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Continued: Race reshaping debate at Mpls City Hall

  • Article by: MAYA RAO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 9, 2014 - 6:33 AM

Minneapolis regulatory services chief Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde said her department has already taken racial equity into account on landlord-tenant issues that could affect low-income people of color.

Regulators are also examining how race, income and other factors could affect where cars are towed during snow emergencies. That could lead to better communication in communities of color about snow emergency rules, she said.

She is seeking $30,000 from the budget to translate regulatory documents, such as inspection letters, into Spanish, Hmong, Somali or other languages.

“From my personal background as a Latina woman, it’s in my head that I think about these communities,” said Rivera-Vandermyde.

She added the effort “is meant to bring about questions, and have a dialogue and a pause before you start implementing something.”

Council Member Cam Gordon said he took the directive on racial equity into account when working on a proposal to strengthen a city ordinance requiring corner stores to sell a certain amount of fruits and vegetables. Many corner store owners are immigrants who would be hurt in a way that massive retailers like Cub and Target would not be.

“People are testing it out and sometimes it is helping us think through our decisions more carefully,” Gordon said.

City leaders say it’s important to actively talk about racial disparities.

“Not talking about race explicitly can often act as a reinforcement of individual biases and those kinds of things,” Glidden said. “A better way is to really be explicit and not be afraid to use the word, ‘race.’ ”

 

Maya Rao • 612-673-4210

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