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Dancing against Harbor Point contract process

Arnold Jolivet, managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association Inc., objected to Baltimore’s spending board authorizing Harbor Point’s developer to use $7.5 million over four years for infrastructure improvements.

Dancers

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The money will be used for projects such as building roads, making water utility improvements and constructing parks as part of the planned $1 billion mixed-use development.

Jolivet argued that since the money was coming from tax increment financing, Harbor Point Development, LLC should be held to city standards for hiring minority and women-owned businesses for contracts.

He passionately accused the Board of Estimates of having already made up its mind about approving the issue before hearing his protest. He also appeared to start dancing in front of the panel, shuffling back and forth, in an awkward attempt to demonstrate the board making decisions beforehand.

The impromptu dance number was called to a halt when City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young requested Jolivet return to the microphone.

But the entire incident may have been all for naught because the agenda item clearly stated the developer has “signed a commitment to comply with the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Program of Baltimore City.”

The board voted to approve with agreement with only Comptroller Joan Pratt voting against it.

One comment

  1. Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It’s good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either–whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and businesses money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it’s almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and this model brief: http://www.pacificlegal.org/page.aspx?pid=1342 ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose.

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