Escondido, CA – Last night’s Charter City workshop in Escondido brought out a legion of opposition, mostly from members of the local Democratic party and from labor folks bused in from areas as far away as Los Angeles. No one spoke in favor of the charter.
Presentations were made from three groups at the beginning of the meeting: the Construction Trades Council for the union side, the Associated Builders and Contractors for the Fair and Open Competition opinion and Erik Bruvold, with National University System giving results of studies on prevailing wage.
City staff released a long-awaited study showing the potential savings over the next 5 year period if a charter were in place. Savings on just the local projects is estimated at upwards of $16 million if prevailing wages are not paid. This is local money that can then be spent on maintaining city services, such as fixing potholes and maintaining city infrastructure and buildings.
The goal of the workshop, proposed by Deputy Mayor Marie Waldron and co-authored by Councilman Ed Gallo, was to hear public input, however only two or three people actually gave relevant public input. The majority were making personal attacks on councilmembers, saying they felt they had no opportunity for public input or just denouncing the draft charter concept while offering no alternative.
Clearly the defense of costly prevailing wages and Project Labor Agreements was the focus of the meeting and the speakers were supportive of the union side.
The four conservative members of the council stood firm on their support for the charter concept, especially Fair and Open Competition. Olga Diaz, the lone Democrat on the council, sided with the union argument.
There will be many more hearings on this issue before it is decided and the charter is written.
The article in the North County Times can be viewed HERE.