While Democratic and DFL Party heavy hitters were in Charlotte, NC for the Democratic National Convention, including Mayor R.T. Rybak, the legendary Chuck Wexler, executive director of the powerful Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) was in meetings in Minneapolis (see my September 5 column, “Status quo fixes won’t stop the frightening violence”).
Mr. Wexler was here to evaluate and sign off on a new security plan to deal with Minneapolis African Americans (read “youth”). These are not my words. These are words that came out of a number of meetings with Mr. Wexler and his associates.
This new security plan includes monitoring and evaluating security conditions within the Somali community that again gives Mr. Wexler the possibility of implementing in other cities around the United States what will be developed here in Minneapolis. As happened some years ago, “Wexler helped develop and implement a comprehensive anti-crime strategy [in Minneapolis] that is now a model for public-private cooperation” (as crime still continues unabated, grain is a more reliable export).
It is important to note that in the Wexler discussions, no priority was given to African American leadership, although elements have been assigned security roles and presence, specifically in downtown Minneapolis, but under the supervision of the Youth Coordinating Board.
When will a new generation of leaders
step up to replace the current group of
old time, self styled, self-appointed,
ineffective African American leaders?
In a meeting in the Riverside community, there was much discussion with the high-ranking security officials about bringing the “Black problem” (read African American youth) under “control,” that persons trained in security operations and intelligence gathering need to be positioned and on patrol.
A troubling aspect remains: the continued claim of Minneapolis African American “leaders,” in confidential communications with their handlers,
that they enjoy a significant relationship with Black police officers in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), and thus should get in on the money. Their claims of having such relationships are not true.
The Somali community, on the other hand, has developed a good relationship with African American police officers. Money has been spread around. Thus, Mr. Wexler’s evaluation of the accurateness, authenticity, and effectiveness of African American leaders was found to be negative.
The Chamber of Commerce has high expectations for a downturn of the downtown Minneapolis Black problem that will lead to ways of dealing with the African American problem in other parts of the city. These discussions have a heavy flavor of confidentiality, continuing the lack of transparency.
Reorganization will soon begin within the MPD, which is consistent any time there is an appointment of a new chief. Mr. Wexler and his organization have been retained to make sure that all the square and round holes are properly filled.
The Wexler discussions make clear, put in the open: a lack of confidence in the African American leadership that has been awarded millions of dollars over the last decades. The new confidence is in the new people on the blocks, the Somalis, the Latinos and the Asians.
As I asked in my September 5 column: “What will Chuck Wexler do to contribute to ending the dysfunctional institutions, leadership and policies impacting on our community?” When will a new generation of leaders step up to replace the current group of old-time, self-styled, selfappointed, ineffective African American leaders? Who will respond with more than just requests for more money for themselves?
Who will demonstrate they can meet high a level of expectations and be willing to be held accountable? Who can positively contribute to developing and presenting a plan for security?
How much longer will the old guard, which has fed at the trough of financial opportunity for two decades, as was said in the Wexler security meetings, continue to try to do so? It’s now time to stand and deliver by whoever will be the African American leadership, to produce or stand down.
Homeland security starts with hometown security: equal opportunity in education, jobs, housing. Where is the plan for this? As long as inner-city youth are given sub-prime education and not offered needed training for qualifying for quality jobs, the Black youth problem won’t go away.
Contractors, both Black and White, have stated Minneapolis does not have a workforce qualified for stadium construction jobs.
Why not? What has been done with all of the training money? The stadium and downtown redevelopment cannot survive a status quo that fosters violence: bad schools, few jobs, drugs, crime. Thus the fix areas are readily in sight: education, jobs and housing.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTNTV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill. com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.