Met Council Spins Controversial Race-Based Parks Plan
American Experiment has exposed the Met Council’s plan to introduce onerous race-based attendance goals that critics view as de facto racial quotas at Twin Cities regional parks.
But you’d never know it from the spin in the latest newsletter from the nation’s biggest un-elected regional bureaucracy. In fact, the Met Council appears to be ducking any mention of the controversial plan to track the race and number of park attendees.
Met Council Chairman Adam Duininck’s October update carefully avoids any mention of equity inventory reports, equity toolkits and other paperwork local governments and park staff will be expected to generate for funding. The talking points now focus on “creating a welcoming environment” and “ensuring access to the parks and accessibility within the parks.”
The goal is to reverse a decline in participation in outdoor recreation by attracting new users and retaining existing users of the parks and trails.
Quite a contrast in tone from previous Met Council reports on the strategies for increasing the number of “people of color” at regional parks, which attract 47 million or so annual visits.
In a new “equity toolkit” for local governments that takes effect this fall, the Met Council ties $25 million in taxpayer funding for parks and trails to tracking visitors by their race and representation in the population. Funding proposals will be evaluated on the basis of how comprehensively local governments address the racial make-up of visitors to parks.
Local park boards will be expected to track the number of visitors by race and ethnicity, the number of culturally relevant programs and new partnerships with local interest and advocacy groups.
Duininck also tries to spin the Met Council’s scheme for funding the equity mandate. The newsletter’s headline doesn’t say it all: “Small Share of Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment funds to be spend to ‘connect people and the outdoors’ in the regional parks.”
In fact, tens of millions of dollars in Legacy Fund tax dollars will be diverted from protecting the parks’ water quality and natural resources in order to implement the diversity quotas. Our previous report hints at some of the possibilities listed in a Met Council study.
Religious practices. “We pray five times a day, and women are supposed to have a little cover when they pray outside.”
Language. “I really want to go there, but it’s hard because of the language barrier.”
Lack of transportation options. “If we don’t drive, we don’t have a way to go.”
Knowing about the parks. “A lot of people are not really aware of regional parks.”