Liberal Follies on the Minneapolis City Council

This headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune caught my eye: Mpls. City Council president frustrated, angry over racial equity plan. Here is the story:

In a rare display of emotion, City Council President Barb Johnson said she’s frustrated and angry at the time employees at Minneapolis City Hall are spending on a plan to close racial disparities, noting the rampant gunshots and other problems afflicting her North Side ward. …

Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel addressed council members about a project called the Racial Equity Action Plan, which would identify strategies for improving minority citizens’ health, academic achievement, job opportunities and other areas in which they lag behind whites.

It is fair to say that this wish list goes far beyond the traditional competency of a municipal city council.

It would draw on input from many stakeholders, including people across City Hall departments, and builds on a new 28-point assessment for city workers to consider racial equity in their decisionmaking.

Which means to distribute those pothole repairs equally, I suppose. The Council President explained her concerns:

Johnson said she was late to the meeting because of “critical issues” in her ward, including drug arrests and gunshots, and that people she’s asked for help in dealing with public safety are spending a lot of time on the equity plan instead.

“I am so frustrated about this,” she said. “I see it as another task force, another report, another reporting mechanism. I’ve got all the reporting mechanisms I need. … I’m really angry. I want an estimate of staff time, I want to know from each of these people how much time are you spending on these multiple, multiple initiatives that we’re using to produce more reports.

Some might think it impractical for city government to achieve the utopian objective of those race reports, but others say there is precedent for the Minneapolis City Council addressing global issues successfully:

Supporters of the equity plan say it can offer benchmarks and goals similar to the city’s existing plan on reducing climate change.

The Minneapolis City Council has a plan to control the Earth’s climate? Who knew? My guess is that the Council will have as powerful an impact on racial disparities as it has had on global temperatures. In the meantime, the very real problems of crime, street repair and lack of economic development take a back seat.


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