Local News Northeast Edition

City Council seeks disclosure for border wall bidders

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council has approved a resolution to force contractors and suppliers doing work with the city to disclose company records if they bid or are hired to design and build any portion of the wall proposed by President Donald Trump at the border between the United States and Mexico.

Last week’s 13-0 vote aims to deter businesses from pitching projects or supplying materials or designs for the highly controversial border wall Trump touted he would build during his presidential campaign to stop the alleged entry undocumented immigrants and the smuggling of drugs from the southern border.

Although the move doesn’t prevent contractors involved with the wall projectfrom getting work with the city, the City Council asked the city attorney’s office to review legal measures to ban businesses that engage at any stage with work related to the border wall.

District 1 City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who authored the council resolution, said Trump’s wall is a very divisive project that runs against the ties of friendship and cooperation both countries have long forged and the council vote reflects the city’s philosophy about such regressive steps.

“The Trump Administration has proposed policies that have the potential to divide our nation along racial, religious and immigration status, which is the antithesis to our shared American values,” Cedillo said. “The polarized political climate is palatable. The proposed border wall is an affront to American core values of opportunity, entrepreneurship and sacrificing to make a better way for the next generation.”

Cedillo said the Los Angeles’ Bureau of Contract Administration ensures bids are awarded in the best interest of the city, and takes steps to prevent financial profits from being prioritized over human interests.

He vowed to vote against companies that do business with building the wall, and proposed the creation of a system to downgrade a company’s status if it considers doing work with the federal government tied to any wall project.

In June, the U.S Customs and Border Protection revealed at least eight firms will be picked to design prototypes for the 2,000-mile stretch along the border with Mexico. The Washington Post reported that more than 200 companies submitted information about the proposal in March.

The Associated General Contractors of America, an advocacy organization for builders and manufacturers of goods for the industry, indicated the City Council’s motion to draft an ordinance that would ban contractors from doing business with its municipality is not new, and falls in line with other cities’ efforts against the proposed border wall.

Sophia Taft, a spokeswoman for the group in Sacramento, said the group worries about unfair business practices if the projected ordinances are phased in by Los Angeles and other municipalities.

“The L.A. City Council is not the first to pass a regulation to disclose information about [submitting bids for] the president’s wall construction,” Taft said. “However, we are concerned with keeping fair bidding practices.”

The council’s rejection of Trump’s borderline wall with Mexico, and its proposal for business to disclose any ties with the project comes in the heels of similar measures unanimously voted in last March by Berkeley and Oakland in Northern California.

Both municipalities pledged to divest from any companies benefiting from Trump’s $1.6 billion border wall allocation, if Congress approves its initial slice of funding.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach, also proposed a bill that would bar the state from extending contracts for goods or services with any bidders for development and construction of the border wall in California from San Diego to Arizona.

Senate Bill 30 would prohibit California from awarding new contracts with any person who provides work or services “to the federal government for the construction of a federally funded wall, fence or other barrier along” the state’s southern border on or after Jan. 1, 2018.

Lara said the bill targets large prime contractors and not small businesses based in California. SB 30 was approved by the state Senate on a 23-16 vote June 1, and awaits action from the Assembly.

“I don’t want to look back in 10 years and say Californians didn’t do everything we could to block the wall,” Lara said in a statement.