The true cost of local hire

The true costs of local hire
Sarah Phelan
Giving more jobs to local residents like these pictured here is a benefit that needs to be to factored into the "true costs" equation

Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andy Ross are claiming it will cost $2.2 million annually to carry out Sup. John Avalos’ newly approved legislation that mandates local hire rates on city-funded construction projects,

And Human Rights Commission director Theresa Sparks is claiming it will actually cost $3 million to run the program.

Neither Sparks nor Matier and Ross are talking about the savings the program will create in terms of the need for less law enforcement, if more local residents are hired. Nor do they mention the economic benefit of tax payer dollars being funneled into the local economy, if more San Francisco residents are hired on city-funded construction projects.

As a result, their conversation sounds like an attack on local hire legislation that Sparks says she supports.

“Matier & Ross are about a million dollars off,” Sparks told the Guardian in a voice mail message three days after I first called asking if it was true that HRC was pissed that the Office of Economic and Workforce Development was being charged with monitoring Avalos’ newly approved program.

‘We tried to get them to leave it with us,” Sparks said, noting that HRC already has contract compliance officers overseeing every city contract.

"This will cost $2-3 million more, and it’s unnecessary,” Sparks continued, noting that during her (ultimately unsuccessful) D6 campaign she talked about “inefficiency in government” and here was yet another example of that very same wasteful phenomenon.

‘Rather than approve a project, the agency that creates a program wants to hire its own people and create a whole new infrastructure, “ Sparks said. “We tried to participate in the local hire ordinance, but we were excluded from all the meetings.”

Sup. John Avalos’ legislative aide Raquel Redondiez disagrees that Sparks was omitted from the discussion. And Redondiez has the emails to prove it.

In an Oct. 21 email sent to Redevelopment director Fred Blackwell, Rhonda Simmons in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and Sparks at HRC, six weeks before Avalos’ legislation passed on its first reading, Redondiez wrote that Avalos would like to meet with Blackwell, Simmons and Sparks.

“Supervisor Avalos would like to meet with your offices to learn about how current contracts are now tracked for local hiring, lbe [local business enterprises], and union hours,” Redondiez wrote. “As we move forward with the local hiring legislation, we would like to have a deeper understanding of the current tracking practices and possibilities.Please let us know when we can meet in the next 10 days.”

Redondiez email thread shows she got a reply from Guillermo Rodriguez in the Mayor’s Office the same day. But there was no reply from Sparks. Blackwell and Simmons attended local hire hearings at City Hall in November and December. This reporter does not remember Sparks at those hearings, but community advocates say they saw her outside at least one hearing, in November.

So, does this add up to HRC being deliberately excluded from the discussion about how best to monitor local hire, or something entirely different?

Community and worker advocates, who support the legislation, say they tried to reach out to Sparks, but got mixed messages. They say Sparks said she was supportive of the legislation, but that they were left with the impression that HRC wasn't interested in monitoring the program.

Michael Theriault, Secretary-Treasurer of the Building Trades, which opposes Avalos’ legislation because it believes the measure will pit workers who live here against workers who don't, didn't sound like he was advocating to put HRC in charge of monitoring compliance with the mandatory local hire ordinance.
“There is a sense that HRC is about small business advocacy,” Theriault said.

Sparks hasn’t returned my latest call, but I'll be sure to post her comments here. So stay tuned as we follow the latest twist in the local hire debate. And don'tforget to tune in to tomorrow's Board meeting (Dec. 14, 2 p.m. at City Hall), when the local hire legislation has its second reading.


There is a picture of mostly African Americans, under it is the caption;
"Giving more jobs to local residents like these pictured here is a benefit that needs to be to factored into the "true costs" equation"

then follows the statement that;
"Neither Sparks nor Matier and Ross are talking about the savings the program will create in terms of the need for less law enforcement,"

Sarah, you are implying that the "African Americans" if hired will not be breaking the law anymore, that is an extremely racist suggestion and I would expect more from the BG. Shame, shame, shame on you!

Posted by Patrick Brown on Dec. 13, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

You seem to be implying that they will still be breaking the law even with jobs from your last paragraph.

This obsession with race on the ends of the political spectrum is so strange.

This program isn't the by far the worst idea the progressives have come up with. Give it a rest dude, you're George Wallaceing things a bit too much.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 13, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

between this program and a "reduction in law enforcement costs." Now - I think local hire laws are not all bad, Chicago uses them to good effect. But making a statement like "this program will reduce law enforcement costs" without ANY supporting evidence is absolutely absurd and really undermines the basis of the program to begin with. If, after the program starts, there isn't a reduction in law enforcement costs will that be a reason to end the program? Why not just say it's better to higher local workers than make shit up?

But remember - ABU (Aboriginal Blacks United) supported this and Sarah is BIG on ABU. So there you have it.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 13, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

I got a laugh out of that lower cost to law enforcement bit too. Just tossing out ideas and seeing what works.

She also made up reality around the wacky Nation of Islam attacking that guy for going to their open to the public meeting.

I just found it odd that dude is attacking her, after she has spent so much time being apologists for such goofy behavior.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 14, 2010 @ 10:09 am

Supervisor Avalos should step up and mandate that all jobs connected with San Francisco city and county employment meet local hire standards not just the construction related jobs.
The San Francisco Fire and Police Dept should be forced to meet the same standard along with every other city department.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2010 @ 9:44 pm

Agreed. Especially everyone in the City Attorney's office.....

Posted by George on Dec. 18, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

Redbeardedguy - Posted on 15 October 2010

Author: Bruce Allison and Thornton Kimes
The San Francisco Building and Planning Commissions are attempting to fast-track a new condominium construction project, slated to replace a long-dead gas station and active Green Cab parking lot on the north-east quarter of the intersection of 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue. This involves the Mission Plan of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, and is a violation of it. Housing for the poor (30% of AMI—Area Median Income—rent paid) is a priority. In small print, but it’s there!

Two blocks away, at 14th and Mission Streets, is Senior-only housing; the Mission Hotel, a Single Room Occupancy (SRO) building, is half a block away--with another 100 or so resident seniors. Most of them walk with canes. The proposed structure will have 88 condos and a 44 space garage in the basement, an increase in traffic generating more respiratory illness in a population already suffering more than its fair share—along with more traffic period, more cars to worry about crossing the street, etc.

16th Street, from So. Van Ness to Mission, frequently hosts film festivals. The block is less gentrified than others, but that is changing too, as POOR magazine poverty scholars can see from a third story window of the Redstone Building. New nightclubs, more noise at night, fewer of the original businesses and residents of the area around.

Small businesses on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Redstone Building will lose fresh air (ventilation) from their windows, which will increase the odds of catching respiratory diseases (colds, etc) for the people working in those offices. Residents of the neighborhood on Capp, between 16th and 15th Streets, will endure 2 years of construction noise and pollution. There is an elementary school, with a (concrete) playground behind the 16th and Mission Walgreens store, on this block of Capp Street as well, half a block from Ground Zero. Active construction sites, with lots of large moving parts (trucks, etc) are not good for children, who do not respond to stimuli around them the same way adults do.

The Green Cab Company will likely be forced to close. There aren’t many alternative spaces in the city available, considering all the other Eastern Neighborhoods (and other areas) construction activity going on, the fact that the (local) taxi industry is highly competitive and the awarding of Taxi Medallions is a whole other story (perhaps a novel-length work) all by itself!

Readers of these poverty scholars’ words here have an opportunity to make a difference in how the Mission Plan of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan is dealt with. You can contact Jeanie Poling, an Environmental Planner in San Francisco’s Planning Department. The address is 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, SF, CA 94103. Contact by phone is: 415-575-9072 (fax # 415-558-6409). Poling’s email address is: The address of the condo project is 490 So. Van Ness Avenue, the case number of it is #2010.0043E.

Posted by Bruce Alloson on Dec. 13, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

The implication of your article:

Give black folks jobs and they will stop breaking the law.

That's racism.

Posted by Barton on Dec. 14, 2010 @ 7:28 am

The implication of the article is simple: give local folks--including Asians, blacks, Latinos and whites---jobs and they will have more money to feed themselves, their families and the surrounding community. Yes, many of the folks who are local residents and unemployed and would benefit from training are blacks and women. Bu that's not a racist or sexist argument. It's factual reporting on the situation on the ground in San Francisco, these days.

Posted by sarah on Dec. 14, 2010 @ 10:48 am

just to fuck with you hunh?

Posted by matlock on Dec. 14, 2010 @ 12:07 pm

Well done Matlock!

Posted by Sherluck Homes on Dec. 14, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

The minor candidate who got something like 16% of the vote in a supervisor race? Oh, that Theresa.

Posted by Greg on Dec. 14, 2010 @ 12:39 pm