TruthToTell, Monday, Dec 10–9AM: TONY BOUZA: Stream of Thoughts on Cops, Media and Life; TruthToTell, Dec 3: METROPOLITAN STATE: That OTHER 4-year Public University


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, December 10, 2012

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



For many of us TONY BOUZA’S forever been an enigma. This erudite retired cop and former Minneapolis Police Chief has blown most of us away with his extraordinary command of the language and the kind of candor that makes most Minnesotans squirm. This is not a state given easily to the sort of directness Tony Bouza’s pretty much always brought to the table.

But, for some us, too, a cop is a cop – and our observations of the police culture, especially as lived inside the Minneapolis Department over these many decades has led to some serious distrust of that culture’s propensity for violence, deception and self-preservation, often at the cost of innocent lives. An entire organization dedicated to stopping police brutality thrives in Minneapolis  with no shortage of cases to protest almost every week.

At first blush, Bouza’s appointment by Mayor Don Fraser in 1980, it was thought that, together, the guys would either watch the Minneapolis cops clean themselves up or be cleansed by these two brilliant politicians. Neither happened, for the most part, and certainly not for long. The Minneapolis Police Department remains one of the most notorious nests of thumpers and liars and those who protect them by either covering up their crimes and misdemeanors (and felonies) or failing to report the transgressions they know are illegal. Bouza’s only one of several former cops to come forward with the ugly truths about policing.

Now comes a little tome in which now 84-year-old Tony Bouza, already an author of some note, has compiled a captivating series of essays on what he says have been Lessons Learned (Southside Pride, June, 2012). His opening piece on one of his most admired adversaries, the late anti-war activist, Marv Davidov, is similar to the eulogy he delivered at Marv’s life celebration to a packed house at St. Thomas University over a year ago, and the picture of them facing down each other through Honeywell’s Defense fences is a well-staged classic. Bouza’s wife Erica was on the other side of that fence with Davidov.

Bouza winds up this booklet of memories with a scathing denunciation of what he calls the out-of-control police culture in America, tracing his credibility to make such a judgment across his career and retirement years – just shy of 60 of them as this is written. We’ll explore his views on this subject in depth.

In between those bookends of columns are a bit under 100 pages of newsprint containing his observations on the passing scenes of life as he’s encountered it from his days as a rookie in New York City where his native Spanish language came in handy during a tale of real intrigue he recounts as an indictment of dictators everywhere through his stints in other cities, even a treatise on Minnesotans and Media and Picking Police Chiefs and Racial Profiling.

Well, you get the idea. It’s hard to say if anyone else’s stream of consciousness writing on such a variety of topics would fascinate as much as Tony’s does, but it’s an unlikely match at best.

I hope we can do justice to it by spending an hour with Tony Bouza this week on TruthToTell. In any event, TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI will try and over as many of the better bases in Bouza’s book as possible.




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Monday, December 3, 2012



The story of that other Twin Cities four-year higher education institution – Metropolitan State University – never really started out as a competitor for the University of Minnesota. It was designed to do much of what the UofM was not doing – appealing to older, especially older workers from underserved populations – surely more Latinos and African-Americans – to complete their degree programs based on the competence they had acquired in their lives and work.

It started in 1971 as Minnesota Metropolitan State College, thanks to a legislative mandate, and some 46 faculty members – more than half of them part time, what they now refer to as community faculty – started classes in 1972, and graduated their first 12 students in 1973. They did all this from unlikely venues for a higher education institution – from a storeroom in the Capital Center Skyway as the first administration office to rather ill-equipped “classrooms” in downtown buildings, church basements, synagogues and outlying commercial structures.

The whole thing was originally geared to cover only the upper division – the last two years – of a normal 4-year college, but highly keyed to individuals wanting to – finally – finish their undergraduate education. This non-traditional approach turned Metro State into something of an enclave of rebellious promoters of higher ed who believed in the inherent learning abilities of people for whom completing a degree had been difficult, if not impossible, in the normal course of life: poverty, the need to work instead of the formally schooled, racism, etc.

This became a school that recruited and welcomed those folks, teaching them what it means to be an educated person, preparing them for learning late in life and for lifelong learning – never stopping to see learning as valuable, ongoing asset in all we do. For those who had working and living experiences that could be converted to college credit, devices and evaluations were created to recognize them. This, too, shortened the time commitment that would be otherwise required to get that BA degree. (Eventually, Metro started adding several Master’s programs).

Presidents and faculty were picked to run the place who agreed with the philosophy that all people can learn – and should and be credited for it – and you didn’t need too formal an enrolment and teaching environment to do so. A cadre of counselors and advisers who doubled as instructors guided students from getting the word out to dragging them in the door to sign on and helping them design their degree programs – a mishmash of classes, tests, transfer credits and prior learning experiences. Dr. David Sweet was the inaugural president, followed by Dr. Reatha Clark King and several others leading up to today’s Dr. Sue K. Hammersmith. The campus is large and growing all the time, familiar for it’s 4-story glass edifice sitting on Dayton’s Bluff overlooking downtown St. Paul. Several hundred faculty teach several thousands of students, now.

Then, in 1994, the Legislature turn what had been a beloved rebel into a true 4-year university, so great was the need to provide not only a continuum from community and technical colleges to Metro, but a true freshman through senior alternative to the U, often in applied curriculums – that is, classes that prepared for jobs at less expensive rates than the larger school in town. Not everyone in this school thought that was progress.

This week, TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL (Class of 2002) and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with one of the truly successful graduate, now a community faculty member and a newly reelected state senator; an old guard professor near retirement; a graduate for whom Metro changed an otherwise troubled career and who now contributes mightily to its curriculum; and yet another who constantly reminds the administration of its duty to a now-huge faculty and student body:


 STATE SEN. SANDRA PAPPAS (DFL-65, St. Paul) – President, Minnesota State Senate, Metro State Community Faculty member; Metro State graduate.

 TOM O’CONNELL – Professor of Political Science and History, former Dean of Social Sciences, Metropolitan State University.



 JASON SOLE – Community Faculty, Criminal Justice Studies, Metropolitan State University

 MONTE BUTE – Associate Professor, Social Sciences, Metropolitan State University