News and Information
Thursday September 18th 2014
The Independent Business News Network was established in July of 2008. The goal of IBNN is to provide a different view of the local, national and global news and events that happen in the Black communities around the world. IBNN's expectations are to provide a level of coverage and investigative reporting not seen on local mainstream media, while covering Politics, Education, Money, Business, and Community events. IBNN is an affiliate of Black Politics in Minneapolis, Radical Black USA and other African American news sources. Comments, concerns and questions can be emailed to

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Receiving in the name of Jesus Christ and the Poor: What exactly do non-profits give back?

“Do you smell a Skunk in north Minneapolis?”

Sunday morning offering plates have been very light in the past 3 years in the Black community. Non-profit agencies in the business of assisting the poor will never truly try to solve poverty because if they do, they’ll be out of a job. If a challenge exists that someone at a non-profit gets paid to address – do you really think the people working on that challenge really want to solve it? Hell no! It’s a separation between the have and the have-nots

by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

Twin Cites (IBNN/Editorial Opinion/March 28, 2011)…It’s funny how non-profit agency spokespersons talk as if they are on top of the world in solving the daily challenges facing the community of color in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The benign attempt at community engagement can be see at agencies like the Minneapolis Urban League, who just lost another program dealing with people who need general assistance from the Hennepin County. This also includes the job loss of two key staff members at the organization. It was hard to get bus tokens from the MUL, now bus tokens, emergency assistance and a safe place to lay your head could permanently be a thing of the past for a small clerical error.

Of course the “community” is never alerted to these heinous mismanagement of funding, personnel and processes – but it’s the “community” that suffers from neglect of non-profit social service agencies who’s funding is nothing more than a way to keep staff paid, while they look down at the small percentage of the community that need services. This is a critical error in thinking that repeats itself daily throughout north Minneapolis.

The Northside Achievement Zone, Peace Foundation, Empowerment Zone Dollars and more recently Catalyst Community Partners and advertising agency Colle McVoy have figured out how to play in the realm of non-profit funding despite the need to address poverty, homelessness, unemployment, education and creation of new business start-ups. These agencies have on staff people who have forgotten, “Non-profits are here to assist poor people. Not, poor people are here to assist non-profits.”

This is also a trend with some elected officials.

While it seems newsworthy to shed tears on national television for a population and race of people who are being labeled and victimized by a system that has run afraid of a culture. It would be great if that same emotion was put into an effort of finding solutions to the challenges in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district. The same energy found to sign-off on the light rail transit hub at Target Field, should of been focus to getting that same $500,000 to north Minneapolis into programs that work for the people – not to hire staff who don’t really give a damn.

The non-profit hub at 1200 West Broadway Avenue North with such famed residents as the Pohlad Foundation have found a way to “control” funding through a network of “good-ole-boy/girl” clubs that are exclusive to other agencies that play “nice” with certain north Minneapolis non-profits. “Just ask Wesley Walker, Executive Director of Northway Community Trust why he and his board granted the Peace Foundation/Northside Achievement  Zone $500,000.00?” Then take a look at the board for the Peace Foundation; Catalyst Community Partners; Northside Acheivement Zone; and Northway Community Trust. When you get through that, go to the Minnesota Secretary of States office and look at the original Article of  Incorporation for all these agencies side-by-side.  You might find an interesting trend in three or four names – (Hint #1).

Currently, there’s a plan to have Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton show up at a Economic Summit in north Minneapolis. Some say it’s not enough. Some say it’s all for show. The current level of community uproar will make this event on March 30th at UROC an event not to miss.

The community has been insulted by elected officials, non-profit agencies and local school districts who need to open lines of communication to the community of color, but have chosen to dismiss race and color in favor of status and class.

I guess what I’m trying to say, “There are too many White folk making decisions for the community of color and to many Black folk who have no Black conciseness just nodding their heads to the Massa.”

Worst in the Nation – Minneapolis: Education, Jobs, Economic Development, Civil Right and a whole lot more.

Heidi Lasley Barajas named executive director of the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) – Now, let’s ask some questions (Part 1)

Heidi Lasley Barajas, Executive Director UROC

The Broadband Technology Opportunity Program; Ten resident programs and still today 20,000 eyes that drive by UROC don’t know what goes on inside the north Minneapolis building on Plymouth Avenue. IBNN NEWS feels its time to publish a 4 part series and release documents to the public of what we will call “ROC-Gate.” Until then: Congratulations Ms. Heidi Lasley Barajas.

by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

North Minneapolis (IBNN NEWS/March 25, 2011)…In a statement released today (3/25) by Dr. Robert J. Jones, Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration/University of Minnesota, Heidi Lasley Barajas has been named executive director of the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in north Minneapolis.

The statement reads:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Heidi Lasley Barajas as executive director of the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC).

Many of you already know Heidi. She has been co-leader of the interim executive team guiding UROC since May 2010, when we celebrated the grand opening of our building at Plymouth and Penn Avenues as a hub for university-community partnerships strengthening North Minneapolis and other urban communities.

Heidi brings to UROC a unique breadth of experience as a collaborative leader, creative thinker, and community-engaged scholar in diverse settings. Her proven strengths as a consensus builder and communicator, her history at forging strong relationships within and outside the university, and her administrative and academic credentials all made her the top choice to lead the center.

As UROC executive director, Heidi will provide both administrative and strategic leadership for UROC. She will work closely with me and in concert with our assistant director of operations and programs Wokie Freeman and community liaison Makeda Zulu-Gillespie, also well known to many of you.

Heidi’s responsibilities are to oversee the next stage of the UROC journey begun five years ago by the University and the Northside community. The University of Minnesota continues to strongly support the UROC mission: to create authentic and fully engaged campus-community partnerships that improve quality of life in North Minneapolis, strengthen the entire region, and build new models of urban development.

Heidi will collaborate with resident programs and community partners to advance community-identified research priorities in education, health, community and economic development, and the arts. She also will focus on developing holistic evaluation tools to measure the impact of our work and a development strategy to support UROC programs over the long term.

I believe Heidi’s experience and strengths make her an ideal choice to address these challenges and to take UROC to the next level. I look forward to officially welcoming Heidi to her new role at a UROC open house in the near future. I hope you will join me—please look for details soon.

Heidi is the associate dean for engagement and faculty development in the College of Education and Human Development and an associate professor (and founding chair) of postsecondary teaching and learning. She also is an affiliate with the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. A sociologist by training, she joined the U of M faculty in 2000 as an assistant professor in General College.

Heidi has a strong history of working to link research and teaching with community needs and to build campus-community partnerships. As a team leader for the Office of Public Engagement, she also is working to create an undergraduate major in multicultural community engagement.

Her research, teaching, and public service focus on issues related to access and equity, especially how to build public schools that support students across differences of race, gender, and class. Another interest is how innovative teaching practices such as service learning may support multicultural learning environments and improve learning outcomes.

Heidi has served as a core member of the University Northside Partnership and helped shape UROC strategic planning as a member of the Action Planning Team. She co-chairs the advisory committee for the Hennepin University Partnership, serves on the oversight body for the county’s AGRAD initiative to boost graduate rates and reduce achievement disparities, and is a board member of Hope Community, a major neighborhood revitalization initiative in South Central Minneapolis.

Heidi is a native of Riverside, Calif.. She received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota as a National Science Foundation Fellow; she also holds a master’s degree in sociology and a B.A. in Spanish and education from the University of Utah. Heidi, who lives in Minneapolis, has four grown children and four grandchildren.

I want to thank the community-University search committee for their active and very thoughtful work of coordinating the search process: cochairs Andrew Furco (University Office of Public Engagement) and Sondra Samuels (PEACE Foundation/Northside Achievement Zone); community members Alyce Dillon (PICA Head Start), Scott Gray (Minneapolis Urban League), and Stella Whitney-West (Northpoint Health and Wellness Center); and University members Ed Goetz (Center for Urban and Regional Affairs), Barbara Grossman (Extension), and Craig Taylor (Office for Business and Community Development and UROC B-TECH Center).

I also want to express my great appreciation for the dedicated service and significant contributions of Geoffrey Maruyama and Rose Brewer, who served with Heidi as member of the interim leadership team and who were also finalists for the executive director position. I am pleased to share with you that both will continue to be involved with UROC activities.

#  #  #

IBNN NEWS and it’s affiliates welcome Ms. Lasley Barajas – but we do have a few questions that have gone unanswered since 2009.

Part 2  – What happened to the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program – the players and the money with documents intercepted by IBNN NEWS to be published.

Metro Transit fares could increase to $5.75 – $7 per ride. Of course local Black elected officials want the community to be the last to know about cuts and the political process

"Did you want the community to re-active versus pro-active?"

Information seems to be a valued asset these days. When you ask, say for instance an executive director of a non-profit what happened to $50,000 worth of funding that showed no results, others in collusion are quick to have his/her back and call you a “trouble-maker” for asking the question in the first place. Now – where are the jobs for Light Rail?

by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

Twin Cities (IBNN NEWS/March 26, 2011)…Politicians elected to office in the Minnesota State Legislature (Democrats), are bamboozling the community of color, it looks like the average citizen might not be able to afford a simple bus ride in the Twin Cities.

Cuts by local politicians are not being met by a strategic plan of action by our (Black) elected officials (It seems they have no voice in St. Paul).

The former vice chairman of the Transportation Oversight Committee in the Minnesota Legislature, state representative Bobby Joe Champion (58B) has not even hinted to the community about the impending cuts proposed by state lawmakers, but continues to create an atmosphere of fear and loathing for the state Republicans who in fact are trying to trim the fat out of spending that has gotten out of hand.

If the Republicans are successful in redirecting funding streams, more focus can be put on Jobs, Economic Development and Education. Don’t be fools by the fear-factor from local Democrats. It’s just a smokescreen they hide behind to so their ineffective drive-by of $30.8 billion dollars is not questioned.

We’ve (the Community) have already been told that the next batch of jobs is coming from the new Vikings stadium – what stadium would Black elected officials be talking about? Say the stadium is built in Blaine, MN – how does that get people of color to work?

Below the letter that says it all. It’s good to have information – too bad we can’t get correct information from local political hacks.  (To get your own copy of this letter click here.)

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ON POINT! Exclusive interview with Star Tribune veteran reporter Randy Furst, Saturday on BlogTalkRadio

Randy Furst is a general assignment reporter at the Star Tribune. He has been reporting almost exclusively on the Metro Gang Strike Force since April 2009. (Photo: Star Trubune)

Star Tribune reporter Randy Furst, author of the recent article, “Our Black-White Jobless Gap: Worst in the Nation” joins co-hosts Ronald A. Edwards and Donald Allen for a conversation you won’t want to miss.

Minneapolis, MN.  BlogTalkRadio (IBNN/ON POINT)…Join co-hosts Ronald A. Edwards and Don Allen on Saturday, March 26th at 4 p.m. (CST), for a comprehensive review of recent local economic trends that led city’s leading newspaper to publish an article deeming the city to be “”Worst In the Nation,” with regard to the Black-White employment gap.

ON POINT has also invited several other guests to join the conversation.  Brooklyn Park mayoral candidate Wynfred Russell will discuss how he feels local politicians have failed the Black populations of Minnesota. Is there a way to motivate the complacent Negro leadership to actually get stuff done?

This special 90-minute program will feature news about the construction of the new Minneapolis Public School district headquarters, and whether or not the MPS board members, administration and equity and diversity personnel understand the real definition of “inclusion.

To tune in from your home computer, laptop, iPad or Smartphone®, click here or go to,

We invite listeners to call in with comments, suggestions and other issues they want to discuss. The toll-free number is 877-572-4288.

Other topics for Saturday’s program include:

  • Mark Dayton, Bobby Joe Champion, Jeff Hayden and the Democrats Dog and   Pony Show.
  • Minneapolis Department of Civil Right Shredding.
  • Minneapolis Public Schools Equity and Diversity Department no CBA.
  • Mortenson Constructions role in the new district headquarters.
  • The MPS  “Fixer.”
  • Where’s Legacy Construction and 40%?
  • Why Minnesota’s Republican Party will pick up steam in the Black Community.
  • What happen to the separation between church and state?

Exclusive interview with veteran reporter Randy Furst, Saturday ON POINT!

Randy Furst (Photo: Star Tribune)
Star Tribune reporter Randy Furst, author of the recent article, “Our Black-White Jobless Gap: Worst in the Nation” joins co-hosts Ronald A. Edwards and Donald Allen for a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Minneapolis, MN.  BlogTalkRadio (IBNN/ON POINT)…Join co-hosts Ronald A. Edwards and Don Allen for a comprehensive review of recent local economic trends that led city’s leading newspaper to publish an article deeming the city to be “”Worst In the Nation,” with regard to the Black-White employment gap.
ON POINT has also invited several other guests to join the conversation.  Brooklyn Park mayoral candidate Wynfred Russell will discuss how he feels local politicians have failed the Black populations of Minnesota. Is there a way to motivate the complacent Negro leadership to actually get stuff done?
This special 90-minute program will feature news about the construction of the new Minneapolis Public School district headquarters, and whether or not the MPS board members, administration and equity and diversity personnel understand the real definition of “inclusion.”
Saturday’s other topics include:

  • Mark Dayton, Bobby Joe Champion, Jeff Hayden and the Democrats Dog and   Pony Show.
  • Minneapolis Department of Civil Right Shredding. 
  • Minneapolis Public Schools Equity and Diversity Department no CBA. 
  • Mortenson Constructions role in the new district headquarters. 
  • The MPS  “Fixer.” 
  • Where’s Legacy Construction and 40%? 
  • Why Minnesota’s Republican Party will pick up steam in the Black Community.
  • What happen to the separation between church and state? 

We invite listeners to call in with comments, suggestions and other issues they want to discuss. 
The toll-free number is 877-572-4288.

SHRED-GATE 2011: Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, City Council need to explain SHRED-GATE

SHRED-GATE 2011: Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights…Oops!

“Can you hear me now? If you can’t you better ask somebody!”

Important and sometime useless phone numbers: MDCR (612) 673-3012

by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

Mini-hope-less, MN (IBNN NEWS/March 24, 2011)…This is just one of the many dysfunctional Minneapolis departments ran by the team of mayor R.T. Rybak and Ward 5 city councilman Don “Get Rich over North” Samuels.

Sources tell IBNN NEWS that many residents of Minneapolis who have filed complaints have tried to contact the Minneapolis Department of Civil Shredding (Rights) today, and have met with an answering machine.


We seem to keep traveling down the same road, with more reports that contain the information on solutions and the Rybak, DFL political plantation just walks away and buys water fountains.

IBNN NEWS and it’s affiliates suggest if you’ve had a claim with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights with in the last 4 years, you might want to give them a call or stop in and visit them.

Ask them to let you SEE a copy of your case file. Chances are – it’s been shredded.

Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights case backlog eliminated — by shredding

“Breaking News Report!:

BUSTED! The following article was published in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder on March 23, 2011. With permission, IBNN NEWS brings you one story in a series by Civil Rights Activist Ron Edwards which shows Minneapolis is the “Worst in the Nation.” (Star Tribune Newspaper ~3/23/11)

By Ronald A. Edwards, Through My Eyes, ON POINT, Black Focus

Minneapolis, MN. (Source: MSR)…Last week’s column (3/16/11) reported three Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) personnel who have emerged as heroes in exposing serious ongoing ethical and illegal MDCR breaches. This week, a fourth: Ronald G. Brandon, former chief supervisor of the MDCR Investigative Unit.

His ouster from the department and City of Minneapolis came after his expressions of serious concern to superiors of the tampering with cases under investigation within the department. Some feel it was the case of Glenda Telford and her two children that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Evidence shows that during the week of February 5, 2010, a very peculiar assignment was given to MDCR investigators: Supervise temporary employees in the destruction by shredding of hundreds of MCDR civil rights complaint cases filed by citizens.

It is clear that most of these cases were not investigated despite their receiving letters claiming investigation. All but one received an MDCR letter denying their claims on the grounds of no probable cause.

Peculiar to the retaliation against Mr. Brandon was the sequence of, first, his promotion to assistant director by the new director, Velma Korbel, only to be then demoted in less than two months. Rumor has it that he thought the new incoming director wanted to do the right thing.

To his surprise and demise, he found himself forced out of employment by the City of Minneapolis and replaced by the man who had been the chief investigator under Korbel in the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, an individual who had previously been acting director of the MDCR prior to the arrival of Michael Jordan, Ms. Korbel’s predecessor.

Mr. Brandon was assigned to Regulatory Services. Within weeks he was told the position had been eliminated. He became one more City employee joining the ranks of the unemployed, betrayed for doing his job.

Here are a few of the names from a list I have received of citizens who had filed civil rights complaints against major institutions and businesses in Minneapolis, including the police department, only to have their cases denied and purged by shredding, many done during the week of February 5, 2010:

Alemu Abebe, Case File #A6149-PA-5

Kebede Belay, Case File #A6518-EM-1A-RP

James Davis, Case File #A6450-EM-1A

Tonya Glover, Case File #A6635-EM-1A-RP

Bernard Harris, Case File #10-092589-PS-1A-7-RP

Juvenile, Case File #09-14391-PS-1A

Juvenile, Case File #09-14-406-PS-1A

Carol Kelley, Case File #09-23928-EM-10-11

Linda Reynolds, Case File #A6444-RE-1A

Glenda Telford, File #09-07461 (no case file number)

Cordell Watkins, Case File #A6636-EM-1A-RP

Mamie Young, Case File #A6375-EM-1A-5

These cases’ files were not only shredded, but never investigated, which Ronald G. Brandon could not and would not tolerate. It cost him his job and his career.

In my column of last week, I reported how a former contract compliance investigator and attorney, Loren Marker, confronted the Minneapolis City Council in their session of March 2, 2011, with evidence and allegations of criminal and civil malfeasance during the time that she was employed as a contract compliance specialist. That should have been a red flag to the city council, but for whatever reason, it was not.

I also reported that Mr. Calderone submitted written documentation that he had been ordered to provide unverifiable diversity numbers in both hiring and contracts on the $200 million U of M Children’s Hospital project. It is rumored that Ron Brandon did as Eddy Calderone did: He alerted his supervisors of questionable patterns and practices within the MDCR regarding both compliance in diversity hiring and contract practices and in reporting false diversity compliance numbers after the fact.

At the time of Mr. Calderon’s declaration to Michael J. Rumppe of the Human Resources Department, others also became aware, such as Mr. James Patterson, who was also forced out of the department, and Marvin “Corky” Taylor, then deputy director of the MDCR, who was soon demoted and is now on track to be terminated from his position as a contract compliance specialist.

This disturbing pattern shakes to the foundation any level of confidence or trust in the City of Minneapolis and its Civil Rights Department: filed complaints not investigated; filed complaints shredded; filed complaints, with one exception, responded to with letters denying claims on the grounds of no probable cause. These letters were posted within a period of March-April and early May 2010, corresponding to the events and assignments of the week of February 5, 2010.

At least seven specialists were brought in during that week. Under temporary contracts and supervised by permanent investigators in the MDCR, they purged citizen complaints, preparing to make the mayor look good on his announcement four months before that the Civil Rights Department no longer had a case backlog.

We’ll have more over the next five weeks. Stay tuned.

Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm and co-hosts BlogTalkRadio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at Hear his readings and read his solution papers and “web log” at

Punk’d by our People: Irresponsible Black leaders make Minneapolis the Worst in the Nation

There is a blur in the separation between church and state in north Minneapolis. While clergy, poverty-pimps, and wannabe celebrity politicians ready themselves to bring Governor Mark Dayton to north Minneapolis, the Constitution of the United States is being adjusted to fit the needs of the few “Over Norf.”

By Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

"Show me a plan!"

Mini-hope-less, MN (IBNN NEWS/March 23, 2011)…In an excellent comprehensive story written by the Star Tribune’s veteran writer Randy Furst titled, “Our Black-White Jobless Gap: Worst in the Nation,” describes a catastrophic breakdown in not only Black and White relations in Minneapolis but also an economic disenfranchisement between a race of people that have been used for over 50 years to gain funding from local, state and federal agencies in the name of God and helping poor people. (Article will be available online Friday)

Solving poverty in Minneapolis has never been a priority from any social service agency. Keeping funding streams moving ahead to make payroll is, and always has been the priority. We also must look very closely at the Minneapolis Department of Civil Right, who in order to reduce their case load have shredded complaint files and has not come up with a solid comprehensive plan to address contract compliance both internally and externally.

Minneapolis’ 5th Congressional District has a representative in Congress who is quick to shed tears for people from another country while his constituents can’t find work; have to decide between gas or food; and the city he lives in makes sure poverty remains a distraction even if a Black person gets a job, he/she is required to make 40% less than his/her White counterpart.

State Representative Bobby Joe Champion told a crowded room of community members in north Minneapolis, “There will be jobs on the new stadium!” My questions to Rep. Champion – “What stadium would you be talking about?”

That’s irresponsible.

The two Black elected state representatives for Minneapolis poorest neighborhoods are too busy collaborating with clergy to see who can sit next to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton at the March 30th economic summit in north Minneapolis. In all due respect, I’m sure Governor Dayton wears a great smelling cologne, but more importantly the people of north Minneapolis need his attention, not the other elected officials who continually don’t listen and frown on the lower one-third of the community.

What happens when the there is no separation between church and state? What is the reason community Black leaders (or spokespersons) in Minneapolis have become ineffective in delivering a solid plan of action in a city with such a small Black-American population?

The Black Community has watched funding for after-school tutoring programs bypass Black youth and awarded to every other community, but yet – it is our children that are failing; it is our children that don’t graduate from high school. But the powers that make the decisions already know, the Black Community in Minneapolis has no leadership, no voice, no respect.

Therefore it is easy to ignore a request for a meeting with the Minneapolis Public Schools Equity and Diversity Department to ask the district were are the jobs promised to the Black Community? Regardless if Black men head the public schools equity and diversity department, these men have no power; no say and more interesting, no guts.

The community has lost faith in the usual suspects.

Economic Summit in North Minneapolis: Representative Bob Gunther Chairman of Jobs and Economic Development Finance not invited. Is it because he’s a Republican? (Send in the Clowns Part 3.0 on Steroids)

A meeting was held today (3/22 @ 11 a.m.) at New Salem Baptist Church in north Minneapolis as part of the planning committee for Governor Mark Dayton’s economic summit in north Minneapolis on March 30th from 3:30-5 p.m. (read more here).  Sources tell IBNN that State Representative Bobby Joe Champion has high-jacked the forum and wants to control the information to the governor. One thing Rep. Champion doesn’t understand, Governor Dayton and many more read this blog.

"Two of these things belong together. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you guess which one?"

by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

North Minneapolis, MN (IBNN NEWS/March 22, 2011)…Representative Bob Gunther (R) District: 24A form Fairmont, Minnesota is in his 9th term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Today IBNN NEWS called his office to see if Rep. Gunther was extended an invitation to this very important Economic Summit in north Minneapolis.

It turns out, from talking to Rep. Gunther’s administrative assistant, the Republican does not have this event on his calendar, which leads us to believe he was never extended an invite. The pettiness of the DFL elected Black politicians has led to what most are calling a train wreck in community by in.

While the north Minneapolis braces for what is expected to be a dead-end conversation with the community under the marque of an “Economic Summit,” local stakeholders have let it be known there is no “buy-in” because elected political “organizers” have not listened to the needs of the many.

With the exclusion of the Republican representative brings in to play the lack of non-partisan politics in north Minneapolis. There is a plan underway now to have the Republican arm of the Minnesota House of Representative to hold an informational forum in north Minneapolis – the topic, Economic Development, Light Rail Transit, Jobs and opportunities. Furthermore, it’s clear the community needs to hear something other than rhetoric from Champion and Hayden.

It was important for State Representatives Bobby Joe Champion (58B) and Jeff Hayden (61B) to reach out to Rep. Gunther simple because of his appointment as the chairman of Jobs and Economic Development Finance State Government Finance Ways and Means Committee.  Residents in north Minneapolis have polled that economic development and finance are very important issues in a community that has been abandoned by elected, Black celebrity politicians, or event planners – which ever you prefer.

This heinous oversight by the dynamic duo of community organizing has left a wide gap in accurate information being supplied to the community by a DFL political plantation that feeds of keeping poop people poor in support of social service funding that has led to a dead end.

“There are those in the community who understand we don’t have to go through Rep. Champion or Rep. Hayden to talk with Governor Dayton.”

Every event the duo puts on is an absolute failure. What makes this Economic Summit any different? Why would the community want to here that the Republicans would cut funding for programs? Why don’t Champion and Hayden explain why they sat on their butt when the DFL was in control of the state legislature?

Furthermore, you’re not fooling anyone – when was the last time the Star Tribune or the Pioneer Press called either Champion or Hayden for a comment on an issue?

If the mainstream media can spot “rookies,” what makes these guys think the community is so stupid?

Even more important, rather than talking about issues, why aren’t these to writing laws that positively affect the poor, unemployed and homeless in their respective districts? Something’s got to give.

With all due respect to Governor Mark Dayton, this blog supports your efforts as governor, but questions the motivation behind the state representatives to hold a forum at UROC with self-serving, community invisible, non-contributing people that use highly offensive terms that deliberately insult the communities value and importance by a lack of cordial and diplomatic relationship.

Mr. Dayton, I wouldn’t be mad at you if you bailed out now – run, get away from this dog and pony show.

The community will still support you for standing up against absurdity.

SLAVEGATE 2011: Minneapolis Public Schools Equity and Diversity Department in regards to Women/Minority Participation – IBNN NEWS Exclusive Report (Part 2)

“Do Black men really got to work for free in north Minneapolis?” ~SLAVEGATE 2011.

IBNN NEWS has received several telephone communications about the conditions of housing for men participating in the program Network for Better Futures. IBNN has obtained video footage of roaches, mice and bedbugs infesting housing of these men, who in our view deserve a second change, but have been involved in what we call a “second prance.” IBNN attests that dollars for salvage were apart of the original contract agreement but not paid to NBF workers. No word yet on the 40% role that Legacy Construction is playing on the new district headquarters project. A whole lot more to come. IBNN NEWS will not stop until the alleged corruption is surfaced.

by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/IBNN NEWS and Black Politics in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, MN. (IBNN NEWS/Exclusive Report)…In IBNN’s Part 1 of SLAVEGATE 2011, we reported that men from the north Minneapolis non-profit organization Network for Better Futures worked a total of 728 hours on the new Minneapolis Public Schools District Headquarters for no pay from the district or Mortenson Construction. (See the videos and read the full story here.)

Community activist and political figure Mr. Troy Parker delivered a list of questions to the Minneapolis Public Schools “Equity and Diversity” department in regards to minority and women participation on the new education service center being built at 1200 West Broadway Avenue North in Minneapolis. (See the report from Mortenson/Thor here)

This also comes on the heels of a press release being put out by the Minneapolis Public Schools citing, “Diverse business partners goal exceeded by 20 percent for new MPS Educational Service Center.”  (Read the press release here.)

Clearly, based on the questions asked by Mr. Parker, the notion of goals being exceeded by 20% on the Education Service Center is nothing more than public relations rhetoric and falsehood crafted by the Equity and Diversity department without a thorough examination of the facts.  IBNN alleges the ESC project could be a violation of federal law. Mortenson cannot use non-compensated, non-profit organization workers in their participation numbers as told to the ESC Oversight Committee in December 2010 by the Saint Paul Human Rights Director Luz María Frías, who also sits on the ESC Oversight Committee. (Read, “Greens, Cornbread and Fried Chicken: Who’s cooking the numbers on participation on the new District Headquarters? Part 1 IBNN NEWS Exclusive Report)

“One thing to note, no residents or community stakeholders from north Minneapolis sits on the ESC Oversight Committee.  Truly an oversight?”

“Can we get a confirmation that Steel MADE IN AMERICA is being used?”

No answers about where the steel being used on the new Education Service Center is being shipped in from, but as we expected answers are hard to come by.

Below are the questions that Mr. Troy Parker sent to the Minneapolis Public Schools to gain clarity about the participation of minorities and women on the new headquarters project.

Please note the switch and bait of the Equity and Diversity department not answering questions in their entirety.

Unedited: (IBNN comments in red.)

New Education Service Center Minority/Women Participation Questions and Answers from Troy Parker

1.    Did the work by Network for Better Futures ents/participants come as a result of a contract with the Network for Better Futures or were the individuals hired directly?

The work with Network for Better Futures (“NBF”) was arranged between NBF and Mortenson Construction.  No monetary contract for payment was entered between NBF and Mortenson.  Instead in exchange for providing demolition and removal services, NBF was permitted to keep all salvaged materials. Indentured Servitude in north Minneapolis. What was salvaged; How much money was made from garbage taken out of the Broadway School site? No answers provided by officials involved.

2.    What were the contracted dollar amounts, if any?

See response to question number 1.  There were no contracted dollar amounts.But yet, the original bid includes salvage attached to a dollar amount. Why didn’t the Network for Better Futures participants receive payment with money on the table for the work? Secondly, where is the money?

3.    What wage rate did the workers receive?

See response to question number 2.  NBF workers did not receive any wages from Mortenson.  We are not aware if NBF paid any wages directly to workers.

4.    Was this awarded by RFP or not?

There was not an RFP issued for this work.  This work is also not counted in community participation goals. Per the Saint Paul Human Rights Director Luz María Frías in December’s ESC Oversight Committee meeting, “You cannot use a non-profit program in workforce numbers or gaols.”

5.    We were informed that this construction program is voluntary for Mortenson/Legacy, so what are the actual contract stipulations?

The contract requirements for this project are: (Lifted right off the contract, with no thought put into the answers)

WMBE Contracting
MPS, Mortenson, Thor and Legacy are committed to providing 25% of the project to Minority and Women Owned businesses with the breakdown of 15% minority owned business and 10% women owned business.

Workforce Diversity
MPS, Mortenson, Thor and Legacy are committed to maximizing the employment opportunities for women and minorities on this project.  The goals are: 25% minority and 5% women expressed as a percentage of the total work hours of the project. IBNN NEWS and its affiliates have sent a request for information to the MPS to review the contract between Mortenson/Thor/Legacy and to see how much money was allocated for demolition, salvage and clean-up. No contracts have been provided to the ESC Oversight Committee or community members Y-T-D.
6.    Should not Legacy and Thor update the committee at every meeting on their contracted portion of the project?

Legacy and Thor will not separately update the Oversight Committee at each meeting.  Legacy is a ____% partner with Mortenson on the development portion of the project and Thor is a  ____% partner with Thor on the construction portion of the project.  (Lynn please fill in the blanks) The MPS Diversity and Equity Department and Mortenson Construction failed to fill in the percentages, which we allege will show a “cooking of the numbers. The reports given by the Equity and Diversity department are superficial at best and have never offered a complete diagnostic of current goals; goals reached and lists of participants to support verbal statements.

7.    If mechanical and electrical contractors claims are that they reached 36% W/MBE participation, what percentage of the 36% is for supplies/materials only and what percentage includes installation?  **** Note: and please also include dollar amounts for each percentage referenced.***

The mechanical and electrical contractor percentage of minority and women owned business participation is 40% year to date.  The percentage of work is not separated by supplies/materials and installation. No documentation has been provided by the MPS or Mortenson to confirm this statement.

8.    Why are we not enforcing skilled workforce participation?  These are the skills that are transferable from one project to another.  These funds should be an investment in our community, and allowing the opportunity for our community to receive skilled training is a real investment.  Unskilled labor is hard to place in future employment.

Skilled and unskilled worker participation has been combined in order to provide better opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers.  For those positions and services where skilled workers are needed but not available, companies needing those skilled workers will not be able to rely upon this lack of availability as an excuse for not meeting participation goals.  Instead, they will be required to act creatively and fulfill participation goals with unskilled positions when necessary. This will not work, another smoke-screen.

9.    We have offered to assist Ms. Littlejohn, Mortenson and any others with their participation efforts and was informed by Ms. Littlejohn that they had all the participation required.  Therefore, we are now asking MPS, will you stand firm on all inclusions goals regular or stretch considering that Ms. Littlejohn is refusing community assistance to this point.

To our knowledge, Mortenson and Ms. Littlejohn have not refused community assistance in meeting community participation goals.  In fact the opposite has been true.  Mortenson has engaged various community organizations and minority and women owned business associations in order to increase opportunities for women and minority businesses.  MPS will hold Mortenson, Thor and Legacy accountable for all community participation goals. Mortenson Construction has rejected community outreach assistance on more than two occasions.

10.    Are any of the Committee Members, North Minneapolis residents?  If not, why did MPS Board Members allow a Committee to be established without a North Minneapolis resident, especially when the goal of the project was to support, enhance and include North Minneapolis?

To our knowledge none of the Oversight Committee members live in North Minneapolis.  Members of the committee were selected based upon their knowledge and experience in helping their respective organizations establish and attain community participation goals on various projects.  In addition, one member of the committee is the faith leader of a northside Minneapolis church whose congregation will play an integral part in the development of partnerships and relationships in the community for MPS.  Lastly, Council member Don Samuels selected a member of the northside business community to participate on the Oversight Committee.  So although no resident of the northside community is on the committee, the committee does reflect the interest of northside organizations and businesses and will provide invaluable oversight for MPS and the community.

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Until the correct and complete information is provided, IBNN NEWS will continue to investigate the heinous use of Black men for slave labor in north Minneapolis.
SLAVEGATE 2011 continues…

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