Earlier today elected city officials, business leaders and taxpayer advocates came together to speak out against SB 7 (Steinberg), a bill that disenfranchises voters and threatens local control. Today’s event on the steps of the Stockton City Hall comes in advance of tomorrow’s Assembly Labor and Employment Committee hearing on SB 7.
A video of the news conference is online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPwIjCc3ig8&feature=youtu.be
Speakers at the news conference included:
Stockton City Council Member Kathy Miller;
Stockton City Council Member Elbert Holman;
Lodi City Council Member Joanne Mounce;
Tracy City Council Member Michael Maciel;
Steven Crabtree, Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce;
John Beckman, Greater Valley Building Industry Association; and
Dave Renison, San Joaquin County Tax Payers Association.
Stockton City Council Member Katherine Miller spoke first, expressing why this bill would be so detrimental to her city, which is a charter city. “We understand that state funds come with a lot of strings attached – one of those strings is that if a construction project uses any state funds the contractor must comply with state prevailing wage requirements. But, as a charter city the courts have ruled that we have the authority, when only using city funds, to allow a contractor to not comply with prevailing wage requirements.”
Miller continued: “SB 7 is not about prevailing wage. It is about eliminating the legal rights of cities to make local decisions without pressure or interference from Sacramento.”
The League has opposed SB 7 since its introduction because it retroactively punishes voters and residents of 51 charter cities for exercising their right to vote on how city funds are spent by denying them access to any state funding for public works. SB 7 also fundamentally infringes on the right to vote of residents of charter cities — a right protected by both the California and U.S. Constitutions. SB 7 essentially nullifies the votes of those voters by imposing conditions on the voting after the election occurred. This harmful measure will have the effect of cutting off 51 cities, with a combined population of 5 million people, from state funding by prohibiting prohibits a charter city from receiving or using state funding or financial assistance for a construction project if the city has a voter-approved charter provision or ordinance that authorizes a contractor to not comply with state prevailing wage requirements on local construction projects funded by (non-state) city funds.
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.