San Diego Politicians Want to Discriminate in City Contracts Again

By Travis Dale

August 3, 2022

San Diego city politicians have voted to place a controversial measure on your November ballot that will discriminate against small and minority owned businesses in awarding government contracts. Reform California is leading the fight to maintain a policy of fair and open competition for all city contracts.

San Diego city politicians have placed a measure on the November 2022 ballot to repeal voter-imposed reforms that mandate fair and open competition rules for awarding all city contracts. Worse, the ballot title and description written by these same city politicians is worded in a misleading and deceptive way to hide the fact that it limits competition and hurts small businesses and minority/woman/veteran-owned businesses.

Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, says the measure is designed specifically to allow city politicians to steer lucrative city contracts to benefit unions and large campaign contributors. 

That’s why DeMaio has launched a grassroots campaign to defeat the proposal at the ballot box in November.

“City politicians talk about how ‘woke’ they are and how much they want to fight discrimination — but this measure is a shameful and deceptive scam to allow politicians to discriminate in city contracting and end any semblance of fair and open competition,” said DeMaio. 

“Put simply this measure allows city politicians to go back to the corrupt system of awarding taxpayer funds through bogus and bloated city contracts to their campaign contributors,” DeMaio said.

According to DeMaio, these 'corrupt kickbacks' manifest as union-only labor contracts, or Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Recent studies show PLAs hurt small businesses as well as minority and women-owned businesses which tend to be non-union.

In exchange for these exclusive union-only PLA contracts, unions contribute to Democrat politicians' campaigns using union dues from developers and contractors working on the projects. 

“We banned these discriminatory Project Labor Agreements in San Diego for a reason in 2012 — but greedy San Diego politicians can’t help themselves and are trying to undo the will of the voters,” said DeMaio.

In 2012, San Diego voters overwhelmingly (68%) voted to approve a citizens’ initiative to require fair and open competitive bidding rules be used for all city contracts — and require public transparency on the process. This landmark reform measure limited the ability of city politicians to engage in backroom deals to rig the contracting process to steer tax dollars to their campaign supporters.

The measure on the ballot in November would overturn all the requirements of the measure voters approved in 2012.

City politicians claim that if voters don’t pass the measure in November, then the city may lose out on state funds. This is not true. 

“City politicians and their special interest backers are actually the ones that urged the state government to threaten our local funding in order to blackmail voters into overturning the common-sense competition reforms they imposed in 2012,” explains DeMaio.

“If this measure passes and city contracts are awarded without fair and open competitive bidding, independent audits and studies say we can expect to see cost overruns by 30% or more on each city contract – wasting millions of your tax dollars!” he continued.

DeMaio points to a study by the Terner Center, which found that projects paying union wages to construction workers could cost $50,000 more per apartment — extra expenses that could lead to tax increases on city residents to offset costs.

DeMaio and Reform California are leading the fight to defeat the project labor agreement measure in November. 

Join the Campaign: Stop Corruption at City Hall

Photo Images: Getty Images

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