Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Alaska DOT To Determine If Contracting Discrimination Exists

In a story posted on May 14th, 2006, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reports that the state Department of Transportation (DOT) is planning to conduct a study looking into whether there is discrimination in contracting for state-funded highway projects. The results will affect how the state issues contracts to minority-owned companies for road construction projects. Click here for full story.

Synopsis: The study is in response to a 9th Circuit Appeals Court decision in a discrimination case filed against the Washington state transportation department. Western States Paving Co., which is owned by a white male, filed suit claiming that minority-owned DBE-certified businesses were unfairly given contracts in at least two instances where Western had the lowest bid, simply because the business owners were minorities. As a result, the Alaska DOT is responding by commissioning a study to determine the absence or presence of discrimination in highway work in Alaska, and, if present, its level and extent. DOT will release a request for proposals seeking a firm to conduct the study later this month. They want a contractor who can defend its study results against litigation, if necessary.

The study will focus on contractors certified through the state-administered disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program. DBE certifications are awarded to small, minority-owned businesses that meet certain financial and ownership specifications laid out in federal regulation. The DBE certification was developed on the arbitrary assumption that small-business owners who are of a minority race or are women are generally considered socially and economically disadvantaged simply by virtue of their race or gender, and so get preferences in contract awards based upon that arbitrary assumption. Nearly 300 contractors are currently in the state's DBE directory. The study will also determine the number of potential businesses that could participate in the program, decide if those contractors are capable of doing work and if they are being sufficiently employed (I smell possible witch-hunt here). DOT set aside $600,000 in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program budget to pay for the effort. Some 28 communities and organizations, including the municipality of Anchorage, the city and borough of Juneau, the Fairbanks Borough and the Alaska Railroad Corp., will follow the recommendations of the final results.

Government agencies set goals dictating that a certain percentage of total dollars spent on each project will go toward contracts or for subcontracting minority-owned businesses. These are referred to as "race-conscious" programs. Until January 2006, Alaska DOT followed race-conscious guidelines, but then switched to a "race-neutral" policy, where instead of setting goals for each project, it has one goal for the entire highway program.

In response to Western States' lawsuit, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that DBE programs in general were constitutional, but Washington state had not sufficiently shown the need for a "race-conscious" program. DBE programs certify businesses that are socially and economically disadvantaged, but do not show specific evidence of discrimination, the court said. The court also cited an 8th Circuit Court decision, where the transportation departments in Minnesota and Nebraska had hired outside consulting firms to conduct statistical analyses of the availability and capacity of DBEs in their local markets.

With the court's decision, all states within the 9th Court's district, including Alaska and Hawaii, must conduct their own studies. Other useful references for the reader are the legal opinion of the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation providing guidelines on implementing this decision, and a case for Western States put forth by the website Adversity.net, which caters to victims of reverse discrimination.

Analysis: This is one of those infrequent decisions by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that actually makes some sense. The Court recognized that affirmative action has been abused and is requiring agencies to show actual proof of discrimination before mandating substitution of race-conscious programs for race-neutral programs. In the past, minorities, and, to a lesser degree, women, were automatically considered disadvantaged solely by their status, without regard to their actual in-hand resources. Bureaucratic agencies routinely violated the presumption of innocence by assuming that businesses discriminated unless they proved differently. Now, the burden of proof has shifted to the agency and/or the complainant.

However, the court merely ruled on how to make affirmative action more constitutional; it did not take that courageous final step in ending it altogether. It also continued to mandate a proactive approach, requiring the Alaska Department of Transportation to spend $600,000 of public money to conduct a proactive study. The court failed to recognize that affirmative action, along with mass immigration and the double standard, continues to generate white backlash and fuel the steady growth of the white nationalist movement.

One of the chief beneficiaries of this backlash has been the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which, according to one of their authorized spokesman, Bill White, has grown to 82 units in 37 states, including a unit here in Anchorage (which has shown no evidence of organized public activity other than establishing an e-mail address). By all the hallmarks of conventional wisdom, they shouldn't be succeeding, considering their use of the SA uniform and their deployment of the swastika, against which many older Americans fought in World War II, but they defy conventional wisdom, most likely because of their ongoing program of direct action. The NSM has conducted a series of rallies in cities like Kingston, NY, Toledo, OH, Orlando, FL, and Lansing, MI, to highlight anti-white discrimination in America and domination of our costly and inflammatory foreign policy by Organized Jewry. In every case, NSM cadre and their supporters have behaved in a scrupulously law-abiding fashion, while opponents have frequently committed breaches of the peace and have been arrested. Affirmative action sacrifices equal opportunity for the sake of equal outcome. You can have one or the other; you cannot have both.

No comments:

Post a Comment