Tag Archive for Orange County Register

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:



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.

CEQA Reform is Over for This California Legislative Session: Sustainable Environmental Protection Act May Return in 2013

CEQA reform is over for this legislative session.

Some union officials, environmental lobbyists, and lawyers specializing in exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are celebrating with emailed bulletins and tweets. (See the August 23, 2012 “Sierra Club California Statement on Abandonment of Environmentally Dangerous Bill.”) One particularly happy Tweeting union leader is Lorena Gonzalez, head of the San Diego County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

That’s no surprise if you read my August 8 post,”Unions Submit 436 Pages of Objections to Draft Environmental Impact Report for Proposed San Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion Project: CEQA Abuse Run Rampant.”

UNITE HERE Local 30 (based in San Diego) and the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council have filed a massive CEQA objection with the United Port of San Diego concerning the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed San Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion Project and the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel expansion.

Here are some recent Tweets from Lorena Gonzalez ‏@LorenaSGonzalez:

And the Rubio #CEQA reform bill is officially dead! Yay!

URGENT: Don’t let them gut California Environmental Quality Act. Sign NOW: http://SaveCEQA.com  #CEQA #SaveCEQA

I support #CEQA. Gutting 40 years of progress will hurt the environment, workers and the public! These aren’t reforms, they go too far.

So happy to see most of our SD Democratic Legislators asking their colleagues to keep their hands off CEQA #SaveCEQA

Meanwhile, I posted this in the comment section of the Sacramento Bee article, “Bid to Overhaul California Environmental Law Falls Short“:

The Sierra Club representative called the bill “one of the worst attacks on environmental protections that we’ve seen in the 40-year life of this law.” They actually mean, “one of the worst attacks on our political agenda from Democrats, whom we thought would never betray us by supporting economic growth and job creation.”

Actually, it’s questionable whether or not this “Sustainable Environmental Protection Act” of 2012 would have been all that effective in hindering the professional CEQA operators – the people who use CEQA for economic or financial objectives. It was certainly tame and weak compared to Assembly Bill 598, for which the Sierra Club lobbyist took great offense during a January 9, 2012 hearing of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. If that bill had become law, it would have shut down the CEQA extortion industry by limiting the authority to file lawsuits under CEQA to the California Attorney General.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council can continue to enjoy their “Blue-Green Alliance” of convenience with labor unions and turn a blind eye to how CEQA is exploited for purposes other than environmental protection, such as coercing Project Labor Agreements, Neutrality Agreements, etc.

They’ve been coasting for 40 years on the Friends of Mammoth v. Board of Supervisors of Mono County decision of the California Supreme Court in 1972, which stunned many by applying CEQA to private projects and activities. One day soon the political pendulum will swing to the Right in this state (probably after the state tries to file for bankruptcy), and then AB 598 will become law.

In the meantime, enjoy the CEQA paperwork! For example, here’s what the Fresno County Planning and Land Use Division has been dealing with as unions object to proposed solar energy power plants:

The Fresno County Planning and Land Use Division responds on August 7, 2012 to a request for records concerning submissions of the law firm of Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo on behalf of California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) concerning proposed solar energy generation projects.

Costa Mesa’s Bold and Meaningful Government Cost-Efficiency Plan on Hold Until November 6, When Citizens Vote on a Proposed Charter (Measure V) and for Three City Council Members

The Costa Mesa City Council has received significant state and national news coverage in the past 18 months as four of the five council members have attempted to implement bold and meaningful efforts to make city services more cost-efficient. (See “Costa Mesa Gets National Exposure” – Orange County Register – Column by Frank Mickadeit – June 1, 2011)

Of course, legislative initiatives are bold and meaningful when they challenge the agenda of public employee unions. Aggressive union opposition indicates legitimate potential cost savings for taxpayers.

The California 4th Appellate District Court, Division 3 issued an unpublished decision yesterday (August 17, 2012) in Costa Mesa City Employees Association v. City of Costa Mesa that affirms the July 15, 2011 decision of an Orange County Superior Court judge to suspend a plan of the Costa Mesa City Council to layoff city employees and contract out their jobs to private firms. The appeals court ruled that the lower court’s preliminary injunction to stop the plan was proper.

This means the Costa Mesa City Council cannot proceed with its cost-efficiency plan until the courts fully consider and decide the plan’s legality. It means that future advancement of such a plan will depend on two factors to be decided in the November 6, 2012 elections: (1) whether or not Costa Mesa voters approve Measure V and enact a city charter that gives the city more authority to contract out services; and (2) whether or not public employee unions and their political allies can replace three current city council members with pro-union city council members, thus bringing the cost-efficiency plan to a screeching halt.


As described in the unpublished court decision, “On March 1, 2011, the City Council of Costa Mesa approved an outsourcing plan to contract out for a variety of city services, including street sweeping, graffiti abatement, animal control, jail operations, special event safety, information technology, graphic design, reprographics, telecommunications, payroll, employee benefit administration, building inspection, and park, fleet, street and facility maintenance. Thereupon, on March 17 and March 31, 2011, the City’s Public Services Director sent layoff notices to over 100 city workers who are represented by CMCEA.” The decision notes that the plan did not “just target one particular position or department; rather, it is aimed at 18 different sectors of the City’s workforce that provide a wide array of services to the citizens of Costa Mesa.”

CMCEA is the Costa Mesa City Employees Association (a public employees’ union that is part of the independent Orange County Employees Association), which has a collective bargaining agreement with the city established in 2004 and scheduled to expire in 2013. It responded on May 16, 2011 to the city council’s cost-efficiency plan with a lawsuit against the city to stop it. Its complaint alleged the City’s government reduction plan violates the Government Code in that it calls for the outsourcing of jobs that do not involve “special services” (California Government Code Section 37103 and California Government Code Section 53060) and alleged the plan violates the parties’ collective bargaining agreement because the City did not meet with CMCEA to determine which specific services should be contracted out and how to best mitigate layoffs.

How meaningful was this government cost-efficiency plan? The appeals court felt it was highly meaningful:

Indeed, defendant Hatch, the City’s CEO, admitted in his declaration, “City leadership is earnestly pursuing the outsourcing of City services[.]” While he said there was a “possibility” the RFP process would not actually result in the outsourcing of any jobs, it is readily apparent CMCEA’s members were in serious peril of being terminated.

That was made evident by the many layoff notices that the City sent out. The trial court’s interpretation of the notices as a “significant step” in the outsourcing process is supported by the fact the notices set September 30, 2011 as the expected date the recipients would be terminated. The notices did state they were contingent on the recipient’s job being outsourced and were subject to being rescinded, but they also made clear the City Council was presently determined to pursue a plan that called for the recipient’s job to be outsourced. And, according to CEO Hatch, the City was pursuing that plan in earnest. The notices also referred the recipients to the City’s Human Resources Divisions for help with job loss issues and expressed regret “the City’s current conditions require that City employees be laid off.” (Italics added.) Clearly, the recipients of the layoff notices were facing a very real threat of losing their jobs.

Obviously no one wants to lose a job, and the CMCEA appealed to the emotions inherent in the government cost-efficiency plan:

Job loss is always a serious matter, and in this post-recession era of high unemployment, it cannot be taken lightly. Defendants admit that losing a job, and the income it entails, amounts to irreparable harm. (White v. Davis, supra, 30 Cal.4th at p. 559 [lost wages and other benefits during lawsuit over budget impasse constituted serious hardship to those affected by impasse].)

The court recognized this argument is balanced by “the citizenry’s interest in cost-effective government”:

Notwithstanding the prospect of city workers losing their jobs, however, defendants contend, “The residents and taxpayers of Costa Mesa have a substantial interest in a local government that is able to provide better municipal services while improving its financial security.” Defendants also submit that, unless the preliminary injunction is lifted, the City cannot even attempt to further that interest by putting its outsourcing plan in motion. We do not question the citizenry’s interest in cost-effective government… 

This court decision outlines the fundamental clash over the future of California. One side (the Costa Mesa City Council majority) tries to reduce the city bureaucracy and its control over most aspects of city operations, thus freeing the taxpayers from the costly commitments made through collective bargaining with unions when times were prosperous. The unions doesn’t want to lose jobs (both for economic reasons and because of the honest commitment of some of their members to be public servants).

Obviously the primary solution as seen by unions is to obtain more revenue for city operations through tax increases. In the meantime, they can derail any outsourcing plan by appealing to their collective bargaining agreement and using the courts to enforce it. Of course, they also have the threat of going on strike and of election campaign activity to change the city council.

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

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:


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:



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!

Another Survey Says California Worst Place to Operate a Business

As I prepare to pay my $800 minimum franchise tax to the State of California for the privilege of operating Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, today’s Orange County Register reports that another survey ranks California among the worst states to do business. Here is an excerpt from “Small Firms Give California an ‘F’ Grade“:

Owners of small service businesses give California an F grade for business friendliness, according to an online survey by Thumbtack.com, a website for service companies.

It is the second survey in a week that gives the Golden State black marks by business owners. Chief Executive magazine recently released its annual survey of Best and Worst States for business, which ranked California 50th for the eighth straight year. That survey’s respondents would tend to be a different group than those polled by Thumbtack.com.

I can already predict the response from the state’s controlling factions:

It seems that business owners and corporate executives are deceived by lies and propaganda from the California Chamber of Commerce and its ilk, along with the rhetoric of the unpopular and irrelevant California Republican Party. California is a wonderful place to do business and we do a lot to help businesses. We have great weather, beautiful environment, and the enlightened firms of Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry. The states that ranked high on those phony surveys are full of ignorant, uneducated people who cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them. Also, who cares what the corporate CEOs and business owners think? They comprise the 1%. They are the problem, not the solution. We want the Creative Class in our state, not capitalist exploiters of labor who pollute the environment.

California Legislative Committee to Again Consider Putting Legislature Under Same Fair Contracting Laws as Other State Agencies

UPDATE: The committee analysis for Assembly Bill 1947 has been issued, and the Dayton Public Policy Institute (a project of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC) is the sole party in the universe that bothered (or dared?) to submit a comment. I’ll be at the committee meeting tomorrow to testify as a witness. Perhaps there will even be some committee members there besides the chairperson to hear it.

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced a package of three bills (Assembly Bill 1946, Assembly Bill 1947, and Assembly Bill 1948) that would eliminate some of the special privileges of the California State Legislature. I call these bills the “Glass Houses” package because they reveal how the state legislature hypocritically enacts laws to control the activities of businesses and government entities, but makes sure to exempt itself from those same laws.

On Tuesday, April 17, the Assembly Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. in Room 447 of the Capitol and at that hearing will consider Assembly Bill 1947. This bill changes state law to require the California State Legislature to bid its contracts under fair and open competitive bidding, for the purpose of stimulating competition in a manner conducive to sound fiscal practices and for eliminating favoritism, fraud, and corruption. AB 1947 also creates transparency in the development and execution of bid specifications, so that the legislature is accountable to the people for its policy decisions concerning contracts funded by the people. A preliminary fact sheet explaining this bill, the need for this bill, and the inspiration for this bill is here:

Assembly Bill 1947 – Preliminary Fact Sheet

My letter in support of Assembly Bill 1947 is here:

Dayton Letter in Support of Assembly Bill 1947

Posted NEW on April 16: Assembly Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee Analysis of Assembly Bill 1947

To express your support for Assembly Bill 1947, go to Shannon Grove’s My Legislation, select “AB 1947 – Competitive Bidding for Legislative Contracts” – and then select Support/Oppose AB 1947.

What Are the Chances of Assembly Bill 1947 Becoming Law?

Based on past history, the Democrat leadership will NOT let this bill pass out of committee.

In a shameful vote on April 23, 2007, the Assembly Business and Professions Committee rejected Assembly Bill 1070, a bill introduced by Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucaipa) that would have subjected the state legislature to the same competitive bidding requirements as state agencies and local governments in California. One Democrat, Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), joined committee Republicans to vote in support of the bill, reportedly because she recognized the historic legacy of racial discrimination in awarding government contracts.

A freshman legislator at the time, Assemblyman Cook learned through frustrating experience about how Democrat legislative leaders control their fiefdom. The Legislative Counsel’s office, which drafts bills, included an unnecessary provision in the bill that Cook could not manage to get removed despite his efforts. The Democrat committee analyst used the provision as the basis for an argument against the bill. Even though Assemblyman Cook received no letters of opposition, and not a single speaker at the committee hearing testified against the bill, the bill was rejected without comments.

Following the vote, the May 11, 2007 Orange County Register published a column by the newspaper’s “Capitol Watchdog” Brian Joseph entitled “Committee Quashes Contract Rules: Bill Would Have Required Legislature to Follow Fair Play Rules in Awarding its Projects.” The column reported on the committee rejection of Assembly Bill 1070. It also reported that in 2005 an unknown person or persons in the legislature unilaterally decided to insert a provision in bid specifications for the Capitol Safety and Security Improvements Project to require all contractors to use an “all-union workforce.” Such a requirement would not be allowed under the state’s competitive bidding laws, but the state legislature has exempted itself from those laws.

The column also referred to a court case – The Zumbrun Law Firm v. California Legislature – in which the legislature was accused of illegally using that union-only bidding requirement and also accused of illegally withholding documents from the public that would reveal which legislator initiated this behind-the-scenes bidding scheme. That lawsuit lost in Sacramento County Superior Court in 2006 and lost on appeal in the California Third District Court of Appeals in 2008. The California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal. The courts ruled that the legislature could indeed and was indeed exempt from the State Contracts Act when bidding construction contracts.

In 2009, Assemblyman Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills) introduced Assembly Bill 641, which would have required the legislature to abide by competitive bidding laws. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sponsored the bill in response to the two court decisions in The Zumbrun Law Firm v. California Legislature. The Assembly Business and Professions Committee defeated Assembly Bill 641 on a party-line vote (Republicans in support; Democrats opposed).

Will the third time be the charm for competitive bidding? The California State Legislature may want to heed the advice of Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack:

Don’t throw Stones at your Neighbours’, if your own Windows are Glass.