Tag Archive for San Diego Daily Transcript

“He’s Going to Be President One Day” – The Changing Positions of Candidate for San Diego Mayor Nathan Fletcher on Labor Policy Issues

In the mid-2000s, establishment Republican Party officials would tell me that a young man named Nathan Fletcher was going to be President of the United States one day. He was a good-looking “war hero” – an up-and-coming model candidate whose wife was a top advisor for President George W. Bush and then for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Soon Nathan Fletcher ran for office in an affluent area of San Diego – not for a mere school board or city council, but for the California State Legislature, where political talents often launch their lifelong quest for power, fame, and wealth. He was an undistinguished member of the Republican minority in the California State Assembly for two terms, from 2008 to 2012. He quit the Republican Party in March 2012 after the Republican Party of San Diego County didn’t endorse him among three Republican candidates running for Mayor of San Diego.

Ditching the Republican label transformed Fletcher into an innovative paragon of political enlightenment. His decision even received national attention and praise when New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about it in A Moderate Conservative Dilemma.

Ordinary voters weren’t impressed. Fletcher came in third in the primary for Mayor of San Diego. He spent a lonely year unaffiliated with a political party, got himself some gigs as a corporate executive and as a “professor” at the University of California at San Diego, then joined the Democratic Party in May 2013. Now he’s running for Mayor of San Diego again, this time as a Democrat backed by power-brokers such as Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a friend of Fletcher who was the president of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council in 2012.

No one would identify Fletcher today as a “moderate conservative.” He has remade himself as a Silicon Valley-style liberal Democrat, glorifying a vague concept of “innovation” while endorsing government intervention in commerce and personal behavior to make the world a better place.

Just before the San Diego City Council ended 33 years of autonomy on city construction contracts and voted 5-4 to submit to state prevailing wage law, the San Diego Daily Transcript published an op-ed signed by Fletcher entitled Prevailing Wage: Good for Local Economy, Local Workers. He had opened his mind and decided that charter cities should let the state government set wage rates for city construction contracts based on employer payments indicated in union master labor agreements. I responded with the July 29, 2013 op-ed Did Nathan Fletcher Lose His Mind on Prevailing Wage?

It’s hard to pin down how Fletcher would act on specific issues, as his shtick is portraying himself as a pragmatist who doesn’t stoop to the abstract ideologies and philosophies that bind the thinking of bad people. However, behind the scenes he makes commitments to ensure campaign support from powerful political groups, such as labor unions.

After someone leaked Nathan Fletcher’s September 5, 2013 candidate questionnaire for the San Diego Imperial County Labor Council, Tony Krvaric, executive director of the Republican Party of San Diego County, analyzed the astonishing change in Fletcher’s positions on economic and labor issues in 18 months. Read the analysis and the signed questionnaire here:

Nathan Fletcher’s Labor Council Questionnaire

The October 31, 2013 article Critics Focus on Fletcher’s About-Face on Issues in the UT San Diego notes Fletcher’s conversion (or “evolution”) on high-profile labor issues, including Project Labor Agreements:

Much has been made of Nathan Fletcher’s political evolution from Republican to independent to Democrat, but what truly irks his most vehement critics is the 180-degree turn he’s made on several key issues. Some of those issues — project labor agreements, pension reform and managed competition — have formed the bedrock for the dividing line in San Diego between the two major political parties in recent years…

“I’m very comfortable as a Democrat, a pro-jobs Democrat.”…That’s a far cry from March 2012 when Fletcher sought the local Republican Party’s endorsement in the mayor’s race. He told party leaders he was a lifelong Republican who supported the June 2012 ballot initiative (Proposition B) to replace pensions with 401(k)-style plans for most new city workers, a ban on project labor agreements that call for city contractors pay union-level wages and benefits, and outsourcing city services…

Fletcher filled out a questionnaire in September for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council that outlined several stark changes. Specifically, he indicated support for project labor agreements and public employee pensions and opposition to putting city services up for competitive bid, a process also known as managed competition…

Fletcher has also said the ballot measure to ban project-labor agreements that voters approved last year is the type of divisive initiative meant to stir up the electorate.

Nathan Fletcher now thinks that simply asking voters to preserve fair and open bid competition on taxpayer-funded construction contracts is “divisive” and “meant to stir up the electorate.” If only we could set aside our differences and come together for the common good under the benevolent leadership of Nathan Fletcher!

It isn’t surprising that occasionally people warn that Nathan Fletcher is “creepy” and “dangerous” because he lacks solid principles and runs for office under a cult of personality based on a distorted portrayal of his background. He seems to be popular among high-tech executives, bicycle advocates, and other who fit the demographic description of “bourgeois and bohemian” (see David Brooks’ excellent 2001 book Bobos in Paradise). Is that enough to win a special election in a city of 1.3 million people? It worked for Gavin Newsom in San Francisco, but San Diego is more diverse and more conservative.

All of this vindicates the warning in my May 7, 2013 commentary Know Thyself, Republican: You Could Be the Next Nathan Fletcher in www.FlashReport.org. I concluded that “Even the strongest among us on the Right are always only a few temptations away from second-guessing ourselves and going the same direction as Nathan Fletcher. The rewards of holding fast are few right now, and the relief and rewards of being acceptable are enticing.”

As the Republican Party on the national level, in the State of California, and at the California local level splits into factions based on the degree of willingness to compromise principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility for the sake of the alleged “common good,” I expect more Republicans will follow the path of Nathan Fletcher. Will voters buy it?

San Diego Political Celebrity Nathan Fletcher Now Supports Government-Mandated Construction Wage Rates

UPDATE – August 9, 2013: This morning Nathan Fletcher “chimed in” and spoke to Fox News 5 KSWB in San Diego about the Filner scandals. An excerpt from Fletcher May Run for Mayor if Filner Resigns:

Fletcher even told Fox5 that he’d consider throwing his hat in the ring if the mayor’s seat opens up.

“I’d have to consider it. I’ve been humbled by the number of folks that have reached out for the last few weeks and provided a lot of encouragement,” Fletcher said. “But as of right now, the office isn’t open. If it becomes open than that’s a decision that I’ll have to make.”

Until that happens, Fletcher can be found teaching at University of California, San Diego, working for Qualcomm and with his family.

Unexpectedly, former California State Assemblyman and once-and-future San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher (R) (I) (D) declared his new position in support of state-mandated wage rates (“prevailing wages”) for contracts on public works construction projects. See the July 26, 2013 San Diego Daily Transcript commentary Prevailing Wage: Good for Local Economy, Local Workers.

He claims his position is a “no-brainer” that resulted from approaching the issue in a “thoughtful, open-minded way.” But why did he approach the issue in the first place? Mr. Fletcher has never before exhibited extraordinary interest or unusual expertise in arcane construction labor issues, including as a state legislator voting on such issues.

Tom Lemmon – the head of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council – would have had credibility in submitting this professionally-written piece under his name. But few people would have read it. In contrast, Nathan Fletcher has a cult following in San Diego, apparently because many people can relate to his lack of principles – a condition that I warned Republicans to avoid in my www.FlashReport.org article Know Thyself, Republican: You Could Be the Next Nathan Fletcher.

Some people are suspicious of Fletcher’s authorship of his prevailing wage manifesto. On July 30, 2013, campaign consultant Duane Dichiara posted an article on San Diego Rostra – Notes on Fletcher’s Pro-Prevailing Wage Article – speculating that Fletcher didn’t write it because of the obvious rhetorical skill of the writer. Richard Rider of San Diego Tax Fighters then commented that “it’s TOO well written. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Nathan didn’t pen it. Doubtless it was written by labor union professionals (or their PR contractors), with Nathan dutifully signing it as the author.”

Regardless of who actually wrote it, representatives of www.SmartCitiesPrevail.org were quick to post comments in support of Mr. Fletcher and his position, and he received some impressive tweets of support.

I responded to Fletcher’s piece with a rebuttal published on July 29, 2013 entitled Did Nathan Fletcher Lose His Mind on Prevailing Wage? A representative of the union-oriented public policy organization Working Partnerships USA and a Colorado State University economics professor commented in response to defend their work as cited by Fletcher. I have commented in response to their comments. Meanwhile, Nathan Fletcher has not given the public any additional insight into his understanding or views on prevailing wage policies.

My Article “After 33 Years, San Diego Submits to State Prevailing Wage Law” Published on www.UnionWatch.org

On July 30, I reported in www.UnionWatch.org on the 5-4 vote of the San Diego City Council to impose state prevailing wage rates on city construction contracts at After 33 Years, San Diego Submits to State Prevailing Wage Law.

News Coverage of the Vote

San Diego Passes Prevailing Wage Bill: Council votes 5-4 to expand policy to work contracts, following Filner’s lead – UT San Diego – July 31, 2013 – a follow-up to Council Approves Higher Wages for Projects: City already pays prevailing wages on big developmentUT San Diego – July 30, 2013

City Council Approves Prevailing Wage Proposal – City News Service, posted on several news web sites – July 30, 2013

City Council Passes Prevailing-Wage OrdinanceSan Diego Daily Transcript – July 30, 2013

City Costs Would Rise Under Prevailing Wage Plan: Rule would expand to all municipal projects UT San Diego – July 30, 2013

A Day to Remember, Not Fondly, at San Diego City HallUT San Diego (editorial) – August 1, 2013

Vote ‘No’ on Expanding ‘Prevailing Wage’ in San Diego – UT San Diego (editorial) – July 30, 2013

Prevailing Wage Will Force Out Small Guy; Prevailing Wage is All About Payback to Unions; Big Labor Dominates City Hall: UT San Diego (letters to the editor) – August 1, 2013

Construction Manager at-Risk Negotiating with Unions for a Project Labor Agreement on $600 Million San Diego County Central Courthouse

The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction just issued a press release (on May 30, 2013) entitled “Unions and State Conspire to Exclude Local Workers from Massive Public Courthouse Project in San Diego.” Text is below.

May 31 is the deadline for prospective bidders to submit their pre-qualification questionnaires to Rudolph and Sletten. See Subcontractors to Bid on Work for New Downtown Central CourthouseSan Diego Daily Transcript – May 16, 2013

May 30, 2013
Contact: Eric Christen, (858) 431-6337 

Unions and State Conspire to Exclude Local Workers from Massive Public Courthouse Project in San Diego

Attempt to Place Union-Only Project Labor Agreement on $600+Million State Courthouse in City that Banned PLAs Less than a Year Ago

San Diego – The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) has learned that local unions and the Administrative Office of the Courts for the State of California (AOC) have been “negotiating” a union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the new $600+ million Superior Courthouse to be located in downtown San Diego. The AOC has hired the general contracting firm Rudolph & Sletten to build the courthouse. Rudolph & Sletten is therefore “negotiating” the PLA with local trade unions. These “negotiations” take place less than one year after voters in the City of San Diego overwhelming voted to ban PLAs 58%-42% with the passage of Proposition A in June of 2012.

“This is a remarkably tone-deaf and outrageous decision the sole intent of which is to exclude 90% of the local construction workforce who happen to be union-free,” said Eric Christen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction. “The citizens of San Diego have expressed, twice now, their desire to keep San Diego discrimination-free and now we have the AOC forcing this ‘agreement’ on us?”

CFEC has submitted a Public Records Act request to the AOC that seeks to answer, among other things, the following:

  • Where and who did the idea of a PLA come from?
  • What are the justifications for a PLA?
  • Who is actually “negotiating” the PLA?
  • Did unions who run the legislature threaten to hold up funding on the project unless a PLA was placed on it?

The project is one of the AOC’s most expensive and at more than 700,000 sq. feet and 70 courtrooms, one of the largest. Ironies abound for such a project to be considered for a PLA.

On top of San Diego having banned PLAs there is the State publicly stating its desire to have “significant local, minority, women, and veteran owned businesses participate.” Yet with 90% of the local construction workforce union-free, that goal will be impossible to reach with a PLA.

Also, PLA proponents argue that PLAs are needed on “large and complex projects” yet two of the largest projects San Diego has ever undertaken (The San Diego International Airport expansion and the new downtown Federal Courthouse) were both built successfully without a PLA. The State and AOC have been facing years of funding cuts for its courthouse projects due to the economy and indeed this project has been reduced in both size and scope. Yet a PLA will add at least 20% to the cost of the project by cutting out local bidders who would otherwise add competitive pressure to the overall bid package. Finally Rudolph & Sletten is asking for companies interested in bidding this job to fill out a “Request for Qualification” (RFQ) that has no mention of a PLA. Thus, companies are being led to believe that this project will be open to all of them when in fact in may not be.

“This is a project that is going to be paid for with taxpayer dollars that come from union and non-union taxpayers.” added Christen “Yet the State of California through the AOC has just told the majority of those workers and apprentices that while their tax dollars are appreciated their ability to work is not. This is not going to go easily or well for the State, the AOC, or Rudolph and Sletten if a PLA is in fact required on this project. As we have shown time and time again, we will use any and all means to keep this project open for every worker and contractor. This decision, and we will find out exactly who made it, is offensive.”

Contractors who are interested in bidding this work have until tomorrow, May 31, to send in their pre-qualification packages. Rudolph and Sletten is scheduled to begin subcontractor bidding in July 2013. The bond sale for construction is expected in fall 2013, and construction is scheduled to begin before the end of 2013. Completion is scheduled for 2016.


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

The United Port of San Diego gave the public a deadline of June 29, 2012 to submit comments regarding the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) required under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA (California Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq.) for the proposed San Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion Project and an expansion of the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.

The San Diego Union-Tribune and the San Diego Daily Transcript then reported on the parties that submitted comments regarding the environmental impact of this high-profile $520 million proposed project. Here are links to the articles, along with the parties identified in each article that submitted the comments:

Convention Center EIR Cites Numerous Impacts – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 3, 2012 and Concerns Expressed on Center Expansion: Report Brings Up Aesthetics, Noise, Air Quality, Traffic – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 6, 2012

18 individuals and organizations, including the city of Coronado, the San Diego Padres and the San Diego County Archaeological Society

Port Preparing Final Convention Center Environmental Impact Report – San Diego Daily Transcript – July 3, 2012

Organizations to comment on the 61-megabyte report included CalTrans, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Native American Heritage Commission, the city of Coronado, the city of San Diego, the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow, the San Diego Padres, Ballpark Village, the San Diego Archaeological Society and San Diego Association of Governments.

So when I looked at the United Port of San Diego’s PDF file containing the comments submitted for the draft EIR, I was stunned to see that 436 of the 536 pages of submissions came from an organization not mentioned in either of these articles: “The San Diego Coalition for A Better Convention Center.”

The San Diego Coalition for A Better Convention Center is “an unincorporated association of individuals and labor unions” identified as including the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, the UNITE HERE Local 30 union, and their local union affiliates. It is represented by the South San Francisco law firm of Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardozo.

The union CEQA objection letter itself to the San Diego Convention Center Expansion Phase III is 62 pages, and then there are 374 pages of exhibits. To see the letter AND the exhibits, go to the full set of Convention Center CEQA comments here. (The union submission starts at page 101 of the PDF document and ends at page 536.)

I have to admit I’m flabbergasted that the public in San Diego remains unaware that construction unions and hotel employee unions submitted the bulk of environmental objections to this project. How were the unions and their lawyers able to sneak this by without attracting attention to it?

Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardozo has an extensive history of submitting burdensome environmental comments about proposed San Diego projects on behalf of unions, while at the same time top officials running these unions pressure the project developer to sign a Project Labor Agreement for construction and/or some sort of agreement with UNITE HERE for hotel employees. Some of the most prominent examples include Petco Park, Ballpark Village, and Lane Field. The list below is an excerpt from my June 1, 2012 post entitled Is the City of San Diego’s Proposition A (on the June 5, 2012 Ballot) Meaningful and Necessary? Absolutely! Here’s the Documented Proof.

Unions Routinely Block Private Projects in the San Diego Region with Environmental Objections Until Developers Surrender and Agree to Sign Project Labor Agreements with Unions and Require Their Contractors to Do the Same

It’s hard to track and document the numerous threats and legal actions in the San Diego area by construction unions (and other unions such as UNITE-HERE) to exploit the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other environmental laws to block and delay approval of private development projects until a labor agreement is signed. The negotiations and extortion goes on behind closed doors, and often the victimized developer is compelled to succumb in secret while claiming publicly that signing a Project Labor Agreement with unions is a wonderful business practice.

Two companies that exposed the union extortion to the public were Seaworld and Gaylord Entertainment.

1. Seaworld expansion – threatened in 2002, but resisted, and a PLA was not implemented.

2. Gaylord Entertainment hotel and convention center at the Chula Vista Bayfront – threatened in 2007 and 2008, but resisted. Gaylord ultimately abandoned the project and commenced construction instead of a resort complex in Arizona.

Other companies gave in without much of a public fight:

1. San Diego Padres Petco Park – IBEW Local 569 identified alleged environmental problems in 1999, developer agreed to a PLA in 2000, project magically became OK for the environment.

2. Ballpark Village – there was a Ballpark Village draft PLA circulating in 2005, after a law firm representing IBEW Local No. 569 identified environmental problems with the project. Four years later, the same law firm identified environmental problems with the project on behalf of UNITE-HERE. Do you still wonder why California is struggling economically?

3. Poseidon Desalination Plant in Carlsbad – developer avoided union interference by agreeing to a PLA in 2005.

4. Downtown San Diego hotel projects, including Lane Field (Intercontinental Hotel and Aviana Suites), Sunroad Harbor Island Hotel, and San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina facilities expansion projects – although the law firm of Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo has identified alleged environmental problems with these proposed projects on behalf of UNITE-HERE Local No. 30 in at least some of these cases, that same law firm has also represented the IBEW Local No. 569 using the same strategy of exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

5. Palomar Power Plant in Escondido – Sempra Energy signed a PLA and avoided licensing delays at the California Energy Commission instigated by intervenor California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE). There is also a 30-year Maintenance Labor Agreement for this power plant.

6. Otay Mesa Generating Station – see here how CURE extracted this PLA from Calpine.

7. Sunrise Powerlink transmission line – PLA implemented in 2010.

8. Pio Pico Energy Center in East Otay Mesa – The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California proudly announced on November 3, 2011 that it had extracted a PLA for the construction of this power plant. You will not be stunned to hear that California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) did NOT intervene in the licensing process at the California Energy Commission on this 300 MW project. It’s odd how CURE sees devastating environmental problems with solar energy generation but passed this one by…

Other projects of uncertain status:

1. 655 Broadway – no PLA, union-only though.

2. Sapphire Tower at 1262 Kettner Boulevard (Santa Fe Parcel 6) – IBEW Local No. 569 identified alleged environmental problems in 2004.

3. Chula Vista Bayfront project – Pacifica Companies – news media indicated that PLA seemed likely.

4. Carlsbad Energy Center – threat or already agreed to PLA.

Comments Criticizing Draft Environmental Impact Report for San Diego Convention Center Expansion Phase III Include Analysis of Proposed Project Labor Agreement

A group called Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow (ACT) announced today (June 29, 2012) that it has “submitted 20 pages with 22 comments noting deficiencies in the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed San Diego Convention Center Phase III Expansion and the proposed adjacent high-rise addition to the San Diego Hilton Bayfront Hotel.”

The California Energy Commission has approved the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow as an intervenor in the licensing process for several large power plants. ACT has also submitted comments about the draft EIR for the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and comments about the draft EIR for the Sutter Elk Grove Master Plan.

The latest submission from the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow is to the Unified Port of San Diego, which is designated as the “lead agency” for this $520 million project. See a copy of ACT’s comments here. Below is a photo of the ACT submission at the Port of San Diego headquarters:

The comments submitted by Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow include a section about the proposed Project Labor Agreement for the San Diego Convention Center Expansion Phase III.

Rumors about a Project Labor Agreement for this project have circulated for a couple of years. See “It’s Out in the Open: Project Labor Agreement a Costly Possibility for San Diego Convention Center Expansion” – www.thetruthaboutPLAs.com – March 11, 2011; “Contractors Opposed to Union Labor Mandate on Convention Center Expansion” – San Diego Union-Tribune – February 22, 2011; A PLA for the Convention Center?San Diego Union-Tribune (editorial) – May 27, 2011; “Three Takeaways from the Convention Center Vote” – Voice of San Diego – May 7, 2012.

Here’s the section of the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow comments that addresses the proposed Project Labor Agreement:

The Report Ignores the Environmental Impact of Commuting Vehicles of Out-of-Area Construction Workers, Especially Those Dispatched from Labor Union Hiring Halls with Large Geographical Jurisdictions

The news media has reported that the governing boards of one of the multiple public agencies entangled in the Project (the City of San Diego, the San Diego Unified Port District, or the San Diego Convention Center Corporation) may require the construction manager/construction-manager-at-risk/design-build contractor to require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with affiliates of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council in order to work on the Project.

Under a Project Labor Agreement, all construction companies are required to obtain their workers from a worker dispatching program of applicable trade union hiring halls. (This is in contrast to the employment practices of non-union contractors, which use employment applications to develop a permanent in-house workforce.)

As a result, construction trade workers in unions with a large geographical jurisdiction that includes San Diego may travel hundreds of miles to work on the Project. This is confirmed in the opening brief submitted to the California Supreme Court by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California in State Building and Construction Trades Council v. City of Vista. This brief acknowledges that “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.” This happens because construction trade unions have geographical jurisdictions that often encompass large regions and because they use a “traveler” classification so out-of-area union workers have access to jobs.

In addition, Project Labor Agreements cannot guarantee the employment of “local” residents on a Project – they can only set local hiring as a goal. And the definition of “local” can vary widely – in many cases, unions and union agreements consider “local” to be anyone dispatched from the union hiring hall that applies to the large geographic region that includes the project in question.

In order to account for the effects on greenhouse gas emissions of possible long-distance commuting of unionized construction workers from Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino to downtown San Diego, the Draft EIR needs to assess the geographical regions of each trade union with jurisdiction over elements of Project construction work and define the hiring and dispatching procedures of each of those unions.

Also, the Draft EIR needs to identify the likely non-union general contractors and subcontractors based in the San Diego region that have the capability to perform work on this Project and have plans to bid on the Project (if they are not required to sign a Project Labor Agreement), in order to determine the comparative effects on greenhouse gas emissions of the commuting vehicles of the employees of these local employees.

Finally, the Draft EIR needs to determine what percentage of construction trade workers in the San Diego region are union members. The Current Population Survey statistics on the California construction labor market (published by a joint collaboration of the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics) indicates that in California in 2011, 16.9% of construction workers were union members. (This figure includes the San Francisco Bay Area, which has a relatively high percentage of union workers.) Consider this statistic with observations from various construction trade associations in the region, and clearly non-union workers overwhelmingly dominate the San Diego construction labor market. Under a Project Labor Agreement, unions would need to obtain workers from outside of the San Diego region.

According to the announcement from the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow, “This convention center expansion is rolling down the hill and picking up speed while the public is confused about what’s going on…The Draft Environmental Impact Report doesn’t make the situation any better for citizens of the City of San Diego…The Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow will ensure that the public is fully informed about the environmental implications of this convention center expansion.”

The announcement also notes that comments submitted by the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow include the following criticisms:

  1. The report clumsily combines two projects into one, thus confusing the public.
  2. The report neglects to inform the public of how the many public and private entities involved with the projects are responsible for the environmental mitigation.
  3. The report justifies the projects to the public with propaganda and without any consideration of the legitimate arguments to not build the project (and thus spare the environment from new damage.)
  4. The report fails to address the public’s concern about blocked views from other properties – views that have a measurable market value.
  5. The report fails to address the public’s concern about litter thrown in the harbor.
  6. The report fails to inform the public of how a union-only Project Labor Agreement would encourage out-of-area workers to commute to the construction sites each day.
  7. The report neglects to inform the public about the details of 45,000 square feet of retail space planned for the project.

Public discussion about expanding the San Diego Convention Center began in 2008, and in January 2009, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders formed the Mayor’s Citizen Task Force on the San Diego Convention Center Project “to evaluate and recommend the necessary steps required to ensure San Diego’s ability to retain and enhance its current market position in the convention and meeting industry.” Considering the vested interests appointed to this Task Force, no one was surprised when the Task Force voted 15-1 to recommend expanding the convention center, with only Lani Lutar – head of the San Diego County Taxpayers Associationvoting NO because of uncertainty about the source of funding for the expansion. Of interest is that one of the Task Force members was Lorena Gonzalez, head of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Central Labor Council.

Articles: Traditional Newspapers

Convention Center EIR Cites Numerous Impacts – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 3, 2012

Port Preparing Final Convention Center Environmental Impact Report – San Diego Daily Transcript – July 3, 2012 (mentions the Alliance for a Cleaner Tomorrow submitted comments)

Concerns Expressed on Center Expansion: Report Brings Up Aesthetics, Noise, Air Quality, Traffic – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 6, 2012

Related Harassment from the San Diego-Imperial Counties Central Labor Council

Labor Says ‘Living Wage’ Threatened at Convention Center – San Diego Union-Tribune – July 5, 2012