Monday, December 10, 2012

Another Mysterious Don Allen Email, This One Sent To Me In Afghanistan, Discusses Minneapolis Public Schools Money Paid To Al Flowers...

Photo, a Mercedes truck from the 1950s still in use in Afghanistan, blog
post by John Hoff

I like to say Afghanistan was a blast.

Fortunately, I wasn't killed in the blast.

I spent 9 months and 11 days on foreign service, which is a pretty cool numerical coincidence, I think. Obviously my prolific neighborhood blogging paid the price, since free time was limited and when I did have free time, well, what would you do? Shop in an exotic foreign bazaar? Or blog about neighborhood doings literally on the other side of the planet?

But blog about this side of the planet I did, usually when my free time coincided with bad weather or the Muslim sabbath; during which times the bazaar was closed. Or one time when I was recovering from dental surgery. Anyway, I got some free time here and there, and sometimes the internet was working (sometimes it wasn't) and I'd manage to blog or check emails on my free time.

In Afghanistan. It's a small world after all.

Somehow, though, I missed an email forwarded by Don Allen about a Minneapolis Public Schools "Community Support Initiative" (CSI) which involved some of the money going to community activist Al Flowers. I was searching through old emails recently and, oh my goodness, what was that email from Don Allen about? The one dated December 1, 2011...

Here is the email, and it speaks for itself.

Donald Allen 
to me
At least you can see where my 15,000 went.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: MPS DataRequests <>
Date: Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM
Subject: RE: Community Standards Initiative
To: Donald Allen <>
Cc: MPS DataRequests <>, Scott Redd <>, Syreeta Wilkins <>

Mr. Allen,

Thank you very much for waiting patiently for the answers to your questions please see the district’s response below:

1.       Was a funding approved for $200,000.00 for this project? If not, how much?
a.       Funding was approved for up to $15,000

2.       When did the MPS Board approve this project and funding? Please include who voted "yes" and who voted "no"
a.       The MPS Board of Education approved this contract at the 9/27/11 board meeting.
b.      It was approved unanimously.

3.       Please supply the qualifications for the principals of CSI.
a.       The contract is under New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.  Rev. Clarence Hightower is known for his service to community and has served as President and CEO of the Mpls Urban League , MNSCU Board ofTrustees.

4.       Please provide an outline of this program.
a.       Deliverables for the six-month planning phase of CSI: Minneapolis includes, but is not limited to:
                                                              i.       Officially garner the support and participation of community partners
                                                            ii.       Elicit the support of parents and community members
                                                          iii.       Design and launch a CSI: Minneapolis website
                                                           iv.       Engage community agencies and organizations in signed partnership agreements
                                                             v.       Elicit the support and participation of 50 area business and retail outlets for the provision of incentives for young people who are a part of the Positive Behavior Incentive Program
                                                           vi.       Make contact with representatives from all 87 Minneapolis neighborhoods informing neighborhood organizations and groups of the initiative and garnering their support and participation
                                                         vii.       Raise monetary and in-kind contributions for 2012-13 operating and program budget
                                                       viii.       Develop and convene a CSI: Minneapolis Steering Committee to be seated by February 2012.
                                                           ix.       Report progress and milestones to community partners on a monthly basis

5.       Who is the fiduciary agent for funding? (If any)
a.       New Bethel Missionary Baptist

6.       Who are the principals for CSI and have they been drug tested per MPS policy?
a.       Partnership with MPRB, New Bethel, Al Flowers, Lissa Jones
b.      Drug testing information is private data

Thank you very much for your request. If you do have further inquiries, please send them to this email.

Scott Weber
Administrator, Data Quality
Minneapolis Public Schools
Office – (612) 668-0224
Cell – (612) 207-7140

There is a bit more to this story. Turns out that Don Allen sought a restraining order against Al Flowers in a case called Donald Allen v. Al Flowers, 27-CV-11-13351. The case doesn't turn up in MNCIS except in the "courthouse view" of MNCIS. Luckily, I was at the courthouse recently and just happened to turn the case up by dumb luck. Or maybe somebody tipped me off. It's the same thing, really.

I will be writing more about this case later, but it happened last year and Jill Clark was the attorney for Al Flowers. I do not know if an actual restraining order was issued or what else happened in the case.

Wow. So much happens while I am away. Seems like every few days some issue will come up and friends will be all, like, "Oh, you were gone. You were in Afghanistan."

But I am trying hard to make up for lost time, and lost blogging impact. 

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