Constructing the new Peoples’ Stadium
Hallelujah! The great occasion of the beginning of construction preparedness and building of the Peoples’ Stadium arrived: December 2, 2013. “Mission accomplished” or another December day in infamy?
“Success” is to be measured by the language of promises and guarantees in the stadium legislation and by the pronouncements of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA). Promised: full participation of all Minnesota’s citizens:
• Nothing but Minnesota workers on the stadium
• All steel produced in the United States, preferably from Northern MN’s Iron Range
• No cost overruns
• Equity Plan and Diversity Plan for Minnesota’s minorities and communities of color.
• MSFA Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan: targeted business goal, 20 percent (11 percent women-owned businesses; nine percent minority-owned businesses) and targeted workforce goal (32 percent minorities and six percent women) in all hours worked.
• At the October 12, 2012, MSFA meeting, I asked Ted Mondale, MSFA CEO/Executive Director about those numbers. He said, “This is not like the Target Field project. They had no numbers for compliance, nor was there a plan. You need to give us a chance, Ron.” OK, Ted, 400-plus days have passed. Where’s the promised plan?
• February 8, 2013: MSFA Chairwoman, Michele Kelm-Helgen, said that serious questions had been raised about the equity plan implementation passed by the MSFA that same day. Hey, Ted, that was 296 days ago. When will we be able to shout out a hallelujah for an equity plan?
Are choirs of angels singing “Hallelujah,” as we echo “We have overcome,” and sing “Free at last, free at last, God Almighty, free at last,” or are those shouts of lamentation and the shedding of tears?
Giant trucks with White workers rolled onto Metrodome property celebration morning, December 2nd. No people of color. Excluding people of color from this great historic event will not be allowed to stand.
Hey, Ted Mondale, recall stadium legislative language, Section 17, Subdivision 473J.12, “Employment,” lines 18.33 through 19.7. Why are you again allowing the shattering of opportunity dreams of enjoying economic benefits of the Peoples’ Stadium for people of color? How many of both stadium law suits for failure to comply with diversity and equity legislation and for environmental concerns will have to be filed to get your attention, and at the cost of much delay costing many more millions?
Minnesota can’t be “whole” when people of color are again betrayed. Using designated programs as equity, diversity, affirmative action, minority business operations will no longer work as smokescreens hiding false promises.
Do the sports authority and our own Black leadership, making out together in the back seat of the stadium convertible, think no one is watching in this day of iPhones that record audio and video?
Do Black and White “leaders” not know that not all of our dreams can be bought off and corrupted? Do they not understand that with Martin Luther King, Jr. we too “have a dream?” Ask quickly and with dispatch: was there ever any intention to allow African Americans to participate in and enjoy working on this one billion-dollar project?
The chilling absence of African Americans on site December 2nd bears frightening witness to the absence of a plan (or a refusal to follow one). We will remain positive and upbeat until we see the intent of the “powers” clearly, to be revealed by the first legislative directed report and evaluation of the overall stadium work and statistical data on minority participation.
The report must be submitted annually on January 15 (per stadium legislation section 14.16 under sec 13, 743J.09, “Powers and Duties of the Authority,” lines 14.16). Not so ironically, January 15th is Martin Luther King’s birthday.
For times of Ron’s hosted radio and TV show broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press.
Pull quote: Giant trucks with White workers rolled onto Metrodome property celebration morning, December 2nd. No people of color.
Through my eyes.20