Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009 | I support a project stabilization agreement for San Diego Unified, because the agreements work. It is too bad that the opponents are threatening and bullying school board president Sheila Jackson and members Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans. I commend these members for their courage.
I have administered several project labor agreements and know that they are one of the best tools for facilitating local participation. While I was in Oakland I administered a project labor agreement for the Port of Oakland that had over 60 percent of the workforce come from the local area. Additionally union and nonunion contractors bid, won and executed work. The Port of Oakland and the community met their goals. The Port got new maritime and aviation facilities, the community got careers and local contractors got paid.
These were public works that worked for the community. I believe that San Diego is capable of the same kind of success. Los Angeles Unified School District and other districts throughout the state have used these agreements to meet their goals of providing educational and job opportunities for their district residents. I have not seen any other tools that have been as effective at providing opportunity. A “hands off” approach has not and will not get results.
I have seen Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, attempt to intimidate educational boards in the past and unfortunately he uses inflammatory and bombastic rhetoric everywhere he does this pony show.
I think one of the worst parts of his rhetoric is that he actively discourages contractors from participating on projects. He spreads fear and attempts to create a self fulfilling prophecy by pushing contractors not to bid and win work.