INFORMATION: Political Correctness, Hypocrisy and County Commission
Local & National News | July 10, 2024
Do local leaders want better information? Not in my experience, as I have provided local electeds with sourced public information for years...

Written by: Joe B Kent

Do local leaders want better information? Not in my experience, as I have provided local electeds with sourced public information for years and so have others in the community. In this way, both information and research is readily available to support needed transformational change. So, what do electeds really want?

They want political correctness, politeness and coddling curated information permitted for public consideration through the local traditional press publications of the Daily Memphian and Commercial Appeal. This occurs as a local “Black Jobs” story goes unreported by the local traditional media as well as other social justice media outlets. More on that later.

Local leaders are offended by political incorrectness but unoffended about an impoverished majority black Memphis community being systemically ripped off for years. Or let’s say not offended enough to take legislative action or reject a contract. The information they want least is what they the electeds put on the record themselves and that is what this blog is about.

“Black Jobs”

So, an arm of the entirely hypocritical corporate social justice complex was out recently policing the “Black Jobs” debate remark of Donald Trump. Policing that can be easily judged locally as inappropriately inconsistent and I am not a Trump supporter.

After all, the local discourse is consumed with discussions about black jobs, contracts and minority women business enterprise (MWBE) engagement. But the former pageantry persists as small business is routinely obstructed in Memphis, in favor of often more expensive branded local corporate public-private favs like Youth Villages.

Recently in County Commission, a local black small business was obstructed for work that would seem to be a “black contract.” Yes, to the social justice police, as a mean ole average white man, I deemed a type of work as a “black contract”. The contract work concerned on the ground crime prevention intervention in predominantly black neighborhoods.

From an economic development perspective, lacking support for small business is evident in the public data. According to data from the Bureau and Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment Wages program, a Shelby County 6K deficiency exists in business establishments, versus other Tennessee municipalities. This deficiency can be shown to cost local taxpayers $100M in recurring annual local tax revenue (BLS)(TJI).

This small business deficiency persists, in part, due to elitist culture adopted public practices that prioritize contracting with locally branded corporate complex favs like Youth Villages, Methodist and at times out of town new arrival entities like the Raphah Institute. So how does this routinely happen locally as a systemic public practice?

County Commission

Locally unreported, on June 17, 2024, the fiscally liberal County Commission kicked to the curb a local black contractor for Shelby County Health Department administered predominantly black neighborhood crime prevention work. Instead, the County Commission served up contracts to local corporate brands Youth Villages and Methodist Le Bonheur and the unheard of non-local Nashville based entity, The Raphah Institute.

It was a stunning incidental but systemic blow to local small business and in this case local black small business. And it did not occur at the hands of some mean ole white men but the hands of a majority black County Commission.

An easy remedy was before the County Commission through a protest lodged by Dr. Gerald Kiner of Daughters of Zion, a small local black non-profit. And that remedy was to award 1 of the 3 contracts to Daughters of Zion whose bid was less than all 3 of to be awarded bids! (Shelby County Commission)

After all, the Daughters of Zion contract was rumored to be approximately 40% or $200K less expensive at around $250K when compared to the other 3 winning bids at approximately $450K. Daughters of Zion was also bid compliant, unlike The Raphah Institute that was not. And it was also suspiciously strange that all 3 bids that were awarded, were bid at a similar dollar amount.

The County Commission remedy was simple. And that was to order the Administration to award Daughters of Zion a contract instead of the out of town and non-bid compliant Raphah Institute. Or based on the lower bid, not award a contract to either Youth Villages or Methodist.

This is not to mention that these large local pass-through corporations of Youth Villages and Methodist can find other ways to generate revenue, when local small business opportunities such as grassroots black neighborhood work arises. Besides, the local black small business sector needs direct contracts to support emerging business establishment growth for local economic development.

This above public bullying occurs as the local elitist corporate complex sets up branded hubs to serve as a catch all public pass-through businesses for “helping people”. Youth Villages and Methodist are examples, as is the Hospitality Hub for supporting the homeless.

Another local pass-through that has raised significant questions is Memphis River Parks Partnership and now the Chamber as a fiscal agent with workforce development. These types of entities want to skim handsome profits from public proceeds, while farming out the real work to subs and standing between local small business and elected officials.

Just sayin, not a real economic development plan when a community is 6k deficient in business establishments. And another failed economic development practice, rumored slow pay from local government to small business. Never gonna work and taxpayers end up footing the bill…..

Check the Facts

Shelby County Commission Committee. Youth Villages contract award. June 12, 2024

TJI. Taxpayer Justice Institute. Economic Development.

TJI. Calculation of tax revenue loss due to deficient small business. 6,000 business x 5 employees = 30,000 employees x 2.0 economic multiplier = 60,000 employee x $60,000 average wage = $3,600,000,000 x 3% realized local taxes = $108,000,000

Learn more about Joe B Kent

Joe B Kent

Career and Workforce Development Consultant

Joe B Kent

Career and Workforce Development Consultant