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Edison Record on Minorities

May 04, 1987

Southern California Edison Co. has worked very hard over the last 10 years to develop business relationships with minority and female-owned businesses. George Dean's article (Editorial Pages, April 23) grossly distorts Edison's record in this area, and deserves clarification.

By focusing on construction contractors, Dean has picked one specialized line of business where, despite extensive outreach programs, Edison has been able to identify very few black-owned enterprises that currently perform the type of construction we need to have done.

If Dean had reported on Southern California Edison's overall transactions with minority and female-owned businesses, an entirely different and far more positive picture would have emerged.

Edison did business in 1986 with 488 minority- and female-owned firms, including 43 owned by blacks. We purchased $74.8 million of goods and services from these minority/female-owned firms in 1986, a 30% increase over 1985. Our business with black enterprises totaled $2.5 million in 1986, 60 times greater than Dean's misleading characterization. This is due largely to a vigorous outreach effort in cooperation with a number of minority organizations, including the Southern California Regional Purchasing Council and the Black Business Assn.

The fact is our relationship with all minority groups in Edison's service territory has been one of cooperation and mutual support for many years as evidenced by the awards received from these groups in recognition of Edison efforts. In particular, over the past two years, the Black Business Assn. has nominated Edison for its Product Services Award and one of our procurement agents for its Buyer of the Year Award. Also, several recognition awards for our corporate support have been received from the Assn. of Black Women Entrepreneurs, the Black Professional Engineers Assn., and the Los Angeles Basin Equal Opportunity League.

While we take pride in the gains we have made in doing business with minority and female enterprises, we recognize that there is still much more to be done. Toward that end, we continually encourage minority- and female-owned businesses to contact us so we can qualify them as suppliers, and we look forward to doing business with them.

P.L. MARTIN

Rosemead

Martin is senior vice president of Southern California Edison Co.

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