Monday, March 26, 2012
The City of Yakima decided to re-bid the position of Project Coordinator for their Gang Free Initiative (GFI) on March 26, 2012. The GFI was created after the gallant efforts of former city council member Sonia Rodriguez-True and a few others to address the city’s gang problems. Many of the problems had grown out of control after decades of denial and lack of will by the city council to do much about it. The GFI is based on five principles of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Comprehensive Gang Model. This model and other “Best Practices” are used by communities across the U.S. to address gang crime and youth violence.
The GFI is an opportunity for the city to be pro-active in areas of prevention and intervention. The selection of a Coordinator is supposed to be to provide services as specified in the scope of work for the GFI Project; however, the selection process seems to be highly political, and some council members are still not sure it is money well spent. The job application and bid does not even state candidates may be interviewed or that a personal presentation on combating gangs and coordinating services may be seen, it only states TBD (To Be Determined). It appears the GFI Selection Committee, made up of (3) council members, can make up their own rules:
GFI Reservation: The City reserves the right to award the contract to the applicant that it deems to offer the best overall qualifications/proposal in its sole discretion. The City reserves the right to revise the RFQ schedule, to revise the RFQ and/or to issue amendments to the RFQ. The City also reserves the right to cancel or to reissue the RFQ in whole or in part prior to the execution of a contract. The City also reserves the right to refrain from contracting with any and all applicants. The release of the RFQ does not compel the City to enter into any contract pursuant to the RFQ.
Clearly, the city should ensure its needs are met in dealing with this under addressed problem, but is a long history of alienating the Latino community by the political establishment continuing? Do you think the GFI is a good idea? What do you think can be done about gangs in the Yakima area that is not being done now?
Accurate assessments of problems are critical for effective solutions and to ask for state and federal anti-gang funding down the road. Yakima allegedly paid $75K for the GFI study, was it money well spent? Any comments or concerns about how this process was handled?
See the Yakima Gang Assessment/Community Profile at: