poverty

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TruthToTell Monday, Feb 2-9AM MINIMUM WAGE IN MINNESOTA: Falling Behind. How High Should It Go? - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/Streaming @KFAI.org

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, February 3, 2014

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

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Americans overwhelmingly agree, nobody who's working full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty…and that is why I firmly believe it is time to give America a raise,” This was the proclamation of President Obama in his recent 2014 State of the Union address. The President even gave some credit to higher wage renegades at the St. Paul-based chain Punch Pizza (though he caught some flack for saying they were based out of Minneapolis) for voluntarily raising their starting wage to $10 an hour because it was the right thing to do for employee morale. But the president’s comments on Tuesday night weren’t the first we’ve heard about raising the minimum wage in America.

The debate over whether or not raising the minimum wage will help or hurt already struggling low-wage Americans has been raging on for decades, particularly in the wake of the great recession.

Supporters of a raise tout that raising the minimum wage to a living wage will give people more money to spend, which in turn would boost spending and jumpstart the economy. Several conservative business people are coming round to this fact.

Dissenters, however, worry that a forced wage increase will present too much of a burden on small businesses, thus forcing them to cut jobs or go out of business all together. Worse still, is the concern that increased wages will lead to consumer price inflation that will nullify any progress supporters of a wage increase hope to gain.

The current state minimum wage in Minnesota is $6.15 an hour, which seemed generous when the adjustment was made in 2006, but now all of Minnesota’s neighboring states have raised their minimum to match the new federal minimum of $7.25 and Minnesota has yet to join the club. Many argue that there is little need to do so because most businesses are beholden to the federal minimum anyway, but new pending legislation in the state House and Senate, are proposing wage increases somewhere between $7.75 and $9.50 per hour. Some, including Governor Dayton, would say that this still isn’t high enough, considering that the Living Wage Calculator (by Poverty in America), calculates the living wage for a single person with no children in Hennepin County at $9.69 per hour.

Who has it right? Can anyone really know for sure until these changes go into effect? Can a wage increase in absence of any other corporate regulation at the federal level to reign in greedy profit margins really do more good than harm? TruthToTell’s Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi ask these questions and more of our guests this Monday.

Guests:

SEN. JOHN MARTY - (DFL- 66), Chair, MN Senate Environment and Energy Committee


REP. JIM ABELER -  (R-35A), Candidate for US Senate in 2014

 



 

 

 

REP. RYAN WINKLER - (DFL-46A); Co-Author, HF 1980 calling for a Constitutional amendment requiring inflation-adjusted minimum wages starting Jan. 1, 2015

MARTY OWINGS - KFAI Capitol Reporter, Producer/Host Capitol Conversations


 


 

 

JESSICA ENGLISH -  Organizer, Take Action Minnesota;  Single mom and former retail worker

 


 

 

SCOTT COY KENDALL, Now a Robbinsdale Dominos Pizza employee, after being laid off in the recession.

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, January 27, 2014

Help TTT continue to produce hyper local public affairs programming like this each week. Donate to TruthToTell's parent, CivicMedia-Minnesota today!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The United States is unique among the world’s democracies in the relative absence of socialism as an accepted worldview and political movement. Unlike most democracies, the U.S. does not have socialist party capable of winning major elections – a fact that might surprise some Tea Party members who insist that President Barak Obama is himself a socialist!

Yet socialism has played an important role in American history—especially here in Minnesota, where socialists were at the heart of the labor and progressive farm movements, were elected mayors and city council members in both Minneapolis and St. Paul and played a critical role in the foundation of the Farmer-Labor Party.  And signs that history may be repeating itself surfaced in Minneapolis this past November when Ty Moore of Socialist Alternative came within 229 votes of being elected to the city council.

Given the growing divide between the 1 percent and the rest of us and the continued ability of corporate America to shape our political choices, it is no wonder that socialist ideas are making a comeback.  And while large numbers of Americans continue to favor capitalism over socialism, a 2011 poll by Pew Research showed that 49 % of respondents between the ages of 20 and 29 had a positive view of socialism compared to 43 % for capitalism.  Interestingly, the same poll showed Blacks favoring socialism over capitalism by 59% to 34 % and Liberal Democrats preferring socialism by a similar margin. 

Without giving too much credence to one opinion survey, the combination of social trends and renewed organizing on the ground suggests that we may be in for a renewed encounter with socialist ideas and politics.  So what is socialism anyway?  Is there more than one kind?  What role has socialism played in our political history—and perhaps most importantly, what role will it play in the months and years ahead?

To help us think about these questions TruthtoTell’s Andy Driscoll and guest co-host Tom O’Connell welcome two guests who are deeply familiar with socialism past and present. Tune in Monday at 9am. 

On-air guests:

PETER RACHLEFF- Professor Emeritus in History, Macalester College, social justice activist

TY MOORE- Recent Socialist Alternative Minneapolis City Council Candidate

 

TruthToTell Monday, Feb 2: MINIMUM WAGE IN MINNESOTA: Falling Behind. How High Should It Go? - AUDIO HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 02/03/2014
Listen to or download this episode here: 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

"Americans overwhelmingly agree, nobody who's working full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty…and that is why I firmly believe it is time to give America a raise,” This was the proclamation of President Obama in his recent 2014 State of the Union address. The President even gave some credit to higher wage renegades at the St. Paul-based chain Punch Pizza (though he caught some flack for saying they were based out of Minneapolis) for voluntarily raising their starting wage to $10 an hour because it was the right thing to do for employee morale. But the president’s comments on Tuesday night weren’t the first we’ve heard about raising the minimum wage in America.

The debate over whether or not raising the minimum wage will help or hurt already struggling low-wage Americans has been raging on for decades, particularly in the wake of the great recession.

Supporters of a raise tout that raising the minimum wage to a living wage will give people more money to spend, which in turn would boost spending and jumpstart the economy. Several conservative business people are coming round to this fact.

Dissenters, however, worry that a forced wage increase will present too much of a burden on small businesses, thus forcing them to cut jobs or go out of business all together. Worse still, is the concern that increased wages will lead to consumer price inflation that will nullify any progress supporters of a wage increase hope to gain.

The current state minimum wage in Minnesota is $6.15 an hour, which seemed generous when the adjustment was made in 2006, but now all of Minnesota’s neighboring states have raised their minimum to match the new federal minimum of $7.25 and Minnesota has yet to join the club. Many argue that there is little need to do so because most businesses are beholden to the federal minimum anyway, but new pending legislation in the state House and Senate, are proposing wage increases somewhere between $7.75 and $9.50 per hour. Some, including Governor Dayton, would say that this still isn’t high enough, considering that the Living Wage Calculator (by Poverty in America), calculates the living wage for a single person with no children in Hennepin County at $9.69 per hour.

Who has it right? Can anyone really know for sure until these changes go into effect? Can a wage increase in absence of any other corporate regulation at the federal level to reign in greedy profit margins really do more good than harm? TruthToTell’s Andy Driscoll and Michelle Alimoradi ask these questions and more of our guests this Monday.

Guests:

SEN. JOHN MARTY - (DFL- 66), Chair, MN Senate Environment and Energy Committee


REP. JIM ABELER -  (R-35A), Candidate for US Senate in 2014


 

 

 

REP. RYAN WINKLER - (DFL-46A); Co-Author, HF 1980 calling for a Constitutional amendment requiring inflation-adjusted minimum wages starting Jan. 1, 2015



 

REP. JOHN LESCH - (DFL-66B-St. Paul)



 

 

JESSICA ENGLISH -  Organizer, Take Action Minnesota;  Single mom and former retail worker

 


SCOTT COY KENDALL, Now a Robbinsdale Dominos Pizza employee, after being laid off in the recession.

TruthToTell, Monday, Sept 23–9AM: WIDENING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY: An Old Story Lives in New Numbers - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/Streaming at KFAI.org & Livestream.com/TruthToTellMN

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, September 23, 2013

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

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid),

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New studies warn us about the pending disasters that could well occur if continued economic inequality sticks with us and we don’t get our heads out of the sand about where each of us in middle-class circumstances actually sits along the income and to see the real harm increasing poverty is doing to disrupt society and threaten massive divisions as the rich get richer and the poor can no longer focus their attention on anything but survival. At any cost. It’s in the nature of all animals that survival comes first.

Will policymakers stop pandering to the self-deception and start putting the singular effort needed to turn these trends around before the complete collapse of the economy and descent into chaos? The numbers are there, sometimes in the driest of terms, but serious numbers, nonetheless. Moreover, one study confirms the paralysis of those in poverty to focus their decision-making in favor of improving themselves and making better choices for their behavior. How can anything go well for people whose cognitive functions are seriously, perhaps fatally impaired by their poverty?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query three long-term observers of the economic malaise and growing inequality, including one author of one of the more prominent studies – that of Growth & Justice’s showing the serious dimensions of this issue - Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking. 

GUESTS:

Thomas Legg, PhD (Applied Economics) – Professor of Finance, Carlson School of Management, UofM; Researcher, Co-Author, Growth&Justice Report: “Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking,”

 



Brianna Halverson – Director, Minnesota Branch, Working America.

 

 

 

Tom O'Connell, PhD – Professor Emeritus of Political Studies at Metropolitan State University

 

 

 

 


TruthToTell, Sept 23: WIDENING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY: An Old Story Lives in New Numbers

On-air date: 
Mon, 09/23/2013
Listen to or download this episode here: 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The KFAI Community Radio App is now up and running!!


 

 

That means you can now hear TruthToTell – live – on your mobile - currently available for

Android (http://bit.ly/KFAIonAndroid),

iPhone (http://bit.ly/TTTon_iPhone), and

iPad (http://bit.ly/TTT-on-iPad) mobile devices.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New studies warn us about the pending disasters that could well occur if continued economic inequality sticks with us and we don’t get our heads out of the sand about where each of us in middle-class circumstances actually sits along the income and to see the real harm increasing poverty is doing to disrupt society and threaten massive divisions as the rich get richer and the poor can no longer focus their attention on anything but survival. At any cost. It’s in the nature of all animals that survival comes first.

Will policymakers stop pandering to the self-deception and start putting the singular effort needed to turn these trends around before the complete collapse of the economy and descent into chaos? The numbers are there, sometimes in the driest of terms, but serious numbers, nonetheless. Moreover, one study confirms the paralysis of those in poverty to focus their decision-making in favor of improving themselves and making better choices for their behavior. How can anything go well for people whose cognitive functions are seriously, perhaps fatally impaired by their poverty?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query three long-term observers of the economic malaise and growing inequality, including one author of one of the more prominent studies – that of Growth & Justice’s showing the serious dimensions of this issue - Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking. 

GUESTS:

Thomas Legg, PhD (Applied Economics) – Professor of Finance, Carlson School of Management, UofM; Researcher, Co-Author, Growth&Justice Report: “Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota: Causes, Effects, and a Proposal for Estimating Its Impact in Policymaking,”

 



Brianna Halverson – Director, Minnesota Branch, Working America.

 

 

 

Tom O'Connell, PhD – Professor Emeritus of Political Studies at Metropolitan State University

TruthToTell Oct 8: FELON VOTING: Deserved or Disenfranchised?; TruthToTell Oct 1: EDUCATION FUNDING: Grasping for Elusive Adequacy

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page.

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Important Reminder: 

If you were convicted of a felony in Minnesota or any other state and as of Election Day you are NOT incarcerated, on probation, on parole, or supervised release, YOU CAN VOTE! In fact, the minute you have completed your felony sentence and are "off paper," you can register to vote OR you can register at your polling place on Election Day.

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor you NEVER lose your right to vote. If you are in jail on Election Day and are not serving a felony conviction sentence, you have the right to vote by absentee ballot.

From time to time, we find it imperative to talk about incarceration rates in Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States – and the toll such imprisonment – behind bars and out front of them – takes on a huge slice of our humanity and that of those incarcerated.

The lifetime branding of anyone jailed for anything in the US is devastating to them, but also to the community and families from which they come and to which most will one day return.

We’ve taken on an ethos about imprisonment and punishment that is uniquely American in its cruelty and disproportionate impact on offenders from poverty and, more often than not – of color.

In an excellent New Yorker Magazine piece, “The Caging of America,” Adam Gopnik quite eloquently relates the following on this subject earlier this year:

“…no one who has been inside a prison, if only for a day, can ever forget the feeling. Time stops. A note of attenuated panic, of watchful paranoia—anxiety and boredom and fear mixed into a kind of enveloping fog, covering the guards as much as the guarded.

“For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States.

“The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that.”

Burning up the wires now, among other issues, is the proposed Minnesota constitutionalamendment requiring a state-issued photo ID to vote or even register at the polls in future state elections. The ballot question is seen by many as a remedy for fraud that is very hard to prove and harder to be concerned about at the rate of illegal voting supporters keep citing as the reason why Minnesota should back away from its very liberal methods for ensuring higher turnouts than in any other state in the union.

Not so liberal are the various rights accorded those exiting jails and prisons after convictions have imprisoned them either physically or with paper – paroles and probation – at least inMinnesota, among them the right to vote. ((Other states have varying rules about the extent of such limitations.) The restriction is limited to felons (vs. the less severe misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors) and others adjudged incompetent or under guardianship (this is under major challenge as well). But it is the felons who voted in the last election that Voter ID proponents believe justifies this much broader restriction on voting – as if by voting, all of these offenders and ex-offenders are committing fraud by casting ballots, and purposely distorting the popular vote in this state.

The question for us is: Why? Why do we deny the voting franchise to convicted offenders at all? And, if we must deny the franchise to these men and women – most of whom are citizens of color – why should they not be allowed to vote after leaving prison, parole or not, probation or not? What are the percentages in essentially removing the citizenship of men and women who have done time or remain incarcerated? Just how much punishment is required of people who have already had their freedom to move freely outside of prison taken away?

Eventually these rights must be restored, but is it really all that important to deny the voting rights of anyone considered a citizen of the US, the state, the city in which they live?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with post-incarceration advocates and at least one political animal who supports the law as it stands.

GUESTS:

 MARK HAASE – Vice President, Projects and Operations, Council on Crime & Justice; Officer,Second Chance Coalition


 SARAH WALKER – Chief Administrative Officer, 180 Degrees, Founder, Second Chance Coalition

 

 


 MICHAEL BRODKORB – politics.mn blogger; Communications, social media, public affairs & research consultant; former Communications Director, Minnesota Senate Republican Majority Caucus

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just a couple of days left to help approve of KFAI respecting your time and your patience this Fall with ONE WEEK’s worth of membership seeking. CALL NOW: 612-375-9030 – or go online atwww.KFAI.org and PLEDGE PLEDGE PLEDGE!

Can we make our stated goal of $90,000 in one week instead of two? Only you can answer that question and set a new standard for minimal pledging time and maximum donations in half the time. HERE”S THE GOOD NEWS: we’re almost 25% there after just three days. KFAI – the stand-out community programming service for music and public affairs throughout the Twin City Metro AND online at KFAI.org – is YOUR radio station in this crowded market. Please – step up to the plate and keep us on the air. Call 612-375-9030 OR give online at www.KFAI.org. And thanks to all!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One more THANKS to all of you who put your dollars toward CivicMedia’s mission to make TruthToTell a premier program of state, local and regional public affairs coverage. We, too, need special commitments to what TruthToTell does for issues:www.TruthToTell.org – click on the DONATE button or in the Give to the Max box there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As we enter the last few weeks of the election season, we’ll be bombarded with so many messages our heads will spin, probably causing most of us to scream “Enough!!.”

Even those of us proud to claim political junkie-hood – call us policy wonks or whichever monkey is on our back at the moment – will want the spin to stop spinning our heads. Never will so many channels be switched and switched away from the inundating and vapid commercials touting the candidate of the moment or denouncing and distorting his or her opponents as they will be starting about now. None of them is immune and is off the hook for their crimes of lying to the public or bloviating over the records of their candidate or their opposition.

But, we can be sure of one thing: the issues themselves don’t change and neither do the candidates’ position on them.

One of the most important, needless to say, is education, the way we pay for it and how much we’re willing to lay out for our children and grandchildren to become the citizens, business owners, civic leaders and educators of tomorrow.

Year after fiscal, never-take-a-riskal year*, Minnesotans have allowed their education systems to slide into reverse both in terms of the amount allocated to the Constitutional mandate of adequate and quality education for all children, but from where those funds come. Before 1972, it was all about local property taxes. Soon, the so-called Minnesota Miracle was passed by a huge wave of DFL majorities putting the burden of state education equalization – or distribution of the funding burden – more heavily on the income tax on the theory that our kids’ education shouldn’t rest on the artificial fluctuations in property values.

That seemed to make sense, but subsequent state legislatures allowed the funding base to slip back on to the property tax and the excess levy referendum was born, allowing some districts to seek approval from voters for additional dollars to enrich their academic and extracurricular activities. Of course, that was a lot easier for family-rich suburbs where education investment was a no-brainer. But in the core cities where the poorest of the poor live and aging populations represented DIS-investment in schools – sometime understandably, sometimes selfishly – excess levy referenda became tougher to pass. (St. Paul is venturing back into this marketing arena with a referendum this November. Watch and listen for our October 15th TruthToTell on this.)

Add to this the frustrations of recession, the resulting rise of conservative governance – say, election of Tea Partiers – a few years of tearing down the very soul of educational achievement – good teachers, and the yawning achievement gaps in a re-segregating education system of many Metro Areas, especially the Twin Cities – and you have a formula for persistent crisis management of the schools and the failure of too many Pre-K-12 students by poverty level.

Governor Mark Dayton’s failure to convince a newly emboldened GOP legislative majority in 2010 and 2011to add a dime’s worth of new revenues to the state budget and you have the makings of a kamikaze legislative leadership style that would rather watch its own children starve for knowledge – and maybe food as well – rather than back down from Grover Norquist’s imposed and intimidating no-new-taxes pledge.

Back in June, a  27-member Education Finance Working Group, established as part of Governor Dayton's Seven-Point Plan to establish better school funding, the goals of the reform proposals crafted by the working group are to:

·      Improve the adequacy, equity and stability of pre-K-12 education funding

·      Simplify education funding

·      Preserve local control

·      Close the achievement gap

·      Promote high achievement for all students

·      Direct resources closest to students, teachers and the classroom

What to do about education funding or investment? Despite legislative entrenchment, almost all surveys show that sizeable majority of taxpayers willing to cough up several hundreds of dollars more taxes per year to meet the fiscal demands of a successful schools climate. And, because this is true, it’s up to voters to show their elected officials and candidates just how much they believe schools and students – our children and grandchildren, to be sure, have taken it in the neck for too long and for all the wrong reasons: political expediency, among the leading causes.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI spend this Pledge Week’s conversation talking with two leading members of that Education Finance Working Group and try to get a handle on what to expect with respect to future public education financing and investment – election or no election?

GUESTS:

 MARY CECCONI – Executive Director, Parents United for Public Schools

 DANE SMITH – President, Growth&Justice – progressive think tank

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*See “How to Succeed in Business…”

TruthToTell, Monday Oct 1-9AM: EDUCATION FUNDING: Grasping for Elusive Adequacy; PODCAST: Monday Sept 24: EMPOWERING U: Civic Engagement for the Disengaged - AUDIO PODCAST BELOW

UPCOMING SHOW

Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, October 1, 2012

KFAI is respecting your time and your patience this Fall with ONE WEEK’s worth of membership seeking. Can we make our stated goal of $90,000 in one week instead of two? Only you can answer that question and set a new standard for minimal pledging time and maximum donations in half the time. HERE”S THE GOOD NEWS: we’re almost 25% there after just three days. KFAI – the stand-out community programming service for music and public affairs throughout the Twin City Metro AND online at KFAI.org – is YOUR radio station in this crowded market. Please – step up to the plate and keep us on the air. Call 612-375-9030 OR give online at www.KFAI.org. And thanks to all!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One more THANKS to all of you who put your dollars toward CivicMedia’s mission to make TruthToTell a premier program of state, local and regional public affairs coverage. We, too, need special commitments to what TruthToTell does for issues:www.TruthToTell.org – click on the DONATE button or in the Give to the Max box there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Remember – call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us@TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page. 

As we enter the last few weeks of the election season, we’ll be bombarded with so many messages our heads will spin, probably causing most of us to scream “Enough!!.”

Even those of us proud to claim political junkie-hood – call us policy wonks or whichever monkey is on our back at the moment – will want the spin to stop spinning our heads. Never will so many channels be switched and switched away from the inundating and vapid commercials touting the candidate of the moment or denouncing and distorting his or her opponents as they will be starting about now. None of them is immune and is off the hook for their crimes of lying to the public or bloviating over the records of their candidate or their opposition.

But, we can be sure of one thing: the issues themselves don’t change and neither do the candidates’ position on them.

One of the most important, needless to say, is education, the way we pay for it and how much we’re willing to lay out for our children and grandchildren to become the citizens, business owners, civic leaders and educators of tomorrow.

Year after fiscal, never-take-a-riskal year*, Minnesota has allowed itself to slide into reverse both in terms of the amount allocated to the Constitutional mandate of adequate and quality education for all children, but of the source of those funds. Before 1972, it was all about local property taxes. Soon, the so-called Minnesota Miracle was passed by a huge wave of DFL majorities putting the burden of state education equalization – or distribution of the funding burden – more heavily on the income tax on the theory that our kids’ education shouldn’t rest on the artificial fluctuations in property values.

That seemed to make sense, but subsequent state legislatures allowed the funding base to slip back on to the property tax and the excess levy referendum was born, allowing some districts to seek approval from voters for additional dollars to enrich their academic and extracurricular activities. Of course, that was a lot easier for family-rich suburbs where education investment was a no-brainer. But in the core cities where the poorest of the poor live and aging populations represented DIS-investment in schools – sometime understandably, sometimes selfishly – excess levy referenda became tougher to pass. (St. Paul is venturing back into this marketing arena with a referendum this November. Watch and listen for our October 15th TruthToTell on this.)

Add to this the frustrations of recession, the resulting rise of conservative governance – say, election of Tea Partiers – a few years of tearing down the very soul of educational achievement – good teachers, and the yawning achievement gaps in a re-segregating education system of many Metro Areas, especially the Twin Cities – and you have a formula for persistent crisis management of the schools and the failure of too many Pre-K-12 students by poverty level.

Governor Mark Dayton’s failure to convince a newly emboldened GOP legislative majority in 2010 and 2011to add a dime’s worth of new revenues to the state budget and you have the makings of a kamikaze legislative leadership style that would rather watch its own children starve for knowledge – and maybe food as well – rather than back down from Grover Norquist’s imposed and intimidating no-new-taxes pledge.

Back in June, a  27-member Education Finance Working Group, established as part of Governor Dayton's Seven-Point Plan to establish better school funding, the goals of the reform proposals crafted by the working group are to:

·      Improve the adequacy, equity and stability of pre-K-12 education funding

·      Simplify education funding

·      Preserve local control

·      Close the achievement gap

·      Promote high achievement for all students

·      Direct resources closest to students, teachers and the classroom

What to do about education funding or investment? Despite legislative entrenchment, almost all surveys show that sizeable majority of taxpayers willing to cough up several hundreds of dollars more taxes per year to meet the fiscal demands of a successful schools climate. And, because this is true, it’s up to voters to show their elected officials and candidates just how much they believe schools and students – our children and grandchildren, to be sure, have taken it in the neck for too long and for all the wrong reasons: political expediency, among the leading causes.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI spend this Pledge Week’s conversation talking with two leading members of that Education Finance Working Group and try to get a handle on what to expect with respect to future public education financing and investment – election or no election?

GUESTS:

 MARY CECCONI – Executive Director, Parents United for Public Schools

 DANE SMITH – President, Growth&Justice – progressive think tank

INVITED: Rep. Carlos Mariani Rosa/Jennifer Godinez – Minnesota Minority Education Partnership

AND YOU! Call and join the conversation – 612-341-0980 – or Tweet us @TTTAndyDriscoll or post on TruthToTell’s Facebook page. 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*See “How to Succeed in Business…”

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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Become a Friend of TruthToTell. and let us put you on RADIO! We want to THANK YOU for coming to and/or donating to TTT’s 5thAnniversary Bash last Thursday, Sept. 20th. Your help will keep our weekly shows exploring and examining the issues that matter most – and expand our reach into other corners of the community and Greater Minnesota! If you were unable to join us or donate thus far, you can do so now: Always time to become a part of our family HERE! Welcome aboard!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Collaborative efforts between and among advocacy and service groups seeking social justice and eliminating disparities – race, class and otherwise – are nothing new, but Heartland Democracy, Twin Cities RISE! and 180 Degrees have figured out how to take the time necessary to touch many age groups finding it tough to succeed in today’s world.

From Heartland’s website:

Empowering U is Heartland’s deep civic empowerment program. Through a series of guided discussions, participants discover the tangible benefits of involvement in community, politics, and self-governance. They develop the motivation and tools to become active, informed members of their communities. Heartland Democracy works with partner groups serving our neighbors with little or no experience of participation in community, government, or politics. Hence, Twin Cities Rise!, which provides employment training to adults who have faced challenges in gaining and holding jobs, is a natural host. TCR! understands that when their participants learn the methods for networking to achieve a community or political goal, that same network pays off in job networking, the identification of resources, financial stability, and wealth. In other words, when you can till the roots of democracy, you can cultivate the roots of the economy as well. Similarly, HD is working with juvenile ex-offenders under the auspices of 180 Degrees. Both cohorts are in St. Paul.

Policy analysis and progressive advocacy group Heartland Democracy is able to bring Empowering U to our St. Paul area neighbors at Twin Cities Rise!, 180 Degrees, and, later this year, Unity Center for Youth Leadership's high school internship program with the generous support of the F. R. Bigelow Foundation and the St. Paul Foundation. In this way, Heartland and cohorts are helping Minnesotans realize their own self-interest in the full range of citizenship.

Citizenship is really what TruthToTell has been about, lo, these past five years-plus. Civic engagement is the source of survival for our entire democracy.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL urges you to listen to Empowering U stories of the young men and women this program is meant to assist in gaining a grasp of public life and citizenship coming out of more troubled pasts.

GUESTS:

TOM VELLENGA – President, Heartland Democracy

KEITH SIMONS – Director of Personal Empowerment, Twin Cities Rise!

MONICA SANDERS – Alumna of Twin Cities Rise! Program

TruthToTell Oct 1: EDUCATION FUNDING: Grasping for Elusive Adequacy - AUDIO PODCAST BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 10/01/2012

Just a couple of days left to help approve of KFAI respecting your time and your patience this Fall with ONE WEEK’s worth of membership seeking. CALL NOW: 612-375-9030 – or go online at www.KFAI.org and PLEDGE PLEDGE PLEDGE!

Can we make our stated goal of $90,000 in one week instead of two? Only you can answer that question and set a new standard for minimal pledging time and maximum donations in half the time. HERE”S THE GOOD NEWS: we’re almost 25% there after just three days. KFAI – the stand-out community programming service for music and public affairs throughout the Twin City Metro AND online at KFAI.org – is YOUR radio station in this crowded market. Please – step up to the plate and keep us on the air. Call 612-375-9030 OR give online at www.KFAI.org. And thanks to all!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One more THANKS to all of you who put your dollars toward CivicMedia’s mission to make TruthToTell a premier program of state, local and regional public affairs coverage. We, too, need special commitments to what TruthToTell does for issues: www.TruthToTell.org – click on the DONATE button or in the Give to the Max box there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As we enter the last few weeks of the election season, we’ll be bombarded with so many messages our heads will spin, probably causing most of us to scream “Enough!!.”

Even those of us proud to claim political junkie-hood – call us policy wonks or whichever monkey is on our back at the moment – will want the spin to stop spinning our heads. Never will so many channels be switched and switched away from the inundating and vapid commercials touting the candidate of the moment or denouncing and distorting his or her opponents as they will be starting about now. None of them is immune and is off the hook for their crimes of lying to the public or bloviating over the records of their candidate or their opposition.

But, we can be sure of one thing: the issues themselves don’t change and neither do the candidates’ position on them.

One of the most important, needless to say, is education, the way we pay for it and how much we’re willing to lay out for our children and grandchildren to become the citizens, business owners, civic leaders and educators of tomorrow.

Year after fiscal, never-take-a-riskal year*, Minnesotans have allowed their education systems to slide into reverse both in terms of the amount allocated to the Constitutional mandate of adequate and quality education for all children, but from where those funds come. Before 1972, it was all about local property taxes. Soon, the so-called Minnesota Miracle was passed by a huge wave of DFL majorities putting the burden of state education equalization – or distribution of the funding burden – more heavily on the income tax on the theory that our kids’ education shouldn’t rest on the artificial fluctuations in property values.

That seemed to make sense, but subsequent state legislatures allowed the funding base to slip back on to the property tax and the excess levy referendum was born, allowing some districts to seek approval from voters for additional dollars to enrich their academic and extracurricular activities. Of course, that was a lot easier for family-rich suburbs where education investment was a no-brainer. But in the core cities where the poorest of the poor live and aging populations represented DIS-investment in schools – sometime understandably, sometimes selfishly – excess levy referenda became tougher to pass. (St. Paul is venturing back into this marketing arena with a referendum this November. Watch and listen for our October 15th TruthToTell on this.)

Add to this the frustrations of recession, the resulting rise of conservative governance – say, election of Tea Partiers – a few years of tearing down the very soul of educational achievement – good teachers, and the yawning achievement gaps in a re-segregating education system of many Metro Areas, especially the Twin Cities – and you have a formula for persistent crisis management of the schools and the failure of too many Pre-K-12 students by poverty level.

Governor Mark Dayton’s failure to convince a newly emboldened GOP legislative majority in 2010 and 2011to add a dime’s worth of new revenues to the state budget and you have the makings of a kamikaze legislative leadership style that would rather watch its own children starve for knowledge – and maybe food as well – rather than back down from Grover Norquist’s imposed and intimidating no-new-taxes pledge.

Back in June, a  27-member Education Finance Working Group, established as part of Governor Dayton's Seven-Point Plan to establish better school funding, the goals of the reform proposals crafted by the working group are to:

·      Improve the adequacy, equity and stability of pre-K-12 education funding

·      Simplify education funding

·      Preserve local control

·      Close the achievement gap

·      Promote high achievement for all students

·      Direct resources closest to students, teachers and the classroom

What to do about education funding or investment? Despite legislative entrenchment, almost all surveys show that sizeable majority of taxpayers willing to cough up several hundreds of dollars more taxes per year to meet the fiscal demands of a successful schools climate. And, because this is true, it’s up to voters to show their elected officials and candidates just how much they believe schools and students – our children and grandchildren, to be sure, have taken it in the neck for too long and for all the wrong reasons: political expediency, among the leading causes.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI spend this Pledge Week’s conversation talking with two leading members of that Education Finance Working Group and try to get a handle on what to expect with respect to future public education financing and investment – election or no election?

GUESTS:

 MARY CECCONI – Executive Director, Parents United for Public Schools

 DANE SMITH – President, Growth&Justice – progressive think tank

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*See “How to Succeed in Business…”


45:39 minutes (41.8 MB)

TruthToTell Monday, April 30-9AM: POVERTY TODAY: The Painful Part of the 99%; TruthToTell Monday, April 23: FACING RACE: Are We Sliding Back?

Monday, April 30, 2012

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

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The baffling thing about poverty, like other societal maladies, apparently, is that, despite the dry, old statistics showing incredible increases in poverty, the decline in median incomes, the rise in homelessness and the decline in public assistance, the increase in foreclosures and the plunge in property values – the gap widens – and the people in power really don’t seem to give a damn.

What is it going to take – a complete collapse (as if we’re not already witnessing one) of our economic infrastructure before middle-class suburbanites take up arms against The Man and find themselves in the same place as the poor and people of color have been for decades – on the business end of a police officer’s 9mm Glock or Billy-club, a pepper-spray can or tear-gas canister for their trouble?

Perhaps. Then again, perhaps, that will be the only time a march on the banks and politicians will yield some results and policies will change and wealth will be shared.

But, leave us not hold our breath.

Average citizens/residents are feeling the pinch created by people and institutions who literally could care less – because they seem to have no depths to their lack of caring.

Poverty is NOT one of those conditions that will get better by the pulling up of bootstraps.Poverty is a societal disease that needs a major injection and infusion of capital – real capital – money and other resources. Anything else is a punishment inflicted on people who have less than the people making the decisions and who spend much of their legislative or administrative time and capital denying others their fair share of a pie they keep shrinking.

How bad is it?

Cynthia Boyd of MinnPost.com wrote last Fall:

Nationally, the poverty rate is 15.1 percent, while Minnesota ranks 13th lowest in the nation in numbers of those living below the poverty line ($11,344 for an individual or $22,113 household income for a family of four), but the state's numbers have increased significantly from 2007-2008. The poverty rate then was 9.6 percent.  

The effects play out in the state in concrete ways. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson told MinnPost last month that 104,000 more Minnesotans have signed on for food support this year compared to last.

And a September 2011 Minnesota Budget Project report comes this:

In 2009-2010, 560,000 Minnesotans lived in poverty, or roughly one out of ten state residents. That represents a 2.1 percentage point increase from 2006-07. Nationwide, 46.2 million people were in poverty in 2010.

Even more staggering, the preliminary numbers show that over the last decade, Minnesota’s median household income fell from $65,120 in 1999-2000 to $54,785 in 2009-2010, or by more than $10,000, after adjusting for inflation. Only Michigan experienced a larger decline in median income during the same period.

And, should anyone believe this is limited to the Metro – where many believe all “those people” live – this from Robb Murray of the Mankato Free Press:

John Woodwick, executive director of the Minnesota Valley Action Council in Mankato, said the number of people in the nine-county area served by MVAC rose from 16,292 in 2000 to 26,233 in 2009, an increase of 61 percent.

During the same period, federal and state funding for MVAC’s (poverty-related) services has decreased 21 percent on a per-person basis. In 2000, MVAC received a total of $793 in federal and state funds for every person living in poverty in the south-central Minnesota service area. By 2009, funding had decreased to $627 per person, according to MVAC’s annual budgets.

“We haven’t seen lately the massive layoffs we’ve seen in the last two years, but the new hires aren’t happening either,” Woodwick said. “And many people haven’t been able to locate work, especially not at what their previous wages were.”

The once-reliable Minnesota, Metro and regional foundations have cut their humans services funding, sometimes by half, even as many nonprofits and advocacy groups came to believe philanthropy would fill the gaps political types either created or refused to fill.

This year’s legislative session almost made a complete disaster of its humans services bill(s), but escaped some of the worst cuts tendered for passage by Republican bill sponsors, perhaps in the face of sure vetoes by Governor Mark Dayton. But, this is all relative, is it not?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with just four of the many Minnesota advocates whose ulcer-ridden work continues to be a war against the disproportionate impact of rightwing politics and a struggling economy that gives the policymakers the excuse to cut further into the lives of the people they blame for being poor: the poor themselves.

GUESTS:

Katherine Wagoner, Executive Director, Affirmative Options Coalition

Angel Buechner -  Co-Chair, Welfare Rights Committee

Alexandra Fitzsimmons - Legislative Affairs and Advocacy Director, Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota

Nancy Maeker - Executive Director, A Minnesota Without Poverty

ADDITIONAL STATS:

1 in 10 Minnesotans miss an average of 10 meals a month (that is 100 million missing meals every year).

1 in 4 women over 16 years of age is experiencing poverty in Minnesota

2010 food shelf visits in Minnesota: 3 million visits statewide.

37.2% of African Americans and 39.5% of American Indian Minnesotans are living in poverty.

599,000 individuals are experiencing poverty in Minnesota.(2010 US Census bureau)

A family of four living in greater Minnesota would need to make $12.56/hour per worker to meet basic needs.

Minnesota children living in poverty: 192,000 (15.2%) - this is a 62% increase since 2000.

Minnesota minimum wage is $6.15 an hour, the federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Number of homeless individuals in Minnesota: 13,100 on any given night (47% are age 5 and under).

Poverty rate among African Americans in Minnesota is the 3rd highest in the nation.

The 2011 Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four is $22,350.

MORE RESOURCES:

Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020 (Final Report)

THE RICH AND THE REST OF US - by Dr. Cornel West & Tavis Smiley:

 

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley said on "Face the Nation" Sunday that poverty in America "threatens our very democracy," and that it threatens our national security.

Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West, co-authors of the new book The Rich and the Rest of Us (Smiley Books), talked to host Bob Schieffer about how half of Americans - 150 million people - are poor, which they defined as living one or two paychecks away from poverty.

"There seems to be a bipartisan consensus in this town - and you know how hard that is to do - but a bipartisan consensus that the poor just don't matter, that poverty is just not an important issue," Smiley said. "We cannot abide another campaign for the White House where the issue of poverty isn't raised higher on the American agenda."

 

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MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, April 23, 2012
TruthToTell Monday, April 23: FACING RACE: Are We Sliding Back? - AUDIO PODCAST HERE

PLEASE HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sometimes think that, for all the talk about race we think we’re hearing, that incidents involving clear human and civil rights infractions – whether individually perpetrated (physical and psychological violence), or institutionally perpetuated (segregation, employment discrimination, environmental injustice, voter suppression, economic and health disparities, housing discrimination and predatory lending) – are seen as essentially isolated occurrences and not the culturally and emotionally, therefore institutionally, manifestations of embedded sickness in a society whose history belies its founding principles embodied in the Declaration and Constitution and Bill of Rights. We are NOT facing race as a reality in this culture. We are NOT talking honestly about this leprosy of democracy – at least as much as we ignore the other pestilence destroying democracy: homeland security and the misuse of law enforcement to turn average citizens and journalists into criminals.

African-American folk, American Indians, Latinos, Asians – and now, with a vengeance, Arabic and Muslim citizens and immigrants – have all felt the sting of racial separation in all those categories, considered The Other in this country on so many levels, one wonders if we can recover from the parasites that infuse our rhetoric and official behavior such that the harm inflicted could be permanent.

It must be difficult, if not impossible, for majorities of our brethren and sisters of color to hold out hope for any sort of positive outcomes of any effort to work in concert with the white community and white-run institutions to bring honesty and open dialogue to the table to expose that embedded fear and loathing for its very real danger to our nation’s economic and political stability.

Not all answers can be covered by dialogue only, of course, but that’s where it must begin. Many groups in our communities of color – and, yes, among white folks as well – are taking a stab at such opportunities as present themselves for opening up the conversations necessary to start the ball rolling. But, the question remains – and we will ask it: after the discussion, what? What will participants do as next steps to move to outcomes that serve the communities in ways that bring very real change. How much is geography responsible for the continued isolation among such communities – in institutions – churches, schools, governments, companies and unions? Can we breach the physical segregation by breaching the psychological and emotional separation among peoples that share this larger space of ours?

Again this year, the evening following our show featuring some key presenters and awardees, the The Saint Paul Foundation’s Facing Race Initiative will present its awards to outstanding mentors of this notion of addressing race and its implications for their own and other communities. Last year’s Honorable Mention, author, filmmaker and Native language advocate, Dr. Anton  Treuer, will give this year’s keynoter. Old hands at combating racism, like Macalester Professor Emeritus Mahmoud El-Kati and Steve Pederson, an executive leadership team member with Diversity Resource Action Alliance up in Alexandria will be recognized as Ambassadors, along with Honorable Mentions emerging business inclusion coordinator Elizabeth A. Campbell for contractorsRyan Companies US, Inc.; Taneeza S. Islam, Esq., civil rights director, Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-MN Chapter; and T. Gregory Stavrou, executive director of the Rochester Civic Theatre. The free program will be held at St. Paul’s Crowne Plaza Riverfront at Wabasha and Kellogg Blvd. starting at 6:00 PM, with hors d’oeuvres, program at 7:00.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with key figures in this year’s Awards event.

GUESTS:

  DR. ANTON TREUER – Professor of Ojibwe, Bemidji State University; cultural preservationist working to restore the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) language as a means of healing the wounds of racism; Author, Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to AskThe Assassination of Hole in the Day and seven other books.

 TANEEZA ISLAM ­– Attorney and former Civil Rights Director, Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) -MN Chapter

 

 

  SHARON GOENS - Racial Equity Conversation Coordinator,Facing Race InitiativeThe Saint Paul Foundation

 

 

TruthToTell Monday, April 30-9AM: POVERTY TODAY: The Painful Part of the 99%; TruthToTell Monday, April 23: FACING RACE: Are We Sliding Back?

Monday, April 30, 2012

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

HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The baffling thing about poverty, like other societal maladies, apparently, is that, despite the dry, old statistics showing incredible increases in poverty, the decline in median incomes, the rise in homelessness and the decline in public assistance, the increase in foreclosures and the plunge in property values – the gap widens – and the people in power really don’t seem to give a damn.

What is it going to take – a complete collapse (as if we’re not already witnessing one) of our economic infrastructure before middle-class suburbanites take up arms against The Man and find themselves in the same place as the poor and people of color have been for decades – on the business end of a police officer’s 9mm Glock or Billy-club, a pepper-spray can or tear-gas canister for their trouble?

Perhaps. Then again, perhaps, that will be the only time a march on the banks and politicians will yield some results and policies will change and wealth will be shared.

But, leave us not hold our breath.

Average citizens/residents are feeling the pinch created by people and institutions who literally could care less – because they seem to have no depths to their lack of caring.

Poverty is NOT one of those conditions that will get better by the pulling up of bootstraps.Poverty is a societal disease that needs a major injection and infusion of capital – real capital – money and other resources. Anything else is a punishment inflicted on people who have less than the people making the decisions and who spend much of their legislative or administrative time and capital denying others their fair share of a pie they keep shrinking.

How bad is it?

Cynthia Boyd of MinnPost.com wrote last Fall:

Nationally, the poverty rate is 15.1 percent, while Minnesota ranks 13th lowest in the nation in numbers of those living below the poverty line ($11,344 for an individual or $22,113 household income for a family of four), but the state's numbers have increased significantly from 2007-2008. The poverty rate then was 9.6 percent.  

The effects play out in the state in concrete ways. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson told MinnPost last month that 104,000 more Minnesotans have signed on for food support this year compared to last.

And a September 2011 Minnesota Budget Project report comes this:

In 2009-2010, 560,000 Minnesotans lived in poverty, or roughly one out of ten state residents. That represents a 2.1 percentage point increase from 2006-07. Nationwide, 46.2 million people were in poverty in 2010.

Even more staggering, the preliminary numbers show that over the last decade, Minnesota’s median household income fell from $65,120 in 1999-2000 to $54,785 in 2009-2010, or by more than $10,000, after adjusting for inflation. Only Michigan experienced a larger decline in median income during the same period.

And, should anyone believe this is limited to the Metro – where many believe all “those people” live – this from Robb Murray of the Mankato Free Press:

John Woodwick, executive director of the Minnesota Valley Action Council in Mankato, said the number of people in the nine-county area served by MVAC rose from 16,292 in 2000 to 26,233 in 2009, an increase of 61 percent.

During the same period, federal and state funding for MVAC’s (poverty-related) services has decreased 21 percent on a per-person basis. In 2000, MVAC received a total of $793 in federal and state funds for every person living in poverty in the south-central Minnesota service area. By 2009, funding had decreased to $627 per person, according to MVAC’s annual budgets.

“We haven’t seen lately the massive layoffs we’ve seen in the last two years, but the new hires aren’t happening either,” Woodwick said. “And many people haven’t been able to locate work, especially not at what their previous wages were.”

The once-reliable Minnesota, Metro and regional foundations have cut their humans services funding, sometimes by half, even as many nonprofits and advocacy groups came to believe philanthropy would fill the gaps political types either created or refused to fill.

This year’s legislative session almost made a complete disaster of its humans services bill(s), but escaped some of the worst cuts tendered for passage by Republican bill sponsors, perhaps in the face of sure vetoes by Governor Mark Dayton. But, this is all relative, is it not?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with just four of the many Minnesota advocates whose ulcer-ridden work continues to be a war against the disproportionate impact of rightwing politics and a struggling economy that gives the policymakers the excuse to cut further into the lives of the people they blame for being poor: the poor themselves.

GUESTS:

Katherine Wagoner, Executive Director, Affirmative Options Coalition

Angel Buechner -  Co-Chair, Welfare Rights Committee

Alexandra Fitzsimmons - Legislative Affairs and Advocacy Director, Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota

Nancy Maeker - Executive Director, A Minnesota Without Poverty

ADDITIONAL STATS:

1 in 10 Minnesotans miss an average of 10 meals a month (that is 100 million missing meals every year).

1 in 4 women over 16 years of age is experiencing poverty in Minnesota

2010 food shelf visits in Minnesota: 3 million visits statewide.

37.2% of African Americans and 39.5% of American Indian Minnesotans are living in poverty.

599,000 individuals are experiencing poverty in Minnesota.(2010 US Census bureau)

A family of four living in greater Minnesota would need to make $12.56/hour per worker to meet basic needs.

Minnesota children living in poverty: 192,000 (15.2%) - this is a 62% increase since 2000.

Minnesota minimum wage is $6.15 an hour, the federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Number of homeless individuals in Minnesota: 13,100 on any given night (47% are age 5 and under).

Poverty rate among African Americans in Minnesota is the 3rd highest in the nation.

The 2011 Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four is $22,350.

MORE RESOURCES:

Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020 (Final Report)

THE RICH AND THE REST OF US - by Dr. Cornel West & Tavis Smiley:

 

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley said on "Face the Nation" Sunday that poverty in America "threatens our very democracy," and that it threatens our national security.

Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West, co-authors of the new book The Rich and the Rest of Us (Smiley Books), talked to host Bob Schieffer about how half of Americans - 150 million people - are poor, which they defined as living one or two paychecks away from poverty.

"There seems to be a bipartisan consensus in this town - and you know how hard that is to do - but a bipartisan consensus that the poor just don't matter, that poverty is just not an important issue," Smiley said. "We cannot abide another campaign for the White House where the issue of poverty isn't raised higher on the American agenda."

 

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

Listen to our most recent show here, or browse our archives >

Monday, April 23, 2012
TruthToTell Monday, April 23: FACING RACE: Are We Sliding Back? - AUDIO PODCAST HERE

PLEASE HELP US BRING YOU THESE IMPORTANT DISCUSSIONS OF COMMUNITY INTEREST – PLEASE DONATE HERE!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I sometimes think that, for all the talk about race we think we’re hearing, that incidents involving clear human and civil rights infractions – whether individually perpetrated (physical and psychological violence), or institutionally perpetuated (segregation, employment discrimination, environmental injustice, voter suppression, economic and health disparities, housing discrimination and predatory lending) – are seen as essentially isolated occurrences and not the culturally and emotionally, therefore institutionally, manifestations of embedded sickness in a society whose history belies its founding principles embodied in the Declaration and Constitution and Bill of Rights. We are NOT facing race as a reality in this culture. We are NOT talking honestly about this leprosy of democracy – at least as much as we ignore the other pestilence destroying democracy: homeland security and the misuse of law enforcement to turn average citizens and journalists into criminals.

African-American folk, American Indians, Latinos, Asians – and now, with a vengeance, Arabic and Muslim citizens and immigrants – have all felt the sting of racial separation in all those categories, considered The Other in this country on so many levels, one wonders if we can recover from the parasites that infuse our rhetoric and official behavior such that the harm inflicted could be permanent.

It must be difficult, if not impossible, for majorities of our brethren and sisters of color to hold out hope for any sort of positive outcomes of any effort to work in concert with the white community and white-run institutions to bring honesty and open dialogue to the table to expose that embedded fear and loathing for its very real danger to our nation’s economic and political stability.

Not all answers can be covered by dialogue only, of course, but that’s where it must begin. Many groups in our communities of color – and, yes, among white folks as well – are taking a stab at such opportunities as present themselves for opening up the conversations necessary to start the ball rolling. But, the question remains – and we will ask it: after the discussion, what? What will participants do as next steps to move to outcomes that serve the communities in ways that bring very real change. How much is geography responsible for the continued isolation among such communities – in institutions – churches, schools, governments, companies and unions? Can we breach the physical segregation by breaching the psychological and emotional separation among peoples that share this larger space of ours?

Again this year, the evening following our show featuring some key presenters and awardees, the The Saint Paul Foundation’s Facing Race Initiative will present its awards to outstanding mentors of this notion of addressing race and its implications for their own and other communities. Last year’s Honorable Mention, author, filmmaker and Native language advocate, Dr. Anton  Treuer, will give this year’s keynoter. Old hands at combating racism, like Macalester Professor Emeritus Mahmoud El-Kati and Steve Pederson, an executive leadership team member with Diversity Resource Action Alliance up in Alexandria will be recognized as Ambassadors, along with Honorable Mentions emerging business inclusion coordinator Elizabeth A. Campbell for contractorsRyan Companies US, Inc.; Taneeza S. Islam, Esq., civil rights director, Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-MN Chapter; and T. Gregory Stavrou, executive director of the Rochester Civic Theatre. The free program will be held at St. Paul’s Crowne Plaza Riverfront at Wabasha and Kellogg Blvd. starting at 6:00 PM, with hors d’oeuvres, program at 7:00.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with key figures in this year’s Awards event.

GUESTS:

  DR. ANTON TREUER – Professor of Ojibwe, Bemidji State University; cultural preservationist working to restore the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) language as a means of healing the wounds of racism; Author, Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to AskThe Assassination of Hole in the Day and seven other books.

 TANEEZA ISLAM ­– Attorney and former Civil Rights Director, Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) -MN Chapter

 

 

  SHARON GOENS - Racial Equity Conversation Coordinator,Facing Race InitiativeThe Saint Paul Foundation