Tag Archive for Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot

The People Don’t Want It: My www.UnionWatch.org Article “Citizen Awareness Stops Project Labor Agreement in Orange County, California”

My article about the grassroots strategy leading to the 3-2 vote of the Coast Community College District elected board of trustees on May 15 to reject a Project Labor Agreement for up to $1.5 billion in future taxpayer-funded construction was posted on May 21, 2013 on www.UnionWatch.org. See Citizen Awareness Stops Project Labor Agreement in Orange County, California.

This union initiative was discussed quietly at Coast Community College District board meetings as a “Continuity of Work Agreement” until I discovered it and reported it on March 4, 2013 on www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com as Union Officials and Their Buddies Running Orange County’s Coast Community College District Have Been Sneaking a Project Labor Agreement Past the Public. It was followed up by My Email to Orange County’s Coast Community College District Board of Trustees on Their Sneaky Project Labor Agreement for $1 Billion of Taxpayer-Funded Construction, posted on March 5, 2013.

On March 11, 2013, www.FlashReport.org published my article Pugnacious Defense of Economic Freedom in Orange County Can Inspire California’s Free-Market Activists. It encouraged Orange County activists for economic freedom to get involved in fighting the scourge of government-mandated Project Labor Agreements at local governments in Orange County.

I then wrote about the Coast Community College District board discussion and votes about the Project Labor Agreement during their April 3, 2013 meeting in my April 9, 2013 www.UnionWatch.org article Orange County Project Labor Agreements: One Advances, One Gets Jammed.

News Coverage After the Vote

College Board Refuses to Draft Labor Agreement: Trustees say Measure M bond would not have passed if so-called PLAs were part of the deal – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – May 16, 2013

Coast College District Rejects Union-Hiring Agreement for $689M Upcoming Work – via Engineering News-Record California – May 17, 2013, originally published in Orange County Register as Coast College District Rejects Union-Hiring Agreement – May 16, 2013

Coast Community College District Project Labor Agreement Defeated! – OC Politics Blog – May 15, 2013

Associated Builders and Contractors Defeat Union Discrimination On Largest California Community College Bond Passed in 2012 – www.OCPolitical.com – May 16, 2013

News Coverage Before the Vote

Coast Trustees to Consider Union Construction Deal – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – May 13, 2013

Tea Party Objects to Proposed College-Union Pact – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – May 14, 2013

Union Slush Fund Sends Mailers to Costa Mesa Residents Attacking Measure V, the Proposed Charter

UPDATE (October 23, 2012): news coverage of the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributions against Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa:

Trade, Labor Groups Spending Big to Defeat Costa Mesa Charter – Orange County Register – October 18, 2012

Construction industry trade groups and labor unions are spending aggressively against Costa Mesa’s Measure V, the city charter initiative that could severely limit labor unions’ influence. The most money so far has come from the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust, a Sacramento-based organization representing trade unions and major companies in the construction industry. It has contributed $100,000 this year to fight the measure, according to city campaign finance filings…

The money from outside groups has infuriated Councilman Jim Righeimer, the proposed charter’s architect and its chief advocate. He said construction labor groups are spending to preserve their high wages, as the charter would abolish the city’s requirement to pay a union-level wage for city-funded public works projects. “They don’t want to give up prevailing wage,” Righeimer said. “That’s the whole issue…”

The construction industry group says it is only natural for them to oppose a measure that could lower wages and toss out state rules on public works contracting. Lower wages ultimately harms the local economy, said Bob Balgenorth, chairman of the industry trust. His members “believe that prevailing wage benefits the community…it makes sure that low-wage contractors don’t bring in workers from out-of-state.”

Measure V Becomes a Six-Figure Battle – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – October 23, 2012

When it comes to Costa Mesa’s charter ballot initiative, organized labor so far has raised more and outspent its opposition, campaign finance records show…The majority has come from the Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future and its $100,000 contribution from the Sacramento-based California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer — the architect of the charter, which he contends will lead to taxpayer savings — said the campaign spending demonstrates the outside influence of the labor unions trying to decide city matters.


The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust has provided $100,000 as of September 30, 2012 as the sole donor to “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations.” This a political committee established to oppose Measure V, the proposed charter on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the City of Costa Mesa, California.

The treasurer for the “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations” is Robbie Hunter, head of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust is a secretive group authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter and implemented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The head of the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust is Bob Balgenorth, head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE).

California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust 2010-2011 Form 990

For information about how this organization gets its money, see my www.UnionWatch.org article Mysterious Union Slush Fund Spends $100,000 Against Costa Mesa Charter.

For more information about this organization spends its money, see my article Where the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust Spends Its Money: Now We See How Unions Spread It.

Here are examples of mail funded by the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust through the “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations.”

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

 

City of Newport Beach Will Consider Establishing Its Own Policy Concerning Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates for Municipal Projects

UPDATE: As stated in this staff memorandum about the proposed prevailing wage exemption for Newport Beach, “This item was originally scheduled for the September 11, 2012 City Council meeting. The City Council consented to staff’s request to continue this item to the September 25, 2012 meeting. Staff has not had sufficient time to fully review comments provided by stakeholders and is therefore requesting the item be continued to October 9, 2012.”

In other words, the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council has succeeded in slowing down this proposal for local cost-efficiency. I’m sure the unions want to delay it at least until after the voters of the neighboring city of Costa Mesa decide whether or not to enact their own charter allowing their city to establish its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates. The charter is on the November 6, 2012 ballot in Costa Mesa as Measure V


Item #17 on the Newport Beach City Council’s September 11, 2012 meeting agenda:

PREVAILING WAGE EXEMPTION. [100-2012]  Adopt Resolution No. 2012-79, exempting locally funded public works projects from prevailing wage.

The staff report about the proposed Newport Beach prevailing wage exemption states that “The City of Newport Beach is a charter city and may adopt a resolution to assert its municipal autonomy and conserve valuable financial resources by exempting itself from the prevailing wage requirement for locally funded public works contracts.”

The Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot reported the following in its September 7, 2012 article Newport Council Poised to OK Law Affecting Public Works Projects:

The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday is likely to pass an ordinance exempting public works projects from a prevailing-wage requirement.

The change would allow construction companies to bid on city jobs without paying their workers the state-regulated wage.

Newport Beach is following the lead of Vista, the San Diego County city that won a state Supreme Court ruling in July. Charter cities, the court ruled, can sign public works contracts without adhering to this particular state law.

Costa Mesa voters will decide in November whether the city should switch to a charter form of government, a change supported by City Council members who also want to save on public works contracts.

According to the September 11, 2012 Orange County Register article Newport Beach to Look at Lifting Union Wage Requirement, the city manager intended to fulfill a request of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council and recommend to the city council that it delay the decision until the September 25, 2012 meeting. I expect union representatives and representatives of “Smart Cities Prevail!” will pack the Newport Beach City Council chamber tonight to defend inaccurate state prevailing wage calculations and absurdly broad state definitions of public works.

Here is the text of the proposed resolution exempting Newport Beach municipal projects from state-mandated construction wage rates:

RESOLUTION NO. 2012-?

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEWPORT BEACH EXEMPTING LOCALLY FUNDED PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS FROM PREVAILING WAGE

WHEREAS, the California prevailing wage law requires contractors on public works projects to be paid the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for work of a similar character in the locality in which the work is performed; and

WHEREAS, under the California Constitution, Article XI, Section 5, the laws of charter cities supersede state law with respect to municipal affairs of the city; and

WHEREAS, the California Supreme Court has held that the wage levels of workers constructing locally funded public works are a municipal affair, and therefore a charter city’s prohibition on the payment of prevailing wage supersede state law; and

WHEREAS, the City of Newport Beach is incorporated as a charter city, and thus the City may exempt locally funded public works projects from prevailing wage to conserve the City’s limited resources.

NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Newport Beach resolves as follows:

SECTION 1: The City of Newport Beach exempts locally funded public works projects from prevailing wage, unless: (1) prevailing wage is compelled by the terms of a federal or state grant; (2) the public work is a matter of state-wide concern; or (3) the payment of prevailing wage is separately authorized by the City Council.

SECTION 2: This resolution shall take effect immediately upon its adoption by the City Council, and the City Clerk shall certify the vote adopting this resolution.

ADOPTED this 11th day of September, 2012.

It’s “important for Costa Mesa residents to throw off the yoke of the Legislature and govern their own city affairs…” – from my commentary in the July 13 Daily Pilot Newspaper

“This was a solid victory for California citizens who believe that a city council might know more about local market conditions and the specific needs of a community than corrupt state legislators from Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was also a victory for California citizens who pay for local government services and want them provided efficiently and at a reasonable, competitive price.”

“It’s important for the unions and their sycophants in the Legislature to make sure Costa Mesa remains firmly under their thumb. It’s even more important for Costa Mesa residents to throw off the yoke of the Legislature and govern their own city affairs, by voting for their charter in November.”

Those are excerpts from my commentary in the July 13, 2012 Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot newspaper about the California Supreme Court decision in State Building and Construction Trades Council v. City of Vista on July 2, 2012. That ruling upheld the constitutional right of California’s 121 charter cities to establish their own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates on purely municipal projects. I anticipate Costa Mesa citizens will vote in November for their city to be among the next batch of cities to adopt “home rule” under a charter.

Read the full opinion piece from the Daily Pilot here: Commentary: Vista Ruling Benefits Local Governments, Residents

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

Likenesses of President Ronald Reagan Continue to Attract Trouble: California Has Seen Its Share

Fox News Channel, Drudge Report, and other Right-leaning sources are reporting on photos taken at the White House on June 15 of official guests making an obscene gesture in front of a portrait of President Ronald Reagan.

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects Americans from government abridgement of freedom of speech, and people can make this type of gesture at the White House as a political statement without being arrested or punished by the government. (If the Soviet Union had ended up “winning” the Cold War, I doubt such freedoms would be so casually exercised.) Nevertheless, it was bad manners and made the beleaguered Obama Administration look foolish yet again. According to a report today from Fox News Channel, the White House issued a statement on June 22 acknowledging that this was disrespectful behavior.

This incident reminded me of a incident concerning the official portrait of Ronald Reagan at the California State Capitol. His portrait is there because he was Governor of California from 1967-1975. He defeated an incumbent governor – Jerry Brown’s father Pat Brown – in the 1966 election, and then Jerry Brown won the office in the 1974 election after Reagan chose not to run again. (Jerry Brown was Governor of California for two terms from 1975 to 1983 and then was reelected again as Governor in 2010.)

On March 5, 1986, someone slashed the Reagan portrait in the California State Capitol from the nose to the beltline. The painting was restored, but a transparent protective casing was put over it.

Portrait of former Governor Ronald Reagan at the California State Capitol

Portrait of former Governor Ronald Reagan at the California State Capitol.

No other portrait needs special protection; I found an ancient 2004 post on a now-inactive California blog commenting about this (with some foul language): One Difference Between Us and Them.

More recent attacks on Reagan likenesses have been more ambiguous in motive. As reported by the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot newspaper, one month after a bronze Ronald Reagan statue was installed in October 2011 in Newport Beach, California, an unknown culprit wrapped a chain or rope around it and tried to pull it away with a pickup truck. Perhaps the intent was ideological, but that $60,000 statue also made a tempting target for metal thieves. It was repaired, and now a city surveillance camera is operating at the site. In August 2011, a bronze bust of President Reagan was stolen from the Chapman University campus in Orange, California. Once again, metal theft was a suspected reason.

(New Incident added September 20, 2013: Temecula: Reagan Statue Damaged in Apparent Arson FireRiverside Press-Enterprise – September 20, 2013)

(New Incident added December 7, 2013: Vandals Deface Reagan Library – www.localicity.com – December 7, 2013)

Assembly Bill 2358 is moving in the California State Legislature to authorize the installation of a privately-funded statue of Ronald Reagan in the State Capitol Building Annex. If this bill passes the legislature and is signed by Reagan’s successor Jerry Brown, the statue may become another tempting target for political activists to make a statement. (It would take some guts for metal thieves to try to steal it from the well-guarded capitol building, but more foolish things have been done there.)

Costa Mesa City Council Gets Email from the Center of the Great Quest to Free California’s Fiscally Responsible Local Governments from Centralized State Government Excesses and Mandates

From: Kevin Dayton, Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

Subject: Costa Mesa City Council: Suggestion for Formal Pro and Con Presentations on Provisions of Proposed Charter

Date: June 12, 2012 7:21:34 PM PDT

To: Righeimer@costamesaca.gov, Eric.Bever@costamesaca.gov, Stephen.Mensinger@costamesaca.gov, Gary.Monahan@costamesaca.gov, Wendy.Leece@costamesaca.gov

Cc: CityManager@costamesaca.gov

Costa Mesa City Council members:

Greetings!

As someone identified by “Costa Mesans for Responsible Government” (see here) as the Center of the Great Quest to Free California’s Fiscally Responsible Local Governments from Centralized State Government Excesses and Mandates, I am writing to you about your proposed charter.

[Councilwoman Leece, I’m sending this to the (Orange County) Register and (Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily) Pilot, so “WOW, you won’t all need to continue to write letters to the Register and Pilot to expose this statewide scheme.”]

I saw that your first informational hearing on June 5 on a proposed charter for the City of Costa Mesa was – according to the Orange County Register – marred by “much of the same conflicts and arguments that plagued the first hearing process.”

Obviously your proposed charter is meaningful public policy – otherwise everyone would be praising it unanimously as if it were a resolution for Take Your Dog to Work Day. (That’s June 22 if you want to put that on your June 19 meeting agenda to bring peace, harmony, and unity to the community.)

I watched the video, and I saw some members of the public asking for thoughtful changes in a civil manner. Others are absolutely intent on maintaining the power of centralized government in Sacramento.

But I noticed that yet again there was a lack of informed public discussion regarding the actual statutory and regulatory aspects of state-mandated construction wage rates and the state’s expansive definition of public works. How does the state calculate construction wage rates? Why does the definition of “public works” apply to so many private projects?

It needs to be emphasized that under Section 401 of your proposed charter, the city council will have the power to evaluate the benefits and liabilities of each provision of the following California Labor Code sections and determine their relevance to Costa Mesa municipal construction:

PART 7. PUBLIC WORKS AND PUBLIC AGENCIES

CHAPTER 1. PUBLIC WORKS

Article 1. Scope and Operation …………………………. 1720-1743
Article 1.5. Right of Action ……………………………… 1750
Article 2. Wages ……………………………………… 1770-1781

I propose a formal set of presentations at your next informational hearing to discuss various aspects of the charter. I would be interested in speaking about why it is reasonable to question the city’s current absolute subservience as a general law city to California Labor Code Sections 1720-1781 and related regulations.

Just one example: what is so wrong with the city being able to set a project cost threshold of $1 million for government-mandated construction wage rates on purely municipal projects, instead of the $1000 set by the state in 1931 that persists today? As a charter city, you could set your own project cost threshold for city projects.

I suggest inviting top representatives of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California to speak about why the city needs to remain firmly under the authority of the benevolent and enlightened California State Legislature. Perhaps they can explain the section of their brief submitted to the California Supreme Court on State Building and Construction Trades Council of California v. City of Vista that claims charter cities must abide by state-mandated construction wage rates (“prevailing wages”) because “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.”

By the way, here’s my report on the defeat of the proposed charter in the City of Auburn in the June 5 election:

Who Defeated the City of Auburn’s Proposed Charter, and How Was It Done? (Answer: Three Union Entities, by Spending $56.40 Per NO Vote

Also, please let me know if there are any upcoming community forums where the charter will be debated (chamber of commerce, etc.).

In the meantime, congratulations on the initiative of four of you to seek meaningful local control over municipal affairs that could bring relief for middle class taxpayers and small businesses that are interested in fiscal responsibility and freedom from costly state mandates.

Kevin Dayton
President and CEO
Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

California taxpayers and small business owners: it’s bad out there! See my blog postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at www.laborissuessolutions.com

P.S.  Have you seen where various organizations and publications rank California nowadays among the 50 states for business climates and regulatory and tax burdens? Yes, there is a problem!