The Morning Report
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007 | Chula Vista has been dealt a severe loss in the cancellation of the Gaylord project.
Chula Vista has been trying to do something great with its bay front for almost 40 years now. Finally, we have a magnificent bay-front master plan for which the Gaylord project was going to provide the much needed catalyst. Without this project, the losses to Chula Vista are countless. Lost will be years more in trying to find another major project to replace it; more delays in the surrounding bayfront projects being developed; the loss of thousands of construction jobs; the losses of hundreds of permanent jobs from ongoing operations; the loss of facilities the citizens of Chula Vista can use for meetings, high school proms; the loss of time, money, and fuel to drive significantly further to a location that can accomodate such uses; the loss of millions in tax revenues to benefit Chula Vistans; etc.
I know that all sides had issues which were important to them. But if we get a chance with Gaylord again or some other project, we need to move past that and do what’s best for the long term benefit of Chula Vista and its citizens. The goal of trying to provide the most possible local jobs is a noble one, however, given that the Gaylord project would have required thousands of construction jobs, it is highly likely that the region may not have the required number of skilled, competent workers and that we would need to draw from other places, especially if the housing market rebounds and construction picks up again. Unemployment rates have generally been low, especially a year or two ago. So the necessity for out of area labor is quite likely.
With the project, certainly most jobs would have been local as it would cost companies too much to relocate workers from other areas, or house them temporarily during construction, etc. So their costs would be less to find local skilled and competent workers.
With the Gaylord project, many jobs would have likely been union jobs and with Gaylord’s commitment to pay union level wages, this would have leveled the competitive playing field, removing the cost advantage from bidders which pay less than union wages of union contractors.
So with Gaylord, we would have gotten a high percentage of local jobs and a high percentage of union jobs. Without it, we get nothing. And even if another project comes along, previous proposals have been very modest in comparison, meaning hundreds or thousands fewer jobs.
I find it ironic that the IBEW has taken a full page ad in the Union-Tribune proudly stating that they stood up to Gaylord. It appears to me that they stood up too hard and to the peril of local workers.