Minority Firms to Be Part of Rebuilding : Riots: A consortium will distribute up to $10 million in state and federal money. Mayor Bradley says contracts will go to companies in areas affected by the unrest.


Mayor Tom Bradley unveiled a plan Monday to award minority-owned companies several million dollars in contracts to demolish up to 500 buildings gutted by fires during the riots.

Standing in front of a strip of burned-out buildings on South Vermont Avenue, the mayor announced the creation of the Los Angeles Community Partnership, a consortium of five construction and engineering companies, four of which are minority-owned.

Bradley said the consortium will distribute up to $10 million in state and federal money that has been appropriated for building demolition.


“We can assure everyone that these contracts are going to go to firms that truly represent the community,” Bradley said. “Companies that are based in other parts of the region should not be given a job that can be professionally completed by a contractor right here in this community.”

Bradley said about 80% of the contracts distributed through the partnership will go to minority-owned firms. A list of qualified minority firms will be distributed to insurance companies that play a pivotal role in determining who gets the contracts.

The mayor’s proclamation came on the heels of protests by minority contractors, who assert that they have been shut out of early rebuilding work. Twice last week, black contractors and community activists, led by Danny Bakewell of the Brotherhood Crusade, closed down construction sites where there were no black workers.

George L. Pla, president of Cordoba Corp., one of the companies in the consortium, praised Bakewell’s efforts and said he hoped that the newly formed partnership would be able to persuade enough building owners and insurance companies to use its services that protests would no longer be necessary.

Bakewell applauded the new program but said it did not resolve the problem. “It’s a good step, a bold step, but it can’t be the only step,” he said. “The issue is more than demolition. It’s financing. Insurance companies do most of the financing in this world. We want to meet with chief executive officers of insurance companies,” who are involved in making the decisions.

In the meantime, “we have monitors in the street every day under the banner of the African-American Honor Committee,” checking job sites to make sure African-Americans are getting a share of reconstruction jobs, Bakewell said. “If we can’t work, nobody can work,” he said.


To launch the program, $650,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency was deposited Monday in black-owned Founders National Bank of Los Angeles to quickly pay local contractors for work performed.

Additional funds are to be made available from federal and state emergency relief accounts as the demolition program moves forward, said Carlton Jenkins, Founders’ managing director.

The consortium includes two Latino-owned companies, Cordoba and Pacifica Services Inc.; one black-owned firm, Construction Control Services Corp.; one Korean-owned firm, JayKim Engineers Inc., and Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM), one of the nation’s largest architecture and engineering firms, which is not minority-owned.

Several companies have been politically active. For example, DMJM has been a major contributor to local officials. Cordoba and its employees have frequently contributed to the campaigns of City Councilman Richard Alatorre and others. Pasadena-based Pacifica and its president, Ernest M. Camacho, also have contributed to Alatorre. JayKim has contributed to Bradley and Councilman Michael Woo, among others.

Construction Control, headquartered in Durham, N.C., has done considerable business with the city, including work on the Metro Blue Line light-rail project and the Hyperion Energy Recovery System. The firm has contributed to Bradley and Councilman Nate Holden.

Pla said the consortium had beaten out five other companies to win the contract.

Executives of all the firms joined the mayor at the news conference, along with Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, Public Works Commissioner John Murray and Rebuild L.A. Chairman Peter V. Ueberroth.


Ridley-Thomas said that minority and women contractors interested in participating in the demolition project could get information at 7 tonight during a meeting at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Ueberroth praised the new effort but had no direct involvement in its launching, Pla said. Ueberroth, who said Friday that he would name the remainder of Rebuild L.A.’s board Monday, said the announcement has been delayed until Wednesday.

In response to a question, Ueberroth said that Rebuild L.A. had launched nine projects, but he declined to describe them.

He also blasted the state Legislature for moving slowly on riot-related bills.

“We will all fail if the California Legislature doesn’t get off its backsides,” Ueberroth said. “They’re a job-killing machine, especially jobs in South-Central Los Angeles.”

Bradley unveiled the demolition program in front of a gutted building at 84th Street and Vermont Avenue that housed a toy store, wig shop and men’s clothing outlet. James Oh, who said he had owned the building for more than 20 years, estimated the cost of rebuilding at $250,000.

Oh said he was having trouble obtaining the funds to get the work started. He also said he had been unable to obtain insurance in the past because of the location.


Times staff writers Rich Connell and Jocelyn Y. Stewart and Times researcher Cecilia Rasmussen contributed to this story.