Barb Johnson unloads on Mpls officials for investing in studies, not core issues [VIDEO]

BarbJohnsonRect.jpg
Johnson: "I want people to tell me how much of their time is being spent on these multiple reports... we have more pressing needs."
One of the discussion points during yesterday's Minneapolis City Council Committee of the Whole meeting was about a study intended to identify strategies for addressing racial inequalities in the city. That the city is investing resources in that doesn't sit well with Council President Barbara Johnson, who said she'd rather have staff spend their time on more pressing issues.

"I remember taking a government class in college -- public safety is the number one responsibility of government," Johnson, who represents a good part of north Minneapolis, said. "We have neighborhoods in this city -- on Lowry and Morgan the other day, Tuesday I believe it was, somebody fired six shots at a car [in] an ongoing gang war that is going on right in our city, and so I'm just curious as to what kind of staff time we're talking about and exactly what our priorities are as a city."

See also:
U of M to spend money on study investigating whether it spends too much money

Johnson heated up from there.

"I am so frustrated about this. I see it as another task force, another report, another reporting mechanism -- I've got all the reporting mechanisms I need," she continued. "I get these reports every single week from the police department where in my neighborhood 60 shots are fired every single week and in the rest of the city it's 10. What are we doing about that? When are we gonna spend some time on that?"

In response to Johnson, Council Member Elizabeth Glidden argued that pursuing long-term goals shouldn't prevent the city from addressing immediate public safety concerns.

"We have to be able to do what's in front of us and address those priority issues while at the same time putting together the guiding framework that hopefully will allow us to achieve the goals we have identified as a city," Glidden said.

Glidden's sentiment was echoed by Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel.

"I suppose if we don't care that there is a segment of the city has to continue to live on the margins for a generation, I suppose we can stop doing the work," Korbel said. "The City Council and the mayor set the priorities for what happens in this city, [and] 10 out of 13 of you I'm certain said that equity and racial equity were priorities for you during this most recent campaign."

But Johnson held her ground.

"It frustrates me to no end because I will tell you, everybody that ran on racial equity and all this sort of thing have no clue what it is like to live in the community and not be able to have your kids ride their bikes out in front of their house because they might have gunshots fired at them," Johnson said.

Reached for comment today, Johnson says the city's Racial Equity Action Plan represents "the latest outgrowth of how to deal with a problem that is kind of entrenched."

"Over the years there have been efforts to do it through different names -- affirmative action, diversity, cultural competence -- and people get trained in them, and the latest it seems to me is this racial equity thing," she tells us. "We're going over the same ground is what I want to say... it's just talk, talk, talk."

But Johnson doesn't want to be understood as suggesting all city efforts outside the realm of immediate needs is a waste of time.

"We have strategies that I believe have been shown to work," Johnson says. "We've got a STEP-UP program that high school students are involved in, working in different sectors getting real job experience and actually some money coming in the door. We have an Urban Scholars program in our city that has targeted young people of color that are in college to try and get them some real life experience working in the city. That's been a big success, and those are the kinds of things that work and produce results."

"Why not invest more in that rather than tie up all this staff time working on another report?" Johnson adds. "Another 'toolkit'? That's a buzzword. Send the kid to college is my message."

To see video of the animated exchange Johnson had with Glidden and Korbel yesterday, click to page two.


My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
hogwash22
hogwash22

Velma korbel has a long track record of using massive amounts of employee time creating new policies, workflow changes, committees etc. and getting absolutely nothing done at the end of the day. She does, however, excel at micromanaging her staff.

Alirox
Alirox

My johnson unloaded the other night too, though it was on shit-faced bar skank rather than on Minneapolis officials.

HongPong
HongPong

Barb Johnson should stop hedgefund front companies from gobbling up all real estate on Northside @atrupar

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Why don't we create a study to see if a drinking bird in front of a keyboard would provide more social, economic, and environmental change then the buffoons in the capital (both MN and DC)

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

Government is now all a lie!  No matter which party you subscribe to.

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

Johnsons right, but she's still a DFL statist.   These lacky's are ruining the City.  These leftists  why the City of Mpls is shrinking and fewer and fewer people want to live here.   Racial Equity?  What a bunch of race merchants this council is. 


Kenny Peterson
Kenny Peterson

As one DFL'er in the State House stated, as a tactic to avoid (or evade) a vote on marijuana legalization: "We'll have to table this legislation so we can conduct a study on the medical effects of marijuana", or words to that effect. REALLY? Politicians never met a study they didn't love: they originate a study, then try to convince you that they need to be reelected be a use the five-year study is still in process and - of course - they're the only person qualified to oversee the changes that will be needed based on the results. What a bunch of scam artists!

Dean131
Dean131

I don't want to watch the whole hour and a half - at what point does this take place? 

Andrew Berg
Andrew Berg

Government isn't about *solving* problems. It's about forming committee after committee after committee to procure study after study after study about "solving" the problem. By the time it's done the people who even brought up the issue are long gone :(

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

This person gets it. Anyone that stands on the left or right and points fingers should really point the finger at themselves.

horatiorincewind
horatiorincewind

@kurt124  "These leftists  why the City of Mpls is shrinking and fewer and fewer people want to live here."  

Citation please.  Otherwise you're just making up shit that is entirely untrue.  

atrupar
atrupar moderator

@Dean131  Looks like the queuing feature doesn't work for mobile. The interesting stuff begins at roughly the 39:00 mark.

atrupar
atrupar moderator

@Dean131  The video should be queued up to start right when the exchange begins.

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@horatiorincewind   The liberals that run the city of Minneapolis care about only one thing:  down town.  They want to build down town into a shrine - unto them selves and liberal thought.   They may bankrupt us along the way.

Attracting more people?   Well certainly not outside the boundaries of down town. 

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@horatiorincewind @kurt124Get a clue!  The facts do the talking.  Consult a census and weep!   High crime, higher and higher taxes, extreme regulatory state, and idiocy as explained in the article.   

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...