Requirement that stadium builders ‘make every effort’ to hire minorities is a cruel joke
On the road to creating the Minnesota Sports Authority, the entity that will control and manage the construction of the Vikings stadium, the Minnesota legislature caused a second violation of the Minneapolis City Charter.
The first charter violation, this one by the mayor and city council, was not holding a required referendum on stadium costs of over $10 million to the City.
The second violation, this one by the state legislature and unopposed by the City, decrees sole authority to the mayor to appoint the city’s two Minnesota Sports Authority members.
The charter purposefully states that Minneapolis city government is to follow a strong council/weak mayor model, a perceived strength and cornerstone of Minneapolis democracy that reduces the chance for one-person boss rule.
The State, recognizing that the City already violated its charter, knew the mayor and a simple council majority would not protest this second violation (which raises the specter of a potential lawsuit that would further delay construction). Under the stadium bill, 473J.07: “The Mayor of the City shall appoint two members to the authority,” with the city council having no role, as seen in the clear and precise language under 473J.09: “Powers and Duties of the Authority.”
I raised this question with four council members, two who voted for and two who voted against the City’s stadium bill. Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, Democrat, 8th Ward, confirmed that the mayor had sought neither consultation nor recommendations from the six members who opposed the Vikings stadium package. I wait to learn about the winning seven.
These alarming and dangerous city charter violation precedents are made more alarming by major media ignoring these violations through a plague of silence, especially the Minneapolis Star Tribune, as major media have so far declined to touch on the significance of these charter violations.
Why don’t the mayor and the seven pro-stadium council members mind that the Minneapolis municipality will now be run by the Sports Authority, which will now assume the powers of “a municipality within a municipality,” as spelled out in other provisions of the legislation? As we used to say about the good ol’ boys down home, and now about the legislature and the mayor-plus-seven, “They went hog wild.”
In terms of municipal activities, the legislation crafts the creation of a Stadium Implementation Committee that dictates the City’s timeline: “The City Council shall not impose any unreasonable conditions on the recommendations of the Implementation Committee.” This is clearly a reflection of the new reality, the great reduction of authority and power of the mayor and city council.
The legislature went to great lengths to redefine the City’s role as more an advisor than a government. Its role in the decisions and process of the construction and operations of the Vikings stadium and its surrounding development and infrastructure is now toothless.
I point out these particular legislative features in order to expose the false declarations that there will be participation/inclusion of the African American community. There is no mandate that will require or position the involvement of the African American community in any aspect of the construction and maintenance and operation of the Vikings stadium.
The Minneapolis Civil Rights Department, upon the appointment of the five-member committee of the Sports Authority, will enter into negotiations to monitor that the authority is in compliance with minority hiring employment requirements, but only as a guest advisor of the authority, as set out in 473J.12, where the language states: “The authority shall make every effort to employ and cause the NFL team, the Construction Manager, and other subcontractors vendors, and concessionaires, to employ women and members of the minority community when hiring” (emphasis added). Take “make every effort” to your nearest attorney, and learn it is advisory, not mandatory. If there are none available in Minneapolis, none from Minneapolis will be hired.
Here is the cruel joke: Minnesota labor leaders, Black and White, have let both Black and White laborers down. Arguing over the number of workers from Minneapolis or from Minnesota outside Minneapolis is arguing over ghosts, as the State and City don’t have the number of “stadium skill” workers required.
Lacking these stadium-related specialty skills, expect more than half of the workers to come from out of state. You’ll be able to tell from the license plates on their cars and trucks at work sites. Instead, how about labor training leaders, Black and White, join together now so Minnesotans can be ready to work on the stadium?
Columns referenced above are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinne apolisStory.com.