Metropolitan Council

Recent Articles

Metropolitan Council may fall short on opportunity for racial equity

 

The Met Council and the City of Minneapolis announced early last month that they have reached a deal on the Southwest Light Rail project. With continued promises by the Metropolitan Council to address persistent racial and economic disparities across our region, ISAIAH, a coalition of over 100 congregation, released the following statement:

“ISAIAH believes we must work together to create prosperity, health and wholeness for all people. Every public decision must reflect our highest values and aspirations. They ought to unite rather than divide our communities and they ought to foster prosperity for all rather than a few. “The $1.7 billion Southwest Light Rail investment has significant potential to further racial and economic equity in our region. Continue Reading →

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Transit riders bring concerns to Met Council

Routes, fares, shelters among issues raised in community engagement session
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Transit equity means more than additional bus stops or faster trains. Local residents are saying it also means an equitable voice in transportation decisions. “Equity is not just a thing, but it is about money,” said Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) head Anthony Newby after a May 10 public meeting attended by over 100 community members held at his organization’s West Broadway office. “That money needs to show up on a contract, on a piece of paper that needs to be held accountable to.”

Many in the audience were regular Metro Transit riders who strongly suggested that a transit advisory committee composed of both community members and the Metropolitan Council be established. Four Metropolitan Council members were there: Gary Cunningham, Adam Duininck, Jennifer Munt and James Brimeyer, all of whom told the audience that they were not authorized to make any final decisions but promised to take it to the entire 17-member body. Continue Reading →

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Buses, trains, bridges, highways: ‘It’s all about connecting people’

But are low-income people and people of color connecting with planners?  
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Metropolitan Council and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) throughout the month of December have held town hall meetings around the Twin Cities metro area. “We know that jobs, businesses and our quality of life are going to depend upon this interconnected [transit] system,” proclaimed MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle at the December 10 meeting at St. Paul Union Depot. “It’s not just LRT (light rail transit) or fast lane or a county road. Continue Reading →

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Sisters unite to save youth’s life — Rare disease strikes physically active teens

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

We know the expression “heart and soul.” You can even look up definitions, one of which reads, “the entirety of one’s energies or affections.” In that spirit, Minneapolis sisters Christina Paylor and Carmen Means are drawing on soul-deep commitments to family to help the ailing heart of 13-year-old Amazin Crudup, Paylor’s daughter and Means’ niece. Amazin has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which damages the muscle wall of the lower chambers of the heart and is a leading cause of sudden cardiac death in especially active adolescents. After getting up in the morning, getting dressed takes about all the strength she can manage before needing to rest. Routine teenage activities like frequenting the shopping mall, carousing downtown on a Friday night, even simply going to school are out of the question. At press deadline, Amazin had weakened enough to have been admitted to University of Minnesota Amplatt Children’s Hospital since March 18. Continue Reading →

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When will MN’s ‘no Black workers need apply’ policy end?

 
Who will monitor and enforce Black participation on the so-called ‘People’s Stadium’ project?  

 

My concern is for the ending of the discrimination patterns and practices that prevent access for Black men and women to the opportunities of Minnesota (education, jobs, housing), with discrimination led by White and Black elites (City agencies, nonprofits, foundations, churches, corporations, the NAACP, Urban League). My Solution Paper #46, on my website (www.TheMinneapolis Story.com) lists my columns providing details, enough to launch a dozen lawsuits. Minnesota’s discrimination molehills have been easy to sweep under the rug. But the discrimination mountain looming on the horizon, the billion-dollar stadium, will take the “easy” away. Continue Reading →

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Met Council’s commits to fairness for all

Diversity director Kirkpatrick ‘really proud’ of accomplishments
 

By Dwight Hobbes 

Contributing Writer

 

 

The Metropolitan Council has been responsible to serve, in the region, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Washington, Carver, Scott and Dakota counties. The 17-member municipal entity, with main offices located in St. Paul, is charged to provide essential service critical to the public good, working with local communities to, among other duties, operate the region’s largest transportation system, collect and treat wastewater and provide affordable housing opportunities for citizens of low and moderate income. Accordingly, it is no small matter that such a body includes an Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, accountable to ensure, as the Council’s Pledge of Nondiscrimination states, “access to all our programs, services and benefits without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or socioeconomic status.”

Heading up that department over the past five years is Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Director Wanda Kirkpatrick. “When I took this job,” she states, “the Metropolitan Council [was] well on our way to having diversity, inclusion, affirmative action, [and] equality opportunity be a part of everything we did. 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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Stadium equity plan not yet a reality

 
Is a 32 percent people-of-color workforce goal overly optimistic?  
News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

The plans are in full swing for the new $975 million Vikings stadium. And yet again many in the Black community hold out hope that the economic stimulus the stadium promises to provide will benefit them as well. Unemployment in the Black community continues to remain high. In fact, in the last quarter of 2012 unemployment in North Minneapolis hovered around 22 percent. Continue Reading →

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The Vikings Stadium: a historic reckoning point in its history regarding the equity plan

 Vikings Stadium legislation called for an equity plan outlining Black participation in construction contracts and workers. Its absence is the story of continued injustice, discrimination, and official sneering at the idea of Black participation. This major story of 2012-2013 will be a 2013-2014 albatross around the necks of the self-appointed and imaginary Twin Cities leaders and journalists who stand silent as the Equity Plan sinks in “best effort” cement boots to a lake bottom. In the People’s Stadium’s two big broken promises — equity plan and “no new taxes” — we see how the “rights culture” of the 1960s has continued too many aspects of the Democratic Party’s White rights Jim Crow culture in American cities, with the purposeful disobeying of the requirement to bring an Equity Plan for seating African Americans at the stadium construction economic table. State legislature mandated an equity plan. Continue Reading →

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Still waiting for the Equity Plan for the new Vikings’ and Minnesota’s People’s Stadium

 

Where is the long awaited/anticipated Equity Plan for the People’s Vikings Stadium, a plan to guarantee inclusiveness (all of “we the people”) in the development, construction and operation of the stadium? Inclusive means diversity (more than just one race). The lack of an Equity Plan mocks “inclusive” and “diversity,” as does stadium legislative language stating all that is required is “a best effort.” If this continues it will be the handwriting-on-the-wall warning of delays to the projected opening of July 2016, suggesting more than slight bumps in the road. The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights missed the city-council directed deadline for submitting the Equity Plan. The DCR then outsourced it to two individuals who work for the Metropolitan Council, who are doing it on a moonlighting basis as private contractors. Continue Reading →

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