Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction Asks How “Pretend Reform Can Become Real Reform” of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

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There are a few Californians who read my February 1, 2013 article Republicans Have Opportunity to Broaden CEQA Reform and agreed with it. Not surprisingly, the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction – long familiar with how unions exploit the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to get Project Labor Agreements – expressed its support for my proposed strategy to Republicans in the California State Legislature and called my article “a must read for real reformers.”

Californians should NOT settle for a weak CEQA reform that only targets inconvenient and pesky little neighborhood community groups. It needs to target the true professional greenmailers.

Here’s an excerpt from the February 12, 2013 Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction PLA Update, a weekly emailed bulletin:

CEQA Reform Update: Union-Dominated California Legislature Continues with Pretend Reform

Union boss abuse of the landmark California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been highlighted by CFEC and our allies for more than a decade. Such abuse has forced projects to be delayed or stopped altogether costing workers and our economy billions in lost wages and revenue.

The abuse of CEQA, undertaken solely by trade unions and their lap dogs in the radical “environmental” community, has now forced a few in the legislature to pretend they can fix a problem they cannot even bring themselves to admit the cause of for fear of offending their union masters.

The latest on this pretend legislation comes from many different perspectives, all of which is good as it makes sure this issue remains in the public spotlight.

Recently the Pasadena Star-News ran this piece (which must have been hard for them) admitting that reform is needed and that unions are one of the reasons why. The California Business Properties Association [on behalf of the CEQA Working Group – ed] published this embarrassing item throwing support behind “moderate reform” of CEQA. And the Santa Cruz Sentinel ran this editorial on the issue.

How can this pretend reform be turned into real reform?

Labor Issues Solutions’ Kevin Dayton explains how exactly this can be accomplished in this excellent piece, which is a must read for real reformers.

In the meantime we had last week just the latest example of how this law is being abused and why real reform is needed. The UT San Diego ran this story highlighting the love fest that took place at the California Coastal Commission’s recent board meeting where union bosses and “environmentalists” praised the approval of a new hotel in San Diego. Why the praise for a project they had both opposed for years? You guessed it: Their greenmail resulted in the owner caving and the project being built with a PLA (the owner having to admit the PLA would add $17 million to its cost).

Thus another lesson in exactly why it is California is ranked as the 51st best state to conduct business in. (Yep, even Puerto Rico beats us out.)

I’m eagerly awaiting the introduction of the CEQA reform bill to see how the Assembly Republican Caucus and Senate Republican Caucus respond to it. What strategy will they adopt on an issue for which they have some leverage because of a divided Democrat supermajority?

Dueling CEQA Coalitions:

CEQA Working Groupbusiness groups that support CEQA reform.

CEQA Worksenvironmental groups and labor unions that oppose CEQA reform.

Phony Union Tree Huggers – very sensitive topic strictly off-limits for both coalitions.

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