Black Caucus pleased with minority participation on MCC

Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 10:05pm

Sixteen months ago, the Metro Council’s Black Caucus called for “definite consequences” if Music City Center officials failed to increase participation by minority- and female-owned contractors in work related to the $585 million structure.

Back then, before construction on the 1.2-million-square-foot building had started, only 5.7 percent of dollars spent on pre-construction work had gone to minority-owned businesses and 1.4 percent to businesses owned by women.

On Thursday afternoon at a new conference on the 16-acre construction site, the Black Caucus delivered a different message, praising the efforts of the nine-member Convention Center Authority, Mayor Karl Dean and others in fulfilling a commitment to diversity.

“There was a lot of cynicism and questions being raised about whether the Music City Center would be an economic stimulus package for all Davidson County,” At-large Councilman Jerry Maynard, the caucus treasurer, said Thursday.

But project leaders “to date have delivered on economic inclusion and diversity for the Music City Center,” he continued. “It stands as an economic stimulus package that has impacted all of Davidson County.”

From the beginning, Dean has said he wants more than 20 percent of spending on the convention center to go to small businesses or companies owned by minorities or females. Music City Center’s management team has a staff member who oversees minority participation.

When the Black Caucus originally expressed concerned about diversity in November 2009, 28.2 percent of awarded contracts fell under this category. (See 2009 story here.)

Today, that figure has actually decreased to 22.4 percent of awarded contracts, but the level of minority and women participation has bumped to 9.3 percent and 4 percent, respectively. The participation level of small business now stands at 9 percent, lower than it was in 2009.

With only 10 percent of contracts still to be awarded to contractors, $94 million so far has gone to the combination of minority- and women-owned companies and small businesses. Of that figure, $42 million has gone to minority-owned contractors.

“Business opportunity to the city should be equal and fair across the board, plain and simple,” Dean said Thursday.  

12 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 3/11/11 at 10:53

Considering the fact the "government" is in office to serve the people who elected them, why should they consider issuing a contract to someone based on their race or sex? Isn't that person going to assume that as an advantage to charge more for the project because the government cannot allow a bid to all competing companies?

Agreed, there was discrimination in this nation for decades, but it was abolished decades ago. Why continue it today? Is it to be considered a simple reverse of discrimination? The past is history. Leave it in the history books. Why should the government of today "pay" for the errors their predecessors made?

Yes, in history, our nation was white male demoralizers. Basically, they enslaved women and and black people.

Slavery was abolished in 1865, almost 150 years ago. While segregation was allowed until almost 50 years ago, there continues to be considerations on government contracts based on race and sex. Isn't it time we actually became the USA?

By: slacker on 3/11/11 at 10:57

Seems to me the lowest bidder, who's company is capable & bondable, should get the work. Regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual preference, etc. Manipulating the bid results, is not fair across the board Mayor Dean, plain and simple.

By: iTiSi on 3/11/11 at 11:25

I wonder how the "White Caucus" feels about this. Excuse me, I forgot, that would be racist wouldn't it? Silly me! I understand statistics are starting to show that the Caucasian is beginning to become the minority, thanks to the combination of blacks and hispanics. In fact hispanics are now the majority in CA. In that case that means the the "new minority" , whites, should now be getting special treatment and affirmative action the same as the blacks and hispanics have in the past. In other words, the "Old Majority" is now the "NEW MINORITY" and should be treated as such! Fair is fair. Diversity is not a one-way street.

By: yogiman on 3/11/11 at 11:37

There is no "White Caucus", iTiSi. But can you imagine what would be the reaction if their was a "White Miss America" to compete with the "Black Miss America"? Couldn't the same girl win both contests bases on her race, but one of the "other race" couldn't? What if there was a White Caucus in congress? Can you even imagine one being allowed there? Know of any schools who allow only white students?

There is so many "black only" organizations in our nation today it seems there is still firm racism intact.

By: Nitzche on 3/11/11 at 1:42

I am going to need a gay count?

By: NewYorker1 on 3/11/11 at 1:45

It's clear that some of you are soooo unaware of what's real in this country. Yes, slavery and segregation are behind us, BUT we, black people, are so behind in so many areas because of our history. Many families in the black community have just started to have their first college graduates. So, that in itself should tell the story on how behind the black communities are in this country. That lack of education trickles down into business ownership, home ownership, political standings, etc. It's still very difficult for blacks to get loans to start a business, it's still very difficult for blacks to get loans to own a home. You can walk around and think that racism doesn't exist, but you are sadly mistaken. It's just happening on a different level now. The majority of the businesses in this country are owned and operated by whites and the reality is, they are going to take care of their own first in most cases.

By: Wompcat on 3/11/11 at 3:55

I am just sooooo pleased that the black caucus is happy. Must be a slow news day.

By: bccoolj on 3/11/11 at 4:59

Hey New Yorker1, we are aware of "what's real" in this country, thank you very much! Why do black people have to use the past as a crutch so much? Being held down because of our differences is no new thing in this world. Just ask any Catholic, Jew, Irish, Italian, Eastern European, Chinese, etc. etc. But, get this, where there's a will there's a way---these people manage to persevere and achieve the American Dream. And can look good at it, too. Some blacks, with all due respect, can make themselves look so stupid when they can't spell, or keep their job, or stay out of jail. I'm actually very proud to see when someone black makes it big and maintains a good reputation at the same time (a businessman, not an athlete or musician.)

Just take a look at the recent Yahoo article about Chris Johnson and what he typed on Twitter, and you'll see. His quote: "Boy they need to let me kno what's gonna happen with this NFL lockout cause if they do ima join the us track team." Sure, that may be popular speak to pop culture, but it's still ridiculous. If you want more blacks to do better in America, you've got to raise your standards.

By: yogiman on 3/11/11 at 5:29


I must disagree with you to a point. As I posted before, slavery was abolished 147 years ago and segregation was officially abolished in it's entirety 47 years ago. How many generations must now pass before all men can be considered equal?

There is now only black organizations identified as such. While I'm sure there are some white organizations, they are not advertised or recognized as so.

The race factor is being used to much in our nation today.

By: PromosFriend on 3/13/11 at 1:39

As a taxpayer I am interested in both equal opportunity for all and in getting the best value for my tax dollar. Contract awards based on race and/or gender mandated targets are certainly not equal opportunity.. The only fair way to award contracts is to take out all factors that do not apply directly to the project being bid on. Let the winners be those that provide the best work for the least money.

By: yogiman on 3/13/11 at 3:43

I agree. Open the door to all qualified bidders.

By: BEOWULF on 3/14/11 at 6:19

BEOWULF: All qualified bidders should be allowed, welcomed, regardless of race or color. Make sure THEY AND THEIR WORKERS are LEGAL - we don't need our tax $$$$ supporting ILLEGALS in any way...PERIOD!