Council divided over sending letter

OCEANSIDE — City Council voted to send legislators a letter opposing SB-7, which if passed, will not allow charter cities that have a prevailing wage exemption to receive state funding for building projects. 

Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted against sending the letter at the March 13 meeting.

Both said they would write their own letters in support of SB-7.

They added that they disagree with the city charter and its prevailing wage exemption.

“The charter is a farce,” Sanchez said. “I agree with exactly what SB-7 says.”

Wood also expressed his disappointment with the city charter.

“It is a terribly flawed city charter,” Wood said. “It has been misused and should be gone.”

Several residents also spoke in opposition of sending the letter and in support of the bill. Comments ranged from worries that paying below prevailing wage would not produce quality building projects to the economic impact of local workers.

Speakers cited the downtown Springhill Suites Marriott hotel project that is under construction.

Out of state contractors hired ironworkers from Arizona and paid them below the local prevailing wage.

“You need to put your feet down and look at what the impact is going to be,” Jimmy Knott, Oceanside resident, said.

Councilman Jerry Kern, who requested that council send the letter, said the bill sets a precedent for the state to take away all powers from city government.

Kern said the state was “micromanaging” charter cities with the bill.

“Withholding state funds is an attempt to force changes,” Kern said.

“Local charter cities are opposed to this,” Kern added. “I think this law is unconstitutional. They are trying to punish charter cities.

“They have the right not to pay minimum prevailing wage.”


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