Tag Archive for Jerry Brown

Little-Known Facts About the Contract for the First Construction Segment of California High-Speed Rail

As reported by John Hrabe in the January 27, 2014 www.CalNewsroom.com article High-Speed Rail Critics Question Timing Of Rail Firm’s Contribution To Brown Campaign, Governor Jerry Brown’s 2014 re-election campaign committee received the maximum possible contribution of $27,200 on January 21, 2014 from the construction company Tutor Perini.

Tutor Perini is part of the Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture that won the design-build contract for the first construction segment of California High-Speed Rail, a 29-mile stretch from Madera to Fresno. (For detailed information on design-build procurement in California, see Why Lowest Responsible Bidders Don’t Necessarily Win Rail Construction Contracts: Explaining Design-Build Procurement and Best Value Criteria in California Law.)

Three days after the $27,200 contribution was made – and on the day it was recorded by the California Secretary of State – California Attorney General Kamala Harris submitted an extraordinary request to the California Supreme Court on behalf of Gov. Brown, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and other interested parties. They want the court to grant relief to allow the project to continue, even though a Sacramento County Superior Court judge decided in 2013 that the California High-Speed Rail Authority failed to comply with the law established by Proposition 1A in 2008 and therefore could not sell any of the $9.95 billion in bonds authorized by voters under that statewide ballot measure.

Tutor Perini Contribution to Brown for Governor 2014 Campaign Committee

Tutor Perini Contribution to Brown for Governor 2014 Campaign Committee

As this brazen campaign contribution begins to gain public attention, here is some little-known information about the contract and cost for the first construction segment.

1. Tutor Perini Contract Amount Is Higher Than People Think

An April 12, 2013 press release showed California High-Speed Rail Authority officials were pleased when the low bid for the design-build contract came in under $1 billion.

The Authority had estimated the cost for the design-build contract to be between $1.2 billion and $1.8 billion. The Authority determined that Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a California-based Joint Venture, who bid $985,142,530, was the “apparent best value.”

But the amount announced to the public is deceptive.

At its June 6, 2013 meeting, the California High-Speed Rail Authority awarded a design-build contract to Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture, for their fixed bid price of $969,988,000 and hazardous material unit bid price of $15,154,530 for a total bid price of $985,152,530 on “Construction Package 1” (CP-1). This is the 29-mile segment between Madera and Fresno.

There was an additional $53 million included for contingencies, for a total of $1,022,988,000. See this information here:

Approval to Award Contract for Design/Build Services for Construction Package 1 – June 6, 2013

EXECUTION VERSION – Agreement No.: HSR13-06 – Book 2, Part A, Subpart 1 – Signature Document (see Attachment B – Prices)

Since then, a $160 million contingency fund was created for the project, including $20 million for compliance with Buy American provisions for utility relocation.

Approval of Contingency Fund for Construction Package 1 – September 10, 2013

Resolution #HSRA 13-21 – Approval of Contingency Fund for Construction Package 1 – September 10, 2013

This means that the Madera to Fresno construction segment is authorized to cost taxpayers as much as $1,182,988,000.

This amount does not include all of the consulting work beforehand. Pre-construction costs from Merced to Bakersfield are $160 million through September 30, 2013 and authorized for a total of $241 million. (A more specific amount for the Madera to Fresno first construction segment is not available.)

California High-Speed Rail Authority Project Update Report to the California State Legislature – November 15, 2013

Yes, this 29-mile segment is a billion-dollar segment, and that does not include interest to be paid on borrowed money obtained through bond sales.

2. Potential Windfall for Tutor Perini Because of California High-Speed Rail Authority’s “Strange Lack of Competency in Procurement Strategy”

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has completed the environmental review of the Merced to Fresno segment. It is in the process of environmental review for the Fresno to Bakersfield segment.

Construction Package 1 has 25 miles in the approved Merced to Fresno segment and 4 miles in the not-approved Fresno to Bakersfield segment. If the California High-Speed Rail Authority can’t conclude environmental review of the Fresno to Bakersfield segment by July 12, 2014, the Authority has to renegotiate the contract for Construction Package 1 with Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons.

This is why the California High-Speed Rail Authority quietly asked the federal Surface Transportation Board for an environmental exemption, which the board has refused to grant while it extends the time period for comment until February 14, 2014. The September 26, 2013 Petition for Exemption from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to the Surface Transportation Board states the following:

The Authority has entered into a design-build contract to construct a 29-mile segment of the HST System, comprised or approximately 5 miles of track and facilities within the boundaries of the Fresno to Bakersfield HST Section in the vicinity of Fresno and approximately 24 miles of track and facilities covered by the exemption granted in the Merced to Fresno Decision. The Authority’s design-build contract requires the Authority to give the contractor separate notices to proceed with construction of the 5-mile and 24-mile segments. The notice to proceed for the 5 miles of track and facilities must be issued by July 12, 2014. If the Authority cannot issue the notice on the 5-mile segment by July 12th, it will be removed from the contract and the Authority will need to re-negotiate the price for the construction of the 24-mile segment and the price and timetable for the 5-mile segment. Since the construction contract does not contain a separate price for the 5-mile and 24-mile segments, this could result in a substantial aggregate increase in the cost of construction of the two segments. There is a possibility that the Board will have a vacancy as of January 1, 2014. Given the Authority’s July 12th notice to proceed deadline, the possibility of a Board vacancy is of concern to the Authority. However, the Board has authority to grant conditional approval of construction exemptions. Although the Board does not do so absent compelling circumstances, there would be compelling circumstances in this case because conditional approval would avoid circumstances which could require the Authority to pay a higher price for the construction of the initial segment of the HST System. Accordingly, if a Board vacancy becomes imminent, the Authority respectfully requests that the Board conditionally grunt this Petition subject to the completion of the environmental review process, and issue a decision effective by December 31, 2013.

Petition for Exemption from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to the Surface Transportation Board – September 26, 2013, and subsequent correspondence

Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) is harshly critical of what it calls “serious mistakes made by the Authority and its consultants” and “the strange lack of competency in procurement strategy.”

July 12, 2014: What Is the Big Deal?Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) – December 4, 2013

Justified or not, Tutor Perini and its predecessor firms have a reputation for looking at big urban infrastructure projects and figuring out weaknesses and mistakes that can be exploited later for financial advantage. An April 19, 2013 article in the Los Angeles Times about the low bid for California High-Speed Rail (Bullet Train Bid Rules Altered) hints at that reputation:

Critics have complained that the firm tends to bid low to win contracts and then seeks change orders and contract amendments that increase costs. The firm has handled many major construction projects successfully. But it also has been embroiled in controversies involving accusations of overbilling, fraud and shoddy workmanship related to the Los Angeles subway, San Francisco International Airport and public works projects in New York. Those matters have cost the builder tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments, settlements and penalties.

This reputation for Tutor Perini is also addressed in the UT San Diego April 15, 2013 article Bullet Train Bidder Had Overruns and its April 16, 2013 article ‘Change-Order Artist’ Fights Back.

Anyone who has closely followed the business of the California High-Speed Rail Authority recognizes how it could be a sitting duck. Taxpayers will end up paying the bill.

Unions Virtually Alone in Love with California High-Speed Rail – My Article in www.UnionWatch.org

Today (January 22, 2014) California Governor Jerry Brown made his annual State of the State speech. Last year, he concluded his prepared speech with remarks about California High-Speed Rail:

Last year, you authorized another big project: High Speed Rail. Yes, it is bold but so is everything else about California.

Electrified trains are part of the future. China already has 5000 miles of high speed rail and intends to double that. Spain has 1600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one.

The first phase will get us from Madera to Bakersfield. Then we will take it through the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale, constructing 30 miles of tunnels and bridges. The first rail line through those mountains was built in 1874 and its top speed over the crest is still 24 miles an hour. Then we will build another 33 miles of tunnels and bridges before we get the train to its destination at Union Station in the heart of Los Angeles.

It has taken great perseverance to get us this far. I signed the original high speed rail Authority in 1982 – over 30 years ago. In 2013, we will finally break ground and start construction.

He even added some extemporaneous remarks, comparing the quest for California High-Speed Rail to “The Little Engine That Could.”

In 2014, his prepared speech (and his actual remarks) barely mentioned it. For good reason: the project is a boondoggle. (See www.CaliforniaHighSpeedRailScam.com.)

My January 21, 2014 www.UnionWatch.org article “Unions Virtually Alone in Love with California High-Speed Rail” list the dwindling number of supporters:

…who would still be eager to proceed with this project besides Governor Jerry Brown, the corporations seeking contracts, and a scattering of citizens committed to various leftist causes related to urban planning and environmentalism? Unions.

In a backroom deal, without any public deliberation or vote, the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority negotiated and executed a Project Labor Agreement (called a “Community Benefit Agreement”) with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. This agreement gives unions a monopoly on construction trade work and certain construction-related professional services…

When the groundbreaking ceremony occurs for California High-Speed Rail, perhaps in an abandoned Madera County cornfield seized through eminent domain by the Authority, expect thousands of construction union workers to be bused in to block and neutralize any protesters. Governor Brown cannot suffer any more embarrassment over this boondoggle and debacle.

For reasons listed in “Unions Virtually Alone in Love with California High-Speed Rail,” there may never be a groundbreaking.

California Charter Cities and State Prevailing Wage Mandates in 2013 – A Compilation of More than 150 News Articles

Attorneys for charter cities and California citizens: you are welcome and encouraged to use this compilation as a resource and exhibit when you sue the State of California to overturn Senate Bill 7.

Capitol Weekly described Senate Bill 7, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 13, 2013, as “arguably the most important bill to emerge this year from the Legislature.” The new law prohibits the State of California from disbursing funds for construction to any of the 121 cities with charters that exercise their “home-rule” right under Article XI of the California Constitution to establish their own government-mandated wage policies for purely municipal construction contracts and for private projects receiving government financial assistance only from the city.

To preserve their ability to get state funding, cities with charters must stop deviating in their construction contracts from state prevailing wage laws defined in the California Labor Code. Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters described SB 7 as “a significant departure from Brown’s oft-voiced support of ‘subsidiarity,‘ the principle that locally elected officials should have maximum discretion to make decisions for their constituents.” The League of California Cities had asked Governor Brown to veto the bill, noting that “using political leverage to punish those exercising rights provided by the Constitution is unjust.”

SB 7 was a significant attack on constitutional rights, local control, and fiscal responsibility. The new acting mayor of the City of El Cajon, whose citizens approved a charter in June 2012, called the bill “a classic overreach of the state government, to the cost of the rights of sovereign cities.”

Surely SB 7 confirmed the assertion of former Murrieta City Councilmember Doug McAllister, in his February 2013 argument for city charters as the best way to improve the lives of citizens, that “the Left believes the power to reach that goal radiates from top to bottom, while the Right reverses that flow.” Construction union leaders and lobbyists at the state and local levels of California government have been intent on derailing the movement for cities to use charters in order to free themselves from the costly mandates imposed by the state legislature and the governor.

The charter city movement is based on the eroding constitutional principle of federalism – a check and balance against the excesses of centralized government. In October 2012, a professor of public administration at Chapman University (in Orange County) described the City of Costa Mesa as the ideological “ground zero for virtually everything taking place in the country” and its proposed (and ultimately defeated) charter as “a political manifesto of how government should be organized in the 21st century.” Some of the recent intellectual backing for California’s charter city movement has come from the limited-government perspective of www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com and the report (soon to be published in its 4th edition) entitled Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

Below are more than 150 news articles and opinion pieces from 2013 revealing the nature of the battle over local control and state-mandated prevailing wage. The year starts with a city adopting its own prevailing wage policy, city councils in several general law cities deliberating over charter language to propose to voters in 2014, and three powerful anecdotes showing the practical implications of state prevailing wage mandates: a planned private hotel stopped after the state determined it was a “public work” subject to prevailing wage, a bill introduced to end outrageously high state-mandated wage rates for janitorial work, and a state enforcement action revealing that prevailing wage increased the cost of a private hotel by more than $8 million.

Then the unions strike back, with the 5-4 votes of the San Diego City Council during the summer to enact a high-profile ordinance backed by disgraced Mayor Bob Filner to impose costly state-mandated prevailing wage on city projects. The ordinance ended 25 years of city control over its prevailing wage policies for city contracts. At the same time, union-backed Senate Bill 7 advanced through the California State Legislature despite significant opposition. Governor Brown signed SB 7 on October 13, even as the charter commission for the City of Costa Mesa was developing another charter and the Mountain View City Council imposed state prevailing wage mandates on private affordable housing developments receiving city financial assistance. Union lobbyists are now moving aggressively to suppress the uprising.

News and Opinion Articles on California Charter Cities, State-Mandated Prevailing Wage, and Senate Bill 7 in 2013


Assemblyman Curt Hagman to Introduce Bill on Prevailing Wages for Final Cleanup WorkersSan Bernardino Sun – January 2, 2013


California Bill Would Create a New Construction Trade Classification for Final Cleanup and Janitorial Work – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – January 5, 2013


Prevailing Wage Scams Steal from Taxpayers – www.CalWatchdog.com – January 11, 2013


Newport Beach to Discuss Dock Fees (and exemption of city contracts from prevailing wage requirements) – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – January 19, 2013


Council Closes Book on Dock Fee Increases (In other business…)Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – January 23, 2013


Newport Triggers Dock-Fee Increases, Cost-Saving Labor ContractsOrange County Register – January 23, 2013


City Eschews Prevailing Wages – Newport Beach/Corona Del Mar Patch – January 24, 2013.


Newport Beach Is Latest California Charter City to Establish Its Own Prevailing Wage Policy: 7-0 Unanimous Vote for Fiscal Responsibility and Common Sense – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – January 24, 2013


Study Under Way to Find Out if Arroyo Grande Should Try to Become a Charter CitySan Luis Obispo Tribune – January 27, 2013


Arroyo Grande Considering City Charterwww.CalCoastNews.com – January 28, 2013


Unions Win Prevailing-Wage Case vs. Turtle BayRedding Record-Searchlight – January 29, 2013


Fate of Hotel at Turtle Bay in Limbo – Ruling: Park Must Pay Workers Prevailing Wage to build Sheraton HotelRedding Record-Searchlight – January 30, 2013


One More Costly Delay on Road to Turtle Bay Hotel – editorial – Redding Record-Searchlight – January 30, 2013


Redding Needs a Charter to End Nonsense Definition of Private Hotel as a “Public Works” Project – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – January 31, 2013


Got It Backward – letter to the editor by Michael Stanton – San Luis Obispo Tribune – January 31, 2013


Redding Needs a City Charter – letter to the editor by Kevin Dayton – Redding Record-Searchlight – February 4, 2013


Turtle Bay Nearing Compromise with Unions Over Hotel ConstructionRedding Record-Searchlight – February 7, 2013


Buellton Continues “Home Rule’ TalkSanta Ynez Valley News – February 7, 2013


Charting Best Path to Buellton’s Future – editorial – Santa Ynez Valley News – February 7, 2013


Prevailing Wage Supports Skilled Workers and Their Families – op-ed by Tom Curato – Redding Record-Searchlight – February 10, 2013


UA Local 228 Rep. Defends the Prevailing Wage for Redding, Californiawww.WePartyPatriots.com – February 13, 2013


Unions Rise to Defense of “Prevailing Wage” Rates Jeopardizing Hotel Project in Redding – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – February 15, 2013


Reasons to Consider Becoming a Charter City – op-ed by former Murrieta City Council member Doug McAllister – UT San Diego – February 19, 2013


State May Close Prevailing Wage Gap for Charter CitiesCentral Valley Business Journal – February 19, 2013


Escondido Mayor Touts Urban Renewal, Embracing DiversitySan Diego Union-Tribune – February 20, 2013


Bill Introduced in State Senate to Suppress Authority of California’s Charter Cities to Establish Their Own Policies on Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – February 20, 2013


Republican Lawmaker Touts Bill Pushed by Labor Bullieswww.CalWatchdog.com – February 21, 2013


County Offers $200,000 Tax Rebate to Attract $12 Million Business ExpansionBakersfield Californian – February 24, 2013 (States that “Kern County has not extended an economic incentive package to a prospective employer in about 10 years. Sometimes what stands in the way of making such offers, she said, is California’s requirement that building projects supported by public money pay construction workers prevailing wages.”)


Moreno Valley: Charter City Committee Could Be CreatedRiverside Press-Enterprise – February 25, 2013


Moreno Valley: City to Explore Becoming Charter CityRiverside Press-Enterprise – February 26, 2013


Turtle Bay Says It Can’t Afford Prevailing Wage Rate to Build HotelRedding Record-Searchlight – February 27, 2013


California’s Pro-Prevailing Wage Bill, SB7, Enjoying Broad Supportwww.WePartyPatriots.com – February 28, 2013


With Senate Bill 7, California Unions Advance Plot to Neuter City Charters – by Kevin Dayton – www.UnionWatch.org – February 28, 2013


Explain Why Moreno Valley Needs a Charter – editorial – Riverside Press-Enterprise – March 2, 2013


Turtle Bay Will Ask Judge for Relief on Hotel Prevailing-Wage RulingRedding Record-Searchlight – March 5, 2013


Turtle Bay to Challenge Prevailing Wage Findings – KNVN-24/KHSL-12 News – March 5, 2013


Unions Determined to Battle Turtle Bay’s Prevailing-Wage Court ChallengeRedding Record-Searchlight – March 6, 2013


Unions Fight Against Slave Labor – op-ed by Greg Beale – Redding Record-Searchlight – March 9, 2013


Buellton at ‘Crossroads’ for Decisions, Mayor SaysSanta Ynez Valley News – March 12, 2013


Senate Industrial Relations Committee Passes Controversial SB 7 – League of California Cities bulletin – March 13, 2013


Prevailing Wage’ Battle Shaping UpStockton Record – March 18, 2013


State Seeks to Hamper City Wage Policies – op-ed by Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern – UT San Diego – March 21, 2013


Oceanside Pol to Steinberg: Fix Your Own Mess and Leave Us Alonewww.CalWatchdog.com – March 22, 2013


Modesto Opposes Bill to Require ‘Prevailing Wage’ on ProjectsModesto Bee – March 24, 2013


City of Stockton should listen to their Development Oversight Committee’s Recommendation – ABC NorCal Blog (Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors) – March 28, 2013 (Recommendation was that “the City Council give direction to City staff and the Commission, as to whether or not they should continue working on the Prevailing Wage Exemption, so that the City Can Declare Itself Exempt from Prevailing Wage Laws on Local Projects.”)


Grover Beach to Again Look at Becoming a Charter CitySan Luis Obispo Tribune – March 29, 2013


Tulare County Board of Supervisors Opposes Wage BillVisalia Times-Delta – April 3, 2013


Senate Bill is Nothing More than a Power Grab – editorial – Porterville Recorder – April 5, 2013


Grass Valley: Prevailing Wage Bill is State ‘Overreach’The Union (Grass Valley) – April 16, 2013


Officials: Prevailing Wage Bill is an Overreach by CaliforniaTahoe Daily Tribune – April 23, 2013


Pair of Assembly Bills to Protect the Prevailing Wage Move Through California Committeewww.WePartyPatriots.com – April 26, 2013


SB 7 Will End Loophole to Avoid Paying Prevailing Wage – From the President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California – May 2013


Labor, Charter Cities Clash Over Prevailing WageCapitol Weekly via www.CaliforniaCityNews.org – May 7, 2013


Mountain View Council Shifting Stance on Prevailing WageSan Jose Mercury-News – May 8, 2013


City to Review Mayor’s Proposal to Expand Prevailing Wage Requirements on Public Works Projects – KGTV-10 – May 15, 2013


Council Moves to Require Prevailing Wage on ContractsSan Diego Daily Transcript – May 16, 2013


City Council Should Reject ‘Prevailing’ Wage Proposal – op-ed by George Hawkins – San Diego Daily Transcript – May 28, 2013


Truckee, Grass Valley Watching California Prevailing Wage BillTahoe Daily Tribune – June 4, 2013


Prevailing Wages Will Lift San Diego Economy – op-ed by Tom Lemmon – San Diego Daily Transcript – June 5, 2013


Don’t Impose ‘Prevailing” Wage on More Cities – editorial – Riverside Press-Enterprise – June 13, 2013


Labor Commissioner Collects Over $8 Million in Wages for Public Works Job at Hilton Hotel in San Diego – California Department of Industrial Relations press release – June 17, 2013


SB 7 Represents Arrogance of Sacramento’s Local Policy Breakerswww.PublicCEO.com – June 18, 2013


SB 7 Subverts Charter Cities’ Autonomywww.CalWatchdog.com – June 19, 2013


Committee OKs Prevailing Wage Ordinance – KGTV-10 News – June 19, 2013


Hilton Bayfront Construction Workers Collect $8M in Wages – San Diego Daily Transcript – June 20, 2013


California Cities Ramp Up Fight Against Union Wage Bill – Sacramento Bee – June 21, 2013


Bill Would Push Prevailing WagesUT San Diego – June 21, 2013


Mayor Says SB 7 Could Strip Public Works Funding for GilroyGilroy Dispatch – June 25, 2013


Senate Bill 7 Limits Charter Cities’ Control – editorial – Modesto Bee – June 24, 2013


Charter Panel Digs into Public-Works ContractingNewport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – June 24, 2013


Steinberg’s Bill Would Infringe on Local Control – editorial – Sacramento Bee – June 25, 2013


The Assault on Charter Cities and Taxpayers – editorial – UT San Diego – June 25, 2013


San Diego Takes Next Step Toward Lowering the Threshold for Prevailing Wages to $25,000www.WePartyPatriots.com – June 25, 2013 (includes claim that “The prevailing wage issue is gaining momentum across the state of California.”)


Charter Cities: Senate Bill 7 Threatens Voting Rights – op-ed by Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities – San Jose Mercury-News – June 26, 2013


Steinberg’s SB 7 Would Tie Charter Cities’ Hands – editorial – Fresno Bee – June 26, 2013


Prevailing Wage Bill for Public Works AdvancesUT San Diego – June 27, 2013


Union Wages Shouldn’t Be Forced on Cities – editorial – Orange County Register – June 27, 2013


Dems Push for Prevailing Wages – KMJ 580 AM News (Fresno) – June 27, 2013


SB 7 Limits Charter City Wage Control – editorial – Merced Sun-Star – June 30, 2013


Prevailing Wage: Moving Forward in California, Backward in Other States – From the President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California – July 2013


Prevailing Wages Hurt City – column by Joseph Perkins – UT San Diego – July 6, 2013


Prevailing Wage Bill for Charter Cities Inches Closer to GovernorThe Union (Grass Valley) – July 18, 2013


City Officials Say Prevailing Wage Bill Threatens ProjectsBakersfield Californian – July 18, 2013


Union Operatives Infiltrate Office of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to Push Costly and Burdensome Prevailing Wage Mandate for City Contracts – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – July 25, 2013


Prevailing Wage: Good for Local Economy, Local Workers – op-ed by Nathan Fletcher – San Diego Daily Transcript – July 26, 2013


Did Nathan Fletcher Lose His Mind on Prevailing Wage? – op-ed by Kevin Dayton – San Diego Daily Transcript – July 29, 2013


City Faces Higher Costs Under Wage PlanUT San Diego – July 29, 2013


Vote ‘No’ on Expanding ‘Prevailing Wage’ in San Diego – editorial – UT San Diego – July 29, 2013


Simple List of Official Documents Relevant to July 30 San Diego City Council Vote to Require State Prevailing Wage on City Contracts – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – July 29, 2013


After 33 Years, San Diego Submits to State Prevailing Wage Law – by Kevin Dayton in www.UnionWatch.org – July 30, 2013


City Council Approves Prevailing Wage Proposal – City News Service, posted on several news web sites, such as KPBS – July 30, 2013


U-T San Diego Ignores Growing Evidence Of Prevailing Wage Benefits – Media Matters for America – July 30, 2013


City Council Passes Prevailing-Wage OrdinanceSan Diego Daily Transcript – July 30, 2013


Council Approves Higher Wages for Projects: City already pays prevailing wages on big developmentUT San Diego – July 30, 2013


San Diego Passes Prevailing Wage Bill: Council votes 5-4 to expand policy to work contracts, following Filner’s leadUT San Diego – July 31, 2013


Smart Cities Prevail Applauds San Diego Decisionwww.SmartCitiesPrevail.org – July 31, 2013


Prevailing Wage Will Force Out Small Guy; Prevailing Wage is All About Payback to Unions; Big Labor Dominates City Hall – letters to the editor – UT San Diego – July 31, 2013


A Day to Remember, Not Fondly, at San Diego City Hall – editorial – UT San Diego – August 1, 2013


San Diego Political Celebrity Nathan Fletcher Now Supports Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – August 1, 2013


Statewide Poll Shows Broad Support for Prevailing Wage – Substantial Opposition to Going Charterwww.SmartCitiesPrevail.org – August 1, 2013


The Stories the Scandal Swallowed – Voice of San Diego – August 2, 2013 (San Diego City Council 5-4 vote to submit to state prevailing wage law for city construction contracts.)


Three Recent Polls Show Strong Support for Prevailing Wage Policieswww.SmartCitiesPrevail.org – August 8, 2013


Modesto Claims Prevailing Wage Bill Would Punish the CityModesto Bee – August 12, 2013


Central Valley City Officials Publicly Voice Opposition to SB 7 in Stockton – League of California Cities bulletin – August 13, 2013


Charter Panel Tackles Public WorksNewport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – August 15, 2013


Merced Mayor, Other Officials Gather in Modesto to Protest Prevailing Wage BillMerced Sun-Star – August 16, 2013


Unions Tempt Republicans with “Bipartisanship” Lure: Five Tips for Resistance – by Kevin Dayton – www.FlashReport.org – August 17, 2013


CEOs and Business Leaders for Prevailing Wage – op-ed by Mark Breslin, executive for a unionized construction company association – Modesto Bee – August 19, 2013


La Mirada Eyes to Become a Charter CityWhittier Daily News – August 19, 2013


Prevailing Wage: Consider Variables – letter to the editor – Modesto Bee – August 21, 2013


CEO Comes Out Swinging in Favor of SB7, Prevailing Wages, and the Race to the Topwww.WePartyPatriots.com – August 22, 2013


Senators Try To Compel Charter Cities to Pay Prevailing Wages – Capitol Public Radio – August 23, 2013


Just What is a ‘Prevailing Wage?’ – op-ed – Pomerado News – August 24, 2013


This Week in the War on Workers: Fending Off the ALEC of the Construction Industry in California – Daily Kos – August 24, 2013


Reject Push to Blackmail Cities on Wage RulesRiverside Press Enterprise – August 25, 2013


Why the Prevailing-Wage Ordinance is a Bad Idea – op-ed by Fred Schnaubelt – San Diego Daily Transcript – August 26, 2013


Something is Bothering California Union Leaders and Lobbyists – by Kevin Dayton in www.UnionWatch.org – August 27, 2013


Prevailing Wage Panders to Unions, Costs Taxpayers – op-ed by Michael Saltsman of Employment Policies Institute – Orange County Register – August 30, 2013


Prevailing Wage Standard Empowers Middle Class – op-ed by Dale Howard of www.SmartCitiesPrevail.orgOrange County Register – August 30, 2013


Cities Shouldn’t Ignore Prevailing Wage Economics – op-ed by Tracy Emblem, Democratic candidate for Congress – UT San Diego – August 30, 2013


Costa Mesa Mayor: Charter is Sure to PassOrange County Register – September 5, 2013


Charter Cities Challenge: State Dollars or Prevailing Wage?UT San Diego – September 7, 2013


SB 7: Cities Stand to Lose Home Rule over Municipal Affairswww.PublicCEO.com – September 9, 2013


Three Bad Bills that Gov. Jerry Brown Should Veto – editorial – Sacramento Bee – September 9, 2013


City Council Reaffirms Prevailing WageSan Diego Daily Transcript – September 10, 2013


Legislative Sampler: 2 to Sign, 2 to Veto – editorial – Riverside Press-Enterprise – September 18, 2013


‘Prevailing Wage’ Fact and Fiction – op-ed by George Hawkins – San Diego Daily Transcript – September 24, 2013


Costa Mesa Charter Committee Takes Up Prevailing WageOrange County Register – September 26, 2013


Prevailing Wage Bill Deserves a Veto – editorial – UT San Diego – October 4, 2013


Has Labor Leader Overreached? – columnist Dan Morain – Sacramento Bee – October 9, 2013


Stifling Unions – editorial – Victorville Daily Press – October 9, 2013


Costa Mesa Charter to Remove ‘Prevailing Wage’Orange County Register – October 10, 2013


Mountain View: City-Funded Affordable Housing Projects to Pay Prevailing WageSan Jose Mercury-News – October 10, 2013


Council OKs Union Wages for Affordable Housing: Policy Will Add about 10 Percent to Cost of New ProjectsMountain View Voice – October 10, 2013


City of Mountain View Expands Prevailing Wage Mandate to Private Affordable Housing Developments Getting City Funds – by Kevin Dayton – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – October 10, 2013


Governor Should Veto Wage bill – editorial – Modesto Bee – October 11, 2013


If Gov. Brown Doesn’t Like Intrusion, He Should Veto SB 7 – editorial – Sacramento Bee – October 12, 2013


Jerry Brown Signs Prevailing Wage Bill for Charter CitiesSacramento Bee – October 13, 2013


Governor Brown Signs Union-Backed Senate Bill 7 and Continues Erosion of Constitutional Checks and Balances – by Kevin Dayton in www.FlashReport.org – October 13, 2013


Brown Signs Prevailing Wage Bill – Capitol Weekly – October 14, 2013


Brown Signs Prevailing Wage Bill for CitiesCentral Valley Business Journal – October 14, 2013


Governor Brown Signs Prevailing Wage Bill – A Bubbling Cauldron (blog in Costa Mesa) – October 14, 2013


Governor Signs Prevailing Wage Bill for Charter CitiesSacramento Business Journal – October 14, 2013


Charter Cities to Lose Authority Over Public Works Projectswww.PublicCEO.com – October 14, 2013


Gov. Brown Signs SB 7 to Neuter Charter Citieswww.CalWatchdog.com – October 14, 2013


New Law Requires Charter Cities to Pay Prevailing Wages – East County Magazine – October 14, 2013


Prevailing Wage Law Could Raise CostsUT San Diego – October 14, 2013


Unions Smile, Cities Frown at Prevailing Wage LawBakersfield Californian – October 14, 2013


Modesto Fears Harm from New Prevailing Wage LawModesto Bee – October 14, 2013


California Construction Unions Get Two Big Wins – columnist Dan Walters – Sacramento Bee – October 15, 2013


Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Autonomy is good – but only for state? – editorial – Santa Rosa Press-Democrat – October 15, 2013


Charter Could Cost City FundingNewport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – October 16, 2013


Governor Signs SB 7: Charter Cities Required to Pay Prevailing Wage – Porterville Recorder – October 16, 2013


Governor Does Disservice to All Charter Cities – editorial – Porterville Recorder – October 20, 2013


Prevailing Wage Now Irrelevant – A Bubbling Cauldron (blog in Costa Mesa) – October 22, 2013


Oppose a Charter with ‘Prevailing Wage’ Exemption – letters to the editor – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – October 22, 2013


Groups Accuse Grover Beach of Violating State Open Meeting LawSan Luis Obispo Tribune – October 22, 2013 (One group is www.SmartCitiesPrevail.org)


Facts Wrong – letter to the editor by Robbie Hunter, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California – Porterville Recorder – October 24, 2013


Wage Law Costs Cities More than Money – op-ed by El Cajon Acting Mayor Bill Wells – UT San Diego – October 25, 2013


Unions “Using Political Leverage to Punish Those Exercising Rights” in California Constitution – by Kevin Dayton in www.UnionWatch.org – October 29, 2013


Brown Inconsistent on Local-Control Issues: Is ‘subsidiarity’ little more than a platitude?UT San Diego – October 30, 2013


New California Law for 2013: Labor History Month in Public Schools

My article on Assembly Bill 2269, which establishes Labor History Month in California public schools, was posted on December 31, 2012 on www.UnionWatch.org. See How Will Students Celebrate Labor History Month in California Schools?

AB 2269 was signed into law in September 2012 by Governor Jerry Brown.

I wrote about this bill on April 14, 2012 in Soon, a Whole Month to Subject California Students to Union Propaganda in the Classroom. Here is the letter I submitted to the author of the bill in opposition: Dayton Letter Opposed to Assembly Bill 2269 – Labor History Month.

There was very little press coverage of this bill, but here’s an excerpt from a short article (Jerry Brown Signs Bill Declaring May to be Labor History Month) in the Sacramento Bee on September 26, 2012:

Gov. Jerry Brown, like the Democratic-controlled California Legislature, wants schoolchildren to learn about labor unions, preferably when they are in school and aren’t too busy with other matters…

Labor unions have had a significant impact on labor conditions for workers nationwide. They are also major contributors to Democratic politicians and their causes.

Also, see my article published in 2003 in the journal Government Union Review (Volume 21, Number 1): Labor History in Public Schools: Unions Get ‘Em While They’re Young

Fresno Bee Calls for CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Reform That Includes Stopping Union “Greenmail” for the Purpose of Coercing Developers to Sign Project Labor Agreements

The Fresno Bee published an editorial on Sunday, August 5, 2012 calling for Governor Jerry Brown to take a leadership role in reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA (California Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.) so that unions can’t exploit it to block proposed projects until the owner signs a Project Labor Agreement giving unions monopoly control of the construction work.

See “EDITORIAL: Governor Again Moves Toward Needed CEQA Reform Steps – Changes to the State Law Should Be Vetted and Discussed by All Parties” – Fresno Bee – August 5, 2012.

Like other counties in the San Joaquin Valley (such as Kings, Tulare, and Kern counties), Fresno County has received numerous environmental comments on behalf of construction trade unions from the law firm of Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardozo concerning proposed solar energy power plants. The ultimate objective is not saving the planet, but coercing the developer to sign a Project Labor Agreement.

The editorial states the following:

Brown recently has been dropping hints he is open to a significant reform of the law. It’s clearly needed, and we hope this isn’t another instance of him shooting off his mouth. California needs significant CEQA reform.

CEQA is being abused, and defenders of the law get defensive whenever anyone suggests it. The most pernicious abuse is known as “greenmail,” with groups threatening CEQA lawsuits to get labor concessions or other side deals.

See a Sacramento Bee article about Governor Brown’s comments: “California Gov. Jerry Brown Upsets Environmentalist Friends with His CEQA Critique” – Sacramento Bee – July 31, 2012.

Also, read the opinion piece from former California governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, and Gray Davis calling for “modernization” of CEQA: “Keep California Green and Golden with CEQA Reforms” – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 12, 2012.

Real Reform of CEQA Will Be an Uphill Battle

The California State Legislature has considered one bill this year to significantly reform CEQA. On January 9, 2012, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee considered Assemblywoman Shannon Grove’s Assembly Bill 598, which would have given the California Attorney General the exclusive authority to file or maintain a lawsuit alleging that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), negative declaration, or mitigated negative declaration does not comply with CEQA.

The committee rejected the bill on a 6-3 party-line vote, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. The hearing was an opportunity for the committee to discuss how certain parties, particularly labor unions, exploit public participation in the CEQA process to achieve objectives unrelated to environmental protection.

Assemblywoman Grove cited four specific examples of different unions (the Teamsters, the California Nurses Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the Service Employees International Union) filing CEQA lawsuits to delay projects as leverage to extract labor concessions from businesses. She also noted that some businesses use CEQA to try to block potential competition.

Testifying on behalf of my former employer (Associated Builders and Contractors of California), I discussed how certain construction trade unions abuse CEQA as a weapon to delay projects until the owner agrees to require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions. The Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) and the Chambers of Commerce Alliance of Ventura & Santa Barbara were the other public supporters of the bill.

Assemblywoman Linda Halderman (R-Fresno) cited a specific example of a union using CEQA to try to force a contractor to sign a Project Labor Agreement to install solar panels at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport. Assemblyman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) adeptly exposed the Attorney General’s double standard of opposing the additional responsibilities assigned in AB 598 while remaining silent about adopting additional responsibilities through other legislation.

Legitimate environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Planning and Conservation League opposed the bill. The Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union opposed the bill in writing but did not speak at the hearing. Democrats on the committee opposed the bill, but some of them (along with the Attorney General’s office) acknowledged that some parties abuse CEQA. Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz) said nothing about how the Carpenters union used CEQA in a recent high-profile campaign to delay and ultimately derail the proposed La Bahia Hotel in Santa Cruz.