OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Hazardous roadways and potholes are major problem in the city of Oakland.
It is going to take a lot of work to safely restore the streets, sidewalks and the pavement. And a lot of money that is up for grabs for the contractors bidding on the job.
A proposal to end competitive bidding for minority owned contractors is under consideration by the Oakland City Council.
Two council members are signaling their strong opposition to the idea.
“We have $60 million of paving contracts that are being awarded and unfortunately the proposal is that we award the contracts to 3 large corporations, instead of creating opportunities for small local businesses,” said Oakland City Councilmember Loren Taylor.
The Department of Transportation is behind the proposal asking for a waiver that would end competitive bidding and participation for small businesses in Oakland.
However, a city ordinance requires that 50% of the work is awarded to local businesses, and half of that – specifically awarded to small local businesses that are often owned and operated by minority business owners.
“Bottom line, the cards are stacked up against Black, Brown, women-owned business, and we have to put a concerted effort into addressing these disparities,” Councilmember Loren Taylor said.
“People need to know that the city of Oakland stands by its word,” said Councilmember Sheng Thao.
“When you waive the right to open this for a fair bid, you’re basically stating this is a vote of non-confidence in our small businesses.”
KRON4 offered an opportunity to the Department of Transportation to be a part of this conversation.
In the summary of their resolution the director states, “while all bidders were deemed responsible for award, no contractor proposed for award was responsive to the full requirement for local participation.”