Who will ensure the promises are kept?
Mayor R.T. Rybak stated in his February 6 press conference that he was pressing hard for the Minneapolis City Council to support his dream of a Vikings stadium near the Metrodome. (Star Tribune, “Flanked by union workers, Rybak pleads for Vikings stadium”)
The mayor’s declaration reminds me of Isabel Wilkerson’s current best seller and Pulitzer Prize-winning The Warmth of Other Suns, a moving, well-researched story of the promises made to Negroes of the World War II era that influenced the great racial migration from the South to the North. Their dream: good employment, good education for their kids, and a good future.
The Oct. 22, 2010 “Disparity Report” disclosed that the involvement of the African American community in Minneapolis was heretofore nonexistent in the city and the surrounding metropolitan area.
Thus, for too long, Minneapolis “Blacks need not apply!” signs replaced promises of full employment on such mega-projects as Twins’ Target Field, Timberwolves’ Target Arena, Gophers’ TCF Bank Stadium, University of Minnesota’s Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis Public Schools’ new headquarters building on West Broadway, Colorplas, Mall of America Phase II, new casinos, new light rail lines, major “destination” development, ancillary projects part of or next to these major projects, and infrastructure development.
The statistical data of the $500,000 taxpayer-funded October 22, 2010 disparity report, “The State of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises: Evidence from Minneapolis,” “Program Recommendations Prepared for the City of Minneapolis,” and the report “M/WBE’s Availability in the City of Minneapolis Market Place” affirmed data in the 19 columns of my website’s Solution Paper 49 exposing the purposeful avoidance of hiring compliance discussed in the disparity studies, exposing the dark side of Minnesota political and community leaders Black and White.
It is important to recognize that the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department (MCRD) did not contest the October 22, 2010 “Disparity Report” findings, did not conduct appropriate on-site visits, and could not confirm the authenticity of the figures they signed off on.
Here are suggestions for addressing the findings of the “Disparity Report” in order to provide a seat at the construction table of the Minneapolis Vikings stadium project for African Americans:
Include correcting the 31 pages of problems identified in the October 22, 2010 report (pp. 74 – 111).
Include Blacks in the City and County process to acquire the land for stadium.
Include Black architects to design the facility, estimating $9-12 million.
Include a Black joint venture partner with the general contractor at around 30-35 percent or $250 million.
Include a requirement for Black subcontractors/specialist contractors that hire individual laborers to include Black laborers, adding another $360 million for the African American community.
Include among the laborers the young men in hard hats at the 2/6/12 press conference.
Include a MCRD Enforcement Plan that includes verification visits, authentication of the M/WBE participation and Black laborers.
Include hiring compliance goals of the team owners, contractors, and the City and State agencies that will put together the construction of the Vikings stadium.
Include information notices that the MCRD, acting on behalf of the City, has the necessary statutory protection.
Include a series of joint hearings by the city council’s Economic Development Committee along with the African American representatives in the Minnesota Legislature, regarding The Plan. Neither the Vikings nor the Black communities have time to continue hiring non-compliance.
Include the Vikings’ reasonable timetable of a stadium in two years. The City-suggested four years endangers the several million dollars to be brought into the African American community in planning for development along Broadway and light rail. The extra two years is unsustainable by the Vikings and is the equivalent of being The Plan to get them to move to Los Angeles.
Include disparity study suggestions for how to bring economic opportunity to Minneapolis.
Include the ideas and suggestions of our columns and solution papers on planning, which suggest a minimum $570 million for the African American community and nearly $2 billion for the White community.
When will the Construction Hiring Verification Plan be announced and implemented?
When will the plan offering a fair shake and seat at the jobs table be promised to the young men at the press conference?
We thank the mayor for his early signal that the economic stimulus plans will include everyone in the city of Minneapolis. We look forward to seeing the Enforcement Plans being developed by the Civil Rights Department.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.