The percussive banging of an inmate punching the door of his jail cell echoes throughout the Central corridor of the Santa Barbara County Main Jail. He's hitting so hard that it shakes not only the nerves of the guards and inmates around him, but the floor as well.
"It's a cry for help," a prison guard says.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Laz Salinas, the man who manages jail staff and operations, walks through the Central hallway, stopping at an out-of-order elevator. Salinas says an inmate purposefully flooded the cell next to it to short out the elevator, running up a $45,000 tab in repairs.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to advance a controversial policy that would establish union rules, benefits and oversight on large county construction projects.
The move, which awaits formal approval later this month, was a clear show of the greater political muscle unions have with the newly composed board, which took up the change after a slightly different group of supervisors turned it back in 2012.
Proponents found their strongest support Tuesday in Supervisors Shirlee Zane, Mike McGuire and Susan Gorin, who secured revisions sought by unions that broadened the draft policy even further.
When it comes time to expand the Solano Community College Vallejo satellite campus, construction workers will be operating under a controversial project labor agreement.
Plans for Vallejo Center include building a second building, and establishing a variety of services, including more student programs and a cafeteria.
All that work, plus much more at the Fairfield and Vacaville campuses, will be paid for through the $348 million voter-approved Measure Q bonds.
A controversial labor agreement goes before the Solano Community College board of trustees tonight.
The labor agreement for projects funded through voter-approved Measure Q bonds has generated considerable interest among contractors and union groups.
The agreement applies to all projects within Measure Q guidelines that exceed $4.5 million in construction value. It does not apply to maintenance and operations projects.
WATSONVILLE -- Watsonville is poised to enact an ordinance that gives union contractors an edge when bidding on public construction projects.
Supporters say the ordinance, which will be considered for final approval by the City Council on Tuesday, would increase job-training opportunities for city residents and improve coordination among various trades on large projects.
Critics say it would shut out nonunion contractors, narrowing the bidding field and driving up project costs.
After the passage of Measure G in 2002, the Solano Community College Governing Board approved, and successfully implemented, a project labor agreement (PLA) for some of the bond's projects.
Recently the college passed Measure Q by a wider margin (almost 64 percent) than Measure G's 55.7 percent. Nevertheless, during the Measure Q campaign, some critics claimed that since adopting a PLA for Measure G had allegedly not been in the college's best interest, they opposed the measure.
The criticism against adopting a PLA for Measure Q has generated some debate in the community, a debate the Governing Board and the college administration have not ignored. In fact, the college has held meetings to listen to the arguments for and against the adoption of a PLA for Measure Q.
Re: Kevin Korenthal’s Feb. 29 letter, “Union monopoly”:
Korenthal is at least half right. It is true that construction workers often must travel long distances to jobs outside their own communities, but no worker would choose to do that if jobs were available where they live. That’s precisely the point of the project labor agreement for the hospital project. It would get Ventura County construction workers off the highway commuting to far away jobs, and put them to work in Ventura County, building a project paid for with their own tax dollars to benefit their own community.
The Board of Supervisors can ensure local work goes to local workers and benefits the local economy, and get workers off the road, by approving the PLA.
Faced with mounting costs and stalled negotiations, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors set a drop-dead deadline for a local labor deal to be reached in a $250 million construction job at the county hospital.
In a hearing Tuesday, supervisors set March 13 for a vote on the agreement they hope will ensure that Ventura County residents make up a high percentage of the workforce for the construction. The project involves taking down part of Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura and replacing it with a wing that will meet earthquake standards. The project is estimated to generate as many as 2,000 jobs, labor interests said.
But county officials said it is costing $400,000 a month to delay the project that's six months behind schedule for a variety of reasons.
An effort to pass a labor agreement for the $250 million construction project at Ventura County Medical Center failed Tuesday as a county-imposed deadline expired.
Since late January, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors has been pursuing the agreement as one of the few legal ways the board can promote local hiring within public bidding laws. Whether it would do that is in some dispute, but supporters say the pacts known as project labor agreements promote local hiring because workers are dispatched through local union halls.
The board set tight restrictions on the deal it wanted: support by all contractors and unions, terms that would maximize hiring of local labor, tight control over costs and protection from litigation. With negotiations stalled two weeks ago, the board gave the parties until Tuesday to reach a deal supervisors could approve for the biggest county government project in decades.
It's time for county officials to move ahead with the project to build a replacement wing at the Ventura County Medical Center.
That much is clear after the county Board of Supervisors failed Tuesday to muster the votes necessary to approve a project labor agreement, or PLA, on the $250 million undertaking.
For months, county officials actively promoted a PLA as a way to maximize local hiring on the project, which is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs. The Star agrees that hiring local workers is a commendable policy and should be a priority on this taxpayer-financed hospital building.