Ishmael Rentz, owner of S.L. Construction & Remodeling in Gainesville, said he's disappointed that the gubernatorial candidates turned down the Florida Black- Owned Media Coalition's invitation to a debate relating to Black issues.Rentz
especially frustrated about the economy as it relates to African Americans.He
specifically wants to know how the state is going "to assure that African Americans, not minorities, will become a viable participant in the economy again, especially in light of the One Florida episode."
In November 1999, Florida Gov
.Jeb Bush signed the One Florida Initiative that eliminated race and ethnicity as factors in university admissions and barred racial set-asides and quotas in contracting decisions - essentially ending affirmative action in state programs.Rentz
said the move was a "major blow" for Blacks, and it hurt his
business and the business of other African- Americans he
knows.Once able to hire 30 employees because of statewide contracts he
now down to 10 workers.
"When One Florida came out, it was about cutting us off economically as well as academically," he