Elk Grove Not Alone in Seeking Charter Status This June

Oceanside seeks charter with language written by pro-business groups exempting living wages On the evening of Wednesday, January 13, the E...

Oceanside seeks charter with language written by pro-business groups exempting living wages

On the evening of Wednesday, January 13, the Elk Grove City Council will be presented with a six page draft charter from the Elk Grove City Charter Commission.

A few commissioners were concerned the public works language would require the city to pay prevailing wages on public works projects. Likewise, organized labor brought out members to several commission outreach meetings urging inclusion of prevailing wages.

In the end, the commission decided to punt and completely deleted the public works language. The document shrank from 16 to six pages.

While it is unlikely the city council will accept the document as-is, their process to reach an agreement on a charter to present voters will clearly reveal fissures. Council members Jim Cooper, Gary Davis and Vice Mayor Steve Detrick have been more receptive to prevailing wages and labor concerns while Mayor Sophia Scherman and council member Pat Hume seemed closely aligned with business interest that stand against prevailing wages.

Meanwhile, about 500 miles south of Elk Grove, the City of Oceanside in San Diego County has already approved a charter that will be presented to voters this June that specifically addresses prevailing wages.

Loyal to Stars and Bars or Stars and Stripes?

While Elk Grove’s charter in its current form is six pages, Oceanside’s is only four pages with language that ranges from simplistic to legalese.

The charter does contain two items of interest. The first is the preamble.

The first sentence of it is as follows:
WE THE PEOPLE of the City of Oceanside declare our intent to our community the historic principles of self governance inherent in the doctrine of home-rule.

Are the drafters of this language loyal to the Stars and Bars or the Stars and Stripes?

This seems like something out of the Antebellum South or at least from some fringe group like the Michigan Militia.

With regards to prevailing wages, they address the matter straight-up.

It is hard to gauge exactly what they hope to accomplish with this. What municipal project of any significance is completed without federal or state funding?

Furthermore, do they find providing a prevailing wage so objectionable that they would be willing to forgo outside funding for a municipal project? Not likely.

This language could be nothing more than a paper tiger. Or could this be the start of a statewide stealth movement to subterfuge working men and women?

According to one story, it is not known who wrote Oceanside's charter although representatives from the Associated Builders and Contractors said they provided the language.

On a side note, it will be of interest to see where the charter matter appears on the agenda. During last Wednesday night’s charter commission meeting Commissioner Jimmie Johnson noted charter matters frequently are on the bottom of the agenda.

Johnson complained about appearing at midnight and only getting five minutes. We agree with Commissioner Johnson – this item is of such importance it should be placed at the top of the agenda.

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