SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Fixing 8(a) Abuses
By Albert K. White


October 29, 2008
Wednesday AM

There was an editorial in the Opinion section of the Ketchikan Daily News recently on Fixing 8(a) Abuses. This article was republished from the Anchorage Daily News on 0ctober 7, 2008. The republished article frustrated me because it goes back to spreading only one side of the information building up opinions that are biased to the issues reported.

The commentary went on to say that the federal programs that give special no-bid preferences to Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) is over generous, and that several Native corporations have used the bidding preference to win federal contracts totaling over $1 billion. The editorial also went on to alert how the program is abused by focusing on an ANC that won a no-bid set aside with no experience. This ANC created a joint venture with the company that had experience; which the contractor had preferred. The article also explained how this 8(a) government program is a gravy train for Natives Americans and is pushing aside the mom and pop minority-owned businesses. In the end, the piece concluded that there is no good public policy in this government program and needs to be reformed by capping the amount of contracts Alaskan Native corporations are allowed to receive.

Here is my response to the Fixing 8(a) Abuses article:

The article reports over generous government procurements totaled over $1 billion, what the article doesn't tell you is that the government has budgeted to spend over $1 trillion; ANC's affect no more than 1% of that budget. The reason ANC's have not penetrated more than 1% of government spending and may never see more than 5% is because of the goliath companies with unlimited lobbyist resources that work to keep big business big.

The article also reported that an ANC with no experience partnered with a firm that has experience, which the contractor preferred. There is really no other way to even get started and survive in this program without some kind of Joint Venture or Mentor Protégé agreement to build the experience needed to feed on the crumbs of the wealthy conglomerates that will always control the industries to which the government spends its budget on. As long as the agreement is legal and follows all SBA regulations partnerships are critical to gaining the experience in the various industries available.

One of the worst comments this editor could have made was that, "it is a gravy train that runs for years, allowing Native firms to push aside mom and pop minority-owned businesses and force experienced potential competitors to sign up with Native partners." The Government Accountability Office (GAO) who answers to congress did a study that proved otherwise to this statement, if the editor read this report he would not have made such a fictitious comment. The GAO reported that ANC s affect no more than 1% of the government budget and benefit Native and non-natives. Non-natives benefited right beside Natives working white and blue collar jobs. It was also concluded that profits seen were spent in rural and non-rural communities increasing revenue for local businesses through expenditures from dividends paid out.

The final statement made by the editor of the article about reform and capping the program was an uninformed opinion. There is a reason congress allowed no ceiling for ANC s and a cap for Individual minority owners. ANC s support hundreds if not thousands of minority shareholders in Alaska, whereas an individual represents their self all over the Nation. A mom and pop minority owned business still has every opportunity to go after their $3 to $5 million dollar contract opportunities, whereas an ANC focuses on larger contracts that will support their respective shareholder body. ANC s have been working hard to try to penetrate the 8(a) s program opportunities to support rural and non-rural communities but have only realized a little over 1% of the over $1 trillion spent by congress. This small amount that is realized has helped with growing the economy all over Alaska and will soon realize more government jobs in Alaska.

Studies have been done and legislation continues to be presented and voted down. Obviously the last failed attempt for reform infuriated a response of predisposed opinion. I'm tired of the rhetoric journalists, who continue to spew labeled as an opinion, their prejudiced view with no fair and balanced commentary to follow, for this reason I responded.

I currently work for one of these so called "Gravy Train" subsidiaries. I have been struggling along with our subsidiary for the last two years to gain the required experience necessary to be approved as an 8(a) company. Once this happens we will be able to have a competitive advantage to capture contracts bringing jobs to Saxman injecting money into Saxman, Ketchikan, and Ketchikan Gateway Borough's economy.

Even with this so called competitive advantage that some would love to see disappear, our affect will only be in one minor area affecting a fraction of the over $1 trillion the government intends to spend in the coming year.

Even crumbs these days are too much for minorities to have!


Albert K. White
Saxman, AK

About: "Past Vice-Mayor City of Saxman, Vice-President Saxman I.R.A., Current Chairman Cape Fox Corporation. "

Received October 27, 2008 - Published October 29, 2008


Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for publication.

SitNews ©2008
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska