scotts Posts

A cautionary tale for Duluth collectives?

Recently in Minneapolis, the Sisters’ Camelot collective faced restrictions in its ability to canvass for donations as the group was no longer listed as a registered nonprofit or charity in Minnesota. It has been told to cease fundraising efforts with a potential $25,000 fine per fund solicitation. The canvass workers unionized and have been calling for collective organizers to step down to restructure in the wake of the mishandling of the collective.

From the Industrial Workers of the World website: Union Exposes Wage Theft, Gross Negligence at Sisters’ Camelot, Calls for Resignation of Managing Collective

Sisters’ Camelot provides food and meals to homeless folks and low-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis. It relies on monetary donations and donations of food from merchants.

This is not unlike Duluth’s very own Loaves and Fishes Catholic Worker Community.  Not listed as a nonprofit in Minnesota, nor a church/religious organization, yet it solicits funds from the community and even states on its Facebook page that the running of its houses costs up to $50,000 per year (the threshold for income requiring an organization to file a federal 990 individual tax form as a nonprofit).  On March 8 it asked for $3,000 on its Facebook page to help pay for insurance for its homes.

Should Loaves and Fishes and other Duluth collectives be wary in light of this news?  Is there a line between helping the poor and marginalized as a household service and negligence to the law in not having accountability as a registered nonprofit?

Isn’t it time for better transit?

All this talk about sustainability in Duluth, and how the DTA was named Best Transit Provider in Minnesota, and it wins all the Sustainability Points it can get (biofuels, paper reduction, hybrid busses, new technology, etc) – but..

Why can’t a car-free-sustainable-person like me take a bus downtown or to a movie on a Saturday night?

Seriously… is anyone else feeling the pinch of poor transit options for the car-less or car-free of us in Duluth? Some of us make the choice to be sustainable and car-free, and then what?  We get to sit at home every Saturday and Sunday evening, because our busses stop operating around 7pm!  How does that make a “sustainable city” or attract sustainability-minded folks?  Now service is cut on the 24th during the week (no service after 7:15pm), yet not New Year’s eve.  Huh?

Have there been any attempts at better transit in the past? Advocacy groups?  Sustainability groups that take action rather than pat politicos on the back or host “seminars”?  Any ideas on organizing a Bus Rider’s Union or getting a Car-sharing program going in Duluth?

Or, as I asked the mayor in an email, as well as the DTA – “Should a guy like me just buy a car and ‘shut up’ in Duluth?”

Ideas are welcome, as are interested organizers! Send email to [email protected].

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