Bait and Switch on Measure LL Let’s Take a Look

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This expresses the opinion of a Vista resident not affiliated with the publication. North County Daily Star welcomes your opinion, and reserves the right to publish. Please comment on the following article.

The voters in the Vista Unified School district approved Measure LL in November 2018 with the results below:
32,661 votes yes (64.2%)
18,203 votes no (35.8%)

The ballot measure read as follows: To repair, upgrade, equip classrooms, science labs, local school facilities supporting college readiness, career preparation, math, science, engineering, technology, skilled trades; repair aging classrooms/schools including deteriorating roofs, plumbing, and electrical; improve student safety/school security; shall Vista Unified School District Issue $247 million dollars in bonds at legal rates, raising approximately $13 million annually while bonds are outstanding, at a rate of 3 cents per $100 of assessed value, requiring citizen oversight, all funds for local schools?

The Vista Unified School Board presented the following resolution in support of the bond in a 4-1 vote (three board members who were on the board for that vote, are still sitting on the board, and all three voted yea).

The resolution can be read in its entirety on the school site.

“As stated in the ballot measure resolution, the District does not intend to enter into a Project Labor Agreement for the construction of bond-funded projects.”

Bond Funded Construction
1) The District will promote fair and open competition for all capital projects funded with bond proceeds, consistent with procurement laws, policies and public works construction laws. As stated in the ballot measure resolution, the District does not intend to enter into a Project Labor Agreement for the construction of bond-funded projects. In the event that the Board wishes to consider the use of a Project Labor Agreement for construction of bond projects, the Board shall inform the public at least 90 days in advance of any such decision. Notice shall be given via website, publication, social media, District email, or other similar methods of public notice.

One committee meeting has been held with the objective of getting community input about entering into a PLA (Project Labor Agreement). Has evidence been presented that would cause the board to reverse their position? The voters need to know that these meetings are being held, especially the 32,661 who voted yes, many based on the board’s entire presentation. Some have already stated that the statements by the board in the resolution and the approved ballot should be a totally integrated non-severable contract with the voters to avoid the appearance of a bait and switch.

A “project labor agreement” is when the government awards contracts for public construction projects exclusively to unionized firms.

In order to receive a contract, a contractor must sign the agreement and subject its employees to union control. It would eliminate many local contractors from consideration. The government entity would be the Vista Unified School District.

Please search for pros and cons of PLA’s to help determine if there is sufficient reason to reverse the board’s earlier commitment to the voters. Discussion feedback of the group that met recently indicates that the RFP (Request for Proposal) or bidding process screens out any unqualified contractor, addresses cost and ensures a time line for completion, based on penalties, negating the need for a PLA.

For the record, the last VUSD Bond, Prop O, for $140 Million was passed in 2002 and did not have a PLA. The results of that ballot were:

15,439 votes yes (66.9%)
7,620 votes no (33.0%)

What is your opinion? Are there compelling reasons to reverse commitments made by the board?

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