, two will emerge as top vote-getters to move on to the November 2nd General Election.

The following week, August 9th - the day before the Primary, most of the candidates vying for two at-large seats on the Minneapolis School Board will be in the studio to answer some heavy questions about the future of that city's education system.

Last week, the candidates vying to represent the DFL in the race for Senate District 67 and House District 65A appeared  (Listen Here). Lack of mainstream media coverage leaves voters with little information from the horses' mouths about the qualifications and positions of those seeking to hold those offices. Appearances on radio and television, in particular, are almost nil. Except here, of course.


Monday, July 26, 2010

We return this week to the tightly contested races for seats in the wake of surprise resignations by the only two Hmong officeholders in the State Legislature. Two weeks ago, we interviewed four of the nine DFLers seeking to replace State Senator Mee Moua who departed her District 67 seat on the last day of session this past Spring. Coming so late in the election season as it did, and with a real plethora of candidates surfacing overnight, the District 67 DFL declined to endorse. This means that one of the nine primary candidates for the nomination could emerge the winner with as little as 20% of the total vote - a vote that, because of the ridiculous recasting of the primary election in August - the 10th - will itself be even lower than 20% of the eligible electors, most of whom will be lollygagging at the beach or up north at their cabins or in Europe.

A better margin if not a better voter turnout will come with the primary shakeout for House District 65A, left vacant by departing Representative Cy Thao. In this case, just two candidates are squaring off, and one of them IS DFL-endorsed. But Jeremiah Ellis faces a formidable challenge from a story of homelessness rising to activism in the person of Rena Moran. The race may be close, but the turnout may, again, be too low to be truly representative of all the people in these districts, 65A being no exception.