Monday, October 19, 2009

BREAKING INSIGHT NEWS: Candidates for Public Office Think Highly of Themselves

Guest post by the Hawthorne Hawkman; image from

I don't expect Insight News to be favorable to DFL-endorsed incumbent Don Samuels. After all, the paper endorsed Kenya McKnight early on. And that's their right; just like it's the right of Don Samuels supporters on this blog to stake out our positions.

And I'm not saying that an accurate portrayal of this or any other political debate has to present each candidate in an equal light. Could you imagine what would happen if we had to pretend that Roger Smithrud belonged on that stage as a legitimate candidate? What would happen if...I'm sorry, I wasn't as prepared for this question as I thought I would be.

There were two things that REALLY irked me about this Insight article, however...

First off, there were no quotes from Don Samuels whatsoever. Not what he said at the debate, and not his post-debate thoughts or evaluations. As the incumbent, Don's statements rise to the level of being newsworthy simply because he will be the one representing us until he either steps aside or is not re-elected. The statements of an incumbent at a debate give us context regarding what things are like in an area, how we got to a certain point, and what someone's vision is for moving forward.

I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who does not support CM Samuels, and I think of the 2004 Presidential elections and debates. I was virulently opposed to Dubya (although not really enamored by John Kerry). There was nothing that Bush could have said that would have swayed my vote to him. But yet I found his statements during the campaign and debates to be incredibly pertinent and newsworthy. Why doesn't Insight News at least bring its journalistic standards up to the point where even if they won't be balanced in their coverage, they can at least be substantive in their reporting?

Even more annoying though, were the closing statements from each candidate. McKnight, Johnson Lee, and Chism were all asked which candidate they thought did best at the debates. Oddly enough, Insight News didn't ask Samuels who he thought was most effective. It could be that they didn't feel the need to do that after re-posting an editorial full of racial vitriol reminiscent of the ugliness of the last 5th ward campaign. (And no, I'm not posting a link to that piece of garbage.)

So how did the other candidates answer the question of who they thought did best at the debates? This may come as a shocker, but they all pretty much said, "Believe it or not, it's me."


Anonymous said...

I would actually be more surpirsed (and worried) if Insight News were to give CM Samuels relection bid any credence.

Insight News sells fear. And they need good mouth-pieces to create sound-bytes to be able to do so.

What would Insight News headlines look like if they were proponents of CM Samuels? It'd be pretty boring stuff and they'd be out of business fairly quickly.

You see, at the end of the day, CM Samuels chooses to hold individuals (as well as government and private enterprise) accountable for their actions. Pretty boring stuff to report, if you're the editor of Insight News. Or say, IBNN.

It'd be like shooting yourself in the foot.......

Jordan Neighbor said...

Hey - at least Roger Smithrud was honest about not being prepared - can you picture the rest of the challengers being honest:

Chism: "I'm not as succesful in small business ventures as I thought I would be"

NJL: "I'm not as prepared to let go of this losing grudge as I thought I would be..."

McKnight: "I'm not as prepared to run the most needy Ward in the City as I thought I would be..."

Don "Republican" Allen said...

Dear Don Samuels supporter: It is the opinion of IBNN and its editor in chief Don Allen that the the Ward 5 race is wide open.

IBNN has not endorsed any candidate, and will not. (It's hard for me not to endorse or support Don Samuels because we share Jamaican heritage.) But - with the current state of north Minneapolis and Samuels lack luster performance at the debate sponsored by the league of women voters - I have my reservation (for the first time) that CM Samuels might not be able to pull this one off.

Also, based on the 1000 (Ward 5) Ron Paul supporters that will vote as advised by the Minneapolis City Republicans this race is getting interesting by the minute.

CM Don Samuels phone polling on yesterday was skewed and unprofessional. Over the years working with political candidates and national campaigns I have never seen such shenanigans. Kenya McKnight, Natalie Johnson Lee and even Lennie (who handed Don his ass at the Capri) are still pretty much in the running.

Oh yeah - about having IBNN in the same sentence with Insight News...I report real news without the corporate "self-masturbation" that goes on in that camp. In other words, its not about me; its about us, they and we.

Good day!

Anonymous said...

I think you need to be more tasteful about what you say! I don't see you running for anything. It not like you would win but, why so much hating on people. You might want to sweep around your own front door first1

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Don Allen,

Although the editorial showed up initially on, it was aiming my comments entirely at Insight News. However, now that you've brought it up, I will say that it is my opinion that such racially tinged sleaze did not deserve to see the light of day.

I personally found that article so offensive that I will not post a direct link to it here, nor will I approve a comment with a direct link. If John comes on here and approves it before I reject it, that's up to him. And in case someone calls it censorship, there is an easy enough trail of bread crumbs to follow if anyone wants to find read it.

@ anon 3:05,

Since you didn't give your name, I'm going to assume you're not running for anything either, and under your own standard, why are you commenting on this? I do hope to run for public office one day myself. The difference is that I realize that I am not yet ready. When I do run, I will do so in a manner that will clearly show that win or lose, I was at least prepared to run an efficient campaign.

Is there something specific that you have as a complaint? Or are your feathers ruffled simply because I'm calling Insight News out on (in this case at least) their insipid excuse of journalism?

Anonymous said...

@Don Allen - it's ridiculous for you to try and sound like you don't support any one - or for you to say it's hard to "not" support Don Samuels because of your shared heritage...

It sure isn't hard for you to create destructive, childish, divisive photoshopped propaganda about Don is it (referring to your recent 'gentrification' photo after the debate)

I also noticed that you have recently picked up the idea that MPS is failing and you are very distinctively calling the schools out on that. Hmmmm, that's funny, I remember a strong black man who said the schools were failing and we shouldn't allow it any further.. that was about 3 years ago and he's STILLL getting lambasted for it... And some people (cough, chism, cough) want to act like the schools so great cause they are doing good in football this year???? because they have won some championships???? IT'S A SCHOOL! Where kids go to learn!!!

And you know what makes me the angriest, Don Allen? You DON'T EVEN LIVE HERE!!!! And from what I know, you don't own any property here. So what exactly is your vested interest? Why don't you go fool around in your downtown neighborhood association, go play in those politics. Or show north Minneapolis that you are a stakeholder by investing your dough here. Put your money where your mouth is. Or are you 'all flash and no cash' like your buddy lennie?

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah... and about Don Samuels 'lack luster' performance at the debate.. and Lennie handing him 'his ass' - PUH-LEEZE...

Don's answers were the ONLY answers with fact, substance and reality. The others don't go any deeper than a thin veneer, which Lennie doesn't even have a veneer. Lennie didn't hand Don his ass, Lennie dodged, evaded and distracted with silly responses. Lennie can't buy a McDonald's happy meal, how does he think we don't see through his "road show".

Don "Republican" Allen said...

It sounds like you folks are bored today. I am sending a letter to Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson asking them to move to north Minneapolis for one year to help move things along.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

As far as my front door: The one with no sin cast the first stone. "Bricks a flying...huh? I don't think so.

Thank you Hawkman for keeping it realz.

Anonymous said...

Don Allen said:
IBNN has not endorsed any candidate, and will not. (It's hard for me not to endorse or support Don Samuels because we share Jamaican heritage.)

Dennis Plante Says:
Why NOT support him because of your jointly-shared Jamaican heritage Don? It'd actually make more logical sense than the reasons you stated on IBNN as to why there are only three choices (NJL, Chism, McKnight).

I mean come on man. You're suppossed to be an intelligent guy. At the very LEAST, find some sort of substance for the statements you choose to make.

There is a niche market to be had for you. However the "crazy" nuche is somewhat full in NOMI right now. And CM Samuels has his hands full trying to accomplish significant change.

Here's an idea. Why not REALLY dedicate the Independent News Netwrok (IBNN) blog to issues that would interest REAL Businesspeople? Now there's a niche market for you.

Oh, and I'll pay Hoff's bill for the dinner if he's proven wrong.....

Anonymous said...

@Don Allen - how can you ask them to move to north mpls when YOU DON'T EVEN LIVE IN NORTH????

Oh man. I hope they get as good a chuckle as I did at that comment.

veg*nation said...

re the insight news article:

i'll admit i did a spit take when i read the phrase "Kenya McKnight, leading challenger"! it might as well have said "Kenya McKnight, SERIOUSLY DELUDED" LOL!

i'm afraid insight news follows the "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one" brand of journalism.

Anonymous said...

"Oh yeah - about having IBNN in the same sentence with Insight News...I report real news without the corporate "self-masturbation" that goes on in that camp. In other words, its not about me; its about us, they and we.

Good grief. Both IBNN & Insight posted two different versions of the exact same sleazefest (masquerading as "commentary") by Mel Reeves. Don't flatter yourself. IBNN and Insight are indistinguishable.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

To those anonymous folks: I am in the process of purchasing a building in north Minneapolis. I also have several assets in housing let to me by my father in 1998. So I guess I do have a vested interest in the new tag line for north Minneapolis "No Mini."

Anonymous said...

about IBNN & Insight - actually the Mel Reeves commentary was the EXACT same word for word. And coincidentally or not.. Mel Reeves was the 'activist' who supposedly lead the housing foreclosure forum that NJL recently 'moderated' - coincidence, huh??? ;-)

@ Don Allen - when you disclose the building that you are trying to purchase and disclose the several properties left to you by your father - that's when I will believe it.

You're all flash and no cash - birds of a feather...

Adrian H. said...

1) Why are all the pro-JNS folks calling out the anonymous commenters when they continuously comment anonymously themselves? Monikers like Ranty, veg*nation, Hawkman, Pond-dragon, etc, etc....are still anonymous, no matter how you slice it. A Blogger account with an alias name is STILL an anonymous person afraid to put their real name behind their aggressive opinions. So the next time someone (the very many someones actually) disagrees with you, please spare us the 'anonymous' argument as a flimsy way to debunk what is actually being written.

2) Why are the pro-JNS folks calling out those who call them names as being rude? Do you not routinely (as in pretty much daily) criticize, mock, name-call, judge and generally act like a bunch of rude junior high schoolers under your 'free speech' internet cloaks? For every ounce of intelligent discussion, there is so much more 'clever' bile and disdain tossed out for all those that JNS and company disapprove of, as if they decide who's worthy and who's not.

3) A large number of North Minneapolis residents read this blog because of the circus that JNS has spawned, not because they support him. This is the National Enquirer of the Northside, not the NYTimes. In fact, JNS supporters might be surprised to find that they are scoffed at by Northside residents at least as much as the targets of this blog are by them. Remember, people communicate in many ways other than blogs.

4) Who do JNS followers think they're fooling with their favorite new word 'revitalization'? It's a very OLD word, used for years and years by hopeful hardworking Northside residents who have waited and waited for it to be a present-tense reality, instead of a future-tense mantra. Say it as many times as you want, it doesn't mean you are making it happen. In fact, by subscribing to the offensive behavior of JNS, you can pretty much ensure you won't be a key part of whatever progress happens. Positive people who do the work when no one is watching are the true change agents, not embittered and cowardly serial blog commenters.

5) Inclusivity can mean many things, one of which is to accept people IN SPITE of their failings, not to focus on them. If you don't like someone because you perceive them to be loud, obnoxious, offensive and pertaining to be the voice of the people, perhaps it's best not to follow the lead of just another one of the same.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Adrian H.

You make some good points and I appreciate that.

First off, I'll reveal my "secret identity," although I have done so in previous posts as well. "The Hawthorne Hawkman" is Jeff Skrenes. I thought when I set up my profile that my name was publicly available. I'll have to check my settings and see about that. I've also gone by the name "The Mortgage Geek." If other people want to either state their names or update their profiles so that information is widely available, then that's all good.

There has been value in posting anonymously, though. A lot of good, and accurate, information has come up specifically because people can use the anonymous posting feature. And then there are times when someone makes a claim or statement but hides behind that feature. I do believe that it can be the right thing to do in calling out folks when this happens. But there also may be times when a double standard is applied. Speaking for myself, I'm going to be more conscious of this moving forward.

Same goes for the rudeness factor. Personally, I prefer blunt honesty and brutal truth over playing nice. It's just more efficient. And I have at times called out John on crossing this line. I'm sure I've crossed it myself in some people's minds.

I should point out, though, that Jill Clark and her cronies (or is she a crony of others? Hard to say.) have sued John Hoff and Don Allen and are trying to find out the identity of several anonymous commenters on this blog. So there are very real, practical reasons for anonymity. You don't see JNS supporters filing such lawsuits though.

I'm not surprised that there are those out there who read the blog as more of a tabloid. But there are also those who read it because they believe the information and the frank discussions that often follow give a realistic depiction of what's happening in NoMi.

Once again, I do appreciate your thoughtful comments, even the ones I disagree with. I suspect if we sat down over coffee we'd find we have a surprising amount in common.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

Twin Cities Daily Planet; Diane Hofstede; Star Tribune; Barb Johnson; Linda Higgins; Peace Foundation; Hawthorne; YMCA/YWCA - A list of things that this blog could attack.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

Just to add my two cents, as I'm going to be busy today and unable to blog much till later, I don't care about white flight, or black flight, or brown flight. It doesn't surprise me that people want to live around people like them, whether in terms of race, class, educational level, whatever. I object only to any legal impediment to people being free to move and to live where they want to. I simply find it risible that progressives would criticize others for allegedly having bad racial motives for what they call "white flight" (though middle class people of all ethnicities do the same thing) when they themselves are doing the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Don "Republican" Allen said: "I am sending a letter to Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson asking them to move to north Minneapolis"

Are these some of your "Republican" heroes? I think you would come across as a more serious commentator if you would make some attempt to reconcile the glaring inconsistencies between your various positions. Speaking perfectly honestly, you just come across as a sulky two-year old, who will say anything to get attention.

veg*nation said...

@ Adrian H. & Jeff S.: it's great to see the seeds of a productive conversation here. there are, indeed, a variety of reasons people may post anonymously--and the insanely litigious nature of some people in the neighborhood is one of them. not everyone has the means to fight frivolous lawsuits.
but the bigger issue i think does have to do with how the people in the neighborhood who do just want to work quietly on concrete projects can work around the blowhards. my experience has been that whenever the blowhards get wind of more than three people trying to do anything productive, they turn up and divert, distract, and antagonize until people stop showing up. this is the m.o. so, yes, even though, as Adrian H. points out, "calling people out" isn't the highest pinnacle of human behavior. but i think a lot of what i see here on the jns blog comes out of that history. to be honest, i'm perfectly happy to hand over all the work to the blowhards if they would actually DO something--i didn't just wake up one morning and say to myself, "hey, i'd like to spend all my spare time going to meetings and doing the job that paid staff at the neighborhood organization should have been doing for all these decades."

@ Don Allen: i think it would be great if Al Sharpton would come to our neighborhood:

some of us here in North DO care about more than one kind of "green," and agree with Obama that the green economy is not only the ethical way forward, but also the economic way forward.

and re Don's comments about "black flight": it's disingenuous to accuse people of criticizing you for living wherever you want to. what people are saying is: if you don't care enough about the neighborhood to live here, then stop using our neighborhood to score political points, and focus on helping Lennie open his convenience store on YOUR block, in whatever suburb that might be.

Anonymous said...

@Don Allen - that list of "things that this blog could attack" sounds like YOUR list. You do what you do, but don't come to someone else's blog and act like they aren't doing what they are supposed to do. Does JNS go to your blog to say what your blog should be doing?

Ranty said...


I'm Connie Nompelis.

I thought most people knew that already, but perhaps not...

Someone Disgusted said...

I'd be ROFLMAO at the GOP Man's Farakhan, Sharpton statement, if it wasn't so terrifyingly real, the level of incompetence running around all over the neighborhood.

But, the Smithruds and Chisms and their supporters (dope dealers and greasy under the table money grubbing business men), are just to disgusting to laugh about.

I won't say "Good luck Don Samuels". Instead, I'll wish us all luck. Because if either of the other candidates somehow pull off this election, we'll all need it.

Don "Republican" Allen said...

Remind you of someone "Jeff?"

Don "Republican" Allen said...

What Businesses are in the Hawthorne Neighborhood - even more important what businesses have been created?

Business Program
Starting a small business requires determination, motivation, and know-how. The Hawthorne Business Committee works to create effective support and solutions to connect businesses in Hawthorne to residents and other stakeholders to create a neighborhood where all people can live, work, learn and play.

Where there is a need, we help potential businesses identify suitable resources to help them choose what kind of business to start; identify resources to help them make a business plans which allows them to gain a better understanding of their industry structure, competitive landscape, and the capital requirements of starting the small business.

There are almost a hundred businesses in the Hawthorne Neighborhood, from independent contractors to retail, manufacturing and light industrial businesses and non-profits. Hawthorne commercial interests cover a wide array of specialties, including the world’s largest Lutefisk factory to well-known bars and music recording studios.

The Hawthorne Business Committee has spearheaded a new marketing program for Hawthorne businesses to work in conjunction with several other initiatives to encourage business and community on West Broadway and North Minneapolis.

Numerous efforts of the Business Committee include supporting the Step-Up Achieve! program to connect high school student interns to Hawthorne businesses to learn professional skills. They supported the Great Idea Exchange and the Live Northside Chess Match, and they also concentrated efforts on developing a facade improvement program to assist Hawthorne businesses to make needed improvements to their business exteriors. They’ve worked with efforts to develop business incubators and to provide support for Hawthorne businesses to discuss key issues with the City Council, city and state departments and other policy makers.

For more information, or if you would like to join the Business Committee, please contact Alexandra Jasicki at or call 612-529-6033 x 205.

Anonymous said...

True story. On of my dearest and best friends is coming from NOMI to visit me this week.

He's a rather interesting story in himself actually. He's African American. Grew-up in Chicago (actually lost a brother to gang violence) and moved to Minneapolis in 1996 to escape gang violence and the generally poor living conditions in which he was raised.

Subsequently, he married his sweetheart (from Chicago)and they purchased a house in Jordan in 1998. He and his wife divorced in 2002 and he moved-out and enrolled himself in an undergraduate degree program (while he was working full-time) and he bought his own house in NOMI.

He's now just about finished with his Master's Degree in business administration after 7 long years of working full-time and going to school full-time.

Over the years, I've occaissionally asked him why he had never become more involved in the politics of the "neighborhood" and what his plans are after graduating and obtaining his degree, as one wold think that an educated African American man he would certainly have a lot to offer the community.

His answer? He plans on moving out of NOMI and selling his house immediately upon obtaining his MBA. His reason? He's followed the neighborhood politics from afar and likens it very much to the neighborhood politics he was faced with in Chicago. The same old games with different players, as he so aptly puts it.

He believes the African American community in NOMI is way too fractionalized and not capable of working within the system effectively enough to be able to accomplish anything of substance. In fact, he doesn't believe that there's a "community activist" in existence in NOMI that actually has the best interests of African Americans at the forefront of their actions and statements. He sees them as self-serving.

He voted for CM Samuels the last two elections and plans to do so (for the last time) this fall before he moves-out of NOMI.

dennis plante

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@ Don Allen:

Great, you cut and pasted a section of the Hawthorne website about businesses. Bravo.

We do have an excellent staff person who has been working with the business community in Hawthorne, and her contact info is in your comment section. Since s he's come on board, we've seen a great new bar open up, Donnie Dirk's, another sports bar/restaurant, "Good Sports Bar & Grill," (now how's that for a name?) is replacing the site formerly known as Johnny A's, and Halek's is getting a new owner.

Development is happening in that area, and we're working on expanding the participation and influence of the Hawthorne business committee. That's Alexandra's area of work, though, so I won't comment in great detail.

Alexandra is professional, capable, and accessible. If you have issues you'd like to bring up about businesses in Hawthorne, you've clearly got her contact information. Use that first before posting insinuations here.

Pond-dragon said...

To Adrian @ 11:19

(The topic was Candidates for public office), not take unsupported, personal pot shots at pseudonym contributors.

The federalist papers were written under a pseudonym name. Key reason, to minimize retaliation, and argue the facts and theory's, not the personality.
Do you consider our founding fathers, Cowards and blowhards for not using their real names?

Given your adverseness to pseudonym names, I'll take it as a compliment to be grouped in with the likes of Hamilton, Madison and Jay.

If you have a direct argument/discussion about one of my posts, feel free to state your opinion and support it, with something other than ramblings.

Bryan Thao Worra said...

This year, I'm oddly obliged to mention Alexis de Tocqueville's pithy maxim "In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve." Still, thanks for the coverage!

veg*nation said...

@ pond-dragon: to be fair, i think Adrian was pointing out that the criticism of anonymity is unevenly applied (which it is).

i know that i've gone back and forth at different times about how much info in my google profile to set as "public"--not so much because of this blog, but just out of a general superstition about putting info on the internet.

on the other hand, there is something to be gained from people being willing to stand behind their comments. and in that way, i guess i do disagree with Adrian, in that even having a consistent commenter identity/pseudonym means that you're building a kind of a rep, even if it isn't tied to a real name.

and, it's not like i know who Adrian H. is, anyway, even though he is using (part of) his real name :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Adrian H,

are you the same Adrian that helps campaign with Kenya? Like going out in the middle of the night to hang up her yard signs?

just wondering, trying to figure out who is who....

Anonymous said...

Don "Republican" Allen said...
Twin Cities Daily Planet; Diane Hofstede; Star Tribune; Barb Johnson; Linda Higgins; Peace Foundation; Hawthorne; YMCA/YWCA - A list of things that this blog could attack.

Dennis Plante Responds:
Fair question Don. Why attack the Peace Foundation. Or, the YWCA/YMCA for that matter? Is it that you do not believe they are operating within the financial boundaries of the PNP by-laws, or do you just not agree with the focus of their programs?

Fair question Don and I'd like an answer. Otherwise, I'll just assume it's (another) baseless accusation.

World Is Flat said...

Thank you Pond-Dragon for making the historical point!!!

The fact is that retailiation in the form of lawsuits in an attempt to try to shut people up is real regardless of the fact that this is protected speech. For example, Jerry Moore v. Dan Rother -- DISMISSED! Ben Myers v. Jordan 3 -- DISMISSED! And soon to be dismissed Jerry Moore v. Don Allen & John Hoff.

Besides, just because some don't who some others are, doesn't mean we don't know (I'm just sayin')

BTW, @ Jordan Neighbor...LMAO!


@ Hawkman, Keep up the good work! Truth to the people (sorry, couldn't resist..)


Anonymous said...

Insight News exists as a place for Al MacFarlane to plaster his picture every month. Please don't look there for political news of substance.

Low End Leroy said...

I'm continually astonished by some of the people who claim N. Mpls. as their home.

veg*nation refers to them as "blowhards" and I agree. The folks who have as their only goal the obstruction of productivity and growth... the fear mongerers only know how to oppose. The ideas of the larger community threaten and endager the blowhards' own ability to continue thieving from the same people they claim to be helping.

Look around-- if there is disparity between N. Mpls. and other areas in Mpls. It is, in large part, because the blowhards choose not to work within generally accepted norms of conduct and behavior. They are offensive. They are selfish. They are bombastic, and they are a cancer. Their loud and flamboyant tactics are meant to shock the average person and tug at the liberal sympathies of the general populace. Shame on the mainstream media in this city for giving creed to the blowhards' voices. The blowhards do not represent N. Mpls. They are holding N. Mpls. down for their own gain.

Blowhard supporters--- take a look around. See what kind of cars and houses your blowhards are driving and living in? It is your wallet sustaining them. If you are a victim--- you are a victim of your own inability to recognize the sins of your "leaders."

Pond-dragon said...

Low end Leroy as usual you nailed it!

Low End Leroy said...

Thanks PD.
And for anyone whining about the use of a pseudonym... go to college and take a U.S. political history course, or simply Google "Poor Richard's Almanac."

The print media in the U.S. has a rich and productive history of pseudonym usage.

Now quit whining and pick up the trash in front of your house.

World Is Flat said...

LEL -- LMAO!!! Translation -- read a book and you will know my name! I love it!!