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?