Commission Meeting MINUTES of Monday, August 19, 2013

Minneapolis City Hall, Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference Room - 241

350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, MN



6:04 PM: President Larsen Calls the Meeting to Order


Roll Call

Commissioners in Attendance: Thomas Gallagher, Lonnie Nichols, John Oberreuter, Bernadette Casey, Arlene Santiago, Cecilia Rodriguez-Melendez, Wendy Adler Robinson, Michael Harralson, Kenneth Fukuda, Adosh Unni, Gerald Strauss, Carina Aleckson, Peter Larsen, Marla Khan


Commissioners Absent: Patricia Nelson, G. Christine Peters, Danielle Shelton Walczak, Terrance Noble, Emily Froehle


City Staff: Lee Zutz, Toni Newborn, Carol Bachun, Velma Korbel, Sherman Patterson, Council Member Don Samuels


Guest(s): Herman Milligan, Myron Orfield, and spouse of Commissioner Larsen


Approval July 17, 2013 MCCR minutes; moved by Adler Robinson, second by Harralson and approved with Marla Khan, Carina Aleckson, Peter Larsen abstaining.


Approval of August 19, 2013 MCCR Meeting Agenda is moved by Larsen and approved by consensus.


Velma Korbel, Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department provides information on the concentration of sex offenders residing in Minneapolis.  The City Council unanimously passed a resolution to review the number and concentration of sex offenders living in Minneapolis and Hennepin County.  The Civil Rights Department will participate in this review and analyze the findings to determine if the concentration is a fairness and equity issue, causal relationships and potential solutions.  There is discussion and Commissioners Khan, Strauss, Rodriguez-Melendez and Oberreuter volunteer to participate in an adhoc task force.  Staff Lee Zutz will send out additional information via email.


Council Member Samuels speaks to the commission about how the concentration of sex offenders and other items impact livability in his ward.  He describes the cumulative effect of items such as poverty, drugs, gun violence, the lingering impact of the housing crisis and crime as being so overwhelming that they can harden a heart.  He coins the term (IN)Convenience Store to describe litter blowing on the streets which is generated from a products sold at a corner convenience store.  He shares that in many parts of the city such litter would generate complaints and would be dealt with, but in his ward it seems to be passively accepted due to the multiplicity of issues that have accumulated and need to be addressed.


Guest speaker Professor Myron Orfield speaks about racial inequality in housing, including how policy implemented by the City of Minneapolis, State Legislature and Metropolitan Council concentrate affordable housing in the metro core, Minneapolis and St. Paul, due to funding mechanisms, instead of distributing affordable housing more evenly over the metro area.  The professor cites research and indicates that the Obama Administration has defined disparate impact in policy.


Guest speaker Herman Milligan is a former Minneapolis Civil Rights Commissioner who advocated for the establishment of the Police Civilian Review Authority.  Mr. Milligan provided overview and advice on how to organize a public hearing.


Committee reports and updates to the full commission:

Contract Compliance: Chair Cecilia Rodriguez-Melendez, meets 3rd Monday of month at 5:30 pm in City Hall prior to the Full Commission meeting: Assistant Director Michael McHugh resigned from the Department; Karen Francois is the acting Assistant Director of the Contract Compliance Division of the department.


Standards and Procedures: Chair Danielle Shelton Walczak, meets 3rd Monday of month at 5:00 pm in City Hall prior to the Full Commission meeting.  The committee met twice with Interim Assistant Director (IAD) Toni Newborn to review and respond to proposed edits and changes to Minneapolis Cod of Ordinances, Title 7 – Civil Rights, Chapter 141 – Administration and Enforcement.  Staff Lee Zutz may send out an electronic availability calendar via email to schedule an additional ordinance review meeting prior to the full Commission meeting.


Public Relations and Education: Co-Chairs, Bernadette Casey and Marla Khan, meets 3rd Monday of month at 5:30 pm in City Hall prior to the Full Commission meeting.  Casey indicates that the wording for the proposed Minneapolis MLK Essay Competition question/topic will be finalized by PR&E and shared with Commission.  Commissioner Unni is extended kudos for initiating and delivering two recognized speakers to the Commission Meeting.  Organizing a Mayoral debate is discussed; and previously Unni, Strauss and Shelton-Walczak volunteered to pursue public outreach through an adhoc task force within the PR&E committee.


The MCCR Executive Committee meets immediately after the monthly meeting of the full commission; and is comprised of MCCR Officers and Committee Chairs: next meeting is September 16, 2013.


League of Minnesota Human Rights Commissions: No report provided but as per a previous report from Patricia Nelson, District Director of the MLHRC, the League was scheduled to meet on July 27 in Red Wing, MN.  Commissioners Nelson and Fukuda will attend; the League website is www.LeagueofMNHumanRights.org


Interim Assistant Director (IAD) Toni Newborn, Complaint Investigations Division postponed the August power point presentation of the Commissioner’s Update Brief (CUB) due to time at the request of the Commission.  As of July 15, 2013, there were 97 case files pending resolution with the department and a total of 60 cases that have been submitted for the Department’s 2013 EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) contract.  There are 5 current cases under review by the Commission: 1 Probable Cause (PC), 3 No Probable Cause (NPC), 1 Dismissal.

Announcements: Second Chance Saturdays continue, Day of Dignity is Saturday, August 24, 11 am to 4 pm; Urban League Family Day is August 31, 10 am to 5 pm

Newborn also shares that Minneapolis Civil Rights Department Director Velma Korbel was interviewed by National Public Radio.


Chairs report: acting chair Larsen continues opportunity for two or three commissioners to provide a brief check-in and update of their activities at a full commission meeting.  Commissioner Harralson offers to be a liaison to the Community Justice Project and gives a plug to the Brotherhood Brew Coffee Shop, which also offers catering services.  Commissioner Larsen shares that he has made connections with Reconciling Works, an evangelical Lutheran group.  The Appeals committee for September is Froehle, Strauss, Oberreuter with Nelson as alternate.


Public Comment: None


Adjournment at 7:55 PM is moved by Strauss with second by Harralson; approved.





Last updated Sep 18, 2013



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