[Chat] Fw: Neighborhood News Flash: October 15, 2004

Brad Schlegel william.schlegel at us.army.mil
Fri Oct 15 21:53:03 EDT 2004

FYI - check out the map


W. Brad Schlegel
1552 Oakridge Road
Baltimore, MD 21218-2228
410-467-1933 - H
410-962-9506 - W and Voice Mail
william.schlegel at us.army.mil

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Mayor Martin O'Malley 
Sent: Friday, October 15, 2004 5:52 PM
Subject: Neighborhood News Flash: October 15, 2004

October 15, 2004 

Standing proud of our record on minority business development 
The numbers speak for themselves, despite recent misconceptions. 
Neighborhoods First:  Pig fun in Pigtown 
Find out this weekend why Washington Village's moniker has stuck. 
Good News: Baltimore iMap online 
Another tool for our citizens to plug in, turn on, find out. 
Quote of the Week 

Dear Community or Business Leader, 

You may have read two articles in the Baltimore Sun this week regarding the city's minority business enterprise (MBE) program. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some serious misconceptions they created. 

Baltimore is a national leader in providing opportunity to minority-owned businesses. To my knowledge, no other city achieves the level of transparency and accountability that we demand in empowering minority-owned businesses. And the results are very clear: Contracts for minority-owned businesses have nearly doubled from $45 million in calendar year 2000 to $86 million in fiscal year 2004. 

Yet, if you read two articles in the Sun this week, you would be left with the impression that promoting Baltimore's minority business community is not a priority - that the City's minority business enterprise program is either ineffective or not correctly reported. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sun's articles fundamentally misunderstand how minority business programs work in virtually every city. All it would have taken was a phone call to Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte - or another city - to establish the fact that Baltimore uses the same statistics in the same way - basing percentages on eligible contracts. And this misunderstanding resulted in misleading articles that seem to penalize the city for the transparency that the press and the public should demand from all governments. We provide all of our numbers because we have nothing to hide. 

Our goals in this effort are straightforward: 

  a.. To promote fair and equal access to government and private contract and business opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses; 
  b.. To promote the business, economic and legal interests of minority contracting firms; and 
  c.. To promote the elimination of artificial and unnecessary barriers that prevent full and equal contracting opportunities for minority contracting firms. 
We work toward these goals by reaching out and helping minority firms build capacity, by helping to form partnerships with majority firms - and between minority-owned firms - and by setting public goals and publicly measuring progress toward those goals. 
A few years ago, the late Maynard Jackson, former Mayor of Atlanta - and one of the true pioneers of MBE - came to Baltimore to see what we were doing. He said every city should see what we are doing, because it's groundbreaking 

Yet in the face of this progress, the Sun chose to focus on a non-issue - whether minority participation is counted as a percentage of all contracts - including those where a minority-owned company does not exist to bid - or whether it should be based on all eligible contracts, for which an actual company could conceivably bid. 

While we always are seeking to increase the number of contracts for which there is a qualified minority-owned firm, we cannot create a new business out of thin air. It takes the hard work, time and money of an entrepreneur. 

Every city and state with which I'm familiar bases its minority participation percentage on eligible contracts. It's only common sense. I've always tried to be clear about what we're measuring. I'm disappointed that the Sun failed to make that determination before publishing these misleading articles. 

Minority business enterprise is not about carving up an ever-shrinking pie. It is about expanding opportunity by supporting entrepreneurs who create jobs. After many years with little focus on empowering Baltimore's citizens to become business owners, our city is now at the forefront of this next frontier - both of the civil rights movement and in American business. And we will continue to improve. 

Neighborhoods First:  Pig Fun in Pigtown 

The City of Baltimore has always been a city rich with traditions and community spirit. On Saturday, October 16, the community of Washington Village/Pigtown will honor their past by celebrating the third annual Pigtown Festival. This day of festivities will begin at noon and conclude at 5pm. 

Pigtown, located in Southwest Baltimore close to the B&O Railroad museum received its name from an historic event that took place around the turn of the century. Pigs were herded from the B&O Railroad Terminal and Union Stockyards to South Baltimore and legend further has it that community residents along the route would reach out of the street level cellar windows in an attempt to grab a pig for the family table. 

Individuals of all ages are encouraged to come enjoy fabulous food, the Pigtown Film Festival for kids with showings of Babe and Charlotte's Web, arts & crafts from local artisans and witness the infamous "running of the pigs."  Highlights also include St. Veronica's Steel Band, African American story telling and the quirky Pigtown pageant. 

The festival is free to the public and all proceeds will benefit Pigtown Main Street Program, a part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which helps communities revitalize historic urban commercial districts. The Third Annual Pigtown Festival is now off and running, and, we hope that you will join us in the festivities! 

Good News: Baltimore iMap Online 

This week, the city of Baltimore debuted it's latest internet application: a geographic-based interactive map loaded with all sorts of information. Citizens can now visit http://maps.baltimorecity.gov/imap/ and enter an address, intersection, or neighborhood to retrieve relevant facts about every corner of our city. Users are encouraged to click, pan and zoom, and take advantage of city data on everything from historic districts and monuments to trash pick-up days - even aerial photographs. There's much more to be added in the months ahead, but we just wanted to find a useful way to share some of the most revealing information collected and maintained by the city - it was just too much to keep to ourselves. 

Quote of the Week 

"There is nothing noble in being superior to someone else. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self." - Hindu saying 

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