Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fifth Ward City Council Candidate Kenya McKnight Flakes Out, Withdraws Request For Green Party Endorsement...

Photo By John Hoff

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the Fifth District Green Party, of which I have been a member since 2004 or 2005. I actually joined the 5th District Greens prior to living in Minneapolis, because my son was living in an affluent southern suburb of the Twin Cities, and I knew wherever my child was, I would find a way to live there also. So, in a rather routine way, I joined the 5th District Greens from outside the district, and was a non-voting member until I managed to live in the district and become a member with full privileges. Prior to that, however, as early as 2000, I had been a member of a national Green Party. I say these things in a spirit of full disclosure.

Some days ago, word came from a Green Party mailing that Kenya McKnight was trying to get a Green Party endorsement in her campaign against incumbent Don Samuels. McKnight is pictured above, in the middle, at the recent WHO meeting over whether the "Uncle Bill's" store should become "Uncle Lennie's."

I came to the Green Party meeting because I was opposed to endorsing McKnight, first of all because (in the pattern of so many others) Kenya McKnight has never shown any notable interest in the Green Party prior to coming around and asking for an endorsement...

Secondly, I was opposed because Kenya is another in a long line of the same tired pattern which the Fifth District Green Party has allowed for too long: an individual who avidly sought endorsement from the DFL, didn't get what they wanted, so they come crawling over to the Greens and hoping we'll embrace these "DFL discards."

Third, Kenya McNight is a supremely unqualified candidate. Lacking even a college degree, she seeks a job that pays $79,000 a year to help run a major metropolitan area while talking about (good God!) her experiences selling cookies and her "tough background" and "youthful mistakes."

If, God forbid, Kenya got elected she would be an embarrassment to the Green Party.

However, I was in for a surprise when I got to the meeting. Kenya McKnight had withdrawn her request for endorsement.

In fact, not only McKnight in the Fifth Ward but Melissa Hill in Ward 3 and Ken Lawrence in Ward 7 had all withdrawn their requests for endorsement. My fellow Green Party members at the meeting had no explanation for this. When I said it was "fascinating" one Green Party member responded this is exactly what THEY thought. I did, however, get secondhand word that Green Party Member Cam Gordon, City Council Member representing Ward 2, was "incensed" over something involving the endorsements and may have "applied pressure."

Both Melissa Hill and Kenya McKnight had gone through some of the Green Party vetting process. In the case of Kenya McKnight, notes from a verbal interview (click here, go to bottom of document below Melissa Hill portion) appear to indicate Mcnight started but did not complete a written question sheet. Melissa Hill, in contrast, did complete the written portion of the endorsement vetting process as well as the verbal interview.

At the same meeting, an individual named Kris Broberg sought endorsement. Broberg is running against Betsy Hodges in Ward 13 and admitted, in response to my question, this was the first Green Party meeting he'd ever attended. He'd been a member of both the Libertarian and Republican Party, however. Broberg characterized the Minneapolis City government as "fascist" when asked about a previous statement he'd made using that label. After a notable moment of hesitation, Broberg stood by his "fascist" statement.

Broberg did not get any Green Party nomination yesterday, partly because the rules forbid endorsing members of other political parties, but he was received in a (surprisingly) friendly way, no doubt due to the ongoing low self-esteem issues plaguing the Fifth District Green Party when endorsement suitors come a-calling, following up on enticing rumors, looking for the Green Party to "go all the way on the first date."

But yesterday something shifted--it's hard to say what, exactly--and I can't help but wonder if this represents a sea change for the Fifth District Green party, a renewed desire to live on something besides DFL leftovers.


Anonymous said...

Kenya McKnight said "NRP was a great idea, but it got stuck, by the people, not the program. Money was used to move entire houses of friends to be near a pond in the Jordan neighborhood, at a cost of $1,000,000"

This is an absolute lie and shows that she knows nothing about the house move OR the pond in the Jordan neighborhood. She is combining two separate issues to make up "scandal". This is absurd. Kenya do some research about our neighborhood and speak the truth!

Republican - Don Allen said...

Dear JNS - (My Friend, I have to disagree with you on what happened with Kenya McKnight.

First of all - If I was a betting man, I would fly (again) to Las Vegas and bet $1000 that Don Samuels will not be elected as the Ward 5 Councilman. Secondly, after Tuesday, you will see that Kenya made the best choice by not seeking the Green Party endorsement.

As you know, the Green Party has become corrupt with the move made by Cam Gordon as it pertains to R.T. - both men have contaminated the process and therefore a vote of no confidence for Cam, R.T. and the Green Party until they reverse the damage done.

Kinda looking like the Republicans and the Ron Paul "Campaign for Liberty folks might have a say in this mess!

Anonymous said...

Why bother to speak the truth, or for that matter, research the facts, when making baseless accusations gain more mileage?

I was there during the "pond move", and there were MANY nice houses sacrificed due to mionetary considerations.

Just what NOMI needs, another "activist" that chooses to shoot from the hip.

Johnny Northside said...

Are you seriously telling me Kenya is going to seek a Republican and/or Libertarian endorsement?

Wait, let me guess...once she does that, she'll hold up "Uncle" Lennie Chism as an example of a guy who is being hounded by over-zealous regulatory efforts?

I could use some money, Don, but I don't know whether I'm willing to bet $1,000 on the outcome of the Ward 5 election. Let me talk to my good-friend-who is a girl, however. Let me see if I can front $500 and she can front $500, and then we can take that grand off you in November after Don Samuels wins.

Anonymous said...

Don Allen Said:

"First of all - If I was a betting man, I would fly (again) to Las Vegas and bet $1000 that Don Samuels will not be elected as the Ward 5 Councilman. Secondly, after Tuesday, you will see that Kenya made the best choice by not seeking the Green Party endorsement.

Kinda looking like the Republicans and the Ron Paul "Campaign for Liberty folks might have a say in this mess!"

Don, all I can say is wow... If you and your yet to be disclosed group, pull this off, you'll all be in Washington running national campaigns for someone.

I for one know EXACTLY how much ass-busting work it takes to beat a DFL endorsed candidate in NOMI (and they weren't even an incumbent). It ain't happening this time around.....

Republican Don Allen said...

Hey - Johnny, I seriously ask you to look around north Minneapolis and see what BLACK PEOPLE HAVE...Nothing.

We need to, at some point - let people move forward. I know its fun being the odd man out - and this is the first time in over 30 years that "outsiders" get the "real McCoy" on what's really going on over north from both of us, but this attack on BLACK PEOPLE will implode on you very quickly.

I don't like the Minneapolis Urban League...I have friends who work there; I don't like the Stairstep Foundation; MN Lynx; MDCR - but its never personal.

Politics is never personal, once you personally attack BLACK PEOPLE rather than look at the systemic reasons the failures have occurred, you are missing the point.

By the way, if young Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Somali's had jobs in North Minneapolis - and the city didn't FU the EZ money, we could have a store on the corner of Sheridan and Plymouth owned by BLACK PEOPLE with NO BLACK CRIME.


LOOK AT SAMUELS, RYBAK, JOHNSON, and the folks that have spent over $100 million on foreclosure and just hired people and created a new "job" industry with no measurable outcomes for north Minneapolis. Kenya and Lennie had nothing to do with that.

Johnny Northside said...

My opposition to Lennie has NOTHING to do with the color of his skin. It has EVERYTHING to do with what Uncle Bill's has been so far and Lennie's inability to take on a project that big, as evidenced by his failures at 1901 Glenwood Ave. N. and, oh gee, he isn't doing so well with 2519 Emerson Ave. N., either.

Don Allen said...

I don't understand a failure of a BLACK MAN who is still in his building. There are thousands of people in foreclosure...It looks to me that Lennie has weathered the storm better than most. That to me defines success. Lennie has properties in north Minneapolis, do you know how hard it is to get money from your local city government if your Black and male?

I don't attack the mostly WHITE Real Estate agents of NoMi. I don't attack the Hawthorne Community or the new Jordan group.

Nor do I attack something so KKK has a one-man Minneapolis contest that shows the level of disrespect and skewed "process" that everyone from the mayor to the city council has for BLACK PEOPLE.

Maybe I should organize a One Black man contest - would that be attacked.

In closing, you can go beat up people - starting with the people on the current page of your blog.

Anonymous said...

It's fun to see extreme poverty pimp Don Allen throw away all his "principles" now that Al has dangled the promise of a seat at the trough in front of him! He can always go back to being in favor of the private sector if it doesn't work out!

Anonymous said...

Does Johnny Northside have any money or just a mouth to keep running - North Minneapolis needs investments dollars - not just another worthless opinion - check these vacant lots - 7th and Plymouth , Golden Valley Road and Penn, Plymouth and Penn, Glenwood and Penn... some 30 years vacant - Van White, Cherryhomes, Johnson, Samuels , Rybak, Belton - what is the real issue Johnny "No Money" Northside. By the way, Johnny "No Money" Northside - Uncle Lennie has site control of a building which was listed for $200k lets see - Damn Good Investment for $3k... plus he has shown Don Samuels has no plans for jobs and trying to destroy another Black Mans efforts to improve North Minneapolis ... brilliant ... just brilliant... and Uncle Lennie is in your head 24 7 ... and Don Samuels election is in Uncle Lennie's hands... brilliant ... get the popcorn

Anonymous said...

Don Allen Said:


Don, really give some reflective thought towards your statement above.

It's an absurd statement on face value. Because someone is not in favor of "rubber stamping" Lennies' "project". Or because someone chooses to support CM Samuels (who by the way is black), instead of supporting McKnight, doesn't necessarily make them guilty of not supporting blacks in their effort to lift themselves up by their own means.

If you want Lennie to suceed as both a black man and a businesman, then urge him to perform the due dilligence of someone as if YOU were loaning him the money to start this business. Because afterall, he's requesting that the immediate neighborhood (where the property is located), to invest in him as an individual and put their well-being at risk in the process. Or, does Lennie's right to succeed as a black businesman supercede their rights as citizens of that neighborhood? And PLEASE answer that question.

As for Ms. McKnight... As far as I can tell, your "stumping" includes the fact that she's black. Are there any other qualifications from which SHE may be judged? Other than of course, your stated dislike of Samuels and Rybak? What makes you believe she'd be an effective leader? And PLEASE answer this question as well.

This isn't about whites keeping blacks down. It's about intelligent, caring people wanting what's best for their coummunity. Why choose to make it an issue of race?

dennis m plante

Anonymous said...

"Uncle Lennie has site control of a building which was listed for $200k lets see - Damn Good Investment for $3k"
Hey... did you even wonder why he was able to buy it so cheap? Maybe because it's a building that requires over $300,000 worth of improvements before it is up to code, and even then can not even open because it isn't zoned properly?

Shrewd. That Lennie is a regular Donald Trump.

Anonymous said...

Didn't take long to see the race card out there!
It isn't because Lennie doesn't have a Business plan, it isn't because Lennie bought a "City closed down drug store" It isn't because Lennie has and continues to DIS the standing "Black Council men" it isn't because he "Failed" to properly conduct his business with his present enterprise" It's because he's black! Same think that kept that other black guy from getting into the white house, and that other black guy from getting into congress, and that other black guy from becoming councilmen.

"Private Sector" Don Allen said...

WTF...Popcorn is ready!

Just to answer the folks afraid to leave their name(s): No one has promised me a seat anywhere. I prefer the private sector. I am a Republican and will not move from that base.

07/22/09 will tell the real story!

Boo-Boo Green said...

The Green Party is just a bunch of DFLer's that didn't get in!

The Mortgage Geek said...

It's one thing to say something like "all things being equal, let's give more consideration to a marginalized or disenfranchised demographic." (Black, Latino, American Indian, Asian, people with disabilities, etc)

You start heading down a slippery slope by saying, "because this plan comes from someone in such a demographic, we'll cut it a bit of extra slack." It's still a position with arguable merit, but it can lead to a destination that doesn't benefit anyone.

Don, you are at that destination right now. Nothing anyone says seems to carry any weight in your mind for the simple reason that Lennie Chism is black.

If we criticize his plan for being half-cocked at best, we're doing nothing more than making a personal attack on a black man. If we evaluate his past (mis)performance, we're not seeing the future.

If this was a white man coming into the community with the same proposal and history, would you still be advocating for Uncle Bill's under the premise that it could benefit the black community? Or would you be calling him out on the carpet for his shortcomings?

Anonymous said...

Mortgage Geek said at 11am -

"If this was a white man coming into the community with the same proposal and history, would you still be advocating for Uncle Bill's under the premise that it could benefit the black community? Or would you be calling him out on the carpet for his shortcomings?"

And therein lies the conondrum. This project would not even be up for further consideration from the "WHO", if it had been presented by a white owner.

Even if the business aspects of the project were to be set aside and it was being argued from the standpoint of whether or not it was a worthy project based upon entitlement, this project does not have the "legs" necessary to get-up off the ground and walk.

It's all weel and good to say that negativity doesn't have a place at the table. But, when a project such is this is brought forward as a reasonable option to demolition, it makes no sense whatsoever. Regardless of the color of the person(s) supporting it.

Tom Cleland said...

The Minneapolis Republican Party has been taken over by moderates and progressives, which is good, but they still have a ways to go. I wish some of them would have joined us in our press conference today, calling for the removal of Police Chief Dolan:

Tom Cleland
Member, Steering Committee
Fifth Congressional District Green Party

Johnny Northside said...

The URL to the screening questions for Melissa Hill and Kenya McKnight appears to have been replaced by another document with screening questions for another candidate.