- Obama Leaves D.C. to Sign Stimulus Bill
- OC’s stim wish-list: more green construction, more jobs
- Stimulus adds tax credit for home solar panels
- Stimulus bill expected to pour $26 billion into California
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
It should be noted that just because there is a deal with the "Big 5", that does not mean that there are the votes to pass the budget.
Here is an summary of the budget "highlights" from the California Weekly:
Overall, according to Capitol sources, the plan includes about $15.8 billion in spending cuts, $14.3 billion in tax increases and about $10.9 billion in new borrowing. Details of the revenue package began to surface earlier this week, with increases expected in the state sales tax, gasoline tax and vehicle license fee.
More than half of the cuts are to K-12 schools and community colleges. The plan calls for about $8.4 billion in savings by reducing the constitutional guarantee to schools. Details of where the specific cuts would be made remained unclear, but Capitol sources indicated more than $5.6 billion would be cut in the current budget year.
From the Republican camp it looks like getting the votes is going to be difficult. From the SacBee.
Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, said legislative leaders will have a hard time finding votes.
"The tax increases are far too much, the budget cuts aren't enough and the spending cap is illusory because it's based on prior revenue, not based on a calculation of the economic capacity of the state to pay it," DeVore said.
However as an old friend said: Always count your votes.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Here is an article about how water conservation efforts helped Long Beach to cut its water use and avoid water rationing. I think other cities and water districts should take notice. They have taken their case to the residents of the city by having a blog, facebook page, myspace and twitter.
The original article can be found here.
South state city turns down tap
The city of Long Beach says it won't require additional customer cutbacks this year, because it successfully changed residents' water habits.In 2007, Long Beach – which depends on imported water from the Delta and local groundwater – predicted long-term shortages. Rather than order residents to ration water, the city set out to make it socially unacceptable to waste water.
The city outlawed certain types of water waste, especially irresponsible landscape irrigation. It encouraged residents to report violators. It imposed tiered pricing to punish gluttons. And it used the Internet to spread its message.Since then it has received 4,500 complaints about water waste. It followed up on every one with enforcement action.
The city achieved an 11 percent water savings in 2008, including 24 percent in December."I expect it to be a hardship for every other city in Southern California that has a significant reliance on imported water, because they haven't been as proactive," said water department General Manager Kevin Wattier.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan has passed the Senate and is on its way to difficult House-Senate negotiations.
Just three Republicans helped pass the plan on a 61-37 vote and they're already signaling they'll play hardball to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in Senate dealmaking. Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states.
Those cuts are among the major differences between the $819 billion House version of Obama's plan and a Senate bill costing $838 billion. Obama has warned of a deepening economic crisis if Congress fails to act. He wants a bill completed by the weekend.
The bill backed by the White House survived a key test vote in the Senate Monday despite strong Republican opposition, and Democratic leaders vowed to deliver legislation for President Barack Obama's signature within a few days.
You can read more here:
Monday, February 9, 2009
I picked this up from Joe' Union Review.
I think his blog posting sums it up nicely.
"This is yet another reason for working families to be grateful that we have a champion in the White House,"..."Project labor agreements are a win-win for everyone involved. Contractors get highly trained, skilled labor with fixed costs, and workers are fairly compensated with their rights and safety protected."- Jimmy Hoffa Jr, President International Brotherhood Of Teamsters
Make no mistake about it, former President Bush had it "out for" for union construction workers. One of the first Executive Orders of the Bush administration was "Executive Order 13208 of April 6, 2001", which banned the use of Project Labor Agreements(PLA's) on Federally funded projects.
Just two weeks ago the US Senate rejected an attempt to codify Bush's ban into law. Senator David Vitter, a Republican from Louisiana proposed that his legislation, the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act, be amended into the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. By a Senate vote of 59-38 the Vitter amendment failed. The only Republican that voted against Vitter's plan was Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania. If you do the math that means 97.3% of Senate Republicans absolutely hate Union construction workers. If the Bush EO banning PLA's on Federal projects had been codified into law it would have been extremely hard to reverse.
Today with just a few weeks in office President Obama has repealed 13208, with the Executive Order titled "USE OF PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS FOR FEDERAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS", here's part of the briefing from the White House site:
Section 1. Policy. (a) Large-scale construction projects pose special challenges to efficient and timely procurement by the Federal Government. Construction employers typically do not have a permanent workforce, which makes it difficult for them to predict labor costs when bidding on contracts and to ensure a steady supply of labor on contracts being performed. Challenges also arise due to the fact that construction projects typically involve multiple employers at a single location. A labor dispute involving one employer can delay the entire project. A lack of coordination among various employers, or uncertainty about the terms and conditions of employment of various groups of workers, can create frictions and disputes in the absence of an agreed-upon resolution mechanism. These problems threaten the efficient and timely completion of construction projects undertaken by Federal contractors. On larger projects, which are generally more complex and of longer duration, these problems tend to be more pronounced.Building Trades President
(b) The use of a project labor agreement may prevent these problems from developing by providing structure and stability to large-scale construction projects, thereby promoting the efficient and expeditious completion of Federal construction contracts. Accordingly, it is the policy of the Federal Government to encourage executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects in order to promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement.
International Brotherhood Of Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa:
America's Building Trades Unions praise the action today by President Obama in issuing an Executive Order overturning the Bush Administration's ban on federal project labor agreements (PLAs).
The Bush anti-PLA Executive Order was exactly the type of special interest-driven politics and policy that American voters rejected overwhelmingly last November.
PLAs are designed to provide maximum benefit to construction users; union and non-union workers; union and non-union contractors; lenders and insurance companies; and taxpayers. PLAs are frequently negotiated to address a wide range of local and social needs, including the assurance of hiring of local residents, and outreach programs designed to offer local residents the opportunity for a career in the skilled trades.
We acknowledge and praise this Executive Order as being one of the first steps in ushering in a new, more pragmatic and value-conscious approach to governing.
...Such agreements are efficient, save money and promote safety and labor standards.Mike Hall over at the AFL-CIO Now blog add's
Obama's order overturns an order signed by President George W. Bush in 2001 that banned the federal government from requiring PLAs. Obama's order does not mandate PLAs on large-scale, federally funded projects, but it encourages agencies to consider requiring them to promote efficiency and achieve cost savings.
This is a great day indeed, thank you President Obama.
Today’s action follows Obama’s three executive orders last week that reversed a trio of Bush-era orders governing the way federal contractors deal with union workers. The new orders:
- Require federal service contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change.
- Reverse a Bush order requiring federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit financial support of unions serving as their exclusive bargaining representatives.
- Prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses meant to influence workers deciding whether to form a union and engage in collective bargaining.
Note: I made some slight edits to the post.
Friday, February 6, 2009
From the Apollo Alliance:
Thanks to supporters like you, we've reached a turning point.
priorities – the right priorities – are part of the stimulus bill that just passed the US House.
But with the Senate about to vote, some Senators are trying to cut back on critical green jobs and clean energy investments – or strip them out altogether.
We have a major opportunity to turn our economy around and reduce our dependence on oil. We can't let our clean energy future stall.
Few doubt that this stimulus bill is going to pass in some form or another. The question is this: Will it help end our addiction to oil? Or will it bring us more pollution and tangled highways? Will it harness America's breakthroughs in green technology, or will we continue to be left behind by Europe and Asia?
I'm particularly concerned about funding for green-collar job training – a key priority we've been working on for years, included in the House bill at $500 million but cut in half to $250 million in the Senate version of the bill.
If we want to retain and create jobs in the new green economy, we must train the workforce of the future to fill these jobs!
This bill is an opportunity to get our country back on track! We need to mobilize people across the political spectrum around the need to make sure the right priorities are in it.
We can do this with your help. Thanks for taking action.
The Apollo Alliance
P.S. Please spread the word! Here's a sample message you can send to your friends:
Leaders in Washington are on the verge of spending over $800 billion to stimulate the economy. We have a chance to make sure it promotes clean energy and good jobs, to end our oil addiction and turn around our economy.
The Apollo Alliance has been working on these issues for years, and now many of their good ideas are in the economic stimulus bill. But with the Senate set to vote on the bill in the coming days, we need to make sure our voices are hear there as well.I just wrote to my Senators asking them to keep these investments in the stimulus, and I hope you'll join me. Can you take a minute to write your Senators? Go to: http://ga0.org/campaign/stimulusbill_0209
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
School district is right to negotiate with unions on Prop. S projects
When San Diego voters went to the polls last November, they were faced with a choice of five candidates for three open seats on the local school board. In one district, Richard Barrera was unopposed; in the other two, incumbent Shelia Jackson won with 61.1 percent of the vote, and John Evans beat incumbent Mitz Lee with 54.5 percent.
If they’d paid any attention at all, voters would know that all three winners were ideologically aligned with labor unions, and they might even know that Barrera and Evans are aspiring progressive politicians who in the past had either run for, or considered running for, other elective offices.
So it should have come as no surprise at all when Barrera, at the urging of the San Diego County Building & Construction Trades Council—the umbrella union for local skilled workers—proposed a project labor agreement (PLA) between the school district and the people who’ll be doing the work on the projects funded by the recently passed school-facilities bond measure, Prop. S.
Does a PLA benefit the unions? Absolutely. But, frankly, that’s part of what voters were asking for when then cast their ballots for Barrera, Evans and Jackson, who cast the three votes that directed school district staff to begin negotiations with the unions on specific PLA language. Moderate Katherine Nakamura could have gone either way, but we were surprised that liberal John deBeck took such a strong stand against a PLA.
The rest of the editorial can be found in the link above.