Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Love My Home In NoMi--Spring Yard Cleaning!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

So a couple days ago I woke up and found out some nobody in Texas--Jim Watkins, a.k.a. "The DFW Mentor," a.k.a. The "Anti-Johnny," who is the self-described "best friend" of T.J. Waconia fraudster Thomas Balko, now cooling his heels in a federal prison, good riddance--is writing stuff on the internet about the dozen or so trash bags of leaves I had left over in my yard from the fall.

This is the pathetic level to which Jim Watkins has stooped, trying to find something to criticize me over. I have LEAVES IN MY YARD. The shame. And this because I criticized his jailbird friends for the damage they did to North Minneapolis.

I mean, like, I have THE INTERNET to remind me how, oh, I really should put out those bags of leaves which were all crappy and FROZEN TO THE GROUND through the winter, because they were so wet when I bagged them up.

Mi vida loco. I mean, who am I, Tom Cruise that I have tabloid photographers taking pictures of my back yard? If I was in federal prison while my family continued to live in a luxurious lake home, click here, I could understand the fuss, but as it, can't really understand the fuss about a dozen bags of leaves.

Anyway, prompted by THE FREAKING INTERNET, I hauled the leaves to my collection point to get picked up by the City of Minneapolis and become compost. That was when I discovered somebody had taken a bunch of branches and dumped them at my refuse collection point, and the city was leaving me a note to bundle the branches...

Yeah, like I'm going to bundle the branches. More likely I will BURN the branches, when I come back from my long trucking trip and sit around drinking booze with my NoMi homies, plotting further acts of neighborhood revitalization. Speaking of which...

I am thinking of writing to the State of Minnesota Parole Board about Thomas Balko and, while I'm at it, Jon Helgason. I mean, think about it. Here's this guy who did so much to harm our North Minneapolis neighborhood, and now he sits in prison, but his self-described "best friend" Jim Watkins (the evil Anti-Johnny) is pouring all kinds of energy into mocking and razzing folks trying to change the neighborhood for the better. I find it hard to believe Thomas Balko doesn't know what Jim Watkins is doing while Balko is cooling his keister in the can. And what does that tell us?

Lack of remorse. So the bastard should stay in prison as long as possible, and NOT get any kind of early parole. And I think it might be good to start coordinating a letter writing campaign to that effect, if I have to make a point of giving out the postage stamps my damn self while my friends write letters.

These are the things I think about while hauling garbage bags of leaves to my alley.

At least my yard work isn't BORING.

(Blogging from Lapaneer, Michigan)


Johnny Northside said...

Note to self...

Looks like this is where my inquiries will have to begin about getting folks to write to the folks in charge of the potential Helgason/Balko parole:

U.S. Parole Commission 5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 420 Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286.

Johnny Northside said...

I seem to be having some difficulty finding Helgason in the federal system but, hey, who cares? I've got Balko...

THOMAS JOSEPH BALKO 13911-041 39-White-M 07-02-2015 DULUTH FPC

Johnny Northside said...

Just in case anybody needed to write him a letter.

P.O. BOX 1000
DULUTH, MN 55814

Johnny Northside said...

Well, heck. Turns out I just wasn't spelling Jonathan Helgason's first name right. Here he is:

Name Register # Age-Race-Sex Release Date
1. JONATHAN EDWARD HELGASON 13912-041 47-White-M 05-15-2016 DULUTH FPC

Johnny Northside! said...

One comment rejected from a troll.

Anonymous said...

We installed some city garbage cans in and around our block. But some idiot keeps dumping construction materials and household garbage in one of them.


Anonymous said...

How do you decide what's a troll, John. Part of the reason this blog is so interesting is because of your rather open comment policy.

I would hate to see you start to limit your comment section to an echo gallery just because you don't like getting teased.

MeganG. said...

@Anon 755am - "getting teased" is part of the problem. John has always said he will approve substantive comments, even if they are critical or in a different opinion of whatever the subject may be.

But coming to the blog, making up fake names and voices and "teasing" - that's not substantive and it's a waste of time, so, as a reader I say weed out the useless and keep our JNS reading substantive and informative and productive.

Congrats to JNS for being named best blog by City Pages:

Anonymous said...

Isn't MN a truth in sentencing state? Won't this dude sit 2/3 of his sentence in the can and 1/3 on supervised release whether you write letters or not?

But you're the lawyer and not me, so I guess you know.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:55am said:
I would hate to see you start to limit your comment section to an echo gallery just because you don't like getting teased.

Anon 9:55am says:
What does "teasing" add to the blog in a constructive manner? Why should JNS approve posts that offer nothing constructive to the blog subject matter? Wouldn't that be a disservice to the rest of the participants in the blog?

My two cents. If you can't add something constructive (and by your own admission it's "teasing"), then don't post.

Anonymous said...


How do you determine whose voice is "false" though. I mean I wouldn't believe that someone thinks like Sarah Palin unless I actually saw her speak in front of me. With the internet we don't have that luxery. I say err on the side of letting discussion happen rather than try to limit it to agreeing viewpoints.

But John is the best of the best for a reason and I'm sure he's more than capable of making those decisions.

Michael Spivak said...

@ Anon 9:50 AM: It looks like they're in federal prison under federal charges, not Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

If they're in federal prison then there is no parole, so the letters are unncessary. Right, John?

Anonymous said...

Ya in a fed pen you only get one day off per 30 for good behavior. That is 12 days per year if you are good!
T Jaramillo

Anonymous said...

Johnny - I hate to burst your bubble, but John and Tom only get 300 pone minutes a month @.26 cents a minute, I highly doubt they are wasting their time on the phone with Watkins talking about you! I know for a fact they spend all them minutes talking to their families. Good luck with your letters of them not getting early parole, if you had half a brain you would know that there is no parole in Federal Prison. Go ahead and continue to write about these two, when anybody can see you are just trying to take the lime light off of yourself, looks as though you have a shit storm that is coming YOUR way!
Good luck on your beadbeat dad case and everything other thing that is going to come your way, I think you will need all the luck you can get.

Johnny Northside! said...

In regard to parole and the federal system:

It is true there is no parole and hasn't been since a law was passed in the 1980s. However, there are persistent attempts to repeal that law and it's not unthinkable the law could be repealed before these two get out in, what? 2015 and 2016? Something like that.

There is still a U.S. Parole Commission, it appears, so go figure! I wonder if they have anything to do with reviewing "good behavior" in these circumstances which can reduce a sentence by (Tyrone says) 12 days a year.

If Tom and Jon are in any way encouraging Jim Watkins to constantly razz and mock the people trying to revitalize North Minneapolis, is THAT good behavior? Is THAT remorse? If they even KNOW about it and don't say, "God, Jim, lay off..." then I find it hard to believe that's good behavior. Depends how you define it, though. I guess it could mean scrubbing the toilet really good.

I have half a mind to print out and organize all the relevant stuff Jim Watkins has been writing and start bringing it to the attention of the prison authorities in regard to Thomas Balko and Jon Helgason. But I happen to be busy at the moment, kicking back on my personal time after a long day of trucking. But I could get un-busy if I grew more than mildly irritated.

Tom and Jon are in a CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT which is harsh and where punishment can happen on a whim. If you want to find out what it is like in the federal pen in Duluth, or any federal pen, there are books written on the subject. One of which is "I Was Wrong" by Jim Baker, the disgraced televangelist. He lays out the conditions there in detail.

I think Martha Steward wrote a book on it, as well.

I'm about halfway through Jim Baker's book. Wish I'd taken it with me on the road. There's a great "prison pizza" recipe I have often thought of sharing with my readers.


These guys are in great discomfort, very vulnerable, and unwanted attention from their keepers can indeed make their situation even MORE uncomfortable. What could BRING that unwanted attention?

Knowing this, if I were "Tom and Jon" I wouldn't want a whole bunch of attention. I wouldn't want folks writing letters to the authorities saying, gee, there's this friend of Tom Balko who keeps trying to demoralize people in the North Minneapolis neighborhood and it's hard to believe Tom Balko isn't aware of it. This is his self-described "best friend" after all. And Jim Watkins says it's all about his friend.

I am hoping the evil Anti-Johnny Jim Watkins will soon sing the same tune as Jim Baker and say "I Was Wrong" and will make many amends. He can start by apologizing all over himself to the folks on the "T.J. Waconia Victims blog."

I also think it's fair to bring "Tom and Jon" into the discussion about whether they are communicating with Jim Watkins and encouraging any of Jim's attempts to demoralize the "revitalizers" in North Minneapolis. Therefore I dropped one of them a postcard and one a short note on scratch paper. No sense putting a lot of EFFORT into it.

Yawn. Scratch butt.

I'd feel kinda bad if they use up some of those precious 300 minutes a month worrying about this situation.

(Commenting from Dry Ridge, Kentucky, on a trucking trip)

(For now, I'm keeping this comment here on this blog instead of just tossing it into the shark pool over at the T.J. Waconia Victims blog)

Johnny Northside! said...

Interesting and relevant comments on this blog posting. As they say on North Talk...


Johnny Northside! said...

Yup, a year and a half later it's time to drop two more postcards.

Yawn. Scratch butt.

No sense putting a lot of EFFORT into it.