Why I oppose the Arroyo Grande City Charter
October 20, 2014
OPINION By JIM HILL
The passage of Arroyo Grande City Charter, Measure C-14 on city ballots, would make two fundamental changes from the general law requirements that are not in residents’ interests.
First, as explicitly stated in Section 302 of the charter, the city would no longer be required to contract for city-funded construction projects under “prevailing wage” requirements. In this case, prevailing wages are the customary wages in the area for construction trade jobs. Middle class head of household jobs that are the backbone of the economy.
This provision may be barred under a state law (Labor Code section 1782) that is currently under appeal; but in the event, the state could still withhold funding from the city for any and all projects to encourage prevailing wage compliance.
The second issue is not explicitly stated, but is even more dangerous. Section 100 gives the city full authority over “municipal affairs,” including areas where general law provisions would otherwise provide protection. The City budget is a “municipal affair.”
Together with Section 304, “public financing”, there would no longer be a requirement that the city balance its’ budget. The people of Stockton, Bell, and others have come to deeply regret charters that have no explicit balanced budget requirement.
The city could also hold elections on different days than the state, when people are far less likely to participate.
The proponents claim that the charter will allow volunteers to construct public works and donate materials. In fact, people and organizations may now donate money for city projects. And there are hundreds of ways volunteers may participate. As a large company, PG&E provides a great example, encouraging and facilitating volunteers among their employees, whether or not union members, to participate in environmental activities such as coastal cleanup, and trail maintenance in area parks.
The proponents correctly decry the state taking of certain funds from the city. It is true that the state has taken excess funds from the city, but one should ask, why has the city collected excess funds in the first place?
I am always open to your comments or questions. As your write-in candidate for mayor of Arroyo Grande, I am the only candidate for city office opposed to the charter. Please join me in voting no on Measure C-14.
If you have questions, contact Jim Hill, write-in candidate for mayor of Arroyo Grande, at (805) 481-5654.
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