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Here’s the situation: You have a Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Investigative Unit employee who has thrown his name into the ring to run for the seat being vacated by Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein (District 2). You would think the department and fellow employees would rally around their co-worker and support him – but that’s not the case. Unique and covert pressure is being put on Mr. Yang, the kind of pressure that made it easy for MDCR’s director Velma Korbel to release a seasoned manager and replace him with a train wreck.
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/The Independent Business News Network
Minneapolis, MN (IBNN/Politics and Culture/April 23, 2012)…In a press release sent to IBNN NEWS, Blong Yang announced he will be a candidate for Hennepin County Commissioner-District 2. Yang says, “Having lived in Minneapolis for over a decade, I have seen career politicians playing musical chairs with political offices. I believe I have the background and experience to provide a fresh voice and perspective for District 2.”
That statement alone was enough to start the wheels turning inside of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and Minneapolis city hall (more specifically, the Ward 5 city councilman’s office) to block Yang from any success, including an unpaid leave of absence to run his (what will be) a successful campaign.
In other developing news, when you call the MDCR and press the number to speak with Blong Yang, the phone is transferred to another investigator. It’s obvious, that Blong Yang rights to preform his job are being denied and obstructed by a system that has a long-term, benign neglect for residents of Minneapolis who’ve filed civil rights claims only to be denied a fair review or cases ending up in the office shredder. Read “Shred-Gate 2011″ here.
The next item of interest would be who’s in the MDCR offices that could be allegedly tied to a Minneapolis City Council member who is also running for Hennepin County Commissioner – District 2.
While IBNN doesn’t have an opinion about the MDCR Investigative supervisor, we do know he’s been tied to local DFL sympathizers including some city council members. Sources close to the Blong Yang campaign say Yang’s direct supervisor has refused Yang a leave of absence and alleges that “the supervisor” is close to another political campaign running for the same Hennepin County Commissioner position Yang wants.
Enter Don Samuels, the Ward 5 Minneapolis City Councilman who announced a little more than a month ago, he would run for Mr. Stenglein’s seat. It is alleged that Yang’s Supervisor and Samuels are pretty close. This could be part of the explanation on why Yang has been denied a leave-of-absence from the Investigative Unit of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.
The Yang campaign has started a very serious top-of-mind public awareness to address the issue of a possible “convoluted system of favoritism and obstruction” within the MDCR.
The press release reads:
“Local 9 is doing an ACTION Wednesday, April 25th outside the Civil Rights office, 239 City Hall in support of our Union Brother Blong Yang of the Civil Rights Division. Blong Yang has been denied an unpaid leave of absence to run for political office as a Hennepin County Commissioner by the management of Civil Rights. His immediate supervisor is heavily involved in Don Samuels campaign for County Commissioner and the Union believes there is a political agenda behind the denial of Mr. Yang’s leave of absence. We will start assembling around 11:55 am to start at noon. Members should wear AFSCME green if they can and should be encouraged to bring signs that say “let Blong run” or other types of similar slogans. If the only thing you can bring is yourself in regular clothing that is all we need. It is time we stand up and let this management know we are not pleased with their actions. Running for office is a difficult, expensive and brave thing to do. We can’t allow management to block a member from trying to serve in this arena. It’s supposed to be open to anyone willing to try.”
The Hennepin County Commissioner race is stocked with DLF politicians currently holding office that won’t step down to run without the implied influence of their current positions. This includes, MPS director Jill Davis, Senator Linda Higgins, Ward 5 City Councilman Don Samuels and Golden Valley City Councilwoman Paula Pentel.
Candidates Tonia Johnson, and MDCR Investigator Blong Yang will be the only two candidates not holding a current elected position while running for another office. This should send a clear signal to residents of Hennepin County District 2 that only two of the candidates are prepared to run and stand on their own.