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                     "The Independent Real News Since 1995"

Ridley-Thomas Put Forth Motion

for Publicizing County Contracting Opportunities



By Gloria Zuurveen


LOS ANGELES COUNTY—Concerned that small community newspapers like PACE NEWS which was started more than 20 years ago and which is a legally adjudicated newspaper of general circulation in accordance with Government Code Sections 6000 and 6008, were being left out of more than $6 billion dollars in contracts which the County spends for good and services, I was on hand April 24, 2018, to show support for a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for publicizing County contract opportunities.

Ridley-Thomas said in his motion, “It is important that these contract opportunities are widely publicized to maximize the  positive  economic  impact  of  the  large  volume  of  goods  and  services  the  County procures.    As  such,  it  is  appropriate  to  evaluate  the  current  process  for  conducting outreach and publicizing County contract opportunities to ensure that they are achieving the intended goals.”

The County use of vendors for dissemination of information has been used for many years; however, African American newspaper owners like myself and others, have been seriously and severely overlooked when  it comes to having a seat at the table for contracting opportunities.

With the motion by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas it is a step in the right direction to give parity and creates more diversity in contracting opportunities at the County level.  The motion was carried with amendments.  The motion by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas requested that  Director of the Department of Internal Services and County Counsel report back in writing in 30 days with:

1.  The process that the County of Los Angeles (County) employs to select websites and  print 

publications  to  advertise  County  contract  opportunities,  including  the factors considered

when deciding whether or not to post an advertisement;

2.  The   websites   and   print   publications   regularly   used   to   advertise   contract

opportunities with the County;

3.  The mechanism used to determine whether posted opportunities are effectively maximizing 

outreach  to  prospective  vendors,  and  are  intentionally  including  all segments of the

population; and

4.  A  recommended  policy  to  ensure  regular  updates  to  the  County’s  publicizing process  

to   promote   greater   access   and   awareness   of   County   contract opportunities

Ridley-Thomas motion is somewhat in alignment with the request by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) who also recently reported on a long-awaited report that details what federal agencies spend on advertising in African American-owned newspapers which was finally near completion, according to officials in the General Accounting Office (GAO).

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) is a trade organization made up of more than 200 Black-owned media companies, that reach more than 20 million people each week, celebrates 191 years of the Black Press.

Just like Democratic D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has been at the forefront of a multi-year effort pushing for a new report, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas is leading the charge locally to ensure inclusion and not exclusion when it comes to the Black Press like PACE NEWS and other local community newspapers have a greater opportunity to be included when spending more than $6 billion dollars for County services and products.

 “The Black Press allow us to reach people who need to hear the real story and the power of the African American print press is validation and people appreciate the real story,” said CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.). “When you advertise in the Black Press, you get a sense of credibility.”

“It’s important that news outlets and media companies owned or published by individuals of color, with a primary mission to serve communities of color, have the same opportunities as other media outlets—especially as African Americans and Hispanic Americans continue to grow in number in the United States,” Norton said. “We believe that this request for a new report is particularly timely, because GAO will be conducting an audit of spending by federal agencies on public relations and advertising.”

I too, like Norton, believe that this motion and request by Ridley-Thomas is timely and I look forward to hearing the results of the findings in 30 days to determine where do we go from here.

Will it continue to be business as usual or will change actually take place to level the playing field when it comes to County contracts in excess of $6 billion dollars?