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Katy Grimes

Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions: The Destroyer

This is Part ll of Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions. Part l is HERE

Janitorial company owner Jeff Baron is in trouble with the state of California because large general contractors who hire him as a subcontractor charge the state the union prevailing wage rate of $48.50 per hour in their bids on public works projects, but then refuse to pay him that rate. Taxpayers are on the hook for paying $48.50 per hour for janitors on public works projects, but in reality, subcontractors like Baron’s janitorial clean up company, are only paid the going rate of $10 to $15 per hour, and the general contractors pocket the rest.

Some say the Riverside District Attorney is going after Baron Services because it’s easier to go after small subcontractors — low-hanging fruit.

The Destroyer

In the middle of all of Jeff Baron’s troubles is… Read More

Ed Ring

Silicon Valley Moving Toward Alliance With Big Labor

Back in the late 1970’s something happened to the Santa Clara Valley. Increasingly it became referred to as the Silicon Valley, because the emerging silicon based semiconductor industry found its first home in plants nestled along the southern shores of the San Francisco Bay.Boasting what are among the finest universities in the United States – Stanford and Cal Berkeley – and the best weather in the world, high technology companies began choosingthe San Francisco Bay Area in the 1940’s and never looked back. Where once there wereendless orchards of Prune, Apricot and Cherry trees, a sprawling ecosystem of high tech companies and venture capital firms now attracts talent from everywhere on earth. The Silicon Valley became, and remains, the epicenter ofthe most dramatic technological advances in history.

For the first 25 years or so, certainly through the end of the 20th century, the mantra in the Silicon Valley was “better, faster, cheaper.” Entrepreneurs were creating entire new industries, as digital technology enabled “mini-computers” to replace mainframes, and “work-stations” to replace mini’s, which were in-turn replaced by PCs and… Read More

Katy Grimes

Prevailing Wage Scams Between State DIR and Unions

A San Bernardino janitorial contractor has always paid his employees union-approved wages. But he has been kicked off public works job sites for so-called prevailing wage violations for five years now. The kicker?

Three years ago I asked, “In what strange world do janitors get paid $45 per hour? In California, the land of the prevailing wage.” The answer today is still the same, only I will add, “In labor union-run California….” And today this janitorial prevailing wage rate is up to $48.50 per hour.

The strange and tragic case of Jeff Baron, proprietor of Baron Services, a janitorial service specializing in final clean up of big construction projects, is not complex – in fact, it’s crystal clear what’s going on. But it has become convoluted.

Another Corrupted State Agency

The crux of the issue is there is noDepartment of Industrial Relationsprevailing wage classification for this specific type of construction clean up janitorial work. Baron explained that the going rate in the private sector for a basic janitorial job is between $10 and $15 per hour. But the… Read More

Jon Coupal


Chicago, Carl Sandburg’s “City of the big shoulders,” is about to find out just how heavy a tax burden homeowners are able to bear. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has revealed his plan for a massive property tax increase to pay for unfunded pension obligations. And for taxpayers, it isn’t pretty. The mayor wants a $543 million increase in property taxes to cover police and fire pensions, as well as additional taxes and fees to close a projected $745 million budget shortfall.

How much this will cost the average homeowner is not yet clear. Emanuel is seeking approval from the Legislature to exempt those homes worth less than $250,000 from the increase, meaning more valuable properties would absorb the entire burden.

The uncertainty may also be contributing to a decline in home values in recent months, as shown by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. Buyers may not be so ready to cut a deal that will see them inheriting a massive property tax hike.

To read the entire column click here http://www.hjta.org/california-commentary/its-never-enough/Read More

Richard Rider

CA prisoner firefighters saves us $80-$100 million a year

CA state and local governments deem inmate brush firefighters a valuable asset that makes good sense. But the idea of forming CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER brush firefighting brigades to fight the fires and protect homes when these fires approach housing areas is somehow not safe — for union firefighters. Few people realize how big our California prisoner firefighting effort is. There are 196 inmate fire crews that perform more than 3 million hours of emergency response work annually.It’s estimated to save California $80-$100 million a year — combating CA brush and forest fires. The story below about this program is illuminating (sorry), but should result in some heated (again, my bad) debate.

In my subdivision (Scripps Ranch in San Diego) we lost 330 homes to the 2003 Cedar brush fire — mostly abandoned homes burned down by embers. Many homes were saved — by homeowners who stayed behind and put out the ember fires before they grew. The fire trucks arrivedhourslate — in large part the result of too many called-up union… Read More

Senate Republicans Fight for California Families

With the 2015 Legislative session now in the rear view mirror and my sights set on leading Senate Republicans into 2016, it is clear to me that the principles and values of this great party of ours align quite well with the hard-working residents of this state.

As we move forward we must make sure we state those goals effectively to Californians and stand with them shoulder-to-shoulder to fight to for those common goals – most importantly, the ability for those residents to hold on to as much of their earnings as possible.

As an eternal optimist, I believe California is, and always has been, the Golden State. Over-taxation and heavy regulation still threaten our economic recovery, but California’s economy is on the rebound. As the Senate Republican Leader, rather than looking for new and innovative ways to take more of your hard-earned money, I’m committed to finding new and innovative ways to safeguard your pocketbook, while ensuring that each and every tax dollar sent to Sacramento is spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.

This past legislative session was an excellent example of Republicans fighting to ensure middle-class Californians… Read More

Katy Grimes

Desperate United Farm Workers Union Steps Up PR Campaign

The United Farm Workers labor union just received advertising and public relations help, thanks to several pro-UFW stories published in the Sacramento Bee last weekend.

Sept. 24, Kerry Kennedy wrote about her father Robert Kennedy’s involvement with Cesar Chavez in the 1960′s. Sept. 26, the Bee ran a story about the 50thanniversary of the UFW’s grape strike in Delano, CA. Rounding out the pro-UFW public relations and marketing campaign was a story on Sept. 27 about Phil Serna, son of late former Mayor of SacramentoJoe Serna Jr., who was also aUFW organizer.

This interestingly timed PR move comes on the heels of the order to destroy farm worker’s ballots from the 2013 labor union decertification election, rather than allow them counted,by Administrative Law Judge Mark Soble, employed by the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. Thousands of farm workers in California must now abide by an unwanted unionization deal struck decades ago and never ratified or enforced. The workers’ votewas expected to… Read More

Kammi Foote

Oath of Office: Elected officials’ promise to uphold rule of law

When I was elected to the office of Inyo County Clerk-Recorder, my first official act was to take an Oath of Office. Not only have I taken the Oath, but one of my responsibilities as a County Clerk is to administer Oaths of Office to other public employees and elected officials.

All public servants, from the President of the United States, to the part-time file clerk, take the Oath in one form or another before assuming office. In California, the Oath includes the affirmation that we will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. By swearing to defend the Constitutions against domestic enemies, we are promising to administer the laws as decided by the body politic and not to undermine our system of governance by acting under our own sovereignty.

Lately we have seen a number of examples of… Read More

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