Archive for March, 2019

Equity-Focused Operations “At What Cost?”

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Equity-Focused Operations “At What Cost?”

 

Ms Tami Sawyer announced that she will be a candidate for Memphis Mayor this year. She is currently a Shelby County commissioner. I wish her luck and she will no doubt be a formidable candidate. But let us look at what she says.

“My administration will be one that is set on equity,” Sawyer said on the podcast. “All of the operations that come out of City Hall will be equity-focused. That’s how you get to that shift. You put leaders in place who share your vision, who believe equity and opportunity are required in all parts of the city.”

Ms Sawyer points out that Mayor Strickland has publicized the jump in city spending with minority- and women-owned businesses from 12 percent to 24 percent since 2016. Despite that increase, Sawyer called the current figures “staggeringly low,” and said that spending should be more closely aligned with Memphis’ demographic makeup.

“What I want to see is a number that’s closer to the 70 percent,” she said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”

The only interpretation is that all city and county contracts and spending will not be based on lowest and best price but on the basis of minority and women owned credentials regardless of cost.

I have been calling for some time for a change in City and County purchasing procedures. It is very difficult to bid on city and county purchasing contracts as the paperwork is complex. But what is missing is open access to competitive bids and the cost of minority preferences. We currently do not know what minority preferences are costing taxpayers. We are entitled to know how much extra we are paying for these rules and purchasing ratios. Therefore, the City and County should show on each bid the other bidders on each contract and if the low bidder did not get the contract, we should know why and the cost differential. Also, each contract should display the minority percentage of the contract and what minority received the contract.

I have railed against this minority spending requirement for several years. I am not against economically disadvantaged minorities getting a leg up. However what should be changed is the following. The paperwork and legal qualification rules are very complicated and discourage otherwise qualified firms. There should be a common-sense method such as the better business bureau or other independent organization that gives a rating system based on customer satisfaction reports.

Most importantly the purchasing system should be open and transparent with the final bids and selection on line and open to all. If a minority firm is the low bidder, so be it. If it is not the low bidder and is selected, then the price differential should be no more than 3% to 5% and then the minority firm should be given a one to two-year time to graduate to a no price differential status for future competitive bids. The system now is not transparent, and we do not know what minority spending rules are costing us and we do not know who the beneficiaries are.

What MS Sawyer is proposing is the distribution of taxpayer funds on the basis of race or gender preferences. That always leads to friends of the politicians getting the bulk of the pie without any benefit to the public.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Tami Sawyer announced that she will be a candidate for Memphis Mayor this year. She is currently a Shelby County commissioner. I wish her luck and she will no doubt be a formidable candidate. But let us look at what she says.

“My administration will be one that is set on equity,” Sawyer said on the podcast. “All of the operations that come out of City Hall will be equity-focused. That’s how you get to that shift. You put leaders in place who share your vision, who believe equity and opportunity are required in all parts of the city.”

Ms Sawyer points out that Mayor Strickland has publicized the jump in city spending with minority- and women-owned businesses from 12 percent to 24 percent since 2016. Despite that increase, Sawyer called the current figures “staggeringly low,” and said that spending should be more closely aligned with Memphis’ demographic makeup.

“What I want to see is a number that’s closer to the 70 percent,” she said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”

The only interpretation is that all city and county contracts and spending will not be based on lowest and best price but on the basis of minority and women owned credentials regardless of cost.

I have been calling for some time for a change in City and County purchasing procedures. It is very difficult to bid on city and county purchasing contracts as the paperwork is complex. But what is missing is open access to competitive bids and the cost of minority preferences. We currently do not know what minority preferences are costing taxpayers. We are entitled to know how much extra we are paying for these rules and purchasing ratios. Therefore, the City and County should show on each bid the other bidders on each contract and if the low bidder did not get the contract, we should know why and the cost differential. Also, each contract should display the minority percentage of the contract and what minority received the contract.

I have railed against this minority spending requirement for several years. I am not against economically disadvantaged minorities getting a leg up. However what should be changed is the following. The paperwork and legal qualification rules are very complicated and discourage otherwise qualified firms. There should be a common-sense method such as the better business bureau or other independent organization that gives a rating system based on customer satisfaction reports.

Most importantly the purchasing system should be open and transparent with the final bids and selection on line and open to all. If a minority firm is the low bidder, so be it. If it is not the low bidder and is selected, then the price differential should be no more than 3% to 5% and then the minority firm should be given a one to two-year time to graduate to a no price differential status for future competitive bids. The system now is not transparent, and we do not know what minority spending rules are costing us and we do not know who the beneficiaries are.

What MS Sawyer is proposing is the distribution of taxpayer funds on the basis of race or gender preferences. That always leads to friends of the politicians getting the bulk of the pie without any benefit to the public.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Effects Of The Green New Deal

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

March 6, 2019

 

High Speed Trip-Memphis to New Orleans By Rail and Bus

 

A Memphis friend of mine is taking a trip to New Orleans tomorrow. Rather than fly, he wanted to go by rail from Memphis. He bought the ticket and then found out that due to heavy rains recently, part of the rail line in Louisiana was closed due to high water. Amtrak decided that they will take him to Jackson Mississippi by train and then by hired bus to New Orleans. Another wasted money project involves Illinois and the high/low speed train corridor from Chicago to St. Louis. Work on Amtrak’s Chicago-St. Louis route will cost $2 billion and will offer a top speed of just 110 mph and shave only an hour off the trip.

This made me reflect on several things proposed by the Green New Deal which is being offered by quite a few 2020 presential candidates. As part of the Green New Deal, air travel would be discontinued to save the planet by eliminating the carbon pollution of airplanes. Mule trains would also be eliminated due to pollution by mules.

Nationally, you only must look at California to see the effects of this kind of thinking. The Trump administration says it intends to cancel a $929 million federal grant for California’s high-speed rail project. The administration also wants to reclaim another $2.5 billion in federal funds already spent by California on the project.

The Department of Transportation is accusing California officials of missing several deadlines tied to the $929 million appropriation for the state’s high-speed rail line.

In his state of the state address last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, proposed to scale back the project and focus on completing a link in the Central Valley between Bakersfield and Merced rather than between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Merced will be able to speed up delivery of almonds, pistachios and strawberries to Bakersfield.

Locally, I would like to see something that would be less costly and offer more benefits. Think about the Poplar and Park corridors and how many times you have been held up by low speed infinitely long freight trains. Also include the dangerous Poplar Pike road in Germantown which the rail line crosses several times. The only way around these freight train delays is the Ridgeway Road under pass between Poplar and Park. Driving from central Memphis to East Memphis and Germantown I always think of alternate routes to avoid possible long and slow freight trains. As a result I drive many extra miles from central Memphis to my destination.

Surely several more under or overpasses would come in under the billions spent on the worthless California high speed train boondoggle or the Illinois creepy train plan.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you.