More mail against Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District bond “bait and switch”

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Another mail piece going out to East County residents regarding the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Board considering an “I take it back” on the promise for fair and open competition.

See the prior mail from the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

This piece is from the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction. Below that is a message from Eric Christen of CFEC.



by Eric Christen

In November of 2012 the taxpayers and voters in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District approved Prop V, a $398 million construction bond meant to add to and improve on existing facilities at the college. Needing 55% to pass, Prop V was was narrowly approved with 58.2% of the vote.

One of the reasons why this bond passed in an area that is politically very conservative was because of the endorsement of the well-respected San Diego County Taxpayers Association, which gave Prop V its blessing. It did so because the Board of Trustees at the college explicitly promised to not place a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on the bond money but instead promised to have projects built using fair and open competition.

Fast forward three years and here we are with a bond that has been approved but is being overseen by a newly constituted Board of Trustees, as of November 2014, that has been taken over by union-friendly members who have all pledged to support PLAs. Having had NO discussion of PLAs, this board majority will, we have been told, place on its October 20 agenda a vote to approve “negotiations” with local trade unions of a PLA for all Prop V work. This is an outrage.

Forcing all workers to be hired through union hiring halls, pay into union benefit packages they’ll never benefit from, and excluding non-union apprentices from working at all, are all provisions found in PLAs. Any Trustee who votes to support such blatant waste and discrimination not only deserves condemnation, they deserve to be recalled.

Should the Trustees at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District vote to approve a PLA both will happen.

Admin note, 10/19/15 — The members of the College Board in 2012 are the same individuals at present; they agreed then to fair and open competition.


Comments 15

  1. This kind of shamelessly, blatant double-cross cannot stand. Anyway to recall these jerks?

  2. Regardless of your opinion on PLAs, I am sure we can all agree that elected officials have an obligation to keep the promises made by their predecessors. I am equally sure that all of you have condemned every Presidential candidate who has said that he/she would “tear up the Iranian Nuclear Deal” on his/her first day in office.

  3. HQ, if a candidate RAN on that “tear up the agreement” platform, at the very least I would respect the honesty, and voters would understand what they were voting for.

    Tell me — how many of YOUR union sycophants (in all the school district elections) ran on a platform of “If elected, I’ll impose PLA agreements”? Hmmmm??????

  4. T.A.,

    Thanks for the clarification. I wonder if everyone else who was calling this a “blatant double cross” or words to that effect, knew that this was the same Board.

  5. To further clarify, existing board or new board, the resolution to place the measure on the ballot, and voted by the public, included…

    “…prior to the issuance of the bonds, the District shall apply and continue to enforce a prequalification of bidders procedure on all new projects set forth in Exhibit “B” so that the District can be confident that all contractors, at all times, are qualified to bid on, work on, and complete such projects; however, the District will promote fair and open competition for all District construction projects so that all contractors and workers, whether union or non-union, are treated equally in the bidding and awarding of District construction contracts.”

    This could be viewed as a contract with the citizens of the district, of course.

  6. “This could be viewed as a contract with the citizens of the district, of course.”

    As could the Nuclear Agreement be viewed as a contract not only with Iran but also with Germany, England, France, Russia and China.

  7. “…the District will promote fair and open competition for all District construction projects so that all contractors and workers, whether union or non-union, are treated equally in the bidding and awarding of District construction contracts.”

    The courts, up to and including the California and U.S. Supreme Courts, have repeatedly and consistently ruled that PLAs are not discriminatory against non-union contractors or workers.

  8. I am aware of several negatives related to PLA’s. I also assume there may be some benefits. That said, I think it should be a requirement to put whether or not a PLA will be considered for a bond program clearly in the ballot text. Voters should be able to take that into account prior to voting.

    I also know that PLA’s can vary widely. If a PLA is going to be proposed, the general details of it should be hashed out beforehand and put on the ballot as well.

  9. Oh my! HQ, treaties don’t have the force of law. They are an AGREEMENT, which legally any signer can renege on (with either words or actions) at any time. When one reneges, it demonstrates that one is not a reliable person/country to negotiate with, and hopefully causes more circumspect treatment by other countries, if not sanctions. That being said, the U.S. leadership seems to seldom learn this lesson when such treaties are broken — Iran and North Korea being but two examples.

    All that is quite different than an ENFORCEABLE law. IF this school bond initiative is considered binding by a court of law, then later going to PLA agreements can be overturned. I’m NOT here making the case that the language is enforceable — that’s for the attorneys and courts to decide.

    A better example is the HSR bond prop that was passed by the voters. The stipulations in that agreement are often rather precise, and a strong case has been made (and sometimes accepted by the courts) that the project cannot continue if it violates what the voters specifically approved. It ain’t a treaty. Neither is the Grossmont school bond.

  10. I am going to see what happens at the public comment workshop at 4pm, Grossmont College, Griffin’s Gate in building 60. Everyone who voted for this prop and expected its terms to be upheld should attend.

  11. Richard,

    From Wikipedia:

    “Treaties can be loosely compared to contracts: both are means of willing parties assuming obligations among themselves, and a party to either that fails to live up to their obligations can be held liable under international law.”

  12. The legality of the PLA is essentially a marginal issue compared with the political consequences. These trustees are implementing a PLA for no reason other than an agenda that is not related to their duties as trustees. The projects thus far have been successfully completed on time and within the budgets that were planned. Why a PLA? Lets (wrongly) assume there are no additional costs associated with PLAs and that they are not contrary to the ballot language, the voters in this district are not going to accept the legality as a sound rational and still feel that this was a disingenuous move. The bond passed by a very narrow margin during a presidential election where democrat voter turnout is historically higher, so the trustees are virtually assuring that no further bonds will be passed. By taking on a role outside of what a governing board should concern themselves with they are damaging their primary function, to provide the community with the best possible access to education. Facilities are an enormous factor in supporting student success.

    Their goals need to be in alignment with the community, yet at the latest meeting the board allowed numerous comments from mostly factions outside the community, limiting the diversity of thought. No students spoke, no former students who did not have a direct financial interest in construction projects, no parents of students, no faculty, no voters from the district without financial interest etc…

    It was a very limited public comment session that was not publicized properly to allow people time to adjust schedules and held at an hour that regular people who are not being paid to be there (like those form the unions and construction fields probably were) the reasonable ability to attend. It was a mockery of the intentions of the Brown Act. It showed that the trustees care more about their own political ideology and agenda than the needs and wants of the people they are serving.

  13. There’s more to this whole shenanigan by the entire board. Just WHAT exactly has been constructed via this bond? How much as the project management company taken to date, and exactly how much construction has even been completed?

    Take a look at who is on the board, and who their friends are. And whose construction management firm is running this show?

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