It is an unintended but very real sad irony of history that on the birth date of Martin Luther King, Jr., January 15, the Vikings, the NFL, and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) sent its first annual report to the state legislature carrying the message that there may be some room in the People’s Stadium construction bus, but only in the back, a Minnesota refrain I’ve steadily warned about since 2005. Our community has not believed. Will they now?
On page six of the MSFA report to the legislature, we can see how the MSFA blindsided Commissioner Kevin Lindsay and the African American leadership of Minnesota. The highly touted, well-publicized PR charade of 32 percent minority participation evaporated. Disappeared. A sun that went nova. Exploded. Disappeared into a black hole. Black leadership and forecasters too.
The Authority and the Vikings reported stadium participation goals of 11 percent women-owned businesses and nine percent minority-owned businesses. Not stated: for Blacks. I’m hearing 1-1.5 percent. The 32 percent doctrine won’t be heard from again. Again: Minority no longer means Black.
The report says the Dallas architectural firm HKS is on target to meet these goals. Question: Who is monitoring these goals and certifying near-compliance of these goals? The Metropolitan Council? The Civil Rights Department of Minneapolis? The State Human Rights Department of the State of Minnesota?
Why ask? The report’s language: “An equity plan is being developed by the Authority, based on the City of Minneapolis’ goals.” Bye bye, Commissioner Lindsay. Bye bye, Metropolitan Council.
So the question that emerges: If you are using the City of Minneapolis’ goals as required by statute, why were two representatives of the Metropolitan Council employed to develop the Equity Plan as well as an Implementation Plan? Implement what? The Equity Plan will be unveiled on January 18, as this column goes to press.
It appears that the only group that was on top of their game were Minnesota’s Native American business operations. Give credit to the White Earth Band and the Mdewakanton Sioux Band and their construction company in Lakeville, MN. They were sitting in closed sessions putting their plan for submission together while Black leadership was stuffing themselves with hors d’oeuvres and steaks at JD Hoyts and Monte Carlos, filled with delusions of contracts that were only phantoms, not plans.
The construction manager, as we reported last week, will be announced February 1, 2013. What I’m hearing is this: 1-1.5 percent Black participation. The Black community’s so-called Black leaders only have negotiation skills for their own pockets, not for the people they claim to represent, and they received neither.
That, my friends, was the heart and soul of the 2013 legislative report issued on January 15, 2013. I wonder what Martin would say. I wonder what Cecil would say. I wonder what Nellie would say. I wonder what anyone who fought the real civil battles (as opposed to past and present posers) would say when they look at the continuous failure of Minneapolis’ self-professed Black leadership.
One to 1.5 percent — and there won’t be any more time wasted on training people. Enough money has been poured into the Black community that they should have been trained and standing ready to work in the doorway of stadium access. But it didn’t happen. What did all that training money get?
So, receive and file the legislative report of 2013, place it in a drawer, in a cabinet, where it will gather dust and be joined by similar reports in 2014, 2015, 2016, and the final report of 2017. That is the legacy that will exist when history is written about the participation of African Americans in Minnesota in helping to build the people’s stadium.
How long will our community continue to bet on leaders so wrong they disappear our dreams into a black hole? How much of our future did they take with it?
Those who were trusted betrayed us, letting us down again. That has become the legacy of Black participation in “the people’s no new taxes” stadium.
Three final questions: (1) How will the stadium without a roof (despite renditions with roof — it’s not in the legislation) serve youth, local schools, other groups year round? (2) Per MinnPost, 12-7-12: “Is there enough money to finance the Vikings stadium?” See also our Jan. 10, 2013 column. (3) How many more sucker punches will the “people’s no new taxes” stadium deliver to taxpayers?
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.TheMinne apolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneap olisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.