EVP Newsletter 11-16-16
Election Results And What Does It All Mean To YOU!
The ECA is happy the elections are over. This is an editorial so I am going to give you my opinion on what the election results mean to our industry.
Lynda Hopkins was elected as District 5 Supervisor in Sonoma County. I think this is a key “win” to us locally for the following reasons:
Sonoma County is currently experiencing “EXCESS PENSION COSTS” of around $60 million per year. Most of those costs are due to terrible negotiations with SEIU and other public employee union’s collective bargaining agreements that are in place. Noreen Evans, who was running against Lynda Hopkins, believed there was no problem with the cost of the soaring and unsustainable public employee pensions.
Lynda Hopkins believes that there is a problem with those costs, and is not supported, endorsed, or beholden to those public employee unions so I believe she is more open to actually doing something to reform those pension obligations. Remember-$60,000,000 per year in excess costs is what we are currently experiencing. If we could lower that by just a few million dollars, our 1384 miles of County roads could get resurfaced.
I recently wrote about a presentation by Jack Atkins of the County Pension Oversight Committee that did an in depth report on this. Also, Doug Bosco mentioned this pension issue yesterday in his speak at the Washoe House. If you are interested, and you should be, in reading the report, you can access it right here!
Lynda Hopkins has rated our road infrastructure as her top priority in Sonoma County. We hope her vote will consistently follow her campaign presentations and when it comes time to fund Sonoma County road repairs, we hope she will vote in favor of fixing our roads.
Sonoma County voters passed an increase to their “Transit Occupancy Tax” from 9% to 12% that will put an increase on Hotel bed taxes and VRBO rentals in Sonoma County which will raise an additional $5 million per year. The majority of Supervisors agree that a good portion of that amount should be allocated to road repair in Sonoma County. Further, a large portion of the TOT revenue has traditionally gone towards advertising for tourism in Sonoma County and the ECA has been advocating for some time that that amount be reduced in order to free up even more revenue for our much needed road repair. All in all-this could bring an additional $2 million to $4 million per year in road repair funds.
Levine, Woods, Dodd, and Huffman all won their State races. All are friendly to the ECA and our need for transportation funding in Sonoma, Marin, Solano, and Napa Counties. This should help us find support for securing funding for some long range needs such as Highway 37, the Richmond Bridge additional lane, and completing the Highway 101 Narrows project.
Trump was elected. Trump has no special interest “paybacks” that he owes in exchange for his getting elected. What does this mean for us? It means that he should be much more able to break up the “political logjam” for our National Transportation funding issues as well as some of the more perverse environmental regulation interpretations that have gotten so difficult to deal with. I see increased national funding of roads and bridges and clarity/streamlining of our regulations heading our way!
The State of California passed recreational marijuana use and private cultivation of same. I believe our industry may benefit from this passage due to the taxes the State of California should see from this new source. Sacramento has long been discussing where to send these new funds and one of the places discussed is for our California Transportation funding that has been stalled for several years. Although there has been political bickering over where CARB Cap and Trade funding should go, that bickering should ease with a potential new revenue stream from marijuana.
I am very, very “bullish” on our industry moving forward.
So-Happy Bidding and put a smile on your faces! Better times are on their way!
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
Partnering In Construction
For those of you who experienced the Mike Ghilotti/Dan St. John speak on the benefits and challenges of partnering, please let us know if you are interested in us putting together a winter seminar on partnering. Thank you!
Alicia and John did a great job in putting a presentation on yesterday at our General Membership Meeting at the Washoe House. For those who could not be at the luncheon, and those who would like to see and share the full video with others, here are two links to go to-one is the website with the video, and the other is the proposed site plan for the Petaluma facility. The ECA will be discussing our possible involvement very soon under Community Relations Chairperson Lacey’s leadership.
2017 Officers and Board of Directors: At yesterday’s GMM at the Washoe House, several other items were voted on and here is next year’s Officers and Board of Directors that have been approved. Thanks to all of them who have agreed to serve our membership! 2017 Board of Directors
Donna Stevenson of Stevenson Supply is going in to surgery this Friday for open heart surgery. Let’s all join in a prayer of unity and a speedy recovery for Donna!