Off Beat

A Few Good Men

While trolling the Internet for employment opportunities the other day--hey, everybody grows weary of their job at times, and newshounds are no exception--we came upon what looked like a gem at the City of Minneapolis Web site: Park Patrol Agent. As we perused the job description, it began to look like, well, like a walk in the park. Twelve bucks an hour to "[patrol] parks, beaches and recreation centers," "[check] permits for use of recreation areas and park facilities," and [assist] other Park Board employees in service and public relations." We'd have the privilege of working closely alongside the fine men and women of the Minneapolis Park Police, "answering phones, typing, filing and preparing reports"--pretty much the kind of thing we do around here!

Just as we were getting ready to sign up, our eyes fell on the ominous heading "Must have the following abilities." From there on, it was downhill all the way. It seems aspiring Park Patrol Agents must be prepared to (among other things) "jump and crawl over and under objects," "lift or drag heavy objects," "run and chase suspects or other vehicle," "wrestle and subdue suspects," and "control park patrons who may be unruly, belligerent and possibly armed."

Yikes. Might make for a compelling narrative, but seems a little demanding for a seasonal job that also requires an oral exam, a "rigorous medical/psychological examination," and a drug test. All of a sudden the grind around here doesn't seem so grueling. (Then again, newspapering isn't for everyone. If you've got a hankering to "work in uncomfortable weather conditions," go to www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/citywork/city-coordinator/hr/jobs/index.asp and follow the link to Park Patrol Agent.) --G.R. Anderson Jr.

 

Too Quiet on the Forum Front

Throughout election season, Lucille's Kitchen has been hosting Tuesday-morning candidate forums. But lately many of the politicians who turn up for the events, co-sponsored at the north Minneapolis soul-food mecca by Insight News and KMOJ-FM (89.9), have been forced to debate themselves. City council president Jackie Cherryhomes (Fifth Ward) and fellow incumbent Joe Biernat (Third Ward) were the latest no-shows, failing to appear as scheduled on October 23. That left a captive audience for their respective Green Party challengers, Natalie Johnson Lee and Brother Shane Price.

Cherryhomes might be forgiven for not being terribly anxious to make a return trip to Lucille's. At an August forum that was the subject of a September 5 Off Beat, one audience member denigrated the council veteran's supporters in the room as "house negroes." But Cherryhomes says her absence was due to the fact that she wasn't informed of the event until the day before. "I had a speech I was giving Tuesday morning, so I could not possibly rearrange my schedule," she says.

Lucky Rosenbloom of the Ninth Ward says he chose not to attend one event because the audience is hostile toward his positions on the issues. But Biernat tells a story similar to Cherryhomes's, as does Dean Kallenbach, the DFL-endorsed candidate for the Sixth Ward seat, whose record sports three absences. In fact, Kallenbach says, he was never informed of the most recent event. "Why are they calling some folks and not others?" he wonders.

Insight News publisher Al McFarlane, who organizes and moderates the debates, did not return calls seeking comment for this item. But as challenger Natalie Johnson Lee points out, phone call or no phone call, the schedule of candidate forums is listed every week in McFarlane's paper for all to see. --Paul Demko

 
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