Statement on Don Samuels: He Needs to Seduce Himself First


As a 5th Ward resident, I agree that it was outrageous for Governor Pawlenty and associates to exclude Don Samuels from a meeting on Minneapolis crime at the governor's mansion. I didn't vote for Samuels but he is the duly elected representative of the 5th ward on the Minneapolis City Council and so he is "my representative", entitled to respect to the extent that residents of this ward are entitled to respect. It seems that Gov. Pawlenty recognized the error and has made amends. This is good news. I hope a good relationship between him and Samuels continues.

Having said that, I wish Samuels would get off his racial high horse and recognize that he represents all the residents of the 5th ward. Not all ward residents are African American. The idea that the problems of north
Minneapolis date back to Thomas Jefferson or are related to slavery is unhelpful and largely untrue.

Also, Samuels is talking through his hat when he writes such things as "If you are white, you grow up knowing that if you go to school and work hard you will succeed. Nobody will spring injustices on you."

This is nonsense. White people experience plenty of injustices. All people do - and there are more to come. Samuels himself had it relatively easy working for a white-owned toy company. So why is he demagoguing it in the race issue. I expect better from my representative on the City Council.

Another thing - Samuels says "My job is to seduce the leadership." Let's be clear about this: Samuels is the leadership. He's part of the Rybak leadership team. He should seduce himself before turning to others.

This idea of being an outsider to power when he is part of the power structure wears quite thin. Granted, Samuels can't always get his way in city government but he can certainly try to do his best. I don't think this "best" is good enough. We need ideas about specific proposals or programs to reduce crime, not rhetoric about the need to do so.

"Jobs" are, of course, a large part of the answer; but Gov. Pawlenty has limited ability to deliver them. Let's concentrate on the crime problem and, in particular, programs which might keep young people on a productive track rather than turning to crime. Such programs have been cut. Let's try to restore some of them. If we can control crime in our part of the city, jobs will start to come back.

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