Spirited Debate

During last week’s mayoral debate, a potential problem for developing Chula Vista’s bayfront was revealed. In June, Chula Vistans will vote on Proposition G. Proposition G is supported by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. The organization calls itself “construction industry’s voice” and “the leading organization representing merit shop construction.”

Proposition G wants to change the Chula Vista Municipal Code language to say, among other things, that in projects paid for by city or redevelopment funds the City cannot “become a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement” or be “required to make payments on behalf of employees to union benefit plans or other trust funds.”

At the debate, mayoral candidate and Council member Steve Castaneda interpreted the consequences of Proposition G by saying: “Proposition G will prohibit the City from investing in projects that have some sort of labor agreement...that doesn’t necessarily mean organized-labor agreement — it could be contributing to a trust fund or pension fund. The language is so loose, our attorneys and those of the port district don’t really know what it means. Right now, Pacifica companies has an agreement with organized labor for a hotel on the bayfront. If Proposition G passes, the City would not be able to contribute to the infrastructure for that project…which would essentially kill that project.”

Attempts to speak with Chula Vista city attorney Bart Miesfeld about potential problems with Proposition G were unsuccessful.

Lisa Cohen, CEO of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, said that the chamber “chose to oppose” Proposition G. She then referred me to the chamber’s press release, which states that after a spirited debate “the board voted by a two to one majority to oppose Proposition G.” A factor in the decision was that “Proposition G would trigger litigation that could delay and disrupt development projects under Chula Vista’s jurisdictions.”

The press release concluded by saying board members representing both points of view agreed “that it was unfortunate that Chula Vista was targeted as a candidate jurisdiction for the initiative or an initiative of this type.”

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"Double, double, toil and trouble Fire burn, and cauldron bubble"

Hmmm, let's see. The cv city council and the chamber of commerce took a position against Prop G but mayor cox supports it. I wonder why she would do that?

and now, with this curious turn of events, prop g endangering the bayfront development, some are wondering if they should support prop g to defeat the development.....

It’s nice to hear some ChulaVista politicians and the city’s Chamber of Commerce speak out against Prop G, but their arguments miss the real problem with the proposition. They only seem to care about Prop G’s potential interference with their bayfront development plans. Not a word is mentioned about the welfare of the workers who will build the hotels and condos that will make a few very rich. Proponents of Prop G, mostly profit greedy contractors, claim they can save taxpayers money by hiring non-union workers, (cheaper labor). However, being less greedy and cutting their profits would have the same effect. Paying union wages and benefits promotes healthier, happier families, which in turn makes for a healthier local economy and community in general. Proposition G is written and endorsed by those who want to squeeze as much as they can from workers and line their own pockets, making them much wealthier and happy instead.

In a perfect world, would every worker be in a union of some sort? Would the citizenry agree to the tax rate necessary to support everyone collecting union wages and benefits, including pensions? We have seen what overly generous pay and benefits can do to a city or state budget. Can we afford to spend twice the money on municipal development projects than the open bidding initiative may achieve? I am not in favor of handing undeserved riches to developers but the reality of competition dictates some citizens will earn more than others. Do you think all of the houses in eastern Chula Vista were built with union wages? If yes or even maybe, you would be wrong, but the wages were fair based on the skill level of the employee. Today's market rate for construction is much lower with a profit margin lower also. Let's take advantage of this and get more bang for our bucks.

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