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Businesses asking city officials to ‘shop local’

Staff does a 180 on design job

Posted: November 3, 2008 8:23 p.m.
Updated: January 5, 2009 5:00 a.m.
 

City of Santa Clarita staff pulled an agenda item from last week's City Council meeting after local businesses expressed concern that they were not properly notified about the city's request for graphic design services.

The Oct. 28 agenda item involved awarding a contract worth $150,000 to Culver City-based Red Rocket LA for graphic design services.

Linda Jones, owner of locally based advertising agency AMP, is registered as a vendor on the city's Web site, but never received notification of the request for proposals.

"When I made calls to other people, they knew nothing about it," said Jones, AMP owner since 1997.

The city received concern from some local vendors that they did not have the opportunity to respond to the city's request for graphic design services, said Gail Ortiz, city spokeswoman.

"Out of respect for their concerns, we pulled the item," Ortiz said.

The city does not plan to award a contract to Red Rocket LA, and will continue services with locally-based graphic design companies McGregor Shott and Linda Burrows Graphic Design, which have existing contracts with the city.

It doesn't mean the city won't do business with Red Rocket LA in the future, Ortiz said.

The thought of awarding a contract worth up to $150,000 to a company based outside of the city remains a concern.

"There are over 30 local companies that could provide graphic services," Jones said. "Not just mine."

In response to concerns that the city does not shop locally, as it advises local residents to through the "Shop Local" campaign, Ortiz said there is a lot of talent in Santa Clarita.

If others are told to shop locally, then "We need to walk that talk," she said.

Trish Lester, owner of Signature Communications since 1986, shared Jones' concerns.

"In these tough economic times, in particular, I think we need to keep as many tax dollars in the community as we can," she said. "When you hire a firm in ... some other place, then those people who are earning that money will spend it in their community."

In many instances, Lester believes there are enough local companies to fulfill city services.

"I think that if we have the talent and these skills right here in our hometown, we're crazy to go hire it from somewhere else," she said.

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