Vikings Stadium

Recent Articles

Diversity hiring on the rise where new State goals apply

‘People’s Stadium’ reports ‘better than anticipated’ progress 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Second of a three-part story
 
Both the Minneapolis Civil Rights and St. Paul Human Rights Departments agreed in 2006 to accept the state workforce hiring construction goals set by the Minnesota Human Rights Department. At the time, the six-county Twin Cities metro area hiring goals were 11 percent people of color and six percent women, and 18 percent for “substantial” projects. “I still think there’s some confusion on who they apply to,” said Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsay on the workforce hiring goals. “If you are talking about a state department or agency [such as] the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority, the Metropolitan Council, the Metropolitan Airport Commission and the Metropolitan Mosquito Board, then the workforce participation goals apply,” he explained. Continue Reading →

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Equity in light rail postponed again

The Star Tribune ran stories last week about light rail in the metro area. The real interpretation: purposeful denial, again, of light rail equity for North Minneapolis. Star Tribune reported, May 12, 2014, that African Americans believe North Minneapolis is “not getting its fair share of transit amenities, despite having a heavily transit-dependent population,” and that there is a “drastic difference between service and amenities in other parts of the city like Uptown and the south side.” In other words, jobs for White city plantation bureaucrats and White construction workers, and more transit for White areas. We need action, not more talk. Back in 2008 and 2009, Black legislators and leaders were talking about a big public-works project involving light rail in North Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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Safe streets promoted for White baseball

Selective reporting keeps the true level of violence concealed
 

George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984 helps us understand Minneapolis granting temporary “Big Brother” status to Major League Baseball for summer 2014’s All Star Game week:  “temporary…and related special event permits will not be approved or issued by the City of Minneapolis without the additional approval of Major League Baseball.” (Star Tribune, May 3, 2014)

Minneapolis granted temporary Big Brother status earlier for the Vikings stadium, although the Vikings didn’t ask for it as did MLB. We want safe streets for all neighborhoods, not just for downtown stadium and lake neighborhoods. We recognize we live in “1984” in government surveillance, manipulating and falsifying information for “the greater good,” and in newspapers re-writing history to match current party line: “selective reporting:”

• 18 straight days of shootings, few reported

• 18 homicides in Little Somalia over last three years, few reported. • Star Tribune reported May 6 two White girls stabbed May 5 and reported shooting in New Brighton

• 30 days earlier, three young African American females shot and wounded in North Minneapolis, yet unreported

When authorities announced on May 6 the arrest of three young African Americans for the April 12, 2014 shooting and paralyzing of a young African American near the All Star site, the Star Tribune finally reported the shooting. Again: selective reporting. Continue Reading →

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M.A. Mortenson not up to the task for an NFL stadium

Construction manager track record in construction: junior varsity

 
In these columns a year ago, I called attention to the concerns making the Minnesota Vikings uncomfortable with the selection of M.A. Mortenson as construction manager for the now over $1 billion Vikings stadium, concerns shared also with the NFL. Nothing against Mortenson. It’s a really nice square peg, but they are trying to fit it into a round hole and it doesn’t fit. Mortenson, great at smaller venues (see below), is out of its league with the Vikings, lacking the expertise, experience, and success history with projects of this size and magnitude. Contrast this with those the Star Tribune reported as rejected (January 21, 2013): Hunt Construction, of Scottsdale, AZ, builder of nearly 50 professional sports venues, including NFL stadiums (two with retractable roofs), and Skanska, the international firm that has also built NFL stadiums. Mortenson has built none. Continue Reading →

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Chief Janeé Harteau is doing a good job

No need to replace her
 
Minneapolis celebrates the election of its second female in the history of City Government, Betsy Hodges, bringing discussion about her representing diversity balance. Really? How, when for the next four years there will neither be an African American nor Native American on the City Council? This is another reason why it is surprising that less than a week after her announced victory the first rumors about change to emerge from City Hall was considering replacing Police Chief Janeé Harteau with an assistant police chief from Seattle, Washington. Why are she and her advisors so politically tone deaf? Continue Reading →

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The Wilfs prevail

Vikings owners make clean sweep
 
The Vikings and Sports Authority signed their new stadium agreement on October 3rd, resulting in Vikings ownership prevailing on their stated goals regarding the lease agreement, licensing, naming rights, concession ownership, and development package. The day before the Vikings-Sports Authority deal was signed, Minnesota Spokesman Recorder ran my column (written eight days earlier), repeating 18 months of warning: “the Vikings will have to be given everything they want in order to stay.”

At signing the next day, Governor Dayton admitted “yes: failure to satisfy Vikings ownership demands would guarantee losing the team… The economics of professional sports are highly questionable all over this country… We wouldn’t have an agreement here and we wouldn’t have a team staying here if we hadn’t been willing to accede to demand[s] on the team’s part from the very beginning of the process.”

Experts estimate Vikings can generate at least $100 million more a year. Will they put it in their pockets or use it to sign/hold better players? Minnesota ticket holders and taxpayers alike: is it all worth 10 games a year that most can’t attend but can watch only from TV? Yes, there will be temporary jobs during construction (but many to workers from outside Minnesota). Continue Reading →

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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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Another strong-arm tactic to divert taxpayer dollars to franchise owners’ bottom line

 

 

Short of a new building, local taxpayers should pay for improvements to the downtown arena where the Minnesota Timberwolves play, according to NBA Commissioner David Stern. These “Stern comments” came a couple of weeks ago prior to his meeting with City officials “just to talk about where things stand in respect to centering back to the great building it was,” said the league commish of the publicly owned arena. “When you think about the [proposed] new scoreboard, the signage, the seats, the clubs, the restaurants, everything really takes the ambiance of the building…and brings it really into the 21st century,” he suggested. In other words, here comes another strong-arm tactic, subtle or otherwise, that league commissioners typically employ whenever franchises can’t get what they want. Forbes Magazine’s NBA Team Values list of the 30 franchises reveals that every team increased its value since last year, including a 34-percent increase for the Wolves, who rank 26th in current value ($364 million). 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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