Demotion as of October 1, 2016
In my column of June 2, 2016, I reported serious issues of racism inside the Theodore Wirth Golf Course, using as an example the courageous stand taken by Mike Baker, a manager, to hire African Americans at the golf course. For doing so, he is being let go.
Then came the cover up. This column uncovers the cover up.
The cover up began with the letter to the editor in the MSR June 16-22, 2016 edition. The director of golf, expressed his concern with what he called the “misinformation and inaccuracies of my column” and that “it is unfortunate that Mr. Edwards did not verify the information in his opinion column.” He called Mr. Baker “a valued employee [who] is not being fired.” We are used to people challenging the authenticity and accurateness of this column who have something to hide.
The cover up continued with the article in the MSR’s June 23-29, 2016 edition. The Minnesota Park and Recreation Board Superintendent said, “People are raising issues who don’t have the facts and [they aren’t] speaking from factual information.” This reminds me of when the NAACP national (and thus local, too) expelled me. At the hearing the question was raised of those in attendance whether I wrote anything false in my The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes.” The answer: No, but he shouldn’t have written it. As we see today, some only want written what supports their desired status quo.
One of the elements of both honest government and journalism is telling the truth. Let’s pull back the covers: When I wrote my June 2 column, I knew Mr. Baker’s future: he was being drummed out effective October 1, 2016, despite 25 years of stellar service, punished for believing in and implementing diversity in his area of responsibility, to improve opportunities for African Americans.
These two park officials were ill-advised in their words to the MSR. We all know about Operation Harlem Nights, a covert operation put in place to begin the reduction of African Americans working within the Minneapolis park system. They knew they had already initiated the dismissal of Mr. Baker from any position of responsibility, and then quietly hired from within the park system. Park and recreation, with malice aforethought, punished and dismissed Mr. Baker because he both believed and attempted to implement a policy of inclusion and diversity.
Operation Project Harlem Nights, a clandestine undertaking by the forces of nullification and reversal inside park and recreation, had clearly targeted Mr. Baker to make him an example. I said in this column, “Michael, you attempted to do justice to the doctrine and philosophy of equal opportunity and diversity within the park system.”
In her interview with the MSR, the park superintendent let the cat out of the bag when she said park and recreation is “almost 20 years behind in our backlog of work. It is my estimation that it will take 20 years to get it completed.” The commitment game is “to do better,” but in the future.
So wait, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote Why We Can’t Wait any longer. We submit and maintain that the area of racial opportunity will never happen at that pace. It was/is all a game, all propaganda.
Michael Baker was made an example. He paid the price. We the citizens and tax payers of the city should be ashamed of the games by which park and recreation play. They thought they could push the envelope of truth. It didn’t work.
Mike Baker has lost his positon of responsibility, and the liberal reputation of a Minnesota institution has been shattered once again.