The Gantt Report
Black State Legislators have power
By Lucius Gantt
In the very last remaining days of their presidency, most United States Presidents seek to pardon some convicted criminals.
They do it at that time because in-variably some people who supported the President will get mad because he pardoned one alleged criminal and didn’t pardon another.
But so what? The President will be leaving office and will probably never seek office again so he doesn’t care what voters think about his last day’s actions.
When Florida Republicans gerrymandered the state’s legislative districts they assumed they were dealing a crushing blow to Democrats.
However, what they did was to give the state’s Black Legislators political power that Black state legislators never had before and may never have again!
This realization materialized when Black legislators met with representatives of The Florida Lottery seeking to get budget items passed in the Florida House Appropriations Committee.
With $25 million dollars to spend on advertising, Lottery officials told Black legislators that $250,000 would be spent with Black media.
That was an insult, even to Black legislators!
Insulting as it was, it was also possibly one of numerous lies told by Lottery folk.
When asked why such a paltry a-mount was to be advertised in a community that buys, percentage wise, more than many other ethnic groups, the Lottery explained that ad proposals were requested from Black newspapers to be considered in finalizing the Lottery ad buys.
But, a rudimentary investigation by legislators did not find a single Black-owned newspaper that received an ad proposal request from the Lottery.
There will be a follow up meeting and I would advise the Lottery to be more honest this time because Black media owners should be in attendance at the next meeting with Black Legislators.
So, what can the Black Legislators do and what power do they have to do anything?
Well, the Black Legislators can do what the Speaker of the United States House is doing! Maybe, Florida’s Black State Legislators can’t shut Florida government down but they damn sure can slow Florida government up!
Right now there are two main state agencies under fire for not spending money with Black owned businesses, the Florida Lottery and The Florida Department of Transportation.
FDOT spends billions of federal dollars and, guess what ALL federal dollars have minority business and disadvantaged business aspects to those dollars.
The state of Florida, unlike many states, has refused to do a disparity study that shows how little business Black businesses get from FDOT and the agency could face a law suit stemming from their disrespect, disdain and rejection of federal laws attached to federal funding.
In other words, Florida’s Black Legislators have all of the information and all of the reasons to demand that state agencies coming before the State Legislature to ask for budget money spend some of that money with Black businesses!
What can Florida’s Tea Party Republicans do about a political/economic rebellion led by Florida’s Black Legislators that will slow down the Florida legislative process?
Not a damn thing because many Blacks, including some on the Legislative Appropriations Committees, are term limited and will be leaving office after this year and don’t have to worry about re-election, or playing it safely!
Yes, if the Florida Lottery, the Florida Department of Transportation and other state agencies don’t deal properly with Florida’s Black State Legislators the 2014 Legislative Session could go long and wrong!
The term limited Black State Legislators can run out in a flame of businesses opportunities for Black businesses or it could crawl out of the Legislature like a flicker on a rainy day!
I suggest the Black Legislators do what white Congressional Republicans are doing. The Blacks can file amendment after amendment until agencies quit lying and begin to spend some real money with Black businesses!
President Obama won’t be on the 2014 ballot and Democrats across the US won’t have a chance to defeat Republicans if Blacks believe Democrats won’t fight for Black people and Black businesses.
Black State Legislators have power at the polls too. (Buy Gantt’s latest book “Beast Too: dead Man Writing” online or at any major bookstore and contact Lucius at www.allworldconsultants.net)