By Charles Hallman
Councilmember Don Samuels says he is the only mayoral candidate that has “clarity of vision” to work on eliminating the city’s racial disparities. “Nobody has the clarity of vision and the loftiness of vision that I have for this community,” he claims.
“I made sure that I penned with my own hand to include the language of participation goals [32 percent Blacks and other people of color] of any project funded by City dollars,” says Samuels on workforce diversity on the Vikings stadium project. “I thought it was going to be a sweet deal for us moving from 11 percent to 32 percent on a $1 billion project. From here on out, it’s a matter of oversight…to make sure that this thing is happening from beginning to end and through the completed Vikings stadium operation.”
Samuels supports the recent city council-endorsed streetcar plan, a 3.4-mile line that would run from Lake Street to 5th Street Northeast along Nicollet, then cross the river at the Hennepin Avenue Bridge — at a cost between $180 and $220 million. “I’ve been championing streetcars on West Broadway — I’m the first one to do that,” he points out.
“My vision is that the train would go from Robbinsdale, down [Highway] 81 to Broadway, then come around Washington and make a right turn and head downtown to Nicollet.”
He says that he’d make sure that community input is included in the planning process. “As mayor, I am going to make sure that Northsiders continue to be informed — we have to keep making every effort to make sure that they have input, to make sure that their interests and needs are taken care of,” pledges Samuels.
Samuels says he wants to see Minneapolis police officers show more “compassionate” policing, especially towards Blacks “when they do things wrong, not like authority figures treat little thugs.”
Along with pushing for more cultural sensitivity training for City police officers, “I’m going to be working with [police] at a visceral level, right in the nitty-gritty of it all, making sure that we add more Black cops and more cops of color that reflect the population of the city.”
Finally, “I want everybody in the world to know that as mayor, that is what I will be working for so that every child who is a kid today — this is the last poor generation of Black folk. That’s what I’m working for,” says Samuels.
“We are going to penetrate every area of commerce, academia and service at every level. That’s the world I see. I’m tired of the racism. I’m tired of the poor kid on the corner. We need now high-quality success. I don’t hear other candidates talking like that.
“When I get elected,” concludes Samuels, “the people of North Minneapolis and the city will have a family of service that no other candidate can or will have.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.