Some of you may recall the highlight we posted on the San Diego Union-Tribune’s opinion pieces regarding Proposition A (Prop A), which passed last month when put to the voters of the City of San Diego. After reading yesterday’s Monday Morning Quarterback, we felt it necessary to highlight the main article rather than post the entire issue.
In the article, AGC Executive Vice President Jim Ryan calls on John F. Kennedy as a shining example of facing adversity, and laughing at it. The quote Mr. Ryan uses is a particularly powerful passage from JFK’s Profiles in Courage: “A man does what he must in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all human morality.”
What began as a call to action has culminated in Mr. Ryan’s celebratory piece, relishing in the decisive victory of Prop A, which he also acknowledges as a victory for the voice of the people. The article has been copied below so that all of those who had their fingers crossed on June 7th can relive the historic moment. The full edition of this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback is available here.
San Diego’s State Senate and Assembly Democratic Representatives Need to Reread John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage
By Jim Ryan, Executive Vice President
“Well…..Senators Kehoe and Vargas, and Assembly members Atkins, Block and Hueso…it is time to reread John F. Kennedy’sProfiles in Courage. The scheme, crafted by State Building Trades head Bob Balgenorth, to defeat Proposition A, the City of San Diego’s Fair and Open Competition Ordinance, did not work. As the elected representatives of this City, you need to have the courage to represent your constituents and lead the repeal of SB 922 and SB 829.
Let me explain……
SB 922 and SB 829 were conceived in some back rooms in Sacramento in an effort to stop the voters in San Diego from passing Proposition A, the Fair and Open Competition Ordinance. The scheme was fairly innovative, but had one major flaw…the voters in San Diego…your constituents…. saw right through the scheme. We have been told that the following details what happened.
STEP #1 Balgenorth, Gonzalez, and Lemmon Outraged with Voters in San Diego County
In June and November of 2010, voters in Oceanside, Chula Vista, and the entire County of San Diego, voted overwhelmingly to adopt Fair and Open Competition Ordinances (FOCO) that prohibited those public entities from requiring union-only Project Labor Agreements on their public construction projects. The FOCO initiatives simply allow all contractors….those with union agreements and those without union agreements to compete…no contractor is excluded due to their labor relations policies.
Bob Balgenorth, Lorena Gonzalez, head of the local AFL CIO, and Tom Lemmon, head of the local Building Trades Council were outraged!!!
STEP #2 Signatures collected for a City of San Diego FOCO
As we entered into 2011, it became apparent to those outraged officials that a coalition of construction trade associations in San Diego, including AGC, was collecting signatures to place a Fair and Open Competition Ordinance on the ballot that would apply to the City of San Diego. We are told that the outraged Balgenorth, Gonzalez, and Lemmon decided they needed help to stop this whole effort. They met with legislators and conceived SB 922. The plan was to quickly pass this bill in the fall of 2011 before the coalition could turn in the signatures to put a City of San Diego FOCO on the ballot. The thought was that the coalition would “pull” the initiative effort because SB 922 supposedly stopped state funding for local construction projects. (hmmm… pulling the initiative was wishful thinking on the their part).
Well…that did not work. The signatures were turned in a day or two before SB 922 was introduced. Once the signatures are turned in, there is no way to stop the ordinance from going on the ballot. The ordinance qualified and FOCO was scheduled for the June 2012 election…the next scheduled election in San Diego.
STEP #3 Change in Strategy
Well…what started out as a bill to simply encourage FOCO supporters to pull the initiative from the ballot then switched to the basis of their campaign to defeat the initiative. Balgenorth, Gonzalez, and Lemmon, decided to beat the City of San Diego FOCO at the ballot box based on the threat of denying the citizens of San Diego funding of construction projects if the voters dared pass a Fair and Open Competition Ordinance. In fact, this Spring, they went back to the Legislature and convinced you to pass SB 829 which allegedly strengthened the “you are going to lose State funding” argument.
STEP # 4 Campaign Promises Made
As part of passing SB 829 in April, we are told that Balgenort pledged to invest “whatever it takes” to use the threat of loss of state funding to defeat the FOCO initiative, which was now called Proposition A.
A significant investment was made…somewhere around $1,300,000, most of which came from a union slush fund in Sacramento. The unions in San Diego contributed very little to the No on A Campaign.
We are also told that legislative leaders were told that if by some chance the City of San Diego FOCO passed, that Balgenorth, Gonzalez, and Lemmon, had a backup plan to take out the initiative through filing a law suit.
STEP # 5 FOCO PASSES by 16%
Well….after all of this effort, the voters in the City of San Diego saw through the scheme and overwhelmingly voted in favor of FOCO…….by just over a 16% margin. Hmmm!!!
STEP # 7 City of Vista Supreme Court Decision
On election night, Lorena Gonzalez repeatedly pledged that since it appeared the voters did not respond to Bob Balgenorth’s campaign, a lawsuit would be filed that would take Proposition A out. We assume this lawsuit depended on the Bob Balgenorth winning a case called the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, AFL CIO v City of Vista.
Well…. the California Supreme Court issued a decision last week and ruled in favor of the City of Vista. While this case had to do with prevailing wage it also had to do with the rights of Charter Cities. Our legal experts feel that Prop A has always been sound legally and this decision enforces that theory. The decision significantly strengthens the charter city “home rule” provisions of the state constitution.
So…….Senators Kehoe and Vargus and Assembly members Block, Hueso, and Atkins……now is the time to get some courage. The battle over Fair and Open competition in San Diego was lost by Bob Balgenorth and his associates. It’s time for you to lead….SB 922 and 829 were designed to create a campaign issue and they failed. Listen to your constituents and get 922 and 829 off the table.
Perhaps this quote from Profiles in Courage is appropriate……“A man does what he must in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all human morality.”
If this quote does not inspire you, how about the fact that over 750,000 of your constituents in the San Diego County have voted for the various Fair and Open Competition Ordinances!!!!!”