Op/Ed: Competitive Bidding: Helping California Businesses Thrive – by Senator Ochoa Bogh
Here in Sacramento, one of the many (many, many) things we learned during the pandemic is that when the state has to procure goods and services during a declared state of emergency, it currently has no efficient, transparent means of identifying bids from California-based companies. During a State of Emergency, the Department of General Services awards contracts to a company who can fulfill the terms of the contract quickly or with whom they have a relationship, with no provision or consideration made to identify whether those businesses are headquartered or primarily manufacture their goods and services in California.
I have introduced a bill to rectify this oversight. Senate Bill 1321 would create a designation within the state’s emergency bid procurement process that would allow companies headquartered or that manufacture in California to self-identify as a California-based company.
SB 1321 would not preclude any business from bidding, nor would it cause the state to sacrifice quality or efficiency. It doesn’t state that the public’s money must be spent on California companies regardless of quality or cost, only that the state should allow California-based companies to identify as such and include those criteria as part of the bid process. It would allow for Californian companies to showcase their status as an employer of the state’s blue-collar workers and a proponent of local industry.
Spending the state’s tax dollars in California, with California-based businesses, on products made in California, and in support of California jobs. Reasonable, right? Even during an emergency – in fact, especially during an emergency – we should be doing so, but that’s simply not the case now, with the reason given being efficiency.
As it stands, during a state of emergency, the executive branch – the governor and his administration – wields the power to award public contracts for a variety of goods and services without the normal competitive bidding process. Many California-based manufacturing companies lose these bids to large national or international companies that can afford to
produce goods to-scale at below-market rates, often because they can pay their workers less and have less-stringent environmental regulations than California does.
For example, the state’s 2021 budget allocated $920.6 million for facemasks alone. If we had allocated this money to a number of California-based PPE manufacturers, we would have injected nearly a billion dollars into our own economy. In turn, this would have created a ripple effect, stimulating businesses, job opportunities, and supporting blue-collar workers in the state. Such a push for local industry also would encourage further technological innovation.
Given that California has a vast number of manufacturers spanning many different industries, this bill would provide the state not only an opportunity to create a more business-friendly environment, but also an excellent opportunity to keep businesses, jobs, and dollars in the Golden State.
Having this home-state designation as part of the emergency procurement process isn’t a massive retooling of the way this state does business. It simply seeks to put California businesses and contractors in plain sight in order to give them the best opportunity to fill vital contracts during a state of emergency, keeping millions of dollars here, providing good jobs and generating economic activity when California needs it most.
By passing SB 1321, we send the signal that California is making an effort to keep businesses, jobs and dollars in California. It’s a step toward pushing this state’s government into a more business-friendly future.
Contact the writer: [email protected]
Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.