Saturday, March 22, 2008

Billboard Ben's letter

I'll limit myself to comments on a couple of points in the Ben Edward's letter to the editor that I mentioned in the last post.
One of the most outstanding programs in the state for businesses owned by women and the disadvantaged.

I will say this for the good pastor, I couldn't find MCCI on either of the S&WB's DBE lists -- the board has one for construction and one for Goods & Services/Professional Services. However, Exceptional Temporaries, which figured prominently in this Gambit Weekly article, appears on both -- under its new name of ETI. Both firms figure in this T/P article.

I'd also point out that slightly over half of the firms on the construction list are located outside of New Orleans; a cursory glance showed that the figure would be much lower for the other list, probably only about a quarter. I approve of programs to encourage businesses owned by minorities and women, even if it sometimes means disregarding low bid requirements. We might debate to what degree the benefits of promoting disadvantaged businesses outweighs the public's right to the best price, but the federal government also has such programs. However, there would be widespread outrage if the federal government extended participation in those programs to include companies headquarter in other countries. So how does our cash-strapped city justify giving preferential treatment, including disregarding low-bid requirements, to companies located outside of the city? It's not a rhetorical question.
The correct decision not to privatize the board's operations, yielding savings and avoiding a management and staffing catastrophe post-Katrina.

Nobody's suggesting a reorganization that would put the S&WB directly under the mayor's control. Anyway, BB has a mixed record on privatization. He did vote against it five years ago, but as the Gambit article indicates, he was originally a privatization advocate. By the time privatization attempts were finally abandoned, public opinion had turned soundly against it. But I guess if we didn't have people like Billboard Ben to protect us, we wouldn't have listened to groups like The Urban Conservancy or the BGR:
BGR has maintained that the S&WB should pursue privatization
only if the procurement process and contract are designed to
maximize cost reductions and other benefits to the public.
Unfortunately, the S&WB’s process and proposed contract still
suffer from serious flaws that will prevent the ratepayers of
New Orleans from reaping the maximum benefits of
privatization. Accordingly, BGR opposes the proposed
privatization in its current form and will remain opposed to it
until the many serious problems with the process and contract
are addressed.

Or learned anything from Atlanta's widely publicized fiasco. Thank you for saving us, BB.
As a wise man once said, if it isn't broke, don't fix it.

Despite the efforts of board members to blame all of the systems problems on Katrina, that won't hold water:
The water system, even before Hurricane Katrina, was suffering from years of deferred maintenance and needed hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs. The cost to replace the pipe network, much of which is almost 100 years old, has been estimated at $3.2 billion.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Old Favorites
  • Political Boxing (untitled)
  • Did Bush Take His Ball and Go Home
  • Teratogens and Plan B
  • Foghorn Leghorn Republicans
  • Quote of the Day
  • October's News(Dec.1)
  • untitled, Nov.19 (offshore revenue)
  • Remember Upton Sinclair
  • Oct. Liar of thr month
  • Jindal's True Colors
  • No bid contracts