Betsy Hodges

Recent Articles

Pilot program outfits 36 Mpls cops with body cams

More police ‘accountability and transparency’ are hoped-for outcomes
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis City and police officials pledge that the body camera pilot program now in effect will “enhance transparency and accountability.” Mayor Betsy Hodges, both during her election campaign and after taking office, has advocated the body camera use by police. Since last Friday, 36 Minneapolis police officers from the First, Fourth and Fifth precincts have been wearing body cameras during their on-duty shifts. Police Chief Janeé Harteau told the MSR at the November 7 City Hall press conference, when asked if the cameras will help improve strained relations between her department and the Black community, “I would think it would be an absolute help to be able to capture the officers’ interactions with the public.”

Two different camera types will be used in the pilot program. Officials believe that because of Minnesota’s typical unpredictable weather, this is a good time to test them. Minneapolis is one of the northernmost cities to use body cameras. Continue Reading →

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Mpls park board, along with City, addresses inequities

Outreach department works to reconcile cultural differences
 
By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

First of a two-part story

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges since her election nearly a year ago has made racial equity a cornerstone of her administration. The City Council earlier this summer approved her agenda, calling for all city departments to reduce racial disparities. Does this also include the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB), which historically has struggled with diversity issues both internally and externally? The MSR first published stories in 2012 on MPRB Black employees’ workplace discrimination investigated by the Minneapolis NAACP. Earlier this year, we received a copy of an email sent by Sixth District Commissioner Brad Bourn “about a morale crisis among many staff” pointed out by a retired employee during a board meeting. Continue Reading →

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Generation Next tackles the achievement gap

Some educators feel left out of the conversation
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Solving current educational problems over the years, especially the achievement and opportunity gaps for Blacks and other students of color in the Twin Cities, has been attempted many times in some form or another with mixed results. However, leaders of “a powerful coalition” last week announced a multi-faceted plan that, if successful, could make a much-needed difference. Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak last Monday — exactly a week before the new school year begins in Minneapolis and two weeks before St. Paul schools open — stood behind the podium at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs and unveiled “an aggressive, comprehensive plan” by Generation Next, a local organization that he now heads. Target Corporation has consented to grant $1.1 million to Generation Next for this initiative. Continue Reading →

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Mayors pledge racial equity

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Twin Cities could be the nation’s best example for racial equity — so pledge the mayors of the state’s two largest municipalities. In welcoming the estimated 500-plus attendees at the August 5-6 “Convening on Racial Equity” at the University of Minnesota, both St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges told the audience that they are committed to addressing racial equity in all aspects of government and society. The two-day conference was co-sponsored by 10 governmental jurisdictions and over 40 local and national community-based organizations. “It is critically important that we leaders come together and work through every aspect of what we do in our cities and in our states to make sure that we are truly an equitable society,” stated Coleman. Continue Reading →

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South West Light Rail advocates see gains for communities of color

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

As Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council prepare to hear the public’s thoughts on the proposed South West Light Rail Transit (SWLRT), the effort to secure it has created some strange bedfellows. The Met Council has been cheerleading its passing, along with community advocacy groups who see the new rail line as an opportunity for more shared equity. Even the Star Tribune in a recent editorial called out Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges for failing to take leadership, as well as those who have been beating the equity drum. And some of the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) opposition to the SWLRT claim that the proposed light rail system will not be equitable but rather “trickle down transit.”

The SWLRT is a $1.68 billion (feds will pay half) proposed light rail project that will stretch 16 miles and run through Minneapolis, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. Continue Reading →

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Equity in light rail postponed again

The Star Tribune ran stories last week about light rail in the metro area. The real interpretation: purposeful denial, again, of light rail equity for North Minneapolis. Star Tribune reported, May 12, 2014, that African Americans believe North Minneapolis is “not getting its fair share of transit amenities, despite having a heavily transit-dependent population,” and that there is a “drastic difference between service and amenities in other parts of the city like Uptown and the south side.” In other words, jobs for White city plantation bureaucrats and White construction workers, and more transit for White areas. We need action, not more talk. Back in 2008 and 2009, Black legislators and leaders were talking about a big public-works project involving light rail in North Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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Royal Red Hat Sabathanettes celebrate sisterhood and bonding

Local society chapter is 10 years strong and growing
 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

The Royal Red Hat Sabathanettes’ April 18 induction ceremony and celebration was a simple, yet elegant affair conducted with winning grace at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis, with the characteristic lavender and crimson color scheme displayed in attire and reflected in table settings. Eleven new members were welcomed into the ranks. “We love, cherish and care for each other, help each, support each other,” said a brightly smiling Clara Tims, who also goes by the nickname “Cake Lady” (she sells cakes and pies). It’s an elementary concept and a powerful one. Red Hat Society is a worldwide sisterhood whose principle purpose is as basic as it is profound — social interaction and bonding between women. Continue Reading →

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New mayor challenges Mpls to unite across racial, cultural boundaries

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, during her inaugural address Monday morning in the rotunda of Minneapolis City Hall, spoke of three major goals to help make Minneapolis more than just a great city: growing the city, running it well, and eliminating the gaps between White people and people of color. The newly sworn-in mayor ran her campaign upon a promise of eliminating the gaps between White people and people of color. In her address, Mayor Hodges echoed that promise, saying, “It must be possible for White people and people of color all to thrive in one city and in one region, and that we in Minneapolis would be the ones to do it.”

When it comes to ending the gaps that separate Whites and people of color, Mayor Hodges acknowledged that “we’ve been good at some aspects of doing this work, but we haven’t been great. And we need to be more than great. And a crucial component of being more than great is acting like One Minneapolis as we become One Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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Mayor-elect looks ahead to new job: ‘I’m very, very excited’

First order of business: addressing the racial achievement gap
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Betsy Hodges remarked last week that she doesn’t recall ever before meeting in the small den-like room on the third floor of City Hall. However, the room and the area it’s located in will become hers in a couple of weeks. The soon-to-be-former city council member will be sworn in on January 2, 2014 as the city’s second-ever female mayor. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity to talk to you and the community through your newspaper,” said Hodges during a December 10 interview with the MSR. “I campaigned consistently on two main things. One of them is building this city, and the second is closing the gaps that divide us racially and economically.”

Hodges said her “two main pieces of business” include the seemingly widening achievement gap between Blacks and other students in the city’s public schools. Continue Reading →

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Chief Janeé Harteau is doing a good job

No need to replace her
 
Minneapolis celebrates the election of its second female in the history of City Government, Betsy Hodges, bringing discussion about her representing diversity balance. Really? How, when for the next four years there will neither be an African American nor Native American on the City Council? This is another reason why it is surprising that less than a week after her announced victory the first rumors about change to emerge from City Hall was considering replacing Police Chief Janeé Harteau with an assistant police chief from Seattle, Washington. Why are she and her advisors so politically tone deaf? Continue Reading →

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