Opinion Editorial: The Rancho Santiago Community College District’s leadership needs a reboot By Ryan Ahari Saudi Arabia’s government is notorious for its horrendous track record on human rights. The Gulf nation severely punishes its LGBT community, prohibits women from driving, and refuses entry to anyone whose passport indicates previous entry into Israel. Keeping this in mind, why would any reasonable person, let alone a local community-based public entity, conduct business with such a repressive government? Two government-run technical schools in Saudi Arabia awarded the Rancho Santiago Community College District Foundation with a $105 million contract. The contract stipulates that the Foundation will improve and strengthen the schools’ infrastructures. Raúl Rodríguez, the District’s Chancellor, rationalized the contract by announcing the Foundation could receive up to an 8% return. An 8% return on a gross contract of $105 million is a pitiful profit margin and proves that Rodríguez is an educator and not a businessman. The contract further requires the Foundation to enter into a partnership with a corporation formed under Saudi Arabian laws. Continue reading
The Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Trustees voted 5-2 tonight to authorize their Chancellor to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council.
Impressively their Student Trustee, Ryan Ahari, voted against this debacle. I am told he is a fan of Ron Paul. He might be the smartest Trustee! His vote doesn’t count unfortunately. Republican Phil Yarbrough and Arianna Barrios were the only no votes.
What does this mean? It means that the RSCCD will hire only union contractors when spending the Measure Q bond money that is coming from our property taxes. This means they will have less bidders, as non-union contractors will be shut out. That means higher prices – which is to say that our tax money will be wasted in order to feather the union members’ nests.
Several of the Trustees said some incredibly stupid and incorrect things in the process. John Hanna, who told me a few years ago that he would never again vote for a PLA, tried to change the name of this deal from a PLA to a “community and student workforce agreement.” He admitted though that it was still the same deal – a union only PLA. The board voted unanimously to change the name of this disaster. But it is still a PLA.
Jose Solorio tried to delay the vote, sensing that he was giving a huge gift to his GOP opponent for the 34th State Senate District, Janet Nguyen. That didn’t fly either.
Hanna said that PLAs are important for safety. I have to call BS on that. Every contractor abides by the same Cal/OSHA standards.
Hanna also said PLAs equate top quality work. This guy really has no clue. Public construction projects have very tight specifications. Every bidder has to agree to do the work as it is mandated, using the same techniques and materials. And there are inspections at every step.
Solorio said that the non union contractors would now have the same benefits as the union shops. No. The workers will have to get into a union hall, which is damn hard to do, and they they will have to pay dues that they will never see in the future as they will just go back to non union contractors after the work is over.
Solorio also said that PLAs save money. Another lie. All public works contractors pay the same salary rates, and the lowest bidder always wins. But with a union only PLA there will be no non union bidders. The union contractors have to abide by silly work rules that just delay project completion and add unwarranted costs to these projects. Money gets wasted, not saved!
The unions will now pony up some of their dues money for Solorio’s campaign. Well, good luck to him. There is no way I am backing Nguyen but I am now quite unenthusiastic about Solorio. He voted to waste our money tonight and that is simply inexcusable.
This blog had over 5,000 views last November 6. My OC Politics blog had over 3,000 views on that same day. I now publish Anaheim and Fullerton blogs too. Every one of these blogs will now be pointing out Solorio’s shortcomings, through the general election in 2014. These blogs totalled over 70,000 views in the month of March, 2013. Sorry Jose. We don’t reward ineptitude.