02-19-2017  1:11 pm      •     

The following is an open letter to the Secretary of U.S Department of Transportation and the Secretary of the US Department of Labor:
On behalf of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc., and with the encouragement of Johnny Ford, general secretary of the World Conference of Mayors, and Calvin Smyre, president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, I write this letter to protest the festering and damaging state of affairs at the Federal Highway Administration in regards to Executive Order 11246 and Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
These very precious laws are not being adequately monitored nor enforced by your departments and many thousands of Black firms and millions of Black citizens are being denied equal opportunity.
Enclosed is a copy of the official cancellation of Executive Order 11246 by the Federal Highway Administration dated February 1, 1999. The U.S. Department of Labor has not filled that void. 
Since that date, prime contractors of highway funds (state departments of transportation) such as Caltrans, Illinois DOT, Missouri DOT, Oklahoma DOT, and practically all other state entities have hired fewer and fewer Black employees to the point of almost nonexistence. 
Likewise, contractors participating in the procurement of federal monies being let by the state entities have also decreased hiring of Blacks and have ignored Executive Order 11246 without any recourse from either the Federal Highway Administration or the US Department of Labor. 
States with 8 percent, 12 percent, 15 percent, etc. Black populations have state transportation departments with less than 5 percent Black employment. In many cases, the number is 3 percent or less.
This is not America! You can take a drive on Interstate 80 starting in San Francisco and drive all the way to New Jersey and there is a good chance you will not see one Black working on a freeway construction project.
This significant lack of jobs attributes to the higher than average unemployment rate of Blacks. It hurts Black households and encourages hopelessness, crime, poor health and all other indicators of lost value of life. What we have is wholesale discrimination under the official management of the Federal Government.
Since the change from 49 CFR Part 23 to 49 CFR Part 26 (during the Clinton Administration), state departments of transportation have been allowed to "dumb down" their Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goals from the standard 10 percent to whatever they want which is usually in the 5 percent area. 
As a result of the laissez faire approach, Black construction companies, architectural and engineering firms, do about 1 percent of the business involving USDOT funds (Federal Highway Administration). One percent of the contracting done by 13 percent of the population is indeed a severe disparate impact and also promotes even more unemployment as Black firms are most likely to hire Black employees.
In essence, there is no compliance with Executive Order 11246, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We demand that this sad state of affairs be corrected immediately.  It has been a long fight but in light of the Stimulus Bill money that is coming down through the above racist channels we must see change and see it now.
To monitor any improvements that might be made in the near future please provide this office with the following:
1. By state, the percentage of the total dollar amount of contracts let to Black firms (prime and subcontracts) by individual state departments of transportation for fiscal year ending September 30, 2008. 
2. By state, the amount of Blacks working at each state department of transportation (general staff, management and executive) per the latest Executive Order 11246 audit.  3. By state, the latest Executive Order 11246 audit performed for each of the top 10 contractors (annual sales) working on state highway projects.
It has been 47 years since the issuance of Executive Order 11246 and 45 years since the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson after 400 years of slavery and 100 years of apartheid costing millions of lives and terrible suffering.
The time to act is now and I trust that you will meet this obligation.  Thanks for your immediate attention and proactive follow up.  Forty million plus Americans will appreciate it.

Harry Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.  Website:  www.nationalbcc.org. Email:  halford@nationalbcc.org.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow