LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The top elected officials in Los Angeles pledged on Tuesday to help small and minority-owned local businesses win more contracts with the city.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he would develop a “business inclusion program” that would expand the city’s pool of potential bidders to include more small and minority-owned local businesses, which he called “the lifeblood of the Southern California economy.”

“As these businesses prosper, so does the city,” Villaraigosa said. The announcement coincided with the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce releasing a report called “The Case for Minority Business Contracting Reform.”

The report said “the city of Los Angeles — specifically the Mayor’s office — must do all it can to make sure all businesses have an equal opportunity to grow and to contribute to the city’s immediate economic recovery.”

“Reforming contracting policies for minority businesses and enforcing those reforms with every city department and agency is a major step towards bridging the budget divide,” it added.

GLAAAC Chairman Gene Hale said the report found that minority-owned businesses are not receiving what he considered an “adequate share” of business contracts with the city. He called on city leaders to “implement contracting reforms that will broaden opportunities for small local disadvantaged businesses.”

City Councilman Herb Wesson said he supported efforts to help not only minority-owned businesses but small businesses in general to flourish.

“The majority of the jobs that are created not just in the city and state, but in the country, are in small businesses, and those are the ones generally in need of some kind of assistance,” he said.

Since minorities have higher levels of unemployment, the city should make an effort to help businesses that involve them, Wesson said.

“A team is only as strong as its weakest link and if minority businesses are the weaker links, we need to shore them up,” he said.

The GLAAAC report urged the mayor to amend a 1985 executive order to direct city officials to make an effort to do with business local disabled veterans and local “disadvantaged” companies.

The report also called for a study to determine if minority-owned business lag behind others when it comes to winning city contracts.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (8)
  1. Blue Eyed Devil says:

    that makes a lot of sense….cause the white man never suffers. Our wallets are made of gold……….wait a minute……..isn’t the white man a minority? wooo, looks like Im getting help……thank you Sotomayor!!!

  2. rjjrdq says:

    In Los Angeles that would be whitey. Thanks, Tony!

  3. Bill Jones says:

    Whites caused this mess. The city shouldn’t help them get out of it. Only the victimized minorities deserve assitance.

  4. John Glazar says:

    I certainly hope that this mayor’s committee will also follow EEO guidelines, so that the minority owned businesses will hire outside of their own race? Did you ever notice, Anthony, that most of the Hispanic owned businesses in Los Angeles will only hire other Hispanics to work there? Likewise also the Pakistanis, the Koreans, the Arabians, the Japanese, the Thai community, the Chinese? Just exactly where DO the white people fit in here? The unemployment rate no longer follows racial guidelines, no matter how loud the so called “minorities” whine about it. I’m a 55 year old white guy, and I could NEVER get hired by one of these “minority owned” businesses. I’m an American, I speak ENGLISH, and even that has become a disadvantage. The only help for me is with Social Services, and they will only “help” you when you become homeless!!

  5. Diego says:

    This is offensive to me as a Hispanic Business owner. Like a slap in the face saying that I am unable to succeed without their help. My success is attributed to my own hard earned skills. I pity the Hispanic Business owner that is glad about this.

  6. Bill Jones says:

    What do you do? Do you have one of those hot dog carts I see outside Staples?

  7. Trisha says:

    Haha, Bill. Some one needs to get rid of the bean!

  8. David Garcia says:

    I agree with Diego. We shouldn’t have to reply on anyone. Our success is directly related to our hard work and these politicians are just showing face to appease a small group of people. http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/esthergarcia

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