Tag Archive for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction Wants Project Labor Agreement on Sacramento Kings Arena Released to Public

Here’s a press release emailed today (February 19, 2014) by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction regarding the Project Labor Agreement for the proposed downtown Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Center (an arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball team).

PRESS RELEASE
February 19, 2014
Contact: Eric Christen
(858) 431-6337

Sacramento, CA – The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction is demanding that the Sacramento Kings ownership and the Sacramento-Sierra Building and Construction Trades Council immediately release to the public a copy of an alleged Project Labor Agreement for the proposed Kings Arena. It is reported that construction companies will have to sign this contract with unions as a condition of building the proposed $447 million publicly-subsidized Entertainment and Sports Center.

“The Project Labor Agreement now plays an important role in the executive and judicial operations of the City of Sacramento,” said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, a statewide organization that supports fair and open bidding competition on public works projects.

“When will citizens get to see it themselves? When will the city’s political leadership have a chance to review this backroom deal? Why aren’t community leaders interested in verifying Mayor Johnson’s relentless claims about the wonders of this union agreement?” Christen adds.

“I’m guessing there is something embarrassing in that union deal,” said Christen. “The Kings have to suppress it, just like they suppress a public vote on the arena subsidy.”

Beyond the mere fact that a Project Labor Agreement is imposed on a public works project receiving a $258 million public subsidy, the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction provides three examples to show why the Project Labor Agreement is a matter of public concern:

  • Mayor Kevin Johnson held a press conference on September 4, 2013 to announce the Project Labor Agreement. (The ill-fated press conference, coordinated by the elite Mercury Public Affairs firm, backfired when opponents of the backroom union deal held their own impromptu press conference immediately afterwards.)
  • At the State of the City address on February 12, 2014, Mayor Johnson extensively cited alleged benefits and conditions of the Project Labor Agreement, including a comment about a provision for homeless people and convicted criminals to build the arena.
  • Unions and community organizations filed a brief in court on February 14, 2014 in support of the City of Sacramento’s position that a petition for a public vote on the arena subsidy failed to qualify for the ballot. The basis for submitting that amicus brief is the alleged Project Labor Agreement.

A public records request submitted by Kevin Dayton of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC to the Office of the Mayor on October 16, 2013 failed to uncover the Project Labor Agreement, although it revealed correspondence about the deal between the mayor’s office, union representatives, and personnel of Mercury Public Affairs, an elite public relations firm working for the Sacramento Kings ownership. Dayton’s public attempts to obtain the backroom union deal and expose it have provoked mockery and derision from supporters of the Kings arena $258 million public subsidy.

“The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction had to sue the City of San Diego in 2013 to wean the San Diego Convention Center Phase 3 Expansion Project Labor Agreement out of the hands of the wheelers and dealers,” said Christen. “In the process, we also obtained the actual union deal and the complete list of political payoffs to unions from the San Diego Mayor’s office.”

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Proof We Mean Business – Lawsuit Coughed Up a Union Deal in San Diego in 2013

2013 Lawsuit Against City of San Diego to Obtain Secret Project Labor Agreement:

http://sandiegoconventioncenterscam.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Coalition-for-Fair-Employment-in-Construction-v-City-of-San-Diego.pdf

Secret Convention Center Union Deal Revealed in Private Email of Chief of Staff to Mayor:

http://sandiegoconventioncenterscam.com/new-secret-convention-center-union-deal-revealed-in-private-email-of-chief-of-staff-to-former-mayor-jerry-sanders/

We Got It: The Secret Project Labor Agreement for San Diego Convention Center:

http://sandiegoconventioncenterscam.com/san-diego-convention-center-phase-3-expansion-project-labor-agreement/

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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

Factions and the Proposed New Sacramento Kings Arena – The Situation Today (September 6, 2013)

In the eastern suburbs of Sacramento, you’ll find a dedicated fan base for the Sacramento Kings professional basketball team. You’ll also find a sizable number of conservatives and libertarians who dislike unions and crony capitalism. (That’s why Tom McClintock is able to represent this area in Congress.) Some people would identify with both groups.

As I’ve gone about my mundane business in this region over the past two days, I’m surprised to hear so much talk from these two groups about the planned Sacramento Kings arena and the union Project Labor Agreement deal announced on Wednesday for the construction of the new arena in downtown Sacramento. Ordinary people are paying attention to this issue in the newspapers, on local radio and TV news, and on local news and sports talk shows.

Here’s a general summary of what I’m hearing from the suburban fan base for the Kings:

  1. We want our only major league professional sports team to stay in Sacramento. It would be nice to have a revitalized downtown central city to visit, free of rundown buildings and devoid of people loitering and living on the street. “I won’t take my kids downtown because of that,” a female Kings fan said to me this morning.
  2. No one is fooled by Mayor Kevin Johnson’s obligatory talking points about the union deal. It was a political payoff to get the arena built. Ideally, everyone should have a fair chance to compete for work on the arena. It isn’t going to happen now.
  3. Please work out a solution so the arena can move forward without being derailed by this vicious new controversy over the labor deal. We need to keep the team here.

Here’s a general summary of what I’m hearing from the suburban conservatives and libertarians:

  1. Why is Government giving money to billionaire investors and professional athletes? How were these rich people (the so-called “One Percent”) able to get subsidies from city parking revenue?
  2. Professional basketball is corrupt and so are Sacramento politicians and union bosses. Of course unions will get the work from their cronies.
  3. Please kill the project as it stands now. It would be a service. People need to say “no” to doing business in this way – it’s destroying our state and country.

Within the City of Sacramento itself, there are a few more vocal factions: (1) people on the Left who resent how the city leadership is using public resources and spending so much time and money to keep a professional basketball team at the expense of other civic priorities; (2) small business owners and business leaders who seek a prosperous downtown and are willing to compromise and make undesirable deals with special interest groups to make it happen; and (3) residents who think the proposed financing plan for the new arena will be a fiscal disaster for the city.

Then, of course, there are activists in the local construction trade unions who love what’s happening. They get guaranteed work on a glamorous project that can be used to promote Project Labor Agreements on more public and private construction projects in the future.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announces Project Labor Agreement for new Kings basketball arena on September 4, 2013.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announces Project Labor Agreement for new Kings basketball arena.

Their arrogance about their victory has not helped matters. The mayor’s September 4 press conference at the Downtown Plaza in Sacramento to celebrate union control of construction with a Project Labor Agreement ended up being a public relations fiasco for union officials and the Kings ownership. Instead of being a quiet political payoff, it was a divisive, high-profile political payoff that disgusted area residents.

Nevertheless, the press conference achieved its true purpose of putting union lobbying pressure on Southern California Democrats and Bay Area Democrats in the state legislature to support Senate Bill 743. Forty-eight hours after the press conference, State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg won a vote in the Assembly to “gut and amend” Senate Bill 743 and transform it into a bill that gives the planned Sacramento Kings arena some special breaks from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The state’s leading environmental groups objected to SB 743, but most Assembly Democrats voted for the amendment: it passed 46-21. Republicans generally opposed SB 743 and demanded a roll call vote on this bill, which was placed among a long series of proposals approved by the Assembly through voice vote.

Overlooked in this controversy is that no one seems to have a copy of an actual signed Project Labor Agreement or even a draft of the agreement. The Sacramento City Council never discussed it and never voted on it. The public has no way to verify any of the rhetoric about its alleged benefits. But it doesn’t matter: it’s about political payoffs for the greater good.

 

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