Photo courtesy of KPBS
Eric Christen, executive director of The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, appears on KPBS Evening Edition May 7.
Statement: “In 2010 November they passed an initiative then that banned project labor agreements at the county level. Every precinct in the county voted in favor of banning project labor agreements,” Eric Christen, executive director of The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, said during a May 7 interview with KPBS.
Determination: Mostly True
Analysis: Less than a month from Election Day, a little-known initiative on the ballot is gaining more attention. Proposition A would ban the city from requiring construction deals called project labor agreements.
The initiative is part of an ongoing battle between non-union contractors and organized labor to influence who will gain from government-funded construction. Both sides believe billions are at stake and have already fought bitter campaigns in Chula Vista, Oceanside and the county.
So far, advocates for non-union contractors have won the ballot battle. And to demonstrate his optimism that San Diego voters will also side with them, Christen recently cited a statistic.
“The citizens of San Diego have already voted,” Christen told KPBS this week. “In 2010 November they passed an initiative then that banned project labor agreements at the county level. Every precinct in the county voted in favor of banning project labor agreements.”
We decided to Fact Check Christen’s statement because it sounded like a bold claim for the results of any election. Countywide, nearly 76 percent of voters supported the ban. Was no precinct the exception?
Election records show Christen’s claim is pretty accurate. A majority of voters in 98.5 percent of precincts approved a ballot measure similar to the one now being considered for the city.
The 27 precincts that opposed the measure each included a small number of voters, known as absentee precincts. Most included less than 10. In some of the precincts, one person voted for the measure and one voted against it, and technically, that meant the number of votes didn’t reach a majority.
The map below illustrates the election results by precinct. Red shows the few absentee precincts that voted against the initiative. Blue shows precincts that approved it. The darker the shade of blue, the more support the initiative received.
One interesting trend from the map is how support fanned out from the city’s urban core. It got the least support in downtown and uptown neighborhoods, more support in suburban neighborhoods, and then the most support in rural communities.
We’ve rated Christen’s claim Mostly True because the vast majority of precincts supported the initiative but technically, not every single one. We found the distinction didn’t significantly impact the statement’s impression and amounted to only an important caveat.
If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.
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