Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I attended my first Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting on Tuesday evening/night and it was more than interesting for all in attendance.

It was also extremely confusing for many on the Board it seems, many in the audience, and also to the several reporters who were in the room.

Trying to explain all that went on during most of the meeting needs to be left to real reporters and somebody who could follow the follies better than I could.

But there was one very important revelation that was made that I consider part of 'The Good', so I will attempt to explain it as best as I can.

Bob Bisno and his Outreach Team have made agreements with various unions representing building trades.

The agreements have not been made public, and I highly doubt that they will be.

The agreements suggest that unionized labor will be used for the development of Ponte Vista.

Two Board members of Central stated, seemingly as fact, that union labor WILL be used in the construction of Ponte Vista.

Of course since nothing has been legally agreed upon as to what could or would be built at Ponte Vista, I still wonder how the two individuals could state as fact, something that is not known at the present time.

Anyway, one of the representatives of the Ironworkers' Union spoke at the meeting.

This individual also spoke at the Wilmington Neighborhood Council meeting I also attended.

The gentleman was extremely supportive of Bob's plans because he strongly believes that his union members will be used to build part of Ponte Vista.

After the gentleman spoke, I asked Ms. Elise Swanson what seemed to be a long-winded question.

I stated that since there has been no legal authorization to build anything at Ponte Vista AND since Bob Bisno still maintains the right to sell any and all entitlements to whatever is allowed at Ponte Vista, it should be considered a misstatement of fact that unionized labor would actually be used in any construction at Ponte Vista.

Well, the fit hit the shan.

I was derided by the two board members who thought I was anti-union.

I reminded folks during my long-windiness that I have been a proud union member (CWA) for over 27-1/2 years and that I supported unionized labor in the construction of anything at Ponte Vista.

I also reminded the meeting that I 'dreamed' of 1,080 units and said NOTHING about R1 during my questioning.

Now here is the 'Good' thing that we all learned at the meeting.

When the Ironworkers' Union fellow got up to disclaim my bit and Bruce Horton's comments, he acknowledged that even 1,080 units being built at Ponte Vista was too low of a number of units to allow for unionized building trades members being utilized at Ponte Vista.

So for the first time publicly, a person within the knowledgeable circle of Ponte Vista supporters has acknowledged that even over 1,000 units at Ponte Vista would not allow for union workers to build.

Later in the meeting I attempted to ask two members of the Outreach Team if there was a minimum number of units that Bob could build using unionized labor.

I was not given that information, even by the Outreach Team member who works with the unions and the agreements.

Now about that Ironworkers' Union gentleman. He was also very critical of any of us shopping at the new Target Store when it opens on October 12, 2008.

He said that his union members were not used in the construction of the new store. He did say that his union workers were used in the recent rebuilding of the Carson Target, but he admitted that the City of Carson mandated unionized workers on much of that construction project.

The fellow stated that "100%" of the construction was done by unionized workers, then he added, "almost".

So even the Carson store did not use all unionized workers in its rebuild.

The bottom line of this point is that nobody knows if unionized workers may be used if Bob doesn't get his 1,950 units AND nobody is willing to reveal the agreements signed by Bob and the unions which state whether Bob would use union labor if anything LESS THAN 1,950-condos are built.

Bob is using union workers against union workers and union supporters in his attempt to build Ponte Vista according to his plans, and in this union town, I think that stinks!

'The Bad' is the motion passed by the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council.

I wish I could tell you what the motion exactly was, but in its amended form, it is quite possibly not a specific endorsement of Bob's plans at all.

But I do have to report that whatever the motion was, it passed with 7 Yeas, 2 Nays, 2 abstaining, and the honorable Mr. Andrew Silber, recusing himself.

(Eat at the Whale and Ale more!!!)

'The Bad' means that the Ponte Vista Outreach Team can attempt, once again, to consider that one out of three of San Pedro's Neighborhood Councils approve of Bob's plans. But then again, it might just not be actually correct.

Now, 'the ugly'.

It appears to some knowledgeable stakeholders that what was done with the consideration and passage of the motion violated several laws, guidelines, and other issues.

A Board member created a motion to table the motion to support Bob's plans for Ponte Vista until the next meeting so the Board would have the accurate knowledge that what it was doing was legal, ethical, and correct.

The motion failed and the Council's President made sure that the vote would be held on August 12.

I thought much of the problems that Central had been having in the past were pretty much leading to repair after their last election.

I guess I was incorrect, big time.

But wait! We have another chance on September 9, 2008 to vote five new members onto the Board to continue improvement at Central.

But wait, but wait! It is also believed by a few more than a few people that the officers of the Council who have not filed to election to another term, at this time, might soon place themselves on the ballot as 'write-in' candidates.

So, I think folks should not be surprised if folks like Mr. Joe Gatlin and other officers who are not already on the ballot, might seek another term.

If the August 12 meeting was fun, I think the next meeting on September 9 should be so much more fun.

Now a disclaimer.

I support unions. I feel very strongly that unions have helped all workers at their job sites, in their benefit options, and their higher quality of life for all endeavors.

Even though it was acknowledged that union workers could not be used if only 1,080-condos were approved of, I still suggest that if Bob wanted to, especially with the average per square foot cost for condos at approximately $450.00 per square foot (Source: Ponte Vista FEIR), he could have skilled unionized workers build out the project, if he doesn't sell off his entitlements once he receives them.

I also have to claim that I work for a company that involves public utilities and therefore unions like mine will be represented in work done at Ponte Vista, no matter what.

If Bob is so supportive of quality union workers and he truly wants to have a quality project built, no matter what size it is approved for, then his best bet is to use union labor to build it and maintain it.

So to 'Larry', you are so very wrong that I don't support unions. Your single mindedness that Ponte Vista must be approved of for 1,950-condos because you want union workers to build it, even though there is still no guarantee that Bob will not sell off his entitlements, means that I feel you are short-sighted towards the San Pedro community and that you are not looking at the larger picture, rather you are looking only for your union to have jobs, and only during any construction phase.

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