Monday, July 21, 2014

Stingray contract/agreement Minnesotan's need to see

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety/Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (DPS/BCA) has consistently refused me and most recently the Star Tribune to release and make public the contract/non-disclosure agreement between the Harris Corporation and DPS/BCA.  The Harris Corporation has received over $600,000 of state funds, for equipment known as Stingray and Kingfish.  The dollars have been used to purchase, maintain and upgrade the equipment.  Upgrades can also be done to Stingray that allows for interception of individual phone calls.

What does DPS/BCA wish to hide from the public?  Names of the people who signed the contract?  The dates that the contract was signed?  The amount of public dollars spent?  Will it show if contract/agreement is released to public that DPS/BCA is violating state law and doing illegal behavior?

DPS/BCA has argued to me and I presume the Star Tribune the whole contract/non-disclosure agreement cannot be released because it is trade secret and it compromises law enforcement techniques.  Sorry to say that both assertions are false and can be easily discredited.

Release the contract/agreement with the appropriate redaction's.  It's possible that the contract/agreement may contain data that can be appropriately classified, and if so, DPS/BCA should redact those data. That empowers me and the public to understand the context of any censoring.

In the contract/agreement there is presumptively public data that should be made available to Minnesotans and me, to think otherwise is stupidity and irrationality on the part of the Department of Public Safety/Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Residents should not accept SWLRT as is, fight it

Listening to Mayor Betsy Hodges and others it seems that people who oppose Southwest Light Rail (SWLRT) should just go home, put their heads in the sand and give up.  I would not do that if I had my druthers.  Why?

Because of this court case, RESIDENTS IN PROTEST—I-35E v. DOLE which was decided in the mid-eighties.  What happened is a group of established citizens and residents of the Summit Hill area sued the Federal Government. Uncertainty of the outcome did not stop the RIP-35E group from filing civil suits in the courts.  They won and got major concessions.

As the Star Tribune says today in its coverage of the SWLRT deal:

     "Minneapolis officials long insisted they wouldn't stomach a light-rail line next to
       freight tracks in a part of the city popular with bicyclists, hikers and canoeists."

But what city officials actually did is not "stomach" this proposal, but break a promise to the residents of the communities that are impacted by the rail development.  It seems that the state, Met Council, Hennepin County Board, the Mayor, and others are evoking and conjuring up their points as to why SWLRT should become a reality.  This type of behavior was also done to place the road of 35 E below Summit Hill of St Paul.  But people organized, but they also had one other thing, monetary resources.

The Kenwood and Kenilworth neighborhoods of Minneapolis, and others who want to fight on in regards to the SWLRT I encourage you to do so. Granted, you may be called names, may cost money and time, but you would be protecting your community.

Some one's action of going to court and sue to block the project would definitely create uncertainty and upset a number of private and public sector entities,  so what, is that not what we do in a democracy.