In her first State of CIty address, Hodges calls for ending racial disparities
Blog Post by: Maya Rao
April 24, 2014 - 12:25 PM
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said that the city cannot expand by another 107,000 people unless the benefits are shared by people of all incomes, neighborhoods and races, according to prepared remarks of her first state of the city address.
She has just begun speaking at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, following an opening drum circle.
An advance copy of her speech offered few surprises, hewing to the themes she has already promoted in her first few months: that ending disparities between whites and people of color is the key to prosperity.
“If we bench our entire infield, there is no way we are going to win this game,” she said. “Some of us are still playing — we have a pitcher, perhaps, and an outfield and we can cobble together some kind of team, but there is no way we are going to the playoffs, let alone win the World Series, if we keep our players on the bench.”
Hodges said Minneapolis will hire nearly 100 new police officers in the next year, and is making sure that the force will increasingly look like the city it serves.
The mayor said that she’s asked City Attorney Susan Segal to review the regulatory codes, which have “become so cumbersome for business that it makes it harder for people to invest here.”
Those regulations and small business support programs are not designed for the Somali business owners who own small market stalls in malls, Hodges said, adding that the assistance these entrepreneurs – particularly women – could have is falling through the cracks.
Hodges talked up just how great our city is – but lamented that nobody knows it.
In order to grow Minneapolis, she said, its citizens cannot afford to be modest.
“We could discover cures for 17 kinds of cancer and we would say nothing, and if someone else noticed we would say, ‘Yeah, well, thanks. Anyone else would have done the same,’” Hodges said. “And then we would change the subject to the weather.”
Hodges announced that the week of July 14-20 would be “The Best Week of Bragging About Minneapolis Ever,” showcasing the best of the city and using social media to promote it.
The mayor also nodded to a resolution that the City Council is set to vote on Friday that recognizes Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“This act will recognize and celebrate the native people who still live on this land, and will foster stronger relationships moving forward,” she said.