Home » Editorial » Still waiting for the Equity Plan for the new Vikings’ and Minnesota’s People’s Stadium

 

Where is the long awaited/anticipated Equity Plan for the People’s Vikings Stadium, a plan to guarantee inclusiveness (all of “we the people”) in the development, construction and operation of the stadium?

Inclusive means diversity (more than just one race). The lack of an Equity Plan mocks “inclusive” and “diversity,” as does stadium legislative language stating all that is required is “a best effort.” If this continues it will be the handwriting-on-the-wall warning of delays to the projected opening of July 2016, suggesting more than slight bumps in the road.

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights missed the city-council directed deadline for submitting the Equity Plan. The DCR then outsourced it to two individuals who work for the Metropolitan Council, who are doing it on a moonlighting basis as private contractors. These well-compensated employees of the Met Council are thus engaged in open conflict of interest, double dipping by serving two masters (the Wink Wink Doctrine). No one seems to care or talk about it. I care.

Was this DCR Director Velma Korbel’s equivalent of fumbling, throwing an interception, poorly executing a poorly designed trick play? Regardless, its effect: to delay the process of guaranteeing the participation of the African American community’s organizations and people in the People’s Viking Stadium.

Why this continued Minnesota un-nice antagonism to African American contractors and employees (see my Solution Paper #46, “Disparity/Compliance Studies,” a list of 20 columns, going back to 2005, detailing this ongoing pattern: http://www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocsolutions.htm).

If all the prime-time players, including the attorney general’s office, are comfortable with this relationship, we will learn a lot about not only their sense of ethics but also their continued commitment to skirt inclusion and diversity, to not honor justice and fairness.

You kind of wonder if there are enough hours in the day — and days in the week — to serve and be paid by two masters. “We the people” tax-paying public ask how it is possible to carry out their responsibilities in a timely manner when they serve two masters as paid state employees are also paid private contractors working for the city and a private entity, the Minnesota Vikings.

We are glad that there has been a delay in the signing of a general contractor or general manager, for a signed contract without an equity plan would mean that only the “best effort” language of the legislation would prevail, opening up the possibility of eliminating African Americans and causing delaying lawsuits. With the governor’s office and the legislation in the hands of the DFL, we will now see if the party of Hubert H. Humphrey and Nellie Stone Johnson is still the party for justice and equal access/opportunity for all.

However, there is more: These personnel are also diversity overseers for light rail going through the city of St. Paul, another tremendous time-consuming responsibility for our moonlighting pair, again raising the question we will again explore in greater depth over the next five weeks: the process of certification that guarantees that companies are not only who they say they are, but that they report what they are actually doing, signing actual MBE/WBE contractors using people of color or signing non-minority contractors employing people of color.

As our “Disparity/Compliance Studies” paper documents, both Minnesota and Minneapolis have a record of not meeting statutory definitions/requirements/goals regarding MBE (Minority Business Enterprises) and WBE (Women Business Enterprises).

The $753 million construction contract for the People’s Stadium represents significant life lines to all, especially our beleaguered and underrepresented African American community. So again I ask: Where is the Equity Plan? What will be available for the African American community as demanded by law and morality? Will the Black community again be the recipient of basically zero in the construction of the People’s Viking Stadium?

That will truly be a tragedy and a disgrace to the conscience, ethical reputation and image of Minnesota, exposing the lie of its self-proclaimed social-justice platform, not to mention the cost of the delay by-products. We encourage the special commission created by the Vikings People’s Stadium legislation to ask these questions when the first annual report of the People’s Stadium is made to them in January 2013, as legislated.

Finally, ask why the Sports Facility Authority, Vikings, City, and foundations have not taken advantage of the resources regarding planning for inclusion and diversity for hiring as outlined in our Solutions Papers #42-45b, at the same solutions link above.

Stay tuned.

 

Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.

 

 

 

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