Entries by Kevin Dayton

Roman Catholic Church Lobbies for a New Regional Public Power Agency in California

Roman Catholic theological positions on climate change and social justice have motivated the Diocese of Monterey to campaign for a new government-controlled regional electricity utility for three Central California coastal counties. This public agency, called Monterey Bay Community Power, will soon provide electricity for customers in Santa Cruz County, San Benito County, and Monterey County. […]

Community Choice Aggregation Electric Power Agencies in California: Pros and Cons

Local governments in the major metropolitan areas of California are looking at establishing or joining “community choice aggregation” joint powers agencies. These government agencies will generate electricity for ratepayers as a competitor to the state’s three major investor-owned utilities (Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric). A few are fully operational, […]

Analysis of 2001 Bush Executive Order Allowing Federal Funds for Project Labor Agreements

In early 2001, President George W. Bush issued two executive orders related to a prohibition on federal funding for construction contracts that included a requirement for contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with trade unions. The first executive order – Presidential Executive Order 13202, signed on February 17, 2001 – received national news coverage and Congressional attention. […]

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Using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to Turn Out the Lights

In California, if something saves money for taxpayers and improves life while reducing energy consumption, it’s bad for the environment and must be terminated. How do we know? Public participation in environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). For example, a law firm working on behalf of construction unions has identified numerous environmental […]

Will Mandated Project Labor Agreements Again Trigger Ineligibility for Federal Funds?

Political observers are now speculating about which executive actions Donald Trump will take after becoming President. One of his actions may reverse federal policy toward government-mandated union Project Labor Agreements on federally-funded projects. President Trump can rescind President Obama’s 2009 executive order encouraging Project Labor Agreements on federally-funded projects. In addition, he can issue his […]

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Another California Local Government Gives Unions a Contract Monopoly to Get State Funding

Numerous California elected officials are condemning President-Elect Donald Trump’s proposal of immigration-related conditions for local governments to obtain federal grants. But at the same time, California elected officials are imposing their own union-related conditions for local governments to obtain state grants. Local control is obviously not the principle at issue. There is now a second case in 2016 of a California local government voting to give unions monopoly […]

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Union-Owned Non-Profit Affordable Housing Development Active in San Diego County Politics

A non-profit affordable housing complex located in National City, California has become a major political force in San Diego County. Since 2010, the “San Diego County Building Trades Council Family Housing Corporation dba National City Park Apartments” has donated about $800,000 directly to campaign committees, most of them based in San Diego County. It has been a top […]

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“Other” in California Prevailing Wage Creeps Higher

The California Department of Industrial Relations does not determine state prevailing wage rates for construction trades by surveying contractors or workers or by using statistics gathered by the California Economic Development Department. By law, the state uses union agreements to set prevailing wages. Thus, the prevailing wage is always the “union wage.” And the geographical […]

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How Unions Undermined the Rights of California’s Charter Cities

In recognition that the municipal needs of people in the City of Needles might be different than the needs of people in the City of San Francisco, the California Constitution gives cities the right to control their own municipal affairs through a charter. These charters – approved by voters – are mini-constitutions that allow “home-rule.” Matters […]

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College Board in Orange County Lets Unions Take Over Taxpayer Oversight

Unions continue to undermine the independence and effectiveness of citizens bond oversight committees at California school and community college districts. In December 2015, the elected board of trustees for the Rancho Santiago Community College District voted 4-2 to reject an application from the President & CEO of the long-established Orange County Taxpayers Association to serve on […]

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Unions Pester Community Choice Aggregation Energy Programs in California

Where there is innovation, there is union interference. Marin Clean Energy, the first “Community Choice Aggregation” program in California, is planning to build a solar farm on a “brownfield” in the City of Richmond. Only one party objected to the project on environmental grounds: “Bay Area Citizens for Responsible Solar,” a front group for […] […]

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More Union Deals in Monterey County’s Quest for Water Project Funding

More than a year of waiting has proven fruitless for Monterey County. It’s now February 2016 and the State of California still hasn’t provided any funding to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency for a tunnel expected to significantly increase its capability for water storage. California State Assemblymember Luis Alejo, who represents the region, could […]

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California Construction Unions Saved the Planet Again in 2015

California construction trade unions continue to protect the environment from the scourges of renewable energy and infill development. A chart below provides examples of their achievements for the planet in 2015. Meanwhile, 2015 ends with the annual chatter at the state capitol that “maybe next year” will be the year that the California legislature amends the California Environmental Quality […]

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Project Labor Agreement Threats Surge in California in 2015

California’s construction trade unions greatly expanded their campaign in 2015 to get local elected officials to require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions as a condition of winning a public works contract. In 2015, 47 California local governments considered a union Project Labor Agreement mandate for future taxpayer-funded construction contracts. On a few occasions in 2015, Project […]

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Unions Stand By Beleaguered California High-Speed Rail

Construction unions were among the top donors to the campaign to pass Proposition 1A, the November 2008 California ballot measure that authorized the state to borrow $9.95 billion via bond sales for development of a “safe, reliable high-speed passenger train for the 21st century.” (See a chart of the top-40 donors to Proposition 1A at the […]

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Will Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committees Crumble Against Union Power?

Numerous local K-12 school districts and community college districts throughout California have entangled themselves in controversies over facilities construction funded by borrowed money obtained through bond sales. These controversies include the irresponsible sale of Capital Appreciation Bonds, inappropriate expenditures using bond proceeds, and questionable contracts for bond underwriting, construction program management, and project delivery. There has even been overt […]

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Construction Unions Dominate a Marin County Bond Measure Campaign

Construction trade unions in California are likely to be celebrating on November 3, 2015 as voters approve another set of local school bond measures and launch another round of taxing, borrowing, and spending. Eight school districts in California are asking voters to approve a total of nine bond measures for school facilities construction on the November ballot. […]

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Community College Board in California Will Be Accountable to Voters

The eastern suburbs of San Diego (“East County”) have been and are still regarded as politically conservative. But even this area isn’t impervious to the political movement in California toward European-style social democracy. Labor unions and their political allies have recently gained political control of an East County local government and are now exercising their power. But there is resistance. While the […]

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Union Campaign Contributions Pile Up Before School Board Vote on Union Deal

Whenever California voters approve a sizable bond measure to fund construction at a school or community college district, union lobbyists quickly scramble to win control of the work through a Project Labor Agreement. At the Salinas Union High School District, a flood of union campaign money preceded a September 29 board vote to abandon negotiations and […]

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Project Labor Agreement Requirement Downplayed in Pro-Bond Campaigns

Who decides what action items are on a school board agenda? A case in Monterey County, California reveals that unions think they can make some of those decisions. In November 2014, voters in the Salinas Union High School District authorized the district to borrow $128 million for school construction by selling bonds to investors. By March 2015, […]

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Unions Seek Control of Recent California School Bond Measures

Has California school and community college facility construction become a perpetual government stimulus program for politically-favored construction trade unions? Fifteen years ago, it was obvious that many school and college districts in California needed new construction, modernization, or renovation of their facilities for the safety and comfort of students, teachers, administrators, and support staff. […] […]

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California Unions Masquerade as Community-Based Environmental Groups

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a labor issue. That’s why unions are prominent opponents of any amendments to CEQA that would restrict or prohibit using the law to achieve objectives not related to environmental protection. Unions routinely use CEQA as a tool to pressure public agencies and private developers (or their agents) to sign collective bargaining agreements, project […] […]

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“For the Kids” – Comprehensive Review of California School Bonds, Executive Summary (Section 1 of 9)

See the complete California Policy Center report For the Kids: California Voters Must Become Wary of Borrowing Billions More from Wealthy Investors for Educational Construction (complete, printable PDF Version, 4 MB, 361 pages) Links to all sections of this study readable online: You are Here: Executive Summary: “For the Kids” – Comprehensive Review of California School Bonds (1 of 9) More Borrowing for […]