TruthToTell, Monday, Sept 2−9AM: VIKINGS STADIUM: Skirting the Voters Legal?; CivicMedia/MN LEGACY SPECIAL: Part Two of CIRCLE OF THE WITCH: 1970s Feminist Theatre Collective; TruthToTell, AUG 26: COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS: Unheralded Housing Affordability


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 2, 2013


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While the state and Stadium Authority wrangle with the Wilf family over the latter’s personal and business financials before it approves a new Viking Stadium, a Hennepin County District Court case is asking a judge to order enforcement of a City Charterprovision for a public vote on any city expenditure of $10 million or more on private entities has been awaiting a ruling.

Minneapolis Mayoral candidate Doug Mann – one of the 35 candidates now running for that office – chose to make this one of his main issues in that race. In an uphill battle and representing himself, but supported by a resurrected Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association and opposed by the City of Minneapolis and other defendants, Mann contends that the city’s share of the stadium – $309 million – cannot be paid out without a public referendum called for in the City Charter after a 1997 voter–passed initiative. This would contravene a specific legislative override of that charter provision by the law authorizing public involvement in building the Vikings Stadium – the override language saying, “…without regard to any charter limitation, requirement, or provision, including any referendum requirement.”

Reportage on this has pointed to some inconsistencies in Mann’s lawsuit, but it was taken under advisement, in any event.

Mann is up against state law allowing for special legislation empowering city councils to act as they see fit on a given project if not already authorized under state or local law. With a home rule charter like that governing Minneapolis, voter-approved amendments normally carry great weight with courts, but the state override, once approved by the City Council, theoretically negates any local laws to the contrary. Mann insists this goes against the state constitution.

As quoted in the StarTribune, Mann’s argument is that, yes, “The legislature has authority to repeal laws, including the city charter provision,” said Mann...“It’s another question if they have the right to disenfranchise the voters of Minneapolis by overriding a right that the local governments have under the state constitution” to approve special laws through a governing body or public referendum. But the judge warned Mann that constitutional questions can only be resolved in Ramsey County court – the jurisdiction for resolution of state legal questions.

At this writing, the judge, Philip Bush, has not likely issued his ruling. But he acknowledged that Mann has raised some intriguing questions about the role of the state constitution in special legislation overriding certain local laws and ordinances.

These are some of the questions we want to explore with Mr. Mann and David Tilsen, a former Minneapolis School Board member and a leader in the Farmer-Labor Association, on the one hand, and at least one labor leader, Wade Luneburg.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL will talk with these guys about the stadium issues and about the deeper issues surrounding the overriding of local charters and ordinances by state fiat.


DOUG MANN – Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate; Plaintiff in the case of Mann v. Minneapolis

DAVID TILSEN – Member, Minneapolis Farmer-Labor Association; former Mpls. School Board member

WADE LUNEBURG – Member, Stadium Implementation Committee; Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE Local 17, of Hospitality workers union in the Twin Cities.


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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In addition to our weekly public affairs program, TruthToTell, CivicMedia produces documentaries on culturally and politically important Minnesota and Twin Cities organizations of historical note, originating as“Minneculture” specials on KFAI Radio and financed primarily by Minnesota’s Legacy Fund. Our planned series recalling the Vietnam era’s activist 1970s in Minneapolis-St. Paul and their influence on our political and cultural landscape starts with a two-part retrospective of the collectivist Circle of the Witch Theatre troupe, a premiere feminist change agent of early 1970s Minnesota, presenting homegrown plays and dealing out lessons in women’s social and economic change. Parts One and Two first aired on KFAI FM 90.3, 106.7 & live at

These were plays, sketches and multimedia presentations that jerked a tear or two or took a good bite out of conscience and traditional sensibilities about the roles and pigeonholes to which women were so often assigned back then. Most say the change to real equity has, like the issue of race in America, been far slower than it should have been. Comedy and tragedy shared the stage.

The “ouch” musical satire of “Sexpot Follies” was met with the occupational hazards for women and the internalized conflicts between mothers and daughters of “Lady in a Corner”, or the history-tracing and often sad “Time is Passing” and the abstractions of the “The Changebringers.”

Many of the women that formed the collective and shared all its original playwriting, composing and performing duties also lived communally with other women, and some men as well, including this series’ co-producer, Tom O’Connell, a freshly retired political science professor from Metropolitan State University and CivicMedia’s Board Chair.

Andy Driscoll wrote, produced, recorded and edited this Special.

Minneculture Producer is Nancy Sartor

The four women here of the founding seven members formed the core in what would become a company of some 24 rotating cast members and creators, and as you will hear, took their often biting and pointed satirical sketches to college campuses across the state:

Sandy Pappas helped found the small company. She started life as an actress and theatre major, but her politics simmered and ultimately boiled over into running for elected office. For 27 years, Sandy’s held state Legislative office, the last 21 as a Minnesota state senator, and, now, President of the Minnesota Senate.





Company co-founder and Pennsylvania transplant Susan Gust would co-found a construction and community development company here at age 23, then start the ReUse Center in Minneapolis after working  on economic and environmental justice issue. Today, Susan teaches and consults on social justice through Community-based Research.





Circle of the Witch company member Jo Haberman, a near North Minneapolis native, has devoted the last 30-odd years to community organizing and collaboration, especially working with young people, and now with the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board.




Another Circle of the Witch original, Micaela (Mickie) Massimino, arrived here from the East Coast for her baccalaureate studies in feminist art at the University of Minnesota, jumped into the theatre troupe, ultimately departing for journalism jobs and college teaching back east before settling into her present job as an editor for the Sacramento Bee.



TruthToTell, AUG 26: COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS: Unheralded Housing Affordability - AUDIO is UP HERE; VIDEO Coming
On-air date: 

   Mon, 08/26/2013

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How many conversations have we had about affordable housing options around the state and Metro and, especially when foreclosures mushroomed, plus what to do about underwater mortgages when home values tanked?

And about all those unenforced efforts to create affordable housing options under Minnesota and Met Council policies, especially in suburban areas panicked over a surge in “those people” if affordable housing came to fruition?

And, then, the seemingly unstoppable flood of absentee property acquisition and ownership – and neglect – by landlords unwilling to maintain rental units and spawning the very creation of our inner city slums in what became a cycle of conditions that had institutionalized that neglect so that a century of poverty and exploitation became the norm in too many neighborhoods?

Then, the flood of well-intentioned quest for using homeownership as a tool to combat absentee neglect only to find subprime mortgages flourish and unscrupulous banks and mortgage brokers willing to throw buyers into houses they could ill-afford and into debt that took those properties away again, leaving them to fend in the streets.

And what about all those properties abandoned turning entire blocks into ballparks or prairie?

Did anyone mention community land trusts as a serious way of providing perpetually affordable land use options and affordable housing opportunities? If we did, it was in passing. No dwelling.

Monday morning, we’ll dwell on the subject a good deal longer and learn much more about what on the surface seems like an sensible and underutilized option for cities, states and Metro areas feeling responsible for providing adequate and affordable shelter for their citizens.

We can start with this question: is housing or some form of shelter a right of societal or community membership? If so, why haven’t we explored these options and supplied such shelter for all over the last 200 years around here – longer elsewhere?

What is a land trust, anyway? What and who started this concept? And why does it seem on the surface to make so much sense even for smaller communities within communities?


Of course, one must qualify and be willing to give up ownership of the land to own the house on it. We’re a land-hungry breed, so this may be tough even for the poorest among us.

Lots of questions to answer.

But we’ll do our best enlighten us all about this concept and its possibilities for all of our communities. TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with at least one Community Land Trust executive and get our questions answered about the potential for– and the limitations of – community land trusts.

On-air guests: 

JEFF WASHBURNE – Executive Director, City of Lakes Community Land Trust, Minneapolis

GREG FINZELL – Executive Director, Rondo Community Land Trust, St. Paul