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Want to know why the growth of government is the greatest threat to our future?

The latest example is a grant that came from the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which gave almost $5 million dollars to the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transit Agency (MTC) in order to carry out the socialist dictates of a plan entitled the “Bay Area Regional Prosperity Plan.”

This Thursday in Redwood City, a coalition of “community organizations”–many of which are front groups for the socialist labor movement, including churches, social justice and living wage nonprofits, unions, local governments, housing collaboratives, and others who profit off the massive, growing labor-poverty-government industrial complex—are hosting one of their 5 launch meetings for their “Regional Economic Prosperity Strategy.

You might think that sounds harmless, even beneficial–and you’d be right if they were advocating for less government restriction to unleash the power of the free market.

But they’re not. And they’re not doing it with their money. They are lobbying our state and local government with our tax dollars handed over by agencies of our federal government.

Yes, that’s right. Government is using money funneled through an innocuous-sounding grant to advocate for the following (and these are just a few of the juicy ones):

90….Organize and professionalize industries to improve wages, benefits and career ladders. (So now the government is now officially in the business of subsidizing the unionization of entire industries?)

93. Remove barriers to unionization.  (Really? Shouldn’t the goal of an effort at creating prosperity be to remove barriers to economic growth so that companies can prosper, expand and hire more workers?)

95. Enacting living wage ordinances. (Translation: Force private businesses to pay above-market wages to compensate some individuals while reducing opportunity for others.)

96. Passing prevailing wage ordinances. (Make government contracts for services such as janitors and security guards as grossly overpriced for taxpayers as public works projects are now.)

97. Establishing project labor agreements (PLAs). (Force all those wishing to work on a project to join a union, and legally discriminate against smaller contractors, who are usually non-union and might be willing to work for less, costing the public more.)

Yet what’s so bad about wanting economic security? Isn’t prosperity desirable?

Sure, but the key is in how you achieve it.

If you wake up one morning and decide you are going to rob a bank because you can’t find work, that might get you prosperity, but it’s illegal and could also get you 20 years behind bars.

By robbing a bank, you put the lives and economic prosperity of others in jeopardy, and that’s immoral. You wouldn’t steal your neighbor’s car either, but why is it OK if the government robs your neighbor’s business by forcing him to pay a “living wage” instead of whatever the market will bear?

Theft is theft, even if the government is the agent of it.

At its core, this is really a moral question.

Is it moral for the government to take from those according to their ability and give to those according to their needs?” Karl Marx thought so, and pushed for a fully communist society, in which the government controlled everything–all means of production–and where every individual belonged to and was dependent on the state.

That’s economic servitude—slavery—the antithesis of freedom.

And yet, little by little, California is funding this socialist labor movement, so that outcomes are equalized and controlled by the government.

It all started with a coalition of governmental bodies who crafted a regional plan entitled Plan Bay Area.  It is a blueprint to implement “social justice” initiatives disguised as a pathway to prosperity, which empower unelected “regional” bureaucrats to dictate what you can do with your property, your business and your capital.

By forcing Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) on every public project–and pushing for more public projects as a means of “job creation” for “low and middle wage” workers–all job creation is put at risk.

It is ironic that by instituting PLA’s, the bureaucrats almost guarantee that those jobs will never go to any of the people they claim they want to help; those jobs will be parceled out by powerful unions in union halls based on seniority, not need.

Pushing for “living wage” ordinances might sound noble, but it’s not government’s job to fix prices for labor or anything else. In order to give that raise to someone by legislative fiat, you must first take that money from the business owner.

In a completely free market, If you don’t work, you don’t eat. And being hungry is a powerful motivator.  It forces you to learn new skills in order to meet the demands of the market.

If you believe that government ought to keep its hands out of your pockets, and stick to its proper role–which is protecting our right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”; securing our borders; maintaining infrastructure; and achieving a handful of other things enumerated in the Constitution–then you cannot be silent in the face of an attempt to seize what little freedom you have left.

Breitbart

More than a thousand supporters of California High Speed Rail filled the barren lot of what is supposed to become a multistory train station in Fresno today for a symbolic groundbreaking.

Nearly two years after construction was supposed to start, and more than six years after voters approved a bond to help fund California high speed rail, state and local leaders met in Fresno’s historic Chinatown today to mark the start of the project’s construction.

 

January 07, 2015

Associated Press

 

California broke ground Tuesday on its $68 billion high-speed rail system, promising to combat global warming while whisking travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than three hours.

The bullet train project, the first in the nation to get underway, faces challenges from Republican cost-cutters in Congress and Central Valley farmers suing to keep the rails off their fields. Others doubt the state can deliver the sleek system as designed, and worry it will become an expensive failure.

But Gov. Jerry Brown said high-speed rail is essential to meeting his latest goal: Encouraging the nation's most populous state to get half its power from renewable energy by 2030.

"It's not that expensive. We can afford it. In fact, we cannot NOT afford it," Brown said before signing a symbolic section of rail. "All these projects are a little touch and go. You'll have these critics say 'why spend all this money?'"

Janelle Bludau

January 7, 2015

Dozens of protestors were outside Tuesday's High-Speed Rail Groundbreaking holding signs and expressing their anger towards the project, calling on the city to "Stop the Train."

Ten year old Anna Dayton said she already knows what the new high speed rail will mean for her.

"My friends and I are going to have to pay for this when we grow up," Dayton said.

Dozens, including Anna were out protesting Tuesday's groundbreaking, expressing their frustrations over the controversial project.

"I mean if you think about all of the transportation that we already have, all of this money could be going to better causes," protestor Samantha Arteno said.

Some said the High-Speed Rail Authority has already crossed too many boundaries.

"They had to hop the fence. We didn't give them permission. They sawed off the ladder and covered those doors," Protestor with Chinatown Revitalization Kathy

Omachi said.

Thursday, 08 January 2015 17:49

State clears SD on labor rules

Conflict over union wages could have cost city many millions

David Garrick 

January 8, 2014

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO — State officials confirmed Thursday that San Diego averted a potential financial crisis last fall by declaring that the city can make special wage agreements with labor groups on certain construction projects.

City officials expressed confidence in October that the declaration, approved unanimously by the City Council, would preserve their eligibility for millions in state funding.

The Rancho Santiago Community College District in Orange County (California) declared in a December 8, 2014 letter that it “unconditionally commits that it will cease, desist from, and not repeat the challenged past action…” That action involves secret dealings with unions.

A construction trade association was willing to threaten litigation to make this happen. And to emphasize its seriousness, the association also made an elected board member accountable to voters for his involvement in the secret dealings. That candidate ended up losing a key election for a California State Senate seat.

What was done wrong? While negotiating a Project Labor Agreement with construction trade unions for future construction contracts, the elected board of trustees for this community college district appeared to violate state law requiring government entities to give public access to its deliberations and actions. The board discussed the proposed content of the Project Labor Agreement in closed session meetings. The public could not know what was happening.

California construction trade unions seemed to be encouraging local governments to discuss embarrassing Project Labor Agreement controversies (such as trade jurisdictional disputes among unions) out of sight of the public. A month before the closed session board meetings at the Rancho Santiago Community College District, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority had been caught also planning to discuss Project Labor Agreement terms and conditions in a closed session meeting.

If this practice continued, it would undermine the public’s ability to comment on Project Labor Agreements.

An attorney representing the Southern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) initiated correspondence with the Rancho Santiago Community College District objecting to the board’s closed session meetings. Objections were based on California Government Code Section 54960 (part of the Ralph M. Brown Act), which authorizes any interested person to seek judicial action to stop or prevent violations or threatened violations of state laws related to open and transparent government conduct.

In response, the president of the college board of trustees provided the following statement:

The Board of Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District has received your cease and desist letter on behalf of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California, Inc. dated October 10, 2014, and clarification letter on November 6, 2014, alleging that the following described past action of the legislative body violates the Ralph M. Brown Act:

• Holding closed session negotiation and discussions regarding the terms of project labor agreements, including the ”Community and Student Workforce Project Agreement.”

In order to avoid unnecessary litigation and without admitting any violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, the Board of Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District hereby unconditionally commits that it will cease, desist from, and not repeat the challenged past action as described above.

But it wasn’t enough just to get a letter from the college district. There needed to be true public accountability for the scheme.

As it pursued the violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, the Southern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors began informing the public about the involvement of community college board member Jose Solorio in the Project Labor Agreement scheme. Solorio was in a highly competitive election for an open State Senate seat.

In the end, Solorio lost the election to Republican Janet Nguyen, allowing Republicans to gain a seat in the California State Senate and deprive Democrats of a supermajority. The college district agreed not to engage in closed session discussions about Project Labor Agreements. And a warning was sent to union officials and their political sycophants about doing their business in secret.

Sources

“cease, desist from, and not repeat” letter from President of Board of Trustees of Rancho Santiago Community College District - December 8, 2014

Hiding of Solorio Backed Union Deal Likely To End in Lawsuit – OC Political – November 1, 2014

Ralph M. Brown Act (California Government Code Section 54950-54963)

Will California Union Officials Get to Discuss Project Labor Agreements in Closed Session? –www.UnionWatch.org – November 26, 2013

California Political Review

Residents, including disadvantaged and veteran workers, soon will have an easier time being recruited to work on public construction projects in the city.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 6-2 to have the city manager start negotiating a project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building And Construction Trades Council and other trade groups. City Councilman Dee Andrews was absent.

This type of agreement requires contractors for city construction projects to follow labor rules set by the city.

Residents, including disadvantaged and veteran workers, soon will have an easier time being recruited to work on public construction projects in the city.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 6-2 to have the city manager start negotiating a project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building And Construction Trades Council and other trade groups. City Councilman Dee Andrews was absent.

This type of agreement requires contractors for city construction projects to follow labor rules set by the city.

 

Although we’ve been pretty much as outspoken as one can be – given this supposedly is not our passion – we haven’t been outspoken enough. In spite of the fact we believe in the ideals of unions, and their courageous legacy, we have criticized the pernicious influence of public sector unions over and over again, most recently earlier today in a piece entitled “CEQA is Hijacked” where we reported on a recent Sacramento Bee editorial taking the unusual step of exposing how unions use environmental laws to stop development of environmentally beneficial projects.

When the CEO of the area's Building and Construction Trades Council stood before the San Jose City Council last week to explain his challenge to a new downtown high-rise based on environmental law, he didn't even bother pretending that the project might foul the water or air. No, the first point Neil Struthers made was about the developer's choice of workers.

"Bringing in subcontractors who bring in lesser-skilled, lower-paid workers from Sacramento hurts all workers in the construction industry," Struthers said before launching into some flimsy environmental and procedural criticisms.

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