Black Caucus wants consequences for MCC minority contract failures

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 1:16am

The president of Metro Council’s Black Caucus is calling for “definite consequences” if better monitoring is not taken to ensure more participation from female- and minority-owned businesses in forthcoming work related to the proposed $635 downtown convention center.

In a letter addressed to Metro Development and Housing Agency Executive Director Phil Ryan, Metro Councilman Lonnell Matthews Jr. wrote that companies already hired for the convention center project should be penalized if they don’t contract more businesses owned by women or minorities in the future. 

“I would like for the Metro Council to receive notice of what recourse the city has for companies that do not meet their obligations,” Wednesday’s letter reads. “I would also like to see an increase in the amount of participation by women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses by mid-January.”

Mayor Karl 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.

A report issued to the Black Caucus last week showed while 28.3 percent of Music City Center contracting has gone to companies that fit that criteria, only 5.7 percent of dollars spent have been paid to minority-owned businesses and 1.4 percent to businesses owned by women.

“The Black Caucus and a number of our Council colleagues are very concerned about the financing package for the Convention Center that will be presented in the coming months,” Mathews wrote. “I am further concerned that if the financing package is negotiated and passed, there will not be a fair distribution of contracted work amongst women-owned and minority-owned businesses.”

[To view the letter, click on the attachment below.]

Roxianne Bethune, who heads MDHA’s diversity effort, has said it may be too early to raise alarm on the issue considering the project is still just in pre-construction and architectural phases.


matthewsletter.pdf66.48 KB

13 Comments on this post:

By: oldman101 on 11/12/09 at 3:17

If the "minority" would get off their butt, quit having more babies for the government to pay for, quit moaning that they're the "minority", go out and do something productive, they wouldn't be filling stupid lawsuits and work, the white people would be the minority.

By: idgaf on 11/12/09 at 5:49

"Quotas" are just another reason to dump this folly.

Taxpayers should pay more money WHY?

When are people going to have enough nerve to form, WHITE CAUCUSES? If they did then they would be called racists.

If blacks are the MAJORITY in the schools one has to wonder what the head count in the city is? Are we being BSed again?

By: wasaw on 11/12/09 at 7:25

All Dean has to do is fill a couple of pot holes for the councilman and that will shut him up. The "Black Caucus" doesn't really want too much to do with the actual construction. After all, they do want it to be safe.

How many people would set foot in the attached hotel if they knew a bunch a "minority" contractors received the bid due to "affirmity action". Not this boy!

Hey, a great way to keep a watch on the convention center project is to move parks director, Wilson, over to MDHA. He's shown he can stay somewhere within his budget !!!!

By: frank brown on 11/12/09 at 8:02

I do not know what a "Black Caucus" is but you can bet that it has something to do with leveraging a lower IQ into a free lunch.

By: willtw on 11/12/09 at 8:29

WHY is this still even a question? Black or white anything in these times should be behind us. No black caucus, no white should be LOWEST AND/OR BEST BID, Mr. Mayor! No more giveaways because of race! The citizens of Nashville and Davidson County expect more from this government than racist giveaways! Isn't this preferential treatment, "racial profiling..."? ENOUGH, ALREADY!

By: localboy on 11/12/09 at 8:49

sounds like a plan

By: Time for Truth on 11/12/09 at 8:58

They should just scrap the entire project. Except for the tourism industry and a couple of cheerleaders on this blog, nobody wants it. But Metro Council is afraid of Deano and not asking the important questions. The problem with term limits is instead of having a bunch of entrenched idiots in there, they have a bunch of inexperienced idiots.

By: Kosh III on 11/12/09 at 11:24

What a bunch of racist nonsense these comments have. When's the next cross burning?

The contract is not given to an un-qualified bidder. It is given to qualified contractors only. Maybe you should fix your own ignorance by learning how it really works.

So called "quotas" are only necessary to undo the centuries of inequity. Had whites not stolen wealth and work from blacks and others this would not be necessary.

By: RogerClegg on 11/12/09 at 11:30

Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It's fine to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either--whether it's labeled a "set-aside," a "quota," or a "goal," since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it costs the taxpayers money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it's almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and comments we submitted to the Colorado DOT here: ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose.

By: CityProgress on 11/12/09 at 12:52

Wow, some people really have no shame. I thought racists at least tried to be underhanded with their bigotry, but they're putting it right out there today.
Councilman Matthews might have good intentions, but this could turn into a PR opportunity for MCC backers. If the good ol boy fat cats play it right, they can make this White Elephant look minority friendly, just like the May Town Center hacks tried to do by making deals with TSU to win over some token black people to their cause.

By: Nash19 on 11/12/09 at 4:06

Why are there no quotas in the NBA? Dern. There shoudl be a certain number of whites on every team and at any point in the game at least 2 white guys need to be on the floor and the refs don't count.

And let's keep in mind a lot of African tribes fought rival tribes. When this happened the winning tribe took members of the losing tribe and sold/ traded them to the white man. That being said, is this considered black on black crime? Is it safe to say blacks had a small hand in the slave trade and slavery in the United States?

By: idgaf on 11/12/09 at 6:34

Are blacks saying they are not good enough to win contracts on their merits?

By: CityProgress on 11/13/09 at 12:31

Nash19, thanks for the history lesson. So, some Africans sold other Africans to white slave traders, and you think thats worth emphasizing in this discussion.
Try addressing the fact that blacks couldn't get FHA mortgages, much less any other loan, until the 1960's. Consider the thousands of U.S. minorities sterilized against their will, up until the 1970's. Then there's Jim Crow laws, urban ghetto projects, etc.

Of course there's no silver bullet to repair these injustices, but efforts must be made.

Guess why this article was removed from the front page of the website? My bet: the editors don't want readers to see offensive, racist posts.

What a shame, the most backward post on here used "Nashville" in their name.