St. Paul Neighborhood Network

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TruthToTell Monday, April 21- 9AM:BEYOND TREEHUGGING: Green Metrics for Earth Day; April 14- 9AM: COMMUNITY CABLE UNDER SEIGE: Comcast Wants to Strip Your Channels Away - AUDIO PODCAST is UP HERE

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, April 21, 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!

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

Celebrate Earth Day with TruthToTell this Monday morning.

Hosts Siobhan Kierans and Tom O’Connell with their guests are Ken Pentel and Kel Heyl. Ken will be talking about the Genuine Progress Indicator and Kel will be talking about a price tag for the 21st century. A price tag that includes Initial Price + Life Cycle Cost + Carbon Footprint.

GUESTS:

KEN PENTEL – Founder of the Ecology Democracy Network; former candidate for governor on the Green Party ticket (1994).

 


KEL HEYL –  Principal, Studio Rebus Incorporated (a design/build contractor).

 

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

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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

The so-called cutthroat “Cable Wars” of the early 1980s throughout the Metro Twin Cities as core cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul – along with clusters of groups of suburban cities banded forming joint powers –issued requests from proposals for the essential exclusive franchise to supply municipal huge new systems offering upwards of 60 channels of television programming.

The several cable company competitors for each of these franchise awards begged, hired local power figures and promised the moon to the cities or joint cable commissions – PEGs (public, education and government) channels anywhere from three to seven channels of community and public access programming. Even after all the cable company investment, they actually received a license to print money and to string their cables alongside telephone and power lines throughout the service areas under the jurisdiction.

This came with huge annual funding and capital equipment supplied by the winning cable company – and with at least a guarantee of 15 years of a franchise. With time, channels added to the tiers of cable television and more money came in – and still they want to take back those channels they “gifted” to the cities and communities – except that these cable outfits pass through their costs assessing per-subscriber fee. That tells you how profitable each of those public access channels could be if they brought back into the commercial corral – while the cities and nonprofits and just plain folk would lose their ability to program to supply the meager information and services over the channels. Why must they re-capture those channels?

Now, most cable commissions and cities are in the throes of second and third rounds of re-franchise negotiations – and again they want to reduce the number of channels, stop funding these channels altogether and/or stop supplying the production and transmission equipment to sustain these important community links to the cities throughout the Metro and well beyond.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with some of the Metro cable access organizations ad advocates to highlight the importance and future of community programming channels and nonprofits serving our local cities.

GUESTS:

CORALIE (COR) WILSON, Executive Director, CTV North Suburbs Community Cable Programming, Roseville (based)

CHAD JOHNSTON – Executive Director, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)

 

 

 

 

MARK HUGHES – CTV Staff & “Disability Viewpoints” – Roseville Channel 15


 

 

TruthToTell Monday, April 14- 9AM: COMMUNITY CABLE UNDER SEIGE: Comcast Wants to Strip Your Channels Away - 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, April 14, 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!

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

The so-called cutthroat “Cable Wars” of the early 1980s throughout the Metro Twin Cities as core cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul – along with clusters of groups of suburban cities banded forming joint powers –issued requests from proposals for the essential exclusive franchise to supply municipal huge new systems offering upwards of 60 channels of television programming.

The several cable company competitors for each of these franchise awards begged, hired local power figures and promised the moon to the cities or joint cable commissions – PEGs (public, education and government) channels anywhere from three to seven channels of community and public access programming. Even after all the cable company investment, they actually received a license to print money and to string their cables alongside telephone and power lines throughout the service areas under the jurisdiction.

This came with huge annual funding and capital equipment supplied by the winning cable company – and with at least a guarantee of 15 years of a franchise. With time, channels added to the tiers of cable television and more money came in – and still they want to take back those channels they “gifted” to the cities and communities – except that these cable outfits pass through their costs assessing per-subscriber fee. That tells you how profitable each of those public access channels could be if they brought back into the commercial corral – while the cities and nonprofits and just plain folk would lose their ability to program to supply the meager information and services over the channels. Why must they re-capture those channels?

Now, most cable commissions and cities are in the throes of second and third rounds of re-franchise negotiations – and again they want to reduce the number of channels, stop funding these channels altogether and/or stop supplying the production and transmission equipment to sustain these important community links to the cities throughout the Metro and well beyond.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with some of the Metro cable access organizations ad advocates to highlight the importance and future of community programming channels and nonprofits serving our local cities.

GUESTS:

CORALIE (COR) WILSON, Executive Director, CTV North Suburbs Community Cable Programming, Roseville (based)

CHAD JOHNSTON – Executive Director, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)

 

 

 


MARK HUGHES – CTV Staff & “Disability Viewpoints” – Roseville Channel 15


 

 

 

 

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

TruthToTell Monday, April 14- 9AM: COMMUNITY CABLE UNDER SEIGE: Comcast Wants to Strip Your Channels Away - AUDIO PODCAST is UP HERE

On-air date: 
Mon, 04/14/2014
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.

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

PLEASE DONATE $10 to HELP TTT HERE!

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

The so-called cutthroat “Cable Wars” of the early 1980s throughout the Metro Twin Cities as core cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul – along with clusters of groups of suburban cities banded forming joint powers –issued requests from proposals for the essential exclusive franchise to supply municipal huge new systems offering upwards of 60 channels of television programming.

The several cable company competitors for each of these franchise awards begged, hired local power figures and promised the moon to the cities or joint cable commissions – PEGs (public, education and government) channels anywhere from three to seven channels of community and public access programming. Even after all the cable company investment, they actually received a license to print money and to string their cables alongside telephone and power lines throughout the service areas under the jurisdiction.

This came with huge annual funding and capital equipment supplied by the winning cable company – and with at least a guarantee of 15 years of a franchise. With time, channels added to the tiers of cable television and more money came in – and still they want to take back those channels they “gifted” to the cities and communities – except that these cable outfits pass through their costs assessing per-subscriber fee. That tells you how profitable each of those public access channels could be if they brought back into the commercial corral – while the cities and nonprofits and just plain folk would lose their ability to program to supply the meager information and services over the channels. Why must they re-capture those channels?

Now, most cable commissions and cities are in the throes of second and third rounds of re-franchise negotiations – and again they want to reduce the number of channels, stop funding these channels altogether and/or stop supplying the production and transmission equipment to sustain these important community links to the cities throughout the Metro and well beyond.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and SIOBHAN KIERANS talk with some of the Metro cable access organizations ad advocates to highlight the importance and future of community programming channels and nonprofits serving our local cities.

GUESTS:

CORALIE (COR) WILSON, Executive Director, CTV North Suburbs Community Cable Programming, Roseville (based)

CHAD JOHNSTON – Executive Director, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)

 


MARK HUGHES – CTV Staff & “Disability Viewpoints” – Roseville Channel 15


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

TruthToTell, Monday, April 22-9AM: EARTH DAY 2013: A Wise Entrepreneurial Approach; TruthToTell, April 15: COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS III: Re-entry Issues for Ex-Offenders (AUDIO & VIDEO)

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, April 22, 2013

Call and join this 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!

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

Ed. NOTE: This week, TruthToTell looks at Earth Day as an entrepreneurial and responsible opportunity. Our colleague and engineer, Kel Heyl, himself a green contractor, offered to help assemble this program and offers, too, this reflection on the Day’s creation and this year’s TTT approach to celebrating this now iconic annual reminder of our human responsibility to protect the planet in all ways possible – and, ironically, as businesses new and adapted:

Making Cents of Earth Day

It’s the summer of 1969. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, already considered a champion of the protecting the natural world, had visited an oil spill site in Santa Barbara, California. On his return flight he was reading an article about various “teach-ins” on college campuses dealing with Vietnam, when…“It popped into my head. That’s it! Why not have an environmental teach-in and get everyone involved?”

Senator Nelson returned to Washington and quickly formed a non-profit – Environmental Teach-In, Inc. – recruiting a few Republicans and conservationists to help with the project. On September 20, 1969 he went public with his mission from Seattle:

“I am convinced that the same concern the youth of this nation took in changing this nation’s priorities on the war in Vietnam and on civil rights can be shown for the problems of the environment. Young people can take the leadership away from the indifferent, venal men who are concerned with progress and profit for the sake of progress and profit alone…”

After considering a number of names like Environment Day and Ecology Day, they settled on the appellation, “Earth Day.” Nelson chose the date to maximize participation on college campuses. The week of April 19–25 did not fall during exams or spring break and did not conflict with Easter or Passover. It was late enough to ensure good weather. During the middle of the week there would be more students in class and no competition from other events – so Wednesday, April 22, 1970 was anointed as the target day. When critics later pointed out it was Lenin’s birthday, Nelson replied that it was also the birthday of bothSt. Francis of Assisi, the nature saint, and his own Aunt Tillie.

The above was excerpted from this article. In September,1995, Sen. Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In keeping with the spirit of the times, much of the work flowing from those first Earth Days were seeking top-down large-scale Federal legislation and regulation.

What makes progressive change so difficult now is that a sizeable percentage of the American people are inserting their heads into deep holes they purchase from entities whose short-term bottom lines are enhanced by maintaining unsustainable patterns of consumption. Just regulating industry will not yield a viable future. Today, we look at small-scale day-to-day successes with special attention directed to increasingly sophisticated tools that allow us to make sustainable decisions and how an NGO is becoming a de facto global standard.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI lead our guests through their work on three different points along the sustainability continuum. Each runs a businesses which helps clients make better informed decisions – decisions which make their futures more sustainable without further disrupting the present.

GUESTS:

CINDY OJCZYK – Principal of Simply Green Design and A More Beautiful Home.

RAMY SALIM  –  OwnerSunny Day Earth SolutionsCompleted the first City issued permitted straw bale building in over a decade 

DALE FORSBERG – President of Watson-Forsberg Contracting; specialist in LEED*

*Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – a point based rating system used to answer the questions: How green is this design or building. It was created by the United States Green Building Council.

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW


An explosion of books, televisions show, seminars and public policy proposals in the last two or three years has raised the curtain on some of this country’s most shameful corrections practices, 
most of them having been imposed in peaks and valleys since the official, if not the de facto demise of Jim Crow across the states that dared to thumb their noses at the Constitution and its 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments once again stating the obvious – that all men – and women – are created equal in nature and under the laws once again stating the obvious – that all men – and women – are created equal in nature and under the law.

But Jim Crow never really died. It just stuck itself into the criminal justice and correction systems of every state and the Federal government, thanks to paranoid and expedient political fears over some notion that law and order was out of control – a perception with no solid evidence. In addition to the amazingly disproportionate ratio of men of color serving time in our penitentiaries, their wildly disparate treatment in the streets and criminal justice system has been part of an even larger packing of the jails and prisons in the last few decades.

So. What happens in a country with such injustice as we’ve seen in the economy, job losses and permanent unemployment? What happens when poverty entrenches itself in our core cities and deep rural settings? What happens when it becomes obvious to young men and women who’ve been raised in abusive family settings, without adequate nutrition to feed their hungry stomachs and their hungry minds, without decent educational settings and successful learning? Anger, frustration, despair, desperation and, very often, severe mental illness sometimes driving all of it in the face of being blamed and sometimes beaten for their just being there. These are the seeds and the soil for growing discontent, drug and alcohol addiction, and crime, sometimes damned serious crime. What follows is capture, prosecution, conviction and hard time, sometimes lots of it. But sometimes, if conditions are right, a second chance might come along with a sentence of probation, even for felonies.

Still, in the heat of the lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-key punishment fervor of the judgmental post-World War II lingering of the Great Depression, longer and longer sentences, more disparity in the treatment of offenders, especially by race and poverty levels, many politicians decided that no crime should ever stop going unpunished, and instituted all manner of laws insisting that, like Inspector Jauvert from Les Miserables: no matter the crime, once a crook, always a crook, and, like Jauvert’s lifetime pursuit of the offender Jean Valjean, we often see police and corrections systems pursuing ex-offenders all but forever. Landlords refuse to rent, banks refuse to finance, employers refuse to hire, and, worst of all, governments refuse to restore voting rights – all but guaranteeing a higher recidivism rate – or return to prison – of those freed from prison. What has never left us, is the racism.

All of this AFTER, mind you, the felons or offenders have actually completed their sentences.

In recent years, many advocates, especially those in the landmark Minnesota-based Second Chance Coalition, have stepped to the plate to change the climate of post-incarceration or imprisonment to one of restoration. Restoration of the right to a job,  to live somewhere affordable, and, finally, to vote again. In other words – a return to humanity and citizenship.

It’s been a long slog for these advocates, some working to transition offenders back into the outside world, some to find them jobs and housing, and still others who haunt those halls of the Capitol trying to change the ways laws deal with the restoration of what many consider to be human and/or civil rights.

Only education, involvement and the dropping of our prejudices about those who have paid their debts can we begin to see the fruits of our humanity.

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

 This program was recorded at Headquarters of Community Partner, Goodwill/Easter Seals. Community Partner St. Paul Neighborhood Network’s cameras are rolling and recording this show for airing tonight at 8:00 and beyond on both St. Paul’s cable Channel 19 and Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN) Channel 16. And we will distribute this program widely throughout the Metro and Minnesota wherever we can.

We thank the staff of Goodwill/Easter Seals, especially Deanna Gulliford and Lisa Ritter, for their hospitality and recruiting much of the audience. The program began with a short video - which you can watch here.

TTT'S ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI host Part Three of our Community Connections series, funded by a grant from the Bush Foundation. 

GUESTS/Panelists:

SARAH CATHERINE WALKER – former Chief Operating Officer of 180 Degrees; Co-founding Co-chair of the Second Chance Coalition

STATE SEN. DAVE THOMPSON (R-Lakeville) – Assistant Minority Leader; Ranking Minority Member of the Tax Reform Division of the Senate Taxes Committee

 


MARK HAASE – Vice President for Projects and Operations at Council on Crime & Justice; Co-chair, Second Chance Coalition

ROB STEWART – University of Minnesota Doctoral Student in Sociology; Former Felon

TruthToTell, Monday, April 15 - 9AM: COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS III: Re-entry Issues for Ex-Offenders;

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, April 15, 2013

 

An explosion of books, televisions show, seminars and public policy proposals in the last two or three years has raised the curtain on some of this country’s most shameful corrections practices, most of them having been imposed in peaks and valleys since the official, if not the de facto demise of Jim Crow across the states that dared to thumb their noses at the Constitution and its 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments once again stating the obvious – that all men – and women – are created equal in nature and under the laws once again stating the obvious – that all men – and women – are created equal in nature and under the law.

But Jim Crow never really died. It just stuck itself into the criminal justice and correction systems of every state and the Federal government, thanks to paranoid and expedient political fears over some notion that law and order was out of control – a perception with no solid evidence. In addition to the amazingly disproportionate ratio of men of color serving time in our penitentiaries, their wildly disparate treatment in the streets and criminal justice system has been part of an even larger packing of the jails and prisons in the last few decades.

So. What happens in a country with such injustice as we’ve seen in the economy, job losses and permanent unemployment? What happens when poverty entrenches itself in our core cities and deep rural settings? What happens when it becomes obvious to young men and women who’ve been raised in abusive family settings, without adequate nutrition to feed their hungry stomachs and their hungry minds, without decent educational settings and successful learning? Anger, frustration, despair, desperation and, very often, severe mental illness sometimes driving all of it in the face of being blamed and sometimes beaten for their just being there. These are the seeds and the soil for growing discontent, drug and alcohol addiction, and crime, sometimes damned serious crime. What follows is capture, prosecution, conviction and hard time, sometimes lots of it. But sometimes, if conditions are right, a second chance might come along with a sentence of probation, even for felonies.

Still, in the heat of the lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-key punishment fervor of the judgmental post-World War II lingering of the Great Depression, longer and longer sentences, more disparity in the treatment of offenders, especially by race and poverty levels, many politicians decided that no crime should ever stopgoing unpunished, and instituted all manner of laws insisting that, like Inspector Jauvert from Les Miserables: no matter the crime, once a crook, always a crook, and, like Jauvert’s lifetime pursuit of the offender Jean Valjean, we often see police and corrections systems pursuing ex-offenders all but forever. Landlords refuse to rent, banks refuse to finance, employers refuse to hire, and, worst of all, governments refuse to restore voting rights – all but guaranteeing a higher recidivism rate – or return to prison – of those freed from prison. What has never left us, is the racism.

All of this AFTER, mind you, the felons or offenders have actually completed their sentences.

In recent years, many advocates, especially those in the landmark Minnesota-based Second Chance Coalition, have stepped to the plate to change the climate of post-incarceration or imprisonment to one of restoration. Restoration of the right to a job,  to live somewhere affordable, and, finally, to vote again. In other words – a return to humanity and citizenship.

It’s been a long slog for these advocates, some working to transition offenders back into the outside world, some to find them jobs and housing, and still others who haunt those halls of the Capitol trying to change the ways laws deal with the restoration of what many consider to be human and/or civil rights.

Only education, involvement and the dropping of our prejudices about those who have paid their debts can we begin to see the fruits of our humanity.

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

 This program was recorded at Headquarters of Community Partner, Goodwill/Easter Seals. Community Partner St. Paul Neighborhood Network’s cameras are rolling and recording this show for airing tonight at 8:00 and beyond on both St. Paul’s cable Channel 19 and Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN) Channel 16. And we will distribute this program widely throughout the Metro and Minnesota wherever we can.

We thank the staff of Goodwill/Easter Seals, especially Deanna Gulliford and Lisa Ritter, for their hospitality and recruiting much of the audience. The program began with a short video - which you can watch here.

TTT'S ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI host Part Three of our Community Connections series, funded by a grant from the Bush Foundation. 

GUESTS/Panelists:

SARAH CATHERINE WALKER – former Chief Operating Officer of 180 Degrees; Co-founding Co-chair of the Second Chance Coalition

STATE SEN. DAVE THOMPSON (R-Lakeville) – Assistant Minority Leader; Ranking Minority Member of the Tax Reform Division of the Senate Taxes Committee

 


MARK HAASE – Vice President for Projects and Operations at Council on Crime & Justice; Co-chair, Second Chance Coalition

ROB STEWART – University of Minnesota Doctoral Student in Sociology; Former Felon

No comments yet - be the first!

 

MOST RECENT SHOW

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

Monday, April 8, 2013

HEY! It’s SPRING MEMBERSHIP DRIVE TIME at KFAI – a perfect opportunity to show your support for BOTH KFAI – the Mother Ship for TruthToTell – AND TruthToTell itself. 612-375-9030.

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

It’s possible that 2012’s Election results have significantly changed the climate for immigration reform across the US. Last June, President Obama has issued anExecutive Order allowing children of undocumented workers a great deal of leeway toward seeking education and serving in the military without fear of deportation.

Nevertheless, some barriers remain to making certain standards apply to those same young people and their parents when it comes to paying in-state or resident tuition rates and applying for and receiving drivers’ licenses not only in Minnesota, but many other states. This makes life uncertain for many of those aspiring new Americans in going from state to state or changing residence. One of the worst is surely the inability of Minnesota’s college-bound undocumented high-schoolers and adults the least expensive tuition rates possible.

For children living here to pay out-of-state or nonresident tuition, which can double and triple their cost of post-secondary education seems idiotic on its face. But the anti-immigrant, anti-undocumented fervor among certain blocs of legislators and voters that dictated the tougher stance in earlier years, despite the contributions those same workers make to the comfort of us all, not to mention the taxes they pay, may be melting under the  heat of the last election, including the shifting majorities in the Minnesota Legislature.

Bills in both houses to relieve such young people and their parents from facing those previous barriers to full resident privileges are wending their way through relevant committees, each sponsored by core constituent representative and senators and backed by a wide range of business and advocacy groups, and guided by several spokespeople, including our guests this week.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with those advocates and at least one sponsor of one of those bills about just what those new laws would allow, if passed.

GUESTS:

SEN. SANDY PAPPAS – President of the Minnesota Senate and Chair, State and Local Government Committee; Author of Senate File 723 (MN Dream Act), (co-sponsored by Sens.Torres Ray, Cohen, Franzen and Hayden; House Companion, HF875, Authored by Rep. Carlos Mariani and a bi-partisan list of co-sponsors).*


 

FRANCISCO SEGOVIA – Director, Waite House of Pillsbury United Communities

NESTOR GOMEZ – DEEP Youth Organizer, Tamales y Bicicletas (Food & Environmental Justice advocacy)

 

*Drivers’ License (Licencias para Todos – Licenses for All) bills HF348 and SF271 can also be found online.

 

TruthToTell, April 15: COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS III: Re-entry Issues for Ex-Offenders - AUDIO of April 10th Telecast

On-air date: 
Mon, 04/15/2013
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.

An explosion of books, televisions show, seminars and public policy proposals in the last two or three years has raised the curtain on some of this country’s most shameful corrections practices, most of them having been imposed in peaks and valleys since the official, if not the de facto demise of Jim Crow across the states that dared to thumb their noses at the Constitution and its 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments once again stating the obvious – that all men – and women – are created equal in nature and under the laws once again stating the obvious – that all men – and women – are created equal in nature and under the law.

But Jim Crow never really died. It just stuck itself into the criminal justice and correction systems of every state and the Federal government, thanks to paranoid and expedient political fears over some notion that law and order was out of control – a perception with no solid evidence. In addition to the amazingly disproportionate ratio of men of color serving time in our penitentiaries, their wildly disparate treatment in the streets and criminal justice system has been part of an even larger packing of the jails and prisons in the last few decades.

So. What happens in a country with such injustice as we’ve seen in the economy, job losses and permanent unemployment? What happens when poverty entrenches itself in our core cities and deep rural settings? What happens when it becomes obvious to young men and women who’ve been raised in abusive family settings, without adequate nutrition to feed their hungry stomachs and their hungry minds, without decent educational settings and successful learning? Anger, frustration, despair, desperation and, very often, severe mental illness sometimes driving all of it in the face of being blamed and sometimes beaten for their just being there. These are the seeds and the soil for growing discontent, drug and alcohol addiction, and crime, sometimes damned serious crime. What follows is capture, prosecution, conviction and hard time, sometimes lots of it. But sometimes, if conditions are right, a second chance might come along with a sentence of probation, even for felonies.

Still, in the heat of the lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-key punishment fervor of the judgmental post-World War II lingering of the Great Depression, longer and longer sentences, more disparity in the treatment of offenders, especially by race and poverty levels, many politicians decided that no crime should ever stop going unpunished, and instituted all manner of laws insisting that, like Inspector Jauvert from Les Miserables: no matter the crime, once a crook, always a crook, and, like Jauvert’s lifetime pursuit of the offender Jean Valjean, we often see police and corrections systems pursuing ex-offenders all but forever. Landlords refuse to rent, banks refuse to finance, employers refuse to hire, and, worst of all, governments refuse to restore voting rights – all but guaranteeing a higher recidivism rate – or return to prison – of those freed from prison. What has never left us, is the racism.

All of this AFTER, mind you, the felons or offenders have actually completed their sentences.

In recent years, many advocates, especially those in the landmark Minnesota-based Second Chance Coalition, have stepped to the plate to change the climate of post-incarceration or imprisonment to one of restoration. Restoration of the right to a job,  to live somewhere affordable, and, finally, to vote again. In other words – a return to humanity and citizenship.

It’s been a long slog for these advocates, some working to transition offenders back into the outside world, some to find them jobs and housing, and still others who haunt those halls of the Capitol trying to change the ways laws deal with the restoration of what many consider to be human and/or civil rights.

Only education, involvement and the dropping of our prejudices about those who have paid their debts can we begin to see the fruits of our humanity.

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

 This program was recorded at Headquarters of Community Partner, Goodwill/Easter Seals. Community Partner St. Paul Neighborhood Network’s cameras are rolling and recording this show for airing tonight at 8:00 and beyond on both St. Paul’s cable Channel 19 and Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (MTN) Channel 16. And we will distribute this program widely throughout the Metro and Minnesota wherever we can.

We thank the staff of Goodwill/Easter Seals, especially Deanna Gulliford and Lisa Ritter, for their hospitality and recruiting much of the audience. The program began with a short video - which you can watch here.

TTT'S ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI host Part Three of our Community Connections series, funded by a grant from the Bush Foundation. 

GUESTS/Panelists:

SARAH CATHERINE WALKER – former Chief Operating Officer of 180 Degrees; Co-founding Co-chair of the Second Chance Coalition

STATE SEN. DAVE THOMPSON (R-Lakeville) – Assistant Minority Leader; Ranking Minority Member of the Tax Reform Division of the Senate Taxes Committee

 


MARK HAASE – Vice President for Projects and Operations at Council on Crime & Justice; Co-chair, Second Chance Coalition

ROB STEWART – University of Minnesota Doctoral Student in Sociology; Former Felon