How should Mayor Hodges address disparity in Minneapolis?

New Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. Jennifer Simonson / MPR News

When Mayor Betsy Hodges and the City Council get down to business this year, they promise that racial equality will be on the agenda, writes MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert.

The city’s need to narrow wide disparities between white residents and minority communities — in education, employment, health and other areas — was a recurring theme as the city swore in a diverse new City Council on Monday.

Although such gaps exist throughout the country, they are worse in the Twin Cities than just about anywhere else, a problem that Mayor Betsy Hodges mentioned to President Barack Obama when she met with him last month.

“I told him it must be possible for white people and people of color to all thrive in one city and in one region, and that we in Minneapolis, we would be ones to do it,” vowed Hodges at today’s inauguration ceremony. “And I told the president of the United States, that my goal for Minneapolis is just that — to get that right.”

Hodges didn’t outline specific policy proposals for achieving that goal, but promised they would come later. She painted a picture of a future where north, northeast and central Minneapolis experience accelerating growth.

Today’s Question: How should Mayor Hodges address disparity in Minneapolis?

  • J Bjorke

    Living wage jobs, desegregated communities, adequate health care for all.

  • Twylia

    Change the culture within schools. Start by translating school meetings simultaneously. Today, the Spanish speakers huddle in one corner of the room. Somali speakers in another corner of the room. The meeting runs full bore in English. This style doesn’t support collaboration. It supports segregation. By the time what’s being said in English is translated the meeting is over. The Spanish and Somali speakers aren’t provided the courtesy to interject, ask questions or share their opinion. At best they simply know what was said. English speakers should say 5 words and then wait for the translations. Allowing full participation of everyone at the meeting. When I ask that this occur. I’m told it takes too much time. I believe a diverse community is worth the time.

    • Lisa H

      English is the universal language, here & around the world. For those who want to participate in the process, they better learn english or they lose. Life cannot be translated to them forever. Those immigrants that are not immersing themselves into our Minneapolis, MN culture by learning the language face isolation. It all comes down to the choices we make.

  • Tanya

    Living wages, better affordable childcare and early childhood education, better schools, better public transportation. It is a big, daunting task and she will never achieve it alone, but I don’t think it is impossible.

    • AndyBriebart

      Isn’t that what Minneapolis has been doing for the last 30+ years?

      Seems the more government meddles in social engineering, the worse things get.

      • Ralphy

        Aren’t all government programs “social engineering” at some level?

        • AndyBriebart

          Plowing the streets? Police and fire? Street lights, pothole maintenance?

          • JQP

            how you execute says a lot about who you are servicing.

          • Gayle

            Police and fire – do you seriously believe those are color blind? Infra-structure services? The streets and alleys in SW Minneapolis get maintained to a much higher level than in the Phillips or near north neighborhoods. Try again to name a government service that isn’t to some degree social engineering.

      • JQP

        the web puts a wholly geometric and sometimes exponential amplification to the problems – for both sides.

        the left wants to show :
        – everything is worse to get funding.
        – everything is better because of social spending

        the right want to show
        – everything is fine as is to decrease social funding
        – everything is worse to justify more criminal punishment.

        both parties are two headed idiots.
        Government isn’t the problem our political parties are. they’ve become the institutional embodiment of the general populations inability to consume massive amounts of repetitious data. Or maybe they are simply profiting on it.
        The only recession proof industry America has is politics.

  • apples321

    I think it’s important to include all demographics in the discussion. This can’t be one group telling another group what’s best for them, it seems like it has to be a discussion among all parties.

  • B Rose

    Bringing the topic of disparity up is the first step. The next step is to get people to believe it.

    • Jamie

      I have no problem believing there is a disparity of results. My problem is believing that there is a disparity of opportunity in a racial sense versus an economic sense.

  • See_BS

    Nerdy White Liberals got to ditch Military Service during the Vietnam war. Tax Revenue is going to fake nerdy white liberal arts professions, like child support Collectors, Social Workers, public school teachers, psychologists, journalists and government workers.

    Universities let nerdy white people who couldn’t pass math and science classes take easy nerdy white liberal arts programs to avoid military service during Vietnam – it was war profiteering!

    Now instead of building factories with tax revenue, nerdy white people are pretending to be the “Middle men” and “Gate Keepers” to a fake nerdy white liberal society for minorities.

    • Lisa H

      Stick to the topic. You’re talkin’ BS.

      • See_BS

        I’m perfectly on topic and addressing nerdy white minority profiteers.

  • AndyBriebart

    If R.T Rybek is so revered, why did he do such a lousy job at this?

    It seems to me, the more social problems we try to “solve”, the worse they get.

    • KTN

      Spoken like a privileged white guy – nicely done.

      • AndyBriebart

        So why wasn’t R.T. successful? What did it get worse under his administration?

        • KTN

          Worse how? Not sure this is a normative measure, better or worse. I don’t have the answer to why the Mayor was or was not successful, but regardless of the outcome- and remember this is not a zero sum game, at least there was the old college try.
          You could give people a box full of money every week, and they would still find a way to fu** it up. Others, however, don’t need handouts, they just need a fair shake, like primary education that refuses to follow boundaries – giving all kids a chance at learning.

          • AndyBriebart

            Same old talk for the last 40 years. Yawn!

      • See_BS

        You sound just like mass murderers in the Soviet union – copy cat!

    • TJeff

      Results don’t matter – only the ability to pretend to show compassion. Not singling out RT here, but the whole body politic.

      It doesn’t matter whether you accomplish anything. As long as you can get your constituents to believe you’re on their side, you can bumble along replacing things that work with things that sound good, and keep getting re-elected.

  • TJeff

    “In a study for the National Center for Policy Analysis, David
    Henderson found that there is a big difference between families in the
    top 20 percent and bottom 20 percent of the income distribution:
    Families at the top tend to be married and both partners work. Families
    at the bottom often have only one adult in the household and that person
    either works part-time or not at all: In 2006, a whopping 81.4 percent
    of families in the top income quintile had two or more people working,
    and only 2.2 percent had no one working. By contrast, only 12.6 percent
    of families in the bottom quintile had two or more people working; 39.2
    percent had no one working. … Having children without a husband tends to
    make you poor. Not working makes you even poorer. And there is nothing
    new about that. These are age old truths. They were true 50 years ago, a
    hundred years ago and even 1,000 year ago. Lifestyle choices have
    always mattered.” ~ Columnist John C. Goodman

    • Lisa H

      Dear John,
      We always feel for the poor, the down trodden, the overwhelmed single parent, the homeless, the hungry, etc. but life is about choices. Do these people ever stop & ask themselves: How many kids can I/we feasibly provide/care for, am I making a wise choice in the partner I choose, will I get &/or complete an education (high school or higher), am I having sex with people who will be a good parent or provider if (heavens to Betsy) I should get pregnant or impregnate, will I experiment with drugs, will I join a gang? Life comes down to choices & we can not legislate these types of things. It is wrong to give people the notion that society will always bail them out no matter what they decide or not decide to do. Maybe the schools need to start doing more personal responsibility training in schools. What did people do before social security, disability insurance, unemployment assistance & WIC? I know…..Personal responsibility!!!

  • PaulJ

    In our small world, we’ll almost all be equally downtrodden until the global system is fixed. A Mpls mayor could support strict unionization, but then the jobs would just move to St Paul etc.

  • lindblomeagles

    I applaud the Mayor and the City Council for “addressing disparities” as priority number one! The City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota CAN NOT SIT IDLY with these disparities while the rest of the country touts Minnesota as being very open to people of all color. MN Sure might help some of the health disparities, but jobs and K-12 education HAS GOT TO CHANGE for the better if this priority is to be solved.