Members of the Minneapolis City Council, Don Samuels and Dean Zimmerman, talk about their ideas to prevent crime in Minneapolis.
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(00:00:06) Good morning, and welcome to midday. I'm Mike Edgerly. Gary. Eichten is on vacation this week. No one calls it murder a palace anymore. But crime in some parts of Minneapolis is a serious problem the city council took a study session on the road Friday touring by bus through areas where drug-dealing prostitution shootings and homicides persist. The tour was organized by Third Ward councilmember Don Samuels who's Ward contains several North Minneapolis neighborhoods, which have experienced a recent rash of homicides and shootings Dean Zimmerman represents the Sixth Ward in South Minneapolis, which includes one of the city's poorest neighborhoods called Phillips. It was also one of the stops on the tour both council members are in our studio this morning gentlemen. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for coming in this morning. Thanks for having us. Thanks for having us pleasure to be here crime is universal and certainly not limited to the City of Minneapolis. So wherever you're listening this morning, we want to hear from you. You can reach us at 6'5 12276 thousand 6512276 thousand that's in the Twin Cities or toll-free 1-800-221-9460 288 or you may send an online question or comment to our guests at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org simply click on send a question Don Samuels. I'd like to start with U of M if I made the Jordan neighborhood in your ward seems to have more than its share of problems these days there but there was the riot in 2002 and just recently A man was pursued into a grocery store where he was shot and killed and then on the Friday tour you said quote this is hell. What's what's the problem what's going on there? What's at the root? What are the root causes of this violence in your in this a spin this place in your ward? Well, first of all, let me make one slight amendment that the the to it was sponsored by myself and Dean and also by Robert little Grand Emily Johnson lie, so so the I stand corrected that okay and the bus went through all of those areas and ended up in in the Third Ward but there seems to be a constant realignment of the criminal element these a lot of young people having no viable skills or have just made and pact with the devil or you know, they've just decided that their this is a better way to make money and and so if things get fixed or adjusted in one part of the city it moves and if one if one kind of crime stops being profitable or easy it shifts and right now in the Third Ward and certainly in Jordan It's achieved a kind of a critical mass in that all the forces are aligned and there's a Confluence of factors including drug Sellers from outside drug buyers from outside prostitutes from outside John's from outside negligent landlords living outside all converging on this vulnerable Community to conduct trade and do business. Well, they're certainly a police presence in Jordan is that the problem are there not enough police officers. What's the if it sounds like the problem has found its way to a to an otherwise decent neighborhood. What's the what's the answer do you think well, the police is part of the solution, but of course, it can't be all of the solution but the the more police we have up to a certain point the better and right now things are a little bit too lean as far as the police are concerned, but the other big part of this which is why Joy And has become the vulnerable receptacle for all this crime is community cohesiveness. Jordan neighborhood is very diverse and and the predominance of the neighborhood is African-American which is itself diverse, which we don't really have a handle on a retard lie, but then African-American Community is very diverse and and not very cohesive very transient and has no historical Clan or roots and so with that and and with the with the diversity and the transience of the community and the the excessive amount of rentals in the community, and in fact, Jordan neighborhood is 48 percent under 18, so you have this huge population of people who are not participating at an adult level all of these things conspire to make the community Verve vulnerable to otherwise Is organized negative influences like gangs and so on they come in people are not coordinated in their efforts. And so what we need now is to bring this community together in some kind of cohesiveness based on other factors than what keeps other neighborhoods United like racial and ethnic factors is going to have to be just a larger Community coming together. Councilman Zimmerman. What what what's the story in your War? Does that sound familiar to you? Yeah identical difficult problems huge number of kids and a lot of these are kids that are being mothered by kids people who don't really have the strong family traditions that are necessary to build a kind of coherent life. And so the kids have nowhere to look and so they look to the streets. And they see people hanging out on the street corner. The maybe are making some what appears to them to be a good money, which when you examine it, it really isn't and so why not stand in the corner and sell drugs or get involved in the prostitution trade sure is a lot more money than flipping hamburgers. And so that is a there isn't a real good alternative that we've offered these kids and we're coming from you know, it's a black migration coming here is people arriving without some skills. And where the problem is that we as a city as a state of not really put the investment into helping people with the kinds of skills. They need to have a life that motion Minnesota enjoy. Mmm. Well, what can you tell people in Phillips of lived there for a while and and there are some longer-term residents in Phillips for example, where The Hope here well, I guess the hope is that we are able to turn things around and get some more resources and get more people involved there is a you know, there's a lot of most of the people of course in Phillips or in Jordan either neighborhood good people trying very desperately to raise their kids well and and participate in a good Civic life, but it's just being it's just too overwhelming the sheer number of dysfunctional families that are causing the problem and we have to really sit down and say yes, we are going to dedicate the resources you mentioned the police earlier. Our police numbers are way down because of budget crisis because you know that and that primarily was inflicted Upon Us by outside sources a failure to invest at the state level the Is that we need to to make cities work all across the state is is coming home to us now join our conversation with Dean Zimmerman and on Samuels at 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand or excuse me, or toll-free 1-800-221-9460 for 22828 or send an online question or comment at Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question councilman Samuels on the tour last week Barbara Johnson noted that her husband had grown up in Jordan and and she said now basically in effect. There's a criminal element in this part of the north side and quote we have to get rid of them. Is that the answer to get rid of people who are doing the crime to a certain degree. We do have to get to get rid of the most serious offenders. There's some people who are pathologically Criminal And these people need to be put in jail, but then there is this whole mass of young people who are kind of directionless and are leaning towards what they see which is crime and not having viable alternatives to occupy their time or to make money and these young people we don't need to get rid of I think we can reclaim them and we can shift their direction if we are willing to take a hard look at what it takes and make the kind of Investments. We need to make for instance in Jordan. There is no full service park. It has 48 percent of its population under 18, no full service park and so the kids play basketball on the street without some kind of a makeshift thing and neighbors called me up all the time complaining about this. So you see you see we don't have even for the kids who want to occupy their time in some kind of recreational activity are getting The way of regular citizenry, it's not only the criminals but the kids who are trying to be kid, right? Well, that's two. How do you account for 48 percent population under 18. That's that's pretty high. Isn't it for any neighborhood? Yeah. Well, I think I think the the last figure I heard was that Minority families people of color in the city tend to have two and a half to one in terms of kids per family these of you white families. And so you have Hmong families which are large families other immigrant families, which are traditionally large families and then you have African-American families which are usually single mom and so instead of having two parents and two children. Yeah, one parent in two children and so that accounts for the numbers. Well, let's let's go to the phones if we might if you don't mind and let's see what can in Minneapolis has to say Can you? With our (00:11:00) guests. Hi, thanks for taking my call. I really appreciate this topic and I would just say I am happy that they had the bus tour last week, but I would challenge not only their people who did the bus tour last week, but also all of our state officials Etc who have participated in all the cutbacks maybe instead of taking a bus through the city, maybe take a walk through it particularly at night because it's very unsafe and I think that's no secret. Thank you. I'll take my comments out there (00:11:30) being some room in your reaction to that. You were talking earlier about budget cuts. Well, I think certainly a one bus tour is not going to solve the problem. Our intention was to try to get some of the other council members who don't living these heavily impacted areas to to go with us and see for themselves what it is that we and our neighbors put up with on a day-to-day basis. And unfortunately, we weren't able to get all of the council. Bruce we wanted on the trip and some of those we think need to see it the most I didn't come but I you know, I agree a walk through the area at night. I bicycle to work to and fro every day and see firsthand at that bicycle level exactly the problems and they are severe and we're going to have to choose our response is we're going to have to be twofold one. We need to respond to the immediate problem on the street and that of course involves working with the police the block clubs number of new block clubs are emerging in the Phillips area to respond to the problems we've got and but the real solution is is more investment in our kids you agree councilman the Samuels. Yes, I agree the the it's it's difficult for a person who doesn't spend time in. It's like ours to have a palpable sense of what is involved. In fact when I go to the airport and I'm getting patted down and taking my shoes off. I kind of smile a kind of sardonically because I it's difficult for me to understand how such Extreme Measures are being used to protect me a resident of Jordan at the international airport when my life is in much much greater danger in my own community and yet the same people who are instituting these protective measures are making no attempt to Institute any protective measures on my streets. So clearly there's a disconnect and we need to make the connection between state and federal government and life on the streets and impacted neighborhoods in the cities Across America as to just how terrible life can be for some people we had people three people talking yesterday 12 had left the city. Because of crime recently won last week one a few months ago because they had they have been the victims or observed terrible crime close-up. Now when when someone puts their house on the market and leaves their neighbors and their will favorite house to live somewhere else that's such an inconvenient thing to do. It has to be incredibly they have to be incredibly motivated to do this and why would someone want to do that? It must be pretty bad and so clearly our state and federal leadership are not getting the message about that. There's some sense that there is a hardened population who is accustomed to another's accommodated crime in their way of life. And we it doesn't hurt us that much and perhaps other citizens are content to say, well it's in Phillips and it's in Jordan. So I'm okay here exact let it stay there because I don't want it here in my name. Exactly, and that's what we're hoping something like the Buster will publicize just how vulnerable people feel to the general public and that they will get involved. I think what dance is absolutely right? And of course, I have gotten messages of people who are longtime good citizens putting their house on the market and moving away. And normally when a person moves they're moving to somewhere. But in fact what we see is people leaving somewhere where they going isn't the important question, but they're getting out and you know, it's a tragedy but you know, this whole thing is and the the leadership and the state and the national level are really in my opinion being very Pennywise and pound-foolish in their allocation of dollars. Don't invest, you know, cut taxes cut taxes and save money, but in fact in the law Around this is costing us more. What is it caused some Thirty forty thousand dollars a year to keep a person in jail, when my goodness that's a tuition for Harvard, you know, if that instead we would take some of that money and invest it in the Head Start programs get kids a good start put extra teachers in these neighborhoods get one-on-one counseling with kids establish more opportunities for kids in the neighborhood. It's Don said there's no full Recreation Center in the park system in Jordan, which is also true of East Phillips where I live and yet, you know within a half a block of or within about a block of that park there is some thousand kids living in little Earth and the surrounding areas no full service Park like you have in all of the other parks around the city so our neighborhoods have not been invested in let's Minneapolis you're on with our (00:17:02) guests. Hi, good morning. I live in South Minneapolis. Not too far from where Tyesha Edwards was shot in her house. I think it'll be two years this coming November and then for number of months after that there were a handful of shootings near that area near president Park in New York Chicago and so forth and what I found particularly noteworthy about the news reports that I read regarding all those incidents was that the majority of the people involved both the shooters and the folks being shot at were miners and also that the police knew that these miners had previously been involved in gang activity. And so my question to the two councilmen really is what do you think the city can or really should do to encourage or perhaps enforce or require some more involvement from the parents my point really being that if the police know that these kids are involved in gang activities the parents sure as heck better know themselves and they better be doing something about it. I'd like to hear your thoughts. (00:17:59) Gentlemen gentlemen, well part of the problem is when you go to the parent you find them in many cases to be very young themselves and not really in any position to offer a more than they have that we're having a repeat here over generations of the same kind of activity. And so because we have a large segment of the population where the parents aren't able to deal with it that we're going to have to find ways to intervene as a society and help these families along whether that's through the school system through the park system through other kinds of programs. There's a lot of private agencies involved and the problem, you know, it's not that there isn't some of this going on there is a lot there's tremendous number of social service agencies. It's just that we're creating a disconnected kids. Faster than we're able to deal with them. Yeah, and I agree with Dean and I also think that we we need to begin to understand what Dean is saying about parents being children themselves or having Arrested Development and that we must integrate in our social services kind of basically a more disciplinary or kind of element so that people get Services based on behaviors or that they their services are enhanced based on behaviors and their the services are reduced based on behaviors. We need we need to fine-tune our systems so that they inspire people to create changes in the way they do things and not just kind of throw money at problems based purely on need. It must there must be some achievement involved in there even in the social service part of it so that people are inspired to Be in charge of their kids into and to make sure that they understand what's up with them. Jim Wright's from Mankato online. What can we do to encourage African-American men to be husbands and dads? Who would like to take that well, first of all, thank you. Yes a Milford. First of all, let me say that there's a real broad African-American thing here African-American people in America are really white and African. There's hardly any African left in African Americans wear all white people's children. And so there are two there. So there it becomes a two-fold thing. I liken it to a single moms and missing dad's the moms have a child and so we have to concentrate on the moms. But we also have to call on the dad's to step forward in the same larger way American way the African-American Community has the kids but our our dads in our great great great grandfather's are white people who died years ago. And so this is not an African American problem. We're all white people. In essence and and we just have decided to draw a line where pure whiteness ends and everybody else who is partly white is called African-American we have to admit that and so when we say, it's an African American problem, it's an American problem. And so we but it helps to Define that because otherwise it seems to blame the non-white white people which is African-Americans. Okay, and so we but when we make that connection now, we can all participate in the in the solution. So the gentleman who called he's probably a white guy and he's my cousin basically cause my great-great-grandfather on both sides were white. And neither of them owned me. So paternity in the African-American Community has always been a problem from our white forefathers to our black president fathers. And and so we need to address both of those paternity issues. Okay, and and to A to African-American men don't be like your slave holding great-great-grandfather own your children and to say to African-American men who are responsible father's we need to come back to the city and provide role models for young men who are fathering without responsibility. It has to be done by a role modeling. There is no other way. You can't wake up in the morning and say I'm going to be as good a father as and you don't have a name to call it. There has to be somebody to say other than Bill Cosby on TV thing Zimmerman. Well, that is certainly he's put his finger here on the problem. I think that we need to make sure that more black men in the community step up and and take on a responsibility for helping their neighbors their their nephews and become more involved. In the place of the missing fathers, it's a difficult question. I really don't have a you know a pat answer to say we're going to do this and I'm going to make a new father's more responsible perhaps, you know for a long time the welfare system encouraged their to not be a man in the house that if there's a man in the house and you couldn't get the needed the needed things that you had to have to survive. And so the father was encouraged by official policy to go and I think step back and look at ways in which we reward these young men for taking responsibility through whatever programs whether it's Public Assistance or in the school system or in finding jobs or whatever programs. We have find ways to reward that behavior. Let's go back to the phone's Robert you're on with our (00:24:09) guests. I have a couple of comments into questions for your council members are the very policy that these peoples have been implementing over the last 40 years are exactly what the cause of all these problems are and I want to know when they're going to take responsibility for it and stop doing this. (00:24:32) Could I ask what program What policies specifically you talking (00:24:36) about? You just admitted yourself for 30 years. You've been paying the father's not to be in the home. If a business moves into Minneapolis, you tax it exorbitantly so businesses don't want to be there if the landlord rents to criminal tenants you want to take away his property for being a problem in the neighborhood. But if he won't rent to people with criminal or drug abuse habits, then you sue him for discrimination. So you tell me how we're supposed to win if I go to somebody's house at 11 o'clock at night and I told my daughter she has to get out of the house and come home and I physically remove her from that home and bring her back to my house. I can be arrested for kidnapping if I tell my daughter at 11 o'clock on a school night. You cannot leave home. I can be arrested for involuntary imprisonment. Now you tell me who the problem is that the problem is a parents or the government who's been running our lives for the exact same very 40 years that the fact in this country's been getting destroyed. We were fine until you People started getting involved. Do you think you could leave us alone now that you have a 40 year history of failure? (00:25:37) Well, I guess we're animals. Yeah, I guess we're always going to be struggling with issues of Freedom versus order and and every time we move in One Direction something falls out on the other side, and I guess that is the way we have to work it if we're doing this dirty Democratic work is if we shift as we shift towards a little more freedom and then people take advantage then we have to kind of cover the loopholes and then sometimes we step on too many toes. So basically we are struggling with that. This is a democracy and it's incomplete we're talking with two members of the Minneapolis city council this morning, Don Samuels and Dean Zimmerman. Mr. Samuels is a member of the dfl and mr. Zimmerman is a member of the green party. We will continue our conversation with them about crime after this break over the past decade many members of the Whack ethnic group have immigrated to Minnesota from Ethiopia in December their phone started ringing with news from back home. The annual you were being killed. She was crying and she was nervous and she couldn't top like she's saying that you are nobody's gonna survive this afternoon travel with us from Rochester to East Africa as we investigate the violence against the annual Yak. It's a special report from Minnesota Public Radio today on all things considered. Let's get a look at news headlines. Now, here's Perry fanelli President. Bush says, he needs the best unbiased unvarnished information possible at the White House today. He announced plans to create a new position to oversee International and domestic intelligence in doing so bushes and bracing with some changes to key recommendations of the 9/11 commission the bipartisan panel suggested creation of a counterterrorism center, which the commission envisioned as a joint operational planning and Intelligence Center staffed by Personnel from all the spy agency's. And a National Intelligence are sealed streets barricades and armed guards are some of the extra security in New York Washington and Northern New Jersey today the Homeland Security Department warns. Al-Qaeda is planning a tax on financial targets treasury secretary. John Snow says investors should remain confident a Turkish company says its grief is huge after hearing that one of its workers in Iraq has been killed in a video posted on the internet the man reads a statement and then a shot in the head by a masked militant the Turkish company says the man was one of two workers missing in Iraq for three or four days. The company was providing laundry service for a Jordanian company in Iraq the Turkish truckers Association announced today. It will no longer carry cargo for US forces in Iraq tropical storm. Alex is drifting off South Carolina's coast and gaining strength. The National Hurricane Center says the storm may approach hurricane strength, its projected to follow a course that keeps it at sea, but may get close enough to the To do some damage in Regional news. The power is out and trees are down after storms ripped through Otter Tail County early today high winds knocked down trees and Fergus Falls and Parker's Prairie. There's no summer school in Parkers parade today because of that power outage and long-distance a 911 telephone service is out in several Southeastern Minnesota communities after a fiber optic cable was cut Frontier Communications says the cable was cut in a street construction zone in Dodge Center this morning, the outage affects about eight thousand customers Frontier officials say customers can still call locally, but long distance and 911 service is out crews are at the scene and hope to have service restored by early this afternoon. I'm peripherally, Minnesota Public Radio and you're listening to mid-day coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Mike Edgerly in today for Gary eichten coming up at noon today. It's Lester Crawford the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a national Press Club appearance to talk about consumer protection modernizing the Care system and improving access to life-saving Technologies in this hour were talking about crime specifically Minneapolis City crime with the city council members Don Samuels and Dean Zimmerman and to begin this half-hour. We're also joined by Minneapolis Police deputy chief Sharon lubinski. She's in charge of all Patrol officers in the Minneapolis Police Department deputy chief lubinski. Thanks for taking time to join us this (00:29:56) morning. Glad to be with you. (00:29:58) How would you describe the present crime climate in places like Jordan and Phillips. Are we making any (00:30:03) Headway? Actually, we've made quite a bit of Headway across the city in terms of a crime reduction. I mean for example year to date in terms of serious crime Citywide, we are down about 14% Citywide having said that for those who live and work in the neighborhoods like Jordan and Hawthorne and the Phillips neighborhood when you've got drug dealers and prostitutes outside your door and you can hear shots fired when you're trying to sleep at night that kind of crime reduction doesn't doesn't mean much to them. So in terms of really the safety of those neighborhoods it is as it is to concern of council members Samuels and Zimmerman it certainly is a concern for me and and the police (00:30:59) department are there enough Patrol officers on the street right? (00:31:02) Now, you know, it's it is something that we're really struggling with for our staffing we have the City of Minneapolis has taken huge hits on local government Aid to the City of Minneapolis and the police department has certainly taken its share of those hits, you know, in the last couple of years. We have lost about 200 different positions in the Minneapolis Police Department and our financial outlook for the police department. And we're at this point. We're scheduled to lose forty three more positions next year and for an officer on the street that and for the for anyone who lives in those neighborhoods, that's a frightening number. So we are at we are struggling with that having said that we have had some great cooperation and Partnerships with Hennepin County Probation and open Sheriff Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is a matter of fact, we had what's called a saturation Patrol last Saturday evening on the in the 4th precinct, which is the north side Hawthorne and Jordan and I was out there for that. We had a number of probation Agents from Hennepin County Hennepin Sheriff Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agents and they helped us all evening lawn made. It made a number of arrests took a couple of guns off the streets. So even though we're working hard with the Staffing that we have. Have we get a lot of help from others? And we simply need to keep up those Partnerships. (00:32:39) That's the police side of things are Judges and prosecutors doing the right thing or they upholding their part of the deal. (00:32:45) You know, I think it's a diff. That's a difficult. It's a really difficult are I mean we have I think what is it 60 some District judges here and they you know, they're elected. They are, you know, an independent and in terms of their their decision-making and we certainly work a lot with the Judiciary and I do have to say City attorney's office and the Hennepin County attorney have both of those offices the county attorney in the City attorney have provided Community prosecutors. I was just up in the 2nd Precinct earlier this morning, which is Northeast Minneapolis and they were the fourth of all the five. To get a City attorney actually officing out of their Precinct and that gives good training advice to the officers and helps in the prosecution. So there's a great network of help and but it's you know, when you're talking about crime issues that are fed by in many cases social issues. It's a tough area right? (00:33:55) Well, is there a formula for successfully combating this kind of crime that we just don't have the money to try. I mean, is there a proven way of basically solving this (00:34:04) problem? You know, I think the the whole area is is really and I was able to hear a little bit of the broadcast before I got on the phone here, but really it's it is getting to these kids before they get the gun in their hand and getting to the kids before the gang members influence them. And you know, I'm not an expert in Social Service budgets or nonprofit budgets, but you know those areas are really They are really struggling probably even more than we are and you know, even though I'm sitting here in uniform I can tell you we are not going to arrest our way out of this situation. We need to have enough cops to make sure that if a neighbor called 911 when the burglar is coming through the window, we need to make sure we have enough cops for that. But even even way before that I think as a society we need to think long and hard about priorities and that includes help for nonprofits that help that help these young people. There is the African African American men project. For example, that is doing great work in Hennepin County with African young African-American men, you know, it's agencies like that that really need our help. (00:35:28) Well what more can citizens do citizens say in Very neighborhoods we're talking about. (00:35:34) Well, you know, I think you know, we do have really good cooperation in both of the you know, both councilmember Samuels and councilmember Zimmerman's area from neighborhood organizations, the Jordan Area Community Council and the Franklin Avenue Safety Center down in the Phillips neighborhood. We have great cooperation. So I think any you know, tomorrow night is National Night Out, you know, come on out to your block parties meet the officers, you know, we'll have mounted Patrol and canine and and we'll all be out there. So, you know participating in neighborhoods. So we have a neighborhood Who so we have communities in these in these neighborhoods the community feel so we looked after one another and then frankly the second piece is this is a democracy and if you feel like certain entities are not being funded, you know, everybody's voice matters and in that and I really think it We need we need to have support for those agencies trying to help these kids get out of air keep them out of trouble again with (00:36:39) one final thing. How much crime is their downtown is most serious crime in the near North and near South residential and Commercial (00:36:45) neighborhoods. You know, we have five precincts in Minneapolis downtown is one Precinct. I used to have that as Precinct Commander some years ago. And it's it the crime downtown actually is also down year-to-date. It is down something about 10% down in terms of serious crime. And again, each Precinct is very unique. I mean downtown has a large proportion of their crime is in Larson a shoplifting from some of the major department stores and theft of purses at bars and things like that for the most part. Actually. There's there's very little Violent crime downtown and much of it is quite frankly. If somebody comes down town and ends up trying to buy a rock of crack somewhere downtown. Sometimes they get involved in things. They shouldn't so so actually the crime downtown is is down as it is Citywide, but that doesn't mean that these other areas aren't we're certainly taking them very (00:37:57) seriously. Well, thank you very much for joining (00:37:59) us. My pleasure (00:38:00) Sharon. Lubinski is Deputy Chief for the Minneapolis Police Department. She's in charge of all Patrol officers in the police department councilman Samuels in Zimmerman. We just heard Sharon lubinski say we're not going to arrest our way out of this problem. That seems that eliminates one strategy. Now, what now? What are you do you've had the bus tour you've gotten up quite a bit of news coverage from that what happens what happens now? Well Deans are certainly not arresting our way out of it is that's always that clear that that crime happens regardless of how many police there are and finding out what is causing. The crime is really is really the problem and people will do what it they have to do to survive and if taking on drug dealing or prostitution activity seems like the best way to take care of yourself, that's what people will go to and it is our failure as a government officials as a society in general to offer Alternatives, but you asked a couple of questions there of the assistant chief about how are the the courts and the probation and so forth and I just To say that we have spent a great deal of effort in the last two years in getting a more coordinated work between the judge the courts and the community and the police that there is really a revolving door the the police pick somebody up on the street. They take him downtown and they're back on the street before the police of finish the paperwork and this has been because of a lack of communication between the various agencies, which we are now closing that gap for one thing as alluded to with we are now assigning a city at went to City attorney to work specifically in each police precinct. So that that City attorney and the misdemeanor crimes is able to consistently see the same person over and over the pro day probation is doing the same we have now probation officers assigned to some of these specific areas. So they see the same thing over and over we have judges now consistently seeing people from the same geographic area so that they see the same people over and over again of guy comes in while what are you arrested very well selling Iraq a crack in the street and the judge that's all they know about it while they say. Well the not a real big deal, you know Pat him on the wrist and send them off but then when we this judge has seen that person that 10 or 50 times before and they have statements from neighborhood residents saying this is what the impact of this person's behavior is happening on my kids. My kids have to walk through drug dealers to get on the school bus and so on and they see that this wasn't just one isolated thing. Then the judges have been responding as you would expect any rational person to do and taking Harder, look at what might seem at first blush to be just a petty petty activity. So it's the coordination is making a big difference and we have in the last few months pulled a number of Hardcore drug kingpins off of the street Don Samuels. Are you satisfied with the courts in the prosecutors? Well, I've had a couple of meetings with judge Burke and with the prosecutors and we are trying to tighten up that aspect of it as Sharon said policing arrest. You can't arrest our way out of the problem. But at the same time the police the police force is not strong enough at this point. It's very difficult for us to say this is difficult for Sharon to say this because she has to do the best with what she has but the fact is that what we have is not enough that has to be clear. We can't arrest our way out of the problem, but we can Improve the problem significantly if we make strategic and effective arrests, and we're not able to do that to the degree. We need to right now, but in addition to that, yes, we are working with the courts are community members right impact statements, whenever one of these characters and these these multiple offense guys come up. We write impact statements to the judges and the judges read them and they do affect their decisions. We asked for Geographic restrictions, meaning that the person needs to be sentenced partly to to restrictions from that area and if they're arrested there again, and they'll do serious time and we're also changing some actual ordinances. We've changed a loitering ordinance. So now instead of loitering to sell drugs being tacked onto the the ordinance intended to prevent loitering to commit prostitution. We now specifically have language in the Prevent loitering to sell drugs and our to buy drugs and we Define what it looks like what what does loitering or lurking to sell drugs look like the gestures that you make and the kind of interaction between the seller and the buyer and those things the judges will receive now as a reasonable cause to charge this person with selling drugs and with in addition, we're getting some cameras to photograph these things and put mounting them on light poles similar to what the effort has been downtown. So we're working all of this with Community Support. The community is coming together to help make these things happen. And of course, we're hoping that the eventual permanent by product will be the cohesiveness of the community having worked to solve crime will now become more coordinated in the process to prevent crime in the future. Let's go to Joe and Minneapolis you're on with our to counsel. Numbers (00:44:27) guys great subject. I think you're providing a watershed moment for the history of well, I'd like to say the north side of been up here 18 years started a family after military service plan to stay and can move any time but I wanted you to touch on a couple of subjects from what I heard you say in terms of resources and obviously in the time of waiting. It's been covered to some extent you can't arrest your way out of it. Well one solution might be the RICO Act and I've never heard people using that loss effectively racketeering law, right? We keep saying that these are gang activities and processes selling drugs, but I don't hear people using the RICO law. So I'm I'm confused by that. Then you mentioned the issue of black problems. I'd like to propose that that we start getting over color identities on this issue and you did mention that we're not black Americans are African-Americans anymore. We're all white. Well there again, you're using the color identity and I think the history of shown that that just keeps dividing us. And I have several examples in my 18 years up here that one of them has been very active with the scouting movement and I can't get any kids of color to join or stay or do the work and that's a very low cost alternative to being on the street with lots of activities and ways to get along with other people in the community. I'm not being separatist or racist in my behavior towards people. I've been very encouraging that's just one example, I find that we don't have anymore and acceptance or willingness to believe that we have a common culture because it always seems to be cast as a color issue and and essentially that means government can't really solve this problem. Maybe it can shift resources around to help create opportunities, but we're not a democracy where a republic (00:46:18) Joe let's let our guests react to some of what you want to say. Don Samuels or Dean Zimmerman who would like to go? Well, I think you know to ignore the racial part of this I think is is a bit of a disservice that you know, we have lots of people have come to this country as immigrants, you know, the Norwegians swedes somalis and whatever Vietnamese you come through and my observation is that they all spend about one generation in poverty and somehow are able to cycle themselves out of that that poverty and and yet we look and we see two groups Native Americans and African Americans would somehow have been here a long time and continue to cycle generation after generation after generation in that cycle of poverty and not work them way out. The way other new immigrants are and our failure to recognize that that is happening and take special action to give whatever it takes to get them up and out of this being on the Bottom Rung of society is something we're going to have to do now going. I don't know why kids the kids of color aren't joining your scout troop, you know, but I would really like to know and somehow it is not more attractive to them than hanging out on the street or doing whatever it is they're doing now and I wish I had a good answer that for you, but I suspect that's going to take some introspection on the part of organizations like yours say, what is it that I need to do differently that is going to attract them in now as far as the Rico Law racketeering, I that is a question that I was just thinking about the other day. Now, why is it that we haven't used some of these laws that were used say against the racketeering that grew up over the prohibition of alcohol that we had in the 20s and early 30s, certainly the very same kinds of responses to that prohibition that we see to the prohibition that we now have on marijuana are you know, the evolution is so similar that it's hard for me to understand why people today can't say we're creating these crimes because of the restrictions we are putting on people and and that they're going to be involved in this kind of stuff. Anyway, why don't we put it on a level where we can control a tax it and not create criminals out of people that are involved with it. We certainly saw That with alcohol why we're not seeing it in the current situation. I don't know. Don Samuels is legalization one approach. Well, you know, I think we need to talk about it right now. What we're creating is an industry where there's a high demand every time I go up to a young man and say don't sell drugs somebody my age my profile driving a car just like mine drives up behind me and cast a vote for drugs by buying from him. And so clearly there's this demand and we need to acknowledge that there's this demand and figure out what we can do. Otherwise, what we're going to do is to force that trade in the hands of young people who are hopeless and poor which usually means mostly African-American young people and I think we can't drop that conversation about race. Clearly. The caller himself is confused is a little confused about this and perplexed because he himself says I Get people of color into the thing even though he's trying to not focus on color and if you have a family and one child is very very sick chronically and somebody says well, how is your family you said? Well, we're sick. So what who's sick? Well, we are sick you are you sick? We're sick. We don't want to differentiate between family members. We're not we just going to say everybody's sick or everybody's fine. We have to say that child is sick take that shot to the doctor send the other ones to school, you know, and and if we unless we can specifically identify who is sick here and identify and address the illness specifically and stop being generalistic in the name of americanism. America has never been raceless never been classless and this group of young people who are who are now chronically ill have are the children of chronically dispossessed chronically oppressed. And they themselves are the children of chronically oppressed people and they themselves are children of chronically enslaved people. So if we're trying to bring America back to what it was, I don't know what error that is. In fact, this is probably the most together we've been and yet we're not together. So we have to admit our problems and then address them specifically and then move on I'd like to ask both of you of we began this hour talking about the bus tour that took place on Friday. Do you not run some risk in doing this kind of thing that that would Overlook perhaps the positive elements and aspects of life in both of the wards that you represent that that in some ways it hides. What in fact are some pretty good stories in some neighborhoods. Yeah, and I think that's what a lot of people are saying to Bill Cosby when he brought out some of the problems in the African-American Community all you know, they're African Americans are doing well too. You know, we're now more middle-class people than ever. So the question is in the name of keeping our reputation good in our profile. It've do we ignore the negatives and allow them to fester and hoping that being positive will bring everybody up and I think whether it be a beleaguered Community or beleaguered country, but legal ethnic group. We all are learning that at some point. We got to open up the books and show the problems and then we can face them Dean Zimmerman. Well, if you had been on that tour you would have realized we weren't just looking at the bad, but in fact spent a great deal of effort on the tour looking at how people in the neighborhoods are responding to the problem, you know are stopped at the Banyan House and over in the East Phillips area, seeing the tremendous response that neighbors are getting together and and trying to deal with a really bad situation and and work with the young kids. So we are we aren't looking at this one-sided. Certainly. This is only one aspect of life in our neighborhoods. And there are a great number of people doing a great amount of work in the neighborhoods right now people who and the people who made the presentations were themselves good citizens who are doing the hard work gentlemen. I hate to interrupt you there, but I have to thanks for coming in today is a very interesting our thanks for your perspectives councilman, Don Samuels and Dean Zimmerman were in our studio this morning and gentlemen, thanks for coming by you are listening to mid-day coming to you on Minnesota Public Radio. Millions of Americans have now (00:54:06) read the report of the 9/11 commission questions about their conclusions their proposed reforms and about the questions. They didn't answer or (00:54:15) didn't raise. (00:54:16) I'm Neal Conan 911 Commissioners join us call in next Talk of the Nation from NPR (00:54:22) news and talk. The nation comes your way today at 1 o'clock on Minnesota Public Radio. This is 91.1 knnow Minneapolis. St. Paul Twin Cities weather for this afternoon chance of showers and thunderstorms the high around 85 Degrees rain chances 30% for this afternoon tonight partly cloudy a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after midnight the low around 65 again a 30% chance of rain overnight for tomorrow partly cloudy 40% chance of showers the high around 80 for Wednesday partly cloudy the high again around 80 77 in the Twin Cities.