Don’t Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.

Argument for Charter City Status in California Falling Apart at the Seams

submit to reddit  

In an op-ed rallying citizens of Escondido, California against Proposition G, Don Greene of the Escondido Democratic Club refutes claims by charter city advocates that privatization saves taxpayers money.  The issue is up for public vote this November.

Prop G supporters want to eliminate the prevailing wage. But this type of action hasn’t yielded the intended results in nearby cities.

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, a Republican endorsed by the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors and known extremist Rep. Darrell Issa, has been using the City of Carlsbad as an example of why this charter is necessary. He has ignored the lack of public support (and a similar Proposition’s defeat in 2012) while pushing for unnecessary change.  Now, a Carlsbad survey shows the argument for ditching the prevailing wage to be flawed.  

When asked, “What savings have been realized on average for those contracts where non prevailing wages have been applied?,” the city of Carlsbad replied:

We have found savings to be hard to ascertain.  Bid prices might be lower on the front end but there is some suspicion that total project costs may impact initial savings (change orders, costly project delays, more labor by city employees, etc.).

Greene’s op-ed digs its claws deeper into the mayor’s claim that “eliminating prevailing wages would save the city $16 million”:

Let’s understand what these supposed savings are exactly. For the city to save the monies that the Mayor is purporting, the city would have to have the money to begin these projects.  And let’s face it, it doesn’t.  In other words, to say that paying other than a prevailing wage on a project that hasn’t begun is like saying you saved $150,000 by not buying a Lamborghini; you didn’t have the money to buy the car, you weren’t ever planning on buying the car but what a great shopper you are for racking up those savings.

The argument that the charter is a good thing because it will save money if and when we get around to building something is ridiculous. Look at the list of project costs that the City of Carlsbad mentions:  change orders and project delays. This is a laundry list of problems we’ve already seen in Escondido. Look no further than the new Police/Fire Headquarters. The city decided that it would manage the construction of that project on its own and problems were everywhere. Every meeting, change orders were brought before the council. There were a number of delays – including a delay because of ceiling leaks during rain storms – that pushed the project completion further along. This is what we got when we decided to save money and manage the project on our own.

What’s worse for Abed is a fresh San Diego Superior Court ruling which makes the prevailing wage argument more or less moot. That ruling states that California cities which don’t pay the prevailing wage can’t receive state funds for construction. So saving money by suppressing construction worker wages is off the table for Escondido, charter or no charter. He’ll have to find another portion of the population to rip off.


No Comments on “Argument for Charter City Status in California Falling Apart at the Seams”

No one has commented on this entry yet.

Leave a Reply

To prove you’re a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image