ECA Newsletter 4-7-17
BEST DAY EVER?
I will say after 7 years as a paid guy here at the ECA, plus another 6 years as a Director, Board Member, and Officer, this day, Friday, April 7, 2017, is the BEST DAY I have ever experienced associated with the ECA!!
Why? First-last night was our 25th Annual Public Officials Night where we honored Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works and Team Ghilotti’s project on Liberty Road in Petaluma. Click here for the video. Second-Our State Legislators passed (in both the Senate and the Assembly) a comprehensive $52 billion Transportation Bill in California to fix our roads and bridges and highways!
I have been very vocal about putting pressure on our Legislators-particularly Marc Levine, District 10 Assemblyman about voting for SB-1. Both Levine and Woods voted in favor of SB-1 last night in a marathon session in Sacramento. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6861488-181/california-lawmakers-approve-52-billion?artslide=0
Now we need to reach out and thank our Elected officials for passing the largest road repair plan in well over a generation. Our neglected roads and bridges will not only put many construction workers to work, but the Public will benefit tremendously by the repairs that will be forthcoming.
Let’s also give credit to the “Fix Our Roads” organization (of which the ECA is a member) for their tireless advocacy to get help for our roads-click here for their announcement—http://fixcaroads.com/
Locally-at least $7.8 million annually for Marin County and its Cities and at least $19 million for Sonoma County and its Cities-click here for City and County breakdown-
Thanks to all of you who have supported any of the organizations that have worked hard for this bill to pass. I include Fix Our Roads, United Contractors, SOS Roads, NorthBay Leadership Council, AGC, ECA, Sonoma County Alliance, and many other groups. Although the ECA is relatively small in this arena, we had Marc Levine’s Aide at our Public Officials Night event last night and he got an earful about supporting SB-1! Coincidence that Levine changed his mind and voted for SB-1? I do not think so.
We also need to treasure and be appreciative of our three local Public Officials that did a great job in helping to pass SB-1:
District 2 Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt-send him a thank you email please! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SCTA Executive Director Suzanne Smith-tell her “Great Job” please! (email@example.com)
And California State Senator Mike McGuire-helped pass the SB-1 Bill and he deserves lots of credit for such a great achievement-let him know! (
Look-this is what we know-Advocacy works. This is a great day. Thanks for supporting the ECA! Smoother roads are on our horizon!
That’s All Folks!
1. Groundwater Sustainability Act and the group that will be deciding what water wells to regulate and how much to charge for those businesses, farms, and individuals who have wells.
2. Consideration of Measure M extension going to the voters in November of 2018. Please read the recent agenda item (starting on page 201 of the attached report) about potential of $1.7 Billion worth of road improvement dollars being considered. The report also has a table of which Cities would get how many dollars by clicking here– (Agenda Item 4.2.1) —
3. In the same agenda packet as referenced in #2 above, you might be interested in the Highway 37 report on page 187 of the Agenda packet included above.
4. Homeless Center being proposed for a piece of property near Guerneville.
5. PRMD fees and service levels. This is always an issue.
6. Specification Issues such as withholding amounts by Petaluma, paving requirements that are unclear to bidders, fire line requirements that add lots of cost to businesses and private owners/developers, conflicting requirements in the Uniform Building Codes that are currently impacting and delaying plan reviews for development projects, and many other issues.
7. The Miracle League Community Relations Project at Luchesi Park in Petaluma for autistic and otherwise challenged young people.
- A letter from the “Fix Our Roads” Coalition (and many others) to Jim Beall, Chair of the State Transportation and Housing Committee- link
- A letter from the League of California Cities to Ricardo Lara, the Chair of the California State Senate Appropriations Committee – link
- Write an email to Marc Levine urging him to support SB 1 to fix our long suffering roads and bridges in Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties and the Cities of those Counties. This is our BEST CHANCE to reverse decades of negligence of our crumbling roads. Here is how to email Marc- link
Call Marc Levine and leave a message urging him to support SB 1. His office phone number in Santa Rosa is 707-576-2631.
- The City of Petaluma is the only entity around that still withholds 10% retention on its Public Works projects. I would like the ECA to try to advocate for changing this practice”.
- The City of Santa Rosa does not allow asphalt to be delivered via bottom dumps on their Public Works Projects. Can the ECA look into this and see if the City might give the Contractor the option to bid with AC delivered in bottom dumps?
1. On March 14, 2017, I attended a Project Labor Agreement “Study Session” at the Santa Rosa Junior College. This was being held in conjunction with the passage of Measure H which is a local bond issue that is allocating some $410 Million for refurbishing buildings, parking lots, and infrastructure at the SRJC campus in Santa Rosa. Although the bond measure had no mention of Project Labor Agreements being required when the voters voted yes on it, the SRJC Trustees are considering imposing a PLA Agreement for all or part of the work to be done. I am directed by our Board of Directors to not publicly speak for or against PLA’s, but I attended and will share some of the points made by the “Pro PLA” side, and some points made by the “Anti PLA” side. Interestingly, although the Press Democrat was present, I saw no article on this meeting in the last few days. I have included the PD article from last weekend that described the upcoming consideration by the Trustees for you here—
2. On March 2, 2017, I attended a meeting for the State Route 37 Policy Committee at Mare Island; The Committee is comprised of elected and appointed officials from Four Counties that heavily depend on Highway 37. NVTA, TAM, SCTA, and STA are represented as well as elected representatives from Solano, Napa, Marin and Sonoma Counties. This Committee is trying to determine a long range solution to the Highway 37 corridor that is heavily travelled and is very susceptible to rising sea levels and flooding issues. At stake is a potential “Public Private” solution with a contractor group creating a toll road to elevate the roadway and recoup their costs over the next 50 years via toll charges. The ECA will continue to attend these important meetings and keep our membership apprised of any new developments.
3. On March 9, 2017 I attended a meeting amongst City leaders and Association heads to discuss the possible ballot measure to reformulate and extend the Measure M sales tax Initiative from 2025 to year 2045 creating another potential $1.7 Billion in funding for County and City road repair in Sonoma County. More to come, but rest assured, the ECA is “at the table”.
The Importance Of Fostering Good Relationships With Public Officials
For many years the ECA has hosted an evening where Contractors and Affiliates who build public works projects can mingle with public officials in an environment of good food and comradery. This year is no exception. We are gathering again on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at the Rohnert Park Community Center for our annual ECA Public Officials Night.
This year our Bridge Award will be presented to the Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works group led by Sara Fredricks and Team Ghilotti for their collaboration on the Liberty Road reconstruct project. We have contracted with Don Mills of Sound Ideas to make a short video (must shorter than last year’s Geysers Recharge Pipeline Bridge Award video) to highlight the project and the individuals who were responsible for working closely together and thereby delivering a project to the Public more efficiently. Bottom line? Tax dollars were used for public benefit more efficiently because of the extraordinary efforts of this year’s Bridge Award winners.
Our 2017 President, Dale Mahoney, and the Board of Directors, want to point out and highlight this year’s Public Officials Night for several reasons:
- The evening serves as an educational opportunity in that Public Officials can network with Engineers, Contractors and Suppliers and better understand how to deliver Public Works Projects that result in greater benefit to the Public.
- The Bridge Award recognizes and encourages collaboration between Public Officials and Contractors, Engineers, and Suppliers by publicly honoring those efforts that have resulted in the Public’s benefit.
- Despite not having the Maintenance Superintendents Association cooking for us this year, we will still serve up a great Rib Eye steak dinner to the attendees. Although their absence will be missed because of great relationships with the MSA members, we will also see an increase in our costs of the evening as we now have to pay a caterer for the work that the MSA so generously donated to us in years past.
We have a “Showcase Sponsor” for this year’s Public Officials Night and we are grateful to Ghilotti Construction Company for stepping up and helping us with the cost of the event. However, we are also seeking other sponsors for this event as we are continuing our great tradition of hosting the Public Officials at no cost to them. Please contact Mary and let her know you are willing to Sponsor this event. flyer
I hope you all agree with President Dale and our Board that this is one of the most important events of the year for the ECA and its members. Please invite your foremen, your estimators, your engineers, and your Managers to this event. I promise you the speeches will be shorter than last year, the food will be just as good, and the importance of fostering good relationships with our Public Officials is never more important than now in trying to deliver the best projects to the public! Come enjoy the evening with us!
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
EVP Newsletter 2-14-17
Hope for Future Work Force?
In light of the need for additional 360,000 skilled crafts workers by October of 2019 for the Construction industry, s current President Dale Mahoney said in his first Board meeting on 1-17-17, “We need to develop our own skilled labor force of the future by getting high school seniors interested in our industry as a career”.
President Dale and our Board directed me to get more involved in this effort and after a few phone calls, I find a lot of groundwork has already been done by the Sonoma County Office of Education, the North Coast Builders Exchange, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Doug Hamilton of Oak Grove Construction. Rather than “reinvent” the wheel, the ECA wants to enthusiastically support and assist the ongoing efforts that are already in place.
One of those efforts is called the Construction Corps. To view the flyer for the Construction Corps, click here–
What this program is doing is multifaceted:
- Reaching out to high school seniors and inviting them to attend basic classroom and field training sessions to make them knowledgeable and certified in certain construction skills.
- Invite students to “job shadow” in the Construction industry to see firsthand what opportunities might exist for students who choose vocational work rather than going on to college.
- Pay students to attend a two week “Bootcamp” that can become a “Pathway to a Paycheck” for those that attend and graduate.
- Actively seek companies who will place the Construction Corps and Pathway to Paycheck graduates in paying positions in the construction industry.
If this sounds like something that has been needed for a long time, you are correct! I had the pleasure of attending a Saturday training program (along with President Dale Mahoney) at Oak Grove’s yard on 2-11-17. Fourteen high school seniors showed up to get their fork lift certification from Oak Grove’s instructors and from Jim Persons of Safety Pride. These high school seniors not only got first hand training in the classroom and on the forklifts, but they got some “life lessons” explained by Oak Grove’s Doug Hamilton as well. Doug started out explaining that workers who show up with proper rest, with a good attitude, with proper clothing, with proper personal protective equipment (and the knowledge of how to use it), and with a basic knowledge of how to lift properly without hurting their backs, can be on the path to a great career in the construction industry. The fourteen high school seniors attending this first session were clear eyed, had firm handshakes, and were genuinely interested in what they were being taught. I would say each and every one of them should be given an opportunity with your firm and you would be fortunate to have them!
So how can you get involved and what is needed? We need the following:
- A) Companies that want to allow students to “job shadow”
- B) Individuals willing to instruct these young people in various categories of our industry. I have included the basic outline of the skills that the Construction Corps will be teaching these students. link
- C) Get your company to commit to hiring these young people this summer!!
Remember-this program has already started. We are jumping in after long hours of laying the groundwork has been done by volunteers. We can help reap the rewards with very little input at this point. So-are you going to need to hire some young people in the future? Then let’s commit right now so the program can go into the schools and let the students know there are dozens of jobs awaiting these students when they complete the Construction Corps program!
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
Emergency Work Started On Highway 37 by Caltrans and Ghilotti Construction:
As I reported in the 1-31-17 Newsletter, emergency work has begun to raise the roadway and fix the recent and frequent road closures forcing folks to commute via Atherton Way into Novato (adding roughly 35-40 minutes to an already long commute). Click here for the Press Democrat article.
Retention-Any Cities Holding More Than 5% on Public Works Projects?
Recently, it came to my attention that Petaluma is still holding 10% retention. They are not allowed to by the California Public Contract Code. The ECA has started the process to get this changed by writing to the Public Works Director and sending a copy of the pertinent Public Contract Code to him for forwarding to those appropriate. The ECA will stay on this! If you know of any other Municipality holding more than 5% retention, let me know!
ECA Spec Committee Starts Up!
Our first meeting of the year will take place this Thursday, 4pm-5:30pm, and will address retention issues, new rules for water lines installed for fire protection, and paving limits from ditch edges to edge of curb and gutter. ECA is trying to clarify issues of importance to you Contractors.
Contractor Safety Kickoff 2017
Safety Kickoff Conference for 2017 delivers information that empower individuals and organizations to create safer workplaces. Jim, Eric and Hallie, are focused on a common goal of achieving workplace safety excellence. It’s the safety conference you and your team shouldn’t miss… Being held on Wednesday, February 22.
EVP Newsletter 1-31-17
How Does $1.7 Billion Worth Of Road Repair In Sonoma County Sound?
As many of you may be aware, I have been serving on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Sonoma County Transportation Authority for the past several years. Our duties include reviewing all income and expenditures for the Measure M Sales Tax that has been fueling the most visible roadwork in Sonoma County-the Highway 101 widening project. Many of you might not be aware that of the $22.83 million in sales tax revenue going to Measure M for Fiscal Year 2015-2016, 40% went to Highway 101, 20% went to Local Road Rehabilitation, 4% went to Bike and Pedestrian Paths, and the final 5% went to SMART projects having to do with crossing projects.
The previous paragraph was good news-right? Well here is some not so good news-the Measure M Ballot Measure expires in 2025. No more $22.83 million going to Highway 101 and Local (all nine cities in Sonoma County plus County roads) road rehabilitation. Here is the other bad news-since bonds were issued for most of the Highway 101 work, there is debt service on the bonds-the debt service cost totaled over $9 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016 for Measure M.
The matching grant funding programs are complex, and seem to constantly be in a state of “tug of war”. I will not go into them here. Suffice to say, the Measure M projects are quickly approaching $1 Billion in Contract value in the last 15 years. This despite the total sales tax coming in totals less than $300 Million during that same time period. The SCTA has done a great job getting other dollars to help out our “self-help” Measure the voters passed in 2004. Yet there is a lot more to do, and Measure M funding has all but been spent without completing HOV lanes from Sonoma to Marin. We are a few key stretches short of completion. What to do?
Despite our “beat down” from Measure A efforts two years ago, we are still working towards an extension of Measure M sales tax measure with some potentially major “tweaks” to the Measure. Electeds now seem to be talking the same language, and that language currently is to go to the voters in November of 2018 with the Measure M Extension to the year 2045. Here is the most popular scenario as of right now-
*The current Measure M stays in place until it expires in 2025 with ¼ Cent sales tax cost
*The “New Measure M Extension will be ½ cent from the year 2019-2045 with the existing Measure M accounting for ¼ cent of that ½ cent total from 2019 through 2025.
Bottom line-sales tax would be ½ cent from 2019 through 2045 total. Accounting for an increasing population which would increase purchasing with sales tax being assessed, that 26 year total sales tax income is estimated to be $1.7 Billion vs the estimated $161,000,000 remaining under the current Measure M sales tax measure.
*The Percentages of where the funds would go would be modified as follows:
- Instead of the current 40% going to Highway 101 widening, a smaller amount would be needed-say 22.5% would get the HOV lanes completed.
- Instead of the current 20% going to local road rehabilitation (the nine cities in Sonoma County plus the unincorporated roads in Sonoma County), that would go to about 62.5% or more.
- The 5% for SMART which is currently part of the existing Measure M would go away to 0%
- Bike paths/pedestrian paths and bus transit would remain about the same as current percentages (somewhere around 15%).
Needless to say, if this “idea” becomes reality, you can say goodbye to crappy roads in every city in Sonoma County and we would have High Occupancy Lanes all the way through Sonoma County to Marin County!
(For more information on how Measure M dollars have been spent, are being spent, and will be spent, go to www.scta.ca.gov)
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
More Highway 101 News:
On Monday, January 30, SCTA announced they have funding in place for Highway 101 B2 Phase 2 which is a $35 million estimated cost project that runs south from the s. Petaluma Blvd area. This will be going out to bid before the end of the 2017 year!! This enables Caltrans to activate the HOV lanes from Hwy 116 Lakeville to Marin County by the end of 2019. This is a key piece that sat unfunded until Jake McKenzie and Suzanne Smith figured out how to “cobble” together funding from the “no longer needed” Port of Sonoma terminal, the refinancing of existing bonds already issued, and a few other sources. Way to go Suzanne Smith and Jake McKenzie! If you would like to email them to say “Thank You”, you can find their email addresses on our website at www.nceca.org under “Links” then “Agencies” and go to SCTA and MTC.
EVP Newsletter 1-23-17
MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
On Saturday I attended the “Retirement Party” for our former 5th District Sonoma County Supervisor, Efren Carrillo. While I believe West County will be ably represented by Lynda Hopkins, Efren will be sorely missed. His comments were gracious, and the message was quite clear as he specifically spoke to young people in the community-“do not be hesitant to get involved. Leadership is all about being involved. Involvement will MAKE A DIFFERNCE!”
I related Efren’s comments to our association-the ECA. We just got done with our 2017 Strategic Planning Retreat at which President Dale Mahoney suggested we “raise the bar” as to being involved as individuals involved with the General Engineering Contracting Industry of Northern California.
I have two action items to share with you:
- The Board and President Dale have directed me to reach out to our membership to find out what issues or topics you find relevant in your business or community. Even if we do not first believe that a topic is directly related to our industry, things are so interrelated these days that directly or indirectly, if something is important to you, chances are that topic is affecting your business and others like it. Dale wants your voice to be heard. In that regard, I have attached a brief survey that I ask you to take and share with others at your firm and send back to me. Hopefully you can convince a principal to answer the brief survey and help us to understand what your topics of interest are such that the ECA can be even more effective than we already are in our industry and community. Your responses and your firm will not be linked so you can rest assured that no company “secrets” or viewpoints will be leaked. I only want to see the results of the survey in a general manner to know where my focus should be in 2017 to best serve the membership.
- President Dale wants our Board meetings to be more participatory by our Board members. In that respect, I have been asked to come up with a list of “topics” that will be presented at each of our nine scheduled Board meetings this year. I am asking for your feedback right here and right now. Let me share with you the concept, and a few topics I think have relevance to have our Board present and discuss and then please, please, get back to me with your feedback:
- Cannabis growing, manufacturing, and distribution are taking off in a big way. How might this affect our community, our businesses, and our local government?
- Homelessness is an issue that used to be out of sight a lot more than it is now. We now see homeless folks under our overpasses and in our doorways in our business district. How can homelessness affect your business and what options do we have to deal with it? Is providing more services the answer?
- Housing ownership and rental of housing is becoming more costly than ever locally. Many feel this is an obvious result of not building enough housing in the last 25 years. What is the current housing shortage and high cost of housing doing to your ability to find and retain good workers in your firm? Can we just build our way out of this problem?
These three are examples of what was discussed and what may be discussed. If you have other issues you want us to address and focus on, please share them. Perhaps the topic of lessening the red tape that is restricting your business is more important to you? Maybe finding and developing skilled workers is your biggest concern?
Well-we want to know. Send me an email, or pick up the phone and let me know. I am here only because of you and I want to hear YOUR thoughts on what we should be discussing and accomplishing this year!
MAKE A DIFFERENCE-LET ME KNOW WHAT ISSUES YOU WANT THE ECA TO GET INVOLVED WITH!
Here is a short survey to get us started.
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
Prevailing Wage and Certified Payroll Payments for Concrete Ready Mix Drivers-Confusing as Hell!
I got a call last week from a General Contractor asking me what is the status of AB 219. He had heard that the law was suspended in October but maybe back in place in December of 2016. He was correct. Here is a very brief history of AB 219:
- AB 219 passed into law and took effect July 1, 2016. The new law imposed massive new burdens on the ready-mix industry, including complex new record-keeping and tracking requirements. Many ready-mix companies raised their prices to cover implementation of the new laws as a “pass through” to purchasers of delivered concrete. I have heard the “surcharge” per load of concrete is about $75 per load, regardless of how many yards.
- On June 30, 2016, a group of eight ready-mix companies filed a lawsuit challenging the new statute as a violation of Equal Protection and federal law. The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction on October 18, 2016. The effect of this ruling essentially suspended the Department of Industrial Relation’s ability to enforce AB 219. Even though the injunction was granted, an appeal was expected. The reasoning of the U.S. District Court’s decision to grant the injunction against enforcing AB 219 was because of the persuasive argument that established the that plaintiffs “raise serious questions as to whether including ready-mixed concrete but excluding other building materials under the prevailing wage law is rationally related to a legitimate government interest.”
- December 20, 2016 -The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has lifted a district court’s preliminary injunction against AB 219, meaning that the law’s requirement that prevailing wage be paid to all drivers of trucks carrying ready-mixed concrete to a public works project is in full effect because the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) can again enforce the law. The Attorney General of California (Kamala Harris), the Teamsters and the State Building Trades appealed to stay that injunction and were successful on 12-20-16.
I hope this brief outline is helpful. If you want more info you can access the DIR’s website and explore of just call me up!
EVP Newsletter 1-11-17
Water and Safety and Installation
Here we are on the third day of a declared emergency in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, and Marin Counties due to rain, mudslides, tree limbs falling on power lines, roads washing out and all kinds of winter mayhem. Most of you have shut your projects down, installed your erosion control, and taken the necessary steps to secure your project site to withstand these torrential “pineapple express” weather pattern. I keep hearing on the news about various agencies facing some serious emergency work to deal with storm damage from the town of St Helena probably having to reroute and reconstruct their water supply to major slides around the Russian River area. Hope you are getting some of the work (if you want it!!). See some of the video here–
While your projects are slowed or shut down, don’t you think it is a good time to get some safety training done? The ECA currently has two classes scheduled:
- Confined Space class 8am-noon on Thursday Feb 9 at 1000 Apollo Way, Santa Rosa. flyer
- Contractor Safety Kickoff Conference 2017. 7:45 am breakfast to 11am on Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017 at 1000 Apollo Way, Santa Rosa. flyer
Contact Mary at 546-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to reserve your classroom spots. If you need CPR and First Aid certification, or any other safety class, let Mary know and she can schedule a Class for your crew.
I also want to remind you all to get your seats reserved for our Installation Dinner honoring Contractor of the Year, Affiliate of the Year, Hall of Fame Inductees and introducing our 2017 Officers and Board members to guide our ECA through 2017. Again, contact Mary for this event which is being held at the Flamingo in Santa Rosa on Saturday, February 4. flyer