…and not bother wasting $300,000 on a bogus “study” showing how feasible it would be to do it. Broome isn’t fooling anybody.
Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is expanding her proposal for a $300,000 study that could open the door for City Hall to mandate requirements for the number of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and small businesses getting contracts.
Up until now, the city-parish could not mandate that a certain portion of small and minority-owned businesses receive government contracts as part of a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or DBE program. Broome issued an executive order late last year to conduct a study of whether such businesses were being excluded from city-parish business, but the price tag requires her to seek East Baton Rouge Metro Council approval.
If the disparity study finds past discrimination or exclusion of certain groups, City Hall could adopt goals to make up for its past practices. Since announcing her request for the disparity study, Broome’s office has added small and medium-sized businesses to the analysis parameters in hopes scoring more support.
“We have had requests to add a small business component to the study and we’ve worked to do that,” Broome said in a statement. “The study will provide us with data to determine if we’re reaching a broad group of individuals seeking to do work with the city-parish.”
This is a bunch of crap.
We’ve already seen Broome and her administration throw away public dollars intended for a positive purpose – namely, the BRAVE funds she looted – on patronage contracts.
Those were, of course, small potatoes. But when the Metro Council and the public were made aware of the fact Broome and her people had taken money that had been spent on LSU providing detailed computer data predicting where crime would occur so the Baton Rouge Police Department could surge resources to stop it, and instead spent it on poetry classes and midnight basketball, all hell broke loose.
Broome wasn’t able to defend that abuse of the public fisc, especially after it was punctuated by news that one of those patronage contracts was given to the execrable Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed for the laughable purpose of teaching ghetto kids to respect the police and there he was at a Baton Rouge Metro Council meeting stating that deranged cop-killing terrorist Gavin Long had brought “justice” to Baton Rouge by murdering three law enforcement officers.
And nevertheless, Broome’s camp followers like noted race-hustler Gary Chambers and LSU law professor and executive director of her transition team Chris Tyson still went around claiming the ransacking of the BRAVE program was justified because of the deficit of businesses in the Baton Rouge black community, as though city contracts are somehow the only proper avenue for black entrepreneurship in the capitol city.
The lesson Broome took from that debacle? Not to go it alone.
The whole point of this “study” is to sucker a majority of the Baton Rouge Metro Council into giving its imprimatur to the next round of patronage contracts for Broome’s pals under the ambit of social justice. Doing that means the responsibility for the next Silky Slim fiasco gets spread around and diffused, and it’s not just Broome’s neck on the line.
None of this would seem to be necessary, you understand, if there was any particular faith that the people catching these city contracts would actually give value in exchange. The entire game here is that everybody knows the public dollars spent on those contracts – at least, the ones which aren’t for core services – will be mostly wasted and the quality of work performed will be meager at best, so it doesn’t really matter who gets them. And since it doesn’t matter, this is all about patronage and which connected operators get a hookup.
But at the end of the day, that’s what urban politics has been about for centuries. Why bother hiding it? Broome won, and if she wants to fritter away the taxpayers’ money on her own set of cronies it’s not like the Metro Council can really stop her outside of in the cases of the major big-ticket items. Perhaps that’s what she’s going for, but a DBE mandate isn’t going to help her cronies get major contracts unless they can demonstrate some degree of ability to do them. We’re talking about the kinds of contracts a fiscally responsible administration wouldn’t even let; that’s patronage. The major engineering and IT contracts, for example, are going to the same three or four firms no matter who the mayor is, because those are the firms who can do them.
The real check on this comes in 2020 when she stands for re-election; only a developmentally-disabled electorate would even consider giving her four more years, but that’s what Baton Rouge seems to have at present; after all, the voters passed a tax to subsidize the criminal enterprise that is the East Baton Rouge Council on Aging.
Of course, another check on this cronyism and abuse would be the incorporation of St. George – assuming that’s ever going to happen. By now the air should be buzzing with rumors and speculation about the renewed St. George effort, but so far there has been no indication at all that’s in the works. Either the St. George folks have developed a penchant for secrecy unmatched by our intelligence agencies or that lack of activity is a bitter disappointment given the utterly worthless administration at City Hall.