Rancho Santiago Community College District Board Accused of Violating Brown Act in Negotiating PLAs; Jose Solorio Accused of Leading Violation Effort
Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 12, 2013
The Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) Board of Trustees has been accused of violating the Brown Act by negotiating PLA terms in closed session. (For those unfamiliar, PLAs are Project Labor Agreements, which basically require union labor terms on the projects in question, including requiring unionized labor to be employed by private contractors who are hired to work on the project.)
Conservative Trustee Phil Yarbrough has accused the liberal-dominated RSCCD Board of violating the Brown Act by negoiating PLAs in closed session. Yarbrough has retained attorney Craig Alexander (an affiliate attorney of the Pacific Justice Institute and an OC Political blogger), who sent this seven-page letter admonishing the district and demanding it comply with the Brown Act, the state’s government transparency law, by discussing the PLA in open session in front of the public.
In an apparent reaction to the letter, the RSCCD agenda for tonight’s meeting includes Item 6.6, which is entitled, “Discussion of Community and Student Workforce Project Agreement Negotiations with Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council/Craft Unions/Carpenters Union” on the agenda. (“Community and Student Workforce Project Agreement Negotiations” is the RSCCD euphemism for “PLA negotiations”). The staff recommendation is: “It is recommended that the board formally agree to refrain from any discussion of negotiations on the Community and Student Workforce Project Agreement in closed session unless or until more conclusive information is provided to clarify the legality of such discussions in closed session per the Brown Act.” In other words, the RSCCD is no longer certain that its previous actions in discussing the PLA negotiations were legal.
Kevin Dayton has dissected the RSCCD PLA issue at the Flash Report.
OC Political has received emails from various groups on this issue pointing to Jose Solorio as the leader of this closed session PLA effort. The Associated Builders and Contractors had the most concise email on this issue, which was sent over yesterday:
Help Stop Jose Solorio From Illegally Hiding His $29 Million Taxpayer Give-Away To Special InterestsHelp stop RSCCD Trustee Jose Solorio from illegally hiding his $29 million taxpayer give-away to special interests! It is being voted on TOMORROW, TUESDAY 11/12/2013 at 4pm.
It seems the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) Board of Trustees has been violating California’s open meeting laws (also known as “The Brown Act”) by negotiating a discriminatory union agreement on their nearly $200 million dollar Measure Q bond passed by voters in November 2012. No mention of this wasteful special interest deal was of course ever made when selling this to the citizens – and now the public is being purposefully kept out of the debate.
If that isn’t bad enough, they might vote tomorrow night to CONTINUE ILLEGALLY HIDING THIS FROM THE PUBLIC!
The PLA is Item 6.6 on the agenda and the last two pages of the document include an error-riddled memo from the Chancellor trying to pretend that “It is a common practice for…public agencies to discuss PLA negotiations in closed session.”
We need you to do the following:
Attend the meeting tomorrow. TUESDAY November 12th at 4:00pm at the RSCCD District Offices located at 2323 North Broadway, Board Room #107 Santa Ana, CA 92706. We need you to bring management, workers, and apprentices and tell the RSCCD Trustees to bring this deal out into the light of day!
These discriminatory union deals are traditionally called Project Labor Agreements or PLA’s, but in another effort to disguise this waste from the public, RSCCD went so far as to call the agreement a “Community and Student Workforce Project Agreement.” Join us tomorrow night and help stop this ongoing deception!
If it is such a good idea to waste $29 million dollars of our teachers and students education dollars just to over-pay for construction, then why is Jose Solorio trying to cover this deal up?