TEXAS contractors suffer "reverse discrimination" due to racial set-asides and racial quotas!

Racial Quotas = Discrimination

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Texas Contractors and
Racial Set-Asides

Last Updated
October 15, 2002

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Texas (State):
Bill would end race and ethnicity info for jobs  (03/25/99)

          "A bill filed in the Texas Legislature this month would end requests for racial and ethnic information on applications for employment and admissions to state agencies.

          "Rep. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, R-Lampasas, said House Bill 2327 is not intended to eliminate affirmative action, but to facilitate application procedures for people who are multi-ethnic.  'The number of interracial marriages, and children resulting from those marriages, is increasing everyday,' Hupp said in a statement.  'Therefore, we should eliminate the degrading practice of forcing people to check 'other' when indicating their racial group on applications.

          Hupp said the bill encourages all applicants to be considered equally without regard to race. "H.B. 2723 will move us one step closer to a colorblind society in which we only have to check one box: American," Hupp said.  (Daily Texan, 03/25/99, by Laura Offenbacher)

[last known link:  http://stumedia.tsp.utexas.edu/webtexan/thursday/99032501_s03_Bill.html ]

Texas (Austin):
Minority Contracting Quotas (03/22/99)

          "Citing a questionnaire in which the governor [George W. Bush] expressed opposition to race-based affirmative action programs intended to level the playing field among the races, [Ward] Connerly claimed that Bush backed the proposed ban on [racial quotas and preferences].

          "But before [Ward] Connerly even left town, Ellis, the state senator and [racial quota] supporter, issued a statement praising Bush's stand,  'Thankfully, Governor Bush understands the importance of inclusion.'  [See Also:  Terms - Inclusion]

          "A week later, neither Bush nor his staff would say whether Bush supports the state's Historically Underutilized Business program, or whether he is for or against the efforts to eliminate it.  'I'm for affirmative access.  I think the state ought to do everything in its power to provide equal opportunity for all citizens,' Bush said at a recent news conference.   'I think quotas pit one group of people against the other.'  He declined to be more specific."  (PostNet, 03/22/99)

[last known link:

Texas (Austin):
Legislature Pressured to Keep Quotas (01-14-99)

          "A Hispanic business group is urging the Legislature to keep the state's contracting program that is designed to assist businesses owned by women and minorities. 'We will not stand by and let state agencies ignore minorities and their businesses' said Marilou Martinez Stevens, chairwoman of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce."

          Texas' minority set-aside program is called HUB - Historically Underutilized Business. HUB sets racial goals for state agencies in contracting with minority and women-owned companies. Under the program, those businesses increased their share of state contracts from $22.8 million, or less than 2 percent in 1991, to nearly $1 billion, or more than 16 percent in 1996. That share fell to 13.8 percent in 1997 and 13.2 percent in 1998. (Associated Press via the Austin Star-Telegram, 01-14-99)

[last known link http://www.star-telegram.com:80/news/doc/1047/1:BIZ59/1:BIZ59011499.html ]

(See Also:  Austin Destroys Black Man's Business, Adversity.net local page, this site)

Texas (Houston):
White-Owned Highway Contractor Uses Racial Quotas to Advantage! (09-29-02)

Summary:  Williams Brothers Construction is one of the largest road building contractors in Texas.  Its owner is white.  There are two ways to look at the following story.

          ONE:   Williams Brothers has found a way to prosper as a federal and state road contractor in spite of unconstitutional "race-based" subcontracting requirements.

          TWO:  Williams Brothers is guilty of fraud because it has allegedly set up "sham" minority-owned subcontractor companies which, in reality, are controlled by Williams Brothers.

          Either way, like many other companies doing business with the government, in order to qualify for government contracts, Williams Brothers must subcontract a certain percentage of its work to minority-owned firms.  -- Editor

Houston Chronicle Headline:  "Affirmative action fraud alleged"
Sub-Head:  "Road builder used subcontractor as a front, lawsuits' plaintiffs claim"

          The Houston Chronicle writes:  "Government officials never quite nailed Williams Brothers Construction, the state's largest road builder, for using a puppet company to help meet affirmative action standards.

          "But now several cement companies, stiffed by a bankrupt subcontractor, are trying to prove exactly that in an effort to force Williams Brothers to pay millions that the company's subcontractor owes them."  [The bankrupt subcontractor, DDS Aggregates Inc., was an existing, bona fide woman-owned business which had received assistance from Williams Brothers in setting up its cement mixing business.  --Editor]

          "The new accusations echo those made against a previous Williams Brothers contractor that was forced out of the state's affirmative action program in 1994. When that happened, Williams Brothers took back the equipment used by the first subcontractor and sold it for use by a new subcontractor with all the same employees.

          "Now that the second subcontractor has stopped working, a third has been created, again with some of the same equipment and employees, helping Williams Brothers meet its government-mandated affirmative action goals.

          "Each time, a minority or woman is put in charge of the company.

          "Documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle outline the history of the subcontractors and paint a picture of firms created solely to serve the needs of Williams Brothers, not meet affirmative action's ideals.

          "Williams Brothers President James D. "Doug" Pitcock Jr. says there's nothing wrong with that, and state and federal officials have had plenty of time to challenge him, but have not."

          The Houston Chronicle story concludes as follows:

          "Williams Brothers' particular use of affirmative action could mean a variety of things to observers. ... Critics of affirmative action say the situation shows once again that the current program doesn't work."  According to the Houston Chronicle report, Gary Polland, former chair of the Harris County Republican Party, said "At the end of the day, it tells you that affirmative action isn't always helping the disadvantaged and minorities get contracts."

          Stephen Webb, an attorney involved in the litigation, is quoted as saying:  "It's just outrageous, I believe. It's amazing.  He [the president of Williams Brothers] seems to have stretched (affirmative action rules), to say the least."  According to the Chronicle:   "Webb said he doubted the general public would care very much about whether a contractor had day-to-day control of a subcontractor that was supposed to be an independent, blooming enterprise.  "I don't think the public cares who builds (roads) as long as they're built quickly."

(Excerpted from the Dan Feldstein story as it appeared in the Houston Chronicle on 09-29-02)

Last known link to the original Houston Chronicle story:

Last known printer friendly link to the Houston Chronicle story:

Texas (Houston):
Texas House Passes Contractor Quota Bill (05/14/99)

          Houston, TX - "Today, the Campaign for a Colorblind America condemned House Bill 3032, which was engrossed today after being passed by Texas House on May 11. This bill, cosponsored by Democratic Reps. Rene Oliveira and Dwanna Dukes, threatens to revoke the purchasing authority and reduce the funding of state agencies if they don't meet a predetermined quota for awarding contracts to Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs). HUBs are defined by the state as enterprises mostly owned by blacks, Hispanics, or women. Only fourteen members of the House had the courage to oppose this legislation.   (See Also DOT Contractor Sues, below.)

          "The approved version of the bill, which mirrors the House Committee Substitute filed by Democratic State. Rep. Steve Wolens, states "In preparing the consolidated yearly report under Section 2161.121 regarding the historically underutilized business program during the preceding state fiscal year, the commission shall include information for each state agency to reflect whether the agency substantially failed to meet during the preceding year the applicable historically underutilized business contracting goals established by this chapter and by rules of the commission. The legislature shall consider this information in determining whether to revoke by law any purchasing authority that the commission has delegated to a state agency or to appropriate to another agency the funds used for an agency's purchases.

          Campaign for a Colorblind America Executive Director Marc Levin stated, "Weare outraged that the Texas House, without hardly any debate, almost unanimously passed such a blatant racial and gender quota bill. If legislators can't understand that discriminatory racial and gender quotas are morally wrong, they should certainly recognize that every major court decision in the last five years has concluded that the use of race in awarding state contracts is legally wrong because it violates the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment."

          Campaign for a Colorblind America Chairman Edward Blum added, "We are currently involved in a lawsuit challenging racial preferences in contracting used by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). Based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court Adarand decision, which struck down a similar program in Colorado, we are very confident of victory in this case. The Texas House's passage of this egregious quota bill will only provide us with more ammunition in our fight for equal rights."  (Filed by Campaign for a Color Blind America 05/14/99)

[last known link http://www.equalrights.com ]

Texas (Houston):
State highway agency sued over quotas (DOT quotas) (03/01/99)

          "The white contractor who felled Metro's affirmative action program and gashed the city of Houston's plan with a protracted court fight filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the use of racial quotas by the Texas Department of Transportation.

          "Robert Kossman said his erosion control company has lost subcontracts to minority-owned businesses, even when he submitted the lowest bid. He is asking U.S. District Judge David Hittner to declare the program unconstitutional under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

          " 'These contracting programs are government sponsored discrimination,' said Corbin Van Ardsdale, one of Kossman's attorneys.  'They are taking race, ethnicity and sex, and using them to evaluate bids. Kossman is the low bidder, but he's lost these contracts because he has a 'Y' chromosome and Hungarian grandparents.' " (Houston Chronicle, 03/01/99, by Deborah Tedford)

[last known link http://www.chron.com/content/story.html/metropolitan/205285 ]

State DOT Minority Set-Aside Program Sued as Unconstitutional (03/01/99)

          The Campaign for a Color-Blind America, Legal Defense and Educational Foundation announces the filing of a lawsuit in Houston, Texas that challenges the constitutionality of the Texas Department of Transportation's affirmative action contracting program.

          Plaintiff Bob Kossman, a Houston sod contractor, claims he has lost business even though he submitted low bids because of TXDOT's racial quotas. The lawsuit questions the legality of Defendants' use of racial, ethnic, and gender criteria in its construction contracting process. Mr. Kossman is represented by Corbin Van Arsdale of the law firm Fitzhugh and Elliot. In 1997, Van Arsdale successfully challenged the racial preference program of the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority. The Authority is enjoined from using race or gender in its contracting program.

          "This lawsuit is long overdue," said Edward Blum, Chairman of CCBA. "Since the Adarand case was decided by the Supreme Court in 1995, most race-based contracting programs such as TXDOT's should have been discarded years ago."

          Blum added, "Race-based set-asides are inherently unfair and are causing many businesses to close down. Kossman has been forced to layoff over half of his employees because of these quotas."

          "The state of Texas should abandon race-based programs and implement new programs that help all small businesses, regardless of the owner's race or gender," Blum concluded.

[ Contact Campaign for a Color-Blind America at 713/286-2165 or 713/522-7422 ]

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.