Unions Pressured City of Stockton to Mandate Project Labor Agreement on Federally-Funded Street Paving Project

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On July 26, 2016, the Stockton City Council voted 6-1 to require businesses to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions for construction contracts over $1 million. Stockton had recently emerged from bankruptcy and its city council was eager to begin sending its revenue to the unions again. (See “Stockton Has Its Bankruptcy Exit Plan in Place – Time for Project Labor Agreement!“)

The City of Stockton Project Labor Agreement lasts for three years. But as of March 15, 2017, the Project Labor Agreement mandate has not been included in any bid specifications for city contracts.

This frustrates the leadership of the San Joaquin Building Trades Council. Why lobby a city council for a Project Labor Agreement – against stiff opposition and public criticism – if it doesn’t translate into control of public contracts?

Unions finally had enough in November 2016, when the City of Stockton advertised for bids for a $3.3 million street resurfacing program on Pacific Avenue. The project was fully paid for with federal funds disbursed through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). It did not include a requirement for the winning general contractor and its subcontractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement.

According to union representatives and other supporters of the policy, government-mandated Project Labor Agreements compel contractors to employ local trade workers (even though technically and in practice Project Labor Agreements implement unenforceable “goals” and “commitments”). Federal law prohibits a local government such as the City of Stockton from imposing statutorily or administratively imposed state, local, or tribal geographic preferences in the evaluation of bids or proposals for contracts involving federal highway transportation funds.

For example, see Code of Federal Regulations, Construction and Maintenance, title 23, sec. 635.110(f)(1). It is presumed that local or other geographic-based labor hiring preferences are not directly related to the bidder’s performance of work in a competent and responsible manner and may have adverse impacts on competition. For example, see Geographic-Based Hiring Preferences in Administering Federal Awards, 80 FR 12092 (March 6, 2015).

Local governments such as the City of Berkeley recognize that federal funding means that Project Labor Agreements cannot be used in bid specifications. See the City of Berkeley Staff Report for Community Workforce Agreement Exemption – James Kenney Seismic Retrofit Project (May 24, 2016).

Below, reported to the public for the first time, is the story of how this resurfacing project was delayed and jeopardized as unions sought a Project Labor Agreement mandate on it. This timeline is based on public records. The City of Stockton redacted some material from what it provided as a response to a records request, but enough was obtained to show what happened.

November 9, 2016

The City of Stockton posts a Notice Inviting Bids for “FFY 2015-2016 STREET RESURFACING PROJECT” with a bid deadline of December 1, 2016. The description of this project: “Phase I is done in the winter months of year 2017. The scope of work in Phase I includes extruded curbs, stamped concrete in median islands, ADA wheel chair ramps, truncated domes, two bus pads at BRT stops, removal and re-installation of curb, gutter, and sidewalk. Construction of Phase I is dependent on availability of funds with the City of Stockton. Phase II is done in the summer months of year 2017. Phase II scope of work includes base failure repairs, crack sealing, pavement patching/peeling, pavement grinding, installing electrical traffic detector loops and detector hand holes, 2 asphalt concrete overlay and striping.” The project includes a requirement for contractors to pay state prevailing wage rates to workers. The engineers’s estimate is “below $3.3 million.”

November 10, 2016

The Secretary-Treasurer of the San Joaquin Building Trades Council sends an email to city staff asking why the City of Stockton did not include a Project Labor Agreement* mandate for contractors in the bid documents for the street resurfacing project. Staff indicates uncertainty on how to respond.

*The Project Labor Agreement is officially referred to by the City of Stockton as a “Community Workforce and Training Agreement” (CWTA). This sounds more pleasing than “Project Labor Agreement.”

November 14, 2016

The law firm of Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardozo – representing the San Joaquin Building Trades Council – sends an email to city staff warning that the unions will “subject the city to an enforcement action for failure to comply with the requirements” of the Project Labor Agreement.

November 15, 2016

City of Stockton staff cancels the Notice Inviting Bids for the street resurfacing project and decides to consult with Caltrans to clarify what the restrictions are for various local mandates on federally-funded projects. Staff choses not to respond to the union demands, pointing out that “debating with them is pointless.”

November 16, 2016

City of Stockton staff informs a Caltrans official that the city has a local contractor preference and a local worker preference in its municipal code, as well as a supplemental policy requiring contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement that requires contractors to get workers from unions. Staff refers to a Caltrans notice that warns local governments not to use local hiring preferences on federally-funded projects.

In addition, staff recognizes that the Project Labor Agreement is a “political hot potato” and Caltrans needs to understand they are dealing with a Project Labor Agreement, not just a local hire ordinance. “It contains a component of local hire, but it is much more than that.”

Staff indicates that a negative response from Caltrans will be scrutinized by the unions. “If it takes them a long time to decide, so be it.”

At this point the interests of the people of Stockton are subverted by the union demand for monopoly control of the contract.

November 22, 2016

Staff discusses a response from Caltrans (not provided as a public document) stating that the City of Stockton cannot require contractors to sign the city’s Project Labor Agreement for the federally-funded street resurfacing project.

November 23, 2016

Staff still insists on “a response in writing” from Caltrans “that provides references to back up their position as well as legal contacts.” Meanwhile, staff is again warned not to respond to union representatives about the project. “This project is on hold. Everyone please stop seeking information. This is a very sensitive subject at this point.” Staff also expresses concern that the delay is jeopardizing federal funding for street resurfacing.

November 29, 2016

Staff says the city attorney needs to be included in discussions with Caltrans. “This is how important the [Project Labor Agreement] issue is.”

A Caltrans official tells staff that “Caltrans will comment about the federal/state instructions for using Local Hiring Preference but will not comment on the [Project Labor Agreement]…If agency does not follow the federal instructions then may lose funds.”

December 6, 2016

The Caltrans official again responds to the City of Stockton request for guidance, saying the question has been answered. “If city does not follow the required federal procedure for every project, city will lose federal funds.”

March 7, 2017

The City of Stockton publishes a new Notice Inviting Bids for FFY 2015-2016 Street Resurfacing Project (Pacific Avenue from Rivara Road to March Lane and Thornton Road from El Camino Avenue to Rivara Road) with a bid deadline of March 30, 2017. The description of this project: “The scope of work includes base failure repairs, pavement patching/leveling, pavement grinding (cold plaining), installing electrical traffic detector loops and detector hand holes, 1.5 and 3 asphalt concrete overlay, re-striping, extruded curbs, stamped concrete in median islands, ADA wheel ramps, truncated domes, two bus pads at BRT stops, removal and re-installation of curb, gutter and sidewalk.” The bid documents do NOT include a mandate for a Project Labor Agreement. The engineers’s estimate is “below $3.2 million.”

SOURCES

City of Stockton – Union Demands Project Labor Agreement Apply to Pacific Avenue Street Resurfacing – Key Documents

City of Stockton – Union Demands Project Labor Agreement Apply to Pacific Avenue Street Resurfacing – All Documents

City of Stockton Bid Documents for Pacific Avenue Street Resurfacing – 1st Try

City of Stockton Bid Documents for Pacific Avenue Street Resurfacing – 2nd Try

Turn Down the Lights v. City of Monterey – CEQA Lawsuit Against LED Streetlights – Court Documents

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

For background, see Using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to Turn Out the Lights – Prosperity Forum – January 10, 2017


News Coverage

Monterey Has Spent $80,000 Against Lawsuit Over Lights – Monterey Herald – October 26, 2013

Monterey Battles Residents Over Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs – Monterey County Weekly – July 14, 2017

City of Monterey Loses Lawsuit Over StreetlightsMonterey County Weekly – January 5, 2017


Court Documents

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Petition for Writ of Mandate and to Enforce CEQA (March 22, 2012)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Demurrer to Petition for Writ of Mandate – Memo of Points and Authorities – August 13, 2012

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Answer to Petition for Writ of Mandate (November 28, 2012)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Notice of Motion and Motion for Order Augmenting the Record with 421 Pages (July 22, 2013)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respodent’s Opposition to Petitioner’s Motion for Order Augmenting the Record (August 5, 2013)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Memo of Points and Authorities in Reply on Motion for Order Augmenting Record (August 8, 2013)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Monterey County Superior Court Order Granting Petitioner’s Motion to Augment the Record (October 3, 2013)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Opening Brief (November 23, 2015)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Motion to Strike Extra-Record Documents (December 23, 2015)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Opposition Brief (December 23, 2015)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Reply Brief in Support of Petition for Writ of Mandamus (February 16, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Motion to Strike (February 26, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Reply to Petitioner’s Opposition to Motion to Strike Extra-Record Documents (April 29, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Monterey County Superior Court Request for Further Briefing – Supplemental Briefing Order (August 1, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Supplemental Brief in Support of Petition for Writ of Mandate – September 2, 2016

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Supplemental Brief in Support for Petition for Writ of Mandamus (September 12, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent Request for Judicial Notice (City of Monterey Documents) – September 12, 2016

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Supplemental Brief (September 26, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Respondent’s Request for Judicial Notice (City of Monterey Documents) September 26, 2016

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Supplemental Reply Brief in Support of Petition for Writ of Mandamus (October 3, 2016)

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Petitioner’s Opposition to Respondent’s Request for Judicial Notice – City of Monterey Documents – October 3, 2016

Turn Down the Lights v City of Monterey – Monterey County Superior Court Decision (December 20, 2016)

An Early Shot of a California Unionist Against Calexit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UPDATE! Here are the 39 comments submitted to the California Attorney General about the Calexit initiative:

Public Comments to California Attorney General on Calexit Secession Initiative


The average person in California seems to regard the California secession movement (#Calexit) as an amusing novelty or an interesting intellectual argument. But history is unpredictable and often full of surprises.

Who would have guessed at the beginning of 2003 that Governor Gray Davis would actually be recalled before the end of the year and replaced with Arnold Schwarzenegger? Who would have predicted at the beginning of 2015 that Donald Trump would be elected President of the United States in 2016?

It’s best to take disruptive and potentially-destructive ideas seriously and reject them with valid arguments before they gain momentum. I have no idea if anyone has submitted legal arguments against “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019.” On December 20, 2016, I submitted my own argument to California Attorney General Kamala Harris to ask for a court order to relieve her of the legal duty to provide an official title and summary. The text is below.

December 20, 2016

The Honorable Kamala Harris
Attorney General of California
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244

Dear Attorney General Harris:

I urge you to commence a timely and appropriate legal action seeking to be relieved of the duty to prepare a circulating title and summary for Initiative 16-0011, informally titled “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019.” The measure is invalid.

The Calexit proposal is unconstitutional on its face. It is clear that states do not have the legal authority to sever or separate from the federal Union. Circulation of the petition would deceive some people into falsely asserting that secession from the United States is actually permitted under the federal constitution. In addition, submission of an illegal measure to the voters would serve no legitimate purpose, but would be a useless waste of resources and create emotional community divisions.

Nothing in the United States Constitution provides for the secession of a state or states. A previous attempt in the 1860s of several states to acquire federal assets and secede from the United States was not recognized as valid by President Abraham Lincoln and the Congress of the United States. Your office should seek advice from credentialed historians and carefully analyze the documents related to this failed secession movement to determine its constitutionality.

In addition, the Calexit proposal would create emotional divisions, starting with civil unrest as residents of California considered whether to flee the potential rebellion, join it, or undermine it from within using various legal and even illegal means. “Brother Against Brother” is a figurative and sometimes even literal description of the four years of civil war in the United States during the 1860s secession movement. More than 750,000 individuals were killed or died because of this civil war, according to the latest revised estimates, and large swaths of United States territory were devastated. Your office should seek advice from credentialed historians and carefully analyze the emotional divisions caused by credible secession movements.

There is recent precedent for you to be relieved of the duty to prepare a circulating title and summary for an unconstitutional measure. On March 25, 2015, you requested a order from a court to relieve the office of the Attorney General from issuing a title and summary for a proposed initiative (15-008) because it “patently violated the Constitution on its face.” A judge agreed and declared on June 22, 2015 that circulating petitions for signatures would be “inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public and tend to mislead the electorate.”

You have also acted in other ways to derail unconstitutional actions initiated by the people. On March 26, 2013, you declared in a statement that “I declined to defend Proposition 8 because it violates the Constitution.” This was an initiative that voters had actually enacted in a plebiscite.

Finally, your decision not to circulate this initiative would NOT deprive discontented individuals of their human right to free themselves from the authority of the United States government. Those who consider the United States to have a tyrannical or unjust government can exercise their rights and powers under the United States Constitution to petition for redress of grievances. If still not satisfied, they can also choose to immigrate from the United States to other nations that provide or have the potential to provide the degree of liberty and justice they seek for themselves and their progeny. For other discontented individuals who seek to live under the authority of a tyrannical and unjust government, they can immigrate to other nations with a proven history of exercising such authority.

Please terminate this unconstitutional proposal.

Sincerely,

Kevin Dayton


Public Comment Against Circulating Calexit Petitions

Public Comment Against Circulating Calexit Petitions

Automated Attorney General Response to Public Comment Against Circulating Calexit Petitions

Automated Attorney General Response to Public Comment Against Circulating Calexit Petitions

Copies of All Project Labor Agreements Implemented in 2016 on California Government Projects

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Copies of All Project Labor Agreements Implemented in 2016 on California Government Projects

COUNTY GOVERNMENT AGENCY PROJECT or PROJECTS (with link to PLA)
1 San Francisco Bay Area Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Project Labor Agreement Policy – 9 Major Projects in Next 5 Years
2 San Francisco Bay Area San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA) San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal Expansion Project Labor Agreement
3 San Francisco Bay Area San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority Project Labor Agreement Policy
4 Alameda Fremont Unified School District Fremont Unified School District Project Labor Agreement
5 Alameda Alameda Unified School District Alameda Unified School District Project Labor Agreement
6 Alameda City of Hayward City of Hayward Project Labor Agreement Policy
7 Alameda Oakland Unified School District Oakland Unified School District Project Labor Agreement – 2016-2021
8 Contra Costa City of Brentwood City of Brentwood Library Project Labor Agreement
9 Contra Costa City of Concord City of Concord Project Labor Agreement – All Work Over $750,000
10 Fresno City of Fresno Transformative Climate Communities Project Labor Agreement
11 Los Angeles Long Beach Community College District Long Beach Community College District Project Labor Agreement
12 Los Angeles Port of Long Beach Port of Long Beach Project Labor Agreement – All Work
13 Monterey County of Monterey/Monterey County Water Resources Agency Monterey County Water Resources Agency Interlake Tunnel Project Labor Agreement
14 San Diego Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Project Labor Agreement
15 San Diego Sweetwater Union High School District Sweetwater Union High School District Project Labor Agreement
16 San Francisco San Francisco Public Utilities Commission San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Sewer System Improvement Program and Auxiliary Water Supply System Project Labor Agreement Extension 2016
17 Santa Clara County of Santa Clara Santa Clara County Project Labor Agreement Policy – Reduce Threshold from $10 Million to $2 Million
18 Santa Clara County of Santa Clara Santa Clara County Main Jail North Cell Hardening Project Labor Agreement
19 Santa Clara Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Project Labor Agreement Policy
20 San Joaquin City of Stockton City of Stockton Project Labor Agreement

California Attorney General Opinion Says Frequently-Used School and Community College Bond Deals Are Illegal

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On January 26, 2016, the California Attorney General issued an opinion on a practice regarding bond measures that has long been questionable but continues to be rampant at California school and college districts: contracting with a firm to provide both pre-election bond measure “financial planning services” and post-election bond measure “financial advisory services.” That firm then typically makes a major contribution to the campaign to pass the bond measure.

The practice is described in Chapter 7 of the July 2015 California Policy Center report For the Kids: California Voters Must Become Wary of Borrowing Billions More from Wealthy Investors for Educational Construction.

Not surprisingly, the practice was determined to be illegal under most circumstances. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association called it “good news” for taxpayers and a “long-overdue slap-down” of “the incestuous behavior of school districts with political consultants and bond salesmen.” See Attorney General Reins In Shady Bond Practices – January 31, 2016.

California Attorney General Opinion

OPINION of  KAMALA D. HARRIS, Attorney General – MANUEL M. MEDEIROS, Deputy Attorney General – No. 13-304 – January 26, 2016 (see the five questions and answers, below)

School and community college districts throughout the state have adopted such contracts. Often these items are listed on board agendas with vague language, probably to disguise the purpose from the public.

Some Examples

Martinez Unified School District approved this contract on September 29, 2015: http://laborissuessolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-09-29-Isom-Advisors-AKA-Urban-Futures-Contract-with-Martinez-USD-for-Bond-Measure-Services.pdf

Pay to Play San Rafael City Schools Connect the DotsSan Rafael City Schools gave a financial service firms a no-bid contract in June 2015 for $15,000 in pre-election and $65,000 in post-election advisory services for two bond measures. The firm contributed $9500 to the campaign to pass the bond measures.

Solano Community College District: Critic Questions Actions of Measure Q Bond Underwriters – Fairfield Daily Republic – September 13, 2015

News Coverage

California School Bonds Can Be Source of Scandal – commentary by Dan Walters – Sacramento Bee – February 8, 2016

Many other districts have used the same loophole to avoid competitive bidding on contracts and also solicited bond issue campaign funds from financial houses.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, and later successor John Chiang, were concerned about the practice, and asked Attorney General Kamala Harris whether it’s legal for those in the bond financing business to get involved in the campaigns. Harris, in an opinion issued last month, declared that it is illegal for firms to provide “pre-election services” in return for a promise to get the underwriting business should the bond measure pass.

…if school districts are cut free from the state’s underwriting of school construction, they need some new ethics standards.

California AG’s Opinion Targets School Bond Practices by Kyle Glazier – The Bond Buyer – January 28, 2016

School and community college districts violate California law if they hire outside firms to campaign for bond ballot measures or purposely incentivize municipal finance professionals to advocate for passage of a bond measure, the state’s attorney general said in a formal legal opinion…

A previous Bond Buyer investigation found a nearly perfect correlation between broker-dealer contributions to California school bond efforts in 2010 and their underwriting of subsequent bond sales, and financial advisors have similarly been accused of using “pay-to-play” tactics. Former California Treasurer Bill Lockyer questioned the legality of the practices…

California Muni Dealers Can’t Fund Bond Campaigns to Get Hired by Darrell Preston – Bloomberg – January 28, 2016

Former Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who sought the opinion in 2013, praised the ruling, and said it could open up school districts and vendors to prosecution.

“It makes it clear that prior practices of this sort are illegal,” Lockyer said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Lockyer sought the opinion after finding school districts in the state entered agreements with underwriting firms in which the districts award the dealers the right to sell the bonds in return for providing services to pass an initiative.

He said at the time the agreements raise “substantive questions” about whether school officials broke the law by using public money to advocate passage.


THE HONORABLE JOHN CHIANG, CALIFORNIA STATE TREASURER, has requested an opinion on the following questions:

1. Does a school or community college district violate California constitutional and statutory prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure by contracting with a person or entity for services related to a bond election campaign?

2. Does a school or community college district violate California prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure if the district enters into an agreement with a municipal finance firm under which the district obtains pre- bond-election services in return for guaranteeing the firm an exclusive contract to provide bond-sale services if the election is successful?

3. In the case of an agreement as described in Question 2, does a school or community college district violate California law concerning the use of bond proceeds if the district reimburses the municipal finance firm for the cost of providing the pre- election services from the proceeds raised from the bond sale?

4. In the scenario described in Question 3, does a school or community college district violate California law concerning the use of bond proceeds, even where the reimbursement is not an itemized component of the fees the district pays to the firm in connection with the bond sale?

5. Does an entity providing campaign services to a bond measure campaign in exchange for an exclusive agreement with the district to sell the bonds incur an obligation to report the cost of such services as a contribution to the bond measure campaign in accordance with state law?

CONCLUSIONS

1. A school or community college district violates California constitutional and statutory prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure by contracting with a person or entity for services related to a bond election campaign if the pre-election services may be fairly characterized as campaign activity.

2. A school or community college district violates prohibitions against using public funds to advocate passage of a bond measure if the district enters into an agreement with a municipal finance firm under which the district obtains pre-election services (of any sort) in return for guaranteeing the firm an exclusive contract to provide bond-sale services if the election is successful, under circumstances where (a) the district enters into the agreement for the purpose (sole or partial) of inducing the firm to support the contemplated bond-election campaign or (b) the firm’s fee for the bond-sale services is inflated to account for the firm’s campaign contributions and the district fails to take reasonable steps to ensure the fee was not inflated.

3. In the case of an agreement as described in Question 2, a school or community college district violates California law concerning the use of bond proceeds if the district reimburses the municipal finance firm for the cost of providing pre-election services from the proceeds raised from the bond sale.

4. In the scenario described in Question 3, a school or community college district violates California law concerning the use of bond proceeds if the district reimburses the municipal finance firm for the cost of providing pre-election services from the fees the district pays to the firm in connection with the bond sale, whether or not the reimbursement is evident as a component of the fees the district pays to the firm in connection with the bond sale made on an itemized service-by-service basis.

5. Where an entity provides campaign services to a bond-measure committee in exchange for an exclusive agreement with the district to sell the bonds, the entity has an obligation to report the value of its services as a contribution to the bond-measure campaign in accordance with state law.

Citizens Bond Oversight Committees Make Recommendations on Project Labor Agreements

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My November 5, 2015 article published at www.UnionWatch.org entitled Will Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committees Crumble Against Union Power? outlines the history of Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committees in reviewing and making recommendations on proposed Project Labor Agreements at California school and community college districts.

What’s the latest addition to this history? On November 12, 2015, the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District voted 7-1 to recommend against a proposed Project Labor Agreement for a $398 million bond measure. Here is the text of the resolution:


The Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District approved the following recommendation at a special meeting on Thursday, November 12, 2015 by a vote of 7 in favor of the motion, one opposed to motion, and one recused as follows:

Recommendation:

The CBOC has reviewed the concept of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and recognizes why some responsible and fully capable companies may choose not to bid certain projects if a PLA is required as part of the GCCCD construction contract. We believe that a PLA, if implemented with Proposition V, would discourage competitive bidding and may increase costs, impact how the bond money is used, and undermine the District’s efforts to maximize bond revenues and achieve cost savings. Also, it is apparent that under a PLA, local non-union workers (especially apprentices) will not be treated equally in comparison with union workers which would constitute a violation of the Board’s prior Bond resolution. Furthermore, evidence was presented to the CBOC indicating that without the use of a PLA, no significant problems occurred on the previous Proposition R bond projects and none are expected to occur on the Proposition V projects. Therefore, there is no substantial taxpayer interest that could reasonably require the District to establish a PLA for all of the Proposition V projects.

For these reasons and in order to maintain voter confidence of the District, the CBOC recommends that the Board of Trustees does not continue with its plan to require construction companies to sign a PLA or negotiate a PLA for Proposition V projects. Furthermore, we recommend that the District be open and transparent on future bond measures and tell the voters if a PLA is being considered at some point prior to the ballot going before the voters. We believe it irresponsible to implement a PLA based on the language in the current Bond.

###

Nine Fall 2015 Commentaries on California School and College Bond Measures

Noir Photos of Junipero Serra Monuments and Imagery – You May Copy and Alter for Your Use

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You have permission to use the photos below for your writing or social media communications about Junipero Serra.

UPDATE: The 124-year-old Junipero Serra statue in Monterey was decapitated on October 14 or 15, 2015.

Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded 4

Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded 3


Junipero Serra Monument at Presidio of Monterey

Junipero Serra monument located at the Presidio of Monterey and dedicated in 1891. The dead “Tree of Gondor” was removed in September 2015.

Junipero Serra Statue - Jane Stanford commission - Presidio of Monterey

Junipero Serra monument located at the Presidio of Monterey and dedicated in 1891.

Junipero Serra Celtic Cross Monument in Monterey

Junipero Serra Celtic Cross monument located at his presumed landing site in Monterey and dedicated in 1905.

Carmel Mission Monument

Carmel Mission Monument

Palou's Life of Fray Junipero Serra

Palou’s Life of Fray Junipero Serra

San Joaquin-Delta Community College District on Verge of Violating Proposition 39 Requirements for Bond Measures

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I sent this email (below) on September 14, 2015 to the elected board of trustees, the top administrators, and the independent citizens bond oversight committee for the San Joaquin-Delta Community College District, based in Stockton.

The district wants to use $500,000 to develop a “facilities master plan” as a first step required by state law to ask voters to approve borrowing money via bond sales for facilities construction. That $500,000 would come from proceeds of bond sales authorized by voters in March 2004 as Measure L. Voters would consider the bond measure in 2018 or later.

A board vote on the proposal is scheduled for September 15, 2015. See the staff report: Request to Authorize the Creation and Funding of a “Facilities Master Planning Project” and to Authorize Contract Negotiations for Architectural Services to Develop the Campus & Facilities Master Planning Services

While this scheme sounds like an easy way to get money to hire an architectural firm to develop a plan for future bond measures, it appears to violate 15-year-old state laws (Proposition 39 and Assembly Bill 1908) that impose extra protections on bond measures that win voter approval at a 55 percent threshold.

Considering that the California State Controller and multiple county grand juries have criticized the district for inappropriate or questionable expenditures of bond proceeds authorized by Measure L, the district’s continued practice of using funds for expenditures that are ambiguously legal (at best) may compromise the willingness of voters to approve another bond measure for the district. Has the district taken into consideration the risk of negative public response to this proposed bond expenditure?

In 2016, California voters are likely to decide on a $9 billion statewide school construction bond measure and perhaps 150 or more local school and college construction bond measures. Would this expenditure add to the growing list of abuses of California school construction bond measures and thus contribute to jeopardizing passage of additional bond measures in 2016?


From: Kevin Dayton
Subject: To trustees, administrators, bond oversight committee for San Joaquin-Delta Community College District: Item 9J on 9/15 board meeting agenda may not be legal
Date: September 14, 2015 at 1:41:43 PM PDT
To: xxxx
Cc: xxx

Dear Board of Trustees, administrators, and Measure L Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for the San Joaquin-Delta Community College District:

At its September 15, 2015 meeting, the board will consider Item #9J, a proposal to spend $500,000 of bond proceeds from Measure L (approved by voters on March 2, 2004) for a newly-created “project” to develop a Facilities Master Plan. This plan will prepare the district for a bond measure to bring before voters in 2018 or later. Here is the item:

A. Authorize the creation of a new bond project entitled “Facilities Master Planning (FMP) Project” using Measure L Bond funds with an initial budget of $500,000 from bond program contingency.
B. Authorize negotiations with the top-ranked qualified architectural firm Gensler/LDA to provide the services to develop the campus and facilities master planning and possibly other capital planning and design services, per the Request for Qualification (RFQ) LA-RFQ-51.
C. Authorize the Superintendent/President or authorized designee to execute the final agreement following successful negotiations.
D. Qualify the other two (2) firms that were interviewed to provide services for the District for projects as needed.

Note that Article 13A, Section 1 of the California Constitution restricts how a community college district can spend borrowed money obtained through bond sales authorized through ballot measures approved by 55% of the voters under the criteria of Proposition 39 (2000). Bond proceeds can be used for “construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of school facilities, including the furnishing and equipping of school facilities, or the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities.” And voters must be provided with a list of the specific school facilities projects to be funded by the bond measure.

Some questions you need to consider before approving the $500,000 in Measure L funds to be spent on creating a Facilities Master Plan for a future bond measure:

1. A list of specific intended projects to be funded by Measure L was provided to voters in the ballot information for the March 2, 2004 election. In this list of Measure L projects, which project describes the development of a Facilities Master Plan for another bond measure?

2. Is development of a Facilities Master Plan a legitimate “project” that can be funded by bond proceeds authorized by voters under the criteria of Proposition 39?

3. Is it reasonable to assume that voters who approved Measure L expected that the bond proceeds would be used to develop a Facilities Master Plan for another bond measure?

4. Is it fiscally responsible to borrow money from investors and pay them back over many years – with interest – to pay for development of a Facilities Master Plan for another bond measure?

5. Does the use of Measure L funds to develop a Facilities Master Plan for a future bond measure remain justified even if voters end up rejecting the bond measure(s) meant to fund the projects in that Facilities Master Plan?

6. What are the terms of maturity and interest rates for all of the bonds that provide the $500,000 in funding for this contract?

7. What is the total cost of developing the Facilities Master Plan if the district includes the interest that must be paid on the $500,000 in bond proceeds?

8. Has the district consulted with its Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for an assessment of whether this proposed specific expenditure of Measure L bonds complies with Proposition 39 and complies with what was presented to voters as Measure L in 2004?

Regardless of whether the San Joaquin-Delta Community College District is justified in seeking voter approval to borrow more money for construction, the district needs to follow the law when it spends borrowed money authorized by a previous bond measure. This proposal on the board’s September 15, 2015 meeting agenda is possibly illegal and needs thoughtful consideration.

Kevin Dayton
President and CEO
Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

Abuse of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA): 25 Fake Groups

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

My July 31, 2015 article in www.UnionWatch.org lists 25 alleged community-based grassroots environmental organizations that in actuality are front groups for labor unions. There are surely more fake groups not yet identified.

These organizations object to environmental reviews of proposed projects until the project owners agree to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions to bind all construction contractors and their building trades employees. This abuse of environmental laws is called “greenmail” and has been going on in California since the late 1980s.

Labor unions are a prominent opponent of legislative proposals to change the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to end exploitation of this law to achieve economic objectives unrelated to environmental protection. CEQA is a labor law, used to organize workers into union representation when the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) doesn’t provide enough firepower.

Read the article California Unions Masquerade as Community-Based Environmental Groups – www.UnionWatch.org – July 31, 2015