Somali

TruthToTell Mon, March 5@9AM: REDRAWING MINNEAPOLIS WARDS: Arranging the Power Bases - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

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TruthToTell Mon, March 5@9AM: REDRAWING MINNEAPOLIS WARDS: Arranging the Power Bases - KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/KFAI.org

Now that a state panel of judges has issued new district boundaries for our state and federal legislative offices after the decennial census has revealed the usual ten-year shifting of populations, it’s time for local governments to complete their redistricting of city council wards, school districts and county commissioner districts. In the case of Minneapolis, districts for the city’s separate Park Board must also be redrawn. The Minneapolis Charter requires it redistricting to occur in the first year ending in “2” following the Census. (Because its charter requires redistricting to occur in years ending in “1”, St. Paul’s Charter Commission completed its nominal redraw last year. Few changes in ward boundaries there.)

The Minneapolis redistricting process is a truly complex one from almost any perspective. Because that city is governed by a so-called Strong Council-Weak Mayor governance system (a subject for another day’s discussion), its 13 wards are powerful entities overseeing the political landscape which includes one of this nation’s most diverse populations, albeit mostly clustered in specific sets of neighborhoods. When combined with several other state and federal requirements such as ensuring that communities of interest and commonality be preserved, meeting the numbers requirement – i.e., 29,429 residents in each ward and 63,763 in each of the six park districts – makes redrawing the ward boundaries a dicey business.

(Readers and listeners and citizens can access ALL maps and detailed explanations about this critical process with which all will have to live for another ten years HERE.)(Watch our guests, Chair Barry Clegg and Adosh Unni explain process HERE.)

Needless to say (but we will), most of the communities of interest are ethnic in composition – and with a 10-year surge in East Africans (mostly Somali), Latinos, and Southeast Asians joining with African Americans and Native Americans to form such commonalities, keeping such communities together is a serious chore for the 25 members of the Redistricting Commission – a combination of the existing Charter Commission plus additional members appointed for this task.

Well-organized testimony from Latinos and East Africans, especially, has pushed the commission into considering some fairly major changes to the commission’s original draft ward maps. White folks on the fringes of the city have not shown up in great numbers and the wards thereof reflect both that and the minimal movement of their populations.

The point of all this is, of course, to increase representation of those groups both on the City Council and in public policy clout, the usual theory of strength in numbers operating here.

Two hearings were held in cramped quarters last Wednesday (North Side) and Thursday (South Side) where testimony from Somalis and Latinos came in goodly numbers, each schooled in what to say about the Commission’s draft map and offering alternatives to maintain common interest cohesion in their respective wards. The following day at a regular Commission meeting, new maps submitted by the chair and others tried to reconcile split neighborhoods and communities, especially on the South Side and up in the Harrison and North Loop communities.

Theories abound as to the advantage of so-called “packing” of like peoples in a single ward which, although likely more able to elect one from among their number but the possible limitation in representation to a single councilmember versus “cracking” – the deliberate splitting of like peoples into fragments where their political clout might be so diluted as to render them powerless, both in electing one of their own and in pushing the City Council (or Park Board) into policies favoring their interests. We’ll talk about those pressures. Clearly, most ethnic groups wish to stay together, and hang the competing theories.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI try to both make sense of this complex process with a few representative members of the Redistricting Commission and citizen activists advancing their maps and suggestions for population distribution.

GUESTS:

BARRY CLEGG – Attorney and Chair, Minneapolis Charter and Redistricting Commissions

TERRA COLE – Redistricting Commission Member and Candidate for State House of Representatives in a North Side Minneapolis district.

LYALL SCHWARZKOPF – Longtime Minneapolis Official – Charter/Redistricting Commissioner, Former Minneapolis City Coordinator; former State Representative; retired Chief of Staff to the Governor

MARIANO ESPINOZA – Former Executive Director, Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, Representing the Latino Community map activists

ALSO:

MIKE DEAN – Executive Director of Common Cause-Minnesota will call in to talk about process and how citizens can dive into this morass of maps and manipulation of populations.

Submitted Maps (click on link)(Latest Commission plan to come):

Original Minneapolis Council Plan

"Coalition" Plan

"United Communities" March 3 Plan

TruthToTell March 5: REDRAWING MINNEAPOLIS WARDS: Arranging the Power Bases - AUDIO Podcast Below

On-air date: 
Mon, 03/05/2012

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

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

Now that a state panel of judges has issued new district boundaries for our state and federal legislative offices after the decennial census has revealed the usual ten-year shifting of populations, it’s time for local governments to complete their redistricting of city council wards, school districts and county commissioner districts. In the case of Minneapolis, districts for the city’s separate Park Board must also be redrawn. The Minneapolis Charter requires it redistricting to occur in the first year ending in “2” following the Census. (Because its charter requires redistricting to occur in years ending in “1”, St. Paul’s Charter Commission completed its nominal redraw last year. Few changes in ward boundaries there.)

The Minneapolis redistricting process is a truly complex one from almost any perspective. Because that city is governed by a so-called Strong Council-Weak Mayor governance system (a subject for another day’s discussion), its 13 wards are powerful entities overseeing the political landscape which includes one of this nation’s most diverse populations, albeit mostly clustered in specific sets of neighborhoods. When combined with several other state and federal requirements such as ensuring that communities of interest and commonality be preserved, meeting the numbers requirement – i.e., 29,429 residents in each ward and 63,763 in each of the six park districts – makes redrawing the ward boundaries a dicey business.

(Readers and listeners and citizens can access ALL maps and detailed explanations about this critical process with which all will have to live for another ten years HERE.)(Watch our guests, Chair Barry Clegg and Adosh Unni explain process HERE.)

Needless to say (but we will), most of the communities of interest are ethnic in composition – and with a 10-year surge in East Africans (mostly Somali), Latinos, and Southeast Asians joining with African Americans and Native Americans to form such commonalities, keeping such communities together is a serious chore for the 25 members of the Redistricting Commission – a combination of the existing Charter Commission plus additional members appointed for this task.

Well-organized testimony from Latinos and East Africans, especially, has pushed the commission into considering some fairly major changes to the commission’s original draft ward maps. White folks on the fringes of the city have not shown up in great numbers and the wards thereof reflect both that and the minimal movement of their populations.

The point of all this is, of course, to increase representation of those groups both on the City Council and in public policy clout, the usual theory of strength in numbers operating here.

Two hearings were held in cramped quarters last Wednesday (North Side) and Thursday (South Side) where testimony from Somalis and Latinos came in goodly numbers, each schooled in what to say about the Commission’s draft map and offering alternatives to maintain common interest cohesion in their respective wards. The following day at a regular Commission meeting, new maps submitted by the chair and others tried to reconcile split neighborhoods and communities, especially on the South Side and up in the Harrison and North Loop communities.

Theories abound as to the advantage of so-called “packing” of like peoples in a single ward which, although likely more able to elect one from among their number but the possible limitation in representation to a single councilmember versus “cracking” – the deliberate splitting of like peoples into fragments where their political clout might be so diluted as to render them powerless, both in electing one of their own and in pushing the City Council (or Park Board) into policies favoring their interests. We’ll talk about those pressures. Clearly, most ethnic groups wish to stay together, and hang the competing theories.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI try to both make sense of this complex process with a few representative members of the Redistricting Commission and citizen activists advancing their maps and suggestions for population distribution.

GUESTS:

BARRY CLEGG – Attorney and Chair, Minneapolis Charter and Redistricting Commissions

TERRA COLE – Redistricting Commission Member and Candidate for State House of Representatives in a North Side Minneapolis district.

LYALL SCHWARZKOPF – Longtime Minneapolis Official – Charter/Redistricting Commissioner, Former Minneapolis City Coordinator; former State Representative; retired Chief of Staff to the Governor

MARIANO ESPINOZA – Former Executive Director, Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network, Representing the Latino Community map activists

ALSO:

MIKE DEAN – Executive Director of Common Cause-Minnesota will call in to talk about process and how citizens can dive into this morass of maps and manipulation of populations.

Submitted Maps (click on link)(Latest Commission plan to come):

Original Minneapolis Council Plan

"Coalition" Plan

"United Communities" March 3 Plan


55:55 minutes (51.19 MB)

TruthToTell Jan 31: MINNESOTA'S SOMALIS: The State of the Minnesota Diaspora - AUDIO BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 01/31/2011

Essentially through the early 1990s, new immigrants to Minnesota from East Africa were fairly few and far between. We enjoy the arriving cultures of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Oromia, Kenya and others. As political and military events exploded in Somalia, Minnesota became a destination for Somali men and women exiting the chaos that befell their home country, eventually enriching Minnesota’s culture, especially that of the core cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. In fact, in many circles, Somalis refer to Minneapolis as "Little Mogadishu." The burgeoning populations of Somali refugees here required major adjustments.

Initially, of course, language barriers made rapid assimilation all but impossible for most Somalis, many of whom can recall the days prior to June, 1960, when their country was still a so-called Italian protectorate. Thus do many Somalis speak Italian and Arabic in addition to their native Somali. English is difficult to learn for several cultures outside our linguistic subgroups. Then, of course, how to create needed housing, employment, health care and education environments without displacing other subcommunities hereabouts.

Moreover, the homeland still calls out to many in the Somali diaspora to come home and fight for one political or religious faction or another, including al-Shabbab, the US-designated terrorist group. Some have heeded it, especially many young men, others affirmed their commitment to building a new life in this not-so-welcoming set of social and economic systems.

The newest generation of Somali-Americans, as with most new immigrants, is making its way in this new world with fewer language barriers but facing long-standing and ignorant American prejudices otherwise, not the least of which is their Muslim religious faith and their dark skin. We want you and us to learn much more about our newest neighbors and, for the most part, dedicated contributors to our way of life, while understand that they, as well as we, must face often extraordinary barriers to full acceptance and the reaction those barriers elicit from often-frustrated young people.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with a few key figures in the Somali community here to gain a greater understanding of the culture, the traditions and the enterprising creativity they’ve brought to our state and cities, and, yes, the barriers they continue to encounter. We’ll present an overview this week with an eye toward a fairly regular series of programs dealing in depth with specific issues Somalis and other new Minnesotans are facing over the next year or two.

GUESTS:

NIMCO AHMED - Legislative Aide to Minneapolis City Councilmember Robert Lilligren

HUSSEIN SAMATAR - Executive Director, African Development Center and District Member, Minneapolis School Board

ABDURASHID ALI - Executive Director, Somali Family ServicesPuntland Library and Resource Center`


58:57 minutes (26.99 MB)