Friday, June 22, 2007

THE "DISADVANTAGED MINORITY" ROSEMARY BARBOUR...I MEAN, RAMIREZ...IS NEITHER

So my local paper has been following a story on the FBI investigation into Alcatec, a company owned by the wife of one of Haley Barbour's nephews and they had this update today:

"Alcatec began in 2000 as a laundry service for students at the University of Mississippi. In 2004, it was awarded two General Services Administration (GSA) contracts - totaling $675,750 - to provide and maintain washers, dryers and showers at Camp Shelby.

After Hurricane Katrina, Barbour was awarded another set of GSA contracts, worth $6.4 million - much of it no-bid - to take her shower services to the Coast.

Alcatec qualified as a minority-owned firm during the bid process. Barbour, an American citizen and active in Republican politics, was born in Guatemala. She said she used her maiden name, Ramirez, when she made the bids, so that federal officials would not know of her family ties.
"
Actually, that's not an update, it's the background--but it's brand new to me, as I haven't been following the story at all. I just found that last paragraph oddly interesting--that she would admit using her maiden name instead of her presumably legal name on an application for a federal contract. Isn't that misrepresentation of some sort? Or falsifying documents?

She sure doesn't look like a minority in the one picture I've seen of her.




















And for a poor, humble Guatemalan girl, she was able to afford some pretty top-notch schooling--she graduated from Westover, a private girl's school in Connecticut, and then from Goucher, a private college in Maryland. Seems to me she wanted to (and did) pass for mestizo when she is more likely a peninsular or criollo...I mean, sometimes being rich and well-connected just isn't enough to get the contract...

Although this New York Times story makes note of how well Mrs. Barbour/Ramirez/Barbour's? company was doing with the federal contracts after Katrina:

"PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss., Dec. 6 - Rosemary Barbour happens to be married to a nephew of Mississippi's governor, Haley Barbour. Since the Reagan administration, when Mrs. Barbour worked as a White House volunteer as a college student, she has been active in the Republican Party.

She also happens to be one of the biggest Mississippi-based winners of federal contracts for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

To some contract watchdogs, this could be an example of how the federal government responsibly reached out to give a piece of the billions of dollars in federal hurricane-recovery work to a small Mississippi-based company owned by a Latina. Mrs. Barbour, 39, who was born in Guatemala but now lives in Jackson, Miss., is certified by the United States Small Business Administration as a disadvantaged small-business owner."


Say what?! When a "disadvantaged minority" is neither

How can a graduate of Westover and Goucher who worked in the Bush 41 administration and married into a powerful political family at age 24 be legitimately certified as "disadvantaged?" Even if she was born in Guatemala?

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that her story about using her maiden name might be just that--a story, to try to throw us rubes off the nepotism/cronyism trail. I'm sure she probably is registered with the SBA as a disadvantaged minority and actually did fill out the paperwork with her maiden name, but that's likely only because one of Haley's or her own old Washington buddies or friends of friends helped her cook up that cover story...when they found out that she was born in Guatemala and her maiden name is Ramirez, a Latina/minority/disadvantaged-sounding name if there ever was one...

But this seems like an abuse of "disadvantaged minority" status by both Barbour/Ramirez and the SBA. Because the "disadvantaged minority" Rosemary Barbour is neither...

2 comments:

Rodrigo said...

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Freshmao said...

Where in the Constitution does one group of people based on race get preferential treatment over another group? Affirmative action is wrong and evil in any form (this is the ideal of course).