Sharing and Caring Thoughts
April 19, 2008 1:03 AM
There's been much in the news lately about Sharing and Caring Hands and its proximity to the ballpark. In short, the city says it's just trying to address security issues, while Mary Jo Copeland (who founded and runs the organization) feels like she's about to be run out of town.
Sharing and Caring Hands, as viewed from the ballpark site about a block away. Note transaction in progress in the shadows.
It's a delicate thing, and I've been trying to put words to my feelings.
Every time I read about Mary Jo, my gut tells me that something just isn't right. She's so quick with the media, and she's so quick to play the "I'm just helping the homeless" card. She's so quick to name (and demonize) her adversaries -- even those who share her goals. She's so quick to put on the "poor little me" rhetoric. She never seems to be at fault.
If I haven't made this clear before, I find media manipulation to be rather seedy and distasteful. (You don't have to remind me that it happens all the time.) This is just the type of story that the media loves because it's got everything: sex, drugs, money, power, David vs. Goliath etc. And Mary Jo seems to always find a way to get the preemptive strike, which certainly happened this week with a press conference and a protest march.
I know the work is important. I'm glad her organization exists. I admire her stated goals, and her tireless approach. It's probably just about the hardest work there is in our society. It's very messy work, and maintaining the dignity and trust of the people she serves is a very important part of the work. That part is especially fragile, and can deteriorate rapidly if there are too many cameras or too many security guards.
But it is possible to do the work she does and avoid creating a haven for drugs and other illegal activity. Not only possible -- it is essential. An open-air drug market is just as bad for those in need of Mary Jo's help as it is anywhere else. It's unlikely that the drug dealers are there for the soup.
This is where the city is taking her to task, and from what I've read about the police calls, they have a right and obligation to do so. (Unfortunately, they are sometimes idiots at PR -- at least they're no match for Mary Jo.)
Off-topic, but this gigantic, cool, retro sign is just across the street from S&CH. Why? I don't know. Might look nice on top of one of those municipal parking ramps...
With a ballpark as her neighbor, her visibility just went way up, and with that comes some (probably unpleasant) scrutiny.
I've walked the neighborhood a number of times now, and stand by my impression that people walking past that place on the way to or from a game may not feel safe. That is not a function of what they do at Sharing and Caring Hands, but how they are doing it.
Seeing or encountering a person in need of food or a place to shower or sleep is not what I'm talking about. These people are often indistinguishable from a ballpark-goer (especially the needing a shower part). I'm talking about recognizing that there are people within that crowd who are there for a very different purpose, and taking advantage of the loose atmosphere in order to do it.
This will be a tough one for the city. They will need more finesse than they've shown so far. And until they can be counted on in that regard, the Twins should probably steer clear of this issue altogether. It really isn't a deal-breaker for the site at all, just something they need to plan for when putting together stadium security.
There may not be a better location for Sharing and Caring Hands, and I don't think that forcing them out of the neighborhood is in anyone's best interest. But I do believe that they have a responsibility as neighbors (not just of the ballpark) to police the activity associated with their facility. If the city is genuine, that's all they're asking for.
If they are not genuine, it's another issue. There's no question that the value of the land has increased. All of Mary Jo's suspicions are circumstantial -- but easily understood.
Most of all, these parties need to talk to one another and leave the media out of it for a while. I hope the planned meeting next week is a success.
Three Quick Photos
I've got a lot of stuff to weed through, but I shot these the other day and don't want to wait.
TCF Bank Stadium. Not for baseball, but still pretty cool to watch being built.
Some of Minneapolis' finest checking out the construction through a spot where a knothole will be one day.
A view of construction from the B ramp. This looks toward Seventh Street, over what will be Gate 34 (the main entrance).
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"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Awesome seat. Awesome sun. Awesome hitter. (Photo by Tony Voda, courtesy Jared Wieseler)
Oh, a flag pole will be so much more...dignified
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.
The view from the corner of Ford Centre. (Feel free to tie up your boats here.)
This is why I get it, even if I don't like it.
Here's the view as you step to the front of the outer moat beyond first base.
The back gates at Comerica park, like everything else, a bit overwrought.
TC gets ready to release the hounds. (Kids get to run the bases after Sunday games.)
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
Detail showing clubhouse and home dugout (click to see the entire drawing)
A photo taken as my meter ran out.
Cross section diagram of the field structure. (Click to enlarge.)
Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)
Pawlenty makes it official!
The plaza as viewed from across the park. The right field overhang section will be built just in from where the plaza supports are.
From the Downtown Council's 2025 Plan, a Metrodome "Revelopment" and a strong indication of where they think a new Vikings stadium should go.
I don't exactly know what this is. A first-aid station? Concession office?
Also warming things up are these planters.
Click to enlarge greatly. See yourself?
Looking out from under Gate 34
Today's late-inning office.
The Pro Shop.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures