FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 19, 2012
Contact: Stefanie Ritoper, firstname.lastname@example.org, 213-375-4841
California –On November 6, voters in Costa Mesa, Escondido, and Grover Beach decided on ballot measures to convert their cities from general law cities to charter cities. This is part of conservative campaign to change the governance of California cities. The group hopes to bypass state construction wage law (“prevailing wages”) and downgrade worker wages by converting cities to charter cities.
Voters in Costa Mesa and Escondido voted down charter city measures. In Costa Mesa residents voted down Charter Measure V by 59.9% and in Escondido residents rejected Prop P by 52.71%. In the small city of Grover Beach (13,000 residents), the I-12 charter city measure is too close to call, with just a handful of votes left to count. See voter results in Costa Mesa, Escondido, and Grover Beach.
Supporters of city charters suggest that eliminating prevailing wages would save taxpayer money. However, those who oppose this legislation argue that labor costs typically make up just 25% or less of project costs, and reducing wages provides marginal savings at the expense of workers. Eliminating state wage laws also removes oversight of public works projects, setting a poor precedent for attacks on other state laws. For more on the issue, read Daniel Villao’s Huffington Post piece.
Daniel Villao, Director of the California Construction Academy, a project of the UCLA Labor Center, issued this statement:
“The election results were overall a victory for working families, as voters in Costa Mesa and Escondido decided that budget savings should not come at the expense of middle class jobs. In a difficult economy, where families are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing you want is to cut their ability to contribute to the local economy. Yet, California needs to be alert to more initiatives like these—more are already on the horizon.”