San Diego PLA News Wrap-up

0 August 26, 2009  State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

There are several interesting developments in the fight for open competition in San Diego.

San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Superintendent Terry Grier’s decision to take a new job in Houston, TX is no surprise to the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board, who blame the local teachers union and their labor allies for pushing Mr. Grier to look for greener pastures after less than two years on the job.  Here is an excerpt from the Union-Tribune’s August 21 editorial:

As far as San Diego Education Association boss Camille Zombro is concerned, the district’s 130,000-plus students are little more than props necessary to receive state funding for a union jobs program. Board members Shelia Jackson, Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans — elected with heavy union support last fall — share Zombro’s extreme views.

This is evident in how the board majority has dealt with the two biggest issues to come before it this year: the implementation of Proposition S, the $2.1 billion construction and renovation bond approved by voters last fall, and the crafting of a 2009-10 budget.

With Proposition S, Jackson, Barrera and Evans forced through a “project labor agreement” requiring the use of union labor on most bond-funded projects and mandating that non-union workers pay union fees.

In the 2008 campaign for the bond, plans for such a union payoff were never mentioned. The board majority adopted the PLA before it had been subject to even cursory independent scrutiny by either district staff or members of the bond oversight committee.

The certain result, based on the history of PLAs, is that far less will be done with the $2.1 billion bond than was promised to taxpayers.

In other news, there is a potential greenmail situation developing on San Diego’s new $21 million cruise ship terminal on Broadway Pier. Here is an excerpt from the story:

The San Diego Navy Broadway Complex Coalition’s attorney served the port with a “cease and desist” letter Friday.

Environmental attorney Cory Briggs argues that the terminal is out of sorts with the port’s master plan, which shows public space on the pier and a 79,000-square-foot oval park at the base of the pier. The group is expected to file a lawsuit on this issue next week.

The port held a groundbreaking for the terminal Aug. 4, but construction had already begun.

Would this citizen coalition have the same problem with this project if it were build with a PLA, or is this just another example of Big Labor holding up an important project because they didn’t get their slice?

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