Hiring mandates must be in place for Viking stadium project



Are job opportunity plans for Blacks mandated and in place for the Vikings stadium project and the development to take place around it? If yes, let’s see it. If no, set a date for revealing the mandates of a hiring compliance plan.

A week ago, the Rybak Administration announced it had the seventh vote needed to move stadium financing ahead without a referendum before the voters. Hiring Black construction/transportation/planning firms and workers has been a Minneapolis Potemkin Village, a movie set, street facades and few results for Blacks behind the facade. Thus, mandates are needed.

In my 2002 book The Minneapolis Story (p. 131), I wrote about what McKinsey & Company (the global $7 billion in revenue firm, ranked 45th largest of the Fortune 500) reported about Minneapolis planning agencies: $1 billion on housing planning that netted 52 housing units. I also reported (p. 132) the July 2000 Journal of American Planning Association study: “Of 258 different projects around the country…cost overruns have been the norm for the 20th century (1910-1998).”

Don’t forget, when public housing began in 1935, it was Whites only. It was only through the efforts of Minneapolis’ Nellie Stone Johnson, the Negro League of Women, Mary McCloud Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt that Blacks were finally mandated in 1941 (p. 134).

Minneapolis foot dragging on Black hiring compliance is a 21st century version of “Jim Crow.” My April 20, 2005 column noted “zero” for a share of the coming $5 billion construction boom.

My Nov. 22, 2011 paper on “Disparity/Compliance Studies” (#46 on my site’s “Solutions” section, recently updated) lists over 20 columns going back to 2005, on how Minneapolis purposefully avoids compliance and mandating compliance.

The mayor held a press conference with Blacks in hard hats, pledging construction jobs on the Viking stadium (as opposed to the city’s false filings to cover up not being in compliance before). This newspaper has reported the local NAACP president stating that even Black leaders have turned their eyes the other way.

The March 27, 2012 Star Tribune headline is misleading, “Higher minority-hiring goal riles Minn. construction industry,” because their concern regarding the lack of qualified Blacks is justified, as training programs for Blacks by both Blacks and Whites give out too many certificates of completion without the underlying requisite skills claimed.

So, again I ask: When will the plan for minority inclusion be released, a plan that must also indicate dollar amounts in terms of relationships with architects and planning firms ($5-10 million), bonding and insurance underwriting ($20-30 million), developers (Black contractors with 20-30 percent of the overall general contract partnership with the White developers, which should round out to stimulus for the Black community of over $200 million), and the number of daily workers to be employed (12-22 percent depending on how defined)?

In other words, I’m talking about a place at the Minnesota table for everyone.

New stadiums for California, recent and announced, have had little public money as California is broke, which means finance mechanisms are actually available. Twenty-nine billionaires or near billionaires stepped up to bid on buying the LA Dodgers. The winning bid, by a group led by Magic Johnson, was announced last week at $2.15 billion. If Minneapolis and Minnesota don’t act soon, would the Vikings join the El Dorado of Los Angeles?

To ensure we meet the goals of this new day of compliance and cooperation, I again propose that the following “Build the Stadium Plan” be included in both state and city legislation:

1. That the city hold “a family meeting” to work out implementing compliance goals, through the mechanism of public hearings, including city, county and state agencies, key local foundations and nonprofits, key developers, associations of developers and planners, state legislators and city council members, community and neighborhood organizations.

2. Pledge to include minimum of federal census-level percentage of Blacks.

3. Guarantee minimum Black contractor involvement and daily worker hiring levels.

4. Guarantee use of locally certified as qualified skill workers, plans to train such or, failing that, guarantee to import qualified Blacks from other cities.

5. Guarantee minimum number of compliance accountants to ensure pledged compliance.

6. Guarantee minimum penalties and sanctions if provisions are violated, and include them in the legislation.

7. Guarantee that a governor and mayor appointed group examine the plan, weigh the success of what is being proposed by the legislation and have the authority to trigger and implement enforcement when there are compliance violations, and, when the existence of local Black companies and workers falls short, to include Black companies and workers from outside Minnesota.

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 solution papers for community planning and development, “web log,” and archives at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.




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