During last week’s mayoral debate, a potential problem for developing Chula Vista’s bayfront was revealed. In June, Chula Vistans will vote on Proposition G. Proposition G is supported by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. The organization calls itself “construction industry’s voice” and “the leading organization representing merit shop construction.”
Proposition G wants to change the Chula Vista Municipal Code language to say, among other things, that in projects paid for by city or redevelopment funds the City cannot “become a signatory to a collective bargaining agreement” or be “required to make payments on behalf of employees to union benefit plans or other trust funds.”
At the debate, mayoral candidate and Council member Steve Castaneda interpreted the consequences of Proposition G by saying: “Proposition G will prohibit the City from investing in projects that have some sort of labor agreement...that doesn’t necessarily mean organized-labor agreement — it could be contributing to a trust fund or pension fund. The language is so loose, our attorneys and those of the port district don’t really know what it means. Right now, Pacifica companies has an agreement with organized labor for a hotel on the bayfront. If Proposition G passes, the City would not be able to contribute to the infrastructure for that project…which would essentially kill that project.”
Attempts to speak with Chula Vista city attorney Bart Miesfeld about potential problems with Proposition G were unsuccessful.
Lisa Cohen, CEO of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, said that the chamber “chose to oppose” Proposition G. She then referred me to the chamber’s press release, which states that after a spirited debate “the board voted by a two to one majority to oppose Proposition G.” A factor in the decision was that “Proposition G would trigger litigation that could delay and disrupt development projects under Chula Vista’s jurisdictions.”
The press release concluded by saying board members representing both points of view agreed “that it was unfortunate that Chula Vista was targeted as a candidate jurisdiction for the initiative or an initiative of this type.”