With Sacramento's Big-Box Ordinance in RBs Scope, Can Elk Grove's Be Far Behind? PLAs Next?

Over the last several months the Sacramento-based trade group Region Builders (RB) has been on something of a roll. In an Email distri...

Over the last several months the Sacramento-based trade group Region Builders (RB) has been on something of a roll.

In an Email distributed by RB this morning, the trade group promotes separate stories published in the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento Business Journal touting the City of Sacramento's consideration to roll back their so-called big box retailer ordinances that limits the size and scope of retailers, particularity those employing non-union workers.

By coincidence, in the same Email RB also provided a series of photos from their First Annual City Summit held earlier this week. Among the five regional mayors participating in the event was Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis.

If RB is successful in rolling back Sacramento's big box ordinance, one can't help but wonder when, not if, they will scope out Elk Grove's big-box ordinance? Of course given how ineffective it was in keeping a second Wal Mart Store out of Elk Grove, will it even matter if the ordinance is hunted, gutted and skinned?
Elk Grove City Council accept the 2011 Region Builders City of the Year award.
Nevertheless, given RB's region wide success in rolling back fees and regulations there are bigger political considerations for Elk Grove City Council Members.

As the Bee story pointed out, labor is not happy about rolling back big box ordinances as retailers like Wal Mart hurt UFCW members members who work at places like Safeway, Save Mart and Raley's-Bel Air. In the past the UFCW has been a major contributor to four of the current elected council members.

Furthermore, even though project labor agreements (PLA) have not been much of an issue in Elk Grove, they were about seven years ago in Sacramento's Promenade project in North Natomas. Only after a PLA was signed that was satisfactory to various building trade unions did the project suddenly get approved. To gum up things, various labor groups had threaten Sacramento City with a CEQA lawsuit should PLAs not be in place.

Of late, the Elk Grove City Council has collectively touted how we as a city have become very busy friendly. If lowering fees for builders is how you define business friendly, one can't argue that, but there are some small business owners in Elk Grove who might be justified in their assertion that the city is anything but business friendly.

Seeing as how RB is a trade group exclusively from the management side of construction, we can't help but wonder, when will they apply pressure to the various cities they have successfully lobbied for lower fees to exempt themselves from PLAs?

Interestingly, one of labors favorite tools is the threat of a CEQA lawsuit to gum up a project should a PLA not be in place. Of no small coincidence, there has been a big push led by Sen. Darrell Steinburg to loosen CEQA laws.  

As they did from the UFCW, three of the four elected city council members have received substantial contributions from Sacramento area building trade labor organizations.

For Davis, should RB come after Elk Grove to loosen its big-box regulations, how will he react. It was Davis after all who led the charge against big boxes.

Ultimately, it will be interesting to watch which of the two masters the council members responds to - developers or labor.

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Anonymous said...

It is worth noting that this will have implications for Cooper's run for the assembly too.

Anonymous said...

Just as the Gil Moore case revealed (much to his chagrin), they will sell out to the highest bidder (i.e. contributor). To use a real estate term, Elk Grove is a sellers market and the town is for sale!

Lynn said...


Who will the Elk Grove SOI really serve?? Everyone ought to read this article!!

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