Velma Korbel

Recent Articles

MPD and MFD in trouble

Racial balance is being lost
 
The facts of the last 40 years reveal Minnesota is not, when it comes to African Americans, liberal and progressive. It is illiberal and regressive, openly and defiantly not complying with federal or local civil rights laws and rules, adopting purposeful amnesia to counter such inconvenient memories. • 1972: the federal court in the State of Minnesota, imposed sanctions on the Minneapolis Fire Department and the City of Minneapolis for such violations. • 1979: a request sent by this columnist, as chairman of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, to the federal court for a review of its 1972 decree. The court did so and imposed sanctions on the City of Minneapolis and its fire department, appointing a special federal oversight committee. Continue Reading →

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The need for a new Lillian Anthony

First director of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department
 This column provides a timeline to further understand our discussion of the failure of the Civil Rights Department and Commission, including that of current director, Velma Korbel (hence our call last week for her dismissal). We forget these dates and events at our peril:
• June 30, 1963: Mayor Arthur Naftalin, in his Second State of the City address, warned about issues of racial division ripping the city (Minneapolis Star, July 1, 1963). Fifty-one years later they still hold. Mayor Naftalin offered a “Blueprint for Action,” and called for institutions and instruments for the social justice, for a Civil Rights Department and Commission. • July 18, 1965, “Is non-violence wearing thin?” Minneapolis Tribune headline. Continue Reading →

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Velma Korbel must go!

Resignation must be submitted immediately
 
It is not often that a Minneapolis City Agency Department Director receives separate, negative stories in the Star Tribune on the same day, reporting incompetence and belligerent leadership. Velma Korbel accomplished this June 16, 2014. Star Tribune headlines:

• “Divisive Minneapolis civil rights official in hot seat again”

• “Korbel speech ‘magnified’ concerns about management style”

• “Report: Minority participation in Minneapolis contracts falling”

Compare those with the reporting in these selected MSR columns over the past five years:

• “Toxic and corrupt environment in civil rights department,” April 10, 2014

• “A reappointment that is a mistake: Velma Korbel to again head the Department of Civil Rights,” February 19, 2014

• “Justice for David Cornelius Smith: In spite of obstruction of justice from the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department,” June 5, 2013

• “Will Blacks finally get a fair share of work on this stadium? Chair of stadium authority raises serious questions about past inclusion,” February 20, 2013

• ”Minneapolis Continues its fairy tale of compliance. Only painful sanctions will make these tales come true,” December 15, 2010

Director Korbel does not meet the administration/management responsibilities entrusted to her office, nor does she follow the agency’s responsibility to fight discrimination and civil rights violations. Continue Reading →

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A reappointment that is a mistake

Velma Korbel to again head Dept. of Civil Rights
 

Velma Korbel’s reappointment by newly elected Mayor Betsy Hodges to continue as Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) director is a huge mistake that nonetheless exposes the city culture we have long reported: that city government, regardless of who is in charge, is a culture opposed to diversity (the silence on this by the DFL, churches, foundations, and Black nonprofits places them in the same culture). Shamefully, leading Black organizations participate in this culture as they compete for their share of the spoils at the expense of those they are supposed to serve and represent. Velma Korbel’s reappointment continues a departmental disaster going back through two permanent directors and one interim director. The African American community will continue to be ill served as seen by the 99 percent White work force of the Vikings stadium. Continue Reading →

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Chief Harteau announces dialogue — A public dialogue? Really?

 

 

The last time we were with you, we were talking about the racism travel brochure of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), including stops in Minneapolis, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Apple Valley, Minnesota. Let’s hope for the future of the chief that we don’t have any more MPD racism travelogue stops. The chief indicated to local White media that she is embarking on a dialogue about MPD problems of racism (Star Tribune, August 2, “Chief Harteau calls for dialogue following racial incidents”). The Minneapolis Police Federation, under its President, Lt. John Delmonico, has stated clearly that the federation must also be at the table. I concur. Continue Reading →

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Justice for David Cornelius Smith — David C. Smith In spite of obstruction of justice from the Mpls. Civil Rights Dept.

 

 

On Friday, May 24, 2013, Minneapolis City Council awarded $3.75 million to the family of David C. Smith, a 28 year-old African American. The case was handled by the Bennett Law Firm. All tax payers’ money. Since 2006, the City of Minneapolis has paid over $17 million dollars in tax payer money for wrongful death settlements against the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). Since mid-2010, the City has paid out over $8 million in such lawsuits, oftentimes due to being misdirected by intentional obstruction of justice by Director Velma Korbel’s Department of Civil Rights (DCR). Continue Reading →

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Jobs disparities contradict our self-image as a civilized nation

 

 
Fifty years ago there was a march for jobs and freedom. Is it time for another?  
 

 

This year will mark 50 years since that historic march on Washington. I find it ironic that 50 years later there is still the need for another march for jobs and freedom. There is especially a need for a jobs march. Continue Reading →

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Mpls civil rights director to ‘ride herd’ on hiring goals

 

 
But reporting specifically on hiring of Blacks still won’t happen
 
 

By Charles Hallman 

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel pledged recently that her department will have a “distinct presence” in addressing issues of employment equity and monitoring construction hiring goals in the city. She also said, however, that the department is still not in a position to specify how many African Americans have found work on publicly funded construction projects. “The [Minneapolis] City Council was very clear that they needed someone riding herd on the work that happens” in the city, said Korbel recently to a small group of city residents March 22 in South Minneapolis at an Early Mornings with [City Council Member] Elizabeth [Glidden] event. “One of the main things we are working on right now is the NFL stadium,” she pointed out. The Minnesota Vikings stadium workforce goals are 32 percent “minority” and six percent women. 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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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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