R.T. Rybak

Recent Articles

Five big steps across the achievement gap

With 10 small, experimental ‘bright spots’ along the way
Earlier this year, Generation Next held a kick-off event at the University of Minnesota to unveil what they believe are the five core initiatives to closing the achievement gap here in the Twin Cities. Curious as to how they intend to attack

these five areas, I took a trip over to headquarters to speak with Executive Director R.T. Rybak and the staff to find out who they are and what they are about. “At the broadest level, Generation Next is a powerful table of people who are coming together saying, ‘We want to be responsible for this. We want to do whatever it takes,’” said Victor Cedeño, director of networks and education policy for Gen Next. Rybak says this initiative began back in 2012, during his final term as Minneapolis mayor, when the African American Leadership Forum (AALF) approached him and others about speeding up the process to close the achievement gap. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

North Mpls rental property owners refute slumlord label

Property owners place responsibility for code violations on problem renters
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

City landlords Keith Malmer and Mahmood Khan both do not see themselves as “slum landlords” simply because the majority of their properties are located on Minneapolis’ North Side. They insist they are making the best effort they can to select good tenants and maintain the properties. “I like to think I’m being pro-active with the houses I own and manage,” said Malmer, who began acquiring foreclosed and auctioned properties in the early 2000s. “Given my limited financial resources, I’m spending every dollar I got to make sure my properties are kept up the best I can. It’s a real strategy to make sure that you are taking care of the basics, and hopefully make things as nice as possible at the same time.”

“I am buying older properties, fixing them up, making them look good for the neighborhood,” said Khan. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Help! They’re trying to get away with a crime — possibly murder!



A crime has been committed in Minneapolis and Hennepin County, and those who are charged with running the city, Mayor R.T. Rybak, the Minneapolis City Council the Hennepin County commissioners, the attorney general, the Chamber of Commerce, and the business community are all complicit by their silence. Terrance Franklin is dead. He was shot in the head five times and in the back twice, admittedly by Minneapolis police. Officer Lucas Petterson has supposedly taken credit for shooting Franklin. But Petterson’s and his fellow officers’ stories of what happened don’t make sense and don’t explain why he was shot in the back and in the back of the head. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Legislature caught whistling in the dark — Financial problems for Viking stadium construction project



For years I have defined as ill-conceived any planning that mostly serves the planners and their agency/bosses and not those they plan for, that too often leave African Americans out of their equations, purposefully failing or refusing to meet both diversity and equity hiring requirements and appropriate funding or financing best practices regarding construction, education, housing, jobs and public safety. I have long written about the perils of such ill-conceived planning regarding the Vikings stadium. The Star Tribune reminded us of these perils in articles last week, April 8 and 9, perils that could lead to a failed stadium project and loss of the Vikings to another city. There is anxiety in the Minnesota legislature. Read from my over 25 columns on this gathered together in a solutions paper for the Vikings stadium situation, at www.theminneapolisstory.com/solutionpapers/47SaveVikings.htm. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

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 →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Status quo fixes won’t stop the frightening violence


It is the elephant in the room that people don’t want to talk about: the ongoing street violence affecting so many African Americans in this country due to the dysfunctional institutions, leadership and policies that allow caste-like barriers — bad schools, few jobs, drugs, crime — to remain in place and foster violence. It is alarming. It is frightening. But so long as these dysfunctional institutions, leadership and policies hide behind the lie that they can’t be fixed, they won’t be, even though the fixes are readily in sight: education, jobs, housing. The mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, recently announced that Chuck Wexler and the Police Executive Research Forum would be brought back to Minneapolis to advise on developing strategies to deal with Minneapolis’ violence, as if the extent of the violence is the issue. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Police unions turn to Republicans for help


Rybak administration and Civil Rights Department blindsided

One wonders how long it took the Rybak administration to realize the powerful Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis had turned to the Republican majority in the Minnesota legislature. Unlike Black organizations that do nothing when ignored and are thus taken for granted, the Police Officers Federation, ignored by the City, went to the other party. It’s a White thing Blacks need to learn how to do, which won’t happen as long as they stay self-glued to one party. As legislative lobbyists, special-interest advocates, and legislators themselves keep their supporters informed about legislation that will affect them, I wonder why the two Black state legislators for the City of Minneapolis didn’t give our community a heads up? It could have made a difference, and it could have resulted in the federation taking a softer position instead of setting up the demise of the Civilian Review Authority (CRA). Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

MPD Chief Dolan hits back—Attempts by subordinates and the Civil Rights Department to oust him fail



It is clear that Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Chief Tim Dolan has known that many of the recommendations coming from the Civilian Review Authority (CRA) were based on incompetence and dishonesty. So when an incompetent and dishonest recommendation was made to terminate two officers of color, the chief dug in and not only refused to fire the officers, but also reinstated them to duty. The action of reinstatement has revealed a significant and politically charged rift inside the top command of the MPD, along with an equally serious rift between the chief and his boss, Mayor R.T. Rybak. Contributing to the rift was the act of Assistant Chief Janee Harteau and Deputy Chief Scott Gerlicher when they terminated the two officers of color without proper consultation with the chief. Other actions include the leaking of the fact of the rift as reported in a December 19, 2011 article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Black jobs promised on Vikings stadium construction



Who will ensure the promises are kept?  

Mayor R.T. Rybak stated in his February 6 press conference that he was pressing hard for the Minneapolis City Council to support his dream of a Vikings stadium near the Metrodome. (Star Tribune, “Flanked by union workers, Rybak pleads for Vikings stadium”)

The mayor’s declaration reminds me of Isabel Wilkerson’s current best seller and Pulitzer Prize-winning The Warmth of Other Suns, a moving, well-researched story of the promises made to Negroes of the World War II era that influenced the great racial migration from the South to the North. Their dream: good employment, good education for their kids, and a good future. The Oct. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,