Saturday, March 13, 2010

MPD Chief Dolan Reappointment Celebration In Pictures!

Photos and blog post by John Hoff

With MPD Chief Dolan reappointed by a vote of 8-5, I thought it would be a good time to publish the last of my photos from the public hearing as a sort of celebration. Dolan's reappointment is a victory for decent people in North Minneapolis. The fact our crime is dramatically down mattered a lot more to a majority of the council members than the opinions of, for example, self-styled police brutality "activists," at least one of which doesn't even live in Minneapolis.

And you know what? I don't even have hard feelings for the council members who voted against Dolan. Such voting may have been strategic, along the lines of, "Yes, let Dolan be reappointed, but we have to let him know how deeply we feel about the need for continued reform." Thus Dolan passed with just enough votes to make it close...but not TOO close. Funny how that works, huh? There is no doubt reform must continue to move forward. The only disagreement among the folks who testified is whether Dolan was the man to do it. I say Dolan, you the man.

First, in regard to the photo above, it just looks like some chairs with "reserved" placards, right? Oh, but there was a little bit of drama associated with those signs. One of the anti-Dolan camp walked in and right away she was all, like, how come the POLICE get reserved seats? In a really nasty tone, too, the kind of intonation which makes you think, "Does this woman go around ALL DAY using that tone like nails on a chalkboard over the most minor of life's annoyances? Why does my gut feel like this is the case?"

This was early in the meeting, and there were still plenty of places to sit. I had to open my mouth and say something like, "There's plenty of seats. What's your problem?" I mean, it wasn't like there were no spots for the woman and her friends and only THOSE SEATS remained. Besides, Dolan was the subject of the hearing and it makes sense a few seats were reserved for Dolan and his entourage. Which, as it turned out, is exactly where he sat.

This kind of thing was typical of the rabid anti-Dolan crowd: any paper-thin excuse to heap criticism on the police, up to and including Dolan sitting where the city council authorities had reserved a place for him to sit...


In the photo above, an example of the "We Want Dolan" stickers. I hear some of the anti-Dolan crowd grabbed a few of the stickers and modified them with a ballpoint pen to become anti-Dolan stickers. Near the beginning of the meeting, I turned to Dolan and handed him examples of the signs and stickers, saying, "Souvenir, sir." He nodded and said, "Thank you." One commenter at the podium said all the signs and stickers made him think of a DFL convention instead of a public hearing.

Mark my words, the next time Dolan is reappointed (and I predict he will be) the anti-Dolan crowd will go overboard with signs and stickers. If Dolan continues to do a good job (and I predict he will) then pro-Dolan supporters must be ready to "step it up" to meet the challenge.


Deborah Allen didn't support Chief Dolan because he had fired the officer who shot Fong Lee. Of course, all the other anti-Dolan crowd not only supported the firing of the officer, but they were mad because Dolan didn't fire him SOONER and didn't fire him over the Fong Lee killing. Therefore, Allen didn't fit with the pro-Dolan crowd or the anti-Dolan crowd.

In her hands, she holds extensive files. I wasn't clear if the files concerned the firing of the officer, or an incident involving a crime committed against the business Allen used to own, which the officer was investigating. Or, it seemed, some of both. Due to the impending hearing, there wasn't enough time to talk to Allen but she seems to have a very interesting story.

Allen apparently feels the firing of the officer derailed the investigation into what happened at her business and she is unhappy with Dolan for that reason.

The day of the hearing was the same day an article appeared in the Star Tribune, highly critical of Diane Hofstede. It seemed to me Hofstede had a bit of a downcast look, but she attended the hearing and joined Samuels and Johnson in voting for Dolan, talking about what Dolan had done to slash violent crime.

Does that look like the face of a man who thinks he WILL NOT be reappointed? You be the judge.

The group "MADDADS" showed up in force to support Dolan. Here is one of their leaders. I love it when I'm riding a bus and the somebody from the MADDADS group is on board, helping to keep order.

When this woman got up to speak, I braced myself, thinking, "Oh, boy, she's going to say something about cops being mean to homeless people." Instead, she spoke strongly in favor of Dolan, talking about how police under Dolan have been helpful to the homeless. A representative from the Chamber of Commerce also spoke up for Dolan. When you've got the homeless advocates AND the Chamber of Commerce on your side, that's a rare thing.

Here, Tom Cleland and Michael Cavlan pass a note during the proceedings. Cleland was asking Cavlan how to spell "sycophants," a word Cavlan used more than once with his delightful Irish brooooooogue. Cavlan certainly didn't win over any council members with his rant but I sure did get some great video which I intend to post on St. Patrick's Day! (I will also point out Cavlan himself brought up something about Ireland and its "police state," so it's not like I'm going out of my way to mention his brooooooooogue)

Chief Dolan is known to carry his father's revolver. Yes, it's small, but I'm guessing it's a lot more comfortable to haul around all day than a Glock. Small it may be, but would you want to be on its business end?

Why does the council chamber appear to have incandescent lights instead of compact florescent bulbs? Just wondering.

Here is Matt McKinney, the Star Tribune reporter who wrote the execrable "great escape" article about Pete The Pedophile trying--unsuccessfully--to get me served with his gibberish so-called "lawsuit" in council chambers. Speaking to McKinney and reading his article, I took him to be some kind of young and naive intern. I was surprised to find out otherwise. Here's a word of advice to Northsiders: If McKinney calls you, tell him you'll be happy to speak to a DIFFERENT Star Tribune reporter. It appears McKinney is assigned to the "let's bash the police" beat, which is probably related to the "let's bash Northsiders who want to fight crime instead of give trays of brownies to miscreants hanging out all day on the corner" beat.

Here, Dolan and another high-ranking officer stand tall and receive quite a grilling from council members on police reform issues.

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the points I made at the podium when speaking in favor of Dolan.

1.) Don't just reappoint Dolan, give him the budget he needs to fight crime. Don't go saying, "Oh, crime is way down. Now we can cut the budget." Administrative staff who help disseminate information--such as former MPD employee Katie Schrieber--are very important to the overall effort, and their jobs should not be slashed in the name of penny-pinching.

2.) Hawthorn Crossings strip mall. Big problem. Crackdown on crime needed there. Haywood Eaton lost his life there, but just recently there was another shooting near the SAME EXACT SPOT.

3.) Part of the crime problem includes uncooperative witnesses who will not identify who shot them, but prefer to engage in cycles of retribution. Maybe these uncooperative witnesses need to be hauled before grand juries, bandages and all.

Last words, in the my last 10 seconds at the podium:

Annshalike Hamilton. Murder still unsolved.

Chief Dolan, please get this horrible crime solved.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cleaning Up the Mess at Ken's Metal Finishing



Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Last week, while driving around the neighborhood, I happened across some workers spraying an odd, green substance over the (formerly) contaminated site of Ken's Metal Finishing on 23rd and Emerson. I stopped to get a few pictures and asked the workers what they knew about the site, which turned out to be very little. They were just out there doing a job; spray the ground with this concoction, and in the spring, green grass will grow.

I first became familiar with this property when I was fairly new to the neighborhood and got a call about...

...people in HAZMAT SUITS for God's sake, RIGHT HERE IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD!

The big question seemed to be, if they're wearing those things, then what's happening? What about the rest of us?

For people unfamiliar with the whole story, once upon a time there was a very lazy man named Kenneth LaCroix. Kenneth opened a business called Ken's Metal Finishing. Ken's store specialized in things such as custom chrome motorcycle parts and bluing gun barrels. But Ken had one small problem. This process created all these gosh-darned CHEMICALS, like oh gee, concentrated CYANIDE. What do do???

Ken faced a dilemma: disposing of these chemicals properly requires following the LAW and spending money on someone other than himself. On the other hand, if you just let the stuff sit around for a few decades, that can't be good for the neighborhood or the environment.

Needless to say, Kenneth LaCroix DID NOT dispose of things properly. Approximately ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY barrels of various toxins were removed from the site. And guess who has to pay for it? Everybody in Minnesota who ever has a mortgage recorded. There is a mortgage deed tax that is so obscure even I don't want to explain it, but those funds are dedicated to such environmental cleanup.

So Ken's building was pretty much falling apart from disrepair and toxic sludge (and not the cool kind that could make a boy blind but give him super senses and the ability to fight ninjas) when the hazmat crew came in. They cleared out the mess, demolished the building, and dug FIFTEEN FEET deep to remove toxins from the ground.

At last count, this whole process cost - are you ready for this? - SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS! Reportedly, it's doubtful LaCroix has any resources to pay towards this, which is awfully convenient. But fear not, for causing this much environmental damage and taxpayer cost has a SERIOUS fine of...$1,000. Which LaCroix has already paid. So justice has been served right? Where's this guy when you need him?

Old Marathon Station On West Broadway Is Now "Fayo"

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

I'd never been in the old Marathon gas station on West Broadway, though once I'd stood across the street with Megan Goodmundson and Connie Nompelis, watching at least half a dozen cop cars descend on the place after some kind of robbery.

(Megan and Connie are, respectively, a Jordan Neighborhood "super citizen" and a Realtor slash historic house preservationist. Connie's name, which is Greek, is pronounced like "Noble-iss") 

Recently, Connie pointed out the sign from the station was missing. We had to wonder if it was closing, under new ownership or just undergoing an identity crisis with its petroleum products...

One year ago, to the very month, this business had tried to get changes approved which would allow it to become some kind of drive through "wings and things" place, and (in summary) the neighborhood was all, like, NO WAY!!!! (Click here for that story) The proposed changes did not go through.

So a few days ago--the whole time watching for process servers out of the corner of my eye--I went inside the gas station to find out what was up, BESIDES the price of gas.

I'd never been inside before. I was amazed by how small the store area was, since the building is quite big. I guess the old car wash part of the station is sealed off, and you have to wonder what kind of rusty relics of another era are sealed inside? Working at the car wash, yeah.

The clerk told me the sign was being changed because the station was under new ownership. The station would now be known as "Fayo."



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

JNS BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Inside Info About "Spanky Pete" And His Taxpayer-Funded Lifestyle Choices...

Photo and Blog Post By John Hoff


As regular readers know, with our soap opera already in progress...

"Spanky Pete" Rickmyer is a notorious person in the Jordan Neighborhood, due to his high-profile sex offender status and burning desire to participate in public meetings where--for example--he might get the floor and talk about poor little North Minneapolis children and how they have symptoms of PTSD. Yes, it seems Rickmyer is all concerned about that. (Some forms of sarcasm are too acid for a standard sarcasm font, so I'll link to something else I find quite expressive, click here)

The way I see it, when a frivolous litigant is subverting the dignity of the legal process, it is an act of good citizenship to dodge service. And, as the Star Tribune pointed out, there ain't nothing illegal about it.

Now there has been an exciting new development in the so-called "case." Incredible as it may sound...




...a source has been feeding me inside information about Rickmyer including drafts of documents he just left, er, laying around somewhere. Amazing, the stuff that hits my email inbox.

One of these drafts appears to say Rickmyer receives the following "means tested" programs:

General Assistance
Food Stamps
Minnesota Care
Energy Assistance

So, yeah, this guy is (apparently) living off your tax dollars while spending his days hanging out in the County Government Building, mostly on the 24th floor, concocting complaints against a neighborhood association for, um, lowering his "esteem" in the community.

Doing my Peter Rickmyer voice:

"Do children in North Minneapolis have good school equipment like, ah, microscopes?"

But, seriously, a lot of us wondered how Rickmyer managed to make a living. Now we have a likely explanation which seems to make sense. And ask yourself, is this what a recipient of so much welfare should be doing all day? Suing a neighborhood association, going around making gibberish complaints about this-and-that? Why isn't this guy out looking for a nasty and menial job consistent with his Level Three sex offender skill set?

John's Home Gets the Community Energy Services Makeover!




Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council and the Center for Energy and Environment have rolled out a new community energy services program to help Hawthorne residents. If you attend one class and set up a home energy visit, you'll receive products, tests, and information valued at $400 for a mere $20 co-pay. But Hawthorne has agreed to cover the first 150 co-pays, so participants get all of this for FREE!

Our two scheduled workshops have already been held, but we haven't even reached the halfway point for participants. There are still plenty of Hawthorne homes that could get this free service, so if you're interested, email me at jskrenes@hawthorneneighborhoodcouncil.org.

Pictured above is John Hoff with CES instructor Neely Crane-Smith. And at his house, a blower door test was being set up. Go ahead, have some fun with the door. I did.

Before the home visits, residents learned plenty at the CES workshop...

...like how one youth who had seen this presentation came up with the slogan "TOLBY," or "Turn Off Lights Behind You" as a way to help save energy. And another huge drain on energy use is something called "phantom load." Namely, appliances like televisions, video game consoles, computers, etc. keep on using power even when they're not turned on. So connecting them to a power strip and shutting them down cuts energy costs significantly. We also learned that electrical outlets are a huge source of heat loss, as they are frequently the least-insulated areas of a wall.

Once the seminar was done (and it was scheduled for two hours, but we finished in less than an hour and a half) it was time to get a few of the initial products (such as light bulbs and insulation for the sockets) and sign up for the home visit. The Polish Lady and Hawthorne office manager Kathy Welch proved you can look good and have fun with that.



Next, John went home and began installing the products he'd been given. It turns out that he already had almost all of his incandescent bulbs switched out for the more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Here, John shows off a pile of light bulbs ALREADY switched out beforehand.





Once the home energy visit started, the consultants first went through the kitchen and pointed out that John could save a lot of money by going to a smaller refrigerator. With so much empty space being kept cool, his current model was a large drain on his energy costs. Another significant source of heat and energy loss is the water heater in the basement.




The first three feet of piping out of the water heater is where the most heat loss happens. So by insulating that section, we cut down on that unnecessary cost. The water heater should be set somewhere around 120 degrees, and after some tinkering, the consultants were able to confirm that John's was already set at a prudent 115.




John was also told how a washing machine that loads from the front instead of the top is far more efficient. It uses less water, is easier on the clothes, and since the clothes are less wet after each cycle, the dryer uses less energy as well. During this conversation, John revealed perhaps his only weakness in an almost Spartan dedication to green living: he likes his clothes to be warm when they come out of the dryer. So even though the load in the dryer was already done, he had to put it going again. Come on dude! Toughen up!



Here, John demonstrates an outlet that has been properly insulated. Those covers aren't just for keeping kids from poking fingers in there.



Don't ask me how these things work, but there are low-flow faucets that use less gallons per minute. See how one has engraved 2.2 GPM (gallons per minute) and the other is 1.5? The same thing goes for the shower head. So if you run your shower for ten minutes with the more efficient faucet, you use seven fewer gallons of water. In the final picture of the faucets, the consultant demonstrates how the water flow remains the same even though significantly less water is being used.





Once the blower door was set up, the CES guys brought out my favorite tool: the smoking gun. This could be a metaphor for SO MANY THINGS. But essentially the way it works is that you squeeze it and it puffs out smoke. When the "gun" is placed next to a window, or an electrical socket, or any other area where air might flow while the blower door is running, smoke will move along with an air current next to a hole. If the area is airtight, then the smoke just goes straight up. This helps identify places that need to be sealed in some way.



Finally, we were shown vermiculite. Like a lot of older houses, this one has this substance in the walls/insulation. Some vermiculite was made using asbestos, meaning that the blower door test was conducted slightly differently than in other houses, and the crew couldn't go and seal up anything in the attic.



Remember, the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council still has over seventy slots available to get this consultation and these supplies for free!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Real Issue: L3SO CONCENTRATION The Culprit: (dare we say?) THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS



Photo from wikimedia, blog post by The Walking Drum

Ok we have made some real progress here in identifying the real issue. We all agree that L3SOs are too heavily concentrated in the 55411 and 12 zip codes of Nomi. Now let's capitalize on that. Let's take that same energy that has gone into bashing the STrib (well-deserved bashing, I might add) and apply it to tackling this problem head on. With budget cuts and a recession the Department of Corrections might start making some "judgment calls" that might increase the number of L3SOs coming out on the street. They might become more lenient at parole hearings in favor of not having to pay for one more prison bed. Who knows. These comments are of course conjecture but the fact remains, this problem is not going to go away on its own.

There was a similar mountain to climb in the Eco-village. We had...


....four to five properties that we could see that were a network of drug dealing and prostitution. Tackling the issue independently as individual residents of NoMi, we felt very isolated, alone, unable to accomplish anything. But then we started coordinating our efforts. We started doing repeated targeted 911 calling. Through the neighborhood association we got the attention of the Fourth Precinct, and housing inspections. Pretty soon everyone wanted to make this area a top priority to clean up. After stirring up that coordinated response within 18 months that area was completely "salesman" free and to my knowledge is still relatively free of drug traffic.

You say, Hey I know all of this. Well I'm saying let's take this same "Raising the Shire" approach to the L3SO problem and see what we can dig up. We can't just sit around and wait for these problems to go away. We have got to pick them off one at a time, even if it means taking on the Department of Corrections. Let's get the name of Peter Richard Stephenson's Parole Officer and ask him/her what his decision making process was that led him to believe it was OK to infuse another L3SO into an already L3SO saturated area. Let's ask his/her supervisor the same question. See if they match up and then compare their responses to what the law reads. Can you imagine what would happen if the same 20 commentators on the last blog post did this. What kind of impact it would have on the parole officer. What kind of impact would it have on his supervisor? I guarantee you both of them would think twice before they ever put another L3SO in NoMi.

We might have to ask Linda Higgins what her take is on this whole issue. Maybe she knows something that we should. If we have gotten the attention of Mayor RT Rybak and most of City Council, let's get the attention of Governor Tim Pawlenty and a few senators and representatives. Let's show them how this is important to us and why it needs to be important to them. After all they are only one city away.

Hey, what have we got to lose? At least the parole officers won't torch our vehicles...

The Great Rebuttal To The Star Tribune's "Great Escape" Article...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

So here we are in a neighborhood where Level Three sex offenders have been stacked up--six to a block, three to a house, that kind of thing--contrary to a state statute. OK, that's important issue number one, why has this been allowed to happen? And wouldn't now be a great time to buy a house next to a Level Three sex offender because you know what? There is a crusade afoot, and their foul numbers will be--mark my words--drastically decreased once their slumlord benefactors are exposed.

Then, thing number two, we have one of those deviant sex offenders filing a worthless so-called lawsuit which sues, oh, everybody. Click here for more info.

But what does the Star Tribune write in today's paper? Do they write about either of these two important issues? Or the always-neglected issue of how North Minneapolis is being changed, revitalized, made better almost daily? (Even though it sometimes seems like three steps forward, two steps back, click here for an example of the good, and here for an example of the bad)

No, with all these interesting, pressing stories, the Star Tribune went with a non-story. Johnny Northside managed to dodge legal service. (I admit it!) And it's not even against the law! (Um, yeah, I knew that. I told everybody that. Sure glad you did some fact checking there, "dead tree" reporter)

The story itself is riddled with error, so let's start the brutal, ugly, but oh-so-necessary process now, shall we? Here we go...


My comments are in parentheses and begin with "JNS says."

Blog boast: 'Great escape' at Mpls. City Hall

(JNS says: It's all the fault of newspaper headlines that people are confused over the use of single versus double quote marks, but I guess when you have to kill so many trees to disseminate your words, best to save space whenever you can)

An aide to Mayor R.T. Rybak denies helping a blogger duck a deputy trying to serve him a lawsuit.

By MATT McKINNEY, Star Tribune
Last update: March 9, 2010 - 8:48 PM

After learning last week that a sheriff's deputy was about to serve him a lawsuit in Minneapolis City Hall, a North Side activist slipped out through a back office -- accompanied by an aide to Mayor R.T. Rybak.

(JNS says: I'm clearly more of a blogger than an activist)

The "great escape," as blogger John Hoff refers to the episode in the City Council chambers, was inadvertently broadcast on the city's cable network during its coverage of Police Chief Tim Dolan's reappointment hearings.

(JNS says: Awkward and dumb choice of wording. What was "inadvertent" about the broadcast? The camera was right where it was supposed to be, doing what it was supposed to be doing. No, "inadvertent" would be accidentally broadcasting the kind of stuff "Spanky Pete" does to minors)

Though he admits running down three flights of stairs to avoid being served, Hoff and mayoral aide Sherman Patterson both told a Star Tribune reporter this week they didn't intend to evade anyone when they walked out a rear door of the council chambers through a staff area.

(JNS says: You totally got that wrong, to the point I will have to demand a correction from your editor. I never denied I was trying to evade, in fact I made it very clear I was)

They said they went that way to set up an interview with City Council Member Don Samuels for Hoff's blog, "The Adventures of Johnny Northside."

(JNS says: Did you skip the "grammar slammer" review in Journalism 3101, Matt McKinney? Note your pronoun, "they." What was the last proper noun before "they?" The last proper noun is the word "staff." So is the word "they" supposed to refer to "staff?" No, clearly "they" is supposed to refer to John Hoff and Sherman Patterson. Your writing is unclear. It also mangles the bigger, more complicated truth. I have made it very clear that I weaseled my way into chambers for the OSTENSIBLE purpose of interviewing somebody but, in fact, I had another purpose in mind--to leave through the back door and avoid the process server)
But that explanation doesn't fit what a Star Tribune reporter saw and heard before the pair left.

(JNS says: Wait, a Star Tribune reporter? Who are we talking about, here? Oh, wait, it's Matt McKinney talking about himself in the third person. I thought the venerable Star Tribune avoided this kind of gonzo thing. I thought they left that to the bloggers. What's the matter, are bloggers grabbing up all the market share?)

Directly in front of the reporter in the crowded chamber, Hoff approached Patterson and spoke into his ear, with Hoff saying loudly enough for the reporter to hear that he was about to be served and needed a back way out. He asked Patterson to help him.

(JNS says: Pronoun issues, Matt. What proper noun does the word "he" refer back to in the first sentence? Is it "Hoff?" Or is it "the reporter?" Clearly, you mean to refer to "Hoff" but the proper noun before the word "he" is, in fact, "the reporter." Was somebody going to serve YOU, Matt? Now that you mentioned Peter Rickmyer in print, the odds just increased dramatically, let me tell ya)

The video recording of the meeting shows Hoff with his arm around Patterson as they speak. Patterson's head inclines toward Hoff. Hoff gestures toward the rear door. When the meeting adjourns, Patterson and Hoff walk out that door together.

(JNS says: This paragraph makes me feel all warm and happy inside. Thank you, Matt, for that feeling)

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office confirmed that a deputy waited outside the chambers to serve Hoff. "We would never recommend to any citizen to help somebody else evade a deputy or any law enforcement officer who's carrying out an important duty," said spokeswoman Lisa Kiava.

(JNS says: What an interesting parsing of words. Maybe the Sheriff's Department doesn't find the serving of Pete's gibberish-filled lawsuit to be an "important duty.")

Hoff said: "I am not going to confirm or deny whether I spoke to Sherman Patterson"

(JNS says: What the heck, Matt? You are missing a period. Also, writing in the sarcasm font, here, let me say this: Sherman who?

Patterson told the reporter that he wouldn't interfere with an officer serving papers. He said he didn't hear what Hoff asked him because he was focused on the meeting. "I was not paying attention to him, really," he said. Yet the video shows Hoff began speaking to him during a brief break, with the chambers relatively quiet as people waited for a speaker.

(JNS says: Oh, please. Notorious loon Al Flowers was there and a bunch of the folks who were at the RNC 2008 demonstrations. You seriously think the chamber was "relatively quiet?" My friend Jeff is deaf in one ear, but what's YOUR excuse?)

"Sherman," Hoff began in an agitated voice, then told Patterson about the waiting deputy. Despite his explanation for why he needed to leave by the rear door, Hoff said that Samuels wasn't available, so he left.

(JNS says: This is all mixed up and confused. "Hoff said" to who? To the reporter writing the story? To Patterson? No, what makes more sense here, Matt--and it's what I went and wrote on my blog--was that Samuels not being available was the excuse I seized upon to leave the council offices through the side door AFTER I GOT INSIDE. I've made it clear from the start my stated goal of meeting with council members was an excuse and I wanted to dodge service. But if any of the council members were going to meet with me, I wouldn't have dashed off. Good heavens, that would have been rude and burned bridges! Besides, if I stayed inside the offices and met for a while, the process server would have thought I was gone anyway. No, Matt, I went through all the correct motions of checking schedule availability, and the first office I checked was that of Don Samuels. When Samuels was not available, I seized the excuse to leave. And then I ran. Down three flights of grand Italian marble stairs)

(JNS adds: But you're not after me, Matt. You only care about some aide to the mayor. My neighborhood is full of concentrated puree of Level Three sex offender but instead you're chasing this non-story about how somebody supposedly let me dodge service)

The plaintiff who tried to serve Hoff via the deputy is Peter Rickmyer, a registered sex offender from the Jordan neighborhood.

(JNS says: Oh, yeah, mention the neighborhood but leave out the Level Three part of "sex offender." Nice. Really nice. Well, Matt, the Level Three designation is relevant. HIGHLY relevant. This guy is the most dangerous of the most dangerous, likely to reoffend. This deviant pedophile has now subverted the court system, using sheriff's deputies to serve his worthless papers--for free, your tax dollars at work. Dodging Pete's legal service is like an act of good citizenship. While I remain unserved, the court system retains a small, unviolated increment of purity while otherwise suffering through Pete the Pedophile's lawsuit)

He filed a lawsuit this year naming several people, including Hoff, for what Rickmyer says are damaging comments about him by Hoff on his blog. Several defendants said Rickmyer has filed multiple suits and grievances against his neighbors and area groups, including a church.

Hoff gave blog readers a detailed account of what he called his "great escape."

"I ran down three flights of grand Italian marble, quickly but prudently, no bannister-sliding, and at the ground floor I dashed past Poseidon, the Father of Waters," he wrote.

Hoff, a former law student, wrote that evading service is not illegal, and the Sheriff's Office agrees. "There's nothing that those folks could be charged with, as far as we're aware of," said Kiava.

(In conclusion, JNS says: I didn't just attend law school...I have a degree. And it served me well that day, knowing dodging service is NOT AGAINST THE LAW, though most people just assume it is. The reporter should have asked Kiava whether she was aware of any MEDALS for which we might be eligible)


Will The Star Tribune Get The Story Right? The So-Called "Johnny Northside Great Escape" Is Meaningless, THE PROBLEM IS THE L3SO CONCENTRATION!

To Protect And, Um, Yeah...Protect
Photo and blog post by John Hoff

So a Star Tribune reporter called me a few minutes ago--here in my "undisclosed location" where (here comes the clue!) I just finished a meal of Korean fried chicken wings--and it appears the reporter is very interested in my "great escape" from being served with legal papers in council chambers, click here.

His focus is on whether I was "helped" somehow by a public official. In fact, he was REALLY REALLY REALLY focused on that minor, highly-specific, non-starter, non-issue while in the meantime my cherished Northside neighborhood is stacked to the gills with dangerous, predatory Level Three sex offenders (L3S0s) though a state statute is supposed to protect us and--good god--we've got one piece of crap Level Three who is going around suing movers and shakers in the neighborhood for (good heavens) talking about him.

Dodge Pete The Pedophile's service? Darn right I'll dodge his service. THERE IS NO LAW AGAINST DODGING LEGAL SERVICE no more than the law says you must open your front door to a Jehovah's witness. When frivolous litigants manage to waylay the forces of law and order into serving their worthless paper, dodging service is good citizenship.

Anybody--reporter or whoever--who claims they "overheard" or "eavesdropped" on a conversation in council chambers didn't hear EVERYTHING THAT WAS SAID and--speaking as a trained army psych tech--the mind has a tendency to "reconstruct" conversations based on strong factual assertions made after the event. Did the reporter hear what he thought he heard? Huh, then why is it only coming out now if it's so gosh darn important? I guess we'll see how the article turns out.

And though I love a good sideshow....

...this is not about Johnny Northside, no matter how much I might love to 1.) link to fugitive songs on Youtube, 2.) revel in the adventure of it all, 3.) keep posting clues about my location on Facebook to assist process servers.

No, the real and pressing problems are as follows...

1.) Sick puppy Peter Rickmyer is filing what looks for all the world like repeated frivolous litigation, proving that Level Three sex offenders are NOT on a short leash but frolicking among decent people, weaving their little webs, out of control. If this is what we SEE Pete doing, what DON'T we see Pete doing? The state chooses to publish information about these sickos. Are we not supposed to SHARE that information? Did the state not intend the information to be said, spoken, published, brought up at the very moment the sickos are trying to create a social network uninformed about their true nature?

My fellow citizen, I tell you this: if you see a Level Three sicko chatting somebody up--you go the h*** right over there and tell that person the critical information they need to know, IN THAT MOMENT--before the smiling sicko perv gets invited to babysit somebody's children while you stood by, afraid to be (oh my word) rude. Level Three's are professional deviant social manipulators who depend on others to maintain decent social boundaries while they lay their little plots to violate decency. IF A LEVEL THREE IS TALKING TO SOMEBODY, THAT'S A GOOD TIME TO SHARE THE INFORMATION YOU KNOW FROM THE STATE WEBSITE. That's why the state puts it on the website, for cripe's sake! 

2.) Level Three sex offenders have been concentrated in my neighborhood, despite a statute which is supposed to protect us.

3.) At least one state--the great State of Texas--publishes the specific address of dangerous sex offenders, not just block numbers. This protects citizens of Texas and, no, mobs do not form with pitches and torches. Residents of Minnesota deserve the same protection. There is no law against publishing these addresses even if the state chooses to only publish block numbers, so I intend to keep publishing the addresses and soliciting information through this blog and pushing for citizens to have the right to know where, specifically, the bad bad bad men live so they can warn their children.

Will the Star Tribune manage to get the "real issues" in this upcoming story? Or will this venerable paper give in to the view of the "alienated, social malcontent media" represented by the Mpls Mirror?

We shall see.

2416 4th Street North Takes A New Twist...


Photo by Jeff Skrenes, blog post by John Hoff

Hawthorne resident Mike Klick--who sits on the Hawthorne Housing Committee with me--keeps close track of what's happening in his quadrant of the neighborhood. The house at 2416 4th St. N. has been an area of concern, and this house was mentioned in a previous blog post, click here.

Now comes word from....

...a policy aide in the Third Ward of a new twist with the property. Here's the email Cheyenne Erickson sent to Mike Klick:

PPU informed me that the property was recently purchased by a new owner and that the demo orders were sent while the property was in foreclosure to the bank (the bank was attempting to sell it during this time). A new restoration agreement was signed with the new owner and is due in August 2010. If the owner fails to complete the agreement, it may result in financial penalties or demolition of the structure.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Cheyenne Erickson

Policy Aide - Third Ward
----------------

Why does my gut say, "Oh, great, I bet it's another speculator or slumlord?" Because, believe me, if it was a home owner, we'd know about it and somebody would probably bring them a pie.

I hope things turn out well, not badly, but I'm sure we can depend on Mike Klick to know what's happening and bring word to the Housing Committee.

North High School Needs Help with Yearbooks!




Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo from the North High homepage, images contributed by Sarita Turner.

An email came my way today asking for help on Johnny Northside. Our North High students are facing yet another barrier to things most high schoolers take for granted. There may not be enough money for their yearbooks, and JNS was asked to help spread the word on how the community can come together for our kids.

The message sent to me has the details...

This year, in order to get the Class of 2010 yearbooks, they need to pay the ENTIRE BILL before North's yearbooks are shipped. If they can't raise the money, they will need to drastically reduce the book or not have one at all. I can remember how important my yearbook was to me.

Please consider helping our North High youth by donating $5 or more to pay the balance on the Yearbooks. I am attaching more information to answer any questions you might have. The total cost for this year's book is $4,050.80.

They have $1,995.59 from sales. The amount they are trying to raise is $2,085.01 by April 23rd. If you choose to donate, your name will be placed on the Page of Yearbook Supporters in the Yearbook, they must pay the balance in full before they will ship the books. Let's make sure they have a book. Five dollars isn't a lot to ask in support of our kids.

You will see, on the second page of the form, that donations should be sent to Kari Lohse, Yearbook, 1500 James Avenue North, Mpls, MN 55411, Checks should be made out to North High. If you have more questions you can call her at 612.668.1708. Also to print the form and track the progress towards raising the money for the yearbooks you can go to North's website. And you can click here for the donation form itself.

(end email, begin Hawkman commentary)

And yes, I'm sending in my donation. I won't ask the community as a whole to contribute financially unless I'm willing to do the same. It's refreshing to know that kids these days still have high school yearbooks. I would've thought that by now they'd just do a fist bump with their iPhones and some app would allow them to stay in touch via facebook for the rest of their lives (or longer).

I still think fondly of my high school yearbook as well. Whenever I go back and read it, I'm lucky if I understand HALF of the nonsensical inside jokes my friends and I had amongst ourselves. So if I can't make heads or tails of MYSELF as a kid, then being hopelessly out of touch with our youth TODAY doesn't seem so bad. (sarcasm font)

Now MIDDLE SCHOOL yearbooks, THOSE should definitely be burned. If anyone ever wants to truly blackmail me, all they have to do is track down the photo of me wearing glasses with coke-bottle lenses, a horrid spike haircut, braces, an astonishingly ugly sweater, and a Members Only jacket. (Who's dorky enough to wear a sweater AND a Members Only jacket for their SCHOOL PICTURE? Me, that's who.)

But these are high school yearbooks for kids in our community. Let's help 'em out.


Vacant Cars Tagged



Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

The 300 block of 25th Ave N was reported as a potential problem spot by this blog a short time ago. Residents have been calling 311 and patrolling the area more frequently, and it appears that at least some of those efforts are paying off.

I drove by yesterday and saw that each of the four cars parked illegally on the lots had a notice that they needed to be removed by March 10th. There still seems to be no Global Investment Management happening on this vacant lot, despite the fact that the owners list no other address for their company. The problem of the cars parked on this lot appears on its way towards resolution, but...

why can't we make owners of vacant lots put down SOME OTHER ADDRESS when registering on record with the city? It's not like they receive MAIL or can be contacted IN ANY WAY if there is an issue with the property they own.

Also, as I was taking these pictures, a woman came out and removed one of the placards from a car. "Is that your vehicle, ma'am?" I asked. She said it was. "You know they can't be parked on this lot, right?" Yes, she knew that now and was going to move her car. "Say, do you OWN the lot here where these cars are parked?" She did not, nor did she do any global investment managing.

Let's keep an eye on this area, and make sure any ongoing problems are reported immediately.


2010 Census Kickoff in NoMi!



Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

Like most days in NoMi, Saturday had multiple events happening at the same time. While the peace march for Alisha Neely was happening, another group was kick-starting 2010 census activities in NoMi. It seems like the census gets two reactions: either a yawn or knee-jerk anti-government suspicion. But this is really important stuff. The information gathered in each census guides decisions in our community for the next decade, so it's incredibly important to get it right.

Here's what the Minneapolis Complete Count Committee had to say about Saturday's event...

(paragraph breaks and hyperlinks added by me, and since this is a press release inviting people to the kickoff and I'm writing about it after the fact, some sentences have been deleted or altered)

We are running out of time! Census forms arrive in just three weeks and many people on our North side still do not know how critical it is for us to be counted in the 2010 Census. In our community there is still a lot of mistrust that the Census will actually benefit our neighborhoods, plus with so little positive messaging coming out about the Census, it's critical that we get out to our community before it's too late!

The rally on Saturday included Councilmember Don Samuels and other community and faith leaders from Mad Dads and Shiloh Temple. After the kickoff, volunteers canvassed local businesses and did street outreach along West Broadway Avenue. Volunteers reached out to people inside Cub Foods about how important it is that we participate in the Census. This event was the largest gathering of community leaders and volunteers in North Minneapolis around the 2010 Census and the opportunities it brings to our community.

The Census for our North side is particularly critical because our neighborhoods and Black/African-American community have been undercounted in the Census decade after decade. (Hawkman interjects: and we have a growing Southeast Asian population that risks also being severely undercounted due to language and cultural barriers.) In 2000, far less than half of our people in North Minneapolis were actually counted in the Census, leaving us without the resources we deserve.

When you take a look at the quality of resources in our community - our schools, public safety, hospitals, jobs programs, housing, and roads, you can tell that we missed out on funding. If we don't participate in 2010, we will continue to miss out and in this tough economy, things will only get worse for our community.

It's estimated by the State Demographic Center that for every 85 people missed in the Census, it is a $1 million loss in funding to the people of our city! We cannot afford to let this continue. Not only are all of our community resources at stake, but so is our political representation. If we are not all counted, we will likely lose a congressional representative and we do not want to lose Congressman Keith Ellison! (This last statement is made on the flier, not by this blog, although the Hawkman agrees.)

With the days counting down, this work will become more and more critical as we try to prevent thousands of our people from being left uncounted, under-funded, and under-represented. It is a responsibility for each one of us to be counted and it is your duty to help get the word out about the 2010 Census.

(End press release, begin Hawkman commentary)

It's been said that the Census helps bring government money and more representation to communities, and even the corporate sector uses this data to determine where to allocate their resources, jobs, and marketing. Furthermore, neighborhood groups often use Census data to describe our communities when applying for grants. So if the data isn't accurate, then what can happen is this:

We (neighborhood groups) may know from anecdotal evidence that the demographics of our community are one thing, and the Census tells a very different story. But the REAL demographics have their own resources and needs. So the neighborhood group may apply for a grant to do certain kinds of work in our community, and we base it off of our experience "on the front lines." If the disparity between our information and the Census is too great, it may diminish our credibility in the eyes of the granting entity, and we may not get the funding on that basis.

I'm sure there are many other reasons why the Census is crucial, and JNS readers are encouraged to share.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fun with Blower Doors


Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Video by John Hoff.


Last week, John had his home energy visit from the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council and the Center for Energy and Environment joint project: Community Energy Solutions. $400 in products and consultations are given for a mere $20 co-pay. But Hawthorne will cover the co-pay for the first 150 owner-occupants who sign up.

I happen to think that "Tommy Boy," starring Chris Farley, is perhaps the best movie of all time. "Citizen Kane" comes in a close second, but hearing "Holy Schneikies!" puts a smile on my face more often than "Rosebud," so Orson Welles, you lose. In the video above, I'm re-enacting a scene that I have to do pretty much every time I'm in front of a fan. Only John isn't as culturally adept or as familiar with the finer arts as I am. So he spouted off a one-liner and turned off the camera before one of the CES consultants jumped in with the next line in the film: "Oh, I see I'm interrupting happy time."

(Do not click "Read More," but do look for a longer post about CES and the home energy visits. It's coming soon.)

Halek's is on Facebook!


Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

In the midst of the bustling Hawthorne nightlife scene, Connie Nompelis, Brian Finstad, and quite a few others met up on Friday night to go from Good Sports Bar & Grill to Donny Dirk's, and then Halek's. At the last stop, we noticed that Halek's now has a Facebook page. Two, to be exact. You can either become a fan, or send them a friend request.

(Do not click "Read More," but do support local businesses.)

Hundreds March for Peace in Memory of Alisha Neely


Post, photos, and video by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

I've heard it asked before, "What good do these marches do?" I'm not sure how to answer that question. But I had been thinking this week about a sermon I'd heard shortly after 9/11, called "What do you do when the bomb drops?" When a person or a community has had a BOMB dropped on them, what do you do in response? What CAN you do?

With that in mind, I went to the parking lot of Cub Foods on Broadway Saturday morning...

...and heard KG Wilson speak for the first time. He was standing in front of the Mad Dads mobile unit, saying the lines that have already resonated through our community: "We've got to put the 'neighbor' back in the 'hood.' Because if you don't, you welcome in the hoodlums, the gangbangers, the drug dealers, saying, 'Come on in; kill our kids.'"



Wilson also challenged some of the circumstances that led to Neely's tragic death. She was killed while at a party with reportedly over 60 teenagers present. Where were the parents in all of this? Wilson asked. Now teenagers can be pretty sneaky about setting up and going to parties like this, I know from my own experience. But somebody let this party happen, and when you get sixty teenagers together for a house party, that really is just asking for trouble. Kudos to Wilson for calling that out.

I'm also going to give credit to Rev. McAfee for taking a stand at the funeral, where he pointed out that someone had left a note at Neely's makeshift memorial calling her "my bitch." Sadly, something almost identical happened at the makeshift memorial for Marvin Ray Maynard III. One person wrote a note saying, "We missn you lil bro (illegible) in a better place (illegible) n***** f*** the world I luv you my n*****." McAfee went on to say, "The more you define yourselves as 'that bitch, that ho,' you develop that psyche,"

At both of these memorial sites, a bottles of gin were left as well. Our CHILDREN are DYING and we think it's okay to memorialize them with bottles of hard liquor? Does anyone else see something inherently WRONG with that?

(The one possible exception is if there are cultural parallels to Native Americans and tobacco or Santeria practitioners and rum, wherein those items hold a spiritual place similar to Christians' bread and wine. But this really just seems like ignorance.)

One of the other speakers was Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Peter Idusogie. I'm still not convinced he's got what it takes to be governor, but once again, he was well-spoken. We as a community are grateful when politicians like Mr. Idusogie not only come and speak TO us, but walk WITH us.

The march started across the street from Cub as we went down Broadway to Penn, then up to 26th and over to Lyndale. I eyeballed at least 200 people who came out to stand with the community.



For most of the march, I was in the middle of the biker crowd.



And what surprised me, when I was talking with at least the folks immediately surrounding me, was how much they give back in volunteering. These people are dedicated to reaching out to the homeless, working at battered women's shelters, and visiting those in nursing homes. That service to our community should not go unnoticed.

Also, a special thanks goes out to Metrotransit. They lent us a bus at the end of the route to take us back to the Cub Foods parking lot.

I saw quite a few people with whom I have strong political differences, but it was clear that we were all marching because we care about our community and the death of Alisha Neely struck a chord. In that spirit, I went up to Al Flowers, shook his hand, and said, "Al, I know we've had our differences, but I want to thank you for being out here today."

Just before we arrived at New Salem, I had an excellent conversation with a gentleman who said that the churches needed to start taking back the streets. We talked about how that might happen while minimizing the danger to church members. I mentioned that the discussion was bringing to mind one of my favorite Biblical passages from the book of James, about how having the love of God means we have to ACT. He showed me a tiny briefcase-like cache he was carrying and pulled out a Bible, immediately turning to James 2:14. "What good is it my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes or daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well. Keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? ... But someone will say, 'You have faith. I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."

Unbeknownst to many, if not all of us, while we were marching for peace, someone had tried to enter Alisha's funeral with a gun. He was apprehended. GBT4P. If that weren't enough, a fight broke out at the funeral after the marchers had gathered around New Salem Church. I happened to be on the steps of the church just as the fight started. I tried to get video, but was bumped and my camera was turned off. I quickly decided to put my camera away and get ready to either jump into the fray or get away quickly if needed.

There's no shortage of criticisms towards Al Flowers on this blog, but let me say this much: He was on his game today. Flowers took the bullhorn from KG Wilson and started repeating, "This is a baby's funeral!" and "The police have to be here so she can rest in peace!" Flowers can be a commanding presence, and on that day, he used that skill to harness a chaotic crowd. Well done.

I was still on the steps of the church when the pallbearers carried the white with gold trim coffin that held Alisha Neely's body past, and brought it to the hearse. Pleas were made that no violence erupt at the burial, so that she could rest in peace. I wanted to get a picture of the pallbearers and the casket as it went past me, but the air was just so full of emotion that I couldn't do it. The act of taking a photograph almost seemed intrusive to me.

But it wasn't until the next day that the full scope of what just happened hit me. I worship at River of Life Lutheran Church on Fremont and 22nd. It's a mixed-culture congregation of (mainly older) Scandinavians and (mainly younger) Liberians. One of the Liberian families brought forward three children to be baptized, and this happened the day after Alisha Neely's funeral. And I thought, "What if this baptism were interrupted by such violence? What if just as we were affirming that these children belong to God - an affirmation surely made by Rev. McAfee at Neely's service - someone brought a gun into my church with the intention of using it? What do we have to do to make sure that these three children, and that NO OTHER CHILD IN OUR COMMUNITY, dies like Alisha tragically did?

This violence is a bomb that threatens to tear apart our community. Such violence CANNOT be tolerated. That such violence is happening among our youth is even more horrendous. And that one of our YOUTH thought it would be justifiable to bring a gun to a Holy Place with the intent to use it at "a baby's funeral" is simply outrageous.

So what purpose did this march serve? This wasn't the first and I hate to say it, but may not be the last such march. Well, it goes back to the other question asked at the beginning of this post. What do you do when the bomb drops?

You go to those that are hurting, and you pick up the pieces. That's what we did on Saturday, and that's what we'll keep on doing for our community until we get it right.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

JN-SPAN VIDEO: Al Flowers, The Mayor Of Crazy Town, Testifies At Minneapolis Police Chief Dolan Reappointment Hearing...



Al Flowers, who ran for Mayor on a platform of "more lie-berries" and increasing the "medium" (sic) income of citizens, added his 1 and 4/5ths of a cents worth of opinion to the reappointment hearing for Minneapolis Police Chief Dolan.

I guess it would be more accurate to say the hearing *ON* the reappointment *NOMINATION* of Chief Dolan, but it's just easier and, really, more frank to say "the reappointment hearing for Chief Dolan." Even Al Flowers pointed out how reappointment was pretty much a done deal and...

...really, there wasn't much to be accomplished by the anti-Dolan forces except make the record and vent their spleens and it was SO UNFAIR. Really, though, isn't this the moment one might want to be deeply introspective and ask oneself, "Am I a visionary, ahead of my time, or just an unorthodox malcontent who needs to pull up my pants, get some meds and psychotherapy and maybe--just maybe--finally start setting a good example for my children?"

Unfortunately, Al Flowers isn't very entertaining when you just GIVE him the floor. The best part of his speech was when he claimed not to be anti-police because, after all, his sister was "a police."

Yeah, well, a lot of important details got left out of that remark. For more, click here to read the story about the Flowers family and their habit of never-ending litigation including the not-so-illustrious career of Al's sister as "a police."

But I don't want to come off as too critical of Al Flowers. After all, if it wasn't for Al Flowers coming up and warning me at that same hearing, I would have gotten served legal papers by Pete The Pedophile.

JN-SPAN VIDEO: Festering CRA Battle Of Bellfield Versus Bicking At MPD Chief Dolan Reappointment Hearing...




Video and blog post by John Hoff

At the recent reappointment hearing of MPD Chief Dolan, there was a bit of a stir among the anti-Dolan forces as Donald Bellfield, the chair of the Civilian Review Authority, stood up to speak. Watch Tom Cleland to the right, and read his body language. This kind of "emotional stir" was going throughout the room among the anti-Dolan forces as Bellfield spoke, like Bellfield was Satan.

Recently, Bellfield had asked David Bicking to resign from the CRA for making what Bellfield thought were very anti-Dolan remarks at a public "bash Dolan" so-called "hearing" or "meeting" on the Dolan reappointment, click here for more details from City Pages.

Listening to what Bellfield is saying, he also appears to be alluding to the controversy with David Bicking. The second video is David Bicking, who also appears to be alluding to the controversy and, in fact, talks about a CRA meeting being cancelled and how he's going to show up, anyway.

Note the loud and repeated clapping. The chair of the Public Safety Committee asked the anti-Dolan crowd not to clap and intimidate people at the podium, but the anti-Dolan crowd defied the chair, one even name-calling the city council as "suffering sycophants."

This is not how you get city council people to vote your way.

(Do Not Click "Read More")

JN-SPAN VIDEO: "Pull Up Your Pants And Set A Good Example For Your Children"



In this video shot by Jordan Neighborhood super citizen Megan Goodmundson and posted on YouTube, a Northside resident testifying in support of Chief Dolan urges some in the anti-Dolan crowd to worry less about police brutality and more about "gang membership" by their own children. He said "pull up your pants and set a good example for your children." I wonder who he could be talking to, exactly?

Oh, wait. No, I have a fairly good idea who he might be talking to, exactly.

In the foreground, Tom Cleland can be seen making a hand gesture. This gesture is used at meetings of the Fifth Congressional District Greens, known as "5CD Greens." It sort of, um, magnifies good energy and dissipates bad energy? Something like that.

Don't knock it until you try it. Funny, I didn't see Cleland use that gesture when one of the anti-Dolan crowd got up and called the city council members "suffering sycophants."

(Do Not Click "Read More")

Man Tries To Enter Alisha Neely Funeral With A Gun...



Video by Don Allen, blog post by John Hoff
ADDENDUM: February 6, 2011. This blog post was written before I and many others in North Minneapolis discovered what a disreputable con man character Don Allen is. I would advise anybody: Do not trust Don Allen. Seek further information about Don Allen from various online sources before having any contact with him.

Don Allen called me up and threatened litigation for the embedding of this video in this blog post. To which I respond, you put it on YouTube with an embed code. It is merely linked through the embed code. As of today, I am re-posting this blog post.

Don Allen of IBNN was at the Alisha Neely funeral, and captured this video of a guy packing a pistol who tried to enter the funeral, and got frisked...up against the very vehicle which was prepared to carry Neely's casket, by the looks of it. A disturbing and deeply symbolic moment. One commenter on this blog asked what 60 some kids were doing at a party after curfew anyway? This was a massive breakdown in parental supervision. Any neighbors who witnessed the party and DID NOT call 911 on all those minors out after curfew should also consider themselves morally culpable. (One person who claims to be a neighbor and commented on this blog says they didn't see or hear anything)

Since Don Allen's blog doesn't have the same kind of comments function as Johnny Northside Dot Com...and captures a different reader demographic...I wanted to share the amazing video here, with thanks to Don Allen for putting it on YouTube so quickly.

Yesterday, while I was taking a drive with Jeff Skrenes, good ol' Jeff talked about the possibility of going to the funeral. I told Jeff, "Are you kidding? That funeral is going to be full of thugs, and there have already been incidents around the memorializing of her death. You should stay away."

This is me telling Jeff "I told you so." But I kind of hope he went anyway, and maybe collected some pictures and commentary. One thing I have suggested needs to change in North Minneapolis: uncooperative witnesses are unacceptable, particularly those laying on the ground with bullet wounds, refusing to identify their attacker. Maybe the answer is to start hauling them in front of grand juries.

(Do not click "Read More")

JN-SPAN VIDEO: Police Chief Dolan Reappointment Hearing



This video was actually shot near the end of the hearing on reappointment of MPD Chief Dolan. Here, Council Member Don Samuels acknowledges the criticisms directed at Dolan, but says all this is "secondary" to the fact the man dramatically slashed the rate of violent crime, with the most progress in North Minneapolis.

(Do not click "Read More")

Johnny Northside's "Great Escape," The Promised Detailed Account, And Ongoing Clues About The Location Of Johnny Northside!

Photo And Blog Post By John Hoff

So, as most readers know by now, I managed to escape legal service by Hennepin County sheriff's deputies forced to act at the behest of "Pete The Pedophile," who has filed a gibberish-filled midnight manifesto with the courts suing, well, everybody including Commander Mike Martin of the Fourth Precinct, a powerful law firm, the Jordan Area Community Council, (JACC) and a couple of cops. Due to the fact I have not yet been served, as of today, Pete the Pedophile still doesn't have "personal jurisdiction" over me.

Which is a good feeling. I ask you, dear reader, would you want a Level Three sex offender to have "personal jurisdiction" over YOU? What do legal phrases like "cross examine" mean in the mind of a sex offender sicko chomo? You have to wonder.

So let's talk a bit about the idea of "dodging service." First of all, it's perfectly legal...

...to dodge service. Yes, even when the service is from sheriff's deputies. I'm not giving ya'll legal advice or anything like that, but I studied up on the topic once upon a time and--the day after I escaped--a friend of mine checked with a licensed attorney. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT LEGAL SERVICE. You can leave town, or sit in your attic quiet as a mouse while people pound on your door, or find a way to slip out of City Council chambers through the city council offices. (Though that's a neat and rare trick, I'd have to say, and I'll admit reveling in it, just a bit)

Thugs already know this. People who live outside the law instinctively dodge service or, for that matter, warrants. Decent people, in contrast, don't usually have to think in terms of dodging legal matters. But in a neighborhood where frivolous, politically-oriented lawsuits are a routine part of "bare knuckle Northside politics," it would behoove decent folks to contemplate the notion of dodging service which--I have to point out--is GOOD CLEAN FUN, just like dumpster diving.

So there I was at the reappointment hearing for Chief Dolan, the room filled to standing-room-only with interested citizens of Minneapolis and at least one (Tom Cleland) who is not a resident of Minneapolis, but came to speak anyway about the appointment of our Chief. Whatever. There were clearly more pro-Dolan people in the room, judging by the WE WANT DOLAN stickers on numerous lapels and the fact the anti-Dolan faction is trying to claim it was "about even." No, it wasn't. There were more Dolan people there, including a number of uniformed police officers who did not speak but were sitting close to Chief Dolan.

(For the record, I helped distribute but was not involved in the creation of the stickers, so it would be erroneous for anybody--on Flikr.com, for example, click here--to say these were "John Hoff's" signs) However, the anti-Dolan crowd was more vocal and more of them went to the podium to speak, so all-in-all the speakers were about 50/50 pro- versus anti-Dolan.

Just before the hearing, Peter Rickmyer a.k.a. Peter Richard Stephenson a.ka. Pete The Pedophile skulked through council chambers, boldly walking up to the dias and leaving papers in the place where Third Ward City Council Member Diane Hofstede sits. I hope Hofstede has plenty of hand sanitizer back in council chambers. If I were an aid to Hofstede, I'd be sure to keep hand sanitizer stocked, or it might mean my job, click here for more info.

Anyway, earlier in the meeting, I had spoken to Deborah Allen, who was mad at Dolan for--get this!--firing the officer who shot Fong Lee. I guess, for a police chief, there's just no way to please all the critics...most of which thought firing the officer was a good idea, but wanted it to happen much earlier. Due to Deborah Allen's rather unique stance on why Dolan shouldn't be re-appointed, Jeff Skrenes dubbed her "the duck billed platypus of the anti-Dolan camp." Like, yeah, she's anti-Dolan but she just doesn't FIT with the regular anti-Dolan critters.

Well, anyway, at a point before the meeting started I saw ol' Pete the Pedophile chatting up Deborah Allen. And, I should mention, I KNOW THIS WOMAN. I talked to her myself before the meeting, and I once wrote an article about the business she used to run, Gopher Cleaners and Launderers. (The article can no longer by found on the Minnesota Daily server, but its footprints exist on the internet, click here) At the time I wrote the article, Allen felt she was being "forced out of business" by her landlord, and I felt her story was highly relevant to the U of M campus because the laundromat was very popular with college students.

So, when Spanky Pete got done talking to Allen--when there was a pause in the conversation, anyway--I walked up to Allen and said, "Hey, Deborah. Look, I know we're on different sides of this Dolan thing but I just thought you'd like to know--"

(At this point I could see Pete mentally bracing, waiting for what he knew was coming next)

"This guy you're talking to is Peter Richard Stephanson, a registered Level Three sex offender and a pedophile."

"Thanks, John," Pete said, reddening, and walking away.

Apparently, this was the most clever thing Pete could come up with, "Thanks, John." Yeah, a real zinger. Meanwhile, Deborah Allen said nothing, but her face wore a look of shock; the same look MOST people's faces wear when they discover they've been chit-chatting with a dangerous, perverted, deviant social pariah.

Pete didn't try to stick around to try gaining back any social ground with Deborah. When you're in polite company, and your Level Three status is mentioned...hey, the jig is up. Best to give up all pretense and just walk away, head hanging down, like a dog caught eating from the cat dish.

Well, sitting through the hearing I was already mentally calculating that I should give my testimony and leave because, I figured, Spanky Pete was off talking to the process servers, saying, "John Hoff is in City Council Chambers right now." But the reappointment of Dolan meant so much to my neighborhood, I was willing to risk getting served. I sat in a seat near the speaker podium, visible in the camera angle. As the hearings were broadcast and recorded I held up a "We Want Dolan" sign.

After one of the speakers objected to my sign, and the Chair of the meeting (Don Samuels) said the signs were "my right," I held up TWO signs. And so I sat, holding my signs, visible to the whole public-access-watching world.

At some point--right before I started holding up my signs--notorious loon and mayoral candidate (of Crazy Town) Al Flowers came up to me, leaned down and whispered, "John, there's a sheriff's deputy outside who wants to see you."

"Thanks, Al," I said, because I can be just as clever, you see, as Spanky Pete.

My friend Megan Goodmundson went out in the hallway to confirm the sheriff's deputy was there to serve me. (There was only one deputy, at first, but reportedly there were two during the course of the long hearing) Megan informed the deputy that I, John Hoff, wasn't going to come out of the council chambers. The deputy shrugged and said fine, he could wait. He was "getting paid by the hour" and could "wait all day" because he didn't want to "disrupt the proceedings."

I could see Al Flowers watching me, intently. Outside of council chambers, the lady from the Minneapolis Mirror had a video camera all set up. She was apparently so intent on capturing video of Johnny Northside getting served she was forsaking all the juicy Dolan hearing testimony, just waiting for that "money shot" of Johnny Northside being spanked with legal paper by Pete the Pedophile. Meanwhile, Pete himself was in chambers...watching. I was pretty much surrounded.

However, there are two doors which lead out of the council chambers. One, I knew, went through the city council offices. The trick, I thought, was to get through one of those doors instead of the main door.

I got up from my seat and spoke to a high-ranking public official who shall remain nameless but let's just say...it's not this guy's fault. I am capable of being cunning and coldly calculating when necessary. I used these skills for "social engineering." I explained to the (innocent, somewhat distracted) high-ranking official how I was on a tight schedule and--right after the council meeting--I really needed to have a word with some (any, really) of the council members from North Minneapolis about this emerging issue of Level Three sex offenders concentrated in North Minneapolis...though a state statute says that's not supposed to happen, click here.

Furthermore, I wanted to avoid the crowd and--if I might--just slip into the chambers for a MOMENT, because, really, that's all it would take? Just a moment of their time, in private?

And my request worked. The high-ranking official was agreeable, subject to one caveat: the council members would have to be willing to talk to me. No promises, you understand. (Me, nodding agreeably) He or she offered to slip me into the city council offices when the hearing was done and things were breaking up, so I might get a brief moment of "face time" with some or maybe even all of the North Minneapolis council members.

I said, hey, I owe you. Big time.

When the hearing started to break up, I was whisked into council chambers. While the high-ranking public official checked into the schedules of my elected officials, I scoped out the location of the side door. There. There it was. I wanted to dash through it immediately but, well, that would be rude. The high-ranking official came back with an apologetic look on his/her face: there just wasn't time for a meeting right now. Everything was so tightly scheduled.

Oh, I said, that was alright. Thank you, really, for trying. Could I just exit through this side door, here? Yes, of course, that would be fine.

I walked out the door and went quickly to the staircase, wishing I'd left my heavy backpack with Megan Goodmundson. I ran down three flights of grand Italian marble, quickly but prudently, no bannister-sliding, and at the ground floor I dashed past Poseidon, the Father of Waters, who looked right through me and said nothing.

Out in the street, which way to go? I thought about going around the building to the light rail stop, but quickly realized I needed to put distance between myself and the building. So I ran to the next light rail stop down the line, boarded the train, and went to Target Field. At that point, I started Tweeting stuff...like, "Where is Dog The Bounty Hunter when Spanky Pete really needs him?" And, of course, I started Tweeting lyrics from "fugitive songs" to Megan.

Gimme some water/
I shot a man on the Mexican border/
Cool, cool water...

Meanwhile, Megan Goodmundson told me the Johnny haters were all confused, wondering, "Where did he go? How did he just...disappear? There's Megan, so where is John?" Megan drove to the light rail station at Target Field to pick me up. I told her by text message, "Don't bring any heat with you ha ha."

One mysterious aspect of the whole adventure--and I keep turning it over in my head--is why Al Flowers warned me. Without the early alert from Flowers, I would have certainly been served. I have two theories on the matter, and I'm not sure which one is true.

1.) Al Flowers just wanted to watch the show, and he was trying to hurry it along so he could see me get served.

2.) It would be contrary to Al's principals to be aware of somebody pursued by the police, and not tip that person off if he possibly could. Also--say whatever critical things you like about Al Flowers, lord knows I do--the man is a parent and therefore the natural enemy of child molesters. So, for a bit, the usual political lines dissolved and Al Flowers was, for rare solar eclipse of a moment, my ally.

Um...I actually lean toward the first theory, though. With an impatient, child-like personality, Al Flowers wanted to watch a spectacle. Inadvertently, he tipped me off and kept that very spectacle from happening. Thanks, Al. (Sarcasm font) But I'm keeping an open mind to the first possibility.

That night, I made a point of sleeping at a friend's house. But, well, you can't hide out forever. So I thought it would be fun to start Tweeting my locations, seeing if it might attract the attention of process servers for the purpose of more edge-of-my-seat amusement and (I hoped) frustration for Spanky Pete if I should prevail.

Right when I started Tweeting my locations--determined to play this game for maximum fun--some chomo-loving snitch told Twitter I had (heaven forbid!) Tweeted somebody's address on Twitter. The irony! Right when I was going to start Tweeting my locations to help Pete a little bit, some pedophile-ally complained to Twitter and got my account temporarily suspended.

Oh, well. It would appear if I remove the "offending posts" the account will be re-instated.

And the game will begin again.

(Blogging from an eatery with wireless internet access, where I just finished some delightful broiled shrimp and peas)

(Find me if you can, Spanky Pete. I will be constantly giving you clues until you do!)