Thursday, July 08, 2010

The forgotten man

In a thought-provoking podcast interview, Walter Hudson (Fightin' Words blog) interviews Don Allen, an African-American North Minneapolis activist who feels that the Republican Party of Minnesota has for too long written off his neighborhood, and other DFL strongholds, like so much bad debt.

Why doesn't the RPM have more boots on the ground in North Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, or Lucky Rosenbloom's Dale Street neighborhood? (Rosenbloom should be one of Hudson's next one-hour interviews.) According to Allen, some folks in the urban core think that funding distributed by the city, state, and federal governments (and spent by school districts) should be more accountable and transparent (ahem, are you listening, Pat Anderson?), and that concerns about light rail transit's impact on neighborhoods are falling on deaf DFL ears.

Allen thinks that conservative solutions to urban ills should be heard and discussed within his community. He has invited Republican officials to stop by his town hall meetings at the Sunnyside Cafe, but so far they have been no-shows. Allen wants Republican leadership, not just well-meaning twentysomething "outreach" coordinators, to begin cultivating relationships in his neighborhood.

It will take more activists like Allen and candidates like Eva Ng, who ran for mayor of Saint Paul last year; Barry Hickethier, who is challenging Sen. Larry Pogemeiller (DFL-Minneapolis) in SD59; and Joel Demos, who is challenging Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN5); running year after year, to plant conservative ideas and grow a GOP presence in the cities.

As Hudson suggests, it will likely take more like a decade than an election cycle to change voting habits, and the RPM has some tough return-on-investment decisions to make with limited resources. But with that hopey-changey thing not working out so well, what better time than 2010 to get started?


Brent said...

What are the concerns about light rail transit's impact on neighborhoods?

Anonymous said...

Allen was not detailed in his remark, but I think it had to do with the construction detours, inconvenience, and possibly eminent domain issues.