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Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice: shame on you. Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey has to come clean – this is even before his keynote address for the Governors 2013 MLK Day Celebration. The numbers are not adding up.
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by Donald Allen – Editor-in-Chief, The Independent Business News Network and OurBlackNews
Minneapolis, MN (OurBlackNews/Editorial Opinion/January 14, 2013)…Again, all Minnesotans are faced with a process that has been less than equitable perpetrated by the DFL political plantation. The boondoggle, tomfoolery and bushwhack continues to be popular talking points when community “spokespersons” and DFL “charged” robots talk about creating opportunity for those who are ready and able to work in Minnesota. On Friday, November 16, 2012 – the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority adopted the Design Services Agreement Women and Minority Business Enterprise (W/MBE) Plan. The plan establishes participation goals and clear guidance for the Architect regarding W/MBE involvement for the design services contract for the new People’s Stadium. Something to note: There are no regulations that require W/MBE participation in a design contract, the MSFA intends the design and construction of the People’s Stadium to set a new standard for inclusion. What they are saying: We don’t have to do anything to create a fair playing field in Minnesota – we can hire whom we want. As of today, not one African-American elected official will call a community meeting about the Vikings Stadium (public works) project to discuss why not one African-American company, including service contracts or being “financially blessed” by the stadium gods.
The goals set by MSFA, utilizing 11% women and 8% minority owned businesses means little when you can consider a minority being someone who has migrated from Europe, China, Africa, or in this case, a white woman from New Prague, Minnesota.
The participation numbers have somewhat slighted the 14th Amendment and Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey recently announced that as much as 32 percent of the work on state-funded projects in the Twin Cities should be done by minorities. But the word “minorities” has a broad meaning and Commissioner Lindsey has yet to define it’s meaning. This leads to a conversation about “Good Faith Efforts.”
The move to 35 percent seems undo-able. In a story from the Star Tribune, Tim Worke, the transportation director for the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, which is a large contractors group said, “We’ve been struggling to meet the current goal of 11 percent.” He accused Commissioner Lindsey on of listening to minority activists while turning a deaf ear to contractors.
“Minority activists? – Lions, tigers and bears…oh my!”
Good Faith Efforts and Affirmative action continues to be a subject of controversy, partly because it can be difficult to define and to apply in practice, but it also concerns issues of fairness and equality. The majority of city and state public works contracts from Minneapolis to the Iron Range don’t require much to show “good-faith.” The average person can see this just by taking a look at construction and road repair crews across the state – it’s very rare to see a person of color working on something like the Target Center, TCF Stadium or even the Target Field. We must remember the Target Field debacle, which as been confirmed by Ted Mondale of the MSFA who said, “They (Prime/Sub contractors and City/State), never had a plan and no numbers were reached.” This statement says a lot about the many local news reports that hailed Target Center as outdoing themselves in the area of minority hiring and goals. We learn now, it was all pipe dreams and candy canes.