March 3, 2006

Editorial:

Outsourcing Ballot Proposal Delayed – Thank Goodness!

This past week Mayor Jerry Sanders decided to postpone asking the City Council to decide whether or not to put his Outsourcing Proposal on the November 7, 2006 ballot. All we can say is thank goodness!

The Outsourcing Proposal would allow the City to put out to bid most of the City Services, with the exception of the Uniformed Officers. The assumption being made is that through competitive bidding the city will receive more efficient service at less cost.

From past experience, the Ethnic and Minority communities of San Diego, the Hispanic community in particular, this proposal offers very little. The City of San Diego has a dismal record in contracting with Minority Contractors! It was in 1998 when the San Diego City Council, at the behest of the General Contractors Association, voted to eliminate the Affirmative Action program for the City. At that time, even with Affirmative Action goals established, the City of San Diego was still falling far short of their stated goals in contracting with minority owned firms! And then, it got worse.

After the City Council eliminated Affirmative Action, City Contracts to the Minority contractors dropped to less than 1%! The issue of Equal Opportunity has often been discussed in the breach, with no real success. Issues, such as bonding, certification, insurances, and the massive amounts of paper work, access, and equal opportunity have not been resolved. The entrenched “Good Old Boy network, that run this City, have remained closed to the minority Vendors and Contractors! It is not by choice that minorities remain on the outside! We are excluded from the path to prosperity by intent!

The Mayor’s proposal to outsource City contracts: If the past is any indication, Minority owned firms, this also includes women, would continue to be left out of the loop when it comes to winning City contracts. The contracts will continue to go to the establishment and continue to enrich the power structure, which explains why the Chamber of Commerce and the rest of the “Good Old Boys” are pushing for this proposal to go onto the ballot! They see this as a way of continuing to limit the numbers of those who can participate in being able to do business with the City.

The other serious problem with this proposal is that the bidding process for services has not proven to be the answer that the Mayor would like you to believe. All we have to do is take a look at our energy rates which have skyrocketed since the State opened that process to private business! Corruption, dishonesty, and exclusion of any oversight have prevailed!

The Mayor has given the City Council a reprieve on deciding the fate of this proposal. Now, it is incumbent upon the City Council members to defeat this proposal as written. The City has failed miserably in providing EQUAL OPPORTUNITY for all its CITIZENS! Remove the stumbling blocks that have been placed in the path of Minority Contractors and open the doors to EQUAL OPPORTUNITY!

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