Tag Archive for Sacramento Kings professional basketball team

Records Requested from City of Sacramento Office of the Mayor on Project Labor Agreement for New Sacramento Kings Arena

The City of Sacramento has still not given public access to the ballyhooed union Project Labor Agreement for the planned $448 million new Sacramento Kings arena (Entertainment and Sports Center). Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and other officials announced the backroom union deal with great fanfare and celebration via a press conference on September 4, 2013 at Downtown Plaza. That was 44 days ago.

Are the People satisfied with talking points and press releases? The standard for sports and entertainment journalism is insufficient for government and political journalism. The public must get access to primary source documents to confirm or refute the claims made on September 4, 2013 by public officials using public resources.

Here is a request for public records that I submitted to the Sacramento City Clerk this morning. This is going to irk some powerful people, but I’ve been vainly calling for a public copy of the Project Labor Agreement for 44 days. (See one example: Eight Steps to Possibly Alleviate Taxpayer and Contractor Outrage about the Backroom Deal for a Project Labor Agreement on Construction of the Sacramento Kings Arena.)

Obviously people want to hide the union deal from public scrutiny. They don’t want a line-by-line analysis floating around, like this analysis of the “Community Benefits Agreement” for the California High-Speed Rail.


From: Kevin Dayton
Subject: Sacramento City Clerk: Public Records Request
Date: October 17, 2013 9:10:07 AM PDT
To: records@cityofsacramento.org, clerk@cityofsacramento.org

October 16, 2013

Shirley Concolino, MMC
City Clerk, City of Sacramento
915 I Street
New City Hall
Sacramento, CA  95814

Dear Ms. Concolino:

Under the authority of the California Public Records Act, I am requesting the following records to determine the involvement of the Office of the Mayor of the City of Sacramento in the development and promotion of the Project Labor Agreement for the Entertainment and Sports Center, aka new Sacramento Kings Arena.

“Public records” include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by the Office of the Mayor of the City of Sacramento regardless of physical form or characteristics. “Writing” means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photocopying, photographing, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing, any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols or any combination thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.

“Public records” shall include writing from private email addresses used by the Office of the Mayor of the City of Sacramento for public business. For example, if a staff member sends electronic mail through a Google mail account to schedule a meeting or press conference involving the mayor, that email is a public record.

Please provide the following public records – in electronic form if possible – from the Office of the Mayor of the City of Sacramento:

  1. The final or latest version of the Project Labor Agreement for the Entertainment and Sports Center. (There is reported to be a version, dated at or around August 29, 2013, that includes signatures from representatives of most construction trade unions.)
  2. All public records dated March 1, 2013 through October 16, 2013 related to the development and implementation of the Project Labor Agreement for the Entertainment and Sports Center.
  3. All public records dated March 1, 2013 through September 5, 2013 related to the planning and execution of the press conference held on September 4, 2013 at Downtown Plaza to announce the Project Labor Agreement.
  4. All public records dated September 4, 2013 through September 30, 2013 related to the reporting and evaluation of the press conference held on September 4, 2013 at Downtown Plaza to announce the Project Labor Agreement.
  5. All public records dated October 14, 2013 through October 16, 2013 related to the press conference held by “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal” on October 15, 2013 at the old city hall building.

Upon receiving this request for a copy of records, please, within 10 days, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the Office of the Mayor and promptly notify me of the determination and the reasons therefor.

In unusual circumstances, the time limit may be extended by written notice, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than 14 days, and the notice shall provide the estimated date and time when the records will be made available.

Kevin Dayton
President and CEO
Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

Project Labor Agreement on Planned New Sacramento Kings Arena Comes Back to Bite: Contractors Fund “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal”

On October 15, 2013, a new organization called “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal” held a press conference at Sacramento City Hall to announce a new campaign to collect voter signatures on petitions to place a fiscal accountability ordinance on the ballot in the City of Sacramento.

October 15, 2013 press conference at Sacramento City Hall announcing formation of "Voters for a Fair Arena Deal."

October 15, 2013 press conference at Sacramento City Hall announcing formation of “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal.”

The “Voter Approval for Public Funding of Professional Sports Arena Act” states the following:

The City of Sacramento shall not use or redirect, undertake an obligation to pay, or bond or borrow against monies intended for or from the City general fund for the development and/or construction of a professional sports arena without the approval of a simple majority of voters.

Leaders of the organization are making a deliberate attempt to distance themselves from another organization called “Stop Arena Subsidy” (STOP), which qualified the petition but then made some poor strategic decisions about its name, message, and sources of funding.

Contractors opposed to the union deal to impose a Project Labor Agreement on construction of the proposed new Sacramento Kings arena (the “Entertainment and Sports Center”) are funding the signature-gathering efforts of “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal.”


If you are a registered voter within the boundaries of the City of Sacramento, you can obtain a petition and instructions to help place the Voter Approval for Public Funding of Professional Sports Arena Act on the ballot:

On the “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal” web site: http://ourcityourvote.com/petition/

On the “Stop Arena Subsidy” web site: http://www.stoparenasubsidy.com/signature-petitions/

Documents from “Voters for a Fair Arena Deal”

October 15, 2013 - Voters for a Fair Arena Deal - Lectern Logo

October 15, 2013 – Media Advisory – Voters for a Fair Arena Deal – Sacramento Kings

October 15, 2013 – Press Release – Voters for a Fair Arena Deal – Sacramento Kings

October 15, 2013 – Ten Principles – Voters for a Fair Arena Deal – Sacramento Kings

October 15, 2013 – Campaign Code of Conduct – Voters for a Fair Arena Deal – Sacramento Kings

Opposition Response

www.DowntownArena.org – Supporting the Arena Is Sponsored by Region Builders, Inc.“Lipstick on a Pig” – October 15, 2013

News Coverage

New Group Forms to Combat Kings Arena Subsidy – Sacramento Bee – October 15, 2013

New Kings Arena Draws Fan Attention – and New Opponent – Sacramento Bee – October 16, 2013

Sacramento’s Arena Deal Has a New Playerwww.CalWatchdog.com – October 16, 2013

Voters for a Fair Arena Deal Forms Today to Gather Initiative Signatures, Change Tone of Arena Discourse – Sacramento News & Review – October 15, 2013

New Group Emerges in Campaign for Public Vote on Arena Deal – Fox News 40 (KTXL) – October 15, 2013

New Sacramento Arena Group to Help Force Public Vote: Group Will Help STOP Gather Signatures – CBS News 3 (KCRA) – October 15, 2013

Eight Steps to Alleviate Taxpayer and Contractor Outrage About Project Labor Agreement on Planned New Sacramento Kings Arena

On Monday, September 9, 2013, I began circulating a memo entitled “Eight Steps to Possibly Alleviate Taxpayer and Contractor Outrage about the Backroom Deal for a Project Labor Agreement on Construction of the Sacramento Kings Arena.”

I independently put together eight reasonable, constructive steps toward a solution based on my long experience with construction labor issues and government affairs. Not surprisingly, no one cares: “politics is corrupt,” as one resigned person told me. Nevertheless, I’ve fulfilled my moral obligation to ordinary Kings fans in the Sacramento region who pleaded with me to work something out so the team can stay.

To allow this Project Labor Agreement to remain on the arena and tell construction company owners to stand down for “the common good” will create a precedent that will end up giving unions control of every major construction project in the Sacramento region and possibly in the state. Knowing that no one will have the guts to criticize the deal in public, developers and public agencies will simply acquiesce to a Project Labor Agreement with unions to avoid their interference through objections and litigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Here are my proposed eight steps, classified in three categories:

I. For the Taxpayers

1. Trust funds affiliated with construction trade unions (such as pension funds, labor-management cooperation committees, etc.) must reduce the public funding obligation for this project by 10 percent by investing $25.8 million in the arena project.

II. For Preservation of Principles of Good Government

2. The complete Project Labor Agreement (aka Community Workforce and Training Agreement) with addenda shall be released to the public immediately, that is, by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

3. The Sacramento City Council shall vote on ratifying the Project Labor Agreement (aka Community Workforce and Training Agreement) after a public hearing at a city council meeting before October 1, 2013. To ensure that the People and the representatives of the People are adequately informed about the issue, the public hearing shall assign 10 minutes each for supporters and opponents of the proposal to make formal presentations.

III. For Fair and Open Competition and Freedom of Choice for Workers

4. The Project Labor Agreement shall include a provision that allows a contractor and its employees to maintain their own existing fringe benefit programs if those programs are equivalent or better than the union programs, instead of forcing that contractor to make employer payments to union-affiliated trust funds and depriving employees of benefits from such contributions made on their behalf.

5. The Project Labor Agreement shall allow the contractor to comply with Title 8, Section 230.1 of the California Code of Regulations and request apprentices from any program authorized and approved by the Director of the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards to provide on-the-job training to construction trade workers in Sacramento County.

6. The Project Labor Agreement shall allow for transparency concerning mandatory payment of union dues and fees by trade workers by including an appendix that indicates the exact cash amount of dues and fees, such as initiation fees, that would be requested of any journeyman or apprentice for any trade that is working under the terms and the conditions of the Project Labor Agreement.

7. The Project Labor Agreement shall allow “core workforce” employees of contractors not signatory to a union Master Labor Agreement to choose whether or not to pay union dues and fees.

8. The Project Labor Agreement should include language exempting the contractor from employer withdrawal liability if the employer made all of the required contributions to the union pension fund during the period it was covered under the agreement.

Response of Eric Christen of Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction to Sacramento Bee Article “Downtown Arena Deal Creates Unlikely Alliances”

The Sunday, September 8 Sacramento Bee newspaper includes an article “Downtown Arena Deal Creates Unlikely Alliances” that makes this observation:

The prospect of a new arena at Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza has caused political foes to unite and groups with opposing philosophies to occupy common ground. Unions and business groups have joined in support of the project, while some left-leaning Democrats find themselves aligned with conservative anti-tax and anti-union interests.

The Dayton Public Policy Institute blog would obviously be labeled as part of “conservative anti-tax and anti-union interests.” But the label is simplistic and based on outdated political paradigms.

I would contend that these new alliances are simply a symptom of a fundamental political realignment going on in the United States and California, in which populist movements on the Left and Right are unifying against the establishment that holds up the structure of Crony Capitalism. The old Republican versus Democrat dichotomy is fading away.

But that is an issue I’ll address at another time (probably in www.FlashReport.org). For now, I provide below – without my editorial comments – an email from Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment, to the two Sacramento Bee reporters who wrote this article.

From: eric christen
Sent: Sunday, September 08, 2013 8:38 AM
To: Dale Kasler; Ryan Lillis
Cc: xxxx; xxxx; xxxx; xxxx; xxxx; Kevin Dayton; xxxx; xxxx; xxxx; xxxx; xxxx
Subject: Regarding Your Piece in Today’s Bee

Your article is pretty good and interesting on many levels but it really fails on three: First, because we fight for the right of all workers (85% of whom locally are union-free) to work on projects and thus oppose PLAs does not make us “anti-union.” That’s the third article that trope has now been used Dale and Ryan and it’s getting tendentious. I have union board members. Now a group that proposes PLAs as a way to discriminate against union-free workers, that group is in fact anti-merit shop and anti-competitive. Interesting how ones ideology allows certain groups to be framed using certain language while exempting others.

Secondly the Bee still has yet to fully connect the relationship between the PLA and union greenmail. Greenmail is where unions use CEQA to hold up projects until such time as the owner “agrees” to a PLA. Then all the union environmental concerns magically go away. This is implied by Mr. Thatch in the last part of the article but it is deserving of its own stand alone article. It is absurd that with Steinberg’s bill on the verge of being passed this week that exempts this project from CEQA delays that this paper has not written on this issue. I mean really?

Lastly, why would you allow two people (Thatch & Ken Jacobs, that latter nothing but a union mouthpiece working for a union “think tank”) to say something as silly as “this would be built union-only anyway” but not call us to get the other side? It is such a silly statement I’m embarrassed they actually said it. If it would be built union-only anyway then why the PLA that forces non-union workers to pay union dues and into union pensions? But even more obvious is the fact that right up the road the $1 BILLION airport project is being built with union and non-union labor and has no PLA. In other words projects of this magnitude (and larger) get built all over America and California without PLAs and with non-union labor. When PLAs are used, which is rare because they are an irrational business decision, their sole intent is to keep big non-union guys like Bergelectric, Rex Moore Electric, and Helix Electric from getting work. They are welfare for a few unions who simply can’t compete for a variety of reasons.

The parts of the article that deal with Mayor Johnson (I like him) and Mark Freidman (a real gentleman) are in fact interesting. I understand why they think they needed to make this deal with union bosses just as I’m sure they understand why I need to stand up for the rights of my people. What I don’t get at the end of the day is what leverage they thought the unions had on this project that would force them to agree to a deal that will only make this project more expensive. Would the unions seriously greenmail this project thus opening themselves up to untold derision and legislative action? Really? Was it just because Steinberg and his ilk said there had to be a PLA? This is the $64,000 question here, a question that cannot be answered seriously with “We needed the PLA to stop strikes and bring the project in on time.”

I hope the Bee will more fully cover the PLA itself and provide historical context as well as how CEAQ conflates with this whole issue. CEQA reform is needed because greenmail is symptomatic of the economic distortions that infect this state and make it an economic laughingstock. PLAs are another one of those distortions and, again, they are related.

As far as what we intend to do we will be holding a press conference soon that will make it very explicit. We view this issue as not just about an arena but about the railyards, the work around the arena, the new Sacramento courthouse, Delta Shores, etc. In other words we are looking big picture and realize that PLA proponents will stop at nothing to keep workers out of a job simply because they don’t belong to their group. That bigotry will be fought by CFEC vigorously and in a non-linear manner.

Remember, we aren’t the bad guys here. We are reacting to actions being taken against us. If the shoe were on the other foot and unions were somehow being targeted those targeting them would not be safe in their homes or places of business, and everyone damn well knows it.

We are different. We just show up at your event and borrow your microphone for a minute or two.

Eric

The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction web site is www.opencompca.com.

The “Steinberg bill” giving a CEQA break to the Kings arena project is Senate Bill 743.

Ken Jacobs is affiliated with the University of California Miguel Contreras Labor Program.

Today’s the Day: Union Project Labor Agreement Announced for Construction of New Sacramento Kings Arena

Protest of Sacramento Kings Arena PLA

UPDATE: Critics of the Project Labor Agreement for the new Sacramento Kings arena were aggressive and pierced the orchestrated public relations message advanced by politicians and union officials at Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s September 4 press conference.

Here’s a YouTube video of an excerpt from the press conference.

News Coverage:

Union Deal on Downtown Sacramento Arena Prompts Protest – Sacramento Bee – September 5, 2013

Sacramento Makes Deal to Use Union Labor to Build ArenaSacramento Business Journal – September 4, 2013

Kings, Mayor Announce Union Deal for New Downtown Arena – KFBK News 1520 AM – September 4, 2013

Kings Arena Labor Agreement: Union Wages, Local Workers, No Strikes – Capitol Public Radio – September 4, 2013

Nonunion Labor Groups Outraged By Sacramento Kings Arena Deal – KOVR CBS 13/CW 31 – September 4, 2013 (KOVR also ran a positive story that unions and their political friends anticipated today: Sacramento Kings Arena Deal Would Create Up To 3,500 Jobs)

Worker Groups Clash Over Sacramento Arena Jobs – KCRA NBC 3 – September 4, 2013

Labor Deal Reached for New Sacramento Arena – KTXL FOX 40 – September 4, 2013 (video is the positive story that unions and their political friends anticipated today, but there is another story about opposition to the Project Labor Agreement that is not yet posted on the KTXL FOX 40 web site)

Labor Agreement Struck to Build Arena (starting at 2:35) – ABC 10 – September 4, 2013 (generally the positive story that unions and their political friends anticipated today, with about 30 seconds at the end about opposition to the Project Labor Agreement)


September 4, 2013 – 8:45 am: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, representatives of Turner Construction, union officials, and other dignitaries and community leaders will announce today at noon in downtown Sacramento that construction companies will have to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions as a condition of working on the new Sacramento Kings basketball arena.

The announcement is being made as California State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is gutting and amending a bill to give special breaks from CEQA to Sacramento Basketball Holdings LLC, the developer of the planned new arena for the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team.

Project Labor Agreements can increase costs of projects because of reduced bid competition. For example, see the 2011 study from the National University System Institute for Policy Research (in San Diego): Measuring the Cost of Project Labor Agreements on School Construction in California. It reports that “our research shows that PLAs are associated with higher construction costs. We found that costs are 13 to 15 percent higher when school districts construct a school under a PLA.”

It appears that reporter Steve Large with KOVR Channel 13 (CBS) News in Sacramento was the first to break the story, at 10:43 pm on September 3, 2013:

Sacramento Kings Owners Finalizing Labor Agreement With Unions For Arena Construction

Here’s a press release just issued by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction:

September 4, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Christen, (858) 431-6337

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction Condemns Union Project Labor Agreement for Taxpayer-Funded New Sacramento Kings Arena
Gut-and-Amend CEQA Exemption Bill is the Reason for Today’s Announcement

Sacramento – The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) – a 15-year old California-based organization dedicated to opposing Project Labor Agreements – declares the Project Labor Agreement for the new Sacramento Kings arena as “a waste of taxpayer money and a payoff to unions to avoid baseless complaints and lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).”

“We have known for years that unions would target the Sacramento Kings arena for a monopoly on construction,” says Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction since 1999. “Today is the official announcement of this costly and discriminatory union deal for a publicly-funded project.”

Christen charges that the announcement about the Project Labor Agreement is happening TODAY (September 4, 2013) because California State Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is gutting and amending a bill to give special breaks from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) specifically for the arena.

“Steinberg needs union lobbyists and Democrats to push through his special CEQA exemption bill,” Christen said. “Requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions locks up majority support in the legislature for this special interest bill.”

Knowing the threat of a Project Labor Agreement on the arena, an alliance of business associations and taxpayer groups led a campaign in 2011 to qualify a ballot measure in the City of Sacramento to prohibit Project Labor Agreements on taxpayer-funded public works projects. Petitions were submitted to the city in December 2011, but the measure failed to qualify because of an unusually high number of invalid signatures.

Christen vows that the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction will make the unions and the Sacramento Kings billionaires accountable to taxpayers and people who park downtown. “Opponents of taxpayer funding for this arena just found an aggressive new ally today.”

Today’s PLA announcement by Turner Construction will take place at noon at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Sacramento Downtown Plaza Piazza court near Macy’s, K Street between 4th Street and 5th Street. CFEC will be on hand to make sure the voices of Sacramento’s workers, apprentices, contractors and taxpayers are heard.

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Here are some of my tweets about the announcement of the Project Labor Agreement:

 


Here are various articles about the Project Labor Agreement threat for the Kings arena:

How Are Unions Funding Opposition to a Vote on Public Funding of the New Sacramento Kings Arena? – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – August 10, 2013

Request for Proposal for Prime Contractor for New Sacramento Kings Arena Refers to Project Labor Agreement with Construction Unions – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – July 10, 2013

The Union Quest for a Project Labor Agreement on a New Sacramento Kings Basketball Arena: Part One – 2006 – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – January 21, 2013

Out of Nowhere: Project Labor Agreement and Community Benefit Agreement Tacked on End of Motion for New Sacramento Kings Basketball Arena – www.TheTruthaboutPLAs.com – March 9, 2012

City Council Endorses PLA for Sacramento Arena Project – State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (web site) – March 7, 2012

Pay to PLA? Local Ballot Measures Aim to Curb Union Power on Public ProjectsSacramento News & Review – August 18, 2011

Union Fight Already Brewing on New Kings ArenaSacramento Bee – June 16, 2011

Request for Proposal for Prime Contractor for New Sacramento Kings Arena Refers to Project Labor Agreement with Construction Unions

As reported in the article Next Step for Kings: Bids for Professional Services in the July 2, 2013 Sacramento Business Journal, the new owners of the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team are moving forward with plans to build a new downtown arena:

City of Sacramento officials expect Sacramento Basketball Holdings LLC to select by August an architect and perhaps a general contractor or construction manager for early design work for the arena, which could break ground as soon as a year from now. Assistant city manager John Dangberg said the ownership’s arena design development will happen concurrently with gaining the necessary entitlements from the city, including development of an environmental impact report … construction could start next summer with the goal of being completed before October 2016, when Kings would open their first NBA season in a new site. Dangberg said a more detailed construction plan schedule will be developed alongside the EIR process.

Roebbelen Contracting Inc., a Sacramento firm, has announced it would be one of the bidders for the role, in partnership with PCL Construction, which built Los Angeles’ Staples Center, home to the Lakers and Clippers.

Despite the claim in this article that “the game is afoot for locals hoping for a piece of the most high-profile project in recent city history,” some local contractors won’t be inclined to participate because team owners feel politically compelled to impose a union Project Labor Agreement on construction companies working on the project.

The “Request For Proposal For Lead Contractor” issued on June 21, 2013 by Sacramento Kings Basketball Holdings informs prospective respondents that “The Contractor shall also meet and negotiate with local labor regarding a possible Project Labor Agreement for the ESC,” that is, the “entertainment and sports center.” In addition, respondents are asked to “Please describe your experience, if any, with labor on construction projects in northern California including, without limitation, negotiations with labor and the results, the size of the project, and project labor agreements.”

As far back as October 2003, Sacramento construction trade union officials were reportedly alluding to their desire for a Project Labor Agreement on a possible new Kings basketball arena. See my articles about the history of the Project Labor Agreement threat on this project:

The Union Quest for a Project Labor Agreement on a New Sacramento Kings Basketball Arena: Part One – 2006www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – January 21, 2013

Out of Nowhere: Project Labor Agreement and Community Benefit Agreement Tacked on End of Motion for New Sacramento Kings Basketball Arena – www.TheTruthaboutPLAs.com – March 9, 2012

Sacramento Leaders Think Kings Basketball Team Will Make It the Zip City – Zeal, Zest and Zowie

The writers of the Sacramento-based www.CalWatchdog.com have long criticized Sacramento’s political, business, and community leaders for spending so much time, effort, and money in trying to keep the city hosting its one major league professional sports team, the Kings of the National Basketball Association.

Sacramento Has Sister CitiesThey especially detest the apparently sincere ambition reflected in public relations campaigns (such as Think Big Sacramento – Defining a World Class City) to define Sacramento as a “world-class city” because it has a professional sports team.

Some people agree: there is a Facebook page Ban The Phrase “World Class City” in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee has published some nasty letters to the editor mocking the world-class dream. (Arena Bust Ends Search For World Class City Status; Teams Do Not Make A City World Class). And in yet another excellent example of how the anti-Establishment Left and Right can meet, Sacramento News & Review political reporter and commentator Cosmo Garvin makes the same observation in his December 23, 2010 column Spurn a Phrase.

A major league professional sports team surely brings intangible marketing and community benefits to a city, and there’s nothing wrong with pointing that out. But civic leaders compromised the credibility of their message with their silly talk about Sacramento as a World Class City.

Be honest with yourself and others: good advice for Sacramento, as well as Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, Riverside, San Bernardino, and other California inland cities coveting the glitter of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Below, I compile various commentaries from Steve Greenhut and Katy Grimes of www.CalWatchdog.com about Sacramento’s fatuous ambition to be a world-class city.

The Union Quest for a Project Labor Agreement on a New Sacramento Kings Basketball Arena: Part One – 2006

Looks like the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team is on its way to Seattle, ending the union dream in Sacramento of a monopoly on building a $500 million taxpayer-funded sports and entertainment complex. Here’s Part One of a two-part series on the history of labor issues concerning the construction of a proposed new arena for the Sacramento Kings.

In August 2006, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of California, the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), and the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction learned from multiple sources that top construction union officials in Sacramento were anticipating a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) if Sacramento County voters approved a proposed $1.2 billion sales tax increase in the November 2006 election to pay for construction of a new $470 million arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball team, as well as other projects. A Joint Powers Authority comprised of elected officials from Sacramento County local governments would make sure the Project Labor Agreement was imposed, and arena supporters asked Sacramento union officials to keep their costly plan quiet until after voters approved the sales tax.

Supporters of fair and open competition didn’t keep it quiet. In October 2006, my former employer Associated Builders and Contractors of California and the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction sent a mailer to 27,000 households in Sacramento County asking them to contact the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and Maloof Sports and Entertainment in opposition to a Project Labor Agreement that unions wanted on the project.

Front of 2006 mailer urging Sacramento County residents to tell the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and Maloof Sports and Entertainment to reject a union-only Project Labor Agreement for a new Sacramento Kings basketball arena.

Front of 2006 mailer urging Sacramento County residents to tell the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and Maloof Sports and Entertainment to reject a union-only Project Labor Agreement for a new Sacramento Kings basketball arena.

Sacramento Kings New Arena - Project Labor Agreement Mailer Back 2006

In the end, a whopping 80.38% of voters rejected Measure R to pay additional taxes to fund a new $470 million arena for the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team. And 71.43% of voters rejected Measure Q, an advisory vote on authorizing the use of the new tax revenue in part for building a new arena.

Union leaders and their political allies weren’t done yet. A second chance for a Project Labor Agreement would come in 2011, but this time the opposition would go on the offense.

Part 2 to come…

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