Category: Opinion Written by Louis 'Hop' Kendrick
LOUIS 'HOP KENDRICK
A friend and reader of the New Pittsburgh Courier called me after reading part 2 with a reminder of a comment she made when I had just been appointed to being the director. She is a Black female activist in the Delta Sorority, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church and the overall community. Her name is B.J. Sampson. I was reminded that she stopped me and said, “You are inheriting a hornet’s nest, I wish you luck. I am praying for you.”
Some of the readers may not understand the concern about the MBE/WBE/DBE program. Just read on; you will. The columns will deal exclusively with the government organizations and the staggering sums of taxpayers’ dollars being spent and local businesspersons—White and Black—are denied legitimate opportunities to share in them.
Who are these governmental bodies? Allegheny County, and their authorities, Allegheny County Community Colleges, Alcosan, Port Authority Transit, Allegheny County Airport. In the City of Pittsburgh there are the URA, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh, and Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.
The first step to become a MBE/WBE/DBE is certification. Let’s examine it. There are organizations that will certify anyone for a fee so certification by itself can be questionable. How is the determination made as to who is a legitimate MBE/WBE /DBE, what is the process? For example as I scrutinized lengthy lists of awarded contracts and particularly minorities and women, surprisingly they were located across the country, 18 states to be exact. The states were Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, New York, Virginia, Michigan, California, Minnesota, Missouri and Massachusetts. I have asked the question, “How is the determination made about these corporations and their legitimacy?” The answer is that we accept the certification from the state they are located in. Is that sufficient, because in Allegheny County there are firms that certify anyone for a fee; am I to believe that does not happen across this country?
These contracts are major contracts some exceeding a million dollars. Do these contractors even have an office in Allegheny County? In my personal opinion it borders on criminality when so many are denied an honest chance to participate in the American Dream.
There was a period of time that the government was able to use set asides to enable some with a legitimate chance at a contract, but it was declared unconstitutional. Next was the term best faith effort and that gave the giant contractors a green light to deny almost anybody by simply stating we put forth our best effort and were unable to find anyone. They award you a contract and you are unable to secure a bond or funding and they simply state we provided them with an opportunity and they were unable to perform, and they get away with it because those allegedly responsible simply don’t care.
I have been informed that there are about 1100 persons in Allegheny County registered as MBE/WBE/DBEs. Let us assume that is accurate, then I wonder why less than a hundred have ever had a contract, and it generally is the same persons who receive contracts. I wonder why. Don’t you?
In February 2013 Governor Corbett released a report awarding $16 million for six local projects, and in the very near future he would release an additional one hundred and nine million dollars for an additional 54 projects. That is a total of one hundred and twenty five million dollars. This is our money, taxpayer dollars. These funded projects usually hire people, in theory, who are to make sure that Blacks and women share in the contracts and after every job completion the figures are astounding, because they somehow reflect a percentage that’s questionable. If every certified company were awarded a contract it would not equal the statistics that are published. Almost everyday these individuals contact me and others and 99 percent of them have no contracts and never had one.
I attended a yearly affair a couple of weeks ago that in theory gives those in attendance the impression they can be afforded an opportunity for a contract. At least 30 individuals said to me that they come not expecting anything, just hoping.
Why is the MB/WBE/DBE program so dismal, can it be changed, who is responsible for these flawed programs? If it can be changed, when will it be changed, who will change it, what will it take to change it? These answers will be provided in future columns.
Kingsley Association needs your financial support.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:19
Category: Opinion Written by Bill Fletcher Jr.
(NNPA)—In January 2004, as the president of TransAfrica Forum, I had the honor of leading the first African-American delegation to meet with the leaders of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution. It was important for us to conduct this visit in order to better understand what was transpiring but also to get a better sense of race, the Afro-descendant movement, and the revolutionary process in Venezuela.
Our delegation had the opportunity to meet with President Hugo Chavez on more than one occasion but the first real dialogue was more than memorable. Chavez gave us an overview of Venezuela’s history and what led to his winning power. I thanked him for the meeting and proceeded to describe my feelings at the time of the 2002 coup. I mentioned to him and his colleagues that I was very sad upon hearing of the coup, and, of course, delighted when he was restored to power.
What really struck me at the time of the coup, however, was looking at the faces of the crowds on television. I looked at the crowds that supported Chavez and those who opposed him and at that moment so much of what was unfolding in Venezuela clicked for me. For, it was clear that Chavez had phenomenal support among the poorer and the darker parts of the Venezuelan population while the opposition looked like it could have walked in from Madrid.
One of the most important contributions of President Chavez and the Bolivarian process has been to help to put race on the table for discussions and action. Under President Chavez, renewed attention has gone to the indigenous and the Afro-descendant populations. This attention, we should note, was not the result of Chavez alone, but a combination of factors with the most important being the actual social movements of the indigenous and Afro-descendant populations of Venezuela. It is critically important to grasp that in Venezuela, including in many progressive and Left circles, there is adamant denial of race as a factor in Venezuela’s reality. The opposition to President Chavez, we should be clear, denies race altogether. In the Bolivarian movement the recognition of race and racism within Venezuelan society has been uneven. But with the combination of the social movements plus Chavez’s support, race came to be openly discussed in Venezuela and actual steps were taken to address a very different form of White supremacy than the version with which we are familiar here in North America.
I had hoped to return to Venezuela and once again meet President Chavez. That will, obviously, be impossible. Chavez will be deeply missed by so many fighters for justice. His recognition of the importance of race and the struggle for racial justice placed him in a unique role in Latin America as a conscious ally of the movements of the Indigenous peoples and the Afro-descendant populations. His audacity alone was enough for one to love him, not to mention his humor and brilliance. We cannot afford to lose fighters like Hugo Chavez which is why it remains so critical that genuine movements for social justice and transformation are producing new leaders of his quality each day.
(Bill Fletcher Jr. is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us”—And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. Follow him at www.billfletcherjr.com.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:13
Category: Opinion Written by Ulish Carter
Following the alleged teen rape in Steubenville, Ohio, I read the papers, I read online accounts, I listened to the news on television and there was one big question looming in my mind that the mass media wasn’t asking. Even the Sunday local show with all the experts on the panel didn’t ask this question. Yet many people not a part of the media were asking this question.
According to the media reports the people involved in this incident were 15, 16, 17 year olds. They were partying at various houses and one of the boys allegedly raped the girl the first time in the back seat of a car. According to the media there were several teens at this party or these parties/gatherings or whatever you want to call it, and they all were in the same age group, 15, 16, 17.
Oh, are you wondering what question has yet to be asked? Where were the parents?
First of all the alleged rape victim who was 15, or 16 stayed out all night. She was at this party, and moved from house to house. Even though one has to be missing more than 24 hours to file a missing person report why didn’t her parents, as well as the parents of the alleged rapists and the other kids, at least notify the police and other parents when they didn’t come home. Didn’t they miss them? If my 15, 16 or 17 year old was missing all night I would have called the police to put them on notice to look out for them, and probably been out looking for them myself.
All these kids who were at this party, where were the parents of these kids and where were the parents/adults who owned the houses? I’m pretty sure 15, 16, 17 year olds don’t own houses in Steubenville.
The car where the first alleged rape occurred in, who owned this car? I’m fairly sure they lock cars in Steubenville, and adults look out for their cars. So why did these teenagers have access to this car?
Alcohol? Where did these kids get all this alcohol and drugs they were using? I know it’s illegal for 15, 16, 17 year olds to drink in Ohio. Yet the girl was so drunk she was allegedly unconscious. It probably was a mixture of drugs and alcohol. But it sounds like everyone else was drunk or high off something, including the two alleged rapists.
There’s no way all these kids were at a house or houses with nobody knowing where they were or what they were doing. It just happened that this time it was made public by what is being called the social media—Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, the Internet.
We are blaming the kids for doing this and not reporting it. They were wrong. But where were the parents?
These were not underage college kids, these were high school kids. These kids were 15, 16, 17. I had to be in the house before 9 p.m. or it got dark when I was that age. And even though there were six of us, my mother always knew when one of us wasn’t in the house by that time and it was hell to pay when we missed that curfew.
Yet for some reason no one is holding the parents responsible. Maybe I’m missing something. I guess I’m from the old school, that when kids went to a party, the parents, especially the mother, would call to make sure an adult was home.
There were numerous kids questioned as witnesses, anywhere from 13 to 17 but no parents.
Yes, I know most parents can’t keep up with or control all the devices kids have today. And these kids are really stupid for putting all their business, personal and other, out there. But what’s really scary is that most thought it was funny, and none felt it was important enough to report to the police or to their parents.
One big problem with this is that many people are trying to blame the Social Media, but there’s no excuse for not teaching our kids right from wrong. That’s not the school’s responsibility, not the police, not Social Media. Morality must come from the home.
The parents and other adults should not just be alarmed over the alleged rape, but they should have been just as outraged that all these children were able to get illegal alcohol and drugs, and go from house to house without any adults reporting it.
This is not just an isolated case in Steubenville. It was spotlighted in this city because of the stupidity of the kids involved putting it on the Social Media. This is not the first time a crime was exposed because of the stupidity of kids putting it on Social Media. It’s happening all over this country, kids out of control and parents not being held accountable.
There is no excuse for parents of 15, 16, 17 year olds not knowing where their kids are, especially if they are out all night. If your daughter wants to attend a sleep over, you call the parents to make sure they are going to be there. With today’s Social Media, and especially since almost every kid has a cell phone, there’s even more reasons parents should know where they’re at. The Steubenville District Attorney says he’s going to question more witnesses and kids about their knowledge of the incident and more charges may be coming. But I think the DA should start with one question. Where were the parents?
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 09:17
Category: Opinion Written by Courier Newsroom
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and National Rifle Association Executive Vice president Wayne LaPierre are on the opposite sides of the debate on gun control.
But where the two of the most visible voices in the gun debate come together is that they both say it’s now up to the voters to make their position known to Congress.
The coming weeks will be critical to the debate on gun control. Members of congress will be heading home in the next two weeks to hear from constituents ahead of the much anticipated Senate vote on gun control scheduled for next month.
When congress returns home voters should be ready to persuade them to do the right thing and approve gun control legislation.
Voters should urge their senators to pass legislation requiring universal background checks for gun buyers and stiffer sentences for gun trafficking.
Unfortunately a ban on assault-style weapons was dropped from the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he would allow assault ban to be voted on separately as an amendment. To his credit, Present Barack Obama called for a vote on the assault weapons ban in his radio and Internet address Saturday.
Shortly after the horrific shooting at Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December that left 20 first-graders and six school administrators dead, Congress appeared as if would be ready to pass comprehensive gun control legislation.
Since then momentum for gun control has appeared to have slowed down despite polls showing that 90 percent of all Americans and 80 percent of NRA members support universal background checks for gun purchases.
Several prominent pro-gun Democrat Senators including Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey have announced they would support gun control measures such as bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Casey explained his change in position on gun control during a Monday morning appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe saying he thought about the Newtown shooting and realized it could have been even worse.
“When I watch more and learned more about how he killed his mother and the rage that he bought to that school…I began to think of what could’ve happened, and not the reality but the potential,” he said citing published reports. “He was not going to kill 20 children, but he was going to try and kill several hundred and would have if he’s had the time and capacity.”
Now is the time to urge senators to pass sensible gun control legislation.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune.)
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:14
Category: Opinion Written by Raynard Jackson
by Raynard Jackson
(NNPA)--Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, released his long awaited report last week called the Growth and Opportunity Project. It is basically a post mortem of last November’s election results and lessons learned.
The report stated the obvious: The Republican Party had problems with key demographic groups such as Blacks and Hispanics. To address this issue, Priebus has committed to hiring Black and Hispanic staffers and consultants to address some of the issues raised in the report. Since the report’s release on March 18, some minority staffers have already been hired. Isn’t it amazing that Priebus has already hired more Blacks this year than President Obama?
But that’s something you’ll never read on the Web sites of either The Grio or The Root. Both are White-owned entities masquerading as Black media. When I say White-owned, I am referring to NBC in the case of The Grio and the Washington Post in the case of The Root. It doesn’t get much whiter than that.
As members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) like to remind me, Black Media is by definition Black owned and operated. Essence magazine is no longer Black-owned and we can see how the content has changed for the worst under Time Warner, the new owner.
Joy-Ann Reid, is managing editor of The Grio and like Obama, a Harvard graduate. In a recent column, she called Priebus’ engagement with the Black community “simply platitudinous.” Of course, she doesn’t define exactly what about Priebus’ efforts are “platitudinous,” whatever that means.
The Root is just as biased as The Grio. They thought so little of Priebus’ report that they didn’t even think it was worthy of one news story. One of their columnists did do the typical hatchet job on the report.
As a Black Republican, I am a first-hand witness to many of the deficiencies of my party and I have not been shy about expressing my frustrations. Equally true, I also am a first-hand witness to what my party is doing to correct these deficiencies and they deserve, at a minimum, a wait and see attitude; and at best, praise for some of the steps taken to this point.
I don’t think any party on the Left or the Right should be above critique. But after constantly criticizing the Republican Party, one would think The Grio and The Root would feel some obligation as supposed journalists to give the Republicans a fair hearing and give Obama fair criticism. If these sites were taken to court and accused of false advertising, they would be convicted and ordered to pay serious damages to the public.
In truth, they are surrogates for the Democratic National Committee and are in the tank for President Obama. Instead of admitting that, they claim to be an unbiased news source and claim to hire objective journalists and provide a platform for the full range of thinking and commentary within the Black community. They fail on all accounts.
They do just as much damage or even more to the Black community as rap music. In fact, it can be argued that foul-mouth rap artists stands a better chance of being accurately portrayed on those news sites than a Republican, Black or White.
They criticized Reince Priebus for his “cynical” efforts to engage the Black community. How is seeking to become more engaged with the Black community – something Blacks have been yearning for – suddenly cynical?
Moreover, regardless of your politics, Blacks are better off when two parties truly compete for their vote and not take them for granted as the Democrats are doing. We’ll always have more power when we can leverage our votes on behalf of the candidate who isn’t afraid to say the word “Black” or targets every group except African Americans.
If you’re going to criticize, make sure you spread it around. It’s not fair to criticize Republicans while giving Barack Obama a pass. He has not added one Black to his cabinet in his second term. Yet, we’re supposed to line up, single file, behind him. When is he going to show that he has our best interests at heart?
It speaks volumes that Obama would throw Susan Rice under the bus, back up, and roll over her again. Yet he had no reservation about the uphill fight to get his Republican Secretary of Defense confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In other words, he’ll fight to the end for a White, male, Republican but not a supremely qualified Black woman.
Given Obama’s poor record meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, I would not be surprised if Priebus hasn’t spent more time meeting with the Black community than President Obama?
Even more importantly, at least Priebus issued a plan of action after his meetings with Black folks. Where is the president’s plan? You can’t criticize a plan that doesn’t exist. Legitimate media organizations should criticize the president for such neglect, but by definition that would exclude The Grio and The Root.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 20:04
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