But no one seems to have a copy of the equity plan
At a small, special meeting I attended at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Wednesday, October 10 that included MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and Executive Director Ted Mondale, we discussed the so-far nonexistent equity plan for the Vikings stadium that would include African American contractors and workers.
The Met Council people present said there was one, online. We noted that is just not true.
During the meeting we were told that 32 percent of the hours in stadium construction in the eventual plan will go to minorities and women. Really? Do the math: $753 million for construction times 32 percent is $240,960,000. If true, this is welcome news indeed.
Eventually Ted Mondale stepped up to help reverse decades of public and private lying: “This is not like the Target Field project. They had no numbers for compliance, nor was there a plan.” He then stated the heartening, “You need to give us a chance.” Both Mondale and Kelm-Helgen, during and after the meeting, said they hoped I would work with them, help them, and advise them.
This is especially good news in light of the 30 columns listed in my solution paper #46, going back to 2005, recording one of the greatest ongoing betrayals in the history of perceived Minnesota participation (www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/46DisparityCompliance.html):
1. Actual disparity in hiring compliance purposefully practiced by State and City agencies and corporations on nine major projects,
2. Constant lying about nonexistent or not-followed equity plans, and
3. Constant collusion of paid Black leadership with paid White lies, consistently stating I didn’t know what I was talking about as Black leadership gave cover to White discrimination against African Americans.
It gets worse. Ballyhooed training programs, Black and White, haven’t done the job. Both White and Black contractors have stated that there are too few or no workers qualified for specialized stadium construction jobs.
Doesn’t matter. Precedent: The Metrodome imported African American and White workers from around the country. The Vikings stadium needs to do the same.
Will Minneapolis City officials and Black leadership again attempt another equity plan charade, another Velma Korbel disaster, another failure of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department under her stewardship and — let’s be clear — under the mayor’s leadership?
Ballyhooed training programs, Black and White, haven’t done the job: Both White and Black contractors have stated there are too few or no workers qualified for specialized stadium construction jobs.
Another meeting of note: October 4, hosted by the new and powerful (or so they think) Viking Stadium Consortium (VSC), a newly formed group of primarily White companies working in architectural, engineering and mechanical disciplines. Many were vying for stadium contract dollars as “shared local” dollars for African American firms, but the ruse would continue: African American firms given contracts are to pass it through White workers.
The VSC thinks it is positioned to dictate significant involvement in the $753 million construction contract. The Met Council point person stated that all parties were in agreement: 19 percent diversity in hiring (communities of color were told they will have a $7.5 million involvement in the architectural contract and upwards of $100 million in the actual construction of the Vikings stadium, to follow the plan developed by Velma Korbel and the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department that will be monitored by the Met Council, which has oversight authority.
1. What plan? When I asked at the meeting for a copy of the equity plan, no one could provide one.
2. I pointed out that the legislation gives no one other than the Sports Facilities Authority oversight authority.
I have asked others for a copy of the equity plan — the Mayor’s office, the city council president’s office, the Civil Rights Department, the Metropolitan Council, the MSFA. None have been able to produce a copy. (The equity plan was ordered by the city council, May 12 and signed by Mayor R.T. Ryback May 25, with a deadline for completion of June 29.)
Deceit everywhere: offices, restaurants (JD Hoyts, Monte Carlos), and a private suite at the Metrodome during the Vikings’ victory over the SF 49ers three weeks ago, as “players” committed to falsify the numbers and deceive the general public. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails can be dangerous to the survival of some people’s integrity and commitment to truth.
To enable Ted Mondale’s October 10 statement to be realized, and to thus end the pattern and practice of misrepresentation of past projects, plans must first move from making an “effort” to specific “shall” language in both general contracts and subcontracts, and second, have language that defines “minorities” as having a set percentage of African Americans.
Only then, as with the Metrodome, will we have a true people’s stadium, ending the betraying and deferring of African American dreams in Minnesota. See last week’s column and 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.