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Editors note: This story was orginally titled, “Minneapolis citizens should hold Mayor R.T. Rybak accountable today, or elect a new Mayor in November,” since then, R.T. Rybak was re-elected as Mayor, and attempted to run for the Governor of Minnesota. This story, published at “Alternative Energy Center-Articles and videos on topics related to alternative energy” just shows the City of Minneapolis has not seen much change, so it’s time to change the City.
By: Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN and USA Radical Black
“Yes We Can” and “Change.” These are two of the phrases that drove our nation to seek a President who was receptive to the needs of our people. Locally, Minneapolis city officials are using the same rhetoric as a way to align Mayor Rybak with the very people who voted for President Obama, and ultimately motivate these same people to vote for Rybak. This strategy may not work for Rybak because he’s failed on one key aspect – being receptive to the needs of our people.
In any number of President Obama’s speeches, he calls for a “transparent” process of government in order to keep citizens informed and aware, and as a way to fix the problems that occur in both state and local government. The Obama administration has even gone as far as establishing a Web site that will be maintained to outline how the Stimulus dollars are being disseminated, and how the money is being used in each state. To my knowledge, neither Mayor Rybak nor the city of Minneapolis has called for transparency in government, or implemented a Website detailing city contractual activities. Example: Who is Olson Development?
The City of Minneapolis is sitting on a powder keg of corrupt processes, which amount specifically to the city’s failure to deliver on contractual promises made to communities of color, and in general, to its mismanagement of programs that could best meet the needs of all citizens of Minneapolis.
Since 2004, City of Minneapolis has randomly cut programs it perceived were not working or were not benefitting the community. Programs like the Youth Summer Jobs Program and the Minneapolis Urban League’s Curfew/Truancy Center were programs that were working and were a benefit to the community, but were eliminated because they were perceived as not working. (The funding for the Urban League’s Curfew/Truancy Center was pulled and re-directed even though the program was working). I ask where the process of transparency has been each time one of these programs was eliminated.
On Wednesday, March 25, 2009, Mayor R.T. Rybak delivered his annual State of the City Address at 11:00 a.m. on at the new Coloplast North American Headquarters (1601 West River Road North, Minneapolis). Given the economic challenges facing our city, state and our nation, Mayor Rybak will use his address to lay out a road map of new initiatives for economic recovery. In 2007, Rybak stated that “… my focus is on North Minneapolis, it and its great people. I’ve told the rest of the city that the focus will be to ‘clean up’ the north side.” Thus far the “clean up” has been to identifying ways to “rid” the North Side’s Black community of economic power.
In 2007, you applauded the grand opening of ALDI’S at the corner of Lowry and Penn avenues. But what you didn’t say was how the new store was built without being in compliance the city’s goals of hiring a set number of women and minority contractors? I ask where was the process of transparency when these women and minority contractors were denied or overlooked for this project? Now with the completion of the Minnesota Twins Stadium, we still have no official “compliance numbers” from the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, tasked to monitor and report compliance during the construction of the Twins Stadium, leaving the community without a voice for Civil Rights and contract compliance.
Mayor Rybak you are no President Obama.
The citizens of Minneapolis deserve a superior individual to take the reins at the City; someone who will not talk about the “path to recovery” or “new incentives” — these are old ideas we’ve heard before. Just because there’s a Black man in the White House starting from scratch, doesn’t mean that Minneapolis has to start over – Mayor Rybak has been in office for too long!
Even at the General Mills Foundation’s – Hawthorne Huddle’s at Farview Park, you present a concern for the residents and businesses on the north side, but on Thursday, February 5, 2009 after Minneapolis Police had shot a Somali man more than 13 times, you still went on to announce to the audience what had happen earlier that morning, with no real concern. It was business as usual, just another Black man shot in north Minneapolis. What was even more disturbing was General Mills Foundation Executive Director Ellen Luger standing up and saying, “At least crime is down.” To us, a very poor comment made after Minneapolis Police had shot and killed a Somali man earlier that morning.
There are many reasons why Minneapolis citizens are fed up and in need of new city leadership. But what takes the cake is the utter lack of concern or attempt to abide by the compliance goals to hire set numbers of women and minorities for city projects. Why is there no concern? Because you believe your practices won’t be discovered.
To review the May 2007 Evaluation of the City of Minneapolis’ Department of Civil Rights Contract Compliance Unit, click here: ,on page 20, under part III – Findings, states the following:
Findings: “Governmental and non-governmental entities governed by the Civil Rights Ordinance are NOT in full compliance with the hiring, contracting, reporting, monitoring, and enforcement mandates described in the contract compliance provision of the ordinance. The Civil Rights Ordinance mandates governmental and non-governmental contractors to comply with specific instructions during the pre-bid, bid, award, monitoring, enforcement, and closeout stages of the contracting process.
The Executive Summary also states: “The consequences outlined in the Civil Rights Ordinance for failure to comply with the provisions of the Ordinance are NOT being applied to firms that are in non-compliance. With the study also reporting that the Contract Compliance Unit does not have the capacity to effectively fulfill its mandate.” Based on this report prepared by The Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations & Social Justice; Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and the University of Minnesota, dated May 2007 – Commissioned by the City of Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights under Michael Browne, this unit has overlooked the population for which they should serve. If this were a movie script, we’d probably find out that people have been on the take.
Even Minneapolis City Councilman Cam Gordon posted this remark in the Topics in Minneapolis Issues Forum on July 22. 2007 at 5:5o p.m. which reads;
I wanted to call attention to a report, EVALUATION OF THE CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS CONTRACT COMPLIANCE UNIT, which will be presented to the Health Energy and Environment Committee on Monday, July 23rd: “I am still reviewing it, but the conclusions are disturbing and show a need for serious reform. In the City we have policies in place to protect traditionally disadvantaged groups from discrimination and to expand employment and economic opportunities to all residents regardless of race, gender or disability. When we draw up contracts we often set goals about how many women or “minority” workers we expect a company to use –sometimes awarding them to companies who agree to our goals. We have a Small & Underutilized Business Program to help us better utilize women and minority-owned firms. To oversee these efforts we have a Contract Compliance Unit. The study evaluates the effectiveness of this unit of the Civil Rights Department. If you are interested, I encourage you to look at this report and welcome your thoughts. It is well done and seems to reveal a gap between policies/goals and their implementation. Hopefully we can use the report to move us towards improvement.”
Cam Gordon-Seward Neighbor
Ward 2 City Council Member
Mayor R.T. Rybak knew that there were some contractors that have not met requirements for employment. With some contractors having 4-5 letters in their file for non-compliance, with one contractor in violation over 18 times that has never been considered for disbarment who continued to receive city contracts.
The Hiawatha Maintenance Facility was delivered to the Minneapolis City Council without being in compliance of set numbers of 6% Women, 11% Skilled and 11% unskilled as Compliance Manager Johnny Burns who says, “We received the certificate from the State of Minnesota, which means their (the contractor) are in compliance.” This is just one of the many examples of the lack of city oversight for pompous, unconcerned city managers to bypass the checks and balances and have no accountability for fact based findings.
This report shows catastrophic losses to the minority-ethnic and women contractor community, not to mention the soft-services that could have been provided to the City of Minneapolis Communications Department for outreach to build capacity to build the numbers in “calls for bid.” A liberal point of view has not worked for the City of Minneapolis, nor will a cut-baby-cut, then spend-boy-spend help the city to regain its soul and return to the “pre-Rybak” years of prosperity and a fiduciary responsibility with jobs for youth and the opportunity for citizens of this city to once again be proud of Minneapolis and have a Mayor that “sleeps when the wind blows*.”
In 2010, it will not matter if an elected official is a Democrat, Republican, Independent or a Green Party candidate. The people of Minneapolis are very intelligent. We are looking for candidates that will deal with us on a “community level” with “corporate” know how and sound business practices.
The heinous oversights in city departments deem the mayor, a select group of city council members and the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights leadership outgong and newly appointed a vote of “no confidence.”
At this place in Minneapolis’ history, we can’t afford another “bunch” of years wasted behind a pretty smile or a sharp dresser.
One thing I can promise the citizens of Minneapolis, if you elect a different political infrastructure in Minneapolis, the following things will happen:
- You can remain a Democrat, Republican, Green or Independent and Undecided.
- No City of Minneapolis contract will leave city hall unless it’s in compliance, per city ordinances – this includes contracts currently administered by CPED.
- Youth will have summer jobs, as long as they stay in school.
- The Minneapolis Public School System will be held accountable for ALL children passing and failure will not be an option!
- Areas of blight in Minneapolis that need to build capacity for business will considered a “Fair Tax Zones” and “No Tax Zones” this is the only way to uplift an area like Broadway Avenue and other areas in Minneapolis.
- With a change of leadership, and a party “principal” in charge, folks at city hall won’t have the opportunity to neglect local community any more.
…Listen closely, a new generation of leadership will be delivered to you.