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Ban the Ban: SD Joins Host of CA Cities Salvaging State Funds Ahead of SB7′s Implementation

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On Monday the San Diego City Council voted to affirm a compromise that would allow the city to operate under Proposition A’s exception clause in order to continue to receive funds from the state after SB7 goes into effect on January 1st, 2015.  The agreement was reached after Gov. Jerry Brown, State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith convinced the state legislature that the clause in the voter-approved Proposition A was enough to stop the potential disastrous funding stoppage. 

The problem stemmed from the passage of Proposition A, which banned the city from entering into Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).  If a compromise was not reached the city would have lost access to funding for infrastructure projects from the state.  The proposition was supported by the local Chamber of Commerce and anti-union contracting groups.  Council President Todd Gloria told The Daily Transcript that the city would have lost $383 million in the past year alone under Prop A. 

“A financial crisis was averted today,” Gloria said.  “Proposition A was a “gratuitous measure” that addressed a problem that did not exist: “The city of San Diego has never required a project labor agreement for a construction project.”

Since Prop A was approved by voters, the council had no power to rescind it.  Local politicians had been calling for a solution to the potential fallout, which would have impacted city and regional construction crews negatively.  The exception clause used to broker the compromise states that Prop A did not apply, “where required by state or federal law as a contracting or procurement obligation, or as a condition of the receipt of state or federal funds.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said that the city would operate under the exception clause until the issue was settled by the State Supreme Court.  He said until then the city would, “continue to seek fair and open competition in all its contracts,” a veiled labor unions and their preference for entering into PLAs, which anti-union interests commonly frame as excluding non-union contractors.


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