counter statistics

Saturday, February 05, 2005

More on the SFV Cat Fight

Marty Andrade, one of the people named in Joel Flake's letter about the Students for Family Values responds:

Wow, it must come as a shock to find out that Students for Family Values was really a socialist, super leftist organization secretly plotting to legalize abortions, legalize gay marriage, and expand the government while allowing the Campus Republicans to bring conservative speakers to call Democrats a bunch of pussies.

Eva, how I yearn that such men as Powers and Flake weren't associated with SFV.

I do have some reactions to parts of the text, first:

Of the Horowitz deal, Horowitz spoke on academic freedom. The event was not used for anything partisan, it had nothing to do with the Republican Party, and it was a kick ass event the promoted a lot of conservative ideas that fits perfectly into the constitution of SFV. The quote about the Democrats, well, I happen to agree, but legally it's okay, since 527 orgs, which are non partisan, can attack, they just can't endorse or promote. So SFV was within the spirit of the group and the letter of the law when it comes to partisanship of 501c3 non profits.

Of the bit with Powers, yes, he's been kicked off the list, not that it matters. He is using the list to spam, and that's wrong, same with Joel. As for my thoughts on Mr. Powers mental balance, I think he is unbalanced, but what do I know, I've only been studying psychology for five years.

As for my private email correspondence with Alex about Joel's descent into freakdom, I'll stand by that, he is a freak.

Joel left SFV because I am a Catholic, and he thinks Catholics are idol worshipers. That's the only reason he listed in his resignation letter. I can't say that I'm sad to see him go.

That's all on record for your use in your blog if you so choose.


Developing. . .

Cat Fight within the Students for Family Values

Got this in my email today:

To whom it may concern:

My name is Joel Flake and I am the former Executive Officer of Students for Family Values. Recently, my good friend Mr. Benjamin Powers informed you all that SFV and those involved have their share of issues. He was both correctly informed and entirely honest. It seems now that the current SFV leadership has chosen to lie to you all concerning these affairs. While this does not surprise me, I am grieved nonetheless and feel I must set the record straight.

I do not know if my resignation is public information as President Brian Edstrom was very distressed at the time and is still very cross about the matter. Less than three hours before the writing of this letter I was verbally abused by Mr. Edstrom at a Young Constitutionalist contact table on the ground floor of Coffman Union. He also mentioned several things about Mr. Powers that I shall not repeat here for out of respect for the readers.

In regards to the alleged financial dealings with the Campus Republicans, it might be true that no funds were paid directly to them. I say "might" because the SFV leadership has demonstrated their ability to lie and distort the truth today and I have little respect left for them. The exact details are not important in this case; there never should have been any financial involvements with the Campus Republicans or their events. I was never given exact details regarding the debts SFV has. But this also is of little importance as I used to sit on the Executive Committee of Students for Family Values along with the other current Officers. The words I heard curing a meeting were, "We owe the Campus Republicans money." To conclude this point I would like to ask you all to remember a quote from the MN Daily's story on the David Horowitz event (which the funds were allegedly allocated for). Although I do not recall the exact wording of this quote, Mr. Horowitz was recorded as stating something like, "If the Democrats win this next election, the terrorists will think, 'Oh Boy! The pussies are in charge!'" No SFV funds (especially those received from the fees process) should have funded any such statements. Exactly who received the money isn't important; the fact that it was used by the Campus Republicans to empower Mr. Horowitz to makes such a proclamation is.

The matter of Students for Family Values vs. the Constitution Party is much more interesting. The current CFO of Students for Family Values first introduced me to the concept while I was a Republican. Some discussion on the SFV Message Boards resulted in the current Vice President beginning a conversation on why he rejected the CP Presidential candidate for the 2004 election. This was all fine and totally acceptable for discussion purposes only. But when the truth came out about President Bush, the republicans lost the argument in a huge way. They ended up defending a huge leftist and calling the Constitutionalists all sorts of names. In fact, two former Presidents of SFV became involved in the discussion and degraded the conversation into a flame war. When confronted and asked why SFV had become so liberal in it's views and policies (after all, the remaining officers were defending socialists, baby-killers, and faggots), President Brian Edstrom made many conversations invisible and shut the message boards off so that the fees committee could not view the material while making a decision concerning the status of SFV.

As if this weren't the end, Mr. Powers attempted to join the SFV mailing list. This list was supposed to be open to any conservative person looking to help the cause. Shortly after joining, he was removed from the list without a reason. I have been made aware that Marty Andrade has issued a warning over the mailing list regarding Mr. Powers and his commentary on current events. This email was actually a very leftist action. Andrade accused Mr. Powers of being "unbalanced" and "mentally ill." I can assure you that he is not. It is a well known fact that in theory and in practice, the current SFV leadership does not in any way employ family values. Lying and distorting reality to cover up the truth isn't conservative at all.

Even moments ago, I was accused of being "crazy" and "evil" by SFV President Brian Edstrom. And while I was doing some work requested by Mr. Edstrom some months ago, I came across a Personal Message that had been passed around the SFV Leadership and amended by Marty Andrade. His exact words were, "Joel's descent into freakdom is both funny and crippling." These comments were made in response to my stand on the scriptures. Is this the measure of your leaders? My "descent into freakdom" seems much more desirable.

Why can't the members of SFV come clean when they have their many errors called to light? I'm not sure. And that is one of many reasons that I left the organization. I would encourage you all to do the same.

Joel Isaac Flake
Former Executive Officer
Students for Family Values

More Criticism of Public Funding for the Colin Powell Youth Center Boondoggle

This is an Email that Karen Forbes, who lives in the Central Neighborhood sent to the house committee dealing with bonding.

I would like to second the request to not have the Colin Powell Center receive any funding form the State of Minnesota or funding from anywhere else for that matter. I have been a Central Neighborhood resident for 20 years and have been exposed to the manipulation of Art Erickson and Urban Ventures. I am particularly disgusted by the mailings that are sent by Urban Ventures to residents twice a year asking for money. As Eva states the picture painted by this organization is not an accurate picture of how Central Neighborhood has turned around. My neighborhood is not the slum that Art would have you believe it is. One would think that after 10 years of doing whatever they do, their propaganda woud highlight a neighborhood that has made improvements. I suppose that they think the churches in the suburbs would want to give them money if they didn't belive they were helping to save the slums. The neighborhood has made many positive strides with no help from Urban Ventures. Their most "successful" endeavor seems to be the soccer field which is in the Phillips neighborhood. There is the Center for Fathering which had their first director filing a lawsuit after just a few months. I have not heard what the result of that law suit was.

Art of course has been the President of Central Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA) for several years now. In the time he has been president of CNIA, the organization has lost our designation to receive NRP funds. I am not sure how many thousands or tens of thousands of dollars the neighborhood can not use because of the fiscal irresponsibility of Art as the president. If Art was that smart of a business man he should have been able to get the audits complete and pay the bills like the debt owed to James Ford Bell. If Art cared so much about the residents of Central Neighborhood he would have been a better communicator to the neighbors and inform the residents of board meetings and other correspondence that is the bare necessity of the president of the board.

With state dollars in shorter and shorter supply, I think our elected officials need to do their homework. Look at the demise of CNIA and know that Art has been at the helm for some time. From my perspective as a 20 year resident I have not seen Art perform in a capable enough manner to run any organization. Art is just out to fund his own pet projects with anyone's money he can get. The last board meeting I attended, the agenda was talking about all the leftover NRP money and how they wanted to spend it. When I asked when the residents would be part of the decision as the process dictates, I received no clear answer.

I will end my Urban Ventures rant with a connection this organization had (or has) with Basim Sabri, the developer who is a convicted felon for trying to bribe to Brian Herron. The bribe was related to a hotel that Sabri wanted to build in Central Neighborhood on Lake Street. This hotel was also supported by Art and Ralph. The hotel would have been built in the area Urban Ventures called the OZ (Opportunity Zone).

I am also a home owner and my property taxes have gone up steadily in addition to other daily expenses. I believe that how our taxes are allocated is an important decision that deserves thoughtful consideration.

Giving our tax dollars to an organization with such a poor track record does not make much fiscal sense. Investing in our public libraries would touch more children and families over the years, especially with the addition of the planetarium, than the accumulation of all the children and families "touched" by programs Urban Ventures has carried out since their inception.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

More Faith Based Pork

34.42 (b) Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center
34.43 For a grant to Hennepin County to
34.44 acquire land for and to design,
34.45 construct, furnish, and equip the Colin
34.46 Powell Youth Leadership Center in
34.47 Minneapolis, subject to Minnesota
34.48 Statutes, section 16A.695. The center
34.49 may include a National Guard drill
34.50 area, an education wing, including a
34.51 computer lab, a multipurpose arts
34.52 facility, a community education space,
34.53 a nutrition education and cooking
34.54 skills work-preparation area, and new
34.55 basketball courts.
34.56 This appropriation is not available
34.57 until the commissioner has determined
34.58 that all funds necessary to complete
34.59 the project are committed from nonstate
35.1 sources.

The 2 million proposed here, will be much better suited for the Minneapolis Planetarium.

Peter McLaughlin was a big promoter of the Colin Powell Youth Center. I'm curious where he stands on this project currently.

Look at the moving photo portrayal of the Central and Phillips neighborhood by Urban Ventures on their site in the section:

Photos of the Hood.

Some of the pictures are of kids playing in the neighborhood but others just show a very negative view of the area. Included in these photos are a photo of a House that had recently burned.

This type of portrayal of these Neighborhoods is not accurate - and focuses on the problems without focusing on successes. There are many areas in Central where people have invested heavily in improving the housing stock.

My problem is this project will be run by Urban
Ventures Leadership Foundation - and the question is whether kids who have different religious beliefs than UV will be able to participate in the athletic activities without getting proceletized. UV has a history of undermining parents who have sent their kids to their soccer program, only to have the kids come home after getting proseletyzed. What will happen to the Muslim or Jewish kids who go to this center? Will they be told they are going to hell because they don't believe what UV thinks they should?

This is from a description of an UV program on the Heartland Synod's "Partners in Possibilities" program. This page is no longer available on the web.

Rev. Tim Overweg is the Director of Leadership Development for Urban Ventures. The goal of Leadership Development is to develop students who by their senior year in high school are so committed to Jesus Christ that they can survive and thrive in any environment.


Every week James and Allen come to Urban Ventures for Bible Study, tutoring and meals with Tim and his family, and some basketball in the driveway! These two boys and many others are targeted by the Leadership Development staff for Bible study and discipleship, Scripture memory, mentoring, leadership development, retreats, summer camping and community service."

Urban Ventures should be seeking private funding for their project - in the same way that Mary Jo Copeland is seeking private funding for her youth center in Eagan.

The Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation leaders: Art Erickson and Ralph Bruins - have a long history of trying to exploit anti-gay sentiments among some in the Central Neighborhood - namely they like to stoke resentments of Gay Men who have moved into the neighborhood - and bought and improved property. When Walt Gutzmer served on an NRP committee, UV was sending out board packets. Gutzmer was the designated "Gay Representive". His board packet included a newsletter from Central Community Church (not officially connected to UV - but connected to Art Erickson) - and the newsletter had an article about how gays should change to being straight - along with the predictable verse from Leviticus.