Minnesota Legislature

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White professionals already cashing in on ‘People’s Stadium’ — But promises that construction will benefit communities of color remain unkept as deadlines approach

 

 

 

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

While there is much talk about possible delays in the construction of the “People’s Stadium,” it appears that the Vikings and MSFA are still confident it will be built. And according to a recent Associated Press (AP) article entitled, “Many already cashing in on Vikings stadium,” lots of white collar professionals have already profited from the proposed stadium. Incidentally, it appears at this point that the only people who may be left out of the benefits are people of color. Despite lots of compelling testimony last Friday at the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) meeting by several prominent African Americans and Somali leaders, it was all but ignored. Practically all of the media outlets in the Twin Cities were in attendance, but none reported [as of yet] or followed up with the testimony of the Black folks who were complaining that it appears that Blacks may yet again be left out of a major development project. MSFA Board Chair Michelle Kelm-Helgen, who seemed a bit annoyed by the testimony, did respond. Continue Reading →

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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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White unions get $1 million to train workers of color to build stadiums? — It’s time for the B.S. to end

 

 

Which legacy for the Vikings Stadium? Only qualified White workers or qualified workers regardless of color? Employment apartheid or inclusiveness? Employment inclusiveness and fairness, or employment apartheid and unfairness? The 100 qualified Gentlemen of the Roundtable of Kansas City, Missouri, journeymen construction workers introduced in a previous column, have since talked with the Vikings. Continue Reading →

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Personal care attendants looking to unionize

In-home healthcare workers caring for family members feel they deserve better pay  
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Personal care assistants (PCAs) are persons who care for elderly and disabled folk at home. Clara R. NaKumbe, age 72, gave up her private daycare business to take care of her adult son Siran, who was stricken several years ago with multiple sclerosis. “When he first got it, he could still do some things for himself,” recalls NaKumbe. But soon thereafter, Siran had to move into her North Minneapolis home where he could receive 24-hour supervision and care. “He has to be fed. Continue Reading →

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Pres. Obama visits Mpls promoting gun-control measures

Missing from conversation: Black youth, the most likely victims of gun violence
 

 

News Analysis

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

President Barack Obama’s visit to Minneapolis last week to discuss gun control and solutions to limit gun violence left more questions unanswered about the country’s commitment to ending gun violence. It also further exposed the disconnect between the Black community’s desire to see gun violence addressed in urban neighborhoods and the White House’s desire to respond to mass shootings such as occurred in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado. The president was purportedly to have met with community leaders, but upon closer examination, few if any community leaders were included in the roundtable discussion that the president engaged in before giving his speech. No clergy, no real community leaders, no grassroots or Black political activists who may have brought diverse points of view to the table were invited. And despite the fact that most gun violence victims have been Black youth, none were represented in the roundtable. Continue Reading →

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So much for 32 percent Black participation in stadium construction — When will the State deposit its $50M statutory requirement?

 
 

Vikings People’s-no-new-taxes stadium is unraveling for the African American community. “It’s ours” ballyhoo regarding Minnesota has become “it’s mine” for NFL, the Wizard of Oz behind the Vikings’ curtain. • 32 percent minority participation goals of Minnesota’s State Department of Human Rights Director Kevin Lindsay were pulverized into dust. My estimate of 1-1.5 percent African American participation: too high. Actual and factual: unless there is unanticipated change, less than half of one percent, including employment and contracts. Continue Reading →

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Let the games begin: the selection of stadium construction manager — Fraser, Davis and Tomlin: quota guys in the NFL?

 

The push-Black-Americans-in-football-to-the-back-of-the-bus games have begun, raising “Blacks need not apply” signs not only for stadium construction jobs but also NFL team head-coaching jobs. This is not about quotas. It is about statistical probabilities not being met due to intentional skewing out of contention a specific group of people. In this case, Black American workers, whether on stadiums or on stadium-field sidelines. On or about February 1, the Sports Facilities Authority will select a Vikings’ stadium construction manager. Continue Reading →

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Second Chance advocates ‘make some noise’ on the Hill

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

When Sarah Walker first lobbied the Minnesota Legislature on behalf of former offenders, she didn’t see it going over very well. “The first time I organized this, I was concerned that this would be received very poorly,” recalls Walker, the COO of 180 Degrees, Inc. 

But as a result, over 50 organizations formed the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition and started Second Chance Day on the Hill. “Since then we have gotten more legislative leaders interested in this issue. I think we really fundamentally changed the dialogue about the issue at the Capitol. We passed three bills in 2009, and we’re hopeful again this year for another good year,” continued Walker. Continue Reading →

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Decision announcement days: January 15 & 18, February 1, 2013

Sports Facility Authority and the Minnesota Vikings
 

Will the “Stadium Powers” (Minnesota Legislature, Minneapolis City Council, Vikings, NFL and the Minnesota Facilities Sports Authority that oversees the stadium construction project), all regarding the Vikings (“people’s” “no new taxes”) stadium, stand up for fairness in employment and equity or hide behind the skirts of a “best effort” calendar? January 15, 2013: The Sports Authority is to file its first annual report to the Minnesota State Legislature’s super-commission. Report only. No public hearing. No public comments. Continue Reading →

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School board member commits to focusing on achievement gap

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

 
Second priority: effective school leadership

 

After years of being an advocate for her own children as well as the children of others, Kim Ellison took “the next step” earlier this year when she applied and later was named a Minneapolis School Board member to finish up former board member Lydia Lee’s remaining term. “It gave me the opportunity to sit in the position where I could…listen to how are we affecting [parents and children],” recalls Ellison, who ran unopposed and was elected to her first official term in the November general elections. On being a first-time elected official, “I am looking forward to it,” continues Ellison. She doesn’t see herself as an incumbent despite having been a board member since January of this year. As a result, she is eager to participate in the new-member orientation this coming January. Continue Reading →

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