COMMUNITY VOICES | Minneapolis DFL Party should apologize

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The Minneapolis DFL Party owes the citizens of Minneapolis an apology and ought to make a statement to that effect — whether by resolution or otherwise — at its upcoming city convention.

At its convention last year, the Party refused even to consider a resolution expressing the will of the body on the proposed “People’s Stadium.” This was five days before the Minneapolis City Council’s Committee of the Whole — with 12 DFLers out of its 13 members — was going to take the key vote on the stadium bill the legislature had passed. But the Minneapolis DFL Convention remained silent.

How is that defensible?

The primary business to be conducted at that convention was endorsement of school board candidates. But it was clear that after the at-large endorsements had been voted on, a motion would be made and passed to adjourn so that the smaller political units could make their district school board endorsements. This would mean the resolutions portion of the agenda would fall by the wayside.

So at the time the agenda was being considered for adoption, a motion was made to move to the top of the agenda a 10-minute discussion on a stadium resolution. The chair of the Minneapolis DFL Party, without mentioning his other interests in this issue, spoke out against revising the agenda, which of course would mean the convention would adjourn without taking any position on the stadium.

How is that defensible?

One other speaker against revising the agenda, a most amiable former Minneapolis elected official, told me with a wink and a smile after the motion failed, that he opposed the convention taking a position because he knew what that position would be. I did not point out to him the obvious irony that the Mayor and the magnificent seven on the City Council took precisely the same position on the charter referendum provision: they didn’t want citizens to vote because they knew what the results would be.

How is that defensible?

I don’t know how many of the Council’s five DFLers who would vote no on the stadium were present at the convention — I did see a couple of them — but not one of them spoke out in favor of the convention taking a position on the issue. Maybe it would have had no effect, but what was there to lose other than 10 minutes? But no, these elected “leaders” were conspicuously silent.

How is that defensible?

One speaker suggested the topic was too complicated to be dealt with in such a short amount of time and would require a much longer discussion. Well, with the DFL Mayor and DFL City Council about to usurp the hard-fought for right of Minneapolitans to vote on this issue, with those leaders of this coup recognizing the overwhelming citizen opposition to the stadium legislation, what more appropriate body and time could there have been to devote even a full hour to this issue? But lacking leadership that took “democracy” seriously, the convention declined.

How is this defensible?

One much more politically experienced person than I am told me that people had come to the convention only to deal with the school board endorsement, and the issue was schools. In 15 or 20 years, when these same education advocates are fighting an uphill battle for a school referendum but are told there simply are no city revenue streams available, maybe then they’ll see these issues are intimately connected. But last year, the Minneapolis DFL Convention said they are not.

How is this defensible?

That is why I believe the Minneapolis DFL owes the citizens of this city an apology.

I know that over the years, the Party has done many wonderful and worthwhile things. An apology would not diminish those accomplishments.

But short an apology, I would suggest the Party disband, form a massive fundraising organization, attempt to buy the naming rights to the new stadium, and, if successful, name it the “Minneapolis DFL Party Memorial Colosseum.”

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