Yesterday, Mike Kaszuba did a story on Legacy grants in the Star Tribune that have been awarded primarily through the cultural/history portion of the Minnesota Legacy initiative.
The headline says, "---Legacy funds land far afield" and "helping some offbeat efforts." What the majority of people voted for in 2008 could be called "offbeat", unusual, or unconventional. The people of Minnesota voted for an unconventional/offbeat way of funding programs and projects that would or may never get the attention of the public or legislators. Projects funded from the Lessard-Sams Council to the States Arts Board are now getting attention that generally only a group or a small number of people would have an interest in.
Some of the projects mentioned in the story ran the gambit from the oral history of psychiatry in Minnesota, history of comics in Minnesota, to the cultural legacy of Asian-Americans in North Minneapolis.
Mr Rod Grams is quoted as saying, "so tight on money, especially on the state level" it is difficult to justify them. Does he mean some of the projects mentioned in the story or the "goodies" that the hunting and fishing groups have gotten?
What I know is this, I am not a hunter, not a fisherman, never hunted and the last time I fished was about 45 years ago, but I voted for the Legacy Amendment to give our State an opportunity for all the people to get a part of and to preserve our "Legacy" of fishing, hunting, environment, history, and culture.
Through thick and thin, or hell and high water, if there are attempts to repeal the Legacy Amendment I will work against it.
I appreciate the history and the culture of Minnesota which all who have inhabited our state and who will in the future bring to Minnesota. There needs to be a way for us to record, view, hear, and to learn and understand our cultural contributions and history of all people. The Legacy projects do that.
As projects and programs are funded I am sure with some groups and individuals it will raise their eyebrows. Which is good. It is important for accountability, transparency, and openness as to how the Legacy monies are spent and for what.
This past session and special session I worked with Rep Dean Urdahl and Sen Ingebrigtsen to get a law passed to bring more accountability and transparency for the Legacy Amendment.
So let's say the the results of the study to see how women faced the culture of the St Paul Police Department, or history of maternity care in Duluth before 1941, or any of the other project results or finished products are not available and accessible to the public. If that happens, there is a problem.
As these type of projects are funded and completed there needs to a way for the public to get access to them. The products need to be online if possible.
The Legacy Amendment passed in 2008 had a expansive coalition of interest groups and individuals to support it.
The Legacy Amendment projects are a broad reflection of the diversity and history of our state.
We must recognize and understand that. Is that unusual, unconventional, or offbeat?