Michele Kelm-Helgen

Recent Articles

Will the Vikings stadium be a repeat of Target Field?

 

 

Will the State/City and Vikings/NFL allow the “Blacks need not apply” motto of Twins Field be applied to the Vikings stadium? Recall my columns:

• “Stadiums go up while compliance system breaks down” (June 4, 2008). • “City failed to monitor hiring during Twins stadium construction” (May 12, 2010). • “MN attorney general was supposed to monitor Twins stadium hiring” (June 16, 2010). • “‘The Plan’ revealed: no more jobs for Black Minnesotans in 2011 and beyond” (March 9, 2011)

• “Black jobs promised on Vikings stadium construction. Continue Reading →

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Will Blacks finally get a fair share of work on this stadium?

Chair of stadium authority raises serious questions about past inclusion
 

Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), who oversees design and construction of the Vikings’ “People’s Stadium,” told Minnesota Public Radio in an interview on February 8 that serious questions have been raised about the Equity Plan implementation passed by the MSFA that same day. Three City-commissioned studies by two separate research groups support Chairwoman Kelm-Helgen’s observations. The last study was issued on May 15, 2012, by NERA (National Economic Research Associates) at a cost to Minneapolis of $500,000. These studies expose the City’s serious and purposeful noncompliance with Minority and Women Business Enterprises (M/WBE) utilization requirements. NERA’s report provided evidence that supports the investigative reporting in this column for a decade. Continue Reading →

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Vikings stadium officials promise 32 percent diversity hiring!

But no one seems to have a copy of the equity plan 
 

 

At a small, special meeting I attended at the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Wednesday, October 10 that included MSFA Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen and Executive Director Ted Mondale, we discussed the so-far nonexistent equity plan for the Vikings stadium that would include African American contractors and workers. The Met Council people present said there was one, online. We noted that is just not true. During the meeting we were told that 32 percent of the hours in stadium construction in the eventual plan will go to minorities and women. Really? Continue Reading →

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A Sports Authority chair who understands the Black struggle

 
 Kelm-Helgen’s civil rights history is a rich one

There are names and families that remain strong in the pantheon of the civil rights struggle for freedom and liberty for all in Minnesota, including such names as Newman, Johnson, Humphrey and Childress. Governor Dayton’s June 15, 2012 announcement of his three Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority members reminds us of another name and family of the Minnesota Civil Rights Pantheon, that of Elmer Kelm. The governor has appointed Elmer Kelm’s granddaughter, Michele Kelm-Helgen, as Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair (Star Tribune, “New stadium head has deep political roots,” June 16, 2012). Michele Kelm-Helgen’s grandfather, Elmer Kelm, managed Hubert Humphrey’s first successful mayoral campaign, was chairman of the Democratic Party when it merged with the Farmer Labor Party in 1944, and had a very long relationship with both Cecil Newman, the founder and publisher of this newspaper, and with Nellie Stone Johnson, one of the great political leaders in the history of this state. Elmer Kelm and Nellie Stone Johnson, with Hubert H. Humphrey’s blessing, were two of the signatories of the Farmer Labor Party/Democratic merger in 1944. Continue Reading →

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