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Eden Prairie Community Center’s Racism and arbitrariness: Silent Denial, A temper fit and then some possible positive changes


On November 26, 2012, I published an un-redacted version of my original article from July 2011 “Summers of Fear in America’s Number One city” documenting my own experiences and other data that suggested a racist and heavy handed behavior towards certain city residents by City officials of Eden Prairie, MN (See: https://zcomm.org/zblogs/unredacted-version-summers-of-fear-in-americas-number-one-city-by-karthik-ramanathan/ ). I had also mentioned in that article that I will follow up with another article with some additional evidence and data. It’s been some years since the events and I have even moved out of the city and even out of the state of Minnesota. But despite other pressing priorities, I believe its time to honor my promise despite other pressing priorities and so this article.

 

My original article detailed my experience of being issued a trespass notice by City Officials of Eden Prairie, for no obviously stated reason but apparently because they didn’t like my conversations with some women who worked at the Eden Prairie Community Center. I backed up my own conclusion of this being a racist act by the City with quantitative data that clearly showed a marked increase in number and scope of trespass notices since Jay Lotthammer took over as Director of Parks and Recreation at Eden Prairie in 2007. My article also provided proof of manipulation of evidence such as in my own case by the City Officials (making unsubstantiated accusations or making caricatures of or extrapolating actual events etc.).

 

Subsequent to the writing of the above article, I had continued a few more Data Practices request to the City of Eden Prairie. These were instructive and that along with mostly lack of response from the City to my article/letter, are hereby placed in public record.

 

Eden Prairie’s trespass notices prior 2012- Conclusively a case of abrasiveness, racism and attacks on normal human behavior.
In mid 2011, after publishing my original article, I had followed up with a series of data requests from the City of Eden Prairie. One of my requests asked for a copy of all Trespass notices issued by the city’s Parks and Recreation department including their Community Center. The city returned copies of 20 trespass notices issued between 2006 through August 2011. Copies of all these notices are attached in Reference 1 of this article. [1 – a].
There are 16 individuals who had received Trespass notices during this time (some having received multiple notices). Since ethnicity/race of the targeted individuals is not tracked, the only way we can get an idea of the ethnicity is through first and last names. With this method, we find that at least 6 out of the 16 individuals trespassed are Asian or African (3 Muslim, 2 Russian and 1 East Indian). Since we are going by names to determine ethnicity, this is clearly an underestimate. Hence, we can conclusively say that more than 40 % of those trespassed in these years are minorities in a town which is 81 % white and only 10% are Asian or African [2]. Furthermore, as can be seen in the “Narrative” section of the trespass notices itself, 6 out of the 19 trespass notices were issued for reasons that are very vague or subjective at best. For example, one is for “”warned about behavior but did not cooperate”. A couple in the Community center was trespassed for “acting inappropriately in the pool”. Really? And that too with no description of what the “inappropriateness” was? Sounds like Iranian clerics were running this place rather than Americans. Along similar lines, another individual was trespassed for making “comments about nude beaches”.

It proves conclusively and with qualitative data what my article in 2011 had alluded to with circumstantial data and my individual case data : That Eden Prairie’s Parks and Recreation then director Jay Lotthammer and Community Center manager Wendy Sevenich were acting arbitrarily on the slightest provocation against individuals and often in a racially prejudiced manner.

 

Community Center Manager Wendy Sevenich response to my accusations of doctoring evidence: shamelessly fabricate more falsehoods

After the publication of my original article in 2011, which clearly showed that the City of Eden Prairie was acting not only in a arbitrary manner but without any cause or complaint from anyone that I interacted with, I continued to follow up with an additional data requests. I sent a request on August 2, 2011 demanding to know if two women the city claimed that did not like my interaction ever made a written complaint about me and also if they could provide a copy of my membership cancellation form that I had submitted for the community Center. Instead of responding to my data request, The city via the City Clerk sends me a “Additional document” that was “discovered” in a “separate locked storage area in the Community center” that whose access was controlled by Wendy Sevenich – the manager who I had exposed in my article detailing the racist treatment she meted out to me and others.
This “Additional document” that has no title, no data, claims that “sometime” after I stopped using the facility, an unnamed woman described someone as “making her uncomfortable” after I had stopped using the facility. Furthermore, this so-called “Additional document” seems to suggest that this someone had a similar “physical description” to an individual whose name they spell similar to mine. Clearly, they have tried to spell my name but in the hurry to fabricate information against me, have completely misspelled my name. I have attached this so-called document in the references section [3].

So, here is what we have: I publish an article exposing that I was arbitrarily issued a trespass notice for a facility I had stopped using and had already cancelled my membership. Then I also pointed out that there were no written complaints about me by any woman I interacted with (also later confirmed by the city). And now the person responsible for this arbitrary action against me somehow produces an “Additional document” against me –with no date, no title, no name of any woman and misspelling me name. Why no name and date? Because then it will provide a point to investigate the claims which the writer of this note clearly doesn’t want as its understandably just plain retaliation for my expose of her arbitrary actions. And the document has clearly been written out in a hurry as indicated by the misspelling of my name – in sharp contrast to the other documents given prior which spell my name correctly!

A shameless fabrication by a Wendy Sevenich in response to my expose of her arbitrary actions.

 

Possible toning down of trespass policy 2012 and after (post publication of my original article about Eden Prairie).

 

While the City of Eden Prairie has not given me a response to either my article, or my subsequent petition to them (which I delivered to the Mayor, Council members and City Manager), I have not heard a response from the City, let alone an apology.
I continue to hold that the City owes me both an explanation and an apology.

That said, it appears that there are at least some positive changes – Its instructive that none of the trespass notices issued by the City 2012 and later (i.e. after the publication of my article) describe any vague or arbitrary reasons for trespassing such as “making” a remark or for “concerning behavior” [1 – b]. Infact, all these subsequent trespass notices describe behavior that is less subjective and can be objective grounds for concern such as being “verbally abusive” or “suspect for theft of phone”.
Again, it doesn’t necessarily justify the trespass but definitely more tighter reasons than prior 2012.

This evidently is more careful behavior by the City since the publication of my original article on this topic in 2011. Then this author can surely say that the article written in 2011 can teach everyone the value of speaking truth to power!
However, the public silence of the mayor and senior city officials of Eden Prairie to my writing about my mistreatment is both wrong and deafening. I hope they will correct this.

 

References:

 

  1. Trespass Notices issued by Eden Prairie Parks and Recreation department including its Community Center :
    a) between 2006 and August 2011 : Can be downloaded at: http://www.cs.uml.edu/~kramanat/EP_Trespass_Notices_2011&prior.pdf
    b) between 2012 and 2016: Can be downloaded at:
    http://www.cs.uml.edu/~kramanat/EP_Trespass_Notices_2012to2016.pdf

 

  1. Demographics of Eden Prairie, MN :
    http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/2718116
  2. So-called “Additional Document” from Eden Prairie Community Center irrelevantly produced to me by City of Eden Prairie in response to a different data request:
    Can be downloaded at : http://www.cs.uml.edu/~kramanat/Additional%20Report%20with%20redaction.pdf 

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