Monthly Archives: September 2016

Park Board Meeting Disruptions

The following item by Carol Becker was posted on the Issues List on September 22, 2016.


Park Board Meeting Disruptions


If folks have actually been to some of the meetings where these “hecklers”
have been (not just the one on the Loppet Foundation question but the six
or so meetings total that have been disrupted) you would have found that
the folks disrupting the meetings are not there protesting some noble cause
– they are trying to get money out of the Park Board. It is three people
and their friends/relatives who have been yelling and trying to shut down


Hashim Yonis, who was convicted of ripping off park users, a man
who was let go from a civil service job and a woman who currently works for
the Park Board but has been demoted twice. The woman who is currently
working for the Park Board is demanding 3/4 of a million dollars. Yonis
wants his job back and compensation for the time he was removed from his
position. The other guy wants money also. There are lots of issues we need
to work on, racial equity being one of them.  But folks need to understand
who these hecklers are and what they are after.  I wish the StarTribune
would explain this next time they report on Park Board meeting disruptions
because this needs to be kept in context.

Carol Becker

9/28/16 Park Board Meeting Report

9/28/16 Park Board Meeting Report

It is interesting to note that at tonight’s Park Board meeting, there were no protesters present–not even one.  It was a quiet and short meeting and no one spoke at Open Time.  One of the highlights of the meeting was the Resolution opposing Crown Hydro.  It can be found at 9.1 on the Regular Meeting agenda. Here is the link to the agenda and the resolution:

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Attend Oct. 4 meeting to see initial plans for Calhoun-Harriet trail and access improvements

Attend Oct. 4 meeting to see initial plans for Calhoun-Harriet trail and access improvements

First of two public meetings scheduled Oct. 4, 6-8 pm to collect feedback on initial concepts

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is excited to announce the first of two community open houses to gather public input regarding proposed trail and access improvements along Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet Bicycle and Pedestrian Trails. The meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 4, 6-8 pm at Lyndale Farmstead Recreation Center, 3900 Bryant Ave. S.

At this open house, concept options for trail improvements will be presented. These trail improvements seek to improve safety and overall usability. All are welcome to attend this open house and provide comment.

Public Meeting

Date: Oct. 4, 2016

Time: 6-8 pm

Location: Lyndale Farmstead Recreation Center

Address: 3900 Bryant Ave. S

Heads-Up for the September 28, 2016 Park Board Meeting

4:45 P.M.  CLOSED SESSION.  Discussion Regarding Proposed Workers Compensation Settlement

5:00 P.M.  REGULAR BOARD MEETING.  Note: This meeting replaces the October 7  meeting, because the commissioners will be at a national conference that week

The meeting will be held in the boardroom at Park Board headquarters, 2117 West River Road, just north of Broadway Pizza.  Visitors to Park Board meetings can find at the back of the meeting room the agenda book with all the printed materials for the meeting

5:30 P.M.  OPEN TIME.  Speakers can call 612-230-6400 before 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting to sign up or they can sign up at the Board meeting prior to the start of “Open Time.”

Some agenda items of interest are:

Continue reading

Motion for extension of time to comment on Crown Hydro’s Environmental Assessment

The following item has been circulated by Doug Verdier:

The City of Minneapolis has filed a motion for extension of time to comment on Crown Hydro’s Environmental Assessment (previously emailed).

NOTE: In addition to the filing by the City, to date, similar filings were submitted to FERC by the following organizations: Friends of the Riverfront,  Minneapolis Parks Foundation, St. Anthony Falls Alliance, National Parks Conservation Association, The Great River Coalition.
There is no guarantee that an extension of the Oct. 2, 2016deadline for submission of comments to FERC will be granted. Individuals and Homeowner’s Associations wishing to submit comments regarding the Crown Hydro project and/or its Environmental Assessment (previously emailed to you) are encouraged to do so by the Oct. 2deadline.

On 9/19/2016, the following Filing was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Washington D.C.:

Filer:         City of Minneapolis, Minnesota
No Organization Found (as Agent)

Docket(s):         P-11175-000
Filing Type:     Request for Delay of Action/Extension of Time
Description:     Motion for Extension of Time of City of Minneapolis under P-1175.

To view the document for this Filing, click here


The following clarifying letter by MPRB Park Board Commissioner Scott Vreeland was posted on the Minneapolis Issues List on September 20, 2016.


Many of you know that I have been working on systems and structures to
decrease institutional and structural racism.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is a national leader for its
work on racial equity.  It is important that the Park Board continue this work
on eliminating racial disparities and that we have employment policies that
increase diversity.
Unfortunately, this does not prevent people from making false allegations
about racism for their own personal gain, or for the spotlight of TV cameras
and Facebook likes.
You can believe me about this or you can believe Hashim Yonis.  You can
look at the evidence and facts or you can make assumptions based on false
Hashim Yonis is one of the main organizers of disrupting Park Board
meetings. He was convicted of theft by swindle by the Hennepin County Criminal
Court. He was found guilty of stealing money from the park board by telling
There is also extensive evidence contained in a separate civil service
investigation which is public information.
In addition to the evidence of his criminal activity, there is a document
with Mr.Yonis’ signature that is a legally binding contract.
Here’s the text of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board  statement
about this legally binding agreement:
“In July, 2013, a citizen complained to a park board employee that Hashim
Yonis was renting out Currie Park field and questioned where the rental
money was going.  An internal  investigation was conducted resulting in a
finding that Mr. Yonis had violated numerous civil service rules constituting
just cause for his termination.  On August 23, 2013, Mr. Yonis was terminated
from employment with the Park  Board.
On August 27, 2013, Mr. Yonis appealed his termination through the
Minneapolis Civil Service Commission.  A civil service hearing on Mr. Yonis’s
appeal was scheduled to be held on October 15, 2013.  The day before the hearing,
Mr. Yonis, through his attorney, asked the Park Board if it would consider
amending his termination to a resignation if he dropped his appeal.
After consultation with Park Board counsel, the Superintendent determined
that it was in the best interest of the Park Board to amend Mr. Yonis’
termination to a resignation on the following conditions:
He waive his right to appeal his termination;
He never apply or reapply for a position with the Park Board;
He waive his rights, if any, to sue the Park Board for any claim arising
out of his employment with the Park Board; and
That he not disparage the Park  Board, its commissioners or employees
relative to the investigation into  employment misconduct and his subsequent
Mr. Yonis signed the  settlement agreement on October 21, 2013. The dispute
over his termination is concluded.  The settlement agreement is public, as
is the investigation into the complaint against Mr. Yonis”.
Mr. Yonis organizes disruption by making false accusations that are untrue, defamatory, and in violation of a negotiated and voluntary settlement that he signed. It is because I care about fairness, racial equity, and social justice that I see the harm in spreading lies that divide communities.


Scott Vreeland
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Commissioner District # 3



Tonight’s Park Board meeting provided an interesting study in contrasts.

First there was Open Time, characterized by a number of individuals spewing angry insults at the superintendent and the commissioners.  At the conclusion of Open Time, most of the critical and insulting speakers and their supporters (many with insulting signs) got up and left, not waiting to hear responsive comments from Superintendent Miller.  Such a hasty departure by the Park Board critics leaves the impression that there is no genuine desire to resolve their complaints.

And then, in contrast, there was–later in the meeting–the Public Hearing for the Southside Service Plan, characterized by a number of individuals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds providing their varied perspectives on the plan.  These individuals presented their perspectives calmly and thoughtfully.

A reminder:  Anyone wanting to observe the meeting can do so by going to the Park Board website:
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
There will a delay of a few of days between the meeting and the posting.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch

Disruptive Behavior at Public Meetings

The following two letters were published in the September 10, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.

Disruptiveness to get a point across? Nope, not right.

I read the Sept. 9 article about the increasingly difficult task of conducting public meetings without a variety of disruptive tactics (“Noisy meetings more the norm”). NAACP spokesman Raeisha Williams points out that no matter what tactic protesters employ, they cannot get their message across. I suggest that they give the “kneel in silent protest” another chance.

Rod Johnson, Alexandria, Minn.

• • •

I am writing to respond to the Star Tribune’s article reporting the Minneapolis NAACP’s demand for an apology from the city’s Park Board for removing a number of disruptive individuals from Wednesday’s meeting. The individuals removed were heckling the commissioners and interfering with Park Board business. Their removal was a logical consequence of their intentional disruptive behavior.

It would be appropriate for the disrupters to apologize for their bad behavior. Why would they expect the Park Board to apologize to them?

Arlene Fried, Minneapolis

Crown Hydro–Friends of the Mississippi River motion for extension to FERC

Crown Hydro–Friends of the Mississippi River motion for extension to FERC

On 9/16/2016, the following Filing was submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Washington D.C.:

Filer:   Friends of the Mississippi River
Friends of the Mississippi River (as Agent)

Docket(s):         P-11175-025

Filing Type:     Comment on Filing
Description:    Comment of Friends of the Mississippi River -Request on behalf of our members and other interested residents and community organizations for extension of time to review and submit comments on EA under P-11175.

To view the document for this Filing, click here:

NOTE: In addition to the above filing by  Friends of the Mississippi River, similar filings were submitted to FERC by the following organizations: Friends of the Riverfront, Minneapolis Parks Foundation, St. Anthony Falls Alliance, National Parks Conservation Association.