Tag Archive for League of California Cities

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

1

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

2

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

7

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

8

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

9

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

10

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

11

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

12

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

13

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

14

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

15

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

16

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

17

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

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

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

22

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

23

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

24

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

25

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

26

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

27

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

28

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.”)

29

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

30

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

31

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

32

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

33

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

34

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

35

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

36

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

37

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

38

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

39

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

40

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

41

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

42

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

43

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

44

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

45

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.”)

46

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

47

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

48

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

49

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

50

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

51

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

52

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

53

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

54

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

55

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

56

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

57

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

58

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

59

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

60

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

61

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

62

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

63

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

64

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

65

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

66

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

67

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

68

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

69

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

70

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

71

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

72

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

73

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.”)

74

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

75

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

76

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

77

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

78

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

79

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

80

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

81

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

82

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

83

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

84

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

85

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

86

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

87

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

88

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

89

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

90

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

91

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

92

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

93

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

94

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

95

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

96

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

97

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

98

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

99

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

100

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

101

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.)

102

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

103

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

104

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

105

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

106

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

107

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

108

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

109

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

110

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

111

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

112

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

113

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

114

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

115

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

116

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

117

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

118

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

119

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

120

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

121

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

122

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

123

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

124

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

125

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

126

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

127

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

128

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

129

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

130

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

131

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

132

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

133

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

134

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

135

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

136

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

137

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

138

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

139

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

140

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

141

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

142

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

143

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

144

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

145

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

146

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

147

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

148

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

149

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

150

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

151

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

152

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

153

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

154

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

155

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

156

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

157

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

158

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

159

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

160

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

161

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

California State Senate Majority Leader Darrell Steinberg issued a press release on February 19, 2013 announcing the introduction of Senate Bill 7, which would impose a financial disincentive on any of California’s 121 charter cities that establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). See Bi-Partisan Bill by State Senators to Require Prevailing Wage Jobs in California Charter Cities.

At least 53 of the 121 charter cities in California establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates, with 43 of them providing for a complete exemption. (See page 18 of this guidebook and add two for Newport Beach and Bakersfield.)

Most recently, the charter city of Newport Beach established its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates in January 2013, and the charter city of Bakersfield established its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates in October 2012.

(For more details, see Newport Beach Is Latest California Charter City to Establish Its Own Prevailing Wage Policy: 7-0 Unanimous Vote for Fiscal Responsibility and Common Sense and Bakersfield Becomes Latest of California’s 121 Charter Cities to Free Itself from Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates – So-Called “Prevailing Wage”)

In July 2012, the California Supreme Court (in State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v. City of Vista) upheld a longstanding practice among charter cities to use their local authority to implement their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). These policies can apply to public works projects receiving public funding only from the city or private projects receiving public assistance with monetary value that only comes from the city.

State-mandated construction wage rates can be 5%-30% higher than actual market wages in a locality, depending on the geographic region and the trade. Under current state law, the state does not conduct surveys of contractors or workers to determine “prevailing wages.” Instead, the California Division of Labor Statistics and Research collects union collective bargaining agreements, adds up all of the employer payments in the agreements (including payments to trust funds that are not employee wages or fringe benefits), and declares the total to be the prevailing wage.

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (an umbrella lobbying group for construction unions) detests charter cities that establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates. Unions want all local governments to submit to state law, which imposes these political demands of unions (1) broadly define public works to encompass many private projects; and (2) calculate so-called prevailing wage rates using union collective bargaining agreements.

Construction unions have also aggressively opposed proposed charters and have recently stopped movements for charters in Elk Grove, Redding, Rancho Palos Verdes, Auburn, Costa Mesa, Escondido, and Grover Beach.

For a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the status of policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates in California’s 121 charter cities, see Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

Also, see general information about Charter Cities from the League of California Cities.

Riverside Press-Enterprise Publishes My Commentary: Don’t Blame Wal-Mart for Fighting CEQA Abuse

The Sunday, December 2, 2012 Riverside Press-Enterprise published my opinion piece Don’t Blame Wal-Mart for Fighting CEQA Abuse. It is a response to a Riverside Press Enterprise editorial from November 25, 2012, Big-Box Browbeating, which I felt lacked an important perspective: labor unions and other groups routinely exploit the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to suppress potential competition or to coerce labor agreements or other payoffs from developers (a practice known as “greenmail”).

On October 30, 2012, a California appeals court ruled in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court of Tuolumne County (Wal-Mart and the City of Sonora, Real Parties in Interest) that a city cannot bypass CEQA and approve a project if voters qualify a ballot measure to approve the project.

The Sonora Planning Commission and the Sonora City Council didn’t seem to have objections to Wal-Mart in their town. “The legal battle slowing down Wal-Mart’s expansion frustrates Sonora Mayor Hank Russell,” according to an article in the November 19, 2012 Bay Citizen (Ruling Is Win for Environmental Law, Loss for Wal-Mart):

These people just want to delay a process that should be part of a free market economy. I don’t think it’s the city’s role to decide who can compete.

The League of California Cities and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s foundation submitted amicus briefs on behalf of the City of Sonora, which had won approval to bypass CEQA in Tuoloumne County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, the true identity of Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance does not appear to be public. Another mysterious group called CREED-21 (Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development) submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance.

A variety of anonymous organizations purporting to represent local citizens challenge proposed Wal-Mart superstores (Wal-Marts that sell groceries) using CEQA. Some of these groups are reportedly fronts for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which represents grocery store workers in the older, “legacy” grocery stores in California such as Safeway, Raley’s, Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Save Mart, and Stater Bros.

A November 21, 2011 California Watch article (Wal-Mart Ramps Up Ballot Threats to Speed New Stores) reported on the Wal-Mart ballot measure strategy and claimed it “raises questions about whether California’s communities – dogged by economic woes – can afford an aggressive use of the state’s system of direct democracy.”

I guess it would not be “progressive” to ask whether California’s communities – dogged by economic woes – can afford an aggressive misuse of the state’s environmental laws by unions and other leftist organizations that philosophically object to so-called “big box stores.” Has Wal-Mart ever considered releasing a list of the phony front groups and the names of the law firms that object to the Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) and file CEQA lawsuits?

The law firm representing Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance is Herum Crabtree, based in Stockton. A web search indicates this firm has also used CEQA to challenge proposed Wal-Marts in the Northern California and Central California cities of Elk Grove, Lodi, Ceres, Tracy, American Canyon, Bakersfield, and Anderson.

Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (CREED-21) is represented by the Briggs Law Corporation. A web search indicates this firm has used CEQA to challenge proposed Wal-Marts in the Southern California cities of Tehachapi, Apple Valley, Lake Forest, Victorville, Ontario, San Bernardino, Hesperia, Menifee, Gelndora, Barstow, Rialto, Murrieta, and Vista.

These are not the only law firms prominent in using CEQA to stop Wal-Mart.

A lawyer based in Davis named William D. Kopper has used CEQA to hinder the construction of Wal-Mart superstores. A web search indicates this firm has used CEQA to challenge proposed Wal-Marts in the Northern California cities of Redding, Red Bluff, Oroville, Linda, Yuba City, Galt, Stockton, Ukiah, Santa Rosa, and Gilroy. Kopper also exploits CEQA on behalf of construction trade unions seeking Project Labor Agreements from developers proposing private residential and commercial projects in Northern California.

The law firm of M.R. Wolfe & Associates, based in San Francisco, has used CEQA to challenge Wal-Mart projects. A web search indicates this firm has used CEQA to challenge proposed Wal-Marts in the Northern California and Central California cities of Antioch, Fremont, Hayward, Suisun City, Madera, Porterville, Visalia, Delano, Atascadero, and Rohnert Park.

Mark Wolfe used to work at the law firm of Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo, the CEQA lawyers of choice for California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) and individual construction trade unions. I did not find any evidence through a web search that Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo has ever worked for a client who objected to a Wal-Mart on CEQA grounds.

CalWatchdog.com Reports on California Charter City Movement: “Push for Charter Cities Enrages Unions”

An article posted on the www.CalWatchdog.com web site on September 30, 2012 (“Push for Charter Cities Enrages Unions“) notes that “the change from a general law city to a charter city is technical, even obscure, but very powerful.” That’s a good description of this Constitutional exercise of federalism in California.

The League of California Cities provides excellent neutral information on California’s city charters, while I provide information about city charters as a tool to circumvent the fiscally irresponsible, intrusive California State Legislature and the special interests that control it. A charter can advance economic and personal freedom on the local level. The article quotes me a few times:

“A charter needs to give a city full control of its municipal affairs, so it can implement lower taxes, reasonable regulation, fiscal responsibility, limited government, local control and more freedom from corrupt urban legislators,” according to Kevin Dayton, CEO of Dayton Public Policy Institute, an employment and labor specialist, and charter city expert.

“Defenders of the status quo prefer California’s advocates of economic and personal freedom to be apologetic, mealy-mouthed, submissive and ineffective. I noted that an ideal charter, with its ‘defiance of excessive state authority,’ would enrage numerous special interest groups,” Dayton said.

Dayton said that unions have steamrolled right over smaller cities’ efforts to adopt a charter. “Union leaders get very testy when someone points out that a charter city can establish its own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates,” Dayton said.

“Significant and recent developments in proposed city charters in California have been related to explicit provisions concerning the establishment of policies for government-mandated prevailing wages, prohibitions on requiring contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements with unions, and requirements for unions to get permission from city employees to deduct money from their paychecks to use for political purposes,” Dayton explained. “In addition, some charters have contained provisions meant to prevent the kind of corruption among city council members and city staff that occurred in the City of Bell in the late 2000s.”

Dayton said that voters need to seriously consider approving the charter city proposals. “If you support lower taxes, reasonable regulation, fiscal responsibility, limited government, local control and more freedom from corrupt urban legislators, vote yes on the charters. If you believe citizens are not yet giving enough of their money to the government, vote no on the charter.”

Of course, one of the comments about the article had to cite the example of the corrupt City of Bell as a reason why cities should not have charters. That’s the prime talking point of the unions against all of the suburban cities trying to protect their middle class citizens and their small businesses from being taxed and regulated right out of the state and off to Texas.

Note: a reference to the www.CalWatchdog.com article is re-posted on www.reason.com:

Public Unions Battle CA Cities’ Efforts To Escape Labor Rules – www.reason.com – October 1, 2012

Project Underway to Create a Cutting-Edge Model Charter for California Cities to Free Their Municipal Affairs from the State Legislature – YOU Can Help!

For more than a year, I’ve talked and written about developing a model charter that city councils and appointed charter commissions in California’s general law cities can use as a basis to develop their own proposed charters to bring before voters for consideration.

A model charter would also help city councils and appointed charter commissions in 121 California cities to amend and freshen their existing charters. (Note: voters in three more cities – Escondido, Costa Mesa, and Grover Beach – will consider enacting proposed charters in the November 6, 2012 election; there may be 124 charter cities in California at the end of 2012.)

Generally, the dozen cities that brought charters before their voters in the past six years obtained existing charters from other cities and tweaked them a little. City council members and staff have not started from scratch in developing their proposed charters, perhaps to avoid the political and legal risks of trying new concepts, and perhaps in part because developing a constitution from scratch is a time-consuming intellectual exercise better suited to James Madison or modern policy institutes.

Significant and recent developments in proposed city charters in California have been related to explicit provisions concerning the establishment of policies for government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”), prohibitions on requiring contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements with unions, and requirements for unions to get permission from city employees to deduct money from their paychecks to use for political purposes. In addition, some charters have contained provisions meant to prevent the kind of corruption among city council members and city staff that occurred in the City of Bell in the late 2000s.

As I wrote in the Auburn Journal newspaper on September 26, 2011, cities in California need to consider asking voters to enact a charter that would be “a searing and unprecedented manifesto in support of fair and open competition, free enterprise, economic growth and job creation.” A charter needs to give a city full control of its municipal affairs, so it can implement “lower taxes, reasonable regulation, fiscal responsibility, limited government, local control and more freedom from corrupt urban legislators.”

Defenders of the status quo prefer California’s advocates of economic and personal freedom to be apologetic, mealy-mouthed, submissive and ineffective. I noted that an ideal charter, with its “defiance of excessive state authority,” would enrage numerous special interest groups.

Of course, aggressive opposition from special interest groups indicates a proposed charter would be effective in expanding local control. Should city councils and city staff regard this opposition as an insurmountable obstacle to achieving meaningful home rule?

My thinking is that even a slightly effective proposed city charter will agitate the unions, the environmental extremists, and any other parties who use the California State Legislature as an agent to impose their utopian visions on communities where a majority of people just want to mind their own business. Opposition from powerful special interest groups will come if the proposed charter is 100% effective or 10% effective in changing things. So why not pursue a goal of claiming 100% of the potential for a city’s governing authority over municipal affairs?

I Need Your Help to Develop the Ultimate Model City Charter for California!

Almost everyone squatting in the state legislature for the duration of their term limit wants to leave a legacy of some sort of accomplishment; that is, something inserted in California law that they can proudly show their grandchildren and cite in speeches to inspire youths to pursue public service. Think about how the California State Legislature enacts a parade of inane laws every year that interferes with or intrudes in municipal affairs.

In Sacramento today, I spoke to a group of free market-oriented policy intellectuals based in California about my plan to collect ideas for provisions in a model charter. I expect to get some great recommendations from them concerning transportation, land use and zoning, air quality, etc. You can help too. Below are resources to help you develop ideas to send me for the model charter:

1. At the end of this post, I cite relevant language from the July 2012 California Supreme Court case State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v. City of Vista about the Constitutional right of charter cities to control their own municipal affairs. This citation also includes the four criteria under which an issue is a municipal affair versus an issue of statewide concern. Read the criteria and think about problems in your city that the city council can’t fix or evade under the status quo.

2. Here are links to a few of the city charters recently enacted by voters or to be considered by voters in the November 6, 2012 election. These are the current examples of charters now being circulated among California local officials:

City of Oceanside

City of Vista

City of Costa Mesa

City of Escondido

City of Grover Beach

3. Here is a link to my 94-page report (third edition) published by the California Construction Compliance Group about the status of policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”) in California’s 121 charter cities. It’s the first and only comprehensive report ever written about this right of charter cities:

Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions? – 3rd Edition – Summer 2012

4. The League of California Cities (which is NOT part of this project) has excellent information about charter cities and home rule: Resources on Charter Cities from the League of California Cities.

5. To send me your ideas for charter provisions, call me or go here on this web site and use the form to contact me in writing. Thank you for your ideas to advance economic and personal freedom!

California’s Home Rule Doctrine

(Excerpts from pages 6 and 7 of the City of Vista California Supreme Court Decision on charter cities and prevailing wages – citations removed and language simplified – see the decision itself for more technical guidance.)

Charter cities are specifically authorized by our state Constitution to govern themselves, free of state legislative intrusion, as to those matters deemed municipal affairs.

Article XI, section 5, subdivision (a) of the California Constitution provides: “It shall be competent in any city charter to provide that the city governed thereunder may make and enforce all ordinances and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to restrictions and limitations provided in their several charters and in respect to other matters they shall be subject to general laws. City charters adopted pursuant to this Constitution shall supersede any existing charter, and with respect to municipal affairs shall supersede all laws inconsistent therewith.”

The roots of this provision trace back more than 100 years. It was originally enacted upon the principle that the municipality itself knew better what it wanted and needed than the state at large, and to give that municipality the exclusive privilege and right to enact direct legislation which would carry out and satisfy its wants and needs. The provision represents an affirmative constitutional grant to charter cities of all powers appropriate for a municipality to possess and includes the important corollary that so far as municipal affairs are concerned, charter cities are supreme and beyond the reach of legislative enactment.

We set forth an analytical framework for resolving whether or not a matter falls within the home rule authority of charter cities.

  1. Does the city ordinance at issue regulate an activity that can be characterized as a municipal affair?
  2. Does the case present an actual conflict between local and state law?
  3. Does the state law address a matter of statewide concern?
  4. Is the law reasonably related to resolution of that concern and narrowly tailored to avoid unnecessary interference in local governance? If the subject of the state statute is one of statewide concern and that the statute is reasonably related to its resolution (and not unduly broad in its sweep), then the conflicting charter city measure ceases to be a municipal affair and the Legislature is not prohibited by Article XI, section 5(a), from addressing the statewide dimension by its own tailored enactments.”
Note: in the City of Vista case, the court ruled that “no statewide concern has been presented justifying the state’s regulation of the wages that charter cities require their contractors to pay to workers hired to construct locally funded public works. In light of our conclusion that there is no statewide concern here, we need not determine whether the state’s prevailing wage law is “reasonably related to . . . resolution” of that concern and is “narrowly tailored” to avoid unnecessary interference in local governance. The court didn’t need to consider #4 in the analytical framework listed above because the answer to #3 was NO.

Memo to All Fiscally Responsible City Council Members in California: Background on Charter Cities Establishing Their Own Policies for Government-Mandated Wage Rates for Municipal Construction Contractors

Memorandum to All California City Councilmembers Who Believe in Local Control, Fiscal Responsibility, and Providing Local Services in an Efficient, Cost-Effective Way:

As you can see from my blog posts (at Dayton Public Policy Institute, a project of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC), I am an informed and genuine believer in fiscal responsibility, limited government, and economic and personal freedom. While local government organizations and construction trade associations need to be cautious about offending politically powerful unions, I can tell the unvarnished truth about state mandates on local governments like yours.

Your citizens now have a RARE opportunity to meaningfully free their cities from some of the costly, excessive, and unnecessary mandates endlessly coming from the majority in the foolish California State Legislature.

I encourage you to draft and propose a robust, assertive charter to your voters that allows your city to establish its own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing” wages) for purely municipal construction. Until the legislature approves reasonable prevailing wage reform bills – for example, Assembly Bill 987 and Assembly Bill 988, introduced by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove and rejected on January 4, 2012 – your city will be victimized by bizarre methods of calculating prevailing wage and absurd definitions of public works.

I also urge you to include a provision in your charter guaranteeing fair and open competition in construction contracts, to ensure the best quality work at the best price for taxpayers.

Also, I urge you to include a provision in your charter to provide “paycheck protection” for your city employees, so they are fully informed and in control of their choice about whether or not their union should withdraw dues money from their paychecks to use for politics. Was it necessary for thousands of public employees of all political affiliations to endure a seven-year court case to win their right not to involuntarily give their dues money to union political campaigns against ballot propositions? (See My Outline of the June 21, 2012 U.S. Supreme Court Decision on a California Union’s Mandatory Fee Assessment on Non-Members to Fight Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2005 Ballot Measures.) Your city’s voters can stop this racket.

Here is a link to a guidebook on the prevailing wage policies of California’s charter cities. (Note two revisions that need to be made: the Irvine City Council bound itself under state prevailing wage laws on a 3-2 vote in April 2011, and voters in the City of El Cajon enacted a charter on June 5, 2012 that includes power for the city to set its own government-mandated construction wage rate policies for contractors.) As reported by the League of California Cities, there are now 121 charter cities, with a big explosion of new ones about to occur.

The guide is here: http://abc-ccc.org/documents/CharterCityReportFINAL.pdf

Also, here is detailed information on the movement to give California charter cities the ability to assert local control and free themselves from the fiscal irresponsibility of the state legislature:

http://laborissuessolutions.com/tag/prevailing-wage/

You’ll be hearing from union officials soon. Be strong and keep your thoughts on the taxpayer citizens you represent when charter opponents pack your council chamber and threaten to end your political careers. Obviously a charter is highly meaningful! Don’t worry about the unions; they have a good deal with their union monopolies through Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) at dozens of local governments – you know, all the fiscally responsible and efficiently-managed ones such as the Los Angeles Community College District and the City of Vallejo…

Below are arguments for these charter provisions that will make sense to 90% of the citizens and taxpayers in your city.

Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Kevin Dayton
President and CEO
Labor Issues Solutions, LLC
(916) 439-2159

Talking Points on California’s Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates (“Prevailing Wage” is a Misnomer)

1. First, the accurate terminology is “government-mandated construction wage rates” (not the Orwellian “prevailing wage” used by people who also describe taxes as “revenues” and government spending as “investment”). State-mandated construction wage rates are not “prevailing” under any reasonable definition.

2. The state does not survey contractors or workers to determine the rates. It does not consult with the California Economic Development Department’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages or Labor Market Information to obtain statistical data.

3. Here’s how state-mandated construction wage rates are determined: construction trade unions submit their collective bargaining agreements to the California Division of Labor Statistics and Research. There, state bureaucrats go through these massive documents and identify every payment. They total up the payments and voilà: the “prevailing wage.” Find all wage rates for all trades for all geographical regions (union jurisdictions) here.

4. State-mandated construction wage rates are not “local.” The rates apply to the geographical jurisdiction of the applicable collective bargaining agreement. For example, the Iron Worker collective bargaining agreement covers the entire State of California, so the prevailing wage for an Iron Worker is the same for the ENTIRE state. Alturas = San Francisco = Beverly Hills = El Centro. All bound as one by the laws of the California State Legislature.

5. State-mandated construction wage rates apply to any projects over $1000. Absurd!

6. State-mandated construction wage rates have nothing to do with minimum wage. California’s minimum wage is $8.00 per hour. (I know from my service on the California Wage Board.) In Southern California, the “prevailing wage” for someone holding a stop/slow sign at a road job site in Barstow is a straight-time total hourly wage of $44.68 per hour: $27.29 + $17.00 fringe benefits + 0.39 for “Other.”  In Northern California, someone holding a stop/slow sign at a road job site in Sonora makes a straight time total rate of $42.93 per hour$25.89 + $16.91 fringe benefits + $0.13 for “Other.”

Maybe those wage rates are fair and reasonable, but shouldn’t the cities of Barstow and Sonora be deciding that, instead of state legislators from Los Angeles and San Francisco?

7. Volunteers have a limited temporary exemption in the state-mandated construction wage rate that expires on January 1, 2017. See California Labor Code Section 1720.4 for the extensive union-backed state law meant to discourage volunteerism. In 2004, some unions tried to use the state government to stop volunteer work on construction within their trade jurisdictions.

8. Some of the payments included in the state’s prevailing wage determinations have nothing to do with employee compensation. As a result of Senate Bill 868, signed by Governor Davis just before he was recalled, payments to union slush funds (with no regulatory or reporting requirements) are defined under California Labor Code Section 1773.1(a)(7-9) and have nothing to do with direct employee compensation or benefits. They are indicated in the state’s prevailing wage determinations as “Other.” Why do taxpayers have to pay for this?

9. There are numerous ongoing court cases regarding disputes among construction trade unions over who controls the work. Electricians versus Laborers. Sheet Metal Workers versus Roofers. Cement Masons versus Laborers. Almost a dozen unions are fighting over who gets to control photovoltaic (solar) installation. The State of California routinely gets tied up in controversies over which state-mandated construction wage rate applies to a specific type of work.


How Does the State of California Determine Prevailing Wage Rates?

The term “prevailing wage” is a misnomer.  Section 1773.9 of the California Labor Code requires the California Department of Industrial Relations to calculate prevailing wages using the “modal” rate—the most commonly paid rate—rather than an average or median rate.  (Minnesota is the only other state in the country to use the modal rate to determine prevailing wages.) While non-union workers receive a variety of wages based on experience, location, market conditions, and difficulty of work, unions always pay their journeymen workers the same wage. Thus, the modal rate is always the union rate.

Prevailing Wages Include More Than Wages and Benefits

Former Governor Gray Davis signed Senate Bill 868 in 2003 that expanded the definition of prevailing wages beyond wages and employee fringe benefits. Under California Labor Code Section 1773.1(a)(7-9), prevailing wages now include payments in collective bargaining agreements that funds such programs as “worker protection and assistance programs or committees established under the federal Labor Management Cooperation Act of 1978,” “industry advancement” programs, and “collective bargaining agreements administrative fees.” In response to a petition filed in 2005 by Associated Builders and Contractors of California, the Department of Industrial Relations confirmed that funding for at least one union political program was included in the prevailing wage determination for Laborers in Northern California.

Private Enforcement of Prevailing Wage Laws Used as Union Organizing Tool

The California Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement is responsible for enforcement of prevailing wage laws. However, Section 1771.2 of the California Labor Code permits private investigative organizations run by unions to request payroll records of contractors on public works projects. These union operations can bring court action against contractors who are supposedly violating prevailing wage laws, and this tactic is often part of the economic pressure against individual contractors during union organizing campaigns.

Prevailing Wage Laws Create a Local Government Mandate

Under Section 1771.5 of the California Labor Code, government entities are required to review, and, if appropriate, audit the payroll records of their contractors to verify compliance with the state’s convoluted prevailing wage law. The awarding body shall withhold contract payments when payroll records are delinquent or inadequate and withhold contract payments equal to the amount of underpayment and applicable penalties when, after investigation, it is established that underpayment has occurred.

Recent Non-Partisan California Studies on Prevailing Wage Costs  

Link: California Study Reveals Wide Disparities Between Market Wages and Prevailing Wage Rates (also, see the Updated 2004 version of the above study)

An August 2003 study from the California Institute for County Government at California State University, Sacramento shows that federal commercial prevailing wage rates and state prevailing wage rates in California are on average 36 percent to 55 percent higher than market wages.

The study, An Analysis of Market and Prevailing Wage Rates for the Construction Trades in California, compares market wages to commercial and residential Davis-Bacon federal prevailing wage rates and state prevailing wage rates on a county-by-county basis for five trades: electricians, carpenters, drywall installers, HVAC/sheet metal workers, and plumbers. Maps included with the study show that as a general rule the disparity between government-imposed rates and market wages increases as the distance increases between a county and the California Department of Industrial Relations headquarters in San Francisco. The California Institute for County Government is a nonpartisan public policy institute that is a joint program of the California State Association of Counties, the California State University system, and California State University at Sacramento.

Link: The Effects of Prevailing Wage Requirements on the Cost of Low-Income Housing (2003)

A working paper released in September 2003 by the Program on Housing and Urban Policy at the University of California, Berkeley presents new evidence on the increased costs of prevailing wage laws on construction. The Effects of Prevailing Wage Requirements on the Cost of Low-Income Housing estimates that new prevailing wage requirements signed into law by now-recalled Governor Gray Davis in 2001 increased costs on state-subsidized low-income housing in California between 9 and 32 percent under the most credible statistical models. According to the paper, under reasonable conditions, the authors’ mid-range estimate of the prospective decrease in dwellings in California subsidized by tax credits alone exceeds $2,600 per year.

The U.C. Berkeley study conclusions are consistent with the June 2004 study from the California Institute for County Government at California State University, Sacramento showing that the expansion of prevailing wage coverage in California to affordable housing increased the cost of that housing by an average of 11 percent. See Impact of Prevailing Wage Rate Requirements on The Costs of Affordable Housing In California.

A list of studies from across the country on the costs of state prevailing wage laws and the federal Davis-Bacon Act is available at the Associated Builders and Contractors web site:

Studies on the Costs of Laws Imposing Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates

News Coverage So Far: City of Vista Wins California Supreme Court Ruling – Charter Cities Can Set Their Own Policies Concerning Prevailing Wage

Updated as of September 14, 2012.

Articles: Traditional California Newspapers

State High Court Supports Charter Cities’ Exemptions from Prevailing Wage Law – Sacramento Bee – July 9, 2012

Vista Wins Prevailing-Wage Ruling – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 3, 2012

Court Ruling Lifts Union Wage Mandate for Charter Cities – Orange County Register – July 3, 2012

Court Lets Cities Set Wages on Public-Works Pacts – San Francisco Chronicle – July 2, 2012

VISTA: Supreme Court Says Some Cities Can Pay Less than Prevailing Wages – North County Times – July 3, 2012

Ruling Could Mean End of Prevailing Wages – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – ‎July 3, 2012

Court Lifts Prevailing Wage Mandate for Charter Cities, Redding Quiet on Charter City Efforts – Redding Record-Searchlight – July 7, 2012

Columnists: Traditional California Newspapers

Dan Walters: City-State Relations Take a Turn – Sacramento Bee (columnist) – July 9, 2012 (also published in other newspapers throughout the state, including the Fresno Bee)

Editorials: Traditional California Newspapers

State: Wage-Law Sanity – Riverside Press-Enterprise – July 19, 2012

Editorial: Will Cities Seize the Opportunity of Wage Ruling? – Sacramento Bee – July 11, 2012

EDITORIAL: A Big Win for Charter Cities – North County Times – July 3, 2012‎

Editorial: Union-Backed Lawmakers Seek to Thwart Pension Reform Votes (includes two paragraphs at end praising court decision) – Orange County Register – July 5, 2012 (also published as Our View: Lawmakers Thwart Pension Reform Votes – Marysville Appeal-Democrat – July 9, 2012 and Union-Controlled Lawmakers Resist Pension Reform Votes – Victorville Daily Press – July 10, 2012)

Moment of Truth for Local Democrats (includes a paragraph praising court decision) – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 5, 202

Articles: Traditional California Business Newspapers

State’s High Court Rules Charter Cities Don’t Have to Use Prevailing Wages – San Diego Daily Transcript – July 3, 2012

Articles: California Web Publications

State Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Charter City Authoritywww.PublicCEO.com – July 6, 2012

Court Backs Cities on Prevailing Wagewww.CalWatchdog.com – July 6, 2012

Stockton Skipped Chance to Save on Prevailing Wagewww.PublicSectorInc.com – July 11, 2012

Articles: National Traditional News Sources

Big California Cities Exempt From Prevailing-Pay Law  – Business Week magazine, from Bloomberg News – July 3, 2012

Dayton Public Policy Institute (your most complete source on this issue!)

Prediction: An Explosion of California Cities Freeing Themselves from Costly State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate Laws – Dayton Public Policy Institute – July 2, 2012

California Supreme Court Declares that the State’s 121 Charter Cities Have a Constitutional Right to Circumvent the Union-Controlled State Legislature and Establish Their Own Policies Concerning Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates for Taxpayer-Funded Construction (by Kevin Dayton) – www.unionwatch.org – July 3, 2012

Commentary: Vista Ruling Benefits Local Governments, Residents (by Kevin Dayton) – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – July 13, 2012

Viewpoints from Local Elected Officials and Candidates

Jerry Kern: Taxpayers Win with California Supreme Court Decision (by Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern) – www.sdrostra.com – July 3, 2012

Finally Victory for Local Control (by Escondido City Councilwoman Marie Waldron) www.sdrostra.com – July 2, 2012

Commentary: Candidate Is Wrong about Charter Cities (support of the city’s proposed charter with its prevailing wage exemption by Colin McCarthy, candidate for Costa Mesa City Council) – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – July 10, 2012

Articles: California Legal Publications and Blogs

California Supreme Court Holds That California Prevailing Wage Law Must Yield to Constitutional Provisions Protecting the Rights of Charter Cities to Local Autonomy in Developing and Managing Construction Projects – Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (law firm of Robert Fried, who wrote the amicus brief for Associated Builders and Contractors of California) – July 2, 2012

Charter Cities Exempt From Prevailing Wage Law, S.C. Rules – Metropolitan News-Enterprise (a Los Angeles legal newspaper) – July 3, 2012

Calif. SC: Charter Cities Can Set Policies on Prevailing Wageswww.LegalNewsline.com – July 3, 2012

Over Sharp Dissents, State Justices OK Side-Step of Prevailing Wage Law – The Recorder (a San Francisco legal newspaper) – July 2, 2012

Calif. High Court’s Wage Ruling May Spur More Charter Citieswww.Law360.com (a LexisNexis company) – July 3, 2012

State Bldg. and Trades Council v. Vista: Supreme Court Holds that State’s Prevailing Wage Law Does Not Apply to Charter Cities – The California Employment Law Blog (by Steve Pearl) – July 2, 2012

California Supreme Court: Charter Cities Need Not Pay Prevailing Wages to Private Construction Workers on Locally Funded Municipal Public Works – www.Lexology.com – July 10, 2012

Prevailing Wage Update: Charter City Public Works Projects Are Not Subject to Prevailing Wage Requirements – Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP law firm  – July 9, 2012

California Charter Cities Do Not Have to Pay Prevailing Wages on Local Public Projects Involving Local Public FundsNixon Peabody LLP law firm – July 10, 2012

Charter Cities Are Exempt from Prevailing Wage LawsCalifornia Land Use & Development Law Report from the Perkins Coie LLP law firm – July 14, 2012

California Supreme Court Rules That State’s Prevailing Wage Law Is Not Quite So Prevailing: Charter Cities Need Not Require Prevailing Wages On Publicly Funded Municipal Construction ProjectsLittler Mendelson law firm – July 16, 2012

UPDATE: Charter City Not Required To Pay Prevailing Wage On Municipal Construction ProjectsKronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard law firm – July 18, 2012

California Supreme Court Restricts Application of Prevailing Wage Law in City of Vista Decision – Rogers Joseph O’Donnell law firm – July 2012

Charter Cities Can Exempt Themselves From Prevailing Wage Requirements For Locally Funded ProjectsAbbott & Kindermann Land Use Law Blog – August 6, 2012

Charter Cities Can Opt-Out of State Prevailing Wage Requirements on Locally-Funded ProjectsBest Best & Krieger law firm – July 5, 2012

Supreme Court Confirms Prevailing Wage Laws Are Not Mandatory For Charter CitiesRichards, Watson & Gershon law firm – July 2, 2012

California Supreme Court Rules that Prevailing Wage Laws Do Not Apply to Charter CitiesAllen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP law firm – July 6, 2012

Prevailing Wage Laws: Are Cities Exempt?Ahlers & Cressman Construction Law Blog (Seattle, Washington) – September 7, 2012 (How will this decision have an effect on Washington’s prevailing wage statue? Do the same arguments apply to the Washington State Constitution?)

Ahlers & Cressman law firm

Opinion Pieces: Web

State Supreme Court Stands Up for Charter Cities, Taxpayerswww.FlashReport.org (by Jodi Nagel, chairwoman of Associated Builders and Contractors of California) – July 5, 2012

Labor Unions Suffer Defeat on Taxpayer Revoltwww.TownHall.com (by talk show host Gina Loudon) – July 3, 2012

CA Supreme Court Says Cities Can Determine Their Own Construction Wage – Right on SCV blog (by Kevin Korenthal) – July 3, 2012

California Supreme Court Affirms State Prevailing Wage Requirements Do Not Apply to Charter Cities – California Political News and Views blog (by Stephen Frank) – July 3, 2012

Opinion: Court Issues Charter Cities a Break on Prevailing Wage – Lake Tahoe News – July 13, 2012

Press Releases and Bulletins from California Organizations

California Supreme Court Affirms State Prevailing Wage Requirements Do Not Apply to Charter Cities – League of California Cities – July 2, 2012. Also, see the League of California Cities amicus brief submitted to the California Supreme Court in support of the City of Vista here.

California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of City of Vista – City of Vista Press Release – July 2, 2012

California Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Local Control for California Charter CitiesAssociated Builders and Contractors of California – July 3, 2012

Prevailing Wage Laws Do Not Apply to Charter CitiesHR Watchdog: California Labor Law UpdatesCalifornia Chamber of Commerce – July 5, 2012

Charter Cities are Exempt from the Prevailing Wage LawCalifornia Building Industry Association (BIA) – July 9, 2012

California Supreme Court Confirms the Right of California Charter Cities to Set Their Own Policies on Government-Mandated Prevailing Wage for Taxpayer-Funded Projects – MarketWatch (press release from Associated Builders and Contractors – California Cooperation Committee) – July 2, 2012

Your Authoritative Background Guide to the Upcoming California Supreme Court Decision on Charter Cities and Prevailing Wage Laws (State Building and Construction Trades Council v. City of Vista)

The California Supreme Court may be about to issue its decision in State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO v. City of Vista. If you want electronic notification from the California Supreme Court when it publishes the decision, go to this web site and fill out the form.

This case will decide whether or not California charter cities (there are 121 of them – with El Cajon becoming the latest on June 5) have the authority to establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (also known as “prevailing wage” rates) on purely municipal projects.

The court is supposed to issue its decision within 90 days after oral arguments, which it heard on April 4, 2012. Scott A. Kronland of the law firm of Altshuler Berzon LLP argued before the court for the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, along with Douglas J. Woods from the Office of the California Attorney General; James P. Lough of Lounsbery Ferguson Altona & Peak, LLP argued for the City of Vista.

The City of Vista won this case in the lower courts. (Yes, this case has been working its way through the courts for five years.) Here are the decisions:

Article XI of the California Constitution allows cities to operate with their own constitutions (charters) under a concept the League of California Cities sometimes describes as Home Rule. There are currently 121 charter cities in California, and many of them chose to claim authority over setting wage rates for construction on projects that receive city funds but do not receive state or federal funds.

Here is a report (published in January 2011) produced by Associated Builders and Contractors – California Cooperation Committee (ABC-CCC) on the status of prevailing wage policies in the state’s charter cities. This report, Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of Prevailing Wage Exemptions, remains the authoritative guide to prevailing wage policies at California local governments. Note its most recent edition does not include a few of the more recent developments, such as voter approval of a charter in the City of El Cajon on June 5, 2011 and a union-driven rollback of local authority over prevailing wage rates on a 3-2 city council vote in the City of Irvine on April 26, 2011:

http://abc-ccc.org/documents/CharterCityReportFINAL.pdf

For a creative and edgy perspective on the right of charter cities to set their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates, see the amicus brief filed with the California Supreme Court in January 2010 by Robert Fried of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors of California:

ABC of California amicus brief – State Building and Construction Trades Council v. City of Vista.

Construction unions argue that “prevailing wage” is a matter of statewide concern, and therefore charter cities must abide by the wage requirements set in the California Labor Code by the California legislature and regulated and administered by the California Division of Labor Statistics and Research (DLSR), part of the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Why are existing charter cities interested in setting their own policies for construction wage rates? Except in very rare circumstances, the state sets prevailing wage rates by obtaining the relevant union collective bargaining agreement for a construction trade in the geographic jurisdiction of each local union. The state identifies all of the employer payments in the collective bargaining agreement (including payments unrelated to employee compensation) and adds them up to determine the wage rate. No surveys are conducted and no statistics are gathered.

As a result, state-mandated construction wage rates are often higher than the actual prevailing wage rates in a local market, especially in rural areas. A general rule of thumb: the farther away the location from Department of Industrial Relations headquarters in San Francisco, the greater the disparity between the government-set wage and the actual market wage. State wage rates become particularly absurd when individual collective bargaining agreements apply to a union jurisdiction that covers the entire state or half of the state. San Francisco rates = Alturas rates in Modoc County, and Beverly Hills rates = El Centro rates in Imperial County.

Of course, this allows workers in some trades to travel from the expensive Bay Area to the inexpensive Central Valley for work without having to account for differences in the cost of living. In fact, the opening brief submitted to the California Supreme Court by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California acknowledges that “construction workers today routinely commute to projects outside the cities in which they happen to live” and “it is not uncommon for today’s construction workers to commute more than 100 miles to work at a job site.” (So much for “local hire.”) This happens because construction trade unions have geographical jurisdictions that often encompass large regions and because they use a “traveler” classification so out-of-area union workers have access to jobs.

It also means that while workers may enjoy a government-fixed higher wage than what the market will bear, the amount of actual cumulative available work is reduced. School districts modernize four schools instead of five schools. Workers chose to work seasonally or are forced to work seasonally because of reduced potential work. There is a price to be paid in economic growth and job creation when the government sets wages, and that price is not limited to the (often forgotten) taxpayers.

Here are key documents submitted to the California Supreme Court in this case:

S173586 – STATE BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL v. CITY OF VISTA

  1. Appellant’s Petition for Review Filed on June 8, 2009
  2. Respondents’ Answer to Petition for Review Filed on June 26, 2009
  3. Appellant’s Reply to Answer to Petition for Review Filed on July 6, 2009
  4. Appellant’s Opening Brief on the Merits Filed on October 1, 2009
  5. Respondents’ Answer Brief on the Merits Filed on December 2, 2009
  6. Respondents’ Request for Judicial Notice Filed on December 3, 2009
  7. Appellant’s Reply Brief on the Merits Filed on December 22, 2009

Amicus Briefs in Support of City of Vista:

  1. League of California Cities
  2. Associated Builders and Contractors of California

For the response, see State Building Trades Council Reply to ABC of CA and League of CA Cities Briefs

Amicus Briefs in Support of State Building Trades Council:
 
  1. Operating Engineers Southern California LMCC
  2. Construction Employers’ Association
  3. Northern California Basic Crafts Alliance
  4. Six Unionized Construction Trade Associations
  5. California Attorney General

For the response, see City of Vista Reply to Union-Oriented and Attorney General Briefs

Unions Use Power Over California Legislature to Suppress Local Government Contracting Authority and Push for Project Labor Agreements

On April 12, the California State Assembly approved Senate Bill 829, a union-backed proposal to exert additional pressure on voters and local elected officials to abandon any policies or policy aspirations to prohibit their local governments from entering into contracts that require construction companies to sign Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) with construction trade unions.

Political party affiliation determined the 50-23 vote (with seven legislators not voting): Democrats supported it; Republicans opposed it.

Senate Bill 829 is the latest move of California unions in their quest to stop ambitious local grassroots movements to protect fair and open bidding competition on taxpayer-funded construction. Union leaders recognize there are still a few political officials and business leaders in California who haven’t surrendered or acquiesced to the political power of the California Labor Federation and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. Unions are using their firm grip on the California State Legislature to derail this movement before it spreads out of their control throughout the state.

Round One: The First State Government Attack on Behalf of Unions to Stifle Local Control

In the chaotic and emotional waning days of the 2011 legislative session, the California State Assembly Speaker – John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) – and the leader of the California State Senate – Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – gutted and amended Senate Bill 922, a bill originally introduced by another legislator about tuberculosis screening. As the new authors of the hijacked bill, these legislative leaders turned it into a high-priority union-backed bill meant to stop the proactive efforts of voters and local elected officials to blunt union interference in the competitive bidding process.

Despite aggressive opposition from construction associations, taxpayer groups, local elected officials, and local government organizations such as the California State Association of Counties (see opposition statement here) and the League of California Cities (see opposition statement here), Senate Bill 922 whipped through the Assembly and Senate on strict party-line votes – Democrats in support; Republicans in opposition. Claiming the bill “seems fair to me – even democratic,” Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law.

Senate Bill 922 (now Public Contract Code Section 2500) prohibits California’s 58 counties from enacting charter provisions or ordinances that forbid counties from entering into contracts that require construction companies to sign Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) with unions. The bill also prohibited California’s 362 “general law” cities from enacting such ordinances, because general law cities must submit to the authority of the state government for their municipal contracting policies.

But the legislature could not use Senate Bill 922 to directly undermine the local contracting authority of California’s 120 charter cities that exercise “home rule” with their own local charters. Charters are essentially mini-constitutions that allow city governments to supersede state authority over purely municipal affairs.

Instead of using a stick, the legislature had to withhold a tasty carrot from these charter cities. To discourage them from using their constitutionally-granted local authority over municipal contracting as a basis for prohibiting Project Labor Agreements, Senate Bill 922 creates a financial disincentive by cutting off state funding for construction projects in charter cities that enact charter amendments or ordinances prohibiting contracts that mandate contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements.

And charter cities that already have these policies will NOT be exempted with a “grandfather” clause. In the three charter cities (Fresno, Chula Vista, and Oceanside) where voters or city councils had already enacted policies prohibiting city contracts that mandate Project Labor Agreements, the city councils or voters would need to repeal the policies by January 1, 2015 or lose state funding for future construction projects.

See “Brown Tries to Stop Ban on PLAs: Signs Law Supporting Union Contracts” – FOX News Channel – October 7, 2011

Senate Bill 922 Was Somewhat Effective in Stopping Policies to Guarantee Fair and Open Competition

When it become law, Senate Bill 922 had an immediate impact on local policy initiatives to ensure fair and open bid competition for government construction contracts.

The new law nullified a Fair and Open Competition charter provision approved in November 2010 by 76% of San Diego County voters – a provision that was previously established as an ordinance through a 5-0 vote of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in March 2010. It also nullified a Fair and Open Competition ordinance approved on a 5-0 vote of the Orange County Board of Supervisors in November 2009 and a Fair and Open Competition ordinance approved on a 5-0 vote of the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in July 2011.

Plans under the “20 in 2010” and “21 in 2011” strategies of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of California for more county Fair and Open Competition ordinances were abandoned. Under my direction as project manager, the executive committee for the “Fair and Open Competition – Sacramento” campaign abandoned its signature collection from Sacramento County voters on petitions to place a charter amendment on the ballot in 2012 so voters could prohibit their county government from entering into Project Labor Agreements. Senate Bill 922 had made the effort moot.

With its allies in the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction and the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), ABC of California and its affiliated chapters had also been lobbying for Fair and Open Competition ordinances at a dozen additional counties with significant populations and at several other local governments. We had also been developing strategies for voters to approve Fair and Open Competition ballot measures for three specific Northern California local governments where unions controlled a majority of the elected officials.

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California had reason to gloat about undermining these efforts. But soon it was obvious that the unions had not hurt the charter cities hard enough.

Round Two: Unions Need the California Legislature and Governor Brown to Enact Yet Another Law

In December 2011, the “Fair and Open Competition – Sacramento” campaign, under my direction as project manager, submitted nine boxes of petitions signed by voters to place a charter amendment on the ballot in 2012 so voters in the City of Sacramento could prohibit their city government from entering into contracts that mandated Project Labor Agreements. Unions and their political allies got a break when the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters subsequently determined that our signature validity rate was too poor to qualify the Fair and Open Competition charter amendment for the ballot. An ambitious plan to protect the Merit Shop philosophy went awry, and the California State Building and Construction Trades Council had reason to gloat again, this time claiming it was “nothing short of a complete disaster for the ABC” and “a completely disastrous outcome for their enemies at ABC.”

Not all was lost for the beleaguered advocates of economic freedom, even as my seven-year tenure as ABC of California’s State Government Affairs Director came to an end. Voters qualified a ballot measure (Proposition A) for the June 2012 ballot that would prohibit the City of San Diego from entering into contracts that required construction companies to sign Project Labor Agreements. It was the first initiative qualified by City of San Diego voters to appear on the city ballot since 1998.

The city councils of Escondido, El Cajon, and Costa Mesa proceeded with proposed charters that would allow voters to ensure fair and open competition for city construction contracts. Californians obviously still seek the best quality construction at the best price: an unacceptable option for union leaders, whose mission is always to obtain a union monopoly on construction.

The Democrat majority in the legislature needed to do something for the unions, and fast!

On February 23, State Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) amended Senate Bill 829 in a new attempt to eliminate any possible ambiguity concerning the financial punishment of charter cities where voters or elected officials dare to prohibit city contracts from including mandates for construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions. Perhaps not since consideration of Assembly Bill 60 (placing the eight-hour day in statute) in 1999 has the stated motivation for a bill been so brazen in its attack on specific business groups. Here’s an excerpt from the March 12, 2012 bill analysis for the Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee:

Purpose of this bill. According to the author, “This bill is necessary because anti-union groups/associations continue their campaign to eliminate the option for local governments to utilize PLAs…These are mainly political attacks because PLAs are negotiated on a project-by-project or funding source (i.e., bond) basis and PLAs are not mandated under any state laws. Anti-PLA/union lobbyists, mainly the Associated Builders and Contractors, pushed bans in a few counties (Stanislaus, Orange, San Diego) and Charter Cities (Chula Vista and Oceanside) based on intense lobbying and campaigns waged by non-union contractor organizations that voluntarily choose not to bid on projects governed by a PLA.

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California is thrilled to see this bill sailing through the legislature despite resistance again from a coalition of construction associations, taxpayer groups, local elected officials, and local government organizations similar to the one that opposed Senate Bill 922 in 2011. Nevertheless, opposition to the bill continues. Here is the written statement of Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) on the Assembly floor in opposition to Senate Bill 829:

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove Blasts Unconstitutional Attempt to Limit Local Control – April 12, 2012

Here is the video of her floor statement:

Shannon Grove Blasts SB 829 as Unconstitutional Attempt to Limit Local Control – April 12, 2012