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SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Although we do not involve ourselves in National debates, the longest Government shutdown in our Country’s history is promoting this opinion piece by yours truly. Our businesses also need workers. We all need housing. There is a large supply of workers who are being affected by the lack of clarity in our immigration policies and the debate over whether to build a wall or not. I find the debate to build a wall is a very ineffective way to deal with the problem of illegal immigration.
For those who do not believe there is an immigration “problem”, let me assure you that there is. We all came to this Country and were immigrants. I think we all feel that people who want to make a better life for themselves and their families should be able to do so. Most, if not all of us, personally know friends and sometimes co workers who are in this Country on work visas or are working without having obtained US citizenship (yet).
The positive impact of these folks cannot be denied. However, our systems are being strained by having to administer judges, border security, healthcare and if those folks get a temporary visa, other entitlements. Also, there are many stories of immigrants who have been deported and returned that commit crimes within the US. None of us want to see bad guys allowed into our Country. How do we reconcile keeping our citizens safe from those that should not be here, and yet remain a Country that allows people to come here and work hard and make a better life for themselves? And how do we juggle our workforce needs with a more orderly migration of workers into this Country?
When Obama issued an executive order allowing “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”, or DACA, in 2012, there was a tremendous increase in immigrants illegally trying to cross our border. This is because, in my mind, the folks who would consider leaving their country for the USA felt that they were being welcomed. These folks may not be “Harvard Smart”, but they are street smart and they hear the stories from friends and relatives that are already in the US.
When Trump first took office and talked very “tough” about immigration, there was a tremendous decrease in border crossings. What that tells me is that these folks from Central America and Mexico listen to which way the political winds are blowing before they decide to spend the time, effort and money to cross the border illegally. If they feel there is a good chance for employment and for not getting deported, they will come. If not, they will stay at home.
Some would say we need to “build a wall” to discourage illegal immigration. The problem I see with just relying on a wall is that the facts show 50% of the illegal immigrants in this Country actually entered the Country legally and have overstayed their Visas. A Wall would only theoretically deter or affect 50% of the “problem”. We need to be comprehensive about locating and returning, or legally extending the work visas of those that have allowed them to expire. One aside-with a work visa, there are entitlements that go along with that temporary status to that worker.
I have little problem with adding some effective border security that would help our Border Patrol handle the many illegal border crossings more efficiently. The best idea I have heard is for a double fence with a road that is sandwiched in between the two fences that allow Border Agents to spot crossers with drones and cameras and quickly deploy to those crossings. Drug cartels have gotten smart and sometimes use crossings of groups of aliens to occupy the Border Agents as they send their drugs across nearby. I think we all would agree that increasing our equipment and manpower would be a first choice for securing our Borders.
With drugs, the cartels smuggle them across the border for one main reason-supply and demand. I know if Americans were to stop using drugs if the cartels cease to smuggle drugs into our Country. So the best way to stop drugs from crossing the border is to go to the source and make sure that Americans get treated for, and stop using the drugs that are illegally smuggled into the USA. Put our money there.
With people, it is a similar story of supply and demand. Illegals come across the border in hopes of better working pay and conditions than their own countries or origin, and they find that. If you were serious about stopping illegal immigration, the President should immediately declare a State of Emergency and enforce E-Verify as the Law of the Land. Heavy enforcement and heavy penalties would await employers who did not comply. Deportations would occur and some industries would suffer from a constricted worker shortage until the legal system of issuing work visas were to become effective using E Verify. That way we could allow the workers we need in our businesses to enter the US legally while allowing folks to improve their way of life.
Look folks, this will be affecting us for a long time. The politics are obvious. The Democrats want to entitle all illegal aliens the right to vote (11 million new democrats would be created overnight!), while the Republicans do not want that. What can we do? Read through the nonsense that is being broadcast on every news channel including Fox and CNN. If you want to stop illegal immigration, make E Verify the law of the land. Do our elected have the courage to do that? Will businesses support that? If not, we do not effectively deal with the supply and demand issue and no wall is going to solve that dilemma.
That’s All Folks!:
Board of Director Meetings are held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 1000 Apollo Way in the Training Room from Noon – 1:30 pm. If you would like to attend, you are welcome to do so, just RSVP ahead of time so we have enough food! We want your input!
1-15-19 Meeting Highlights: At the Annual Retreat, Keith Woods was kind enough to facilitate our meeting and we “looked back, looked around, and did a look ahead” with our 2019 Officers and Board Members. We reviewed our original creation in 1972 as a local group of contractors and affiliates, how we filed with the State of California on May 5, 1976 with our original Founders: Mario Ghilotti, Henry Ghilotti, Stephen Tyler, Arthur Siri, Jr., and Alfred Dalecio. The filed “specific and primary” purposes were:
- To establish and maintain high professional standards among construction contractors,
- To encourage sound business methods, efficient harmony and cooperation between construction contractors, tending to raise the standard of construction workers generally in the business world,
- To oppose unfair business practices,
- To promote better relations between all the individuals and organizations with which construction contractors have business dealings,
- To advocate, foster and promote constructive legislation which will insure the sound development of our State,
- To make membership in this Association an assurance to the public of the skill, integrity and responsibility of its members, by requiring that those admitted to membership shall have established an honorable reputation on these fundamental points, and by making continuance of such membership in this Association depend upon the maintenance of such reputation, and upon fair dealings with its members and with the public and with the employees,
- To promote and defend equitable labor practices between Management and Labor throughout the industry.
The Board felt that these principles written in 1976 are still relevant to the Association today. The Board further chose to “audit” our Committees to make certain they all are functioning to support and enhance the primary purposes of the Association now and into the future.
ECA INSTALLATION DINNER– Saturday, Feb 2, 5:30pm-9:30pm at the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club. Dressy
ECA PUBLIC OFFICIALS NIGHT– Thursday, 4-18-19. 5:30-9pm at the Rohnert Park Community Center. Casual/field attire.
FATHER’S DAY SHOW AND SHINE CAR SHOW– Julliard Park in Santa Rosa, Sunday, 6-16-19. 9am to 3:30pm.
ECA GOLF TOURNAMENT– 11am-7pm at the Windsor Golf Course, Friday, 7-26-19.
DAYS OF WINE AND DOZERS ANNUAL AUCTION-Saturday, September 28, 5:30pm – 11pm at the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club.
COUNTY BOARD OF SUPES CONSTRUCTION, PROJECT AND ENGINEERING AGENDA ITEMS!
This is a new section where I have culled construction and engineering info from the local County Supervisor Meetings (this week only Sonoma and Marin Counties as a trial) and regurgitated them here. Let me know if this is useful to you! I can do it for Lake, Mendo, Solano, and Napa Counties as well.
Mendo County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors
1-22-19 meeting of the Board of Supervisors-
They considered using private roads as emergency access/evacuation routes in the future. Status-under further review. Impact to ECA members-could result in future work upgrading these routes to accommodate fire engines and public evacuation vehicles.
Solano County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission Agendas in January yielded nothing of interest to ECA membership
Lake County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors-very little-one item in the 1-15-19 BOS meeting agenda, Item 7.4 award to True North Constructors for Lower Lake Parks Maintenance Facility Project for $723,737. link
Napa County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors Meetings:
Planning Commission Mtg 1-16-19 had two items of interest to ECA Members:
Item 7A-Anthem Winery proposed new work including caves, tasting room, driveway (650 lf), bridge, parking, etc. at 3454 Redwood Road near Browns Valley Road.
Item 7B considered new Gateway Speculative Industrial Building of 68,677 sf at East Side of Gateway Road and West Side of State Route 29. link
Seminar and Workshop News
*Safety “Kickoff” class is being scheduled soon for end of February-date TBA
*Safety Classes Considered: Family First Aid and CPR. Kids are encouraged to come to this Saturday workshop while parents can get their certifications renewed family members younger than 15 are free. Ensure your entire family safety by joining this unique opportunity.
Traffic Control Class:
ECA COMMITTEE NEWS
Specification Committee-Chair is Dave Weller of RCX. Meets the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1000 Apollo Way in the Training Room from 4pm-5:30pm. Accomplishments: 1. The Santa Rosa City Council now allows the Board of Public Utilities to make decisions on City Standards rather than the City Council. 2. Fire lines installed on private lands used to require specialty design professionals to deal with cathodic protection design as well as installation. This proved expensive and cumbersome and the Fire Marshall worked with the Spec Committee to simplify those requirements. 3. Fire line bedding was required to be pea gravel and the ECA Spec Committee worked with City of SR officials and the Fire Marshall to change the requirement to a more standardly available bedding mix. 4. Bottom dumps were not allowed for asphalt delivery and the City of Santa Rosa has agreed to consider allowing the less expensive delivery method on a case by case basis. 5. The City of Santa Rosa has always had a “tighter” sand equivalent for base rock and the Spec Committee is working with the Materials and Testing Lab as well as quarries to standardize the base rock spec to align with Caltrans requirements.
Workforce Development Committee-Chair is open. Meeting times TBD. If you are interested in this Committee, please contact John at 707-483-0859
Community Relations Committee-Chair is Lacey Torkelson Smith of USI Insurance. Meeting was held on 1-18-19 and the Committee decided to consider a preschool project that was destroyed in the Tubbs Fire and the owners need some help to rebuild near the Cricklewood restaurant site in Larkfield. A full presentation will be made to the Board at the February Board meeting.
Government Affairs Committee-Chair is John Bly. The Committee met (via email) on 1-10-19 and recommended endorsing and contributing $1,000 to Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins for her 2020 re election campaign. The Board approved this recommendation on 1-15-19. If you have any questions about this endorsement or the expenditure, please contact John at 707-483-0859.
Father’s Day Car Show Committee-Chair is Walt Turner. Meetings are held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 1000 Apollo Way, 1:30 pm-2:30pm.
1-15-19 meeting was held and next meeting is scheduled for the 3rd Tuesday of February at 1:30pm.
With regret and condolences to the family, it is noted that Greg Soiland recently passed due to a tragic accident. Much too young. Greg will be missed.