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Kevin Dayton

Assemblyman Luis Alejo “Stood Up” for First Time in His Career (Trying to Get Water Bond $ to Unions)

Assemblyman Luis Alejo showed up again at the Monterey County Board of Supervisors today to tell them how to build their interlake tunnel project in exchange for Water Bond funding. It was an astonishing show as he accused the Monterey County Water Resources Agency of getting him “stood up” for the first time in his political career. He apparently called the general manager on Friday evening but failed to get a Monday morning meeting to tell staff to require a Project Labor Agreement.

By the way, the estimated cost of this water project has gone from $22 million to $48 million in a few months.

Two newspaper articles – just posted a few hours ago – that reveal how the Prop 1 Water Bond will work in actual practice:

Debate Over Interlake Tunnel Project Rages OnMonterey Herald – October 29
At Tuesday’s meeting, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, who authored the project legislation, blasted the county water agency staff for missing a meeting he requested for Monday. It was the first time, he said, that he had been “stood up” since he was elected. He expressed frustration at what he called the county’s failure to cooperate with him on moving the project forward after he backed the legislation that he said paved the way for a quicker, less expensive project. Alejo reiterated the legislation’s provisions, including the project labor agreement, must be followed if the county is to get millions from the state water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot for the project.

Labor Issue, Data Stall Interlake Tunnel ApprovalSalinas Californian – October 29
But the Water Agency’s Board in July voted not to support AB 155, despite it being authored by a local Assemblyman…a component of the legislation includes what’s known as a project labor agreement. A project labor agreement historically means contracting with organized labor. Alejo took to the podium Tuesday during the meeting to reiterate that “all major projects in the state have used design-build contracts – it saves time and saves taxpayers millions of dollars.” But because of the union ties to project labor agreements, anti-labor advocates argue it saves neither time nor money. Supervisors directed Water Agency staff to return in two weeks with a cost-benefit analysis that AB 155 will have on the project. Alejo also took the opportunity to let Supervisors know that Water Agency staff stood him up on a scheduled meeting. “This is the first time this has happened to me in my career,” Alejo said. “It’s mind-blowing.”

Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at www.laborissuessolutions.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaytonPubPolicy.