It ain't easy being the Green Institute
Ah, the endless machinations and permutations of nonprofits and city government ("Unsustainable At Any Speed?" 11/19/08). You can usually count on one thing: unethical behavior at all levels. Thanks for a really good story on the Green Institute's failure to thrive. It is amazing how little leadership concerns itself with the well-being of its mission. This is endemic right now and why much of corporate America is fouling its own nest. They come, they use up the resources, and they are gone with the golden parachute or whatever they looted. As for our city fathers and mothers, I hope they know that my current 26.9 percent property-tax increase on a small apartment in a south Minneapolis neighborhood hurts me badly. Fiscal responsibility? I must be joking.
Passing the buck
"Look," says [board member Lisa] McDonald, exhaling deeply. "We had a lot of faith in this person. A board is only as knowledgeable as the information they get from their executive director. They can ask a lot of questions. They can be very proactive, but certainly you rely on your [executive director] for the day-to-day happenings."
This statement shows a classic example of poor board oversight and leadership. They are the trustees of the organization and are legally and morally responsible for the health of the nonprofit, the actions of the staff, and to represent the stakeholders of the community.
Sounds like the average Joe or Jane in the neighborhood could have done a better job than the "trusted" trustees. We hear a lot about the corporate boardrooms and their malfeasance, but here's a great example of a nonprofit that's supposed to be doing good and is instead serving other interests and having a board table packed with high-profile, non-engaged people.
No citizen could run a household in this manner and get away with it—poor budgeting, inept financial management, expensive trips overseas, and gag orders. If it were a for-profit business, it would have failed by now.
Why should McDonald and the other prominent citizens who were board members over the years be exempt from deeper scrutiny? What other boards do she and others serve on? How are those organizations doing? Why were they recruited to the board, and by whom? Why are they allowing the current situation of ignoring debt obligations to the city she served for years to be considered acceptable?
Ultimately, this is where the blame and responsibility reside...at the board table, not at the E.D. position.
Eight is more than enough
Thanks to Matt Snyders and City Pages for the November 11 article about the RNC 8 ("First They Came for the Anarchists..."). The article helps confirm what many of us already knew: Charging these eight anti-RNC organizers as terrorists is ridiculous.
The story has another angle, hinted at by Sheriff Bob Fletcher: He is using the cases of the other 13 people charged with felonies in the aftermath of the RNC to try to justify the charges against the RNC 8.
This shows that the case against the RNC 8—who were stuck in jail for nearly the duration of the convention—is incredibly weak. However, the other 13 felony charges, also levied in an attempt to squash political activity, are also ludicrous. For example, Dave Mahoney is now facing no less than six felony charges for allegedly aiding and abetting the sandbag incident on an I-94 overpass—six felonies, and he's not even charged with actually committing the alleged crime.
Susan Gaertner's quote in the City Pages article, downplaying the possible five-year prison sentence for the RNC 8, is also telling. She's feeling the pressure and will soon need to choose between her campaign to frame dissent as terrorism and her campaign for governor. Readers can learn about the pressure campaign against Gaertner and other ways to defend the RNC 8 by going to RNC8.org, and about all the felony charges by going to RNCaftermath.org and clicking on "Felony Support."
Brian Hokanson, Friends of the RNC 8
Sleeping on the Wet Spot
I just got done reading that cat who spent a night at Sex World ("The Wet Spot," www.citypages.com). Was this supposed to be a gonzo piece? If it was, then it's strike three for City Pages. Sheesh! This excuse of a writer made it sound like everyone goes to Sex World. I've never been there, and I'm an anarchist! Wait, what was that? Who sent you? Anyway, this is another low point in writing for CP. You guys could do so much better.
Michele Bachmann, is that you?
I was just checking on Michele Bachmann results and came across your web page. I was thoroughly disgusted by all your commentary on her. You all sound like communists afraid to believe in God and righteousness. You are part of the problem with media and people in this country today. You probably support same-sex marriage, too. You all are driving this country to hell.
Henderson, North Carolina