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Letter to the editor: Time to change capacity-building programs

To the editor:

The case against former Milwaukee County employee Freida Webb and contractor Homer Key is a prime example of “get what you can.” There is a built-in cultural problem of trying to make a buck when there are dollars on the table in this harsh business world, where competition remains strong for businesses people to make a profit and build their businesses and net worth, and that is common in the established marketplace.

The African-American business community in Milwaukee has found itself trapped in a “program” environment. They say, “We will take care of you.” However, if you look around our environment, you see deterioration, while the larger business community says, “We have a business percent for you,” along with an educational training program most times paid for by the government.

The case of Webb and Key shows the weakness of the capacity-building program, and that weakness is at the door of our community, the federal government, the state, the county and the city.

Who manages the spending of the Community Development Block Grant funds? I suggest the capacity-building programs should be subcontracted out, with measurable timelines in place to get paid for services rendered by business-minded people with integrity who understand the working environment.

Now it’s time to renew the county with capacity-building programs that have designed goals and outcomes to advance the small-business community, and not just spending the grant money, which has gone on for years.

Dester Martin

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