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Debate on E-Democracy Forum: Should the Minneapolis Police Chief be Fired?

 

Background: 

There is a division of opinion in the community between those who want the city to put a priority on fighting violent crime and those who view crime through the prism of race.  When Mayor Rybak, Council Member Samuels, and Police Chief Dolan announced the formation of a gang strike force to target gang violence, some black community leaders in north Minneapolis including Rev. Jerry McAfee denounced this effort as “racial profiling”.  DFL stalwarts on the list tend to stress racial discrimination more than “law and order” types living in the crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Prior to this thread, there were a number of postings about a $2 million proposed settlement to a lawsuit brought against the city of Minneapolis by five black officers who had been demoted by Chief Tim Dolan.  The size of the award and quickness of the settlement suggested to some that the racial abuse must have been considerable for the city to react this way.  However, the judge presiding over the case imposed a gag order so that it was difficult to obtain further facts.

I posted the following message on July 24, 2008, at 1:30 p.m.:

“Before Tim Dolan became police chief, I had an opportunity to see him and talk with him in his role as 4th precinct inspector.  He seemed level-headed and free of animosity toward anyone. A friend of mine, who is black, arranged for a breakfast meeting at Milda’s restaurant with Dolan to discuss crime in our neighborhood.  He was attentive and helpful.  Dolan also engaged in friendly chat with a group of black officers at a neighboring table including some involved in the lawsuit.

Now as police chief Dolan has apparently become a raving racist with horns sprouting from his head.  I don’t believe it.  Granted, my contact with Dolan was superficial but for me it was a better indicator of the man than what I read on this discussion list or in the newspaper or in court filings.  

I must admit being startled when I read that officer Adams had been disciplined for his kindness toward the family of a murder victim.  I also liked Lee Edwards and was sorry to see him be demoted from his position of leadership at the 4th precinct.  Whatever happened behind closed doors at police headquarters was, on the surface, troubling and has been addressed by this lawsuit settlement.  You guys and gals can go farther and demand Dolan’s head.  I won’t follow.”

Joe Nathan, a DFLer, heads the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota.  He is a nationally known expert on charter schools.

Shortly before my posting,Nathan posted the following message:

“A quick thought - that perhaps already has occurred to people who read 
this forum...

You might want to contact the mayor's office and your local city council 
member about this.

You might want to ask 4 or 5 friends to do the same.

If hundreds of people contact each council member, my sense is that the 
public would get a LOT more information about what has happened.  
Moreover, if hundreds of people contacted each city council member and 
the mayor, my sense is that there would be greater accountability for 
whatever happened.

It takes only a minute or so...

As I do not live in Mpls, I do not think it appropriate for me to call.  
But I sure would if this happened in St. Paul, where I live.

Thanks for considering this.

Sincerely

Joe Nathan”
Highland Park
St Paul

A woman named Marguerite Belmares then posted this message in response to mine:

“Aren't you the guy running for an office position of some sort? I don't think anyone is demanding that the Police Chief be strung up. I'm certainly not. What I am asking for is that these allegations be looked into and depositions be taken and become public.
 
Please quote the reference made that Dolan is a ranting raving racist.
 
These are the kinds of remarks made by people in order to pin sides against each other. A very very cheap trick.”

A second incident occurred when Chief Tim Dolan held a public ceremony to honor members of a police SWAT team who had stormed into a house in north Minneapolis looking for criminals.  It was the wrong house.  An informant had given the officers bad information.  The city apologized and gave the family several thousand dollars for damages.  Fortunately, no one was killed or injured in the gun-shooting incident.  Joe Nathan then began another discussion thread objecting the fact that someone had said that the officers were “just following orders” and should not be blamed for the misplaced attack.

 

Name of discussion thread:   Mpls. Police and “Just Following Orders”


From: Joe Nathan Date: Aug 01 17:05 CDT

"When some German leaders said they were "just following orders", did the
US and other allies accept this as a defense?

Now the Mpls police chief is defending actions of police officers who
broke into the WRONG house and shot at family members as "just following orders." 

He continues to defend them - please see below.

Also elow are two emails from Sheena Thao, a member of the Center for
School Change staff and graduate of Edison High School in Minneapolis.
Sheena and her family are rightly deeply disturbed by the decision of
the Minneapolis Police Chief to give medals this week to police officers
who broke into the wrong house, and then engaged in an exchange of gun
shots.

Sheena, her family, and many other people with whom I've spoken agree -
awarding these police officers medals is an incredibly unfortunate and
inappropriate thing to do.

This afternoon I talked directly with Council member Gordon, who shares
these very strong concerns.  He encouraged me to let other people know.
He says that City Council members welcome and will appreciate written
statements about this.

Please consider sharing your views on this with the mayor
email obscured, and relevant city council members, along with the
Star Tribune.   Other CSC staff and I have done this.  You may have
noticed the Star Tribune editorial yesterday, which strongly challenged
the police chief's decision.   Good for them.  THERE is a moral
conscience on the editorial board.

Now we need one in City Hall.

The police chief has responded to Sheena and members of her family
(please see below).  He continues, in the view of Sheena, her family and
other CSC staff, to be truly out of touch.

My own view is that the chief should be strongly censured, reprimanded,
suspended and or fired.

I have spoken personally to one city council member who agrees with my
deep concerns and says that other written communications would be very
helpful. (I have done this).

SO - please consider taking a stand on this.

Breaking into a person's house at night, at any time has terrible
connotations in my culture. To defend this as "just following orders" is
incredible. To honor people who broke into the wrong house is to me,
outrageous and unacceptable.

Sincerely

Joe Nathan
Humphrey Institute
University of Minnesota

Sheena Thao wrote:  ....... Here's what the police chief had to say in response to my sister's letter. Again--very disappointing.


    
From: Wizard Marks Date: Aug 01 20:32 CDT

This isn't the first time the wrong house has been the focus of a police raid. Some 15+ years ago, a 90-year old woman had her door crashed in in the middle of the night by a SWAT team. It's a wonder she didn't have a heart attack and die on the spot.

"Oops!" said the MPD. "We shoulda invaded the house next door." A fat lotta good that does the elderly woman.
There is no excuse for this kind of mistake. I expect officers of the MPD to get their ducks in a row before they leave the station.

Chief Dolan's reply to Mr. Thao was so lame it makes me wince.


    
From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 01 20:56 CDT


Joe Nathan, who lives in St. Paul, feels quite comfortable urging Minneapolis residents to flood their Council members and the mayor to get information about the discrimination-settlement lawsuit and stampede them into getting rid of Mpls. police chief Tim Dolan when a judge issued a gag order preventing disclosure of information.  Now, using Nazi analogies, Nathan's at it again, lusting for Dolan's scalp.

It's true that the officers raided the wrong house but that was on the basis of information given by a usually reliable witness.  Dolan's letter to Ms. Thao may not have pushed the right buttons to please Nathan but it did strike me as a sincere attempt to explain the situation.

Mr. Nathan, keep your hateful attitudes on your side of the river.


    
From: Jim Bernstein Date: Aug 02 02:31 CDT

I live in Minneapolis and I am not "lusting" for chief Dolan' scalp.  That
said, when I read about this my thoughts were exactly the same as Mr.
Nathan!  To suggest that "just following orders" excuses this situation is
grotesque.  When Minneapolis Police officers come crashing into a house
where law abiding citizens are living and their in no criminal activity or
criminals present and 28 shots are fired, "usually" reliable isn't good
enough. And then to excuse and then reward the actions of the officers with
"just following orders" should give one pause about the quality of
leadership in our Police Department.

Jim Bernstein
Fulton

 

From: Jeremiah Bohn Date: Aug 02 08:02 CDT


I'm not sure what us "second amendment partisans" have to add, but
I'll say this- the medals are an extremely bad idea, and their timing
is more than a little suspect.  Further, I'll add that there was a
great deal of luck involved for all sides in this confrontation-
"bulletproof" vests aren't in all circumstances.  The father did what
I expect a lot of folks, myself included, might do if there homes were
invaded in the middle of the night by a group of people shouting
things the father didn't understand- he defended his family.  Give him
a medal, and smack someone downtown's nose with a rolled-up newspaper for this cock-up of gigantic proportions...
    

From: Dan McGuire Date: Aug 02 08:11 CDT

Bill McGaughey wrote: .........

I'm descended from Irish Catholics who've kept a wary eye on authorities
for centuries;  I live on the right side of the river (heading
downstream) and I'm with Joe on this.  What action deserved a medal? I
don't get it.  I'm disgusted that there weren't reprimands instead of
medals.


    
From: Wizard Marks Date: Aug 02 09:59 CDT

Wm. McGaughey: "Joe Nathan, who lives in St. Paul, feels quite comfortable .... Mr. Nathan, keep your hateful attitudes on your side of the river." From an earlier post: "I will seek the endorsement of the Independence Party of Minnesota for U.S.Senate."
Hoist on one's own petard.


    
From: Bill Kahn (D) Date: Aug 02 10:50 CDT 

I don't know. Any MPD cop who goes to work everyday deserves a medal,
provided that the way that work is done doesn't exacerbate things and
add up to multimillion dollar settlements with revenue that should go
for city services and infrastructure. When we read about any serious
incident to which police respond, it is really about human failure.
Most of the time when the police respond, it is about collective
failures coming to a head.

Yesterday, many folks attended memorials for I35 bridge collapse
victims. The collapse was all about failures: the failure of
maintenance and repair folks, design engineers, inspectors,
bureaucrats involved, and all the people who trained them. All led to
the collapse, a disaster to which MPD responded admirably.
So what brought a SWAT team to a house to terrorize a family in the
middle of the night? Failures of all kinds brought them to the wrong
house. A big long list of failing people in public service as well as
those who were failed, create most of our problems in our lives.
Someone, many someones, screwed up. The MPD followed procedure, but
things followed Murphy's Law; through some miracle no one got killed,
so Chief Dolan awarded a medal. Not the choice some chiefs would make
and perhaps yet another failure, but I guess he thought the state of
morale demanded it or something.

I think the barbecue idea in another thread might serve everyone
better; celebrating our good fortune that no blood was spilled seems
more appropriate than awarding a medals for this never ending fiasco.
I don't know if a feed would keep the family from suing, but it is a
whole lot more likely to than awarding medals to the cops. Throw
these folks a pig roast and perhaps a medals as well.
    

From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 02 11:25 CDT


"I am unaware that my posting or any other accused Mr. Nathan of “attacking the police”.  That misstates the argument that I made.  The issue was that, in my opinion, Nathan was orchestrating a personal campaign to get Minneapolis residents to stampede the mayor and City Council members to get rid of police chief Tim Dolan - giving out phone numbers to call, etc.

No, there’s nothing wrong with living in St. Paul. But it does make a
difference where one lives when deciding questions of police policy.  The fact that Nathan works in a relatively safe part of Minneapolis means nothing.  If you’re living in parts of the city that are gang “war zones”, your priority is that the police do something about the problem.

Maybe a reason that the city administration has kept Dolan on as police chief is that the police department under his leadership has begun to take significant steps against street crime unlike previous ones that just let the crime-ridden neighborhoods suffer. To do nothing rather than take the risky steps to apprehend the criminals is all too tempting to police officers, I’m sure:  Wait to retire in one piece.

The way I understand the situation in which the officers stormed the wrong house (where they faced gun fire) and were later honored is that Chief Dolan wanted visibly to stand by his men.  Such a step engenders loyalty and a fighting spirit so necessary to men in combat.  It would have been easy for the chief to have put the blame for the misguided attack on the officers involved even though they were acting on the basis of what they thought was good information.  That’s how some political leaders react; and it’s a reason why morale is low in some police departments.

Yes, the officers were “just following orders”.  They had to; it was both their job and an operational necessity.  Unlike guards in a German concentration camp, the officers had no inkling of the fact that they were attacking the wrong target.  The Nazi associations were both unhelpful and misleading; and the fact that Nathan is a Jew gives him no special dispensation to be making this kind of argument.  It was a smear tactic.

I will admit that it was insensitive to the family whose house was attacked that the officers were publicly honored. The city administration has stated that the attack was a mistake.  Mayor Rybak has also said that the public commendation was wrong.  Dolan, needing to inspire confidence and loyalty within the ranks, has not gone so far.

Yesterday, after having reported fifteen gun shots behind my house - one of which might well have killed someone - I’m sad to say that, an hour after I posted my report on this list, there was an attempted break-in to my building - an attempted home invasion - which scared the wits out of the female tenant. Six young men tried to force their way through the back door after tearing screens and throwing rocks through three windows.
I called 911.  An officer came.  We obtained descriptions of the assailants and learned that two were in a nearby barbershop.  The officers went into the barbershop and arrested two men whose identity was confirmed by the victim.  So this had a relatively happy ending.  Yet, the officer confided that the arrested men might well be soon released after being given a “slap on the wrist”.

In summary, my present opinion is that under chief Dolan’s leadership the
Minneapolis police are “doing their job”, at least in most cases, and that the main cause of our crime continuing problem lies elsewhere - perhaps with prosecutors, judges, or the corrections system.
Now, of course, if Tim Dolan does become a crowd-pleasing politician who takes the easy way out and lets city residents down, then you’ll find me joining the chorus to demand his ouster.

I will staunchly resist efforts, on this discussion list and elsewhere, to
downplay the urgent need of city residents to have safe streets while instead focusing on words used in public statements that have may disagreeable political overtones.  Keep your eye on the main thing.

P.S. I don’t see what my having sought the Independence Party endorsement for U.S. Senate has to do with this question. Wizard Marks’ latest posting doesn’t make any sense."
    

From: Bill Kahn (D) Date: Aug 02 13:13 CDT

"I'm reasonably certain that she was commenting on the provincialism
displayed by someone she thought was in the primary battle along with
the seven others running to be the Independence candidate for U.S.
Senate in November. Two are from Minneapolis and one from St. Paul,
although the latter candidate is from the same side of the river as
all those Minneapolitans who talk about being "on the other
side" (all you Independence folks should vote for him).

I'm a little tired of being lumped in with St. Paul here on the east
side of the Mississippi, and I may start another annexation thread
over it to help make "this side of the river" comments accurate. I
live on the east side of the Mississippi along with all the other
residents in Nordeast and Southeast Minneapolis. Better get a hold on
the notion that a river runs through a whole lot of things without
necessarily dividing them; that role of division is better suited to
people."


    

From: Tim Salo Date: Aug 02 15:17 CDT


Bill McGaughey wrote:
'Joe Nathan, who lives in St. Paul, feels quite comfortable
urging Minneapolis residents to flood their Council members
and the mayor to get information about the discrimination-
-settlement lawsuit and stampede them into getting rid of
Mpls. police chief Tim Dolan when a judge issued a gag order
preventing disclosure of information.  Now, using Nazi
analogies, Nathan's at it again, lusting for Dolan's scalp.'

My, my.  Mr. McGaughey may, or may not, be aware that many
of those who post on this list do not reside in Minneapolis.
Some of them, like Mr. Nathan I believe, work in Minneapolis,
some of them used to live in Minneapolis, some of them think
they might live in Minneapolis in the future, and some of
them are simply interested in Minneapolis.  Why should Mr.
Nathan be singled out for this strong response to his residency?

It's true that the officers raided the wrong house but
that was on the basis of information given by a usually
reliable witness.  ..

.Should that be an _allegedly_ usually reliable _informant_?

Mr. Nathan, keep your hateful attitudes on your side of the river.


Earlier, Mr. McGaughey wrote:

I have recently filed to become a candidate for
 Congress in the 5th District with the Independence Party
 of Minnesota. ...

Mr. McGaughey, you appear to believe that non-Minneapolis
residents should not be involved in Minneapolis politics.

o Does your belief that non-residents should not be
   involved in politics apply to your own campaign?

o Will you refuse to accept any campaign donations from
   anyone who does not reside in the 5th District?

Your belief appears to extend to businesses and other
organizations that are merely located in Minneapolis.
While I am sure that Mr. Nathan does not speak officially
for his employer on this topic, I believe that he _does_
work for one of the largest employers in the City, and
probably the largest employer in the 2nd Ward, the
council member with whom Mr. Nathan spoke.

o Will you also refuse to accept campaign donations from,
   or even listen to, people who merely work in the 5th
   District, who own businesses in the 5th District, or who
   are simply landlords in the 5th District?

o Will you promise to not accept support from any political
   party that isn't located completely within the 5th District?

Or, am I reading too much into your arguments?  Were they
simply an emotional response to a position you didn't like?


    
From: Mark V Anderson Date: Aug 02 21:36 CDT

"Bill McGaughey wrote: ................

Bill makes some very good points.  Based on what I've heard in this
case, Bill makes a lot more sense than Joe Nathan, who wants to punish
the officers that did their job superbly, as far as I can tell.

Certainly someone did make a major booboo in sending these officers to
the wrong house.  It seems too often the cops get too gungho on weak
evidence.  I hope this is looked into more closely.  But honoring the
officers for bravery is the act of a strong leader, as Bill says above,
even though it should have been handled a lot more discretely.

In my opinion, Bill made a major screwup in attacking Joe just because
he is from St Paul.  But let's talk about the major issue, which is how
police work should be handled in Minneapolis (and St Paul too, if it
relates).

 

From: Joe Nathan Date: Aug 03 07:12 CDT


"One person wrote that Joe Nathan "wants to punish
the officers that did their job superbly, as far as I can tell." I wrote
nothing of the sort. I strongly criticized the police chief for using the
"just doing their jobs" defense. Despite what Mr. McGaughey says, I find
that a deeply offensive and disturbing defense.

I am truly sorry that Mr. McGuaghey has had to entire people shooting in
his back yard. That is terrifying and disturbing. Having lived in a Chicago
neighborhood where this kind of thing happened regularly, I know a bit
about how this feels. It does lead to deep frustration and to appreciation
for police who try to help deal with this.

Ultimately police can NOT resolve every problem with a potential or actual criminal. In part, they need the help of citizens who follow and respect the law.

Wizard Marks wrote that the real problem is not the "just following orders" defense. I agree that A (if not the only) real problem is police going into the wrong house and shooting without making 1000% certain that they were in the right house.

Breaking into the wrong house, defending officers who did this and then
honoring them does NOT lead to greater respect for the law, or greater
cooperation between some lawful citizens and police.

Mr. McGaughey suggests that the police chief wanted to "stand by his men." Having been a (school) administrator, I felt it appropriate usually to
stand with educators who were trying every day to be helpful.

Recently our organization has interviewed a variety of leaders around the
country. One of the things they agree on is the importance of acknowledging mistakes. It builds greater respect, and sends an important message to people in the organization.

Sometimes we educators or other groups (like the police) made (and make) mistakes. In those circumstances, isn't the right thing to do apologize?

Joe Nathan

work at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, live in St. Paul"
    

From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 03 08:57 CDT

There seems to be a “side of the river” fixation in the discussion that
followed my posting.  If that’s what interests people rather than the
substantive points that I tried to make, I’ll respond to that.

Joe Nathan’s original posting, like one a week earlier, seemed to me to be an attempt to inspire Minneapolis residents to contact their elected officials, the news media, etc. to complain of Minneapolis police chief Tim Dolan and possibly get him fired.  It is relevant, in that context, to point out that Mr. Nathan is a St. Paul resident.  If I, a resident of Minneapolis, mounted a campaign to get, say, the fire chief of Columbia Heights fired, people would legitimately be asking why I was poking my nose into other peoples’ business. That said, anyone has a right to comment on any issue of public interest regardless of where they may live.

More substantively, I was arguing that residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods have more at stake here than people who live and work in safe parts of the twin cities.  In a police chief, we need someone who is an effective crime fighter rather than someone who has the political stuff down cold.  Maybe you think Dolan is a racist?  Maybe you don’t like his physical appearance, name, or personal manner?  Fine, you’re entitled to your opinion whatever it might be. But there’s a difference between holding a negative opinion of someone and taking action to get him fired.

Let me explain it this way to those who dislike Dolan personally.  When Abraham Lincoln was told that General Ulysses Grant drank heavily and ought to be relieved of his command, Lincoln replied that he could not spare Grant because “he fights”.  He further added that if he knew the brand of whiskey that Grant drank, he’d send this whiskey to some of his other generals.

Now, I don’t know for sure that Chief Dolan is the world’s greatest fighter or crime strategist, but I do have a sense that he is doing a good job in that regard.  So I want to keep him in that position.  Unlike some of the other Minneapolis chiefs, he is a product of promotion from within.  He seems to have the trust of the officers.  He generally seems level-headed and sensible. 

I don’t want Dolan hounded out of office for political reasons. However, I am an outsider in police matters and certainly no expert.

With respect to Wizard Marks’ comments, I think, as Bill Kahn explained, that this was a very complex and sophisticated way of saying that she considers my politics “provincial” and I should be embarrassed.

With respect to Timothy Salo’s questions, I don’t have a position on any of
them.  I’ll cross those bridges if I happen to come to them.  Generally
speaking, however, if you want to help my campaign for Congress in the Fifth District or - more likely, in view of the posted comments - if you want to oppose me, be my guest.  I don’t care where you live. My campaign is about raising issues. They can be discussed anywhere.

I had not intended to mention either my former Senate campaign or current campaign for Congress when I entered this thread.  That had been a thought when I rejoined the Minneapolis forum several weeks ago.  It seemed then that occasionally people might want to discuss issues appropriate to the Congressional race or federal policies affecting this community.  There has been little of that, to date; and perhaps the election cycle will pass with the national issues entirely undiscussed.

Many posters are still preoccupied with the racial, gender, or religious
differences and related grievances that Barack Obama said he hoped to
transcend.  So that’s where we find ourselves, unfortunately, and I doubt we’ll be heading any time soon toward addressing the nation’s problems, which are many.


    
From: Laura Waterman Wittstock Date: Aug 03 09:42 CDT

"I think Joe made a very good comment and a thoughtful one. This topic
is a tough one for this list to grapple. Police versus civilians is always extremely difficult. But the police did invade the wrong house. The question of getting awards later for the same invasions makes me wonder what the awards are for or why they are necessary.

Laura"
Southeast/Como

 

From: Wizard Marks Date: Aug 03 15:13 CDT

Wm. McGaughey: "Joe Nathans original posting, like one a week earlier, seemed to me to be an attempt to inspire Minneapolis residents to contact their elected officials, the news media, etc. to complain of Minneapolis police chief Tim Dolan and possibly get him fired. ... With respect to Wizard Marks comments, I think, as Bill Kahn explained, that this was a very complex and sophisticated way of saying that she considers my politics provincial and I should be embarrassed."

Why shouldn't someone from St. Paul or New Orleans or San Diego chime in and say 'contact your elected officials'? If the mayor and CMs read their mail, they will most likely read it from constituents first. "Keep your nose outta our business," doesn't apply. It's everybody's business from here to China and on around the globe. If incensed with the behavior of the MPD, who ya gonna call? If the behavior stinks, it's best to tell the people responsible.

On exactly zero evidence, Nathan is accused of wanting Dolan fired. Even the SWAT team had more "evidence" than that.

The connection between a candidacy for the U.S. Senate--the really big dogs-- and egregiously insulting a potential voter into the bargain was a ludicrous corner for a candidate to paint himself into. Hence the quote 'hoist on his own petard.'

On the other hand, I've never before been accused of being complex and
sophisticated. I would have thought my posts were just the opposite.
    

From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 03 16:31 CDT

Wizard Marks wrote on August 3,2008: "On exactly zero evidence, Nathan is accused of wanting Dolan fired. Even the SWAT team had more "evidence" than that."

Here is the evidence, Wizard.

On August 1, 2008, Joe Nathan wrote: 'My own view is that the chief should be strongly censured, reprimanded, suspended and or fired. I have spoken personally to one city council member who agrees with my deep concerns and says that other written communications would be very
helpful. (I have done this). SO - please consider taking a stand on this."

The next posting is also relevant though it does not aim at Dolan's firing.

On July 24th, Joe Nathan wrote regarding the proposed Minneapolis police discrimination-suit settlement:  
'You might want to contact the mayor's office and your local city council member about this. You might want to ask 4 or 5 friends to do the same. If hundreds of people contact each council member, my sense is that the
public would get a LOT more information about what has happened.

Moreover, if hundreds of people contacted each city council member and
the mayor, my sense is that there would be greater accountability for
whatever happened. It takes only a minute or so...

As I do not live in Mpls, I do not think it appropriate for me to call.  '

So now we have all these people lambasting me for suggesting it was not
appropriate for Joe Nathan to get involved in this Minneapolis matter when that was Nathan's own opinion!

Another point, Wizard.  You wrote:  "The connection between a candidacy for the U.S. Senate--the really big dogs-- and egregiously insulting a potential voter into the bargain was a ludicrous corner for a candidate to paint himself into. Hence the quote 'hoist on his own petard.'

I am not running for U.S. Senate, Wizard, but for U.S. Congress in the 5th
District. Joe Nathan is not eligible to vote for me, but you are.  Maybe you should get your facts straight on various matters before going into the voting booth."
    

From: Jessica Wicks Date: Aug 03 16:41 CDT

"Just me, but if anyone was so confrontational and antagonist rather
than just relating their own version of the truth, I doubt most
seriously that I would vote for them. After all, my Congress Person
works for me, not the other way around. Generally speaking, what we
do not need are politicians that think they have the only lock on the
truth."

Jessica Wicks
Sheridan, NE Mpls
    

From: Quita-B-Northside Belmares Date: Aug 03 22:55 CDT

Before last week I didn't believe that a small group of people could influence the way the city and state was run. Some people on this forum and in the city called and sent letters and emails to city officials asking for an investigation into a complaint of systematic racism within our police force. On Friday I read in the strib that the offer was taken off the table and an investigation was ordered. I did that. I made that happen. I saw something wrong with the system and complained. I didn't overrun R.T. with emails and calls. I just made one, but I urged everyone I knew to do the same. Democracy...ain't it sweet. If you don't like it join the Dictatorship forum.
    

From: Joe Nathan Date: Aug 04 00:34 CDT


"Congratulations Ms. Belmares - to you and to others who decided "this just isn't right." Congratulations to those who see the "just following orders" defense is not simply a politically correct problem of words, but a
rationale this country has rejected.

Congratulations to those who recognize that police should be honored,
applauded and appreciated when they are acting wisely. Congratulations to those who recognize that sometimes people (including police) make mistakes, and when they do, they should apologize, re-examine their policies, and make improvements.

And congratulations to those who are not bothered when in the face of big problems, some one decides to change her/his mind, and try to take constructive action. Yes, I acknowledge that I changed my mind. I decided to become more involved in trying to help improve things in the community where I work.

Several hundred years ago, a great rabbi named Hillel wrote If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, when?

Joe Nathan
work in Minneapolis - and throughout Minnesota and the US, and live in St Paul

From: Laura Waterman Wittstock Date: Aug 04 09:55 CDT

On Aug 3, 2008, at 4:33 PM, Bill McGaughey wrote:

'I am not running for U.S. Senate, Wizard, but for U.S. Congress in
the 5th District. Joe Nathan is not eligible to vote for me, but
you are.  Maybe you should get your facts straight on various
matters before going into the voting booth.'

Surely you are not a serious candidate for office. What is your
promise? What will you stand for? Why should voters consider you?"

Laura
Southeast/Como
Laura Waterman Wittstock
President and CEO
Wittstock & Associates

From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 04 10:22 CDT

"I placed a call to Police Chief Tim Dolan's office this morning to ask if the
chief would consider attending a public meeting to meet and discuss issues with some of his critics on the forum.  This can easily be arranged through a group, Metro Property Rights Action Committee, that meets each month to discuss housing and crime issues.  The meetings are videotaped and the tapes are shown on MTN.  There is an open mike.  Audience members can make whatever comments or ask whatever questions they wish.  Dolan has appeared before this group once or
twice in years past before he became police chief.

Dolan's assistant said that Dolan and the assistant police chiefs were not
scheduling any public appearances until they got through the period of the Republican National Convention.  I was invited to renew the request in late September or October.  There was no assurance that Dolan would accept such an invitation but only a willingness to receive it.

It seems to me that those in the forum who harbor negative thoughts and
feelings about chief Dolan would do well to meet with him personally if there is an opportunity.  I hope they will agree."
    

From: Bill McGaughey Date: Aug 04 17:02 CDT

Laura Waterman Wittstock wrote regarding my candidacy for Congress in the 5th District:  'Surely you are not a serious candidate for office. What is your promise? What will you stand for? Why should voters consider you?'

Thank you for asking.

I do consider myself a serious candidate for Congress but my objective is to get people and the government to begin to take action regarding some of our long-term economic problems.  My campaign boils down to seeking answers to two questions:  (1) Can the U.S. reverse its $700 billion annual trade deficit? (2) Can our grandkids be happy in a world without oil and clean water? Immigration policy is also related to those questions.

More generally, my campaign would focus on the future economic security of the American people and the people of the world.  Present trends cannot be sustained.  Where will the “good jobs” come from as we head into a troubling future?  Will the human race have enough food?

My entire program is laid out in a website http://www.newindependenceparty.org.  There are more policy proposals on that site than what you would want to know.  If you have time, read “Manifesto of our future possibilities”.

Since my purpose in running for office is to propose an agenda for public attention, I am unserious to the extent of failing to respond to other agendas that “serious” candidates would address.  When I get questionnaires related to abortion or gun control, for example, I send them back unanswered with a statement that I have no position on those questions.  That may be throwing away votes but to do otherwise would defeat the purpose of my campaign.

My opinion is that we are facing a profound crisis and “politics as usual” will not do the job.  So we must try to shake up the political system.  The Independence Party is reasonably positioned to be that change agent.  I say (or write) what I think regardless of the political consequences.  You can either accept or reject me as a candidate based on your own beliefs.

P.S.  By the way, the idea of holding a barbeque picnic in Dyna Sluyter’s yard (assuming she gives permission) is a spontaneous and exciting product of this discussion.  However effective this is as a crime-fighting tool, it could be a wonderful summertime get-together.  Mind if I show up and solicit for my political campaign?  Just kidding.  You may see some drug dealers, though.”

THIS POSTING ENDED THE THREAD

 

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