City of Minneapolis

Recent Articles

People’s Stadium in trouble! — Can the funding really be found?

 

 

How does “the People’s Stadium” stand at this hour? Answer: wobbly, as we see from the fierce and personal debates within the Minnesota legislature regarding how to pay for the “People’s Stadium.”

Why the silence from the state’s two major newspapers? Their silence raises serious questions regarding their journalistic integrity. Fear of transparency? As I have stated unequivocally before, the financial plan to fund the People’s Stadium was ill conceived, rushed without fully vetting the details. Continue Reading →

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City confirms ballpark ‘minority’ hiring goals met

 

 

 
But participation by Black workers remains unverified 
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

This story was originally printed in the June 10, 2010 edition of the MSR regarding the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department’s inability to report Black inclusion on the construction of the Twins stadium because the department does not — neither at the time this story was printed nor currently — specify any worker breakdown by ethnicity.  

In a story published last January 14 [2009 “Stadium’s construction workforces mostly White — but less so than usual”], the MSR provided workforce hiring diversity data released by the Twins stadium project’s general contractor…

[Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Velma] Korbel confirmed last week that the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) met its hiring goals: participation of over 25 percent persons of color and around six percent women on the Twins stadium project. Her department has approved the Authority’s supplied workforce data…

However, the MBA website provides only aggregate numbers for a “minority labor force” with no indication of how many African Americans were part of this workforce. Since it appears that the Civil Rights Department did not have access to data that would enable verification of African American participation, there is no way to document how many, if any, Black workers participated in the construction project. Why did the monitoring have to be done through a special contract that prohibits making the results public without the Ballpark Authority’s consent? Continue Reading →

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Mpls survey shows many Blacks still face the digital divide

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A City of Minneapolis survey found that 82 percent of residents have computers with Internet access at home. However, only 65 percent of Near North residents have such access, and 25 percent of Blacks have no Internet access at home. “Eighty-two percent of [Minneapolis] households have access to the Internet,” explained Minneapolis Information Technology Chief Information Officer Otto Doll on the 2012 “Minneapolis Community Technology Survey” results. “But that 18 percent that doesn’t [have access] represents close to 30,000 households. If we could spread all of those households out evenly across all those [estimated 18,000 public access sites, such as libraries and city parks], we still could only give an hour a week of time per household on the Internet. Continue Reading →

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The legacy of Marvin “Corky” Taylor — Rest in peace, Black Warrior, one of the Honest Five who refused to lie

 

Marvin “Corky” Taylor was recognized by NERA (National Economic Research Associates) for his contributions to the completion of NERA’s October 21, 2010 report to the City of Minneapolis on the City’s purposeful failure to meet its diversity, equity and affirmative action responsibilities. NERA’s crack global research team of Wainwright, Holt, Kim Stewart and J. Wesley Stewart wrote: “This study would not have been possible without the assistance and perseverance of Mr. Marvin Taylor of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.”

In Mr. Taylor they found a dedicated and persevering professional refusing to join in the sabotage of the research report. The response of his bosses at the City and its Civil Rights Department was his demotion and eventual loss of job. The things that were done to Mr. Taylor after his demotion were calculated to break him. He was put into a dank basement office surrounded by asbestos. Continue Reading →

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Sports Authority Legislative Report, with Unequal Equity Plan, sent to legislature

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. Continue Reading →

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Election judges keep polling places operating smoothly

 
Be sure your vote counts by coming to the polls prepared
By Vickie Evans-Nash

Editor-In-Chief

Serving as an election judge and helping voters navigate through the voting process is an invaluable contribution to our democratic process. Stephani Booker, who has been an election judge for over a decade, explains what it takes to become an election judge and how to show up prepared next week at the polls. She became a judge by first responding to information in her City of Minneapolis water utility bill. Among several pieces of junk mail was an insert with a number to call for more information. According to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, in order to be an election judge:

• You must be eligible to vote in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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City reports renovation of Riverside Plaza complete

 

According to a recent City of Minneapolis press release, the $65 million renovation of 1,303 affordable housing units at the iconic Riverside Plaza is now complete. The renovation is one of the largest U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-supported projects in the country. 

An event was held at Riverside Plaza October 10 to celebrate the revitalization of the property. The housing unit improvements include upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems that will extend the lifespan of the property for another 40 years. The exterior and site work focused on returning much of Riverside Plaza to its original 1970s appearance. The two-year construction period provided 200 construction jobs, 90 of which were reserved for Minneapolis residents with an emphasis on hiring Riverside Plaza residents and residents of the Cedar Riverside neighborhood. Continue Reading →

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Sgt. Pat King moves across the street — Law enforcement officer moves to Henn. Co. sheriff’s department

 

Last week there was a lot of surprise and concern in law enforcement circles regarding how this new chapter in Cowboy King’s history could take place: being transferred to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department’s Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF), especially in light of his having taken personal credit for destroying the Black Police Officers Association and destroying the career of fellow officers (see my August 29, 2007 column and December 14, 2007 blog essay). In the transfer, public officials again put fellow officials’ career survival/pensions ahead of their sworn oaths to do their duties in terms of public safety. Sgt. Pat King should minimally be censured, not celebrated. In the court transcript of a couple of months ago (I attended every day of that trial), he slandered a significant number of well-respected officers as “scum of the earth.”

Besides the transcript, see my columns of February 22 and May 30, 2012. Continue Reading →

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Occupy Homes is right — foreclosure is a moral issue

 

 

As Mayor Rybak and the City of Minneapolis scramble to make clear their role in home foreclosures, the stand taken by Occupy Homes is making it clear that this issue is not black and white and that at bottom there is a moral component. And there is the question of whether public monies should be used in this dispute between a homeowner and lender. The law and rule of law make it easy to forget that at bottom we are human beings and the law should make it easier for all of us to live as human beings rather than as consumers and victims of commercial swindle. Of course it is commercial swindle, because who said interest had to be eight or 12 percent? And how did the banks get to offer and then enforce adjustable mortgages that seem destined to go higher rather than lower? Continue Reading →

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Waste disposal poses pollution threat to Northsiders

 

 

 

 

 

News Analysis

By Lissa Jones

Contributing Writer

 

Proposals are currently under consideration to significantly increase emissions from Minneapolis polluters that have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities of color such as those in Phillips and on the North Side. On April 3, several community organizations sponsored a “Reality Check” on air and water pollution at Kwanzaa Community Church to discuss the potential impact of the proposed increases on the health of these neighborhoods and the people who live there. The event flyer invited the community to “hear about the status of Northern Metals and HERC (the garbage burner) in North Minneapolis and how their emissions may impact your health.” About 25 people were in attendance, including State Representatives Karen Clark and Joe Mullery, as the panel presented their findings and concerns to the group.  

 

 

 

The panelists were Jeff Skrenes of the Hawthorne Community Council; Lea Foushee, environmental justice director with the North American Water Office, a nonprofit organization chartered in 1982 to educate people about solutions to environmental problems; Lara Norkus-Crampton, a nurse, garbage burner activist, and former planning commissioner for the City of Minneapolis; and Beverly Propes, a public health nurse. Their presentations covered the status of the legal work on Northern Metals; examined the correlation between the pollution emissions and health outcomes for children attending school in the affected neighborhoods; reviewed studies from across the world detailing the health effects of pollution emissions on communities with incinerators; and looking at alternative solutions through the lens of a community organizer. Continue Reading →

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