History: About 11 years ago both Democrats and Republicans were rightfully organizing for the purpose of ending the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM). As mentioned in several COBM Board meetings over the years, and attested to by the previous COBM executive director, I arranged a meeting at the council offices with the director, myself and Republican leadership.
We concluded that all House Republicans would abandon the idea of ending the COBM. We had a signed agreement that the COBM would review Republican bills before being introduced for changes.
The COBM executive director did not follow up. At that time I was not a board member but president of the Black Republican Coalition.
Over the years, the COBM, in a poor display, committed many of the same actions such as poor audits, etc. Rightfully so, the matter of shutting down the COBM surfaced again.
Over the years, I and other former COBM Board members have sent letters to House members, met with House members asking that the council be placed on a serious notice with specific direction, and if there is failure, to shut the COBM down for good.
Such letters have been sent. I have met with House members moved to shut down the COBM.
Just last week, I sent a letter to Sunset Advisory Commission members asking them to put the COBM on serious notice with regard to audit reports and other poor behaviors with specifics and timelines to clean up their act. I asked that failure to do so would result in immediate termination of the COBM.
Recently a hearing was held regarding the COBM, with members of the COBM present. I requested a summary of the meeting from a House member. That summary is below as follows:
“We did take action today as scheduled. A report will be issued on the website soon.
“In a nutshell, we pushed out their sunset date to 2014, and they will have to come before the Sunset Advisory Commission again in that schedule. They will also have to go through another Legislative Audit. They will have to issue a report of progress by Dec. 15 of this year. And the Office of Legislative Auditor and COBM will also issue a report to the SC by Dec. 15, 2012.
“We also recommend that for administrative, legal and contracting purposes they be attached to the SMART Program in the Dept. of Administration for ongoing support.
“We include statements that reflect their ongoing financial problems and recent structuring. I think that is very substantial and hopefully effective. Ultimately, it is the board of COBM that has to do the work, but we hope to help structure them for success.
“This is a summary and not actual language. It has been voted on and will go to the legislature next week.”
In both my column in the Spokesman-Recorder and as a sitting board member, I have warned the COBM to focus on their audits and to follow all recommendations given by the Office of the Legislative Auditor to clean up their act. No matter how many times they were warned, the COBM has failed to follow such auditor’s recommendations and/or findings.
The interim chair of the COBM has done a fine job speaking to the Sunset Commission members. However, be clear that Lucky Rosenbloom will no longer ask for repeated chances for the COBM, including other community members.
The Sunset members are about business. These members are not racist because of their focus on the COBM. In fact, I hold they would be racist to allow the poor management to continue, thinking the COBM are a bunch of substandard people incapable of getting their act together.
The community members are now aware of COBM. Let there be no gross failure of leadership. The Sunset members have given you all another chance. If the COBM ends, it’s not because of racist Sunset members; it will be because of inadequate leadership.
The Sunset members are fair. However, these members are serious about the job they have charged themselves to do.
My Obama 2012 presidential race prediction
Remember in 1988 when then-vice president George H.W. Bush ran the 200-meter against Michael Dukakis? The two were involved in this tough-on-crime agenda. The Bush team put together the drama depicting Willie Horton (convicted of murder) getting some free time from jail over the weekend.
The Black brother (Mr. Horton), while out of jail, beat a man and raped a woman in Maryland. Old boy Horton was shown on TV with a big Afro, jerry curled-looking beard, looking like a Black thug.
You heard it here first. We will see the same race card played by Obama’s team using not local threats, but national pictures of threats of color against America to win the presidency.
Not one Black leader, including Jesse Jackson, will challenge this type of race card. You heard it here first.
Lucky Rosenbloom welcomes reader responses to 612-661-0923, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.