Saturday, June 24, 2017

ABCs and 123s of our economic state

October 15, 2014 by Las Vegas Black Image Magazine  
Filed under Community

BY LOUIE OVERSTREET

LOUIE OVERSTREET

Now that the Nevada economy is on the rebound, it’s sad to report that we are again standing on the outside — peering through the window for a glimpse at all the economic goodies on display.

This is truly a sad situation to observe. Only a decade-and-a half-ago, there were a number of promising situations that were in evidence. In three of them, I was both aware and personally involved:

a. After being embarrassed by Gene Collins and Stan Washington (coupled with the Urban Chamber hosting back to back national gaming conferences) the gaming industry made major diversity commitments, with Terry Lanni of MGM leading the way.

b. The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) was forced to provide funding for training under a provision of the Surface Transportation Act of 1998.

c. The three minorities were working together to promote economic development and political empowerment.

Well, folks: What was as easy as ABC then, ain’t as simple as 1-2-3 today.

Now on Nevada’s economic horizon: public projects, highway construction and an emerging “pot” industry. In the private sector, casino development is back and renewable energy is taking hold to the tune of billions of dollars annually.

But us? We are not in position to do “squat!”

1. Minority involvement in the gaming industry, in terms of management and contracting, is as scarce as hen’s teeth.

2. We do not have one minority-run development organization controlling a budget totaling anywhere near the token amount of $1 million in a multi-billion dollar economy. A prime example of this fact: This year and next, over $500 million is being given to NDOT by the Federal Highway Administration. Thus far, the agency has allotted only $90,000 for DBE supportive services.

3. None of the minority chambers have found a cause they can collectively champion. Not even a simple act like holding a press conference to unveil a joint economic initiative.

Now do you see why we are such a sorry lot, and again find ourselves on the outside looking in? Oh my!

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