Sports Facility Authority and the Minnesota Vikings
Will the “Stadium Powers” (Minnesota Legislature, Minneapolis City Council, Vikings, NFL and the Minnesota Facilities Sports Authority that oversees the stadium construction project), all regarding the Vikings (“people’s” “no new taxes”) stadium, stand up for fairness in employment and equity or hide behind the skirts of a “best effort” calendar?
January 15, 2013: The Sports Authority is to file its first annual report to the Minnesota State Legislature’s super-commission. Report only. No public hearing. No public comments. As it is three days before the diversity plan report and two weeks before the construction management firm selection announcement, what will be the impact on next year’s reporting? Are they saving the “in retrospect” report for next year of not being able to say they made the required “best effort”?
January 18, 2013: Sports Authority meeting. Two of the agenda items are the unveiling (or postponement) of the long-awaited equity plan, with its goal of 32 percent minority participation, and beginning the end of the process for selecting the stadium construction management firm that will coordinate the construction of the nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium (what the Star Tribune labeled a “The People’s Stadium” and “The No New Taxes stadium”).
February 1, 2013: when the Sports Authority will announce its formal selection of the construction management firm. Then the real fun or real headaches begin.
Is this sequence of dates backwards? Is it for leverage? What did the Sports Authority mean when it told me all bidders have been asked to “embrace” the 32 percent minority hiring goal? Will “embrace” and “best effort” remain goals or be made mandates? Will the 32 percent create a constitutional battle, given that there has never been a time when such a number was imposed on a majority industry in the history of the United States and Minnesota?
Will the White Minnesota Association of General Contractors and some specific unions accept the 32 percent minority goal? If not, what kind of delays would result from a legal challenge regarding the constitutionality of the stated goal of 32 percent?
Of particular interest, what will be the racial breakdown within the 32 percent “minority” in terms of Black Minnesotans vis-á-vis women and other minorities within the diversity plan? Will it be “Blacks need not apply” again?
On October 10, 2012, (see my October 17 column), Ted Mondale admitted in open session “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.” The diversity plan offers that chance.
As both White and Black contractors have said that Minnesota lacks qualified workers with stadium construction skills, where will those in the skilled stadium worker categories come from, whether African American or White? Where will the money come from if it is decided to finally recruit and train local workers? How did the Metropolitan Council work out answers to these particular questions and goals with the State and City human rights departments on the one hand and the Sports Authority/Minnesota Vikings/NFL on the other hand?
Finally where will the money come from to meet the State and City stadium funding commitments? Will the Vikings/NFL have to pick up the City and State shortfalls or will the taxpayers be asked to pay more taxes (see my December 19 column)?
• Council Member Gary Schiff (KSTP, May 13, 2012) projected Minneapolis’ $150 million as $675 million.
• The Star Tribune (May 1, 2012) calculated the City’s actual stadium cost as $890 million.
• Other May 2012 Star Tribune stories placed the City’s cost as $1.170 billion over the next 30 years.
• City’s hole: Minnesota has reported it has a $1.1 billion fiscal shortfall.
• State’s hole: mis-projected electronic pull-tab revenue that would cover its funding commitment for the stadium (only 85 of 6,000 bars have electronic pull tabs).
• National trend hole: national average cost overruns, 1910-1998: 28 percent. For the stadium, that’s $210,840,000 to add to the above numbers.
Minnesotans are not enthusiastic about being taxed to raise revenue shortfalls. How will these figures impact on elections?
African American leadership offers no substantive recommendations to answer these kinds of questions. They seem happy to be window shopping, looking in at Ted Mondale expressing how happy they are “to get along.” We again invite leadership (Black and White, developers and investors, Vikings and the NFL) to review our planning suggestions (on my website’s solutions section, #45).
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.